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What the Makeup Artists Do

Updated on July 8, 2011

Makeup artists have a great role to play in film, television, theatre, beauty pageants, and modeling world. They are behind the beautiful faces we see in movies, and television shows. The credit for grooming models and celebrities go to their hours of backstage labor.

The actors, performers, and models rarely acknowledge publicly the role played by make up artists in their success, even as makeup artists are responsible for the beautiful looks of their clients.


A makeup artist performs a number of tasks such as removing and applying makeup, and preparing skin for the same. They are also experts at producing effects like ageing, illness, physical blemishes or any other desirable physical trait that may be required by the role an actor performs.


They not only demonstrate cosmetic products to their clients but also advise them about makeup applications.


Some of the makeup artists even design wigs, masks, beards and prosthetics for the performers that may be appropriate to their role appearance. They may be required to alter or maintain actor’s appearance during the course of production.


The makeup artists need to be highly creative individuals with a superb sense of colors. Their schedule depends on the schedule of the performers, and therefore they may be required to work long hours. Their schedule could also be often unpredictable.


Elke Von Freudenberg, a well known makeup artist says about her job, “Sometimes call times of 3:00 am to have models ready before sunrise. Shoot a full 10-12 hour day. Or sometimes it's an easy 10 am call, shoot for a few hours and you're done. Also, if I'm doing a celebrity for a TV show appearance or a movie premiere, then I go to their house and apply their makeup, and wave goodbye as they drive away in their limos! I also talk to beauty editors on the phone, giving new beauty tips or products that I like. Or meeting with fashion designers to design a makeup look to coordinate with their latest collection for a runway show. It's different every day and my schedule's been known to change about 10x per day. But I love it!” (


Generally makeup artists are well paid, especially if they are tied to modeling, fashion, photography and the world of movies. Makeup artists are generally independent professionals even as there could makeup artists under the contract of an agency or employed by production houses.


While there are specialized schools to groom makeup artists, a majority of them also get trained under senior makeup artists or might as well be interned at a theatre or an entertainment production company.


We should not be surprised to learn that some makeup artists can also work on scientific reconstruction, as a group of makeup artists have done recently. “Manufaktur, a German workshop and company founded in 1995 by Brigitte Frank and Katharina Pade, recently completed a facial reconstruction of the most widely known Neanderthal man” (



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