How to Choose The Right Make-up School
Choosing to become a make-up artist is a big decision and, once you’ve made it, choosing the right school is the next big decision.
That's why we’ve created a list of questions to help you make a more informed choice. The list is not exhaustive but it’s a good start.
Prospective make-up artists with friends and family in the industry can discover fairly easily which schools have the best reputation and contacts to get work afterwards but it's a lot harder for those with no such relationships to fall back on.
Try and research the school as much as possible before you visit and, once there, ask as many questions as you can think of. If you want to double check what you were told in person, ask again - by email perhaps (so that you have it in writing).
You can also download these questions as a PDF - Choosing The Right Make-up School
We've split the questions and things you should be thinking about into a number of different sections to make it easier to find your way around - and to give you a few prompts for dreaming up new questions of your own.
The School's Website
Before you visit the school, have a look at the website to see what you think they offer.
- What appeals to you about what you see on the website?
- Do you have any questions it doesn’t answer? If so, write them down.
- Can you ask those questions over the phone or by email? Are you better off them asking in person?
The Make-up School's Location
The location of the make-up school itself may be a key factor.
- If you're planning to live at home, is the journey feasible on a daily basis?
- Will it be easy to get there on time for classes?
- Ask the school if it will help you find accommodation.
Visiting the Make-up School
Here are some questions to ask when you visit the make-up school. (Remember to add the questions you've thought of yourself).
- What type of make-up does your school specialize in (film/ TV/ fashion/ prosthetics/ beauty)?
- How many years has the school been training make-up artists?
- What films or TV shows have former students worked on?
- What awards have former students won?
- How long has the course I'm interested in been running?
- What student support is offered by the school?
- What are the normal teaching hours?
- How much of the teaching is practical and how much is theory?
- Are models supplied or do we have to model for other students?
About the Make-up Courses
You will also want to get more specific information about the make-up courses.
- What courses do you offer?
- How long does each course last?
- What qualifications do I need for each course?
- What are the course fees?
- What equipment do you provide?
- Do you have any examples of student work?
- Who will be teaching me?
- What qualifications do I get if I complete the course?
- Can I work part-time while doing the course?
- I really want to do [INSERT CAREER CHOICE]. Will your course be enough to train me for this?
- How much time do you spend teaching hairdressing/ haircutting?
- How much time do you spend teaching fashion make-up?
- Does the course include a photo-shoot?
- Do you have a wig oven that we can use?
- How many students are there per class?
- How many teachers per course/ class?
- Do the teachers work in the business professionally when not teaching at the school?
- What have your recent students gone on to do?
- What about students from previous years?
- Can I speak to any past students to ask about the school?
The Make-up Kit
The tools and kit you use are an essential part of learning make-up. Check that the school provides you with your own make-up kit.
- Do you provide a kitbox? If so, what is in it? Which brands do you use? Are brushes included?
- What do you recommend we buy before the course starts?
- Do I have to bring any of my own toiletries or make-up? (Make sure you ask this - it may seem basic but make-up is not always provided at some schools.)
After The Course Ends
A good make-up school will be concerned for your future as well as for training you well. Ask these questions to get a better sense of the make-up school's approach to helping you in your career.
- Do you provide work experience afterwards? Will you help me get work experience afterwards?
- How long do you think it takes to become a professional make-up artist?
- Will you help me build my portfolio?
- What sort of work and positions can I expect after leaving the school?
One of the biggest decisions you will have to make is whether you can afford to attend the make-up school. To save on accommodation costs, will you be able to stay with friends or family?
- What help can I get to pay for the course?
- If I have to move to attend the school, will you help me find accommodation?
- What additional costs are there while I'm on the course?
"As soon as I had finished the 12 week course, I started working as a trainee on 'Downton Abbey', a Period Drama for ITV, filming at Ealing Studios. I enjoyed every minute of the job from beginning to end and learnt so much from everyone in the Make-up Team and am very lucky to have worked with such an amazing cast and crew for my first job. It is nice to have a little bit of time off now but I have still been busy with private hairdressing and also I did a one day job for an online content shoot for a new Channel 4 programme. I really enjoyed how different that job was to working on 'Downton Abbey' and can't wait to work on all sorts of different programmes and productions! Thank you again for all that you have done for me!"JoJo Dutton