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How to become a makeup artist in a funeral home

Updated February 21, 2017

For most people, it's rare to associate make-up application with death, but for some make-up artists it's a normal and rewarding career choice. When you lose a loved one, you want to remember them as they were in life; unfortunately, it is the image during the funeral that can become a lasting one. As a make-up artist, not only do you have the opportunity to masterfully apply your skills, but you are also helping a grieving family or loved one through a sad and difficult time. Applying make-up for funeral homes is not a job for everyone; however, if you have the skills and the thought of death doesn't make you break out in a cold sweat, it may be a career worth considering.

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  1. Conduct your research. To fully understand what to expect on the job, find out all that there is to know about applying make-up on the deceased. This is a field of work that generally does not offer much information by way of books or the Internet. Ask for information and guidance from the people who work in the mortuary business in your local area, such as morticians and funeral home directors. Cosmetologists who perform this type of work will also be a source of valuable information for you.

  2. Check your state laws. Every state will have different requirements in terms of education and licensing. Go to your state licensing board or visit them online to gather information on what you'll need to legally pursue this career.

  3. Obtain the correct licensing. Based on your state's licensing requirements, pursue the correct avenue of education and licensing. Some states may require that you obtain a cosmetology license and in others you may need to become licensed as a funeral director or mortician. In either case, some school will be required.

  4. Purchase the tools of the trade. Once you have followed state law and are ready to pursue your new career, prepare yourself by buying the necessary equipment. If you are a general make-up artists as well, you will want to purchase a second set of application tools for your work in the event that the funeral home does not have what you need.

  5. Search for employment. Create a resume and a portfolio of your work prior to calling or visiting funeral homes in your area. Your resume should reflect any cosmetology work that you have done even if it is for weddings or other occasions. If you are inexperienced you may be required to work as an assistant for a period of time.

  6. Tip

    Obtaining a cosmetology license, even if it is not a requirement, will help you to learn the latest techniques, such as airbrushing, for flawless make-up application.


    Expect irregular work hours, including weekends and holidays. Although your preference may be to apply make-up only, some funeral homes may require that you do more, especially if you are a licensed mortician.

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Things You'll Need

  • Cosmetology license
  • Mortician's license
  • Resume
  • Portfolio

About the Author

Mai Bryant is a Northern California writer who specializes in writing about health-related topics, fashion and relationships. She began writing online in 2005 but has freelanced privately for more than 10 years. Bryant's eclectic professional background as a medical technician, a licensed cosmetologist, copywriter and event planner allows her to write with authority on numerous topics.

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