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What Makes a Good MUA Portfolio?

by Natalie Wright
What Makes a Good MUA Portfolio?

When starting out in the makeup industry, it’s very important to make a good first impression. As it can be hard to act and feel confident when meeting potential employers, why not let your work speak for itself? Of course, every employer will be looking for something different. They could be searching for a specific skill set or a certain type of person.

So, what to include in your MUA portfolio?

Choose your best work

Award-winning Makeup Artist Sarita Allison ( ) advises to choose your 10 best representations of your work. Less is more and be sure to choose quality over quantity.  Also, she feels it is important to consider who you are showing your portfolio to and to tailor it accordingly. 

Makeup Designer Jan Sewell particularly loves seeing professional pictures. If you are only just starting out, it is worth noting that the perk of unpaid work is that you are allowed to keep the professional pictures of the looks you created, so this can be a good starting point for building a great portfolio.


Portfolio presentation is key

MUA Sarita Allison likes to see that an artist has given thought, care and attention to their portfolio. She says: “I’ve seen some portfolios where photographs are dog eared, not straight in their sleeves, falling out at the back of their portfolio. You may not get a chance to meet that person again and you want them to have a good memory of you and your work.”

Show a variety of work

Both Jan Sewell and Sarita Allison agree that a portfolio should not include too much blood work. After all, it can hide a multitude of mistakes. Rather include a variety of work including clean beauty, ageing makeup and character work.

Sarita Allison explains: “I like to see clean work. I look for originality. Versatility. Variety of age, skin tone and texture. It’s very easy to do a beautiful makeup on young skin but would you use the same technique and products on an older skin?”

And it’s not all just about makeup. Jan Sewell mentions she also likes to see beautiful clean hair work.


Personal recommendation

Sarita Allison likes seeing portfolios when employing new team members to see what their strengths are, what they are passionate about and how they present their work along with a personal recommendation. Jan Sewell agrees that personal recommendations are often what sways her decisions when employing junior staff and trainees as it’s about finding team members with the right attitude as well as skill.