Explore: Hair and beauty

Make-up Artist

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Vicky E

00:00:01 My name is Vicky E and I’m a makeup artist. I do film and TV and photo shoots. I enjoy the variety, it’s really nice to wake up in the morning and think, “Oh, where am I going today?” In this industry as a makeup artist you’re always learning because there will always be a new product, there will always be a new fashion and there’s lots and lots of brilliant talented people out there that you can learn off of.

00:00:29 When I was at school I wanted to be a fashion designer or a makeup artist. I wasn’t very academic, I was better, I passed my GSCEs but I was better at arts. I didn’t enjoy school very much, I got really badly bullied at school. I wish someone had turned around to me and said, “You know what, when you’re 16 you don’t have to see or speak to any of these people.” I was at school and I was so unhappy and I just thought, “Oh, is this it? Is this the way that it is because if it is then I don’t know how I’m going to cope.”

00:01:03 My careers advisor told me that I wouldn’t get anywhere doing make up so I’d be better off picking something else and going to university. So, I stayed and done my A levels and I got one A level in fine art. Then I got talked into doing a degree in graphic design which I left because I didn’t like it.

00:01:30 I spent about year after I’d left my degree going, “Oh, I don’t know.” I did some work, I worked in an office, done some waitressing, I’ve done some bar work and I felt a bit lost. I kind of thought, “What do I want to do? I don’t want to do this.” And I’ve kind of been pushed and I’ve not listened to myself so I decided that I was just going to research into being a makeup artist. I just researched and once I found that where I sort of had a goal of where I was going to I felt a lot better about everything.

00:02:05 I decided to go back to college and I trained as a beauty therapist and then I trained as a makeup artist. I did always think I will make it through this but I, but elements of doubt do creep in. Yeah, you have to believe and be strong and be positive. You’ve got to believe in yourself. The moment that I thought, “Wow, I’ve really achieved something,” was when I was actually as a sort of work experience trainee on “Children of Men”.

00:02:35 I was like, “Oh my God, wow.” It was just totally mind blowing. People think it’s easy and it’s not. It’s not easy. I remember when I trained as a beauty therapist and I’d done my first facial and you’re in someone else’s personal space all the time. It’s quite daunting. In a few years time I would like to either be doing special effects or I’d be someone’s personal makeup artist.

00:03:07 I do like, having been, working with someone a lot because you get to build up a sort of a personal relationship with them. You can sometimes end up being a bit of a confidant to the person who you’re doing, especially if you’re working with them for a long time. I wouldn’t go and do anything else. I don’t think I’d ever give it up at all.


Vicky has achieved her dream of being a make-up artist. She was bullied at school and didn’t enjoy her school days at all. It was only her personal determination to pursue her dream that led her to go back to college and study beauty therapy. “You have to believe and be strong and be positive. You’ve got to believe in yourself”.

More information about Beauticians and related occupations

average salary

The UK average salary is £29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

16%  male 
84%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Beauticians and related workers give facial and body beauty treatments, apply cosmetics and dress wigs.
There are no minimum academic requirements for entry, although some colleges require candidates to possess GCSEs/S grades. NVQs/SVQs in Beauty Therapy are available at Levels 1, 2 and 3. Professional qualifications are also available.
  • Discusses clients requirements, analyses and advises client on appropriate skin care, and applies treatments to the face or body;
  • Massages scalp, face and other parts of the body and carries out spray tanning;
  • Uses waxing, threading, sugaring and other epilation techniques to remove any unwanted body hair;
  • Cleans, shapes and polishes finger and toe nails, applies nail extensions;
  • Applies make-up to hide blemishes or enhance facial features and advises clients on skin care and make-up techniques;
  • Performs specialist treatments for conditions such as acne, applies skin rejuvenation therapies;
  • Recognises problems and refers clients to medical practitioners if appropriate;
  • Advises clients on diet and exercise to assist in weight loss and slimming;
  • Maintains client records, sells and advises on cosmetic products and services, and ensures appropriate health and safety issues are addressed.
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