10 things to think about before becoming an MUA

I don't know about you, but I love reading top 10 posts or list posts! My favourite at the moment is the 31 blog post ideas by The Sunday Girl. I don't know what it is about them, they are just super easy to read! My make up artist posts get quite a lot of positive feed back especially from newer MUA's, so I thought I would write a top 10 post on things to think about if you are hoping to become an MUA :)

1) We don't get as much money as you think
There seems to be a rumour out there that make up artists get paid an obscene amount. The amount of clients that drop hints about how much they *think* i'm getting paid. In actual fact, make up artists spend a CRAZY amount on their kit, mine is well over £1000. We travel to and from clients, top up our kits, take out expenses for our websites, business cards, ect... I barely break even. Not to mention the amount of free work and testing we do to build up our portfolios and job offers of 5 hours work for £20. Its tough!

2) Its much more than just painting a face
The assumption is that we just paint faces and make people look pretty (thats what my boyfriend thinks anyway). But make up artists are much more than just painting a face. We are there for the client, we have to figure out what they want and find a way to fit that with the features of the face. We are the therapist, or sometimes, we aren't. We have to judge situations, remain professional, assess what products to use, what products will work, know colour theory, maintain our own freelance business, respond to emails, chase up invoices... the list is never ending. But what I'm tryna say is, painting faces is but one thing we do :)

3) You need to be ALL UP in someones space
If you aren't comfortable touching a face, being close to a person within an inch of their life, then this may not be the career for you!

4) Clients WILL be difficult
I think what a lot of MUA's/aspiring MUA's forget is you are being paid for a service. A bit like when you go to an hairdressers and get a bad haircut, or when you go to a top class restaurant and just want the best service possible, its the same with clients and make up artists. They want to look AND feel their best and they are paying you for that. So you have to give them the best you can and clients WILL be difficult if you can't please them. I've had only ONE difficult and dissatisfied client, its heartbreaking and you will beat yourself up over it, but it will be a learning experience at the end of the day and will make you better. Pep talk over, but just remember, people can be hard, so get a thick skin and try to see the good in every bad experience.

5) Building up a kit is expensive
I have a kit series, which breaks down everything thats in my kit, but I won't lie, it was bloody expensive. To make money you gotta put in money, so just think of your kit like that. This is gonna be your money maker, so think good and hard and research the heck out of everything. I don't regret a single item in my kit. 

6) You will work for free
One thing I learnt quickly was the importance of working for free. Assisting, doing my friends make up, my friends friends make up, testing and shooting... for free. As hard as it is and time consuming, you gotta do these things to not only build up your portfolio, but to learn the business and to build up your skills. I am so grateful for every face I worked on for free, because it enabled me to LEARN. And nothing can pay for that!

7 You will get offered absolutely nothing
Uninevitably, when you do get earning money, people will still take the piss out of you. I've had offers of £20 for 12 hours work, I've had the payment of promises, exposure, chances to possibly be paid in the future. I've had offers of payment in the future if I just do it just this once, I've had offers of travel expenses for 3 day long shoots. Sometimes you just gotta know your worth, know that as a savvy boss lady, we gotta say no and pay our bills first. 

8) Instagram make up will be the death of you
My clientele is mainly special occasion night out make up and undoubtedly at least once a day, the word Kardashian will be bought up. As an artist on a time limit, we just can't do that sort of make up. Instagram is all about skin smoothing tools and filters. There's an app for everything and every single time a client brings me an Instagram photo, it makes me sad because I simply can't do it. And unfortunately clients just do not get that. Instagram has changed the world of make up and made it very very unrealistic. Sadly it is the norm now, and sadly, we have to put up with it! 

9) Your friends will forever ask you to do their make up
Going out with the girls? Say goodbye to getting yourself glammed up. I'm lucky if I leave the house with liner and lashes on. Your besties will ask you to do their makeup and if you're like me, you will say yes. And if you're like me, you'll chuck some hairspray and lashes on within 5 minutes and hope for the best while getting in the taxi!

10) The industry can be hard
Before I started, I heard the industry could be bitchy, hard, it will break me, yada yada yada. I've actually had only positive experiences so far, but I have seen its ugly side. My advice, just be yourself, stay humble, stay hungry, don't step on toes and just be a nice person. Don't be shady and you'll be fine! Sure the bitchiness is there, but just like in real life, if you stay out of it and don't gossip, you'll be fine!

And as a bonus 10 AMAZING things about being an MUA

1 - Its so incredibly rewarding. You see your creative dreams come true and take part in some fantastic projects

2 - You meet the best people. I know everyone says this, but seriously, fellow MUA's will get that you NEED that palette or another foundation for your "kit". They are funny, creative, weird, amazing people who you will make life long friends with.

3 - You will grow so much as a person. I have seen my artistry go from strength to strength and I've only just touched it. You never stop learning and its so amazing to be able to say that!

4 - Its character building. You learn how to be WITH people, how to connect with people, how to work a room, how to talk and explain to people. You learn how to deal with absolute shit, criticism and come back a bigger and better person. 

5 - Make up, duh! You play with make up for a JOB!

6 - You make women feel amazing. Whether its a lady on counter who finally feels comfortable going outside because she finally found a foundation that covers her acne scarring, whether its making a group of girls feel the nuts about their night out, whether its making that bride feel absolutely flawless on her big day or even making that celebrity feel like the most gorgeous woman on that red carpet, you ARE making a difference. 

7 - You are surrounded by inspiration. For me there is nothing better than constantly being surrounded by creative inspiring people, doing creative extraordinary things. 

8 - You can do some pretty cool things. You can go to some pretty cool locations, meet some pretty cool people. There are a lot of awesome opportunities. 

9 - You become an expert in make up. You learn how to mix shades together, become a chemist of sorts. You learn what foundations suit who, which colours suit people, you become the expert in your field and constantly learn. People come to you for advice, you have the power to change someone's life for the better!

10 - You will LOVE what you do. You know if the career if for you, if you love what you do. And if you do, then you will really love what you do. Its so rewarding and inspiring just knowing that your job isn't really work! 

So there you go! There's my 10 things (with 10 bonus things) to know before becoming an MUA! This was actually a really enjoyable post to write! Let me know if you're a fellow MUA who agrees with some of these, or may have some others that you would like to share!

Kayleigh x

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  1. I'd love to train to be a MUA but all of the courses I seem to find need you to do hair as well, do you have any tips on training or advice on where to look? :') xx

    1. I actually didn't train professionally. My route into make up is a little bit different! But I hear the illamasqua courses are amazing!

  2. Such a great read! :) You're such an inspiration, Kayleigh!! <3

  3. Really enjoyed this insight Kayleigh! :) x


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