Makeup Artists, Theatrical and Performance

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About the Job

Apply makeup to performers to reflect period, setting, and situation of their role.

It is also Called

  • Special Effects Technician
  • Special Effects Makeup Artist
  • Special Effects Designer
  • Prosthetic Makeup Designer
  • Makeup Instructor
  • Makeup Artist
  • Hair and Makeup Designer
  • Commercial Makeup Artist
  • Body Make-Up Artist
  • Beauty Therapist

What They Do

  • Demonstrate products to clients, and provide instruction in makeup application.
  • Wash and reset wigs.
  • Provide performers with makeup removal assistance after performances have been completed.
  • Study production information, such as character descriptions, period settings, and situations, to determine makeup requirements.
  • Advise hairdressers on the hairstyles required for character parts.
  • Create character drawings or models, based upon independent research, to augment period production files.
  • Design rubber or plastic prostheses that can be used to change performers' appearances.
  • Evaluate environmental characteristics, such as venue size and lighting plans, to determine makeup requirements.
  • Attach prostheses to performers and apply makeup to create special features or effects, such as scars, aging, or illness.
  • Examine sketches, photographs, and plaster models to obtain desired character image depiction.


People who work in this occupation generally have the interest code: AR.

This means people who work in this occupation generally have Artistic interests, but also prefer Realistic environments.

Work Values

People who work in this occupation generally prize Relationships, but also value Working Conditions and Achievement in their jobs.

Things They Need to Know

  • Customer and Personal Service - Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
  • Fine Arts - Knowledge of the theory and techniques required to compose, produce, and perform works of music, dance, visual arts, drama, and sculpture.
  • Administration and Management - Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Design - Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.

Things They Need to Be Able to Do

  • Speaking - Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Active Listening - Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Time Management - Managing one's own time and the time of others.
  • Coordination - Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Critical Thinking - Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

Education Required

Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.


In 2016, the average annual wage in Pennsylvania was $58,200 with most people making between $18,350 and $105,750


avg. annual growth

During 2014, this occupation employed approximately 80 people in Pennsylvania. It is projected that there will be 100 employed in 2024.

This occupation will have about 2 openings due to growth and about -2 replacement openings for approximately 0 total annual openings.

Pennsylvania Department of Education