Make-up your mind

Make-up your mind

In our latest look at different careers, Wong Yat-hei finds out what skills and qualifications are needed for those who focus on transforming people's looks - from weddings to Halloween


Ranson Lau, from Beauty Tech
Ranson Lau, from Beauty Tech
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

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Professional qualifications are an advantage in any industry, and it is no different for make-up artists. It is best to have a certificate in make-up issued by ITEC or CIBTAC - they are both international education organisations which offer qualifications in health and beauty therapies.

Such qualifications typically require 100 hours of training in make-up skills and products, and skin-care knowledge.

Moving up

Make-up artists are employed at make-up product counters in stores, and are also hired for adverts, weddings, fashion photo shoots, fashion shows and film productions. As a make-up artist builds his or her profile, they will be invited to work on bigger projects. Jobs are often referred by other clients. A make-up artist can also enhance their reputation when working on magazine photo shoots, because their name will be featured in the publications.

Some make-up artists choose to train other budding artists.

Race to the top

Practice makes perfect. A make-up artist should be versatile. They should seize every opportunity to hone their all-round skills. A good way to do this is to focus on people with different face shapes.

A make-up artist has to be a people person - they have to co-ordinate with art directors, models, photographers and many others. They should be patient, listen to others and have excellent communication skills. It is an advantage to have skin-care knowledge because then they can use products that suit their customers best. You not only want to make them look good; you also want them to feel good.

Rewards and benefits

Most make-up artists work on a freelance basis and charge for each job. For example, a whole day of bridal make-up service for a wedding costs up to HK$7,000.

A day in the life

The working hours of a make-up artist depend on the jobs. Doing bridal make-up for a wedding can take from 6am to 10pm.

As for theme park characters' make-up during Halloween, the working day is usually from 11am to 2am. Sometimes the artist has two projects on the same day, such as beauty make-up in the morning, then Halloween at night.

Make-up artists often work as freelancers, so their hours can range anywhere between 6am and 2am


Beauty make-up - this gives a pleasant and clean look for beauty events and weddings.

Daytime make-up - this has a pastel colour tone and creates a bright look.

Evening make-up - the bold colour tone gives the model a sharp and elegant look. It is used for balls or parties.

Smoky eyes - applying make-up around the eye area. It makes the eyes look bigger and sharper.

Interviewee: Ranson Lau, make-up artist from Beauty Tech



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