Benefits of an Esthetics or Cosmetology License as a Special FX Makeup Artist

It’s no secret that Special FX makeup is incredible. The special effects that makeup artists are able to pull off are absolutely stunning, from realistic-looking injuries to fantasy creatures to old age. Special FX can be a lot more than makeup, though. As a special effects makeup artist, you should also know all about skincare and how to style hair that complements the special FX makeup. At Multimedia Makeup Academy, students who want to pursue special FX makeup have the choice to pair their makeup courses with either esthetics or cosmetology. Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at how knowing esthetics or cosmetology can benefit a special FX makeup artist.

Special FX Paired With Esthetics

image: before and after image of Charlize Theron’s Special FX makeup in Monster

As any makeup artist knows, skincare is super important. Knowing how skin works, what type of skin you have, and the best way to keep it healthy is always a priority for people who use makeup. It’s no different for special FX makeup artists. In fact, it’s even more important for these artists since they often create extensions of a character’s skin or drastically change the skin’s appearance. Pairing special FX makeup courses with an esthetics education helps makeup artists reach their full potential with the additional skills and knowledge available to them at The Academy.

Let’s take a look at an example of an award-winning movie actress whose character relied on special FX makeup and esthetics. Charlize Theron played Aileen in the 2003 film Monster. For this film, Charlize had to be transformed into a weather-worn, run-down-looking woman to get in character. The special FX makeup artist, Toni G, needed extensive knowledge of skin and how it looks to be able to transform Charlize into Aileen.

For this transformation, knowledge of esthetics was crucial to achieving the desired look on Charlize. For example, the actress’s once perfect eyebrows had to be transformed in a way that conveyed the washed-out, unattractiveness of the character Aileen. The artist also had to make her skin look older and worn out without aging the character. This is where esthetics knowledge on skincare comes in.

There are so many things that can cause blemishes, mars, or premature aging. Charlize’s character suffered childhood trauma and extensive stress, and she smoked. Each of those things affects the skin’s health and appearance. An esthetician studies skin health and works closely with many different types of skin on clients. With this knowledge and experience, the special FX makeup artist on set knew how to accurately create Aileen’s look.

This is just one example of how being certified in esthetics is beneficial to a special effects makeup artist. The face is often what brings an actor or actress into character, and it’s what audiences tend to notice right away. Understanding how things like eyebrows, eyelashes, and skin conditions can help shape a certain look or personality allows the artist to better achieve their goal with their design.

At The Academy, we want every special FX artist to have this knowledge and skill as they pursue makeup. Becoming licensed in esthetics as you become certified in special FX makeup provides you with more skills while increasing your marketability as a makeup artist. If esthetics just isn’t your thing, though, we also offer cosmetology paired with special FX! Check out the next section to learn about even more benefits you could have as a special effects makeup artist.

Special FX Paired With Cosmetology

image: before and after image of Robin Williams’ Special FX makeup for Mrs. Doubtfire

A lot of people hear “makeup” and assume makeup artists are working strictly on the face. This can be mostly true for traditional artists where makeup is used as an enhancement. It’s a little different for special FX makeup artists, though, where it can be beneficial to extend their knowledge beyond makeup and skin. Hair can play an extremely important role in the world of special FX.

For example, you’ve been hired to help design and create an alien race. Will they have hair? If not, what will you do with your client’s hair? How will you know how to hide the hair or work it into your design? If the character(s) will have hair, will it be a different color? Have a strange or complex pattern or style? It’s important to design a hairstyle for this alien race that complements the special effects makeup that is making the character, and it’s even more important to know how to implement hair into your design.

When you pair your special effects makeup education with cosmetology at The Academy, you will learn the anatomy and physiology of hair. Going back to our example, creating a new look for a new alien race would require you to consider what’s on their heads. Knowing how hair grows and what hair is made of can allow a special FX artist to better plan and design their character’s look.

Further, you’ll have mastered styling, cutting, and coloring hair through the required student salon hours. This means that whatever hair design you choose for this new alien race, you will have no trouble incorporating it into your special FX design. With this additional experience, the set directors won’t have to hire a second person for hair only; you’ll be more marketable and desirable by having makeup and cosmetology qualifications.

Oftentimes, characters designed with special FX makeup won’t have their natural hair as a part of their character. In this instance, a makeup artist would still benefit greatly from their cosmetology education because these characters often wear wigs. For example, think of Mrs. Doubtfire, an iconic Robin Williams character in the movie by the same name.

Not only did the artists have incredible talent in special FX aging makeup, but they also had to have cosmetology experience to work with and style a wig into the look. The wig had to be realistic, look natural on Robin’s head, and fit the character. All the effort artists Ve Neill, Greg Cannom, and Yolanda Toussieng were recognized when the movie won an Academy Award for Best Hair and Makeup.

Why Esthetics or Cosmetology Is a Must for Special FX Artists

Esthetics and cosmetology are useful in more areas than just a salon. Special FX artists are a prime example of how beneficial these additional licenses can be to makeup artists. TV and film aren’t the only areas for special effects makeup either. Halloween costumes or cosplay can rely heavily on special FX makeup, but skin and hair also play a major role. No matter the character, knowledge about skin and hair creates a more well-rounded and knowledgeable makeup artist who is effective and talented at their craft.

Make sure to check out The Academy website where our special FX and esthetics or cosmetology programs are detailed and explained. There is so much out there to learn in the beauty industry, and The Academy makes it easy to get a robust and comprehensive education with our paired programs of makeup and esthetics or cosmetology.

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