Becoming a Makeup Artist/Beauty Advisor 

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Counter Confidential

"Becoming a Makeup Artist/Beauty Advisor" by Undercover Beauty Agent

I see dozens of clients daily at my makeup counter. Some are tourists or people just passing by, but often I have customers who love beauty as much as I do. These amateur experts seem to know just as much, if not more, about certain products or makeup techniques as I do. And I always end up picking up little tips and ideas from the people I try to help each day.

After talking for a bit with these beauty lovers, I'm usually asked how I got a job at a cosmetic counter. I'm always surprised at the amount of people who want to become an artist, but are too afraid to apply for the job. Every manager looks for different things when hiring someone, but whether you want to work for MAC, Chanel, or another beauty brand, there are a few suggestions that might help you during your application or interview process.

Q&AHow to Become a Beauty Advisor

Q: Do I need to go to a make-up school?

Truth be told, not all counters require a certificate. Going to a school is a huge investment and not everyone is able to make the commitment because of different personal reasons. There are many talented artists who have never gone to makeup school, but it is a good idea to at least have a foundation in basic art. Try reading art books, makeup books, and definitely watch makeup videos.

Q: Should I have a portfolio?

A portfolio shows that you're interested and makeup is something you love. If you can't hire professional models or a photographer, ask your friends to model for you and take the pictures yourself. Just remember, you want to have a good camera and lighting. Future employers need to see what you're capable of doing, and they need to see a variety of quality photos. Make sure every single photo isn't a natural look. A versatile artist appeals to more customers and managers tend to look for these skills.

Q: What kind of experience should I have?

Coming with some sort of makeup or retail background is ideal, but don't be afraid to apply for a position if you don't think you have enough experience. It is important to at least know how to do someone else's makeup before stepping onto a makeup floor. Doing your own makeup is completely different from doing makeup on someone else. The best thing you can do is practice. Ask a family member or a friend if you can put some makeup on him or her. Another idea would be to team up with schools or community theaters. They usually look for makeup artists for various fashion shows, events, plays, or concerts. To build references, offer to do a job for a letter of recommendation instead of money.

Q: How should I do my makeup for my interview?

Makeup for an artist interview is a little different than what you'd wear to a regular interview. It should reflect not only your own personal style, but also the brand's. Most brands have a type of look or demographic they target. Know about the brand you're applying to. The makeup you'd wear to an interview with Bobbi Brown is not the same as what you'd wear to an interview with MAC. It's your job to research the brand and understand their aesthetic style.

Q: What's your biggest piece of advice?

It may sound silly and obvious, but be as friendly and engaging as possible. Managers expect great artistry and outstanding customer service. Clients do not want to work with someone who looks disinterested, unfriendly, or even too shy. You want to come across as approachable and helpful. You can also make yourself stand out by talking about something unique you do, like making beauty videos or writing product reviews. 

Beauties, what qualities do you look for in your beauty advisor? 

Undercover Beauty Agent is just an average makeup artist at your local beauty counter who's reporting true stories exclusively for Beautylish: "I love what I do because I get to make people feel beautiful on a daily basis. Working with so many different people in New York City has definitely been interesting. I've learned a lot and not all of it is very pretty. I'm a beauty advisor by day and a secret beauty agent by night, totally ready to share all my insider secrets and gossip."