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Makeup Artist, Theatrical and Performance

What They Do

Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance Career Video

About This Career

Applies makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

This career is part of the Arts, Audio-Video Technology and Communications cluster Performing Arts pathway.

A person in this career:

  • Applies makeup to enhance or alter the appearance of people appearing in productions such as movies.
  • Selects desired makeup shades from stock, or mixes oil, grease, and coloring to achieve specific color effects.
  • Cleanse and tones the skin to prepare it for makeup application.
  • Duplicates work precisely to replicate characters' appearances on a daily basis.
  • Alters or maintains makeup during productions as necessary to compensate for lighting changes or to achieve continuity of effect.
  • Studies production information, such as character descriptions, period settings, and situations, to determine makeup requirements.
  • Assesses performers' skin type to ensure that makeup will not cause break-outs or skin irritations.
  • Analyzes a script, noting events that affect each character's appearance, so that plans can be made for each scene.
  • Confers with stage or motion picture officials and performers to determine desired effects.
  • Establishes budgets, and works within budgetary limits.

Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves standing more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Identifying color and seeing differences in color, including shades and brightness
  • Seeing clearly at a distance
  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Irregular hours
  • Weekend work

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Commercial Makeup Artist
  • Hair and Makeup Designer
  • Prosthetic Makeup Designer
  • Special Effects Makeup Artist
  • Special Makeup Effects Artist


  • Email Support
  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900
  • North Dakota Career Resource Network
    ndcrn@nd.gov | (701) 328-9733