Dancers, actors, celebrities, brides, singers, and every-day people could be your clients when you work as a makeup artist in Illinois.
Illinois is the regional capital of fashion and beauty. Chicago’s Couture Fashion Week attracts thousands of fashion aficionados, as well as some of the biggest names in the field. As a makeup artist you may find fashion and beauty are your calling, and that Chicago feeds your addiction – whether you work with renowned cosmetics retailers or high-end salons.
Illinois is home to the fourth highest number of makeup artists working in the theatrical and performing arts nationwide. The greater Chicago urban region alone provides the third-highest number of makeup artist jobs in this field among all metropolitan areas in the country.
It’s well known that Illinois – particularly Chicago – is home to some of the nation’s best known TV personalities – including TV icon Oprah Winfrey. Chicago also serves as the filming location for numerous high-budget films and television series – ER and Chicago PD being only a couple of examples.
Makeup artists are classified as personal appearance professionals. In Illinois, jobs in this field are expected to increase by 11.89 percent between 2012 and 2022, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
How to Become a Makeup Artist in Illinois
Working exclusively as a makeup artist in Illinois does not require you to hold a license. This means you can offer makeup application services without operating under the authority of any state regulatory agency.
If you plan to expand the services you offer to include skin analysis, skincare treatments, or other personal care and wellness services related to skin, hair and nails, you would need to be licensed as an esthetician or cosmetologist through the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR). This would involve meeting the training and practice hour requirements set by the Illinois State Board of Cosmetology:
- Cosmetologist License – requires 1,500 hours of education from an approved cosmetology school. By holding this license you will be able to provide services that relate to the fields of esthetics, hairdressing, hairstyling, hair braiding, and nail technology.
- Esthetician License – requires 750 hours of education from an approved cosmetology school. By holding this license you will be able to provide services that include:
- Eyelash extension application
- Lightening or coloring of hair (except hair on the scalp)
- Apply cosmetic preparations, body wraps, body treatments, and hydrotherapy to a client’s skin
- Beautifying, exfoliating, massaging, and cleansing treatments for a client’s skin
Makeup Artist Schools in Illinois
There are dozens of cosmetology schools located throughout Illinois, many of which offer the required curriculum needed to become a cosmetologist or esthetician.
The makeup artist courses that are part of your curriculum will be similar whether you are pursuing a cosmetology or esthetician license. These courses will include the study of:
- Professional makeup techniques
- Makeup products
- Mask therapy and facial treatments
- Superfluous hair removal
- Skin care
- Personal hygiene and public health
- Professional ethics
- Sterilization, sanitation, and bacteriology
- Scientific concepts of skin and makeup
Once you have completed your education you will still need to pass a practical and theory exam before you will be eligible for licensure. These exams will be specific to your field.
Career Opportunities for Makeup Artists in Illinois
Illinois provides some of the most career opportunities for makeup artists of any state in the nation. In fact, it offers more makeup artist jobs in the theatrical and performing arts than 90 percent of all other states. You can follow your artistic skills to career success, with the following fields employing the vast majority of Illinois’ makeup artists:
Film and Television Production in Illinois
As one of the nation’s top film and television producing states, makeup artists are in high demand in Illinois’ media production industry. A list of well known productions illustrates just how significant Illinois is in this field:
- The Blues Brothers
- Wayne’s World
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
- Home Alone
- The Fugitive
- I, Robot
- Batman Begins
- The Dark Knight
- Transformers: Dark of the Moon
- Chicago Hope
- Early Edition
- Discovery Channel’s Cash Cab
- CBS’s The Good Wife and Mike and Molly
- Showtime’s Shameless
- NBC’s Chicago Fire and Chicago P.D.
- The Oprah Winfrey Show
To be a part of the action you can check with some of the state’s biggest movie and television production companies, all of which are located in Chicago:
- 11 Eleven Entertainment
- 540 Production
- 9:23 Films
- ABSA Productions
- Beverly Ridge Pictures
- Boyer Productions
- Harpo Productions
Freelance, Salons, and Cosmetic Companies in Illinois
As a makeup artist you may also be interested in working in beauty salons, as a freelancer, or with cosmetic companies. Many makeup artists get their start in one of these areas:
- Freelance skincare specialist/makeup artist at Elizabeth Arden in Chicago
- Aesthetician at Benefit Cosmetics in Woodfield
- Bobbi Brown Make-Up Artist at The Estee Lauder Companies in Skokie
- Selling Specialist with Urban Decay Cosmetics in Chicago, part of the L’Oréal group
- Makeup Artist at Remy Hair Shop And Nail BAR in Chicago
- Specialty Beauty Advisor with ULTA Salon, Cosmetics and Fragrance in Tinley Park; ULTA is headquartered in Bolingbrook
- Luxe a Salon and Spa in Chicago
- Red Door Spa in Chicago
- Allure Salon and Spa in Aurora
- WM Day Spa Salon in Rockford
- Thexperience Salon and Spa in Rockford
- Five Senses Spa and Salon in Peoria
Performing and Theatrical Arts
Illinois, and especially the Chicago area, also offers great opportunities in the performing and theatrical arts. Makeup artists are an essential part of opera companies, theatre troupes, and other performing artists who enhance the state’s cultural experience:
- Lifeline Theatre in Chicago
- Steppenwolf Theatre Company in Chicago
- Chicago Shakespeare Theater
- Lyric Opera of Chicago
- Lithuanian Opera Company of Chicago
- Springfield Municipal Opera
In fact, Chicago is the birthplace of modern improvised comedy theatre. To demonstrate its support of the performing arts and the business this industry stimulates, Illinois and municipalities hold annual events to further encourage improv:
- Chicago International Film Festival
- Chicago Couture Fashion Week
- Naperville Independent Film Festival
- Springfield Old Capitol Art Fair