Hello, beauties! Today’s post is part of my new series called So You Want to Be a Makeup Artist, and it’s all about starting from the very beginning, beauty school! I thought there would be no better place to start than with a question I get from people all the time…is beauty school really worth it? Keep reading on to find out my answer…it might shock you!
First off all, I thought it would be important to share my beauty school story. Keep in mind, everyone has a different story when it comes to anything! My experience was not common. I went to an Aveda school, which is considered to be the “Harvard” of beauty schools. I started off signed up for their esthetician program, but was talked into doing cosmetology instead. They explained to me that it was easier for makeup artists to get jobs if they could do hair too. It made sense, and I trusted them completely. Reluctantly, I said yes, and it was the best/worst yes I have ever agreed to.
My cosmetology experience
Right off the bat, I KNEW cosmetology was not for me. When we were getting our kits on the first day, everyone else was so excited about all the tools and goodies in our kits, and I didn’t even know what half the stuff was. Everyone was talking about how they couldn’t wait to do color, or cut hair, or even the dreaded perm! I was still not sold. However, in the spirit of trying, I told myself I would do it. And that’s when the adventure began.
I give myself credit, I lasted two months. However, that was two months of terrible haircuts, frustrating perm rod applications, and breakdowns from not retaining the information and techniques quite like the other students. To say I had reached a breaking point was an understatement. The final straw was when I did a haircut backwards on a mannequin, and it turned out absolutely awful. My instructor looked me dead in the eye and said “Maybe cosmetology just isn’t for you.” He was right, it wasn’t. And I knew it wasn’t.
The next day, I went into the admissions office and told them I had made a huge mistake. I knew that I had only wanted to work with skin, and that hair was so out of my league. Truthfully, I didn’t care if I got less jobs with an esthetician’s license. I just wanted out of cosmetology.
Instantly, after switching BACK into esthiology, I knew I had made the right decision. Remember, I had said that saying yes to cosmetology was the “worst/best yes I had ever agreed to”. I made so many friends from my cosmetology class, most of which are still close friends to this day. I proved to myself to follow my instinct, even when I’m told otherwise (Sidenote: this is a metaphor for my entire life, click here to read about why I decided to become a teacher!) Despite all of these lessons and relationships, esthiology was the place for me to be. I graduated within six months, and got a job with Sephora immediately after.
Cosmetology vs. Esthiology? What’s the difference?
This is a huge thing to consider before applying for beauty school. Chances are, the admissions office at whatever beauty school you so choose will help you with this. But I’m going to break it down for you. This list is from my experience in beauty school, not necessarily in the working world.
- Mostly deals with hair (coloring, cutting, perming, etc.)
- Facial waxing (eyebrows, lip, chin)
- A little bit of facial services/training
- A little bit of nail services/training
- Minimal makeup services/training
- Mostly deals with skincare related services/training (facials, massages, body treatments, etc.)
- Lots of facial and body waxing services/training (full face, full body, including things that most people don’t want to talk about)
- A little bit of makeup services/training
Now that I have sort of mapped out what each focuses on, I’m sure you noticed that makeup was at the very bottom for both. Yup, we rarely ever did makeup in beauty school. In fact, when we did training on makeup, I knew more than what the book had even outlined. It was almost laughable how little of makeup we did, especially considering how many of us were there to do makeup professionally. However, what I learned in esthiology is completely relevant to what I do now as a makeup artist…in ways that I didn’t even realize until AFTER I started doing makeup.
Had I not learned exactly how the skin works, why it gets oily or dry, what common irritants are, and why skin responds to product in the way it does, I would not be as successful of a makeup artist. This is important to note as you start your journey to become a makeup artist.
The business aspect of the beauty industry
If you aren’t feeling what I’m throwing at you by now, this might reel you in. The beauty industry, like any other industry, requires business and marketing skills. You have to know not only how to market your business, but how to market yourself. And where did I learn how to do all of those things? Yup, beauty school! Towards the end of my program, we started to discuss potential careers, different marketing strategies, and what to do in certain situations regarding business. We were taught how to effectively, and legally, run a business, and what all that entails. This was the moment while I was in beauty school where I felt like I received the best knowledge. Beauty school prepared me for how to be an effective business owner.
Does having a license really make that much of a difference to clients?
I can’t speak for my clients, but I will say that it most certainly looks better when you can follow up their questions with professional answers. For example, when I am working with a client, and they talk about how they get so annoyed with how oily their skin is, I can follow that up with something other than “Aw, that’s the worst!” I can give them a factual reason for why their skin gets oily throughout the day, as well as how to combat that with something other than a pound of foundation.
Technically, you don’t need a license to perform makeup services. A certification is always better than some girl with an Urban Decay Naked palette and 3 brushes, but you don’t NEED anything saying you are a professional makeup artist to be one. I have never had clients come up to me and ask “Can I see a copy of your license please?”, but I know that they trust my expertise BECAUSE of my license.
If I had a do over, I would 100% do what I did all over again. The knowledge that I received through school, and the lessons I learned along the way are something that you truly cannot put a price on. It might not be important to you to obtain a license to do bridal makeup, but I can guarantee it will be important to your clients to work with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
Being able to back up what you’re talking about to clients is vital to creating a steady clientele (which we will talk about in another lesson of #SYWTBAMA!) If you walk in with information that you solely learned from a YouTube video, it’s not going to look as credible to a savvy client. So should you consider beauty school? Yes. Absolutely. Should you research which beauty school is right for you? A million times over. Will it be beneficial to you and your business? You bet.