the MAKEUP ARTIST journey.


The journey to starting any career takes a lot of work and lot of time. I didn’t grow up thinking or dreaming of becoming a makeup artist. It kinda just came to me one day and I’ll always be thankful for that day! My mom is a cosmetologist so I grew up around her doing our hair and makeup for everything as well as for our friends growing up. I like to think it was kind of built into me, in a way. However, it’s still not something I grew up wanting to pursue myself. I always imagined myself working with kids in some way, preferably holding babies daily, but that’s not really a career…. so! After going to college for a year for Child Development and not really knowing where I wanted to go from there.. I started brainstorming and for some reason makeup school kept popping into my head.

I told my parents about my major life switch up and at first they were hesitant because they thought that meant I was dropping out of college. No, no and NO. I would never do that, I just needed to find something that I could make a career out of as well. I enrolled at Makeup Designory for the Summer and then transferred to California Lutheran University to finish my last 3 years of college. 3 years later, I was an official makeup artist graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications and I was ready to start my career!

Starting out in the makeup industry (or entertainment industry) is  H A R D  W O R K. Even if you have some sort of connections, which I did, you still need to make a name for yourself and hope that these “connections” will continue to use you. I can confidently say that it took about 3-5 years for my career to truly take off. I worked hard, I worked for free, I worked for experience, I networked, I did jobs I wouldn’t normally choose, but all of it WAS WORTH IT. Now, 11 years later, as a freelance makeup artist, I am proud to say I still absolutely love what I do for a living and I can’t really imagine doing anything else. I love that each day is different and I’m constantly meeting new people. I love that I get to  make people feel beautiful every day and put my creativity to work, all the time.  I love that I get to travel and meet other makeup artists in the field. And lastly, I love that I work for myself and own my own business.

With all this said, there are some things that I stand by and think are extremely important to succeed in this industry:

  • Freelance life is hard. Sometimes you don’t know when the next job is coming, but don’t give up. If you love it, it’s worth it.
  • Get a little side job. Whether it’s nannying, bartending, or something creative.. it’ll help with the slower months and put you at ease.
  • If you’re just starting out and just graduating makeup school.. never ever say NO. Say yes to any job that comes your way. Whether it’s for experience, trade for print or no money, IT’S WORTH IT. All the experience you can get and all the people you can meet will only help you in your career in the long run. Some of my very first jobs were the most influential. Also, you need to make a name for yourself and prove yourself. Don’t expect to start getting paid the big bucks right off the bat. Have the right attitude and it’ll all make sense. I PROMISE!
  • That being said, one other thing I feel strongly about is attending makeup school. I know YouTube can teach people just about anything these days, but attending an institution aimed at teaching you the proper skills and techniques is very important. Popular makeup these days is very different than the classic makeup techniques and on-set etiquette, so I really can’t strive it enough.. Go to makeup school!
  • Always always ask questions. If you’re on set and working for someone, pick their brain. The more knowledge the better! Shadow makeup artists that you admire and learn how they work. Send emails and reach out to companies for information too! It’ll show that you’re eager to learn and always interested.

I know these are things that I feel strongly about but almost on a daily basis, I’m contacted about helping someone become a makeup artist or start out in the industry so I feel like this is some information that could help those people! And, I really hope it does!

Thanks for reading!

xx, Coco