A makeup artist spends a typical workday on the set of a movie, television show, photo shoot, music video, play, runway show or another type of related production. His general duties include making sure that all the performers, models, actors, musicians and other talent have appropriate makeup before they appear in front of the camera or audience. A makeup artist must be able to interpret a client’s desired look for the production, which can range from a simple, clean look for a TV news anchor to a completely made-up look for a designer’s runway show. Some feature films may even require period makeup, monster makeup or special effects makeup.
During any given day, a makeup artist’s workday begins with the makeup artist talking to clients and determining what type of artistic look is desired for the production. A makeup artist may also spend part of the day reading scripts, researching looks for movies, sketching possible makeup looks and communicating with others in the styling team to make sure that the planned look is coherent. This means that the particular makeup look must match with the hairstyle and wardrobe, especially if the photo shoot has a particular theme or if the movie is a period piece. Most of the makeup artist’s day is spent applying makeup in a timely manner, retouching between takes and making sure that the makeup looks good throughout the day.
A makeup artist must also be aware of new makeup trends and products, as well as maintaining makeup products and replacing old items with new ones. She may also spend a workday casting molds of body parts, including the face and creating complex makeup looks for horror or fantasy movies. On a slower workday, a makeup artist can spend the day researching different makeup looks from past eras, updating her portfolio and ordering supplies and products from wholesalers.