Career Dive: Makeup Artistry


Illustration by Grace Edgeworth

It was mid-July, and I was searching for inspiration. I was going to be a senior in less than two months, and I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. One day, I was scrolling through social media and I came upon a woman who documents her life as a vegan chef. Her passion for her career and her unusual daily life got me thinking — what if I started looking for careers outside of the mainstream? After months of researching, I finally got a grasp of what I want my future to look like, and I thought I should share a few career choices for other students who may feel stuck. 

This blog is centered around interviewing people who have pursued creative careers and researching these professions so that students can be exposed to the different career paths out there. For this first blog, we’ll dive into the everyday life and career of Delwat Elamin, a freelance makeup artist.

It started when she was a child, applying makeup to her sisters’ faces just for the fun of it. Delwat Elamin’s passion for makeup artistry has since then led her to pursue a career as a freelance makeup artist. Every day, she packs her makeup kit, cleans off her brushes, prepares her makeup tools and carries her equipment with her to her appointments with clients of all backgrounds and for a variety of occasions.

Elamin started her career after she obtained a diploma in makeup artistry, and from there, she has created a presence for herself within the beauty industry. On a daily basis, client numbers can vary, as well as the event she is requested to work at. Elamin has worked for events ranging from graduations, photoshoots, weddings or birthdays, and she has been hired to do halloween, theatrical and editorial makeup. 

Her job constantly takes her to new locations and unique clients, each with their own tastes and preferences when it comes to makeup. The beauty industry is also one that constantly adapts to new trends, and in order to keep up with the newness in the industry, Elamin enrolls in workshops.

Although I find that the different day-to-day routines of the job are interesting, the fact that the job comes with obstacles can’t be ignored. Starting off, Elamin faced the challenge of making a name for herself in a highly-competitive industry. Client numbers are also based off skill level and satisfaction ratings, so a client base grows over time. The more skill and client satisfaction a makeup artist has, the more clients they have access to. However, individuals like Elamin, who discover that makeup artistry is their true passion, find that pursuing this career pays off in the end. 

The Occupational Outlook Handbook from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that the job growth rate for makeup artists is growing faster than average. Prospective makeup artists can go into different fields of focus such as theatrical and performance makeup, celebrity makeup art, freelance makeup, makeup product developing, etc. Others can engage in more than one field, like Elamin; although she is focused on freelance makeup at the moment, she one day hopes to start her own makeup line.

Even with initial obstacles, I think the field of makeup artistry is one that offers a broad scope of careers and consistently presents new and interesting clients and trends. If you’re like me — someone who can’t imagine working in a field that doesn’t constantly change — makeup artistry could be a great fit. For anyone interested in pursuing this career path, Elamin advises they “enjoy every step of the way and take it all in with an open heart. There will be wonderful days, but also bad ones along the way and the key is to learn from it all and to never let the bad days distract you from achieving your goals. It’s never enough to want something: follow your dream by working hard.”