Whether you’re a makeup junkie or a makeup newbie, chances are good you’ve come across the acronym “MUA.” But, what does MUA mean? If you’ve tried to sleuth this one out before and ended up confused, the issue could be that MUA is often used to refer to two different things in the makeup industry, especially on social media. Here, we’re helping you sort things out once and for all. Below, find out the answer to “what is an “MUA,” so you can add this acronym to your vocabulary of beauty terms.
WHAT IS AN MUA?
First and foremost, MUA is most commonly used as a shortened version of the term makeup artist. Make’s sense, right? In case you didn’t already know, a makeup artist is someone who does makeup for clients as a profession. These are the magicians behind your favorite celebrity looks on the red carpet, many glowing brides, and even special FX makeup for movies and theater!
If you see someone referred to as an MUA and determine they’re not a makeup artist, there’s another MUA meaning that’s rising in popularity. Internet culture has taken it upon itself to reinvent MUA to stand for makeup addict. And, if you’re here, you can probably relate to that title. This form of MUA is all about stocking up on the best of the best makeup, tackling the latest trends, and living and breathing all things makeup. Sound familiar?
HOW DO YOU BECOME AN MUA?
Wondering how to become an MUA, aka a makeup artist? Well, you’ll need a lot of practice. MUAs are professionals for a reason—they can master everything from the cut crease to an ombré lip without fail. Aside from practice, it’s a good idea to get a formal education, which can help you fine-tune your skills and learn new techniques for areas like special effects and TV makeup.
In the modern world of social media savvy MUAs, you’ll also want to build an online following. One of the easiest ways to do this is to gather friends to use as models, do their makeup for free, and take pictures of your work to post on a dedicated Instagram account. As with any career, you’ll need to put in the work and start small!
On the other hand, if you want to become an MUA of the makeup addict variety, the best option is to start building out your beauty collection. Here are some MUA makeup must-haves!
#1. LIQUID EYESHADOW
Liquid eyeshadow has quickly started to catch up in popularity with traditional powder formulas. That said, it can still be a bit intimidating. If you’re a true MUA, however, there’s no product you can’t tackle. We recommend the L’Oréal Paris Brilliant Eyes Shimmer Liquid Eye Shadow Makeup, which has a beautiful shimmer finish.
#2. FULL-COVERAGE CONCEALER
Even the makeup-obsessed make mistakes now and then! To ensure your makeup is always flawless, make sure to have a full-coverage concealer, like the L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer Waterproof, Full Coverage, on-hand to cover any mishaps. Not to mention, it’ll be your BFF when creating a seamless cut crease!
#3. COLORFUL EYELINER
It’s safe to say MUA’s love making a statement with their makeup look, so put aside the traditional black eyeliner and opt for a colorful hue instead. Try using the L’Oréal Paris Matte Signature Liquid Dip Eyeliner, Waterproof in Blue or Burgundy.
#4. COLORFUL MASCARA
Speaking of a colorful statement, the same thing goes for mascara! You can even go for a two-toned look by applying a colorful shade to your top lashes and a classic black to your bottom lashes. For colorful mascara, we recommend the L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Original Washable Bold Eye Mascara in Cobalt Blue, Deep Green, and Deep Burgundy.
#5. LIQUID LUMINIZER
There's one more product to add to your collection: liquid illuminator! This glow-getter can be used to give your skin a bronzed, glowing boost on both your face and body. Need we say more? Grab the L’Oréal Paris Summer Belle Makeup Beach Bae Face & Body Liquid Luminizer and put it to use in your next look!
Next up: On the note of getting an all-over glow, here’s How to Use Face and Body Bronzer.
What Does MUA Mean?
First and foremost, MUA is most commonly used as a shortened version of the term makeup artist. Makes sense, right? In case you didn’t already know, a makeup artist is someone who does makeup for clients as a profession. These are the magicians behind your favorite celebrity looks on the red carpet, many glowing brides, and even special effects makeup for movies and theater.
Some MUAs are professionally trained and attend cosmetology school while others are self-taught or shadow other established artists in the industry. Depending on where you live, you may need a license to become a working MUA.
How Do You Become an MUA?
If you want to become an MUA, you’ll need a lot of practice. MUAs are professionals for a reason — they can master everything from the cut crease to an ombré lip to a smoky eye for all eye shapes without fail. Aside from practice, it’s a good idea to take some courses at a cosmetology school, which can help you fine-tune your skills and learn new techniques for areas like special effects and TV makeup. They will also teach you proper sanitary procedures for the products and tools that you use on your clients.
In the modern world of social media-savvy MUAs, you’ll also want to build an online following. One of the easiest ways to do this is to gather friends to use as models, do their makeup for free, and take pictures of your work to post on a dedicated Instagram or TikTok account. As with any career, you’ll need to put in the work and start small.
L’Oréal Paris has its own reserve of talented makeup artists called The League of Experts. It includes celebrity and pro makeup artists Allan Avendaño, Claudia Betancur and Erica Taylor. Combined, they have nearly two million followers on social media, and this shows just how impactful a strong online presence can be for an MUA. Together, they contribute to L’Oréal Paris’s artistic vision with their years of expertise.
What Products Do You Need to Become a Makeup Artist?
If you want to become a makeup artist, you're going to need a wide variety of makeup to use on your clients. Here are all the products we recommend adding to your kit.
MUAs know the true value of makeup primer because it helps to create a smooth base for your makeup, and it also helps to extend your makeup wear time. Plus, you can also pick a formula to address common skin concerns like large pores, redness or excess oil.
Our Picks: L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Pore Minimizer, L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Dullness Reducer, L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Redness Eraser, L’Oréal Paris Prime Lab Up to 24H Matte Setter
Foundation creates a base for the rest of your makeup, and therefore, it’s pretty essential. From matte finishes to lightweight, radiant formulas to a variety of shades, a makeup artist needs options because their clients are going to have varying skin types and skin tones.
Concealer is used to add more coverage to achieve an even base or to contour or brighten the skin. Like foundation, a makeup artist will need an array of different shades in their arsenal.
Bronzer is a must for adding dimension and warmth to the skin, so you’ll never see a makeup artist without it. A matte formula is universally flattering for all skin types (it doesn’t emphasize texture like a shimmery formula), and it can even be used as eyeshadow in a pinch.
Blush is one of the hottest makeup products at the moment so you won’t catch an MUA without a few different formulas stocked in their kit. Blush adds gorgeous color to the cheeks, and it always elevates your makeup look. Along with different finishes, a makeup artist will need a few different shades for their collection, like true pink, berry, coral and pinky-brown.
Blush adds color to liven your complexion, while highlighter adds a certain luminosity that gives your skin a radiant, healthy-looking appearance. It’s a must because a good MUA won’t ever let you leave their hands with dull-looking skin.
An MUA will always have mascara in their kit, regardless if they’re applying fake lashes or not. Not only does it open up your eyes and create definition, but it’s essential for blending falsies with your natural lashes.
Eyeliner, whether it’s used to create a timeless wing, eyeshadow or smudged and smoky lines, serves to emphasize your eye shape. (You can even use it to create faux freckles.) It completes any eye look and you’ll be pressed to find an MUA without a variety of different shades and formulas in their kit.
MUAs know just how important gorgeous brows are for the rest of your makeup look because they frame the face. A tinted brow mascara works great for adding definition and keeping every hair in place. An MUA will also have different eyebrow products like eyebrow pencils on hand to get the job done. People are working with different natural brows so an MUA will change their product based on where they're starting and the look they're trying to achieve.
Like foundation, there’s a good chance your MUA will have a variety of different formulas, finishes and shades on hand when it comes to all things lip makeup. A liquid lipstick will provide a long-lasting, velvety finish while a satin lipstick will offer plump, juicy lips.
Think of setting spray as insurance for your makeup — it sets everything in place, it makes your makeup last longer, and it protects against sweat and oils. After taking the time to glam someone’s face, an MUA is going to want that makeup to last as long as possible, and setting spray is key for that.
Photo Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris
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