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Recently, Talking Pretty caught up with celebrity makeup artist Saisha Beecham. It was the perfect opportunity to discuss what it really takes to become a successful makeup artist.

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Talking Pretty: Should aspiring makeup artists attend cosmetology school? Is a license necessary?

Saisha Beecham: You don’t need a license to be a makeup artist, because there are no chemicals or anything like that. Normally to be a cosmetologist, you need a cosmetology license because you’re going to be dealing with chemicals and they can harm somebody. As a makeup artist, what makes you a professional is basically just getting paid gigs.

TP: So where do you feel is the best place for an aspiring makeup artist to start, for example, working in a department store?

SB: That is an option, but a lot of times the department stores are going to teach you their techniques and the way they want to do it, or there’s going to be only a “certain type” of clientele that’s coming in. So you’re just going to kind of be stuck with that and as soon as you’re on a set, [in] a totally different kind of atmosphere and [with] a totally different face, you’re going to be kind of lost. So this is what I always tell people when they ask me this question:

First you need to research. … The research is what gives you the knowledge, [once] you have the knowledge you need to practice, when you have that knowledge that’s what gives you the confidence, and the confidence is what makes you the best. So I would say research, gain the knowledge, practice on your friends and do test shoots for photographers.

TP: How should a makeup artist price their services, especially when just starting out?

SB: I would say a good starting range if you’re going to do a test shoot with a photographer with an aspiring model, I would say start out for one look for $75. Fifty dollars is good, but I would say $75 and let them talk you down to $50. That’s where I started, so honestly I only know what I did, and that’s what I usually share with the people who work under me. I tell them all the steps that I took and 100 percent of the assistants that ever worked under me are key makeup artists now.


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