Whether you work as a freelance makeup artist or spend your days in a salon and your nights dreaming of starting your own business, you know how to hustle.

In fact, you probably spend a good chunk of your free time thinking about how to improve your skills, land more clients, make more money — and generally live the good life.

The beauty of this industry (pun intended) is that there are constantly new trends and directions to explore. It’s why we love hair and beauty conferences so much — and why we host so many webinars with beauty experts. Yours is a profession where it pays — quite literally — to never stop learning.

But if you can’t make it to an in-person event or enroll in an in-person cosmetology program because the cost is just too steep, these free online makeup tutorials and cosmetology classes will scratch that self-improvement itch just fine.

Free Online Cosmetology Courses to Help You Improve Your Skills

1. Beauty Tips and Tricks: An Introduction to Applying Makeup (Skillshare)

If you’re considering a career as a professional makeup artist for the first time, this is a pretty great class to test the waters. Skillshare offers a free trial to get you started, so you can explore learning beauty basics for free.

BTW, here’s our list of the items that every freelance makeup artist must have in their kit — should this class inspire you to get started.

2. Beauty Therapy Course (Shaw Academy)

This in-depth course promises “practical training in carrying out treatments, as well as in-depth theoretical knowledge” on topics including skincare, body treatments, and hair removal. You’ll start with basics, flow into advanced skincare, then straight into professional makeup techniques. According to Shaw, this course can be completed in four weeks — which is exactly the length of Shaw’s free trial…

3. Makeup and Nails Certification Course (Shaw Academy)

Want to dive even deeper? This sixteen-week course will get you certified in advanced techniques (note: after Shaw’s 4-week trial, learning will cost $69.99 per month). This cosmetology certification is designed for beginners but could also be used as a refresher for long-time makeup artists. As one reviewer puts it, “I am glad I actually took this program because it has enlightened me on so many things I normally take for granted when applying makeup.”

4. Beyond Black Friday Holiday Sales Course (Schedulicity)

Yep, us! We’ve partnered with beauty industry expert, Nina Tulio, to offer a completely free 4-week online course dedicated to generating more revenue during the busy holiday season.

Specifically designed with hair and beauty industry folks in mind (though all service providers are welcome!), we’ll send classes straight to your inbox, so you can watch them whenever it’s convenient. Plus, one lucky attendee will win free access to Nina’s Make That Money course and a $1,000 business grant. Make sure you RSVP, stat.

5. How-to Beauty Courses (Huda Beauty on YouTube)

“YouTube is not an online cosmetology course!” Ok, fair, but hear us out! Some of the most talented makeup artists out there are self-taught — or at least self-taught lite — and even many certified makeup artists rely on YouTube to learn all the new techniques that surface constantly.

Our point: Don’t write this free online education off! This channel by Huda Beauty is a great one to start with if your goal is to stay current and pick up the occasional skill between client sessions.

6. Hair Color Industry Classes with Shannon Fleet (YouTube)

Another gem available for free on YouTube. And, if we’ve sold you on the idea of learning by watching, we’ve rounded up a bunch of our favorite hair and beauty industry YouTube influencers over here.

7. Get Free Cosmetology School Education via Financial Aid

If you’re looking for a true cosmetology school experience, don’t assume that it will force you to go into debt. Many programs offer financial aid if you dig hard enough and reach out to the appropriate people. And in 2021, many of these courses have also moved online. We recommend Googling “cosmetology programs near me,” and then heading straight to the Financial Aid page to see what pops up.

Want proof? Peach Phillips got a free cosmetology degree through some serious savvy — plus a few meetings with the financial aid department at TCAT. Here’s her video that breaks down exactly how she did it.