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?
"Before doing the course I worked in the City as an employment lawyer. Although I was forging a successful career and really liked the people I worked with I knew that I did not want to stay in law forever. It took me a long time and a lot of research to decide that doing a hair and make-up course would be the right step for me. What appealed, amongst other things, was the chance to be creative, meet new people, escape a desk based work life and to be really challenged. The prospect of leaving a secure job was a little daunting but I have not looked back, really from my first meeting at Delamar. I chose to visit Delamar because of its excellent reputation and also because of the broad syllabus which covers everything from beauty to casualty to period make-up and wigs. As soon as I visited the Academy I knew it was the place for me, there was a real buzz in the air and hearing Leda's experience and advice really spurred me on to apply. I loved the course and without it I would not have been able to take my first steps into the industry, not only because I learned the basic skills which I need to hone to be successful but also because of the experience of meeting the course tutors, most of whom still work in the industry and were really inspirational. I found the tutors' advice invaluable and I will carry it with me through my career. Since finishing the course I have been doing lots of work experience, including working on student films, community theatre, and some feature films. Most of the work experience I have done has been through introductions by the Academy, again something which I would not have been able to do without doing the course first. If a career in hair and make-up is right for you, Delamar is definitely the place to do it! "Elizabeth Keogh