Makeup Artist Schools in Washington

Are you a little confused about where to go to learn new makeup techniques? If so, that's totally ok--most people don't know that there are a few different types of makeup schools, and each one is a little different. Some are for people who want to become makeup artists; others are for people who want to become beauticians, and others are for people who simply want to learn a few new things about makeup.

Here are the different varieties of makeup school, along with which type of makeup school might be best for you, following up by a list of all the makeup artist schools in Washington state.

Full-Time Schools for Future Makeup Artists.

If you'd like to start a long and successful career as a makeup artist, this might be the spot for you. These schools dive deep into makeup artistry, and teach:​

  • Hundreds of different artistic styles and application procedures;
  • Color theory, and how to incorporate the philosophy of color theory into your practice;
  • How to work with models and clients of different skin tones, facial structures, and skin imperfections (yes, MANY models have skin imperfections!)
  • Ways to build your portfolio with photos of professional work you've done;
  • Methods of networking and building a professional business; and
  • How to make money in different areas of makeup (such as bridal makeup, editorial makeup, avant-garde makeup, and so on).

The only downer about makeup schools is that 1) they are full-time schools, and take a few months to just under a year to complete; 2) they can get crazy expensive, and it's not uncommon for tuition to be $12,500 and higher; and 3) upon graduation, you won't be able to get any kind of beauty license (and a license can be a great thing to have, as we'll discuss below).

All that said, if you're certain you want a career in makeup, a makeup artistry school is definitely something you should look into.

Beauty Schools / Cosmetology Colleges.​

Most people are familiar with beauty schools. You learn hair--how to color it, cut it, shape it, and style it--and you learn skin care routines, nails, and some basic makeup techniques. It's not as glamorous as a makeup artistry school, but it's still a FANTASTIC option, and there are many, many makeup artists who got their start in a beauty school.

Why is that? Because having a broad base of skills--being able to do hair and skin and makeup and nails, as opposed to just makeup--can be a huge plus when it comes to finding work later on in your career. If you live in a place where the makeup artists can only do makeup, and you've been trained to do a whole lot more--you'll have a LOT of work.

Because this is also a big time commitment, and because it's also a pricey option (a lot less pricey than full-time makeup schools, though!), it's for people who want a career in makeup.

Short-Term Workshops.​

This is a great option for absolutely everyone--for people who want to become makeup artists, and for people who just want to learn a few new tricks. Workshops typically last a very short period time, and focus on one subject. It may be bridal makeup, it may be sci-fi makeup, it may be runway makeup--or it could simply be a general introduction to makeup. Because classes are short-term, they're usually pretty affordable--some may cost a couple hundred dollars, but the highest ones are usually around $1,500, and the lowest ones are usually around $100 or $200.

Workshops (sometimes called "intensives") usually take place in a metropolitan area, so you can check sites like ThumbTack, EventBrite, and Yelp for upcoming workshops in Seattle, Tacoma, Spokane, Vancouver, Kent, Bellevue, Everett, and Renton.

Private Lessons from a Pro.

ANOTHER great option for just about everyone, regardless of one's careers goals. If you're getting antsy and you don't want to twiddle your thumbs waiting for a workshop to happen, find a makeup artist in your area, and ask them for private coaching. Makeup artists--particularly bridal makeup artists, who have a busy season and a slow season--usually love to sign people up for private classes, because it can be a great side income. There are two ways to make these classes even better: invite friends and make it a group outing, and talk to the artist in advance and request exactly the subjects you want to learn about. A couple of one-on-one lessons from a private tutor can be a great way for people--amateurs and professionals alike--to learn about makeup.

Tutorials Online.

While this might not be a typical "school" scenario, it's definitely important. There is an unbelievable number of tutorials, how-tos, and DIY guides on the internet, and some of them are truly helpful. There are, of course, a lot that mean well but are kind of awful, but most of the internet is like that. We've put together some of the most helpful "how-tos" on the internet, so be sure to check those out.

Ways To Do Makeup For A Living​

So now that you know where you can develop your makeup skills, what are the different ways that people turn makeup into a career? We discussed this at length on our homepage, but here are the main ways that people enter the makeup trade:​

Makeup for Fashion Photography and Live Events. If you have dreams of doing makeup for models on a catwalk or a photo shoot, this is the kind of makeup career you're looking for. These MUAs learn how to apply makeup so that it looks great when models are photographed (and that can be very, very tricky). The competition for these jobs is pretty difficult, but if you're able to build a professional network, develop a great portfolio, and never give up, it can be a very exciting way to make a living.

Makeup for Cinema and Television. As you would imagine, any time an actress or actor goes in front of the camera, they've got LOTS of makeup on. This is another competitive-but-super-exciting area of makeup, and you really have to know your stuff to make it. Most of the work is in NYC or LA, but there are plenty of independent films, local television programs, theatre productions, and special events where people need makeup to appear on camera. This area of makeup would include special effects makeup, which is a very different discipline (in fact, people who are interested in SFX usually go to schools dedicated solely to SFX makeup; these schools are located in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and California).

Bridal Makeup. This is a FANTASTIC way to earn money doing makeup. Whereas the other areas of makeup are super-competitive, bridal makeup is a little more easy to do, especially because you can have a full-time job during the week, and do bridal make-up part-time on the weekends. We've written plenty of articles on ways to make a living as a bridal makeup artist, so take a peek around the site and see if anything speaks to you.

Corporate Makeup. This is an often-overlooked area of makeup, but it can be a very satisfying (and very high-paying) career choice. Makeup is a BIG business, and the companies that create makeup products hire a LOT of men and women to develop their merchandise. That means hiring people to dream up new products, hiring people to find clever ways of advertising those products, hiring salespeople to sell those products, and hiring people to go from store to store teaching people how to use new products. Being a fashion MUA can be a rocky road and it can be tough to drum up new business, but having a 9-to-5 job working with makeup can be a very stable option.

Makeup Artist Schools in Washington

Types of Beauty Licenses​

​As of right now, the state of Washington doesn't offer a makeup artist license. We've checked every page of their website, and we couldn't find any mention of makeup artists or makeup artist licenses.

So does that mean you don't need a license to become a makeup artist in Washington?

Many freelance makeup artists--that is, people who do makeup for brides at weddings, models at fashion shows, and actors on a set, and who do NOT work in a Washington beauty salon or spa--do not have any kind of license. They probably *should,* but many of them do not. The state of Washington has been somewhat lax about makeup artist licensing, and many makeup artists do freelance makeup without any kind of license.

Makeup artists who work in a Washington beauty salon or Washington day spa DO need to have a license: either a cosmetology license if they do hair, or an esthetician license if they do skin care. It's not legal to work in a Washington beauty establishment and not have a license, so if you plan on working in a beauty salon--and that can be a very wise decision, as you build your makeup business--then you will need a license.

Here's something to remember: the state laws that dictate beauty careers in Washington change all the time, and as makeup artistry grows more popular, it's likely that Washington will regulate the industry a little more thoroughly. Check back on the Board of Cosmetology website (or call them directly at 360-664-6626) if you have questions.​

Schools and Training in Washington State​

There are two makeup schools in Washington:​

Glam Lab Makeup Studios
114 Alaskan Way
Seattle, WA 98104
(415) 988-5555
(415) 858-GLAM


Art of Makeup
400 East Evergreen Boulevard
Vancouver, WA 98660
(360) 553-3855

Remember--MANY makeup artists get their start at a local beauty school, so if you don't like either or those schools (or find them too expensive), you should most definitely check out the cosmetology schools in your area.

We wish you the best! Come back and keep us company when you're a high-profile makeup artist!

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