Do I Really Need to Get a Makeup Artist License?

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Being an expert in your field might also mean having to be an expert in your city’s licensing laws. Getting your makeup artist license is just one of the steps needed to reach your career goals and just the beginning of your journey.

If you are choosing to make money providing beauty services, having the proper permits and licenses is key. Different licenses correspond to the various services provided to clients in different beauty related fields. There are cosmetology and manicure licenses as well as esthetician and massage licenses to name a few. No matter which field you choose, if you are charging people money—even for makeup which doesn’t demand a State Board license, you will still need to register for a business license.

License Requirements

In the US, state licenses are required by the government to document the necessary training and tests one needs to provide services in safe and clean manner. Licensing Laws differ from state to state. If I were to move to another state I would have to adhere to their licensing laws and take the necessary steps to getting my Makeup Artist license in that state.

As a licensed esthetician, I am recognized in the State of California for my knowledge of facial extractions, hair removal and skincare. If I wanted to work in a salon or spa, I’d have to have this license to do so. A business license on the other hand, is necessary to perform services as a freelance artist in or outside my home. Working from my home-based business would have me looking into my city’s zoning and permit laws.

Woman with makeup artist choosing color of eyeshadow


Getting my esthetician’s license entailed me taking a 600-hour course ending in a written and a practical test. In the class, I practiced a required number of facials, eyebrow arches and waxed legs among other things. The main point of the class was to learn the proper laws and procedures that could prevent you from injuring others. The course work and amount of hours differs from state to state and between each field.

We mostly covered skin diseases, facial massage and hair removal. The funny part is that I never intended to give a facial or wax the body in life. I was getting my Makeup Artist license so that I could perform eyebrow arching at Senna Cosmetics in Beverly Hills. Senna adheres to a no waxing policy and provides brow shaping by tweezing only. I haven’t waxed an eyebrow since esthetician school. With the addition of niche areas of study such as hair braiding, more courses are being offered so that one doesn’t have to spend time and money on a curriculum that they will never use.



The Consequences of Not Having the Correct License

If you are caught providing services without the required licenses, you may face fines and/or charges against you. Practicing without a business license is less-likely to be found out as most clients will not be asking you for it. Personally, the only places that my state board license has been required was in the salon. Having these licenses can improve your credibility as an expert and keep your business legal.


Advanced Education

The most extensive part of my training began after I got my Makeup Artist license and continues to this day. Advanced education throughout my career has been key to staying on top of what is new and current. My initial training in esthetician school was nothing compared to the 10 years of master classes, online courses and apprenticeships that came after. Even though I have been depended upon to create countless beauty tutorials for, E! Entertainment and NuMe Professional Styling Products, I am constantly enrolling in classes to enhance my own skills as an artist. Furthering my education has also been a factor in my venturing off into different avenues of my field like special effects and facial threading. I prefer online courses like the ones offered by Trendimi because they’re a fraction of the price of common schooling and I can study anywhere, anytime.

Accredited educational platforms offer up-to-the minute information in a comprehensive way that may not be available to you when attempting to learn on your own. Many courses are created by experienced professionals in a given field. Being taught in this manner can help to avoid the pitfalls that can accompany new ventures.

Training like this is important to learning the ropes of your craft, fine-tuning your skills and getting inspiration. The more areas of study you take advantage of, the more skills you have to offer.

This question was asked at a recent Trendimi webinar. On a regular basis we organize webinars that are mainly focused on helping people who want to break into the beauty industry. We also do Q&A webinars sessions led by our beauty experts. All webinars are free, but the Q&A’s are exclusive to Trendimi students.

Not a student yet? Sign up to our Newsletter to get discount offers for our courses. If you sign up now, clicking the button below we’ll send you a Beauty Career Guide written by Megan Vigil!


Based in Los Angeles, Megan has been a licensed esthetician, make-up, eyebrow artist and hair stylist for over 11 years. Her career as a make-up artist has led her to being the Key Make-up Artist for productions in Los Angeles and Europe. Outside of doing make-up, Miss Vigil has held roles in product development, as the Head Copywriter for a boutique beauty marketing agency and as a Beauty and Fashion editor for E! Entertainment. She has been responsible for either writing, producing or presenting beauty content for companies like COVERGIL, Pantene, Olay, Crest and NuMe Professional Styling Products. Her goal is to advise and empower new makeup artists in the beauty field.

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