What’s the Difference Between a Cosmetologist and a Makeup Artist?

People can be confused about the difference between a cosmetologist and a makeup artist. They both work in the beauty industry, and there can be a lot of overlap in their education and training, so it’s easy to see why people might mix them up. Here we’ll look at some of the key differences between the two professions.

Key Roles

A makeup artist works with cosmetics to enhance the way people look, whether for movies, fashion shows, or just personal use. They are makeup experts! Cosmetologists, on the other hand, address beauty with more than just cosmetics, they also deal with hair styling, nail care, and skin care as part of the whole beauty package.

Educational Requirements

To be a makeup artist, the requirements are generally much less compared to becoming a cosmetologist.  Requirements can vary within each state, but generally makeup artists may not even require a formal education if they have enough experience in the industry, though it’s still recommended to get a certificate or license to be more attractive to employers. Cosmetology is generally more strict because states require you to complete a cosmetology program and pass the licensing exam afterwards.

Job Opportunities

Makeup artists can work in the fashion industry in salons, theater, movies, fashion events, or for celebrities. Cosmetologists are also eligible to work in the same occupations as a makeup artist, but their employment opportunities are far wider.  Since cosmetologists deal with a lot more than just makeup, they could work in beauty centers, spas, health clubs, and more.  Since cosmetologists have undergone formal training and licensing, they are also more likely to be paid more than makeup artists.

Pros and Cons

Makeup Artist:

  • Pros – Lower educational requirements
  • Cons – Job opportunities can be limited


  • Pros – More job opportunities and higher possible earning
  • Cons – Educational requirements are more rigorous

Other Differences

When it comes to setting up a business, cosmetologists are usually better-prepared. This is largely because most cosmetology programs teach business basics to their students to help them after graduation. Another thing to consider is that most beauty-related businesses require a licensed cosmetologist to ensure safe standards are followed with the services provided. Makeup artists are more likely to work under the supervision of a cosmetologist, rather than the other way around.

Evergreen Beauty College can provide you with the necessary education become the beauty professional you’ve always dreamed you could be. If beauty is your passion, we can help you transform that desire into a fulfilling and exciting career. Contact us for more information on how you can get started today!

Happy Evergreen Beauty College Students


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Rebecca L Johnson
Rebecca L Johnson
2 years ago

I am interested in your beauty college how much does your tuition cost and how long is thy school classes do you offer online ?

Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
Frank - Beauty College Ambassador
2 years ago

Rebecca, I will ask our Admission Team to reach out to via email 🙂

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[…] We’ll go over the differences between a makeup artist, a skincare specialist, and a cosmetics cosmetologist. The Online Makeup Academy is a one-of-a-kind online resource that provides students with a unique […]