Breaking Into Beauty: Rebecca Capel, Makeup Artist

Anyone who works in beauty will tell you that it’s a fun, inspiring place, full of creative ideas (and the occasional free sample!), but exactly how do you break into the beauty industry? In this series, we’ll be chatting with beauty industry insiders to find out what their jobs involve and the paths they took to get where they are now.

From makeup artists and beauty editors to social media assistants, brand founders, and web developers – these stories are proof that you can enter the beauty industry via any career path.

Meet Rebecca Capel, makeup artist and beauty influencer.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Growing up I actually wanted to be a radiographer, I loved makeup from a young age but never really thought of doing it as a career. I’m academic and I loved science at school so I did GCSEs and A Levels that would allow me to go to university to study radiography. In my second year of sixth form I changed my mind and realised I had a huge passion for makeup and beauty and I was really enjoying my business studies, so a combination of those made me change my mind about my career plans.


What attracted you to the beauty industry?

I’ve always loved makeup and beauty for as long as I can remember. I danced since being three years old and I used to love the bright blue eyeshadow we wore for shows, I used to read so many magazines when I was younger and I was always drawn to the beauty section! 


What did you study and how did this guide your current role/how do you use the skills from your degree in your job?

I studied biology, sociology, and business studies at A Level (which you would think would be completely unrelated to the beauty industry) but my Business Studies A Level taught me so much about how to run a business and so much about finance, so I’m so glad I have that qualification. After A Levels I went on to do two years of makeup training and gained my Level 2 Media Makeup and Level 3 Special Effects & Theatrical Makeup qualifications. The anatomy and physiology section of my makeup course actually contained a lot of content which I learnt in my second year of A Level Biology so when it came to learning muscles/bones of the face etc I already had a head start! My makeup courses allowed me to learn so much about professionalism, health and safety, and makeup hygiene which I think is sometimes overlooked in the industry now so I’m very grateful for that knowledge.


What path did your career take after graduation?

Whilst I was studying my second year of makeup I worked on a makeup counter which was great because it kind of throws you in at the deep end. You have to do clients all day and you have to give makeup advice all day long, plus you get free makeup training and learn new tips that you may not have learnt at college! After I’d fully qualified I decided to set up my own business and go freelance by taking on my own clients – that was over three years ago now and I’ve never looked back!

What skills and experience do you need to succeed as a makeup artist?

Communication is essential, especially when working with clients. You have to engage with them and make them feel welcome throughout the whole appointment, as well as getting to know their makeup style and what aspects of makeup they like/don’t like. It’s really important to get to know your clients and build up rapport. I think trying to get as much makeup experience as you can is essential, everyone’s style is different and brands teach techniques in different ways so if you’re thinking about becoming a makeup artist try and learn off as many people as you can so that you can find a style that suits you the best!


What does your day-to-day entail?

I am always up at six everyday – even on weekends! if it’s a day full of clients I’ll be in the studio at seven (maybe earlier!) and I’ll be completely back to back until around six or seven in the evening, and then I’ll go home and do my emails for the day! If it’s a social media kind of day I’ll get to the studio around 7:30/8am and the first thing I do is make a drink and write down my to-do list (I’m useless without my lists!), I’ll catch up on my emails and respond to all my client enquiries then get them booked in, post my updated availability and then start creating content for my YouTube channel and Instagram. Then the rest of the day consists of editing, planning future content, working on any outstanding sponsored content I have, and making sure my studio is prepped and ready if I have clients the next day! 


What are some common misconceptions people have about your job?

That it’s all about the makeup! A lot of my time is spent responding to client enquiries, sending invoices, finance work, emails, and planning for the months ahead. There’s so much work that goes on behind the scenes of being a makeup artist that people don’t know about. As much as I’d love to turn up to work and do makeup all day with no admin commitments – that’s not the case!


What is the best part of your job?

I love being a part of my clients special events. Proms, weddings, first dates, Christmas parties, nights out… I love that my clients ask me to do their makeup for some of their most important events of the year. I’m so grateful and seeing their faces light up when I pass them the mirror is just a wonderful feeling. I also love that as well as doing clients I get so many amazing opportunities from the social media side of my job, I get to go to amazing events, work with amazing brands like BEAUTY BAY, and meet incredible people in the industry from all over the country, it’s great.

What has been the most surreal moment of your career so far?

Definitely the first time I got invited to come and film at BEAUTY BAY HQ for the YouTube channel – I didn’t have as many followers at the time and I was like WHO ME?! There’s so many incredible influencers and artists on the BEAUTY BAY YouTube channel so I was so honoured when I was asked to come and film. I was so excited and I absolutely love working with BEAUTY BAY now on everything we do!


What advice would you give to someone wanting to be a makeup artist?

I would say just go for it! There’s so many potential clients out there now wanting to get their makeup done and all makeup artists have their own stamp on the industry so don’t be afraid of it being saturated – there’s enough room for everyone!


What deskside essentials are vital to you doing your job?

My diary is by my side at all times, I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. Maybe my notebook too I carry those two with my everywhere, when I get an idea for a video or for the business I have to write it down straight away so I’m never without those!


What’s your top piece of beauty advice?

Always take your makeup off! My mum and grandma taught me this when I was young and starting to get into makeup so I always make sure I take my makeup off and have a good skincare routine.


Rebecca's Fave Products