What Does A Theatrical and Performance Makeup Artist Do (including Their Typical Day at Work)

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Salary, Job Description, How To Become One, and Quiz

Theatrical Makeup Artists

Theatrical Makeup Artists apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

Salary
$99990
Becoming One
Medium
Education
Post-secondary certificate
Job Satisfaction
Job Growth

Personality





Find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.Confucius

What they do

Theatrical Makeup Artists apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

  • Apply makeup to enhance or alter the appearance of people appearing in productions such as movies.
  • Select desired makeup shades from stock, or mix oil, grease, and coloring to achieve specific color effects.
  • Duplicate work precisely to replicate characters’ appearances on a daily basis.
  • Cleanse and tone the skin to prepare it for makeup application.

Typical day

On a daily basis, Theatrical Makeup Artists assess performers’ skin types to ensure that makeup will not cause break-outs or skin irritations. They confer with stage or motion picture officials and performers to determine desired effects.

  • Cleanse and tone the skin to prepare it for makeup application.
  • Provide performers with makeup removal assistance after performances have been completed.
  • Analyze a script, noting events that affect each character’s appearance, so that plans can be made for each scene.
  • Study production information, such as character descriptions, period settings, and situations, to determine makeup requirements.
  • Apply makeup to enhance or alter the appearance of people appearing in productions such as movies.

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Theatrical Makeup Artists also create character drawings or models, based upon independent research, to augment period production files. They may also analyze a script, noting events that affect each character’s appearance, so that plans can be made for each scene.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Theatrical Makeup Artists establish budgets and work within budgetary limits. They might also design rubber or plastic prostheses that can be used to change performers’ appearances.

In addition, they requisition or acquire needed materials for special effects, including wigs, beards, and special cosmetics.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them study production information, such as character descriptions, period settings, and situations, to determine makeup requirements.

To some Theatrical Makeup Artists, it is also their responsibility to advise hairdressers on the hairstyles required for character parts.

Featured Schools


What is the job like

Job satisfaction

Very High

Is this job meaningful

Average

80% said they were satisfied with their job and 54% said they found their job meaningful.


My typical day So my typical day starts the day before I actually report to set / or on location. The day before I review my call sheet and spend a few hours cleaning my kits, disinfecting products, and obsessively checking to make sure nothing was misplaced or finished. Often time I have to do … Read More


CBS and A&E Networks

My typical day as a hair and makeup artist on set for film and television is preparing my gear and kit the night before I arrive on set which takes 2-3 hours. Days typically start at 7:00 a.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. (12 hr days), I arrive before talent to organize my tools and … Read More


My name is Kerrin Jackson and I’m a film/tv makeup artist. A typical working day usually starts between 3.00 am and 6.00 am for a film makeup artist. It varies each day, depending on what characters play in the scenes shooting on any given day. And even though schedules are produced to give each department … Read More


Pros

Suitable for people who like to work with designs.

Suitable for people who value relationships between co-workers and customers and want to work in a friendly non-competitive environment.

It is not too difficult to get into this career. Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required to get started.

Very good salary.

Cons

Not suitable for people who like to follow routines.

Long working hours (More than 40 hours per week).

How much do they make

Average salary

$99990 per year

Average hourly wage

$48 per hour

Entry-level Theatrical Makeup Artists with little to no experience can expect to make anywhere between $38,010 to $63,220 per year or $18 to $30 per hour.

Salary by experience Annual Hourly
Highest (Top 10%) $157,680 $76
Senior (Top 25%) $132,530 $64
Median $106,920 $51
Junior (Bottom 25%) $63,220 $30
No experience (Bottom 10%) $38,010 $18

This table shows the top 10 highest paying industries for Theatrical Makeup Artists based on their average annual salary.

Salary by industry Annual Hourly
Motion Picture and Video Industries $111950 $53.82
Employment Services $97570 $46.91
Performing Arts Companies $67650 $32.52
Personal Care Services $53560 $25.75

View more salary by industries here.

Where can they work

Where can Theatrical Makeup Artists work? Here is a table showing the top 10 largest employers of Theatrical Makeup Artists including the average salary in that industry.

Employers Total Employed Annual Salary Hourly Wages
Motion Picture and Video Industries 2100 $111950 $53.82
Personal Care Services 380 $53560 $25.75
Performing Arts Companies 70 $67650 $32.52
Employment Services 50 $97570 $46.91

What is the work day like

Working hours

Less than 40 hours
27%

40 hours
14%

More than 40 hours
59%

Working schedule

5%

95%

0%

Email

How often do you use email in this job?

Once a week
26%

Every day
70%

Telephone

How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?

Once a week
52%

Every day
30%

Group discussions

How often do you have group discussions in this job?

Once a week
17%

Every day
74%

Public speaking

How often does this job require you to do public speaking?

Never
17%

Once a year
52%

Once a month
17%

Once a week
13%

Every day
0%

Level of competition

How much competitive pressure is in this job?

Not competitive at all
0%

Slightly competitive
0%

Moderately competitive
13%

Highly competitive
35%

Extremely competitive
52%

What is the work environment like

Office-style environment

Indoors in an environmentally controlled condition

Never
0%

Once a year or more
9%

Once a month or more
13%

Once a week or more
52%

Every day
26%

Warehouse-style environment

Indoors in a non-controlled environmental condition such as a warehouse

Never
9%

Once a year or more
26%

Once a month or more
13%

Once a week or more
43%

Every day
9%

Outdoors

Outdoors exposed to all weather conditions

Never
0%

Once a year or more
22%

Once a month or more
26%

Once a week or more
48%

Every day
4%

Outdoors – Under Cover

Outdoors but under cover (e.g. structure with roof but no walls)

Never
0%

Once a year or more
30%

Once a month or more
17%

Once a week or more
48%

Every day
4%

How to become one

Difficulty to become one

Medium
You will need previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience. Most careers in this difficulty category require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an Associate’s degree, and one or two years of on-the-job training. Similar careers include Travel Agents, Agricultural Technicians, Court Reports, and Medical Assistants.

Required level of education

What level of education do you need to perform the job?

Less than a High School Diploma
17%

High School Diploma or equivalent
9%

Post-Secondary Certificate
43%

Some College Courses
13%

Associate’s Degree or similar
4%

Bachelor’s Degree
13%

Post-Baccalaureate Certificate
0%

Master’s Degree
0%

Post-Master’s Certificate
0%

First Professional Degree
0%

Doctoral Degree
0%

Post-Doctoral Training
0%

Relevant majors

Cosmetology/Cosmetologist

A program that generally prepares individuals to cut, trim, and style scalp, facial, and body hair; apply cosmetic preparations; perform manicures and pedicures; massage the head and extremities; and prepare for practice as licensed cosmetologists in specialized or full-service salons. Includes instruction in hair cutting and styling, manicuring, pedicuring, facial treatments, shampooing, chemical applications, esthetics, shop management, sanitation and safety, customer service, and applicable professional and labor laws and regulations.

Make-Up Artist/Specialist

A program that prepares individuals to professionally apply cosmetic makeup preparations and perform complete and specialized appearance makeovers including hairdressing, wig work, masking, temporary prosthesis applications, cosmetic applications, and related costuming for leisure or for professional stage, camera, clinical, or security purposes. Includes instruction in period and contemporary hairstyling and costuming; wig work and hairpiece application; synthetic hair and masks; cosmetic preparations and treatments; makeup artistry; attachment, removal, and camouflaging of prostheses; health and safety; client consultation and care; pre- and post-production operations; set and crew conduct and relations; script, instruction, and prescription interpretation; labor relations; and business practices.

Permanent Cosmetics/Makeup and Tattooing

A program that prepares individuals to prepare and apply permanent markings, color, and cosmetic products to the face and body for aesthetic or clinical purposes; to remove unwanted markings; and to function as licensed permanent makeup artists and tattooists. Includes instruction in client consultation; sterilization and sanitation; skin anatomy, diseases, and disorders; skin preparation and anesthetics; color theory; machine theory and operation; needle selection; applications such as eyebrows, eyeliners, lips, lipliners, beauty marks, and blemish/mark removal; after care; laws and regulations; and business practices.


Relevant work experience

How much related work experience do you need to get hired for the job?

None
9%

1 month
0%

1 to 3 months
9%

3 to 6 months
13%

6 months to 1 year
30%

1 to 2 years
9%

2 to 4 years
22%

4 to 6 years
4%

6 to 8 years
4%

8 to 10 years
0%

Over 10 years
0%

On The Job Training

How much on the job training do you need to perform the job?

None or short demonstration
23%

1 month
18%

1 to 3 months
9%

3 to 6 months
5%

6 months to 1 year
18%

1 to 2 years
9%

2 to 4 years
14%

4 to 10 years
5%

Over 10 years
0%

Should you become one

Best personality type for this career

The Artist

People with this personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.

The Builder
71%

People with The Builder personality type likes practical and hands-on work. They prefer working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.


The Thinker
29%

People with The Thinker personality likes to work with ideas that require an extensive amount of thinking. They prefer work that requires them to solve problems mentally.


The Artist
100%

People with The Artist personality likes to work with designs and patterns. They prefer activities that require self-expression and prefer work that can be done without following a clear set of rules.


The Helper
43%

People with The Helper personality type likes to work with people and in teams. They prefer work that allows them to build relationships with others.


The Leader
38%

People with The Leader personality likes to start and work on projects. They also like leading people and making many decisions.


The Organizer
14%

People with The Organizer personality type likes to follow set procedures and routines. They prefer working with data and details more than with ideas.


You can read more about these career personality types here.

People who are suitable for this job tend to like working with forms, designs, and patterns. They often require self-expression and the work can be done without following a clear set of rules.

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

Take this quiz to see if this is the right career for you.

Work Values

Which values are the most important to a person’s satisfaction for this job?

Achievement
57%

You are someone who is results oriented. You prefer work that allows you to utilize your skills and abilities while at the same time giving you a sense of accomplishment.

Working Conditions
60%

You are someone who values job security, steady employment, and good working conditions. You also prefer work that keeps you busy all the time with something different to do every day.

Recognition
52%

You are someone who values job advancement and leadership roles. You prefer work that receives recognition for the work you do and jobs that are looked up to by others in the company and your community.

Relationships
67%

You are someone who likes to provide a service to others. You prefer a work environment where you can work with your co-workers in a friendly non-competitive environment.

Support
29%

You are someone who values a company that stands behind their employees. You prefer a work environment where everyone is treated fairly and is being supported by the company.

Independence
52%

You are someone who likes to work on your own and make your own decisions. You prefer work that requires little supervision and are allowed to try out your own ideas.

FAQ


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