Professional Makeup Courses in 2024

Professional makeup courses at Brushstroke Makeup School provide aspiring makeup artists with the essential skills needed for a successful career in film, TV, stage, and fashion.

Showing prospective students around (including school holidays) for enrolment in 2024 & 2025. The 2-year BTEC Make up & Hair Course starts 23 September 2024 at Elstree Studios or 30 September 2024 at Longcross Studios.

May Half Term 3-Day InstaGlam Taster Course for ages 14-18 at Elstree Studios on 28, 29 & 30 May 2024
Longcross Studios on 29, 30 & 31st May 2024 email us at [email protected] or call us on 01344 635522 to enrol.

Professional Makeup Courses (BTEC, ITEC and HND Courses)

Our professional makeup courses are meticulously designed to equip aspiring individuals for dynamic roles as makeup artists across the vibrant sectors of film, TV, stage, and fashion. At Brushstroke, we cater to both novices and those contemplating a career shift, offering a holistic educational experience that spans the realms of makeup and hair styling.

Our flagship 2-Year BTEC Make-Up & Hair Diploma provides an unparalleled depth of instruction and hands-on experience and we strongly recommend enrolling on this programme if you’re after rounded skills that will give you the best possible chance in your career as a hair & makeup artist.

Nails and red lipstick makeup

2 Year Makeup Course (BTEC & ITEC Level 3 Diploma)

Our 2 Year Makeup Course (BTEC and ITEC Level 3 Diploma) is the most thorough and comprehensive professional makeup artist course offered at Brushstroke. Split over 6 terms it covers a range of crucial topics for the film and theatre industry including period makeup, makeup for performers, wig making and hairstyling,  makeup application, mask making, fantasy hair design, production arts planning, production for theatre performance, and special effects and prosthetics techniques. This course is recommended for ages 16+ as a continuation of education from school, college or university.

What does the 2 Year Course cover?

The 2-year BTEC Level 3 Diploma in Production Arts (Make-up) at Brushstroke Makeup School covers a broad and comprehensive range of make-up and hair styling skills necessary for the film, TV, theatre, and fashion industries. Students learn period make-up and hair, special effects make-up and prosthetics, stage make-up, airbrushing, haircutting and styling, bridal and afro hair styling, and fashion and photographic make-up and hair.

How is the Course Structured?

The course is taught over 6 terms, each focusing on different units of the BTEC Level 3 Diploma. The curriculum includes practical training and coursework that covers make-up for film, TV, theatre, advanced fashion make-up and hair, hairdressing and barbering, and advanced SFX make-up and prosthetics. Students are continually assessed through practical assessments and coursework.

Term 1: Make-Up for Film, TV, and Theatre

This term covers the essentials of health and safety, hygiene practices, studio etiquette, and professionalism. Students gain knowledge in anatomy and skincare, the use of various products, tools, and equipment, and learn basic and contemporary make-up techniques applicable across film, television, and theatre. The focus includes period make-up with iconic looks, simple special effects, make-up for supporting artists, and timed applications. Practical assessments for BTEC units 92 and 97 encapsulate the learning outcomes of this term.

Term 2: Hair Styling for Film, TV and Theatre

Students delve into health and safety concerning electrical hair appliances and familiarize themselves with hair styling products, tools, and equipment. This term emphasizes working with real hair, lace, and acrylic wigs, mastering basic hairstyling techniques, period hairstyling, men’s grooming, and wig knotting skills. Practical assessments for BTEC units 99 and 100 are conducted to evaluate the skills acquired.

Term 3: Make-up and Hair for Film, TV, and Theatre

Building on the foundational skills from the first two terms, students apply combined make-up and hair techniques for contemporary and period looks. This includes advanced SFX make-up for creating realistic effects, fantasy hair, and afro and multitextured hairstyling. Practical assessments for BTEC units 93 and 98 assess the integrated make-up and hair skills.

Term 4: Advanced Fashion Make-up and Hair

This term is dedicated to advanced make-up and hair techniques for fashion, including working with different eye shapes, and bone structures, session styling, and advanced hairstyling. Students explore bridal, red carpet, celebrity, glamour, bronzed, androgynous, matte, gloss, wet, neon, avant-garde, metallic make-up, and more. Techniques for working with gold/silver leaf, diamantes, feathers, and male makeup and grooming are also covered. An optional professional photoshoot provides an opportunity for personal fashion portfolio development. Practical assessments for BTEC units 2 and 86 are included.

Term 5: Hairdressing and Barbering, Airbrushing, Hair Extensions

Focusing on hairdressing and barbering, this term enhances students’ skills in cutting, barbering, blow-drying, and finishing. Hair extension application techniques are taught, alongside airbrushing techniques for make-up application, colour matching, highlighting, contouring, and creative airbrushing. Practical assessments for BTEC units 6 and 8 evaluate these comprehensive skills.

Term 6: Advanced SFX Make-Up and Prosthetics

The final term is devoted to advanced SFX make-up and prosthetics. Students learn lifecasting, sculpting, working with gelatine, foam, silicone, and Pro Bondo, art finishing, preparing moulds, and the application and removal of bald caps and prosthetic pieces. Practical assessments for BTEC units 95 and 96 culminate the course, ensuring students are fully prepared for professional endeavours in the industry.

Where can I study this course?

You can study this course at either of Brushstroke Makeup School’s studios – Longcross Film Studios or Elstree Studios. These locations offer students the opportunity to learn in a real studio environment, providing real-life industry experience.

What are the career opportunities?

After completing the course, graduates can pursue careers as make-up and hair artists in film, TV, theatre, and fashion industries. The comprehensive training and industry-relevant skills acquired during the course open up numerous opportunities in these fields.

What are the progression options?

Progression from the 2 year includes the Level 2 VTCT Diploma in Women’s Hairdressing and Men’s Barbering Fast Track Full Time or the 1-year HND Level 5 Diploma in Make-up and Hair. These courses allow graduates to further specialise and enhance their skills.

How can I book a place?

To book your place on the course, you can either sign up online and we’ll call you, or you can contact Brushstroke Makeup School directly. This can be done via email at [email protected] or by calling their Longcross Studios or Elstree Studios numbers. An interview may be required as part of the enrollment process.

Ways to pay

Enrolment in Brushstroke Makeup School’s full-time BTEC and ITEC courses is facilitated through a structured payment scheme designed to accommodate the financial circumstances of our students. Here’s a few things you need to know:


  1. Initial Deposit: A mandatory deposit of £3,000 is required to confirm your place on the course. This deposit is integrated into the total fee structure and is not an additional charge.
  2. Termly Payments: Following the initial deposit, the remaining course fee is divided into six termly instalments of £4,000 each. This arrangement allows for a more manageable financial commitment by distributing the cost over the duration of the course.
  3. Interest-Free Payment Plans: To further assist our students, Brushstroke Makeup School offers interest-free payment plans on all full-time BTEC and ITEC courses. These plans enable students to fulfil the fee balance through termly payments or instalments, spread across the course’s duration, without incurring additional interest charges.
  4. Methods of Payment: The school accepts various methods of payment, including Bacs transfers, cheques, bankers drafts, and debit/credit card transactions, providing flexibility in how tuition fees can be settled.
Period Makeup Course

7 Month Makeup & Hair Course (ITEC Level 3 Diploma)

The 7-month professional Make-up and Hair Course covers the fundamental skills you will need to work as a professional hair and make-up artist in film, TV, Stage, and Fashion.
What does the 7 Month Course cover?
The 7-month course is designed to impart fundamental skills necessary to work as a professional hair and make-up artist in film, TV, stage, and fashion. The curriculum includes period make-up and hair, special effects make-up, wig knotting, basic haircutting and styling, airbrushing, bridal and fashion make-up, and hair.

How is the Course Structured?

This course is structured as a full-time, practical training program that runs continuously over seven months, rather than according to traditional academic term times. It is suited for career changers, individuals with family commitments, or those needing professional training within a shorter timeframe. The course also incorporates essential business skills like continuity, script breakdown, budgeting, and CV writing.
Where can I study this course?

The 7-Month ITEC Level 3 Diploma course can be studied at Longcross Academy starting on September 16, 2024, or at Elstree Academy starting on October 7, 2024. Both locations provide professional studio environments for hands-on learning.

What are the career opportunities?

Graduates of this 7-month course can expect to find career opportunities in various sectors of the entertainment and beauty industries, such as working on film sets, television studios, theatre productions, fashion shows, and private styling. The skills acquired also allow for freelance opportunities in bridal and event make-up.

What are the progression options?
Upon completing this course, students may choose to further their education and skills by enrolling in the 1-year Hairdressing and Barbering Course to obtain a VTCT Level 2 Diploma in Women’s and Men’s Hairdressing, or pursue advanced studies in special effects or high fashion make-up techniques.
How can I book a place?
To enroll in the 7-month course, you can reach out to Brushstroke Makeup School via email at [email protected] or by phone at the Longcross Studios (+44 (0) 1344 635 522) or Elstree Studios (+44 (0) 208 324 2669). A deposit is required to secure your spot, followed by installment payments throughout the course duration.
Ways to pay

The course fees are structured as an initial deposit of £2,000 followed by four installments of £2,250 each. The school offers interest-free payment plans, making it easier to manage payments over time. This structure helps students afford the course without full upfront payment.

Period Makeup Course

Level 2 VTCT Diploma in Women’s Hairdressing and Men’s Barbering Fast Track Full-Time (32 weeks)

Our 1 Year, VTCT (Level 2 Diploma), full-time Women’s and Men’s Hairdressing Course trains students in a highly sought-after skill set. The course is taught by Toni & Guy trained tutors so our students graduate with skills and expert knowledge to start work as stylists in hair salons.

Period Makeup Course

HND Level 5 Diploma: Performing Arts – Make-up

This specialist diploma course is a one-year extension of the 2-year BTEC Make-up & Hair Course, which is equivalent to the first and second years of a university degree.

About Our Flagship Course

2-Year Professional Makeup Course

Our 2 Year BTEC in Makeup and Hair consists of six semesters and is our most comprehensive and in-depth offering. You’ll gain knowledge in a wide range of areas, such as historical hair and makeup, special effects make-up, stage make-up, wig and facial hair design and application, airbrushing, haircutting, and styling, bridal hair and makeup, afro hair styling, fashion make-up and hair, and photographic hair and makeup.

Makeup Courses London - Girl with Head Piece

Why is it the right time to start a Professional Makeup Course?

Starting a Professional Makeup Course could not be more timely, given the flourishing state of the UK’s film & TV, fashion, and entertainment industries. Despite facing challenges like the 2023 Hollywood strikes, the BFI reported a significant £4.23 billion spend in film and high-end television (HETV) production in 2023, demonstrating the UK’s resilience and global appeal as a production hub.

The film sector alone attracted £1.04 billion from 74 features, accounting for 77% of the UK’s total spend. On the television front, the UK’s HETV production spend in 2023 was £2.87 billion, significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels, with a majority contributed by inward investment shows.

Moreover, the demand for studio space is on the rise, with total stage space increasing by 1 million sq ft over the past year to 6.9 million sq ft. The Knight Frank UK Film and Television Studios Market Report 2023 highlights the industry’s shift towards more diverse investment opportunities in studio spaces, potentially benefiting the makeup industry by providing a broader range of projects and productions to work on.

Makeup Courses London - Girl with Handbag
Make up Courses London Brushstroke - Interview Olivia
Goblin Prosthetics

Train at Famous Film Studios

After checking to see that it’s established, you want to pick a professional makeup academy that has ample training facilities. Learning in the right environment is important. At Brushstroke our facilities are based at the famous Longcross and Elstree Film & TV studios. We also have additional facilities at Pinewood. These purpose-built facilities are the largest in the UK and Europe, incorporating 4 make-up studios and storerooms (housing  65,000 wigs). This enables us to train and properly prepare our students for the constantly developing needs of the creative industries. The environment is open and spacious, balancing a structured educational format with relaxed, friendly learning.


Find a Course with a Good Range of Tutor Experience

The success of a makeup school is largely due to the people that work there. It goes without saying that the skills that you learn on a makeup course are only as good as the tutors that teach you. Reviewing tutor experience is important. If you’re working with a group of fully qualified makeup artists, each an expert at what they do, then the chances are that you’re going to learn a lot from them and gain some of those skills for yourself. For instance, if your aim is to learn special effects makeup artist techniques then have a look to see whether those are the type of skills the tutors have.

Brushstroke tutors are specialists in their subjects and highly sought-after artists in their own right. They inspire our students with their creative and technical skills, hands-on, practical training in make up and hair, as well as business-related guidance. Where possible, our tutors also offer students work placements. We’re also fortunate that so many of our tutors have international experience (and foreign language skills) helping our students gain a wider perspective of the industry.

Makeup Tutor Teaching Students
Makeup Artist in Training at Wimbledon

Choose a Professional Makeup Courses That Has Industry Relevance

Your choice of a professional makeup course and makeup academy is likely to affect the career you choose after you complete the course. You may not know this just yet, and that’s absolutely fine – don’t panic!

Part of the experience of studying at a makeup school is finding your true passion. You might, for instance, have a penchant for a career working with celebrities on TV and in film. Or perhaps you’re more interested in the world of fashion and stage makeup artistry? There are many roles and paths to choose from and it’s useful to explore them all. Ultimately though a good makeup course will help shape that decision and point you in the right direction.

What is important is to take your time to consider whether the course is suitable for providing employment prospects when you finish. The tutor experience and reputation of the school, its training facilities, and course material are just a few of the things worth considering in making your final decision. Have a look at the course syllabus, download a copy of the makeup school prospectus and have a look at some of the videos and reviews of each makeup school you’ve shortlisted. All of these things will help you in making a more informed decision. Ultimately though it needs to feel right for you – and that’s what counts the most.

Brushstroke Makeup School Studio

Get State-of-the-art Makeup Tutoring

Our students receive state-of-the-art instruction from experienced industry professionals, and leave Brushstroke with a well-rounded skill set, ready to tackle any challenge in the makeup industry.

Our syllabus is updated regularly to ensure that we’re always up-to-date with the latest trends and techniques. Every student at Brushstroke receives their own Make-Up and Hair Kit to start their training. Additional equipment can be purchased separately.

You’ll receive training across a range of applications including TV, stage, and fashion. Our makeup training includes instruction from specialist tutors, life-long learning support, access to well-equipped studios and wig rooms, guidance on creating a portfolio and CV, practical business training, and real-life experience through apprenticeship opportunities. We have a dedicated page to showcase our student’s progress and achievements.

Short courses are also available for those who want to get a taste of makeup and hair-styling techniques or refresh their skills. Browse our selection of taster courses and refresher courses to find the perfect fit for you.

Choose an Established Make-up School

With the growth of online makeup courses in the past few years, the number of fly-by-night makeup schools has emerged in the dozens. You only need to search “makeup courses” on the internet to find them. Typically, these schools (or websites) lack the credentials, tutors, and proper training facilities to deliver quality courses. If the website lacks information about the course tutors, that’s probably a red flag. Other red flags include locations that appear in numerous cities with no contact details, websites only offering online courses, and courses that take a matter of days to complete; particularly those with no contact details and just an 0800 number.

Professional makeup schools are open and transparent about their makeup courses and course tutors. Brushstroke has been in the makeup training business for nearly 30 years and we want first-time visitors to learn more about us and the work our students have done (see our gallery pics and videos showcasing some of our student achievements). However, websites only tell you so much, so we’re also happy to offer you the real deal – a tour of our facilities. We accept tour bookings for anyone who is interested just hit the sign-up button below to book a tour.


John Maxwell Building, Elstree Studios
Brushstroke Building - Longcross
Professional Makeup Courses London

Look at Student Reviews

It’s not just the facilities and reputation of a makeup school that matters, it’s the people. If you visit a place that gives off good vibes, that’s a sure sign that your course is likely to be enjoyable. At Brushstroke, we like to afford prospective students and visitors the opportunity to visit our facilities and see for themselves. That’s the only way to truly get a true feel for what it’s like, and it’s inevitably what will help you in narrowing down your choice of the makeup school you want to train at, and the courses you want to study. This is a great chance as well to explore the facilities, talk to other students and look at the work of former students to get a better idea of the path you want to take.  

At Brushstroke, the welfare of all our students (past and present) is very important to us and we are always on hand to offer help and advice. For example, we make provisions for people with specific learning difficulties, such as dyslexia. We also offer ongoing support to every student once they have finished their course. If you have any questions, get in touch with Louise White our General Manager to find out more. Louise is super friendly and always happy to help with any questions that you have.


Review the Course Syllabus

If you’re looking to study makeup, it goes without saying that you need to review the course syllabus. There are a couple of things to consider here. Firstly, how long are you looking to study? Is it a short course that you’re after, or are you looking for longer, more in-depth diploma courses (BTEC and ITEC courses)? Longer courses give you a full breadth of skills, many hours of makeup training, and the qualifications to prove your worth to future employers. Shorter courses are helpful for topping up skills in particular areas – e.g. prosthetics or SFX makeup. 

A makeup degree is not just about theory and technical terms – it’s about experience. Brushstroke offers the most practical, hands-on hours of training available as well as industry-standard certification. You don’t just learn the skills. You learn how to be in the working environment. You learn about being self-employed and all elements of the industry.

Brushstroke’s three full-time makeup and hair courses are structured around BTEC and ITEC programs. These are useful vocational qualifications for all age groups: school and college leavers moving on to further education, those with young families needing a term-time schedule, and mature students wanting the reassurance of professional training for a new career. The courses range from 7 months to 2 years to suit different career plans, and the syllabus can even accommodate students taking time off to re-sit school exams or work placements.

Our 2 Year Make-Up and Hair (BTEC, Level 3 Diploma) is the most popular because it offers an intensity of training over a practical period of time. In comparison to university courses of a similar nature, our students gain many more hours of hands-on training each week.

SFX Makeup Courses
XFactor Makeup Room

Review Graduate’s Work Experience

There are many ways to find this. If you want honest unbiased reviews, look at the comments on Google and Facebook. What is the star rating of the makeup school? What has former and current students said about it? Are there any discussions about the courses? Many makeup schools also put their comments in a graduate section and some have interviews with former students. You can have a look at those students on Linked in and do searches to follow their career progression. If you want to find out more about a makeup school also look at their YouTube and Instagram channels. This is a great way to see what students are currently working on.


Hours of Training Experience

Practice makes perfect. Your success comes through practice and the number of hours spent training. There are some makeup courses online that run extremely short courses with very little training. If you’re serious about building a successful makeup career you want to avoid those types of courses. Along with tutoring experience and the age of the school, you want to find an academy that offers many hours of solid training so that you perfect various aspects of the course be that fitting bald caps, perfecting your airbrushing skills, or doing more complicated tasks like special effects scars and creative prosthetic masks.

At Brushstroke, facilitating the very highest level of student achievement and continuing to be a key provider of core training courses in makeup and hair is very important to us. Each course is carefully designed in consultation with professional makeup designers and artists across film, TV, and fashion to ensure they remain relevant and continue to offer valuable training.

In addition to the most comprehensive and hands-on training in make-up and hair techniques, our industry-ready approach includes practical help and guidance. For example, business-focused modules (e.g. managing tax and accounts), portfolio and CV development, and personal presentation guidance. Contract work opportunities often arise through our tutors and many industry contacts, enabling students to not only test their developing skills but also put our training into the context of real, on-set scenarios.

Girl Working on Prosthetics Makeup
Location of the Makeup School

Location of the Makeup School

The location of the makeup studio and training facilities is important, but don’t just pick the course that is closest to you. When you’re working in the makeup industry you’ll need to travel, so think about your course in the same way. Most importantly, you should pick a course that gives the makeup industry experience that you’re looking for, and one that will give you the best hands-on training to develop your expertise.  If you’re driving or using public transport, we’re easily accessible from London Waterloo and Heathrow. We also have accommodation close to the training facilities, which is a particularly great option for international students. With students traveling from across the UK and around the world to join our London courses, we are a truly globally acclaimed makeup school.


Review Course Accreditation

Choosing an accredited makeup course will ensure that the course is high quality and properly vetted. Accreditation and reputation go hand in hand. Choosing an accredited course will ensure that you have something to show future employers and discuss in your work interviews on completion of the course.

Outside of the universities and colleges offering makeup courses, the brushstroke is also one of the few makeup academies with Bafta accredited courses. That means, unlike many universities, you get personal attention, many more hours of hands-on training, and the accreditation to boot. It’s like having the best of both worlds.

In fact, Brushstroke is an approved training provider for BTEC and ITEC qualifications. Both these nationally recognized qualifications (ITEC is also internationally approved) equip students with the specialist knowledge, practical skills, and understanding that they need to progress as to make-up and hair artists in the film, TV, stage, and fashion industry.


BAFTA Scholarship Eligible Makeup Course

2 Year Hair & Makeup Course

1 Year Hairdressing, Barbering & Colouring ITEC Level 2 Diploma