Why fewer students are training to become qualified MUAs

It’s becoming more apparent that there’s a decline in the number of people wanting to train as fully qualified make-up artists – with fewer students applying to colleges and training providers.

There has also been a significant increase in the number of people advertising themselves on social media platforms as fully-fledged make-up artists, offering services to the public having only recently finished their course of 100 online YouTube tutorials. 

It’s a positive thing that people are becoming better at knowing how to replicate a few make-up looks or execute a precise cat flick, but there are essential things you learn about make-up application during professional training that you cannot learn from watching the odd YouTube video or beauty blogger on Instagram. 

For instance, understanding hygiene and cross contamination is paramount. It seems that double dipping a mascara wand, applying the same lipstick and using the same make-up brushes without cleaning in between are things that seem to be going unnoticed by customers who have had their make-up done by an unqualified or inexperienced person. 

Understanding skin types and tones so clients don’t walk out looking too pale, dark, orange or patchy, as well as knowing which products to use, are other things that can make or break the outcome of a look. 

The impact on the industry 

Of course, when it comes to an unqualified or inexperienced person showcasing images of their work, many mistakes can be rectified using editing software, and this is worrying for the industry. There should be little or no editing required when customers have their make-up carried out properly. 

YouTube and Instagram are undoubtedly brilliant tools for inspiration and can really help budding artists to build on the foundation of skills, knowledge and experience gained in training. 

However, it’s important for those who want to pursue a career in the industry not to assume that just because the content online is so vast and readily available that they can then go on to self-certify, having only replicated a few looks on their friends and family, perhaps with the odd paid job in between. 

One of the major issues faced by the industry is the significantly lower rates many unqualified or inexperienced individuals are charging for their services, which is making potential clients question the prices set by fully qualified, insured professionals. 

This, in turn, is gradually devaluing the markets and worth of professionals training, skills, knowledge and experience. Regardless, customers are happy to pay lower prices and often wouldn’t even question a professionals CV nor ask if they are qualified or insured. 

With such a range of social media platforms available, it’s become so easy for people to create the appearance of being an established small business with great content, branding and images. 

This appears to be enough to reassure many potential customers that they are booking fully-qualified, insured professional. When looking for a make-up artist, most people will simply do a quick google search then, after viewing a few Facebook pages, will decide to make a booking.

Alice Quinn is founder and director of iDentity, which brings together the best hair, beauty and wellness professionals, and a Professional Beauty Influencer, providing feedback via focus groups. 

Read our articles from fellow PB Influencers Michelle Quimby on workplace wellness, Samantha Humberstone on streamlining your treatment menuand Emma Ginever on what to do when another salon opens around the corner

Do you think Instagram has changed make-up artistry for good? Read our feature with leading industry names who discuss the issue.