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What Is the Meaning of MUA?

Consider them makeup experts.
July 31, 2023

Whether you’re a full-fledged makeup junkie or someone that’s new to all things makeup, chances are you’ve come across the acronym MUA. But, what exactly does MUA mean? In the beauty community, MUA stands for makeup artist, and it’s a name that’s used to identify everyone from celebrity makeup artists to wedding makeup artists to those starting off their careers in cosmetology school. If you’ve ever toyed with the idea of becoming an MUA, keep reading because below is more about makeup artists, including how to become one and all the makeup products an MUA should keep stocked in their kits.  

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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. 

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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. 

Our Picks: L’Oréal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation, L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in a Powder, L’Oréal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Fresh Wear Foundation


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. 

Our Pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Full Wear Concealer up to 24H Full Coverage


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. 

Our Pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Bronzer


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. 

Our Pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Up to 24H Fresh Wear Soft Matte Blush


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. 

Our Pick: L’Oréal Paris True Match Lumi Glotion Natural Glow Enhancer


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. 

Our Pick: L’Oréal Paris Telescopic Instant Lift Washable Mascara

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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. 

Our Picks: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Precision Felt Waterproof Eyeliner, L’Oréal Paris Infallible Grip Mechanical Gel Eyeliner

Eyebrow Products

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. 

Our Pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Volumizing 24H Wear Brow Mascara, L’Oréal Paris Brow Stylist Definer Mechanical Waterproof Eyebrow Pencil


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. 

Our Picks: L’Oréal Paris Intense Volume Matte Lipstick, L’Oréal Paris Infallible Matte Resistance Liquid Lipstick, L’Oréal Paris Colour Riche Les Nus by Colour Riche Intense Nude Lipstick 

Setting Spray

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. 

Our Pick: L’Oréal Paris Infallible Pro-Spray and Set Make-Up Oil-Free Setting Spray

Next: The 9 Best Tips on Where to Put Blush

Photo Courtesy of L'Oréal Paris

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