A Day In The Life Of… A Make-up Artist

Published: September 17, 2010
By: Faye Hollands

If you’ve got a passion for beauty and a creative flair then a career as a Professional Make-Up Artist could be the one for you!   Here’s an insiders look into the day of Kelly Hollands, a Freelance Make-Up Artist, who runs her own successful business making people look beautiful…

Professional Profile

What is your current occupation?

I am a Freelance Make-up Artist and have been running my own business,  ‘Make-up by Kelly Hollands’, since 2008.

What were you doing before you started your current job/business?

Previously I was a Personal Assistant to the Head of Transfer Pricing/Taxation at Field Fisher Waterhouse.  I had worked within the P.A./Secretarial sector since 1993.

How did you make the move into your current position?

I have always had an interest in the beauty industry, but it wasn’t until I was getting married (and found myself the victim of a horrendous bridal make-up trial!) that I believed I could switch career paths and train to be a Make-up Artist.

Within a few months of returning from my honeymoon I began my training (Diploma in Make-up Artistry) and once qualified I took the plunge to leave my full-time job in London and start up my business (which I originally called Heavenly Beauty).  My career path detoured slightly for a number of years when I became pregnant and a full-time Mother.  It wasn’t until after the birth of my second child that I gave 100% to making my business work (with the new name ‘Make-up by Kelly Hollands’).

To re-launch my business I advertised on as many free wedding/model/fashion/photographic websites as I could and I designed a website for myself.  I exhibited at local wedding fairs, advertised in newspapers and magazines (all geared towards bridal as I knew this was year- round work).  Within a number of days of my website going ‘live’ I had my first enquiry and business took off from there.

Within the last three years I have worked at over 300 weddings and on a variety of photo-shoots.  My work has been published in local and national bridal magazines and my business continues to grow from strength-to-strength through word of mouth and recommendations from past clients.

Recently I was able to take on a newly qualified Make-up Artist to help with my busy schedule.  My website has also now been professionally designed and this has helped me to secure more business through higher ranking on the search engines.

Since obtaining a Diploma in Make-up Artistry I have also attended a number of courses at various establishments including the prestigious Jemma Kidd School of Make-up.  I keep up-to-date with the latest trends and products within the industry and this has also led me to train in Airbase Airbrush make-up – the choice for TV and Film Make-up Artists.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

A typical day for me would usually consist of:

  • Checking emails and enquiries – I like to make sure I am always up to date with any enquiries that need responding to.
  • Head off to do make-up for a bride and her bridal party.  This usually involves a very early start and could be anywhere between 5 miles and 60 miles from my home.  I’m a regular at most of the venues within Essex so it’s always nice to work somewhere familiar where I know the staff, etc.
  • Once I’ve finished up with a wedding in the morning I will then go on to bridal make-up trials.  I always schedule these on an afternoon so that I can fit a wedding party in in the morning.  A trial can take up to two hours so I can normally only book in a maximum of two in the afternoon.
  • From trials I may go on to a ‘special occasion’ make-up or a make-up lesson.  These are always popular all year round.
  • My weekend days usually end around 7pm and from there I’ll re-check emails, carry out any invoicing/accounts and then sort my kit out (washing brushes, re-stocking) ready for the next day.

What do you love most about your job?

Other than meeting a variety of interesting people, I love the fact that I make people look good and feel confident about themselves.  To be able to make a bride look radiant and glowing on one of the most memorable days of her life is a privilege.

What is the most challenging aspect of your job?

Whether I am making over a Bride and her bridal party on one of the most important days of her life; or assisting on a photo shoot where I may have been given just a few minutes to create an intricate makeover, I always find my job challenging.  It is those challenges that motivate me and enthuse me to better myself.

What are the top 3 pieces of advice you would give someone considering following your footsteps?

  • Never stop learning – I regularly attend master-classes and one day training sessions to focus on the latest make-up trends, products and looks.  Just by speaking to other Make-up Artists and watching YouTube videos you can also learn so much.
  • Network –  If you’re making over a bridal party then swap contact details with the hair-stylist, photographer, videographer, etc.  You never know where it may lead.  Contact local photographic studios and enquire as to whether they have any vacancies for a Make-up Artist.  Talk to your clients – ask them about their jobs, interests, etc.  It only takes one client to work or know someone within the magazine/film/TV or fashion industry to recommend you.
  • Offer Time For Print – Within the early days of qualifying as a Make-up Artist you will need to build yourself a professional portfolio.  The best way to do this is to offer your services on as many reputable Model/Photographic forums as possible.  Some models/photographers may pay travel expenses or a small cost towards products used, but otherwise the Photographer will offer Time For Print (TFP) or Time For CD (TFCD) whereby you will receive images of the make-up you’ve created in exchange for your time.


Kelly Hollands is a Freelance Make-Up Artist and runs ‘Make-Up By Kelly Hollands‘.

Click here to view images of Kelly’s fabulous work and you can contact Kelly at enquiries@kellyhollands.co.uk or call +44 (0) 7834 364029 (UK).

Faye Hollands

About Faye Hollands

Faye is an accomplished Career Coach, Small Business Coach and Productivity Specialist who has successfully coached countless clients on how to create a career they love, get more done in less time, and achieve personal and professional success. To receive weekly articles to improve your career, business and time management skills click here or book your Free Focus Session here.

You can contact Faye on +61 2 8323 4335 or email fayehollands@outshineconsulting.com

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