How to become a professional make-up artist in the UK - Q&A
So you are considering starting a career as a makeup artist, either working from your own salon or visiting clients at their homes as a mobile specialist. Great! The beauty industry is an interesting one and its makeup artistry division is arguably the most colourful one you can get yourself into. However, as you are probably aware, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will your MUA career. Fortunately, you have us - and we have a little guide that will help you get things sorted in your head so that you can get started with your big plans. Without any further ado, let’s learn how to become a makeup artist together by answering the most frequent questions aspiring MUAs ask!
Do I need a license to become a professional make-up artist in the UK?
Let’s answer this pressing question first. For the time being, there is no requirement across the country to have a specific license in order to become an accredited makeup artist.
That said, if you are planning to operate from your own salon, some councils will require you to register with them to ensure your premises are safe. In that case, they may ask you to pay a fee for their inspection, during which you will be required to show them the necessary documentation, such as a registration certificate. If you are unsure if your local council requires you to register, contact them directly!
What other formalities do I need to arrange to become a make-up artist?
If you are planning to become a freelancer, you need to register with HRMC - similarly, you need to register as an employer if you are planning to employ staff. Furthermore, because you are going to collect personal information about your clients, you need to notify the Information Commission’s Office.
If you are opening a salon and want to play music on your premises, it will be necessary to require a PRS licence as well.
What insurance do I need when becoming a professional make-up artist?
Public Liability Insurance
An absolute necessity. It covers you against third-party claims for injuries or property damage and applies not only to your clients, but to all people visiting your premises, including passers-by. It’s important to keep in mind that conventional Public Liability Insurance does not cover claims that stem from professional treatments, so you need to get an extension for that (more about it in a minute). Sometimes local councils check whether you have Public Liability Insurance when doing their inspection.
An example of a situation a Public Liability Insurance covers: when visiting your salon a client slips and breaks a leg.
Professional Treatment Risk
It is an extension of Public Liability Insurance that covers you specifically against claims for injuries or damage caused by the professional treatments you provide.
An example of a situation a Professional Treatment Risk covers: when putting on eye makeup on your client you accidentally poke their eye with a brush, causing an injury.
Product Liability Insurance
Covers you against claims for personal injuries or damage caused by the products you used on a client.
An example of a situation a Product Liability Insurance covers: a client suffers a moderate allergic reaction to the mascara you used on them.
Employer’s Liability Insurance
If you are not playing solo and planning to employ staff members, Employer’s Liability is mandatory- you are legally obliged to have it. It covers you against claims of injury or damage made by your employees.
An example of a situation an Employer’s Liability Insurance covers: your employee burns themselves with a hot coffee they have been preparing for client.
Other types of insurance worth considering, especially if you are planning to work mobile, include:
- Business Tools and Equipment Insurance
- Theft of Takings Insurance
- Personal Accident Insurance
Is it necessary to graduate from a makeup academy to acquire qualifications for becoming a makeup artist?
There is no one set-in-stone path to becoming a makeup artist in the UK. You can get there by finishing a university course, a college course, an apprenticeship or a specialist course run by a private provider. You don’t need a degree to start working, however, graduating from an accredited school for makeup artists will definitely help you. Education does not only give you well-rounded knowledge on the subject but also an instant boost of credibility that will make starting your career much easier.
What make-up artist course should I choose?
It mainly depends on the career path you are aiming for. MUAs specialise in different fields - and your job will differ massively depending on what exactly you are planning to do as a make-up artist.
You can specialise in bridal and occasional makeup, in which case you are probably going to either open your own make-up salon/studio or work as a freelancer, possibly mobile, visiting clients at their homes. This career requires great interpersonal skills, as you are going to work with clients directly, providing them with beautifying looks for their special days. It also comes with arguably the least wiggle room for creative expression, as bridal and occasional looks tend to be rather repetitive.
You can also get to beauty brand make-up, where you are going to become a representative of a certain beauty brand and work as an in-store make-up artist or as an MUA supporting the photoshoots.
Another direction is fashion make-up, where you work with fashion houses and designers. Your role will be to provide simple (on the runway, timing is everything!) yet vivid make-up looks for the models. You are also going to prepare more elaborate, artistic looks for photoshoots.
Theatrical and cinematic make-up are also interesting choices. Make-up for movies includes both “beautifying” and special effects make-up and requires both extensive knowledge of make-up techniques and a lot of creativity. Theatrical make-up calls for a completely different approach, where you need to exaggerate in order to be visible to the audience. Theatrical make-up is known for its artiness, so if you are up for creative challenges, this may be a route for you.
Where can I find accredited make-up courses in the UK?
Are you looking for the best makeup artist courses in London and other UK cities? We’ll gladly share a few of our recommendations when it comes to beauty schools with the most interesting options:
How much does a make-up artist make in the UK?
According to Check-a-Salary UK, currently, the average Makeup Artist salary in the UK is £25,528. It’s important to keep in mind that your earnings will depend on the exact career route you will take, your occupation, education, experience and business style.
What other tools should I invest in when becoming a make-up artist?
Definitely a beauty business software! If you think that your solo business is small enough for you to be able to manage it yourself, we recommend you our piece on myths that stop your solo beauty business from going digital. Smaller businesses and freelancers benefit a lot from having such a helper, as you no longer have to worry about working and taking appointments at the same time. With so many additional features supporting your sales and marketing efforts, Booksy is the best option on the market - start your free trial account and see for yourself!