Classes for Makeup Artist Jobs in Virginia

It may be difficult to imagine working as a makeup artist so far away from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, but there is no shortage of opportunities for makeup artists in Virginia to take advantage of. The work of a makeup artist extends far beyond the red carpet, including work in spas, salons, beauty parlors, the world of theater, as a freelance artist, and with cosmetics manufacturers and retailers, just to name a few options.

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One of the best parts about being a makeup artist is the ability to pursue so many different careers that align with your passion and that allow you to develop a distinct approach to makeup artistry. From the luxury salons of Arlington, to media production companies in Richmond, to wedding and photography artistry in Virginia Beach, the opportunities for makeup artists in Virginia with formal schooling are endless.

Working as a makeup artist requires creativity and knowledge specific to your craft. With the right education you will get to spend your days helping accentuate the natural beauty of your clients, while also having the freedom to express your own artistic creativity.

How to Become a Makeup Artist in Virginia

To become a makeup artist in Virginia, you’ll start by qualifying for either a cosmetologist or esthetician license through the Virginia Board for Barbers and Cosmetology.

Makeup Artist School

  • An esthetician license requires you to complete 600 clock hours of training through an approved school
  • A Cosmetology license requires you to complete 1500 clock hours of training through an approved school

In order to become licensed as a cosmetologist or esthetician, you must complete these steps:

Some 200 schools located throughout the state have been approved, including campus locations in:

  • Richmond
  • Virginia Beach
  • Newport News
  • Alexandria
  • Norfolk
  • Chesapeake
  • Hampton
  • Roanoke
  • Fairfax

Required Exams

Cosmetology Exam Breakdown – When taking the cosmetology examination, you can expect the following types of questions:

  • Written exam
    • Virginia state general laws, rules, and regulations – 11% of exam
    • Safety, sanitation, and infection control – 30% of exam
    • Implements, tools, and equipment – 17% of exam
    • Product knowledge and chemistry – 13% of exam
    • Anatomy and physiology – 5% of exam
    • Cosmetology services – 24% of exam
  • Practical exam
    • Initial set up
    • Blood spill procedures
    • Thermal curling demonstration
    • Haircut
    • Blow dry demonstration
    • Eyebrow wax
    • Chemical waving
    • Hair coloring
    • Chemical relaxer retouch
    • Disinfection and cleanup

You are responsible for providing for all your supplies, including two mannequin heads, for the practical examination. There is a minimum passing score of 75% for both exams. You must also pay an exam fee of $85 for both the practical and written exam.

Esthetician Exam Breakdown – The esthetics exam contains both a written and practical portion, covering these subjects:

  • Written exam
    • Virginia state general laws, rules, and regulations – 15% of exam
    • Safety, sanitation, and infection control – 28% of exam
    • Implements, tools, and equipment – 14% of exam
    • Product knowledge and chemistry – 15% of exam
    • Anatomy and physiology – 4% of exam
    • Esthetics services – 24% of exam
  • Practical exam
    • Disinfection and setup
    • Blood spill procedures
    • Facial
    • Facial mask
    • Manual extraction
    • Tweezing and waxing
    • Disinfection and cleanup

You are responsible for providing all of your own supplies for the practical examination. The passing score for both exams is a 75%. There is an exam fee of $85 each for the practical and written examinations.

Beginning your Career as a Makeup Artist in Virginia

Jobs in the health and beauty industry, including makeup artist jobs, are seeing growth throughout the state of Virginia. Between 2012 and 2022, the Virginia Department of Labor expects an increase of nearly 2,400 jobs in the state’s beauty industry.

An option you may pursue at the beginning of your career is a job on the retail side of the cosmetics industry. By working as a sales associate at a location like MAC Cosmetics in Richmond’s Regency Square, you will gain valuable customer service experience and, more importantly, an intimate familiarity with all kinds of cosmetics.

There are a number of excellent spas and salons throughout the state that employ top-quality makeup artists. There is a collection of such establishments in the Virginia Beach area, including Dupre’s Salon and Day Spa and the Sumatra Salon & Spa. If Virginia Beach doesn’t intrigue you, there are fantastic spas and salons elsewhere in the state, such as the Dolce Vita Salon & Spa in McLean.

Interested in working in the entertainment industry? Virginia is home to one of the most prolific theater companies in the country, the Barter Theatre in Abingdon VA. The Barter puts on more plays than any other theatre in the country and is an excellent place to enter into the world of entertainment makeup artistry.

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