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Makeup artist backstage at the Lee Matthews show, Spring/Summer 2007 Australia Fashion Week

A make-up artist, also called a makeup artist, and often shortened to MUA, is an artist whose medium is the human body, applying makeup and prosthetics on others for theatre, television, film, fashion, magazines and other similar productions including all aspects of the modeling industry. Awards given for this profession in the entertainment industry include the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling,[1] and entertainment industry awards such as the Emmy Awards,[2][3] and the Golden Globes.[4] In some countries professional licenses are required by agencies in order for them to hire the MUA. Bigger production companies[5] have in-house makeup artists on their payroll although most MUA's generally are freelance and their times remain flexible depending on the project.

Makeup techniques

A make-up artist's table.


Fashion makeup is used in magazine photography as well as on the fashion runway. Avant-garde makeup is also an applicable technique used for projects that require experimental themes. Fashion makeup is also commonly used in television and film ranging for the natural prime look to more sophisticated applications such as color balance.

Theatrical makeup

Stage makeup is used as a method in conjunction with stage lighting to highlight the actors' faces in order to make expressions visible to the audience from moderate distances. This often includes defining the eyes and lips as well as the highlights and lowlights of the facial bones.

Special make-up effects (FX makeup)

Main article: Prosthetic makeup

Special effects makeup techniques

The use of special effects techniques enhancing physical features to exhibit metaphysical characteristics[clarification needed] as well as fantasy makeup. The use of prosthetics and plaster casting are also required for projects that entails non-human appearances. Accents such as theatrical blood and ooze are also techniques applicable to this type of makeup.


Main article: Airbrush makeup

An airbrush is a small air-operated device that sprays water-based makeup by a process of nebulization. Airbrushed makeup was used in Hollywood movies at least as early as the 1930s. Monte Westmore is sometimes credited[6] with developing the technique for Gone With the Wind, but his brother Wally was using it at least five years earlier in Pre-Code films such as Murder at the Vanities. It has recently been re-popularized by the advent of HDTV and digital photography, where the camera focuses on higher depths of detail. Liquid foundations that are high in coverage but thin in consistency are applied with the airbrush for full coverage without a heavy build-up of product.

High definition

This is an art which involves the use of light[7] reflectors and ingredients such as minerals to give the skin a flawless finish. This was developed due to the further development of high definition[8] mediums and the cost implications of airbrush makeup.

In Bollywood

In 1955 the Bollywood group Cine Costume Make-Up Artist & Hair Dressers' Association (CCMAA) created a rule that did not allow women to obtain memberships as makeup artists.[9] However, in 2014 the Supreme Court of India ruled that this rule was in violation of the Indian constitutional guarantees granted under Article 14 (right to equality), 19(1)(g) (freedom to carry out any profession) and Article 21 (right to liberty).[9] The judges of the Supreme Court of India stated that the ban on women makeup artist members had no "rationale nexus" to the cause sought to be achieved and was "unacceptable, impermissible and inconsistent" with the constitutional rights guaranteed to the citizens.[9] The Court also found illegal the rule which mandated that for any artist, female or male, to work in the industry, they must have domicile status of five years in the state where they intend to work.[9] In 2015 it was announced that Charu Khurana had become the first woman to be registered by the Cine Costume Make-Up Artist & Hair Dressers' Association.[10]

In June 2014, the Cine Costume Make-Up Artist & Hair Dressers' Association (CCMAA) authorised an official protest on the movie set of Bang Bang! in protest of a foreign makeup artist, Daniel Bauer, working on the movie for its lead actress, Katrina Kaif. The CCMAA and 15 of its members protested on the movie set as Daniel Bauer was not registered with the Union, despite the Union banning foreign artists working in Bollywood. The issue was resolved with the CCMAA granting Daniel Bauer full membership.[11]

Notable make-up artists

See also: Category:Make-up artists


  1. ^ "82nd Academy Awards Oscar Nominees for Make-up". Makeup Mag. Archived from the original on 2012-07-16. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  2. ^ "Emmy Awards Nominations Announced". Makeup Mag. Archived from the original on 2012-09-13. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  3. ^ "61st Emmy for Makeup Nominees". Fox News Idaho. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  4. ^ "67th Golden Globe Awards Tina Fey Make Up Break Down". pursebuzz. Archived from the original on 2010-01-22. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  5. ^ "Revisiting the 2009 Make-up Oscar Contenders". Makeup Mag. Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  6. ^ [dead link]
  7. ^ "Top High Definition Makeup". Archived from the original on 2009-04-07. Retrieved 2010-02-05.
  8. ^ Elsworth, Catherine (2005-12-03). "Are they ready for a high-definition close-up?". Telegraph Media Group Limited. Archived from the original on 2006-01-29. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  9. ^ a b c d Samyabrata Ray Goswami (2014-11-11). "Women get makeup justice". Archived from the original on April 22, 2015. Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  10. ^ Amit Anand Choudhary (April 21, 2015). "Bollywood make-up artists' group inducts first woman after SC rap". Retrieved 2015-04-21.
  11. ^ "Salman Khan comes to Katrina Kaif's rescue". 28 June 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2018.