Makeup Artist Schools in Illinois

Whether you'd like to make makeup your career--or if you simply adore makeup and want to learn some new styles--we're here to help!

Below, we have an in-depth discussion about the different ways you can learn about makeup, a list of different jobs within the makeup industry, and finally, a list of all the cosmetology schools and makeup artist schools in Illinois.

We are fanatical about makeup, and we're excited that you love it too! Let's get started.

Different Types of Makeup Training Opportunities

There are a wide range of makeup training facilities where you can attend to build you skills, and you'll have to decide what exactly you'd like to learn. Here is a quick run-down of your options:

Schools That Focus 100% On Makeup. Unfortunately, there are only a few schools in the United States that focus solely on makeup. Fortunately, a few of those schools are in Illinois! They provide a truly in-depth understanding of makeup theory, and students are taught how to build a professional makeup kit; how to create different looks for different facial shapes, tones, and skin types; how to disguise skin imperfections; how to use airbrush makeup; how to build a professional makeup portfolio; and how to run a small business and get clients. These programs tend to be expensive--it's not uncommon for a four-month program to cost more than $10,000--but many attendees are happy with the experience. We've listed each of the schools available to you below, so take a look.

Cosmetology Schools. Whereas makeup schools teach you everything you need to know about makeup, cosmetology schools give you a broader beauty education. Instead of just learning makeup techniques, you'll learn how to style, color, and shape hair; how to keep skin healthy and beautiful; how to do professional manicures; and finally, you'll also learn a range of makeup techniques, such as how to use blush, mascara, and eyeliners, how to contour the face using shadows and highlights, and how to do different styles of makeup (such as bridal, fashion, etc). The most advantageous thing about going to a cosmetology school is that when you graduate, you'll be able to take the Illinois state cosmetology test and get a cosmetology license. That'll allow you to work in any beauty salon in the state.

Short-Term Workshops. In many cities, there are short-term makeup courses held at convention centers, conference halls, hotels, and salons. Makeup artists will teach a specific subject, such as how to work on models for photo shoots, or how to run a makeup business, or how to work with a specific skin tone or facial shape. There are two reasons why workshops are so fantastic: 1) you get to travel to a nearby city, and 2) they're usually inexpensive. You can check for workshops on,,, and, and look in heavily-populated cities like Chicago, Rockford, Joliet, Naperville, Aurora, Peoria, Springfield, Evanston, and Champaign.

Private Classes with Professional Makeup Artists. This is a fantastic opportunity for self-starters. Contact one of the makeup artists in your community (or, if you live in a rural or less-populated area, your nearest city) and arrange a one-on-one class. Or, if you have friends who are also interested in learning about makeup, arrange for a group lesson and negotiate a rate. You will get some fantastic hands-on instruction, AND you'll be able to ask the artist to teach you exactly what you want to know. The best part about learning from working makeup artists is that you can ask them questions about what it's actually like to be a makeup artist, and even make a professional connection that you can use later. And who knows? If the artist is doing well and needs some help, maybe you can even get a makeup artist assistant job out of it!

Illinois Special Effects Makeup Schools

There's one discipline of makeup that we didn't mention above, and that's special effects makeup (sometimes called "SFX makeup").

If you've ever wanted to transform people into various science fiction creatures, SFX makeup may be your gig. Great SFX makeup artists are incredibly creative, and learn to use materials and chemical processes to create wigs, skin, and outfits to transform people into movie characters. There are actually some very good special effects makeup programs in Illinois, and we've listed them below.

Makeup Artist Schools in Illinois

Makeup Career Options

So now that you've got an idea of where to develop your makeup skill set, what kind of makeup artist can you become? We wrote a LOT about this on our homepage (so check that out if you want some more details), but here's a quick rundown of the different jobs that makeup artists have:

  • Fashion Makeup. This is the job most people think about when they think "makeup artist." Fashion MUAs work with photographers and creative directors to determine the best look for a model at a photo shoot or live event. The work is super-exciting and super-competitive. There are fashion events in every major city, so getting into fashion doesn't have to mean relocating to New York or California.
  • Cinematic Makeup. Cinema makeup might mean moving to New York or California, but there is a truly surprising amount of cinematic and television work outside of NYC and LA. Super-fun and also super-competitive--you'll need to be at the top of your game if you want to do makeup for film and TV.
  • Stage Makeup. Illinois, and Chicago in particular, has a great history of live theatrical performances, and each of the actors in a stage play or concert will need makeup. These makeup artists learn how to use makeup in a way that complements that complicated lighting systems of a theatre.
  • Bridal Makeup. This is an ever-expanding area of makeup arts, and it can be very lucrative. Fashion MUAs may do bridal makeup part-time to supplement their incomes, whereas other MUAs may develop a reputation as a sought-after bridal MUA and work with brides full-time.
  • Salon Makeup. Salon work is the best and most reliable way to make a living doing makeup; we'll talk a little more about this below.
  • Business Makeup. Everyone thinks that you need to be a freelance makeup artist to call yourself a makeup artist, but that's not true! Makeup is a BIG business, and many people love being a part of advertising teams, marketing teams, and product development teams (where people brainstorm and design new types of makeup or new looks). The business side of makeup can be a very stable--and very lucrative--way to do makeup for a living.

Illinois Beauty Licenses

So if you do eventually decide to take the plunge and become a makeup artist in Illinois, will you need a license? We've scoured the state laws and reviewed all the information on the Illinois Board of Cosmetology website, but we can't find any laws that discuss makeup artist licenses--and we know of plenty of self-employed, independent makeup artists who do not have licenses (and plenty of people who work at makeup counters who do not have licenses).

However--it is not unlikely that the state of Illinois will eventually get more serious about making self-employed makeup artists get some kind of beauty license. If they update their laws, we will most definitely update this page and write some posts about it.

And, here is something else to keep in mind: you may not need a license if you're going to do freelance makeup as a self-employed makeup artist (ie, someone who works with brides, or actors, or models, or musicians, or directors, and so on), but if you work in a business establishment (such as a beauty salon), you'll need to get a cosmetology license or an esthetician license.

If you have any questions about licensing, you should contact the Illinois Board of Cosmetology at (888) 473-4858. They're the organization that regulates the beauty industry in Illinois, and they will be able to tell you if any of the licensing rules change.

Where Should You Go Next?

So where should you go? Should you go to a cosmetology school, or a makeup school, or do private lessons, or what?

Let's take a quick look at the pros and cons of each option:

  • Makeup-Only Schools. Pros: You'll learn a LOT, and truly develop your professional makeup skills. You'll also be working with other men and women who want to become professional makeup artists, and meeting like-minded people can propel your career forward. Cons: Schools are very, very expensive, and you won't be able to get a license when you graduate, meaning that you'll never be able to work in a salon.
  • Cosmetology Schools. Pros: You'll get a broader beauty education, and you'll always have the option of working in a beauty salon. Plus, sometimes having a broader beauty education can make you stand out among other makeup artists. Cons: You won't spend as much time learning about makeup, and you'll probably need to supplement your training with a couple of workshops or private lessons.

As for short-term workshops and private lessons--those are fantastic; the only bad thing about them is that you'll only be able to learn about specific aspects of makeup.

Here's the advice we usually give people: learn about all of the various educational opportunities available to you. Get information about Illinois cosmetology schools. Gather information about makeup programs. Look online for upcoming workshops in cities near you. And, of course, scour our excellent website. When you have a clearer understanding of your career options, you'll be able to make an informed decision about your professional career.​

Illinois Makeup Training: Locations

If you 1) live in Illinois and 2) want to learn about makeup, you are soooooooo lucky: there are some truly magnificent makeup artist schools in Illinois. Take a look, and see if any get your attention:

The New Age Spa Institute
346 East Golf Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60005
(847) 759 0900

Pivot Point Academy
144 East Lake Street
Bloomingdale, IL 60108
(847) 985-4321

Airbrush Academy
1441 North Ashland Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
(888) 897-8077

G Beauty Schools
17 North State
Chicago, IL
(815) 786-7266

Make Up First (fashion makeup and special effects makeup)
100 North LaSalle Street #1015
Chicago, IL 60602
(312) 621-0801

Media Make Up Academy
711 North Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60642
(312) 442-0062

Sonia Roselli Makeup Studio
7001 North Glenwood Avenue
Chicago, IL 60626
(312) 371-8596

The New Age Spa Institute
1651 Elk Boulevard
Des Plaines, IL 60016
(847) 759 0900

The Nail Inn & School of Cosmetology
47 Stephen Street
Lemont, IL 60439
(630) 243-0387

G Beauty Schools — Naperville Skin Institute
1100 North Sherman Avenue
Naperville, IL
(815) 786-7266

London Eyes International Academy of Makeup (fashion makeup and special effects makeup)
10600 Higgins Road
Rosemont, IL 60018
(847) 827-7220

London Eyes International Makeup School (fashion makeup and special effects makeup)
635 Butterfield Road
Villa Park, IL 60181
(630) 953-8280

Kosart Atelier School for Entertainment Arts (special effects makeup only)
39 Chestnut Avenue
Westmont, IL 60559
(630) 310-8353

There are some amazing makeup schools in Illinois! Some states have ZERO makeup schools, and that’s just sad.

Remember, though: for some people, cosmetology schools are a much better way to get into a beauty career, so here’s a list of some schools in Illinois that teach cosmetology:

Empire Beauty School
264 West Rand Road
Arlington Heights, IL 60004
(847) 305-1593

Alvareita’s College of Cosmetology
5400 West Main Street
Belleville, IL 62226
(618) 257-9193

Hairmasters Institute of Cosmetology
506 South McClun Street
Bloomington IL, 61701
(309) 827-6971

Cannella School of Hair Design
12943 Southwestern
Blue Island, IL 60406
(708) 388-4949

Kankakee Area Career Center
4083 North 1000 West Road
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
(815) 939-4971

Paul Mitchell The School — Bradley
1600 North State Route 50
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
(815) 932-5049

Trenz Beauty Academy
695 Wentworth Ave
Calumet City, IL 60409
(708) 832-0000

Kaskaskia College
27210 College Road
Centralia, IL 62801
(618) 545-3000
(800) 642-0859

Southern Illinois School of Cosmetology
803 East 2nd Street
Centralia, IL 62801
(618) 532-3969

Regency Beauty Institute — Champagne
517 West Town Center Boulevard
Champaign, IL 61822
(217) 531-9937

Cannella School of Hair Design
4217 North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60639
(773) 278-4477

Cannella School of Hair Design
9012 South Commercial Avenue
Chicago, IL 60017
(773) 221-4700

Cannella School of Hair Design
4269 South Archer Avenue
Chicago, IL 60632
(773) 890-0412

Dudley Beauty College – Chicago Campus
8501 South Green Street
Chicago, IL 60620
(773) 488-5900

Lena’s Artistic Beauty College
1140 West 87th Street
Chicago, IL 60620
Phone (773) 994-5257

Paul Mitchell, The School — Chicago
1225 South Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60607
(312) 614-1360

Steven Papageorge Hair Academy
1113-15 West Belmont
Chicago, IL 60657
(773) 561-2376

Truman Technical Center
1200 West Sunnyside Avenue
Chicago, IL 60640
(773) 907-3995

Bell Mar Beauty College
5717 West Cermak Road
Cicero, IL
(708) 863-6644

Concept College of Cosmetology
2500 Georgetown Road
Danville, IL 61832
(217) 442-9329

Shear Learning Academy of Cosmetology
241 North Main Street
Decatur, IL
(217) 425-9117

Oehrlein School of Cosmetology
100 Meadow Avenue
East Peoria, IL 61611
(309) 699-3672

Alvareita’s College of Cosmetology
333 South Kansas Street
Edwardsville, IL 62025
(618) 656-2593

Cannella School of Hair Design
117 West Chicago Street
Elgin, IL 60120
(847) 742-6611

Vatterott Educational Centers
110 Commerce Lane
Fairview Heights, IL 62208
(888) 202-2636

Highland Community College
2998 West Pearl City Road
Freeport, IL 61032
(815) 235-6121

College of DuPage
425 Fawell Boulevard
Glen Ellyn, IL 60137
(630) 942-2800

Alvareita’s College of Cosmetology
3048 Godfrey Road
Godfrey, IL 62035
(618) 466-8952

Aloha Cosmetology Center
2119 Pontoon Road
Granite City, IL 62040
(618) 797-1613

Empire Beauty School
1166 East Lake Street
Hanover Park, IL 60133
(630) 626-4648

Ms. Roberts Academy
552 Mannheim Road
Hillside, IL 60162
(708) 375-1715

Rend Lake College
468 North Ken Gray Parkway
Ina, IL 62846
(618) 437-5321

Professional’s Choice Hair Design Academy
2719 West Jefferson Street
Joliet, IL 60433
(815) 741-8224

Empire Beauty School
Green Trails Shopping Center
2709 Maple Avenue
Lisle, IL 60532
(630) 318-4212

Tri-County Beauty Academy
219 North State Street
Litchfield, IL 62056
(855) 349-2359

Paul Mitchell the School — Lombard
106 Yorktown Center
Lombard, IL 60148
(630) 426-6005

Franklin Cosmetology Institute
514 Franklin Street
Morris, Illinois 60450
(815) 942-2668

Capri Beauty College — New Lenox Campus
1938 East Lincoln Highway
New Lenox, IL 60451
(815) 485-3020

Niles School of Cosmetology
8057 North Milwaukee Avenue
Niles, IL 60714
(847) 965-8061

Capri Beauty College — Oak Forest Campus
15815 Rob Roy Drive
Oak Forest, IL 60452
(708) 687-3020

John Amico School of Hair Design
15301 South Cicero Avenue
Oak Forest, IL 60452
(708) 687-7800

Cameo Beauty Academy
9714 South Cicero
Oak Lawn, IL 60453
(708) 636-4660

Gem City College
700 State Street
Quincy, IL 62301
(217) 222-0391

The Salon Professional Academy — Shorewood
335 Vertin Boulevard
Shorewood, IL 60404
(815) 609-7120

Empire Beauty School
3106 West North Avenue
Stone Park, IL 60165
(708) 761-6916

Concept College of Cosmetology
202 East University Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
(217) 344-7550

Empire Beauty School
226 Hawthorn Village Commons
Vernon Hills, IL 60061
(847) 780-7694

Cannella School of Hair Design
617 West North Avenue
Villa Park, IL 60181
(630) 833-6118

Creative Touch Cosmetology School
234 East Third Street
Waterloo, IL 62298
(618) 939-0322

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