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Can a Felon Become a Makeup Artist?

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Felons often believe no one will hire them after their release from prison, but there are resources available as many employers have found that felons make good employees. They may have to learn new skills or start a different career. This blog post will address the issue of whether or not a felon can become a makeup artist.

  • What is a Makeup Artist?
  • What Education/Training Does a Makeup Artist Need?
  • How Much Does a Makeup Artist Earn?
  • An Opportunity for Felons?
  • Recommended Action


What is a Makeup Artist?

A makeup artist uses cosmetics to change and enhance a person’s facial appearance. The job typically consists of applying makeup to a person’s face for a special event like a wedding or other important occasion, usually in the field of entertainment or fashion. A makeup artist may work independently or as part of a group.

Although the duties will differ according to the setting, a makeup artist typically:

  • Communicates with clients regarding specific requirements
  • Creates ideas for makeup designs
  • Communicates with members of a makeup group
  • Incorporates lighting, backdrops, and colors into designs
  • Is familiar with health, safety, and sanitation issues
  • Keeps a cosmetic kit of beauty products and tools

In addition to being skilled at makeup, a successful makeup artist typically has a number of qualities, including:

  • Patience in working with people
  • Good color perception and artistic skills
  • Tact in giving feedback to a client
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Strong critical-thinking skills
  • Ability to work under pressure
  • Time-management skills
  • Ability to determine customer needs
  • Good listener
  • Excellent judgment and decision-making skills

The job of a cosmetologist and an esthetician are similar to that of a makeup artist but also involve care and treatment of the hair and scalp.

What Education/Training Does a Makeup Artist Need?

There is no particular level of training required to become a makeup artist. Even in states where someone must become licensed, the process is through the licensing bureau rather than a particular training program. Some states require a cosmetology license to work as a makeup artist while other areas have no certification regulations.

Some community colleges offer cosmetology or aesthetics programs with a makeup component. Programs such as these can lead to an associate’s degree or a certificate in cosmetology with an emphasis on makeup.

In order to qualify for a license, someone must complete a degree from a cosmetology school licensed by that state’s Department of Licensing and Regulation. There are many approved cosmetology schools to choose from in most states.

The makeup artist license in many states will be similar and include topics like:

  • Makeup application techniques
  • Makeup blending, shadowing, and highlighting
  • Skin care, facials, and masks
  • Corrective makeup applications
  • Infection control, hygiene, public health, and safety
  • State cosmetology laws

It is recommended to contact the State Board of Cosmetology to ensure he or she is meeting licensing requirements which, for many states, requires:

  • Completing an approved program
  • Meeting license requirements, such as minimum age and education
  • Taking and passing a state license exam, which typically includes written and practical parts

How Much Does a Makeup Artist Earn?

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there are approximately 1,960 makeup artists in the United States. The median annual wage for a makeup artist was $134,750 in 2021. The median salary is the salary at which half of the makeup artists earned more than that amount and half earned less.

Earnings will depend on factors such as amount of experience and region of the country. A makeup artist working on the East or West coast tends to have a higher income than in other regions of the country.

This occupation is expected to show a 6% growth by 2030.

An Opportunity for Felons?

It’s important to be honest when applying for a job as a makeup artist. If a felony isn’t disclosed but is found on a background check, this constitutes fraud and is punishable. It is a crime to falsify an application which could result in being sent back to prison.

In order to be successful as a makeup artist it is essential for felons to be honest about their background. They are already viewed with negative perceptions of being dishonest, untrustworthy, and unwilling or unable to follow directions from authority figures.

Having their record expunged can give them the chance needed to begin with a clean record and succeed in becoming a makeup artist. Expunging a criminal record allows anyone to honestly state on an application that he or she has not been convicted of a crime.

Recommended Action

It is a challenge, but it might be worth it for a felon that wants to become a makeup artist. Having his or her record expunged and also documenting any training programs or additional education could make the essential difference in a felon succeeding.

Having support from family, friends, or previous employers can make a huge difference. A felon doesn’t have to be defined by his or her crime. We are not defined by our mistakes but by how we recover from them. He or she can begin again and live an honest life no matter how difficult it might seem.

What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to become a makeup artist with a felony? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.

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