Being a freelance makeup artist opens doors to diverse opportunities, from weddings to high-fashion shoots. But with countless artists vying for the same gigs, how do you make yourself stand out?
Well – it's all about showcasing your unique skills and having the right portfolio to back it up.
Here at Freelancer Club we’re dedicated to supporting freelancers – and we list paid makeup artist jobs to our jobs board on a daily basis
Dive in to discover the secrets to thriving in this competitive landscape, how to find makeup jobs near you, or anywhere in the country, and more.
Your Makeup Artist Brand
You don’t have to spend long looking for freelance makeup artist jobs to notice that there are plenty of them out there. However, they are not always easy to land.
Before applying for a gig, it's worth asking yourself 'which makeup artist jobs am I qualified to apply for?'.
If the answer to this questions is 'everything', the next question to ask is 'do I have the portfolio to back this up?'.
Your portfolio is the single most important consideration when applying for makeup artist jobs. A client will want to see examples of your work that directly relate to the project they are advertising.
When asked 'What do you do?', do you answer 'I'm a makeup artist' or do you say 'I'm a special effects makeup artist?', 'I'm a vintage bridal makeup specialist' etc...
The makeup industry is very nuanced and we understand that most makeup artists have multiple skills and can apply to a variety of jobs.
But remember that knowing who you are and what people think when they look at your work are very different things – and that working on your job proposals is a key way to land more jobs.
A good technique is to have a stranger (or has no connection to your work) take a look at your website or portfolio or even your business card. Ask them what they think you do (no hints). Does your homepage represent your brand?
Does it reflect the last 10 clients that you got? Makeup artists, like all freelancers, often have ideas of what their brand is when in reality they represent something very different.
A makeup artist member of ours professed to be a fashion makeup artist. Her website had an editorial shoot on the homepage from her most recent test shoot and her font, services and text were all aimed at the fashion industry.
When we asked her to list her last ten paying clients 8 of them were brides and 2 were commercial.
You might think - fashion's a lot harder to find work in (and you'd be right) but it didn't change the fact that 95% of her income was coming from areas that she did not focus on.
After that, the makeup artist in question, continued to probe the fashion markets but set up a bridal website and has not looked back.
One of the best ways to land makeup jobs is to have a clear brand and brand message. When a potential client visits your website, follows you on Instagram or looks over your Freelancer Club profile, will they get a clear picture of what your services are or will they be confused?
Improve your makeup artist portfolio
We hear the term 'portfolio' all the time and most presume we know what that means.
However, at Freelancer Club, we are privileged to see thousands of makeup artist portfolios every year – and their eclectic nature would suggest that not everyone is on the same page.
Why should you care about your makeup portfolio? Well, the majority of jobs are filled by makeup artists who have professional and clear portfolio images – and a solid portfolio increases your chances of landing a job.
Before the days of digital jobs would often be procured via word or mouth or agencies.
To apply for these jobs, an MUA would present their makeup portfolio in person. Typically in a leather portfolio book, one would find between 10 - 14 images that clearly and professionally showcase the makeup talents of that artist.
Now with so many makeup artists promoting their work online, there is more scope to show more work in a faster and cleaner manner.
Should your preference be jobs in the wedding sector, we would recommend having at least 6 different looks that you can show the bride to be – and those makeup looks would ideally be on images that you have worked on (not taken from a magazine or another makeup artist's portfolio).
It's always a good idea to have the looks on both professional models and shot with a team as well as some images that are examples of real brides you have worked on. As a member at Freelancer Club you can easily connect with other freelancers, such as models and photographers, to organise collaborations and test-shoots.
Check out this video to learn more about how to organise collaborations:
Be subtle with the retouching and offer variation.
For example, makeup artists who have been working in the wedding sector for a long time have often built up a portfolio with sub categories ie: multiple makeup examples from one look such as 'vintage' or 'natural'.
But when looking for makeup jobs in the fashion industry, it's a different story.
Or are you looking for makeup jobs in the commercial sector (eg: online retail) or the editorial sector (eg: fashion shoot for a high-end magazine)? Many makeup artists will have portfolios that cover both sectors and send the appropriate portfolio to land the makeup jobs in that area.
Keep this in mind before you begin to retouch your shots – figure out what you're going to use them for first.
Your online presence
Once you've got a handle on your brand and a few strong images that show off your makeup artist skills, next is to promote yourself to the masses and start applying to makeup artist jobs.
And when you do so, make sure that you:
✅ Use your name or your brand name when signing up.
✅ Use either a logo or a photo of yourself as your profile pic.
✅ Add in your makeup website (if you have one) and all social media links.
✅ Add in your makeup artist experience in the "About Me" section
✅ List your skill set (eg: wedding makeup, airbrushing etc...)
✅ Create multiple galleries when uploading your portfolio (Pro Members only)
✅ Insert your day rate
✅ Create a Service tab to list other services you provide (eg: eyelash extensions or permanent makeup)
To learn more about how to set your daily rates, check out this video:
Tips when applying for freelance makeup artist jobs
Brand – done. ✅
Portfolio – sorted. ✅
Profile – tick. ✅
Next up it's time to apply to MUA jobs - hurray!
Before you rush into a blitz every makeup artist job on the jobs board, take a moment.Step one is to read the requirements of all makeup artist jobs so that you apply to roles that you can fill.
Tip #1: Include your related experience in the message when applying.
Tip #2: Quote within budget. Our stats show that it's rarely the lowest quote that gets the job so enter a quote that you think is suitable for the makeup job.
Tip #3: Choose the appropriate makeup artist portfolio. If you've created multiple galleries (eg: Bridal makeup, Commercial makeup and SFX makeup) then you can choose one of them for the employer to see when he or she opens your application.
Tip #4: Don't give up. We post hundreds of paid makeup jobs on the board every week so there are new opportunities all the time. If you don't land a job in the first month, don't worry, take a look at our videos on ways to improve your chances of landing the job and you'll start to see success.
We offer a few different types of subscriptions – from free to a small monthly fee – based on your budget and what kind of support you're after.
Check out this video to get the lowdown on how to earn money as a makeup artist:
What not to do when applying for makeup artist jobs
Writing good job proposals is key when applying for freelance work.
We get regular feedback from employers all the time who post MUA jobs on our jobs board and know what it is that they want AND what they don't.
The number one bug bear is when a makeup artist applies for a job that they are not suited to or don't have the experience to back it up. Makeup jobs are so varied that the makeup artist who lands the job will be specialised in that area.
Another no-no is under or over quoting. When a budget is set for £500 - £1000, quoting £2000 is just going to put the employer off – unless you can justify the additional £1000 in your message then it's not going to work.
Likewise undercutting has been proven to turn the employer off that applicant as it sends a sign of desperation, lack of experience and unprofessionalism.
We all love a bargain and makeup artist jobs are no different, but employers want to see more than just a cheap rate. So it's essential that you know how to set your rates as a makeup artist.
Applying to jobs on the site without a portfolio is also frowned upon and employers will typically move those applicants into the 'rejected' folder or ignore the applicant completely.
So make sure you ALWAYS include a portfolio when applying, and ideally a quote as well. A message and a complete profile will also increase your chances of success.
Another red flag is when an applicant commits to a makeup job that they can't do. Whether you're not in the right location or booked up on that particular day, don't apply to jobs just for the sake of it. Think of the process like a dating agency trying to find the right match.
So, to summarise:
❌ Don't apply for a job you're not suited to or lack the experience for.
❌ Don't overquote; it can deter potential employers.
❌ Don't significantly undercut; it might be viewed as desperation or inexperience.
❌ Don't apply without a portfolio; it's vital to showcase your work.
❌ Don't commit to jobs you can't fulfill, be it due to location or pre-existing bookings.
❌ Don't apply blindly; treat the process as finding the right match.
❌ Don't forget to include a quote, message, and complete profile with applications.
Learn more about how to apply for jobs – the right way – here:
Wedding makeup artists
The makeup artist industry is growing rapidly and so are the demands of the employers.
More and more private clients from the general public are posting makeup jobs and looking for a makeup artist to come to their home and make them look beautiful.
During the summer months, prom is a boom time for MUA jobs with hundreds of schools and students posting jobs on the board.
Generally, the jobs are quick and easy for makeup artists and can be maximised with multiple clients in one location or group bookings.
The wedding industry is not going anywhere – it's an area that is also becoming more diverse with brides looking for unique makeup looks and grooms starting to come around to the idea of male makeup, grooming, and touch-ups.
The bridal industry is also very well paid and often starts with doing the bride's makeup but ends up with the mother of the bride, bridesmaids and whomever else is in the area!
Don't be fooled into thinking wedding makeup jobs are only for the summer - oh no - we post wedding jobs on the board all year round.
Makeup artist jobs in the wedding industry are so valuable. I pick up the majority of my Wedding makeup work during the summer months but typically get booked months in advanced.
My advice is to apply to makeup artist jobs in the bridal industry all year round as brides and wedding organisers have no set times.
Statistically, January is marginally the best month for wedding makeup artist jobs.
- Jo Boles, makeup artist
Makeup artists are also required in fashion from the catwalk, editorial shoots, commercial, retail and everything else in between.
Their skills, often coupled with hair styling, are invaluable in the industry and can add to a makeup artists portfolio once 'in the inner circle'.
Fashion shows are also popping up more regularly – it's not just London Fashion Week you know – resulting in more opportunity for makeup artists.
Also, keep an eye out for seasonal makeup jobs.
We mentioned prom earlier that takes place typically between June and September but that's not all. Halloween makeup artist jobs are plentiful and we start to post them from October right up to Halloween night.
This is a time when SFX makeup artists and face painters, in particular, can make a killing.
We've heard stories of makeup artists booking in multiple jobs starting at 9am right up to 10pm to maximise the big day.
We recommend that makeup artists start applying to these Halloween makeup artist jobs fast and get organised. A busy makeup artist can earn anything from £500 - £2000 if they plan their day well.
While some freelancers dread Christmas season – Christmas can be another great seasonal hotspot for makeup artists. Christmas parties, office shindigs, and winter wonderlands all require the skills of a talented makeup artist.
By reading this article, we hope that you've learned a bit more about how to apply to makeup artist jobs.
Want a head start? Learn how to set up your profile:
So what are you waiting for? Get your Freelancer Club profile live and get applying to those makeup artist jobs today.