Kaitoi Whakapaipai Kanohi
Make-up artists apply make-up to enhance or alter people's appearances.
Pay rates for make-up artists vary depending on their ability, how often they work, and what type of work they do.
Source: careers.govt.nz research and The Makeup School, 2018.
Pay for make-up artists varies depending on what type of work they do, and their training and experience.
Pay for make-up artists working in retail businesses
- Make-up artists working for hair and beauty salons or retail stores usually earn between $18 and $30 an hour. They may also receive bonuses, commissions and staff discounts.
Pay for make-up artists working in film and television
Make-up artists working in film and television usually work 50-hour weeks during filming.
- Trainee make-up artists may start on minimum wage, with pay increasing as they gain skills and experience.
- Experienced make-up artists can earn between $36 and $54 an hour.
- Make-up designers (who create the overall make-up look for films or other productions) may earn between $40 and $80 an hour, depending on their experience and the size of the production.
Make-up artists may receive time and a half, or double time, for extra hours they work during filming.
Pay for freelance make-up artists
Income for freelance make-up artists who work in film, television and commercials, or run their own business, depends on how often they work and the success of their business.
Source: careers.govt.nz research, 2018; and The Makeup School, 2018.
- PAYE.net.nz website - use this calculator to convert pay and salary information
- Employment New Zealand website - information about minimum wage rates
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)
What you will do
Make-up artists may do some or all of the following:
- consult with clients about the look they want
- read scripts and research the background to historic film or television productions
- write make-up sheets explaining what make-up look should be applied
- put make-up on clients and style their hair for special occasions and performances
- make facial and body moulds (prosthetics) for actors to wear
- sell cosmetics
- create social media make-up demos, or give make-up lessons in person.
Skills and knowledge
Make-up artists need to have:
- an understanding of make-up, the latest styles and colours, and how to apply them
- basic hair styling skills
- an understanding of camera and lighting techniques
- sales skills
- research skills, so they can make sure they use the correct make-up style for actors' needs.
Make-up artists who are self-employed also need business, marketing and social media skills.
- may work long or irregular hours, including early mornings, weekends and evenings if they are working in television or film, or normal retail hours if they work in a store
- work in hair and beauty salons, stores, clients' homes, dressing rooms, and on location
- may work in stressful conditions with short deadlines, or outdoors in all weather conditions
- may travel locally, nationally or internationally.
There are no specific requirements for becoming a make-up artist. However, you may find it useful to have:
- a certificate or diploma from a polytechnic or make-up school
- a portfolio showing your make-up ideas and style.
No specific secondary education is required for this job. However, design and visual communication (graphics), media studies and drama are useful.
Make-up artists need to be:
- friendly and able to relate to a wide range of people
- adaptable and good at solving problems
- good listeners
- reliable and able to manage their time well.
Useful experience for make-up artists includes:
- work as a beauty therapist, beautician or hairdresser
- work at a cosmetic counter, or other customer or retail work
- paid or voluntary make-up work for theatre or film.
Make-up artists need:
- clear speech and good hearing
- normal colour vision
- good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses)
- good hand-eye co-ordination
- the ability to spend long hours on their feet.
Find out more about training
- The Makeup School
- (09) 376 6660 - firstname.lastname@example.org - www.themakeupschool.co.nz
- NZ Hair and Beauty Industry Training Organisation (HITO)
- (04) 499 1180 - email@example.com - www.hito.org.nz
What are the chances of getting a job?
Good demand for experienced make-up artists
Chances are good for trained, experienced make-up artists.
Demand for make-up artists who have completed a full film, television, fashion and SPFX (special effects) course is increasing as more commercials, films and television programmes are being shot in New Zealand.
Increasing public interest in make-up, partly as a result of Instagram and YouTube beauty tutorials, has led to more jobs:
- in cosmetics stores and hair and beauty salons
- providing make-up services and lessons in retail stores.
Network and volunteer to improve your chances of finding a first job
Competition for entry-level make-up artist positions is high. Networking, and having paid or unpaid work experience can help you find a job.
You can network and market yourself by:
- joining industry organisations such as WIFT NZ (Women in Film and Television) or Ngā Aho Whakaari (Māori in screen production)
- attending industry events and introducing yourself, particularly to make-up designers (who create the overall make-up look for films or other productions)
- checking industry magazines and websites for new productions and contacting their make-up designers directly
- reading and advertising on networking websites and social media pages for the arts
- being professional on social media when you showcase your make-up work, and in personal pages.
You can gain paid and unpaid work experience by:
- training at a make-up school that offers internships and job placements
- volunteering with established make-up artists
- volunteering for amateur and drama school productions.
It's also useful to have experience in hairstyling, hairdressing, beauty therapy and customer service.
Types of employers varied
Make-up artists may work for:
- hair and beauty salons
- television, film, magazine and theatre companies
- department stores, cosmetic stores and pharmacies
- fashion design companies and magazines.
Some make-up artists work freelance or run their own business.
- Black, E, 'Inside New Zealand's Beauty Boom', 30 September 2017, (stuff.co.nz).
- Ensor, D, co-director, The Makeup School, www.careers.govt.nz interview, October 2018.
- Iqbal, N, 'The New Beauty Elite', Otago Daily Times, 13 August 2018, (odt.govt.nz).
- MECCA website, accessed October 2018, (mecca.beauty.co.nz).
(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)
Progression and specialisations
Make-up artists may progress to:
- set up their own business
- become make-up designers, who create the overall make-up look for films, television commercials, fashion shows or make-up collections.
Make-up artists who work in retail stores and hair and beauty salons may move into managerial or training roles.
Make-up artists may specialise in:
- hairdressing and wig application
- prosthetics – casting facial and body moulds for costumes
- video tutorials
- body painting.
Last updated 20 November 2018