Become a Bridal Makeup Artist: Step-by-Step Career Guide

Aug 13, 2018

A career as a bridal makeup artist requires skill and training in makeup techniques as well as the charisma to work with nervous brides. Let's explore the steps you can take to become a bridal makeup artist.

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  • 0:02 Bridal Makeup Artist
  • 1:03 Get Training in Makeup…
  • 1:46 Obtain a Cosmetologist License
  • 2:11 Build a Portfolio
  • 2:39 Market Makeup Services

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Should I Be a Bridal Makeup Artist?

Degree Level None; training program required
Licensure Cosmetology licensure required in all states
Key Skills People skills; business knowledge, self-marketing, and networking
Salary $16.26 per hour (2016 average hourly for makeup artists)


The wedding day may be one of the most photographed and recorded events in a bride's life. For an event that has such significance, some brides hire bridal makeup artists, professional makeup artists who apply makeup to brides and, in some cases, other members of the wedding party. This generally involves meeting with the bride beforehand to discuss her needs and applying makeup multiple times during the wedding ceremony and celebration.

A career in this field requires people skills, business knowledge, and self-marketing and networking abilities. Licensure to practice cosmetology in your state may also be required. So, how much can you earn in this field? Salary statistics specifically for bridal makeup artists are not available, but according to, makeup artists in general earned an average wage of $16.26 per hour as of January 2016.

Let's take a look at the training and licensing steps needed to become a bridal makeup artist.

Step 1: Get Training in Makeup Artistry

While a degree in cosmetology is not mandatory, some form of postsecondary training is generally required. Courses in makeup artistry provide students with training in the techniques and tools used to apply cosmetics for special occasions. Students discover how to create both glamorous and natural looks for brides. In addition, makeup artists learn to analyze the skin and use makeup to correct flaws. Some training programs can be completed in only a few months and lead to a diploma.

Makeup artistry programs also might include business training for students planning to operate their own businesses. Courses in business can teach the aspiring bridal makeup artist about marketing and portfolio building techniques.

Step 2: Obtain a Cosmetologist License

Makeup and cosmetic application is an area of cosmetology that requires a license in all states. The requirements for a cosmetology license vary, but all states require cosmetologists to complete a training program and pass a written examination. The licensing board may require the student to demonstrate cosmetology skills and sanitation practices on a practical examination.

Step 3: Build a Portfolio

A portfolio is an essential tool for a bridal makeup artist. The portfolio contains photographs of the makeup artist's work and demonstrates proficiency, skill, and style. Such photos may be obtained by taking some quick pictures after working on a bride, or you might collaborate with beginning wedding photographers to obtain professional photographs. Both the photographer and makeup artist can use the photographs in their portfolios.

Step 4: Market Makeup Services

There are many ways to promote your business. Bridal makeup artists can use business cards and brochures to market services to brides. Some of these professionals work through beauty businesses, such as salons, to offer services to bridal clients. Entrepreneurial makeup artists can join a wedding industry association, such as the Wedding Industry Professionals Association, to learn new marketing techniques and trends in the industry.

Success Tip:

Network with other professionals in the industry, such as wedding planners, photographers, and dressmakers. Networking can lead to referrals to clients and greater job opportunities.

Bridal makeup artists generally train for a career in a postsecondary makeup artistry program, and they must be licensed to practice cosmetology in their state.

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