How to Become a Makeup Artist – Part 1

Marlena’s 3 P’s to Getting Started as a Makeup Artist

  • This is your most important preparation as makeup artistry is a skill to be improved on.  Going to school will not bring you a better job- your skills and determination will.
  • You need to practice on tons of different people- various face shapes, eye shapes, skin colors, eye colors, and ages.
  • Make sure to photograph all of your looks as this will show you later on where you need to improve AND how your makeup translates to pictures.  Makeup in real life looks very different from makeup in pictures- it tends to get washed out and not be as vibrant.
  • You do not need an expensive pile of makeup, but you do need to invest in a variety of brushes and use makeup primers.  Using different brushes especially for the eyes will give you different looks based on how you use them.  (See my brush video if you need more information)
  • Ask other makeup artists, friends, and family members what they think of your work- tell them to be honest, as genuine criticism is how we improve!  (It hurts, I know, but it makes us better ;) )
  • Sign up to be a makeup assistant- this will be some of your best education as it is practical.  You can sign up on
  • You can have 2 types of portfolios- a print one and an online one.  An online one is better (in my opinion), as it reaches more people and can be viewed at any time.
  • If you do a printed portfolio, standard sizes of your pictures should be 9×12 or 11×14.  Put these pictures in a professional looking leather binder with plastic sleeves in them.  This will be a somewhat pricey project, but worth it if you plan on taking it with you to meet with potential clients.
  • For online portfolios, you can purchase your own domain name and use wordpress to post your pictures.  You could hire a local web designer or even a college student taking web design to help you put your site together.  There is nothing wrong with using a blog template either as long as it looks professional.  DO NOT use myspace or facebook to host your portfolio- it looks unprofessional!
  • Hire a professional photographer to take pictures of your work- no, do not have your neighbor Billy Bob do it.  You do not want to spend so much time, money, and effort putting together a great look just to get an average looking picture.  Find 2 or 3 local models of various types to work with you for a day and do various styles of makeup on them. Then have your photographer take various shots of each model- make sure to get some headshots also.
  • Your portfolio needs to consist of various styles:  clean makeup (simple but flawless), editorial makeup, avant garde (experimental makeup), and beauty makeup.  Do not put bridal makeup in your portfolio- have a separate portfolio of your bridal work if you plan on going this route for your career.
  • Your first step in getting your name out there is to get professional business cards.  I get mine from Vista Print- they are inexpensive and you can customize them how you like.  Make your cards clean and professional and be sure to include your name, email address, link to your online portfolio, and possibly phone number.  Remember the KISS rule:   Keep It Simple Stupid  :)
  • Make yourself known to all wedding planners, party planners, local makeup counters, and any event coordinators.  Whenever you meet them, be dressed professionally and have a great makeup look on- your face is your hugest advertisement!
  • Hand out your business cards to all local planners, colleges and high schools (for prom season), retailers at makeup counters, and anyone else who will take your card.  It takes time to build a reputation, so don’t give up too soon.

A few more tips:

  • Makeup artists are not rolling in the dough, so if you want to become one for any fame or fortune, pick another career.
  • Since it takes time to build a reputation and clientèle, start as a side job doing makeup for events or brides on the weekends.  Then slowly build it into a full time job.
  • Find your niche. Whether that be you becoming the best bridal makeup artist on the west coast, or the best theatrical makeup artist in Florida, or the artist who can sell any product to anyone in Sephora.   Once you find your niche in the field, focus on that as it will make you stand out more.   (Mine is teaching/presenting makeup skills- I may not be the most creative person, but I explain things well, so I focus on that)

If you are passionate about what you do and work hard at it, most likely you will be very successful!   Good luck in your career!  PLEASE post any questions you have about becoming a makeup artist- I plan on doing a video answering your questions! :)

Profile photo of Marlena

CEO of Makeup Geek and Makeup Educator


Comments are now closed on this article.

These are great tips!

I’d like to add another “P.” Professionalism. Be on time! Freelance MUAs are notorius for running late and sometimes not showing up at all! Early is better but on time will work.

“Going to school will not bring you a better job- your skills and determination will.” While skill and determination are HUGE factors it is still important to understand the business side of your work. As a MUA, retail or freelance, you are running a business. The more you know about doing that the more prepared you will be to succeed.

As you search for more knowledge remember we all learn in three ways; By seeing, by hearing, and by doing so practice by incorporating all of them into your learning process. We incorporate all of these into each lesson while building your portfolio with professional models, photographers, and building your business.

Hello! I have a few questions:
— how do you clean your brushes onsite, and with what product when you are using the brushes on different clients that day?
— do you recommend a good foundation for wedding makeup? setting sprays?

thank you!

Marlena what are the best brown- dark brown eyeshadows, or do you recommend a particular palette

“Galapagos” by Nars is really beautiful. Also, “embark” and “brown down” by MAC a great too!

Yep, I like those MAC ones :) I also like Cork, Kid, and Espresso by MAC. If you want shimmery brown, Tempting is pretty.

Thank you very much for these great tips. I really like make up and I would love to make people happy just like you have been doing with us. These tips are the best ones I have read ever. I am so excited to hear more about this!!! I started practicing with my sister in law, i also did my sister’s make up for graduation, my mom and a couple of other people. I need to keep on practicing and learn how to be creative with colors and looks.

I will like to see videos of you doing the make up on other because it is difficult to do it on other people specially poeople you dont know that well they might feel like you are rough and it’s hard for me to apply mascara on other people… I know it sounds funny but it happens to me LOL

I already taped vids of me doing makeup for a photoshoot- I’m trying to get it edited now :) May be a bit before I get it uploaded, but I have taped it :)

thanks so much… i have been thinking of doing make-up on the side i love all make-up however i am extremely shy any pointers

I don’t think it matter if you’re outgoing or not- you will need to be somewhat outgoing to hand out business cards, but there are some great artists that are very shy. If your work is good, that will speak more than you have to ;)

You certainly explain things well. This post is excelent. Very well put together and straight to the point. As a MUA I agree 100% with what you wrote.

Hey Marlena,

Thanks for the tip, but is there a such thing of a makeup class…LOL…I think i know how to put
makeup from ur tips, but i need more practice. I cant wait for ur part 2.

Marlena please make a video on how to decide whether to use liquid or cream foundation on a person. I love your videos you are so nite and organized

unfortunately, there are no makeup schools in my area. there are cosmetology ones, i just feelthat i wont get much of a makeup experience there, and it will be wasted time. do i have any other options? like online classes? if you can answer my question or offer any advice at all, it would be greatly appreciated. thank you marlena for being such an awesome inspiration!! xoxo

I’ve gone to cosmetology school for the eshtetician program, and it really doesn’t go that far with makeup. I learned most of what I know from Marlena (Thank you :) you’re great) and youtube videos. If you can’t get to a makeup school, I suggest you turn some of your friends who’s opinion you trust into your own makeup school. I learned so much doing this, because even if they don’t know anything about makeup, they know whether or not you’ve done a good job and can give very good suggestions even straight men can surprise you with this,(I have played with straight boys on this, I keep them as pets, lol) .

Real excited about this… I have been looking everday for new tutorial everyday, I am sure this took a while to but together, I enjoy learning new tips everyday… I am still trying to get the smoky eye affect, I dont understand what I am doing wrong…Thanks for everything

Thanks so much for the tips they are the best advice i have received. I am wondering about pricing though. If you get a job to do a special event, bridal, prom, birthday, whatever how do you figure what to charge for your services?

Hi Marlena,

I live in Austria. as a bride, I had a very poor make up. here in Austria are many Turks, and of course Turkish weddings. Most brides are with the “Austrian make up” not satisfied. I could specialize in this area. At the beginning as a side job. how do you think? must I attend a make up school? it costs quite a lot.

NO, you don’t need makeup school. You need practice and experience. But yes, I would definitely start as a side job first as it’s hard to make much money in the beginning…

G you tell us a few tips on how to charge people for our services. Also my parents r really really against me wanting to be come a freelance make up artist because they don’t think I will make alot of money. They want me to go to college and get some kind of degree before I go to cosmetology school but im extremely passionate about make up and I know i want to do it for the rest of my life and I know I wont stop until I’m the most sucessful that I can be. But they don’t think I do it. It’s hard having everyone against you because they don’t feel like like I will actually be successful. I’m on 17 right now, what things can I be doing right now to get my name out there. I do a lot of people for dances and stuff.

Go to college and learn a backup profession you can enjoy, while advertising your skill to other students, and build a client base. You can try going for business management or salon management. I’m thinking of doing that myself.

Being a licensed person for more than 15 years and in the business for 10 here in Hollywood I would suggest if you do go to college, Yes it can’t hurt, and it could help immensely, Take marketing and business classes. Know how to become a business person if you are to freelance. That is what you are signing up for. You are an independent business owner. So know what that entails. Then go to a pro makeup school if you can. You will gain knowledge and confidence (more than what you have now) then practice on all your friends etc and maybe start for while at a job doing makeup, get paid and get experience. If you can then go apprentice with someone of greater skill in all areas than yourself, you will then step up to the next level. If it is what you love, you work hard, stay in the game, don’t let anyone bring you down, and be a well rounded businesswoman/aritst
Good luck!

Right now I am signed up for a 16 week makeup course. It’s at a reputable school here in Canada and I can’t wait to get started. Makeup is a huge passion for me and haven’t had much practice applying it to people because of my lack of confidence. I am really looking forward to gaining the skills to do makeup.

I was wondering if there is a way to make it without going to cos school. Right now Im going to school for photography and I am also great with makeup. If u could give me some advice on how to make a career with both,that would be great! I also just wanted to say you are awesome and beautiful and I love your work!

I have always been passionate about makeup and have always wanted to be a makeup artist. At the moment I am doing a Business Diploma, Im 18 years old and totally confused about how I will be able to reach towards my goal in life to become a Makeup Artist. Its something I have always wanted to be. However I do lack artistic skills, isit possible to still become a makeup artist if your not an artistic person? I know if your really determined to achieve something its possible. So what do I do? lots of practice?

Thank you xx

Yes, lots of practice really does help. You’ll need to find your niche though- if you don’t feel artistic, then focus on maybe owning a makeup business- you’ll have the training from the degree you’re working on…

Hey Marlena I have a couple of quiestions that came to my mind. I know you are going with this step by step sooo hopefully I see these answered in other essays or videos!! THANKSS !!!

*how much do you charge for a make up session??

*how would you approach people like party planners and counter make up stores to take your cards and give yourself promotion professionally?

Marlena!! Awesome article!! It has been 7 years+ plus since I have practiced in freelance makeup artistry and I have been pondering on getting back to this field again. Although I currently work for retail makeup brands it would be nice to get back to doing it on my own. The tips in this article was very helpful in figuring out how to get back started again. Thank you so much for this article and I look forward to part 2 and the videos to come along with it!!

You are so fabulous!!
Have great weekend,

Natasha :)

hi, can you please do a video for us older ladies, you know, the ones with creases and hoods LOL!

I’m trying to find models that will let me publish them on youtube- they keep chickening out on me :( I’m working on it though! :)

I’m surprised you can’t find anyone to do it. I’m over 40 and would do it in a heartbeat!

Hi Marlena,

I will be 42 in Sept and would LOVE to be one of your older models!! In a heartbeat!!

awsome marlena great tips on makeup artistry. Hopefully one day i will get into makeup . Im so intrested in makeup. thanks again keep the tutorials coming :)

hi, marlena…..awesome article….it’s really helpful. thanx for all ur tutorials and reviews. can u please do a tutorial on “HOW TO APPLY A LIQUID EYESHADOW AND CREAM ETESHADOW?” please fulfill my request as i always mess up with my liquid eyeshadow. they actually get absorbed. help me out coz i have a huge collection of those and dont know how to apply it :-@ lookin forward for your reply….love u ….keep it up girl!

You need a primer underneath so they don’t crease, and apply with your ring finger. If you need to, you can always apply a little bit of powder shadow on top to set the color :)

I dont think that 15 is to young no! You know to start a carriere and have a good start in life and also to built you a really good futur is the best for you. If your really passionate about makeup and you really believe in youtself everything is possible. But because your a young adult and not yet 18 I think that you will have to pratice a lot to inprove your makeup skil. You can alsol take some makeup class after high school and working hard hard hard. Im not gonna lie to you and say that it’s gonna be easy no because of your young age it will be a little bite harder to get hired or get you a clientèle. But if you really put the time, energy and like I say if your really passionate and really believe in yourself everything is possible. If your really good you can start doing makeup video on youtube it’s a great way to be notice and also to be known. If you really want to become a makeup artist follow marlena recommandation, do whatever it takes, believe in yourself, practice, go to makeup school, dont give up and in the near futur you will become a really good makeup artist im a 100% sure. I wish I could go back in time and start to built my carriere a little bite younger then i actually start.. So no your not to young!! good luck sweetie!!

Too young to start becoming an artist? Not at all! Here in Holland we have this 15 year old girl who started doing tutorials on Youtube, and she became an artist and did several promotions for makeup brands.
It’s never too late to learn, but certainly not too early! Follow your dreams

This is absolutely fabulous! It is full of useful information and very helpful tips. In about 3 weeks I’m going to a Beauty Academy school, I already know I’m great with make-up but I personally would just feel better doing the course and I’ve been searching Google like crazy trying to find a lot of things you’ve put in this post (like about a paper portfolio etc) So thank you very much!

Hi Marlena,
I’m only younge but really want to have a career in makeup. I LOVE MAKEUP!!!!
Just last night my mum and i were talking about how to become a makeup!
Thank you so much!

hey girl
if u want to be a make up artist but dont go to school for it how do you get a licence and get pro mac stuff ???

really great tips marlena! i signed up to take a proffesional makeup course here in chicago ( finally something is being offered here!) to become a certified makeup artist. i’ve been dabbling forever and i think you really pushed me to go looking for something. thanks so much for all your inspiring ideas, you are made of awesomeness! also could you put the lotw back on your main homepage i had so much trouble finding it after you changed the site around. thanks again!!

Marlena, this is awesome. I love the way you break things down as always, you’re always my go to person for MU advice. You’re my MU application for Dummies… LOL Can’t wait for part 2!!

hi i love you sooo your make up tips . you are helping me learn so much!!! thanks again!!

Hi Marlena ! Thanks for your precious tips. Could you please tell us what is the basic make up kit to start as a make up artist ? Beside the brushes, what are the “must-have” make up products (palettes, foundations, lipstickes and glosses, blushes etc), for all skinstones and for all ages ?

Many many thanks, you’re such a sweet person !

Thank you Marlena! Your website was a huge inspiration to get me into makeup and esthetics. I changed my career path a while back, went back to school, and am now a full-time makeup artist/manager with a well known cosmetics company.

If anyone has the passion, they can do it. I was hesitant, but I had someone (oddly enough, it was my tattoo artist), ask me what I was waiting for. That really struck me, and I made the move a few months after that.

Thanks for sharing your tips with us. I think you are so down to earth and really helpful to your viewers keep up the good work

Ugh thank you so much! I loved reading your tips, and hopefully one day I can become a makeup artist too:)

Thanks Marlena, this advise has definitely been taken into consideration because I am currently in the process of doing all that was listed above. Your videos have always seem to help me unlike any other makeup website. Your great at explaining and advising and I look up to you!!

I am very supersticiuos and I believe things happen for a reason! I worked in a cosmetic store called Ulta and from there on i just fell in love with makeup! I did practice on some people and I do me nieces makeup sometimes, but I want to learn how to be more creative…… I want to know how to use different colors. I had to leave my job because I had twins, boy and a girl. So i had to become a “stay home mom” and I want to start a career that I LOVE and that I can see a future in and makeup artist is what I want to do! I live in Orlando FL. so i really don’t know what are the good schools for that preofession. I would great advice from you and this a career that I can take and spend time with my children and husband. Did I mention I just turned 24!! LOL so I’m still young. Hope to hear from you and thanks for these wonderful tips

You don’t need to go to school for makeup artistry, but if you want a good school in Florida- Cosmix in Ft Lauderdale is really good! I taught a guest session there last year and really liked the school :)

For those interested in pursuing makeup as a career, with or without makeup skills, consider joining the Mentee Program – we provide all of the business training and consulting to help you become the artist you aspire to become. We are with you throughout your career and help answer all those tough questions!

I love that you have compiled some tips to starting/focusing to help a blooming makeup artist. I became a fan of yours on youtube, and do love how you explain each step. Technical skills are a big help… choosing colors will come later. I love makeup . I love wearing it, shopping for it, talking about it, and putting it on other people. Thanks again. :-)

I’m just a beginner (about a year of wearing makeup) and I did some makeup for my aunt for a date night she had and she gave me ten dollars. It was awesome.

But I love skincare…it’s my calling. So I’m finishing up high school and I am attending the university in my city, which has a regionally recognized medical program. I aspire to become a dermatologist. So of course, I love makeup. But I think your tips work for ANYBODY! :) Cool and thanks!

Thank you for all those wonderful tips they are very helpful :) I have a question in regards to airbrush makeup, would it be better to do a traning course to learn how to apply the makeup, or would it be better to buy a compressor and learn as you go? Thanks again :)

Honestly, learn as you go- I took a couple courses and it didn’t teach me anything that I couldn’t learn on my own, and it was expensive!

hey girl! Thanks for all the helpful advice..but I’m wondering if you could talk about what are some good products to put in you pro kit?? And what about contracts?? Thanks!

I’ll answer that in the next vids and will share my contract so you can see what I put in there…

Love it! Especially about finding your niche. And I agree and appreciate that you found your niche in teaching and lessons so that others may have an opportunity to learn. Love this website! Thanks. Looking forward to part 2.

Hi Marlena,

Thank You very much for all tips. I have a question: How can i get to know about all colours, warm and cold types and so on unless i visit a school? I dont want to visit a school as i dont have much time nor money left :-) but is there a way to know about all these things without attending a school? I already tried different looks on friends and they liked it very much. I really want to become a makeup artist… You inspired me so much :-)

You don’t need school- they won’t teach you anything you can’t learn on your own (for the most part- I’ll explain more in future vids).

Warm Skin Tones: The veins on your forearms will look more green.
Cool Skin Tones: The veins will look more blue

I wanted to know how do you determine which class or make up school to go to? Also I know a few Make up Companies like MAC offer a Make Up Pro Discount. How do you sign up for that? Any programs, school, online sessions that you recommend?

Hi Marlena,

Your tips are sooooooooooo helpful. Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I’m looking to transition careers and am interested in make-up artistry. I’d like to know how does one obtain a job at a counter like MAC if they have the skills to be a great MUA but lack the experience (my resume is completely void of any make-up jobs but I know what I’m doing, am passionate about it and will do whatever necessary to be my best). Thanks for all that you do :-)

marlene please post the video!!!!
you leave us hooked and then you just let us wait for
what feels like a million years lol…
please post new videos…

Thanks Marlena, this couldnt of come at a better time im finally going to stop procrastinating and get my buisness out there full force. These tips will definatelly help.

Thanks for the great tips, Marlena! I can’t wait to watch the video when it becomes available. I, too, am interested in learning more about warm/cool tones and color. A tutorial on this would be fantastic. Thanks for all that you do!



Thank you so much for doing a tutorial on how to be a make up artist or how to start, I so appreciate it! I’ve been contemplating for some time on how to start but I just didn’t know how, but thanks to you now I can slowly get start it , thank you so much and may God bless you!!!

Hi, really enjoyed reading everything, was wondering if there was going to be a follow up video on this….really miss watching you

Can you please do a video on how to do a professional makeup kit. Can you please do sanitary lessons, like how to apply eye and lip makeup in a clean way. Can you teach us the hard parts of being a makeup artist. Is it true that the best places to be a makup artist is in New York, or LA. What if you live in Vancouver, or even in a small town? Do you have any mantra’s that I could tell future clients, when they don’t think their beautiful naturally? I’m about to go to Blanche Macdonald, and I’m excited to learn how to be a makeup artist, but I don’t have much friends and am not the greatest social butterfly. Is there anyway, that I could find people to practise putting makeup on, without asking a random stranger only to be rejected? I’m probably going to ask more questions later. Can you makeup more than one FAQ video. thank you so much. I love your videos.

GREAT questions! I’ll answer a lot in future vids, but for practicing makeup- get family members together to start. Any practice is better than nothing, then from there have your family members help you recruit people :)

You really are great. I’m an online English teacher here in the Philippines and I always watched your videos. You are really great in speaking unlike others (i’m not trying to be mean to those people). Hope you can visit the Philippines sometimes. I would really love to see you in person, Marlena! I let my officemates watch your videos and they are really crazy about your accent. PERFECT!

Hey Marlena!
Thank you for the awesome tutorials I love them! I wanted to know what color and brand of lipstick are you wearing in this video? It is so pretty and I have similar coloring and would love to try it out! Thanks for all the great info you share with us!

Your work is amazing. I want to know as a makeup artist what is the best type of traincase to get without it being too expensive?

Thank you to be so generous to share that information with us. Others would charge a high price for that but you don’t!!! This really shows how open-minded you are and that you are very confident in and convinced by your profession.
I also appreciate your honesty: Building up a freelance carreer is hard! You need to be persistent and you have to be willing to take some risks. As you speak from you own experience, everthing sounds reasonable and authentic.

I just started posting make-up tutorials on YouTube and have gotten a lot of positive feedback from my friends. I’m now doing make-up for a wedding, got three consultations lined up and a lot of requests. I really appreciate you doing a series on what it takes to be a make-up artist. I just became unemployed recently, which really bites, but I’ve been thinking about the things I really enjoy doing, and make-up is one. So I will see where this goes! Thanks for your wonderful tips!

Does your business card say “makeup artist” or something like that? or does it only have you name and important information?

thanks for the great tips!

It doesn’t, but I need to change that. You can put on there Beauty Consultant, Makeup Artist, or what not- I’m putting Makeup Instructor on mine as that’s more of where I’m at vs. the artistry part…

Hi Marlena,
I love your look in this video- it would be perfect for work. Any plans to do a tutorial on it? Or could you please post the products you used? Gorgeous as always and a great informative video!

Hey Marlena,
I just wanted to say how great your site looks :) Did you make it yourself?
Also, I’m taking makeup school for my licence, do you not need a licence to work as an MUA?
Great tips, I’m buying my domain right now!!

Great tips! They were really helpful! Thank you for sharing your experience, that’s so generous :)

hi marlena

i wanted to know how you got started in makeup? Did you take courses if so which ones and your views on them. Also I was wondering what your website is so I can see your online profolio.

your videos and posts are fabulous.

thanks so much for everything


Goddess Marlena
How can anyone of us become a make-up artist or even deserve to be called one when you are the .. ONE and ONLY make-up artist … that we worship and follow and just to even be called your … Muggies is an honour that we have to earn! :-)

the 3 P,s are … Princess .. Perfection and Pout …mmmMMMM oooOOO that Sexy Pout anyday please.

Goddess is looking top banana … sexy today and love the new hair colour… suits you ! England have just crashed out of the world cup .. but another 8mins of Goddess magic has put a smile back on my face! :-)


Great article, great vid and great comments too! Thanks Marlena! You are very eloquent and cheerful as always. I dont live in the US and I dont plan to becoming a makeup artist but I just love makeup, I love to wear makeup and want to improve my skills. I think makeup skills are a question of talent and practice. I have learnt soooo much from watching videos on youtube since 2008 and I actually have incorporated Marlena´s techniques to my own makeup or my mum´s, cousin´s, friends… And now I´m getting requests for doing makeup on other people!! My goal is to be able to do my own bridal makeup for my wedding, is that advisable? Or maybe I should let someone else do it because I´ll be so nervous that day? What do you think? Keep up the good work, you inspire us makeup-amateurs-fans-geeks :)

Dear Marlena,
I am young (13 on friday) and I want to become a makeup artist. Do you think I am to young? Or Should I persue it.

Hey Marlena,
you said that you could register to be a make up artist on without taking a course, well now I’m confused, it says you need to have two of the following: Union Card, Professional License, Diploma/Certificate. how does one get these without a course? :S
whatever advice you could give would great.


Thank you for all this information Marlena.

Its as if you posted this right on time. I have decided that this is something I really want to do.
I think My main concern would be to get my name out there as best as I can. Also building my kit. Instead of doing it all at once I have been purchasing products here and there.

It’s the same for me. She posted this, and I’m going to Blanche Macdonald in the fall to study makeup. I’m so excited!

Hey:) I went to imats last weekends and start to think seriously about becoming makeup artist. Your tips helped me a lot and very appreciate! I have one question that how to build makeup kit such as foundation and colors? Where is the best place to buy those stuff to start?

OMG this video came at the right time…. My husband tells me I should start doing makeup on the side he saids I’m really good at it. even people I don’t know come up to me to compliment on my makeup. I think i will give it a try but I’m nervous and shy. Then some days I think that my husband tells me that I’m good at it because he’s my husband and loves me lol. what do you guys think?

My family (husband, sisters, Mom, Daughter etc) all tell me the same thing and I feel the same way. BUT, what will it hurt for us to just go for it!? The worst that could happen is that we don’t have any clients. Big deal, at least we will know once and for all if we are cut out for this business. I’ve applied at an Ulta store to start with so I can get more experience/practice and I’ll go from there. Don’t give up on yourself or something you like doing. Go for it!

”If you are passionate about what you do and work hard at it, most likely you will be very successful!”

Thank you Marlena for this phrase. This is very much the thing I wanted to read today… I’m desperate to have a carreer that I love and this inspired me!

Thank you again


i love the video awesome tips!!:)

i was wondering if you could help me out with something i cant find a good eyeshadow base!
iv tired NYX and Urban Decay’s Eyeshadow Primer Potion and they keep creasing on me what should i do?

You could try Nars eyeshadow base. Two faced shadow insurance, or one of MAC’s paintpots.

I am a beginner MUA that is trying to create a portfolio. I would like to know how do I get my makeup to look vibrant on pictures. In person it looks great but on pictures it tends to look washed out.

Thank for all the information but how about what makeup you are wearing! I love it! Especially the lip color! Please tell us!!

Hello Marlena!
Thank you SO much for these wonderful tips. I enjoy freelance makeup artistry! I love it! It makes my heart go wild! :D This motivated me so much! It is so inspirational and I now I know where to get started. Yes! :]
I had a few questions though, sorry if you already answered any:
I am on a very tight budget and I do not own a lot of makeup (I am a full time college student). I have some great eye shadows here and there that I use, but I don’t think I have enough to get started. What do you recommend I do to have a sufficient collection (for now) to get started with? Do you think the 88 palette from Coastal Scents is a good idea? Also what about brushes, foundations, mascaras? And should I get a collection of brushes and use the same set for all my clients/models? Please let me know if you can. Thank you so much in advance!

Loved the information!! I’m also stuck on what should be in my kit as in different colored fountadations, concelers, and powders when I work on people because there are so many diferent types of skin colors. Also what makeup brand is a good to have for foundations,etc. in our kit & how we could get these things? Do we go out and buy every color of foundation to have in our kit. If you could explain in a video it would be very helpful. Thanks

Thanks so much for the tips, they’ve been very helpful. I was just wondering what kind of camera you would use for your online portfolio? Would you still higher a professional photographer for that or would you do it yourself?

hey marlena i was wondering what is a good mac eyeshadow of brown would make a nice smokey eye using juz one brown eyeshadow?

Hey, there is some really great information here, but I was just wondering (in regards to choosing the right colour to match a person’s skintone) how do you help someone who won’t help themself? For instance, I have this friend who I have done make-up on before but refuses to allow me to try a different style on her, even though she insists on wearing foundation which is too dark for her and eyeshadow that makes her look really sallow. She doesn’t seem to think that she looks pretty enough without so much product on her face.

thanks for the tip on how to apply a liquid eyeshadow………that really works. thanks, thanks and thanks a lot……..oh girl! you are so inspiring :-)

Your makeup in this video is my favorite look out of all of them. Is there a tutorial coming up on it? If not, could you list the products used on your eyes, blush, and lips? Thanks.

Marlena, can you please post what makeup you are wearing in your how to become a makeup artist video. You look beautiful. keep up the good work.

how do you know whats the best makeup school to apply to? also as far as pricing for school ..whats the around about figure for schools cost in order to know if your getting the best for your buck?

I love that you took the time to point out that networking sites aren’t a good idea for having your professional online presence.

I’d also like to add that there are a lot of small design studios or freelance web designs who offer very affordable packages, and can often provide a matching business card design. While paying for a design might seem like something you don’t need, how you present your work is important. You wouldn’t staple your photos together and hand them to a prospective client, you shouldn’t do the same thing with your web presence.

I found these points to be extremely helpful,
I love that you kept it simple and to the point.
I currently work at a hair salon, where we also apply makeup for special occasions.
I love working with the eyes and find it super easy to blend colors,
however I really struggle with applying eyeliner to others,
especially those who’s eyelids seem to disappear when they open their eyes.

any tips or suggestions? thanks!


You should make a new back to school makeup tutorial video of a new “updated” version of last years video (in august please)
Would be very much appreciated for me and my bestie (we are in jr.high)

Great tip Malena, 3’s P….I follow you here and Youtube, you are my guru in makeup, my teacher…Congrats.
Ok, I trying to be a Makeup Artist (as second job). I’ve done several makeups, such as wedding(bride) and special events, and I keep practicing with my friends, sister, mom, but I’m not feel prepared to give the next step… PUBLICIZE. I’m working on my website, my presentation cards, but I do not understand that feeling, please help me and give me some advices.

Take care girl.
BTW, salute from Panama City, Central America

Hi Marlena –

I have been watching your video tutorials since early 2008. I love all of the tips and tricks you give in your videos. And you are right – your strength seems to be instruction. Not having seen you apply any makeup on anyone, I can’t say if that is a strength or not. But I’m sure it is, as well.

I wanted to thank you for being such an inspiration. Over the past two years, I’ve increased my makeup supply/collection and have tried lots of different looks, based on videos that you and other youtube makeup gurus have posted. Starting a year and half ago, I started practicing makeup on friends and have actually grown a lot since then. This year, I decided to create my own website and create some business cards. Because of your posts on this – I am going to start changing more, to prepare to grow more – creating an online blog where I can post my portfolio – because right now, it is on facebook and just on my website. Also, my business cards are too busy and I am in the process of redesigning them. Any other pointers you have would be great.

The only thing that I don’t have is any experience in cosmetics classes. I know you don’t have to be licensed to be a MUA, but that is something that I’ve struggled with – deciding to take classes or not. Most of the places in the area don’t have specialized courses for makeup alone, but are set up as a course for all aspects of beauty, hair, nails, etc… and I don’t really want to get into any of that.

I will say this, though – the more experience I get and the more I learn from different avenues, like yourself, the better I am getting. So, thank you for being such an inspiration. Not just with the makeup, but with losing weight as well :)

Keep doing what you are doing! I hope you all the happiness in the world!


off topic but…in your last video for brush id love to see a tutorial on the look you are sporting its gorgeous!!!! its very suttle yet dark and out going!!!

I am twelve years old an enjoy makeup. I am considering becoming a makeup artist, but I just can’t get the knack of the right colours, types, let alone blending. i know practise is the answer, but the only trouble is I cannot practise without the right stuff. How can I save up to get the cosmetcs I need for vital practise? And should I get cheapo stuff, or good quality suff that is more expensive?

Thanx for the great tips sweety….you are just awesome…. I am going to follow what you have said.

I have a question… I am a bit confused about one part like if some one opens a beauty salon they will must need a license paper by their salon’s name. I am not talking about a certificate which someone get from makeup classes. I am just talking about a license paper which a beauty salon owner need to get for their salon by salon’s name…so my question is as i am not going to open a beauty salon just want to be a professional makeup artist and want to do clients makeup at my home as you do marlena in your studio room… so should i also need to get license paper as i am doing make over to clients at my home like you ?? please reply sweetie…I need your suggestions about this..!!

Hey Marlena!
Would you mind telling which host website is better? I want to follow you’re idea =)
You have done an excellent job so far teaching us and to write this article was a great idea!
Thank you very much MUG ;-)

Marlena você é maravilhosa, simplismente maravilhosa! eu te amo! amo seus videos, tudo que você faz, eu não falo sua lingua, e não entendo nada o que você diz mas só de ver eu aprendo muito! Deus te abençoe
I love you :)

Thank you so much for everything you do. You are my number one ‘Go-To Girl’ when it come to things dealing with makeup. The subject in this article has been something that I have been looking for awhile. Thank you so much for posting it!!!

Would you consider doing tutorials in the future on weddings? Like bridal makeup and maybe some tips on how to make a wedding looks elegant?

Hey Marlena!

Thanks so much for posting this video. It has helped me focus on where I should start and what direction I should be heading towards. Not having the biggest support system can make it difficult, but i am truly passionate about makeup and as I grow I hope to be successful. You are an Inspiration. <3

I’M HANGING OUT FOR THE NEXT VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOVE THEM ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

what kind of primers do you use specifically for different skin types? and what foundations/powders/pmineral powder foundation do you use for those who like full vs. more sheer coverage, etc. and how do you find out if someone’s not allergic to say- bare minerals ? thanks

I would love to know what lipstick you’re wearing in the vid please..?
It’s gorgeous!

Great tips! Thank you! Where did you get that chair from? I’ve been looking everywhere for a chair like that!! LOVE YOUR WORK!

Hey there … I have been following you for over 1 year now … I really like your make-up, your website, your tutorials ….

I just want to buy some of your products which are found on this website …. but do you ship toMalta please?

I got confused because your FAQs page says you don’t ship to Italy and Malta is very close …

Many Thanks and Regards


My biggest so far or it might be the only problem I have with makeup is: applying concealer and foundation.
I am now focusing on flash photography makeup and want to learn how to apply it properly
I know that I need concealer, foundation and press powder foundation.
I got the material (collecting throughout the year and now I need to learn how to… )
Is there anyway if your going to make a detailed video about this?

So would you say school is not necessary? I’ve been thinking about going but school gets really expensive and I’m not sure I can afford it any time soon… What I got from the video and article is that as long as I keep practicing and learning from my own experience I’ll be okay without school… Correct? Thanks Marlena!

Hi Marlena !
You are the best, very professional and nice. I know this is not makeup but I want to know what products do you use for your BEAUTIFUL hair shampoo, conditioner, treatment etc..
Thank u so much…


I’m so excited to see what you have in store for the this series. I’m working on learning more about makeup artistry and have done some on the side however I’m looking on turning it into a side business and potential career. I’m a teacher by trade but l have such a passion for all things beauty. I do however have a somewhat unique situation. My fiance is in the military and we will be moving every 2-3 years or so. I’m looking to get into bridal / special occasion makeup artistry which I can do anywhere. What tips would you recommend for me? Thanks a bunch love your work I’m learning so much from you.


Thanks for this – I am still kicking around the idea of going into freelance makeup work. I often feel disillusioned about that because I am 35 and a new mom. But lately (actually daily) I feel so uninspired by my 9-5 admin job. What keeps me chained to my desk is a steady pay check and health care for my family. It is scary to think about leaving that security to try to build myself up in an industry I feel I am 15yrs too old for. Luckily I have a husband that supports my dreams but then again he’s a former art student and supports an artistic endeavors I may want to explore. Thanks for inspiring me to revisit my true passion for cosmetics. I will be on the lookout for Part 2.

this was such a great help im trying to become a make up artist and i want to make sure i do it correct and professional that you and your the sweetest girl and you explain things to great thank you for your help seriously your an angel

Hi, Marlena
I just wanted to thank you for your great videos and your great tips on how to get started to be a makeup artist like you…. and omg, you are so GORGEOUS! lol well i wanted to request a video it may sound kinda ackward because maybe nobody has asked you to make a video like this, but I saw a video where you were telling us how youve been losing weight, and let me tell you that you looked and still look great, well ive been losing weight myself, so as i lose my weight my old clothes starts fitting bigger, so I dont wanna keep buying clothes and more clothes because i want to wait until i completely lose all the weight that i want, so my request is can you make a video of what clothes best fits a thick girls body, or whats on style now, or what you wear on a daily basis…. I hopw you make a video because you really inspire me to look like you well not exactly lol but just to get tips from you , thank you so much for your great videos and your great tips i hope you do make a video of what ive requested! lol thanks take care :)

Wow, so growing up my mother never tought me how to put on makeup or do my hair. Honestly, ive always felt ugly. I think you are the sweetest woman ever! I can not express how much your advice has helped me. Thank you, and please keep doing what you do.

Hey Marlena how r u ???
nice tips
just do some videos on LIME CRIME eyedusts eyeshadows speically on (snow Queen) i would love if u do so…
some of the videos i saw on youtube are
fresh pink spring makeup , smolder chocolate smokey eyes etc … by (misschievous) are awesome…
plz do some similar video of this 2 as mentioned above (pink and chocolate one) i would love to watch u do such videos ….
love your videos. waiting 4 ur next video plz upload it fast
bye love u muhhhhaaaaa

parabens marlena te acho uma profissional excelente e uma inspiração para quem esta a começar o ramo da maquiagem.

um beijo grande

I think your tips where fab im completely addicted to you’r channel & this website haha! & im feeling quite confident now.
to do this; to you need to have gone to beauty school.
I live in England. & i was going to go college to do beauty therapy NV2 & 3, but i can’t now because we don’t have the money just yet & im ment to start in september but i can’t and because i want to do both levels i have to start paying once i turn 19 sooo i aint sure what to do now!
Do i still need to require the qualifications or if im good enough after taking these tips would someone take me on?
If it makes any sense what i mean haha.
much love Lauren x
Please reply xxxx

Do you need any sort of certification to work with the public? You’ve said you don’t need school, but I was under the perhaps misguided understanding that you needed to have a license even for makeup artistry?

Hey Marlena, I’ve enjoyed watching your videos for some time now. You have inspired me to try and experience new things with makeup, when before I would just end up getting frustrated. So thank you for the easy videos you’ve made, you’re a GREAT teacher!

I also have a question…. before I put eyeshadow on, I always use primer (usually Urban Decay) but have noticed that the finishing look comes off as a choppy, smeared look… but not good smeared.. not sure what I’m doing wrong? I use MAC brushes and try to apply it like you do in the videos… just wondering what I’m missing there. Thank you!

Hey Marlena..
Its so great that you are giving advice on how to become a makeup artist. Ive been wanting to go back to school/do something with my life for awhile now(even tho im still young.. but reason for wanting to BE something is cuz i have a 5 yr old plus will have another next month). Anyway, Ive been debating on the “beauty” field for awhile. I love beauty stuff and now, IM COMPLETELY in love with makeup mostly.. lol.

So.. i mean, what ur saying is that i wouldnt HAVE TO go to school to be a makeup artist?

Also, my main question is does it matter what kind of products i have? For instance, i have some NYX, i have some ELF.. I do have quite a variety so thats not an issue. But does it matter what brands?

Hey Marlina! First I would like to say THANK YOU! I have been following your teachings for some time now and have learned so so much from you! I am finally taking a leap and joining the professional world, I have business cards, got my mac pro memebership(due to my work with the local theatre) am working on my portfolio and am even revamping a room in my house into a studio! I have been doing makeup for quite some time, just never took it to the “professional” level..haha and I have a couple of questions.. First~ should I have a contract with the client when doing a job? If so do you have any tips or a generic example of one? and second~ I’m having a really hard time figuring out a price sheet. I live in a very small town called Luray, VA (about and our and a half south of DC) so I don’t want to scare people away by charging too much but I don’t want to sell myself short either. Thanks for your help!

hey Marlena can you help me i can not see this video this is not evailebal in my country the netherlands. Can you fix that so all the fans from netherland can see this video.
I hope it .

By any chance could you do a tutorial on the look that you’re wearing in the vid? I really like it! Thanks so much for the tips, i’ve been wanting to start a business but never really knew how to. PS — How should i balance Make-Up Artistry with another job?

Thanks! <3

Dear Marlena,
thank you soo much for the great advice and the 3 p’s. it really helps and your videos are always the best and you are my makeup guru. i’ve learned so much. thanks a million. you are my role medel.

I am not a certified makeup artist but I have alway loved makeup. I know I have a lot to learn but I am very talented If i may say so myself. I have done weddings in High School I did the make up for our Talent Shows and I have so much passion for it. I want to start building my KIT but I don’t know were to start. I have took a coarse in Beauty School on how to keep every tool sanitized but I don’t know what is needed in a kit. Can you please help me?

Oiiiiiiiiii.. eu te acompanho ha alguns meses ja!
Vc é maravilhosa!
Gostaria de te fazer um pedido!
Em nome das brasileiras… Coloque legendas nos seus videos por favor?!!!
Eu não consigo entender tudo porque meu inglês não é muito bom!

I love you! =)

Thank you so much this really inspires me! I’m just a sophomore in high school and just started wearing makeup …. and I absolutely love it. I think it’s such a cool form of art! But how can I start asking people to do their makeup? I feel like they’d turn me down because they’d be my first “client” … and it might be a little awkward as well.

I also feel like since I started wearing makeup when I was 15, I’m behind. When did you start wearing makeup?

Thanks I love this video, you’re have such a fun personality; so different from other youtubers!

Questions for you:
–what foundation have you found most successful for using for a wedding?
— any setting spray recommendations?
–how do you clean your brushes onsite when doing multiple clients per occasion?
thank you!!!!

Hello Marlena,

I loved your advice although I do have some questions. I am currently working on my kit but have a question on what I should do in regards to face powder. Do you have different shades of powder? Do you use MUFE setting powder? These questions also are the same with foundation. Do you purchase most of the shades? or do you mix until you get the shade needed?

Thank you so much for your help and advice!

Just as a tip, I know she said that you should use a professional photographer but as a cheap but great alternative is photo students. I personally am a beginner photographer that was attending Santa Monica College in California. The photographers there are amazing! Now there are really really good trades you can get there. Many of them need make up artist for there class work so you can offer your skills to them in turn that they make copies of the pics for you be it digital or print for your portfolio. As you can also have them take pics of other models that you have done make up for just bring them in on the day of the shoot or set up another day for them to return the favor. Just as you are learning so are they. But there skills are really good. They are amazing photographers. So ask them. This will save you alot of money.

hello, i’m 17 years old and have this crazy love/obsession for makeup. well my cousin was in a car accident and her beautiful face was scarred all over. well she called me asking if i could “make her pretty” afterwards her face looked soooo good and she was soooo happy! her and a friend of hers told me they want me to do their makeup for prom! i’ve never thot about doing freelance before, until now it was just a hobby… but its so fun and i love being able to make people feel good about themselves!

My name is Brittany Ramirez and I’m an aspiring make-up artist.
My question was this: I am 16 years old, am I too young to begin my clientel list?
Thanks a bunch!

Hi Marlena!
Thanx for your videos, you and they are such a great inspiration! I’ve learned so much from you!
I was wondering, when you go off to do a makeup session with a client, do you mind them seeing the product name brands? I ask because I like to use a variation of everything, since I find that sometimes some of the cheaper brands have the same effect and sometimes even work better, but as time has passed, I’ve noticed that some of my clients tend to dislike cheaper products since they are paying for the service… Have you had any experience with this? How would you handle it?

Here’s another good tip: NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LOVE YOUR WORK. Yes, it’s great to have self confidence in what you do, but do keep in mind that you cannot make every client happy. There are some people out there that were just born grumpy, and nothing you do satisfies them. Do what they want you to do, and if they still don’t like it…don’t take it to the heart. It’s hard, but don’t expect everyone to love your work.

And Julia, as for the cheaper products…I have had NO issues with it. And honestly, they are NOT paying for the product, they are paying for your application AND expertise. My kit is stocked from drugstore brands all the way to high end, but my work speaks for itself. So, if they ask you why you use NYC instead of NARS, tell them why you LOVE the product, and that’s that.


Hi Marlena, I just watched your video on becoming a makeup artist. I love watching different videos on how to apply makeup and that reason being some young person(s) made a remark that older women shouldn’t were makeup,all I have to say to that is they will be old one day keep living. My point is I wanted to learn how to apply makeup and I got my start from you thank you. I love to look at different women faces when they have on make up it inspire me to try new colors that I like.

Oh one more ? I have oily skin and i just cannot find the right foundation. The suggestion of tinted moisture foundation does nothing for my face except principle secret and it is expensive. I have dark brown skin lucky to have smooth skin thanks to my Indian Heritage(my dad). What would you suggest that I try?

hi marlina, u r awesome n doing gd job thanx,plz tell me abt base i live in saudi arabia here we have too much humidity in atmosphere thats y i have lots of swatting plz do tell me what are the products should i have to use for my skin as a base…..

Hi i was wondering about getting a makeup kit ??? I start school in summer of 2011 but you have to supply your own makeup kit and i have no idea where to start. I know about the macpro student kit but my schools not on the list. Do you have any ideas where i could purchase a got starter kit????

hey,im in school for cosmetolgy right now.very excited to finelly get started.your have been my biggest insperation to me=) iv been your biggest fan of your work,your amazing!! im still watching your videos and learning.ummm thanks for the tips on being a makeup artist they def help alot.

Hello i really need your help i am 14 and have wanted to be a make-up artist since i was 6 i love it so much i practise on all my friends and lunch and break , However i don’t know where to start , i am doing work experience in spring and i want to do something at least related to being a make-up artist but i don’t know who to go to or where to start i live 25 minutes away from london please help :) xxx