Makeup Artist Schools in California

If you live in California and you love makeup, you are truly lucky: California has more makeup schools and makeup training facilities than any other state in the country. That's a wonderful thing!

There are schools for people who want to become full-time fashion makeup artists, schools for people who want to become full-time special effects makeup artists, and classes for people who simply love makeup and just want to learn a few new techniques. Whatever your interest, there's a school that teaches it.

Below, we have a full list of all the makeup artist schools in California. We discuss the different types of schools, which makeup school might be a good fit for you, and the career options you'll have as a professional makeup artist.

Different Types of Makeup Schools​

So where can you go if you want to learn about makeup? Here's how it plays out. There are:​

  • Schools that focus solely on fashion makeup. These are incredible programs that teach all aspects of makeup theory and makeup application: how to discern the quality of makeup products, how to read facial shapes and contours, the best practices for application and removal, how to accentuate positives and disguise blemishes, the different styles according to fashion era and time period, and so on. Programs usually last between a few months and a year--or sometimes more--and the price tag can be a little high: some schools charge around $8,000 per program, all the way up to $18,000 or more.
  • Schools That Focus Solely On Special Effects Makeup. These are amazing makeup artist schools, and they teach a WIDE range of skills. Special effects ("SFX") schools teach students how to make clients look older or younger, how to turn people into various creatures (like zombies, vampires, aliens, etc), how to create wounds and injuries using fake blood, how to use wigs and hair pieces to alter a person's appearance, and how to use various materials to alter a person's facial structure. These programs last a few months to a few years, and usually cost more than schools dedicated to fashion makeup.
  • Cosmetology Schools / Esthetician Schools. These schools don't focus solely on makeup, and instead provide a broad and well-rounded beauty education. Students learn to sculpt hair, color it, add volume, straighten it or add curls; how to beautify skin, apply and remove makeup, and remove unwanted hair; and how to apply nail polish and work with different colors. Students also learn business skills, including how to run a boutique and how to handle the money that comes into a salon. Programs last anywhere from a few months to about a year, and after school, graduates are allowed to get a cosmetology license or an esthetician license. We'll talk again about cosmetology--and the pros and cons of the career--in one of the sections below.
  • Workshops and Short-Term "Intensives." Another popular option are one-time classes available in salons, beauty schools, and convention centers. These are short-term classes--anywhere from a day or two to a week or two--where you can learn about a specific topic, such as eyeshadow application, how to run a makeup business, or how to build a portfolio. The cost is usually only a couple hundred bucks, and the best part is, you may get to travel a little bit! These "pop up" classes are usually offered in Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco (there are a lot of these types of classes here), Fresno, Sacramento, Long Beach, and Oakland. You can also look in Bakersfield, Anaheim, Santa Ana, Riverside, Stockton, and Fremont.
  • Classes Offered By Local Makeup Artists. Very often, if there's a makeup artist in your area, he or she will be totally willing to provide private lessons for you or a group of your friends. You can contact them directly, or visit their websites and see if they offer classes in a local salon or spa. And, if all goes well and the MUA has a thriving business, you may be able to turn those lessons into a makeup artist assistant position!
Makeup Artist Schools in California

How To Turn Your Love Of Makeup Into A Job

We discuss this in depth on the homepage, but we'll reiterate it here: if you're in love with makeup, how do you turn that love into a career? Here are some of the ways that people make a living doing makeup:

Fashion Photography and Editorial Work. Print media is declining, but online media is BOOMING, and likely to stay that way. There are hundreds of high-end fashion sites and hundreds of fashion companies, and they all require models for photo shoots. MUAs who work in fashion photography provide services for photographers and models and use their networks to drum up new work. Makeup often looks different in different kinds of light, and fashion photography uses a lot of heavy flashes and flares. Makeup artists in this field learn how to prep models for such lighting, and work with photographers to determine the best look for a project.​

Film and Television. Los Angeles is, obviously, the world's go-to location for film and TV, and requires makeup artists to ready actors and actresses for a shoot. The competition in the industry is FIERCE, and it can take a while to break in. We've written a number of posts about television and film work for you to read.​

Bridal Makeup. There are more than 39 million people in California, and that means a LOT of people getting married! Bridal makeup artists prepare brides for their big day, and make sure they look radiant. Just like fashion MUAs, bridal MUAs work with photographers, and need to use products and techniques that allow brides to look great when photographed.​

Stage Makeup. For any kind of live theatrical production, makeup artists sell their services. That means plays, but it also means live music and performance art. This kind of work also requires specialized training, because the lighting used in live performances is often much more colorful than flash photography.​

Corporate Makeup. This may be the least "flashy" area of makeup, but it is a super-fantastic way to make a very solid living. Makeup artists often begin their careers at makeup counters, but expand their careers by working for major makeup companies such as MAC, Olay, Avon, L'Oreal, and so on. They develop new products, market products already created, and travel to stores and salons and offer guidance on how to use products. It may be a little less exciting than other areas of makeup, but it can pay REALLY well and offer more stability than a freelance makeup artist career.​

Do I Need A License To Do Makeup Professionally?​

​There's a lot of confusion about the licenses required to be a makeup artist in California. After all, you'll need a cosmetology license to cut hair and an esthetician license to work on someone's skin, so do you need a makeup artist license to do makeup in California?

At the time we wrote this post, there are no makeup artist licenses issued by the state of California. There are many makeup artists who operate on a "per gig" basis--that is, they provide makeup services for actors, actresses, models, brides, and so on, and are not employed by any kind of salon or spa--and many of them do not have a license. Some do, but many do not.

It seems like the state of California has been very relaxed about letting makeup artists operate without any kind of beauty license, just as long as they don't work in a salon or spa.​

Why is that? Because if you work in a business establishment (such a beauty salon, day spa, or massage parlor), you WILL need some kind of beauty license, as per California state law. It can be a cosmetology license (if you want to do hair), an esthetician license (if you want to do skin), or a nail technician license (if you want to do nails), but you'll need a license to get hired in any California business establishment.

We may have mentioned this earlier, but a cosmetology or esthetician's license can be a huge career advantage, because it can allow you to take freelance work as a private makeup artist, but it will also allow you to work in any beauty salon in the state of California.

Keep in mind, the rules related to the beauty industry change frequently, so you'll need to check with the California Board of Barbering and Cosmetology to make sure you're up-to-date on the rules related to makeup and styling.​

California Special Effects Makeup Schools

If you're a California resident and you're interested in special effects makeup, you are very lucky, because some of the best special effects makeup schools in the WORLD are located in California. And not only that, you have your choice of programs! The following schools will teach you all you need to know to get started as a special effects makeup artist:

  • Makeup Designory Schools in Burbank, CA;
  • Cammua Makeup Academy in Carlsbad, CA;
  • Studio Makeup Academy in Hollywood, CA;
  • Joe Blasco Cosmetics in Los Angeles, CA;
  • Cinema Makeup Schools in Los Angeles, CA;
  • Elegance International School of Professional Makeup in Los Angeles, CA;
  • Academy of Cosmetic Arts Studios in Los Gatos, CA;
  • Joe Blasco Cosmetics in Palm Springs, CA;
  • Blush School of Makeup in San Francisco, CA; and the
  • Ruby Makeup Academy in Tempe City, CA.

We have a full list of SFX makeup artist schools (and other other schools where you can learn makeup), along with addresses, phone numbers, and website addresses, in a section below.

Careers Related To Makeup: Pros and Cons

Many people have to make the choice between full-time makeup and full-time cosmetology. We, obviously, are all about makeup careers, but we recognize that makeup isn't right for everybody, and for some, cosmetology is in fact a better career choice. We want all of our readers to reach their full potential and be as happy as they can possibly be, so here are a few of the different "pros and cons" to help you decide which career is right for you.

Makeup Artist Careers:

Pro: You'll get to focus solely on makeup, become an expert in the craft, and maybe even eventually work with celebrities.

Pro: You won't need a license to do freelance makeup, and you do not technically need to go to school.

Pro: You get to "be your own boss" and determine the course of your career.

Con: It can be really difficult to "make it" as a MUA, and the hours can be brutal!

Con: At the start of your career, you won't be making a lot of money, and may have to get a second job to support your career.

Con: You have to run your own business, and that is a very different thing than simply being a makeup artist.

Cosmetology Careers​:

Pro: You'll be able to get a license, and that will provide a LOT of job stability. There are beauty salons and hairdressing salons in every town in the country, and every person alive needs a haircut every once in a while. You won't find better job security than that.

Pro: You'll have a broad set of skills. Cosmetology schools will help you develop skills in all aspects of beauty, and that can be a huge plus (and may actually make you stick out among other makeup artists).

Pro: You can do both! Many people rent a chair at a salon, and do makeup part time. Then, if their makeup career grows, they can do it full-time.

Con: You'll have to go to a beauty school, and some schools are very pricey. Others (like community colleges) are very affordable, but there are some very expensive schools out there

Con: You'll have to wait a little while to get started. School can take a while to complete, and because you can't work as a cosmetologist without a license, you'll need to complete your education before you begin your career.

Con: You'll have to renew your cosmetology license every year. It's not much--usually $50 or $100--but it's a pain.

That's a very balanced list, and we tried to include the best and worst aspects of both careers.

So, which is the right choice for you? That's up to you to decide. A wise person once said, "Listen to your head, and then follow your heart." Do you research, talk to people you know, and get advice from people you trust--and then jump in head-first and commit yourself fully to your career. Make it happen!

Makeup Artistry Schools Near You

Here is our most recent list of makeup artist schools in California. If you know of any schools we missed, please let us know!

April Love Pro Makeup Academy
18500 Pioneer Boulevard
Artesia, CA 90701
(626) 285-3500

Makeup Schools in Burbank, CA

Award Makeup School
3204 West Magnolia Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 980-2119

Makeup Designory Schools (beauty, TV and film, special effects)
129 South San Fernando Boulevard
Burbank, CA 91502
(818) 729-9420

Cammua Makeup Academy (beauty, TV and film)
580 Beech Avenue
Carlsbad, CA 92008
(562) 328-5808

Academy of Makeup and Fashion
9005 Eton Ave
Conga Park, CA 91304
(818) 905-0828

The Enzo Academy — Orange County
3188 Airway Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(714) 429-1405

Bellus Academy
1073 East Main Street
El Cajon, CA 92021
(619) 442-3407

Career Academy of Beauty
12471 Valley View Street
Garden Grove, CA 92845
(714) 897-3010

Makeup Schools in Hollywood, CA

JLS Professional Makeup Artist Courses
7201 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, CA 90046
(800) 433-8545

Napoleon Perdis Hollywood Makeup Academy
6615 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA 90028
(323) 817-3634

Studio Makeup Academy
1438 North Gower Street
Hollywood, CA 90028
(888) 465-4002

Joe Blasco Cosmetics — Hollywood Center (beauty and special effects)
1670 Hillhurst Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90027
(323) 467-4949

Arte of Makeup
18582 Beach Boulevard
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
(562) 787-6781

Makeup Schools in Los Angeles, CA

Cammua Makeup Academy (beauty, TV and film)
5450 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019
(213) 479-6571

Cinema Makeup School (TV and film, special effects)
Wiltern Theater Building
3780 Wilshire Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90010
(213) 368-1234

Elegance International School of Professional Makeup (beauty, TV and film, special effects)
(aka, “EI School of Makeup”)
1622 North Highland Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90028
(323) 871-8318

Hollywood Makeup Studio
5450 West Pico Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90019

Michael Vincent Academy
School Campus and MVA Film Production Studio
1138 South Broadway
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(310) 844-0829

Academy of Cosmetic Arts Studios (beauty, TV and film, special effects)
229 Longridge Road
Los Gatos, CA 95032
(408) 356-6111

Bellus Academy
1520 East Plaza Boulevard
National City, CA 91950
(619) 474-6607

Cammua Makeup Academy (beauty, TV and film)
4101 Birch Street
Newport Beach, CA 92660
(949) 798-0010

The ENZO Academy — Inland Empire
1801 Excise Avenue
Ontario, CA 91761
(714) 429-1405

Joe Blasco Cosmetics — Palm Springs
1285 North Valdivia Way
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(323) 467-4949
(323) 467-4949

Bellus Academy
13266 Poway Road
Poway, CA 92064
(858) 748-1490

VIP-CAT International Makeup Academy
1110 Melody Lane
Roseville, CA 95678
(916) 899-7047

Makeup Schools in Sacramento, CA

Flawless PRO MUA Academy
1812 J Street
Sacramento, CA 95811
(916) 913-1886

Maquillage Makeup Academy
4570 Avarado Canyon Road
San Diego, CA 92154
(619) 501-7295
(619) 546-5100

Blush School of Makeup (beauty, film and TV, special effects)
1 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
Phone: (415) 357-1117

April Love Pro Makeup Academy
903 East Las Tunas Drive
San Gabriel, CA 91776
(626) 285-3500

The Makeup School / CHIC Studios Los Angeles
1639 11th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90404
(310) 916-6403

Cammua Makeup Academy (beauty, TV and film)
28690 Old Front Street
Temecula, CA 92590   
(949) 798-0010

Ruby Makeup Academy (beauty, film and TV, special effects)
4808 Baldwin Avenue
Temple City, CA 91780
(626) 448-2263

Ruby Makeup Academy (beauty, film and TV, special effects)
440 North Mountain Avenue
Upland, CA 91786
(909) 985-2100

Cammua Makeup Academy (beauty, TV and film)
600 North Mountain Avenue
Upland, CA 91786
(714) 345-4356

Blake Austin Beauty Academy — MUD Partner
1679 East Monte Vista
Vacaville, CA 95688
(707) 448-3100

Ruby Makeup Academy (beauty, film and TV, special effects)
5301 Laurel Canyon Boulevard
Valley Village, CA 91607
(818) 980-RUBY (7829)

We had mentioned above that for many people, a cosmetology school can be the start of a great makeup artistry career---so, here is a list of some of the cosmetology schools available to you in California:

Delta Beauty College
320 H Street
Antioch, CA 94509
(925) 777-9676

Baldwin Park Adult and Community Education
4640 North Maine Avenue
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
(626) 856-4104

Barstow Community College
2700 Barstow Road
Barstow, CA 92311
(760) 252-2411

Richard N. Slawson Southeast Occupational Center
5500 Rickenbacker Road
Bell, CA 90040
(323) 729-6400

El Prado Adult School, California Institute for Women
16756 Chino Corona Road
Corona, CA 92880
(909) 597-1771

TONI & GUY Hairdressing Academy
3400 Bristol Street
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
(657) 622-3258

Hilltop Beauty School
6317 Mission Street
Daly City, CA 94014

Central Sierra Regional Occupation Program (ROP)
6540 Koki Lane
El Dorado, CA 95623
(530) 344-8939

Coastline Beauty College
16151 Harbor Boulevard
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
(714) 963-4000

Paul Mitchell — The School — Fresno
5091 North Fresno Street
Fresno, CA 93710

Fullerton College, Cosmetology Department
321 East Chapman Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 992-7123

Thanh Le College, School of Cosmetology
12875 Chapman Avenue
Garden Grove, CA 92840
(714) 740-2755

Lawrence & Company College of Cosmetology
810 North 10th Avenue
Hanford, CA 93230
(559) 584-1192

Inglewood Community Adult School
106 East Manchester Boulevard
Inglewood, CA 90301
(310) 330-9135

Hacienda La Puente Adult Education
14101 East Nelson Avenue
La Puente, CA 91746
(626) 934-2804

John Wesley International Barber & Beauty College
717 Pine Avenue
Long Beach, CA 90813
(562) 435-7060

Aveda Institute Los Angeles
10935 Weyburn Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90024
(310) 209-2000

KC Beauty Academy
706 East 1st Street
Los Angeles, CA 90012
(626) 239-6038

Los Angeles Beauty College
2853 West James M. Wood Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90006
(213) 382-1300

Pacific Beauty College of Los Angeles
5345 South Crenshaw Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90043
(323) 290-1666

Universal College of Beauty
3419 West 43rd Place
Los Angeles, CA 90008
(323) 298-0045

ZMS — The Academy
6029 North Figueroa Street
Los Angeles, CA 90042
(323) 372-6132

Madera Beauty College
325 North Gateway Drive
Madera, CA 93637
(559) 673-9201

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy
1019 South Main Street
Manteca, CA 95337
(209) 824-8000

Victoria Beauty College
1350 South Park Victoria Drive
Milpitas, CA 95035
(408) 942-8989

California Beauty College
1115 15th Street
Modesto, CA 95354
(209) 524-5184

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy
3600 Sisk Road
Modesto, CA 95356
(209) 521-1000

Bellus Academy
1520 East Plaza Boulevard
National City, CA 91950
(619) 474-6607

Katie Skills Center
415 East 12th Street
Oakland, CA 94606
(510) 444-6488

Laney College
900 Fallon Street
Oakland, CA 94607
(510) 464-3569

Oceanside College of Beauty
1575 South Coast Highway
Oceanside, CA 92054
(760) 757-6161

COBA Academy
102 North Glassell Street
Orange, CA 92866
(714) 633-5950

Modern Beauty Academy
699 South C Street
Oxnard, CA 93030
(805) 483-4994

Champion Institute of Cosmetology
611 South Palm Canyon Drive
Palm Springs, CA 92264
(760) 322-2227

Pasadena City College
3035 East Foothill Boulevard
Pasadena, CA 91107
(626) 585-3050

Paul Mitchell — The School
100 Crescent Drive
Pleasant Hill, CA 94523
(925) 691-7687

Pomona Unified School District — Cosmetology and Barbering Center
1460 East Holt Avenue
Pomona, CA 91767
(909) 620-8277

Thuy Princess Beauty College
252 East Second Street
Pomona, CA 91766
(909) 620-6893

Bridges Beauty College
9170 Foothill Boulevard
Rancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
(909) 644-4004

Redondo Beach Beauty College
2205 West Artesia Boulevard
Redondo Beach, CA 90278
(310) 791-9975

Riverside Community College
4699 Olivewood
Riverside, CA 92501
(951) 222-8181

Mixed Institute of Cosmetology
5950 Florin Road
Sacramento, CA 95823
(916) 955-7505

MTI College, a Paul Mitchell Partner School
5231 Madison Avenue
Sacramento, CA 95841
(916) 339-1500

Sacramento City College
Cosmetology Department
3835 Freeport Boulevard
Sacramento, CA 95822
(916) 558-2595

Avance’ Beauty College
750 Beyer Way
San Diego, CA 92154
(619) 575-1511

California Barber & Beauty College
5315 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92115
(619) 265-0500

Paul Mitchell — The School
410 A Street
San Diego, CA 92101
(619) 398-1590

San Diego Beauty College
3501 El Cajon Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92104
(619) 282-7979

Christine K Beauty School
1394 Tully Road
San Jose, CA 95122
(408) 297-1091

Jade Beauty and Barber College
1045 East Capitol Expressway
San Jose, CA 95121
(408) 623-0522

San Jose City College
Cosmetology Department
2100 Moorpark Avenue
San Jose, CA 95128
(408) 298-2181

San Luis Obispo Beauty College
285 South Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
(805) 543-3305

College of San Mateo
Cosmetology Department
1700 West Hillsdale Boulevard
San Mateo, CA 94402
(650) 574-6361

Topline Beauty College
130 South Harbor Boulevard
Santa Ana, CA 92704
(714) 839-0808

Paul Mitchell — The School
525 Anacapa Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93101
(805) 966-1931

Beyond 21st Century Beauty Academy
13640 Imperial Highway
Santa Fe Springs, CA 90670
(562) 404-6193

Toni & Guy Hairdressing Academy
1358 5th Street
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 451-0101

Vidal Sassoon Academy
321 Santa Monica Boulevard
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(310) 255-0011

Lawrence & Company College of Cosmetology
2048 Grant Street
Selma, CA 93662
(559) 891-8108

Paul Mitchell — The School
15301 Ventura Boulevard
Sherman Oaks, CA 91403
(818) 380-8120

Career Academy of Cosmetology
3314 Delaware Avenue
Stockton, CA 95202
(209) 953-3403

Hollywood Beauty College
1024 East March Lane
Stockton, CA 95210
(209) 951-7572

Solano Community College
4000 Suisun Valley Road
Suisun City, CA 94534
(707) 864-7000

Paul Mitchell — The School
27536 Ynez Road
Temecula, CA 92591
(951) 694-4323

John Ridgel’s Academy of Beauty
9526 Las Tunas Drive
Temple City, CA 91780
(626) 285-7112

El Camino College — Cosmetology Department
16007 South Crenshaw Boulevard
Torrance, CA 90506
(310) 660-3593

Tulare Beauty College
1400 West Inyo Street
Tulare, CA 93274
(559) 229-7480

Ukiah Beauty College
1040 North State Street
Ukiah, CA 95482
(707) 462-8831

Bridges Beauty College
16515 Mojave Drive
Victorville, CA 92395
(760) 245-2522

Estes Institute of Cosmetology Arts & Sciences
324 East Main Street
Visalia, CA 93291
(559) 733-3617

Watsonvillle Institute of Cosmetology
1414 Freedom Boulevard
Watsonville, CA 95076
(831) 761-3544

Elite Beauty College
8528 Westminster Boulevard
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 896-9847

Orange Valley College
7138 Westminster Avenue
Westminster, CA 92683
(714) 892-4834

Sutter Beauty College
651 North Palora Avenue
Yuba City, CA 95991
(530) 673-3265

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