Online Makeup Courses

Shannon Boyce
woman on sofa using a laptop

Learning is no longer limited to the classroom. Advances in technology have dramatically changed the way we obtain information, with those interested in academic and artistic pursuits able to learn the fundamentals online. Makeup courses are one example as students can enroll and study from the comfort of their homes.

QC Makeup Academy

One of the most popular options is QC Makeup Academy. It has been around since 1984 but has shifted to online classes, offering a wide range of beauty-related courses for a variety of skill levels. That includes:

  • Makeup Artistry ($1400)
  • Master Makeup Artistry ($1550)
  • Pro Makeup Workshop ($900)
  • Special FX Makeup ($1350)
  • Airbrush Makeup ($1050)
  • Global Beauty ($1050)
  • Fashion Styling ($1300)
  • Hair Styling Essentials ($1000)
  • Portfolio Development ($500)

What to Expect

Each course features videos from celebrity makeup artist Nathan Johnson, who has worked on Project Runway, been a brand ambassador for Cover FX Skincare, and has applied makeup on hundreds of A-list clients including Paul McCartney, Lea Michele, and Liza Minnelli. In addition to the online training videos (the company also sends out DVD copies, instructional booklets, and assignment sheets), QC Makeup Academy takes a hands-on approach.

Written assignments and photographs of makeup application must be uploaded to the Online Student Center. From there, a tutor reviews them and offers a grade as well as audio feedback. Students are encouraged to practice on themselves along with friends and family members. A certificate is given after all assignments have been completed and reviewed.

Pros and Cons

There are many positive aspects to consider. Student support specialists can be reached by email, phone, or Live Chat at any time of day. QC Makeup Academy is also accredited by the Better Business Bureau, offers different payment plans, and many courses come with a free makeup starter kit. There are courses designed for people of all skill levels and backgrounds.

Critics of online makeup certifications worry that not seeing the makeup in person makes it more difficult for instructors to accurately critique work. Some people also found that online classes like QC Makeup Academy were more effective if you already had experience applying makeup on yourself and others.

Online Makeup Academy

Makeup Items On Table

Another company that helps students become certified makeup artists is Online Makeup Academy. Launched in 2009 in New York City, these online courses are an alternative for those unable to attend New York Makeup School. The classes are taught by industry professionals and cover the basics, bridal, and beyond. Available courses are:

  • Essential Makeup Course ($700)
  • Advanced Makeup Course ($500)
  • Master Makeup Course ($1200)
  • Pro Hairstyling Course ($550)

Instructors and Essential Information

While some online schools are taught by one primary instructor, Online Makeup Academy has a number of qualified professionals. That includes Nina MUA (who has worked with Vogue Russia, Glamour, and other magazines), Mariana Bull (a freelance artist with experience working on independent film sets, on brides, and fashion shoots), Elizabeth Ray (an artist mentored by Amanda Shackleton), and Paulina Pecak (a dedicated teacher with a solid social media following). Each instructor brings specific expertise to the course, enriching the learning experience.

Students are given access to the website along with a unique login. From there, they are able to watch instructional videos and work through a series of assignments, which will be reviewed before receiving feedback. At the end of the course, students must complete a multiple choice final exam in order to achieve the certification.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Online Makeup Academy courses come with a professional makeup artist kit in addition to actual classes. The selection of products is valued at over $400 and includes items from both high-end and drugstore brands. Graduates of the programs are also eligible for PRO Card Applications to receive a percentage off of makeup from companies like Makeup For Ever, L'Oreal, Stila, Becca, and more. There is a 21-day money back guarantee as well if you are unsatisfied with the class for whatever reason.

Something to consider is the time it will take you to complete the course. Though some may be able to finish rather quickly, students who do not receive a passing grade on the practical assignments must redo the makeup application and submit the assignment again. The good news? This can be done as many times as necessary.

AOFM Online Makeup School

For a bit of international flair, consider signing up for AOFM Online Makeup School. Their first academy was established ten years ago in London, with schools in New York, Paris, and Belfast following suit. The renowned company has since branched out to make learning more accessible, with an online course that includes:

  • The Makeup Course ($1350)
  • Extra Certification: Professional Airbrush with Temptu
  • Extra Certification: Beginners Professional Body Art

About the Course

There is no doubt about it: AOFM has a prestigious reputation. Which is why they pride themselves on showcasing talents from a diverse team of more than fifty freelance makeup artists. To make sure every student receives the most personalized training possible, students are paired with a mentor to help them through the process. Some mentors include: Phillippe Miletto (who has worked with Vogue Italy, Zoo magazine, Sleek, and more), Louise Dartford (she has applied makeup on notable British celebrities), and Yin Lee (a high-fashion makeup artist with experience working with Alexander McQueen, Moo Eyewear, and more).

Once students have enrolled, they are given access to more than 250 educational videos and over 350 AOFM training manual pages with tips, tricks, and must-have information details. The course is broken up into sections (there is even a progress bar to track how far into the program you are) and keeps you on track thanks to video conferencing. Live assessments are conducted halfway through and as part of the final assignment, where your mentor will discuss any strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement. A signed certificate is mailed from the AOFM London head office upon completion.

Positive and Negative Points

In addition to the instructional tutorials, there are behind-the-scenes videos that showcase what life looks like as a working freelance artist, as well as discounts for hundreds of brands (including a coveted MAC discount), and the chance to work at a fashion show (two students per year receive an all expenses paid trip to be with AOFM on set). There is also a starter kit full of products from MAC Cosmetics, an AOFM brush set, and a selection of skin care products from Dermalogica.

Though most online makeup schools offer different classes to suit a variety of skill levels and beauty-related interests, AOFM Online Makeup School keeps it pretty simple. Though they do have two additional certifications, the primary focus is on the basic makeup course. This can be seen as a drawback by makeup lovers who are looking to go beyond the basics or want to advance their skills with more specialized training.

Artists Within Makeup Academy

Woman applying makeup

There is also the Artists Within Makeup Academy to consider. Though they have in-person classes with a number of diploma programs, their online courses are a popular choice for those looking to become a working makeup artist. The online courses include:

  • Makeup 101 Program ($565)
  • Master Makeup Program ($1200)

What You Need to Know

The available classes are taught by the founder and director of Artists Within Makeup Academy, Tara Anand. She has worked as a national artist for Laura Mercier, has had her work featured in magazines like Allure, Flare, InStyle Weddings, Fashion Magazine, Marie Claire, and has applied makeup for fashion shows and on celebrities.

Upon enrollment, students are given a personal sign-in code that allows them to begin the program. It starts with an introduction that walks you through what to expect as well as how to complete each of the modules in the course. From there, students read the given materials, watch videos online, and complete quizzes and theory assignments. At certain points, students will need to upload pictures of application techniques to get feedback on. There is a final exam for each course and once that is completed, a Professional Makeup Artistry Certification is given.

Strengths and Weaknesses

Each program has a structured module system (there are four modules in total, with sub-sections in each) to make sure the learning process is linear and you are always building upon the information you have learned. This is an asset for anyone who loves a little organization! The courses also have sections dedicated to topics that are a little more diverse than some other online courses. For instance, there are classes related to mature makeup application, invoicing, marketing yourself, and even recreating magazine looks.

However, those who struggle with time management should be aware of one thing: the course must be completed within a year. Otherwise, there is a cost of $135 for each additional month. Though some students may appreciate having a deadline, others might find it stressful, especially if their calendar is jam-packed.

Vizio Makeup Academy

Vizio Makeup Academy is another online makeup school. Their goal is to prepare students to work professionally in the makeup industry, whether that is as a freelance artist, doing bridal applications, or working in film or television. The courses they offer include:

  • Introductory Makeup Course ($200)
  • Master Makeup Course ($300)
  • Premier Makeup Course ($400)
  • Elite Special Makeup Course with Special FX ($800)

More About the Company and Courses

The school was founded by makeup artists Anastasia Andreani and Misha Barcelona. Their goal was to eliminate confusion caused by the many YouTube tutorials online, and instead, create courses that provide step-by-step instructions and essential information. Unlike other online makeup schools, Vizio Makeup Academy features videos from a variety of teachers. That includes special FX artist Natasha Morley and a team of celebrity makeup artists.

Within 24 hours of enrolling in the class, a unique user identification number is provided. That allows students to log onto the website and begin their training. There are ebooks to read, along with online videos, tests, and practical assignments, which are graded by an artist. Once a student receives a passing grade on all required tasks, the school will issue a certificate of completion.

Highlights and Challenges

While online course prices can vary dramatically from school to school, Vizio Makeup Academy is on the more reasonable side. That makes it a wonderful option for those who want to learn but are limited on funds. Additionally, graduates are given the opportunity to apply for pro cosmetic discounts using their certificate of completion, making it easier (and more affordable) to build up a professional kit.

There is a one-year time limit on the course, so be mindful of that before you register. Also, keep in mind that while some of the classes come with makeup starter kits (complete with powders, blushes, eyeshadows, and lip products), the Introductory Makeup Course does not. Look closely at what each individual class entails to ensure you choose the best one for your needs.

Advantages of Learning Online

Makeup brushes and tablet on table

Many makeup schools are turning to the Internet in to reach more students and keep up with the always-changing beauty industry. With many students preferring to learn online, this is a win-win situation. For those on the fence about enrolling, consider the following:

  • Online makeup courses are far more accessible than traditional classes. While major cities may have plenty of options available, smaller cities and towns might not, which can make it difficult for aspiring makeup artists to train. Alternatives, like online classes, allow a wider range of people to enroll and study.
  • The flexibility makes it possible to fit studying into your busy life. This works well for people working full-time or with a packed day-to-day schedule. Students enrolled in online makeup classes can go through the material as fast or slow as their schedule allows.
  • Classes are extremely versatile in what they provide. For instance, they can be used to enhance existing skills, get started, or begin a career as a professional makeup artist. The range of classes and certificates means that people can choose what makes sense for their current skill level and long-term goals.
  • Prices tend to be far more affordable online than if you were to go to a physical school. Since the latter has different operating costs, tuitions often skyrocket, making it more difficult for students to enroll. Lower prices for online courses (along with the discounts and payment plans that many companies offer) make them even more accessible.

Starting an Online Makeup Course

The beauty industry is on the rise. A Financial Post article related to the cosmetics industry highlighted this rising interest, finding that shoppers (specifically millennials) buy 25 percent more makeup than they did two years ago, and revenues at Sephora have doubled since 2011. This obsession has sparked the creative side of countless beauty enthusiasts. As a result, makeup artistry has become a popular career choice. For those eager to learn online, there are several courses to consider, such as those outlined above.

The completion of an online course is just the beginning. Once you have the basic skills and knowledge, take your training one step further. Practice makeup application on yourself, friends, family members, co-workers, and anyone else that is willing! The more experience you have working on other people, the more comfortable you will feel when the time comes to work professionally.

Increase Knowledge and Enhance Your Skills

There are no limits on what (or where) you can learn. With a vast array of online makeup courses to choose from, finding what works for you is as easy as the click of a mouse. Consider each option carefully before making your selection. Before long, you will be ready to expand your horizons in new and exciting ways.

Online Makeup Courses