A makeup artist who’s made it to the high-end shows will find most of their runway work during the “Big Four” fashion. You can also look out for specialized fashion shows and fashion weeks, like Bridal Fashion Week. If you’re the lead makeup artist, you’ll meet with the designer a few days before the show for a test. They’ll fill you in on the show’s story and let you take a look at fabric swatches or pieces from the collection. Then you’ll create a look on the test model until you and the designer settle on the perfect fit.

Many people think runway makeup is all about creativity. That’s true, but not always in the way you’d expect. A designer’s aesthetic isn’t still your aesthetic, and many designers want their makeup to stay pretty basic. Recognizing a collection’s style and creating an appropriate, original look for it are essential skills in this industry. The relationship between a designer and a makeup artist is all about trust and a designer who respects your work and trusts your professional skills.

Runway makeup artistry is a “work your way up” kind of business, so don’t let starting small discourage you. Working small-scale shows or looking for jobs as an assistant with other makeup artists is the best way to start building up your network.