What does a Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artist do?

A Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artist ensures that Performers have suitable make-up and hairstyles for a performance. In theatre, they may also be referred to as Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Assistants, Technicians and Supervisors.

In theatre, Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artists oversee Performer's hair and make-up throughout the run of a production, working closely with the Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Designer and the Costume Designer.

Depending on the size of the production and the requirements of the show, there may be separate positions for hair and make-up staff, or they may be combined roles.

Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artists also work in film, live music, photoshoots, television and more.

What are the main responsibilities of a Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artist?

  • Hairdressing tasks such as cutting, straightening, waving, applying colour, extensions and facial hair
  • The building, styling, dressing and fitting of wigs
  • Applying and removing make-up, wigs, facial hairpieces and prosthetics
  • The care and maintenance of these pieces
  • Ensuring that appropriate action is taken to reduce the risk of side effects from using special effects make-up/hairdressing techniques
  • Casting facial and body moulds and sculpting latex foam for prosthetics
  • Assisting with quick changes
  • Research on the styles of historical periods

As well as opportunities on the Get Into Theatre website, you can also search The Stage jobs.

What qualifications do you need to work in wigs, hair and make-up?

Often, academic qualifications are not as important as creative and practical skills. It’s possible to become a Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artist without a degree. You can often complete traineeships and freelance work within the industry to gain experience. Qualifications such as level 2/3 NVQ in hairdressing may be useful. Find training and experience opportunities in Wigs, Hair and Make-Up here.

What skills do I need to work in wigs, hair and make-up?

  • An understanding of historical and cultural styles
  • Excellent technical wigs, hair and make-up skills
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Confident self-promotion
  • Effective teamwork
  • Ability to work under pressure

What does a career in wigs, hair and make-up look like?

A lot of Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artists start as Trainees or Assistants, helping with shows and photoshoots for productions and working their way up whilst completing some form of training. It is common for Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artists to be freelance so it is essential to be able to promote yourself and your work. Remember to take pictures of your work to build a portfolio. Read our blog 'How to become a freelancer in theatre' for more information.

How much can a Wigs, Hair and Make-Up Artist earn?

A trainee can earn no less than the national minimum wage or union minimum. Senior supervisors or heads of departments may earn up to £42,000 per year.

Find theatre vacancies with The Stage Jobs here


Photo: Shutterstock

Published: 02 July 2019




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