The Truth

The Truth About Qualifications.

Go global – get certified by AOFM (Academy of Freelance Make Up) – an association of international freelance makeup artists.

Becoming certified by the Academy of Freelance Make Up opens doors globally. Recognised around the world as a sign of excellence, AOFM was created as an association of international freelance artists working with the industry’s elite. With our global education centres & our high profile international clients, whilst there are many certificates in the makeup industry, AOFM is one that you can be sure has a level of recognition around the world.

But a true test of any good school and/or its certification is to look at its past student’s success and the client lists they have gone on to build. Within weeks of graduation, our students are hired to work by our friends & connections in professional luxury brands such as MAC, Dior, Bobbi Brown & Charlotte Tilbury. But that’s not all, take a look at our student success here to see the level of international clients our students work with after training with us ; Dior, DKNY, British Vogue to name just a few.

Always base your commitment to any school training based on their teachers and students’ achievements and success, and by researching the schools’ teachers and global connections. It is also very important to know that certificates will not guarantee you secure work as a freelance makeup artist, regardless of what you may be told by other schools. There is NO ONE international awarding body for makeup artists. If anyone tells you this, they’re lying. We always offer honest guidance to our potential students and if you feel unsure of certification or what it takes to actually work as professional freelance makeup artist in Fashion Catwalk, magazines, Bridal, the best thing to do is contact an independent source, such as some of the leading makeup artist agencies who operate separately to any makeup school. These agencies will promote & sell you after training. Give them a call and ask what they require to sign with them. They will all tell you its a portfolio and images of your work only and this is what you will need to concentrate on working towards. This ethos and an accurate account of the industry is what we teach our students from the day they book a course with us.

AOFM is a revolution in training.  Since we launched our unique style of training, there have been so many imitators!  No makeup school has been able to offer the level of tutors, the amount of product range, aftercare or assisting opportunities we offer to our students and graduates.

First thing to understand is that a school can never, ever give you instant success (not even us), although many will promise this. It takes time, effort and endless networking.  A makeup artist has to shoot as many images as possible for their portfolios, and work on the widest possible range of events and shows. This can take a few years.

Many schools claim to offer working artists. Don’t take their word for it. Google all their teachers and see for yourself what they are doing in the industry. Check their client list. Are they with agencies? You may be very surprised at who is current and who is not.


Many claim to offer aftercare but check exactly what it consists of. Sometimes you will find there is very little substance to their claim and very few aftercare classes are actually on offer. It is very important you are exposed to the biggest names in the industry such as beauty editors from the biggest magazines and the makeup artists working on the most famous celebrities. Ask students on Facebook to find out what aftercare they have had.


Now this is a hard one. So many schools claim you need to be qualified. This is completely and utterly false as this is a portfolio-based industry, not a certificate-based industry. It frustrates us that many of the people issuing such guidance actually have no idea of what a working makeup artist is. There are many makeup artists who have never done a course or training. These makeup artists are at the top of the industry. If you work in fashion you ONLY need a portfolio.


Contacts are everything to a makeup artist.   It’s important to make sure your trainers connect you with people outside the classroom.  Don’t be deceived. PLEASE do your research. Google shows and artists to make sure you are getting what you’re paying for.



When looking for a makeup school there are several important points to consider. There are many schools out there claiming to promise you the world, however it is up to you to create a successful career for yourself as a working makeup artist. No school will be able to promise their students success.

Many academies claim to offer working makeup artists as their tutors. When you are doing your research always ask to see the current portfolios of the tutors that will be teaching your course. If they cannot provide one then it is doubtful they are currently working as a makeup artist in the industry. Always ask who will be teaching you and then do your own research on the tutor on the Internet.

Be wary of schools claiming to offer international certificates that will ensure you will get work abroad afterward. There is no such thing as a fully qualified makeup artist, whether this is on a national or international basis. There is no recognized international makeup association or qualification.

A certificate alone will not guarantee work. There are a number of top makeup artists in the industry who have had no previous training. They are working on magazines like Vogue, television productions and feature films and have become very successful without a makeup certificate. Schools are set up to act as a means of access to fast-track knowledge and an understanding of the industry – they do not qualify you to work.

Find out what cosmetic brands and products the school offers you to work with during your training. As a makeup artist you will never just use one makeup brand. Your training should give you an understanding from a wide range of professional products used in the industry. Be cautious of schools that offer makeup kits, as in many cases they are not professional products and you may end up with products you will never use. Once you complete your training you should have a good understanding of all the beauty products available in the industry.

Investigate what the school will offer you once you have completed the course. Ask to see images of their graduate’s work, and work opportunities they have been involved in. Most schools will claim they offer endless aftercare but you need to see it in order to believe it. This can be done through social media avenues like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Many students assume that a career within the makeup industry will come right away. This is not the case, it may take many years to build up your practical experience, build a portfolio, and gain contacts with the industry. But as a student you will be paying a lot of money for your training and investing in your future career. You deserve the best products, the most knowledgeable teachers, and the most extensive aftercare that will kick start you into the industry.

Our courses are designed by top freelance hair and make-up artists, teaching you the skills needed to get you into the industry and on your way to the top. Depending on the course you decide to take with AOFM it can run from anywhere between 3 days and 5 weeks. We have a selection of different course modules that will train you in makeup, hair, nails, airbrush makeup, bridal and special effects. To view all of our courses in details click here.

This is probably the question we are asked most often. The answer is yes. You gain this is in the form of an AOFM Certificate of Achievement. We would like to inform you no other qualification is necessary in this sector of make-up because if you choose to work in high fashion / photographic / catwalk / bridal / music / magazine / editorial / general fashion / media make-up you will not be asked to supply one.

You must understand this is a career built on skill and when applying for work you will be asked to show proof of your skills in the form of a portfolio only.

Your portfolio shows your style and creative flair in picture form. The Academy includes a professional photo shoot with photographer and clothes stylist so that you have prints to start your portfolio. Be aware of training institutes telling you they have national or international association certificates or beauty awarding bodies behind them to help or ensure you get jobs – this is misleading as this alone with not get you work.

Unfortunately the Academy, or indeed any other training institute, cannot guarantee work after completing the course. However, the Academy can guarantee you will leave not only with the skills to succeed, but also with a thorough understanding and knowledge of how to get to the top. The Academy does give a selection of students the opportunity to assist our artists on shoots and shows. You may also be added to our Bookings section, where the Academy will aim to give you an extra head start.

Training, assisting, testing and practising are all key to becoming a successful makeup artist. However, commitment and dedication, networking and building contacts in the industry are also essential elements to ensure you have a good chance of doing well. Nobody should say the industry is easy – you really need to give it the extra effort, drive and passion.

Start building your makeup kit to a professional level. Think of it as a gradual investment that you can work on building up slowly. When starting out it important not to buy the most expensive materials until you really need them. Spend your money on the products that truly require quality – like skincare, foundations, concealers, and eyeshadows. As for lipsticks, lip glosses, eye pencils, and lip pencils it is better to go for a cheaper version to start with. Most cosmetic brands in the industry will offer working makeup artist a professional discount on their products. You will need to investigate what is available for you and the requirements you need in order to apply for the discount.

Start making connections with photographers, stylist and hairstylist who are also starting out in the industry. Build a team that you can test with regularly to help build your portfolio.

Assisting is a brilliant way to kick start your career. You will be able to work alongside an artist who is already successful and works regularly in the industry. This will give you the experience and knowledge about how to be professional on set. You will also be able to pick up any tips and techniques from the makeup artist you are assisting. It is important to understand that most assisting positions are unpaid. But it is important for you to learn and develop new skills, build up your speed and confidence. Consider it free training!

It is hard to say exactly, as each makeup artist’s career varies. It is a mixture of luck, determination and talent. Some makeup artists may already have industry contact, which jumps them ahead quite quickly, while others will have to knock on a lot of doors to be given opportunities. If you are willing to do the legwork it usually pays off!

A freelancer has the satisfaction of being their own boss (in effect, you are self-employed), but as you progress up the ladder in the industry you may need to get an agent. This will help you run your career more smoothly.

Yes. We welcome students on open days, held during our courses so you can come and see just what we are all about. Please contact our office for dates and times of our open days. (+44(0) 207 434 4488)

First spend some time on our website looking through the course options under ‘Courses’. Once you have selected the course that best suits your interest click on ‘Apply Now’. This will take you to an application form which you will need to fill out and submit to AOFM. The AOFM team will contact you within 48 hours after considering your application. Our class numbers are kept small and are in high demand so we do grade your application to see if you meet certain criteria to join us. After acceptance of your application someone from our team will talk through your career goals and help you understand this industry before committing to a course. From there we will sign you up, taking a deposit to hold your place or full course fees by debit, credit card or cheque or bank transfer. From there on you will be well on your way to starting a great new career.