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Assessment Of The Use Of Cosmetology In Video Film Industry: A Study Of Make Up Artists In Lagos State




Makeup for many years has existed within the human race and has over the years been used for different purposes, including the enhancement of beauty by individuals as well as film directors as a tool for representation of reality in film productions. The history of makeup spans at least 6000years and is present in almost every society on earth. Makeup sometimes referred to as cosmetics, according to Power (2004) he argues that it was the earliest form of ritual in human culture, dating over 100,000 years ago from the African Middle Stone Age. The evidence for this comes in the form of utilized red mineral pigments (red ochre) including crayons associated with the emergence of Homo sapiens in Africa.

During the early 1900s, makeup was not excessively popular. In fact, women hardly wore makeup at all. Make-up at this time was still mostly the territory of ladies of the night, those in cabarets and on the black & white screen. Face enameling (applying actual paint to the face) became popular among the rich at this time in an attempt to look paler. This practice was dangerous due to the main ingredient often being arsenic. Pale skin was associated with wealth because it meant you were not out working in the sun and could afford to stay inside all day. Cosmetics were so unpopular that they could not be bought in department stores; they could only be bought at theatrical costume stores. A woman’s “makeup routine” often only consisted of using powdered paper/oil blotting sheet, to whiten the nose in the winter and shine their cheeks in the summer. Rouge was considered provocative, so was only seen on “women of the night.” Some women used burnt matchsticks to darken eyelashes, and geranium and poppy petals to stain the lips.

Maggie Angelogou (1970) states that around 1910, make-up became fashionable in the United States of America and Europe owing to the influence of ballet and theatre stars such as Mathilde Kschessinska and Sarah Bernhardt. Colored makeup was introduced in Paris upon the arrival of the Russian Ballet in 1910, where ochers and crimsons were the most typical shades. The Daily Mirror beauty book showed that cosmetics were now acceptable for the literate classes to wear. With that said, men often saw rouge as a mark of sex and sin, and rouging was considered an admission of ugliness.

In 1914 Max Factor, a Makeup artist and chemist created the first makeup for films, light semiliquid greasepaint. Early black and white film stock did not register a range of colors. Red tones for example looked black on screen, so actors compensated by using makeup with blue or green tints. After the development of panchromatic, which recorded the entire color spectrum, more natural makeup appeared called panchromatic makeup was developed.

In the 1920s, the movie industry in Hollywood had the most influential impact on cosmetics. Stars such as Theda Bara had a substantial effect on the makeup industry. Helena Rubinstein was Bara’s makeup artist; she created mascara for the actress, relying on her experiments with kohl. Others who saw the opportunity for the mass-market of cosmetics during this time were Max Factor, Sr., and Elizabeth Arden.

According to Essman (2000) in 1931, makeup artist Jack Pierce created the memorable master” Frankenstein”. Pierce researched surgical techniques and human anatomy to imagine where the monsters skull bones might have been joined if a scientist could actually construct a man. He soaked layers of cheesecloth in a thick liquid called collodion and used this to build up actor Boris Kaloff”s face.

Later materials such as latex rubber resulted in lighter and more flexible appliances and prosthetics such as fake noses and ears. Over the years makeup has been used widely in the world in film productions, including Africa, evidenced by Africa’s leading film industry Nollywood, which in most of their films make-up is strongly used as a tool to identify different tribes, gender, class, age group, characters that the audience easily can identify such as the makeup of a witch in the popular African movies. This study therefore aims to assess the use of cosmetology in the video film industry by using the Lagos state make-up artists as a case study.


The advent of the television and the film industry has resulted in the current trend towards fashion and beauty care regardless of gender or profession. Consequently, there is a high demand in cosmetology related services globally. In Nigeria, cosmetologists both male and female are making tremendous entry into the cosmetology occupation and actually staying in it.

In Lagos State alone, there are about 3,820 registered cosmetology practitioners. They operate in a free market situation where laws and regulations guiding the industry operation are not enforced.  Despite the popularity of the study in practice, there is a meagre of literature on the topic of cosmetology in the film industry. This study aims to bridge this gap.


The general aim of this study is to assess the use of cosmetology by make-up artists in the video film industry in Lagos state.  The study was further guided by the following minor objectives:

  • To assess the perception of make-up artists on the current use of cosmetology in the Nigerian film industry
  • To determine the major factors that cause artists to put up a design
  • To assess the perception of make-up artists on the qualities of a good make up design
  • To assess the challenges of make-up artists in the course of carrying out their duty in Lagos state.


  • What is the perception of make-up artists on the current use of cosmetology in the Nigerian film industry?
  • What are the major factors that cause artists to put up a design?
  • What is the perception of make-up artists on the qualities of a good make up design?
  • What are the challenges of make-up artists in the course of carrying out their duty in Lagos state?




There has been assumptions that actors are recruited according to the age of the character that has to be portrayed, hence this research seeks to show how through makeup age is rather not just a number but what you make it, as a man in his 40’s can be made to look like a man in his 70’s through the use of make-up. The study will also show how make-up has over the years developed and its vital role especially in the film productions of today This study which is titled the assessment of the use of cosmetology by make-up artists in video film industry in Lagos state will be significant to the following bodies:

Researchers: There is a meagre of literature on the topic of make up within the film industry, this study will serve as a foundation for further research in this field.

Make-up artists: This study will reveal the right and wrongs of cosmetology to the make-up artists.

Film industry: This research will point out the basic challenges of make-up in the industry and therefore pave the way for solutions to be found.


This work will be limited to assessing the practice of make-up artistry as branch of cosmetology and how it relates to the film industry. The study was limited to assessing the perception of the art from those who practice make-up. It was also limited to the association of make-up artists in Lagos state.


COSMETOLOGY: Cosmetology is the study and application of beauty treatments, including hair styling, skin care, cosmetics, manicures/pedicures, and permanent or non-permanent hair removal. Branches of specialty include hairstyling, skin care, cosmetics, manicures/pedicures, non-permanent hair removal such as waxing and sugaring, and permanent hair removal processes such as electrology and intense pulsed light.


An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art, practicing the arts, or demonstrating an art. The common usage in both everyday speech and academic discourse is a practitioner in the visual arts only.


The film industry or motion picture industry is a general term used to describe technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking, i.e., film production companies, film studios, cinematography, animation, film production, screenwriting, pre-production, post production, film festivals, distribution and actors, film directors and other film crew personnel.


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