How Much Money Do Makeup Artists Make?

Does a career in makeup artistry sound exciting to you? If you're someone who's always had a special flair for applying makeup to others and making them look beautiful, you owe it to yourself to find out everything you can about this creative and exciting vocation. This way, you can know whether or not being a makeup artist is the right career choice for you. Overall you'll be learning the newest and best makeup application techniques. And because every new job is going to be a little different from the last, every day that you work as a professional makeup artist is going to be filled with something exciting and new.

Salary Range
So how much money does a professional makeup artist make? Well, that depends. It depends on the type of makeup artist you want to be. Current statistics tell us that the average salary for makeup artists in the United States is just over $66,000. The top 10% were earning just over $121,000. What fields do these top earners work in? They work in motion picture, film and video productions, which also happens to be the largest employers of professional makeup artists.

Or maybe you're interested in becoming a beauty blog writer? Or someone who works at the beauty counter in a retail store? You can expect a starting salary of anywhere between $20,000 and $30,000. So as you can see, the salary range of a makeup artist can be quite drastic. What kind of beauty education and/or makeup training you have also comes into play when it comes to predicting your future annual salary as an expert makeup artist.

At a minimum, you'll need to complete all of the education required by your state. This could involve you're getting a license, certification, diploma… or nothing at all. Yes, some states don’t require any formal training for those who want to apply makeup as a career. So it really depends on which state you decide to do business in that's going to help decide your annual salary.

California, New York, Florida, Texas, Nevada, Illinois and Massachusetts hire more makeup artists when compared to other states. Those who practiced their makeup artistry in New York and California earned some of the highest salaries. If  you're very serious about your makeup artistry career, you'll need to learn everything you can about this exciting vocation in hopes of making your makeup business stand out from the rest.

Your Career Path Determines Your Salary
There are numerous career paths available when wanting to work as a makeup artist. Depending on which path you take is going to help determine your annual salary. How much education you have, as well as your experience and reputation will come into play here.

  • Film & Television. $46,000 - 121,000
  • Theater & Costume. $42,000 - $95,000
  • Fashion Runway. $32,000 - $48,000
  • Print, Magazines. $30,000 - $68,000
  • Celebrity Makeup. $44,000 - $87,000
  • Wedding, Bridal Makeup. $30,000 - $55,000
  • Spa. $40,000 - $72,000
  • Medical. $48,000 - $75,000
  • Education. $32,000 - $45,000
  • Brand Rep. $40,000 - $48,000
  • Beauty Counter. $22,000 - $36,000
  •  Beauty Blog Writer. $20,000 - $30,000
  • Funeral. $34,000 - $62,000

Setting Your Rates as a Freelance Makeup Artist
For those of you who really like the idea of being your own boss and thus making all of the decisions relating to your makeup artistry business, being a freelance makeup artist just may be the perfect choice for you. If you're interested in becoming a freelance makeup artist, it may be wise for you to find someone already working in the profession who would take you in under their wing. You'll not only get a front row view of what you can expect when working as a professional makeup artist, you'll also get a chance to make some long lasting professional working relationships.

Set your fee too high and you may not get as many clients as you'd like. Set your fee too low and people may wonder why you're so affordable. There's definitely a fine line when it comes to setting your own makeup application rates. What you need to think about when setting your own rates is who are your clients going to be? When it comes right down to it, your salary is dependent on the budget of your clients, so keep this in mind.

That being said, the low end of a makeup artists salary can have you making between $300 and $400 a day. The high and can be upwards of up to $3000 a day. When setting your own makeup rates, be sure to calculate all of your expenses first. Then you're going to need to figure out how much money you're going to charge for a decent profit. You can keep people from taking advantage of you by keeping close track of your time (unless you're hired at a fixed rate).

A contract is always a good idea. At a minimum, you should have a basic contract available and with you for potential clients to see. Investing in a lawyer for just a few hours can be well worth the money spent, as this can help save you from any potential future legal battles. And make sure to get all of the details included; the more information, the better.

Offering package deals is also a great way for you to find new jobs, as everyone is looking for a good deal when it comes to professional makeup services. And don't forget to add in any add-on fees that may arise, i.e. additional person fees, rush fees, etc. And be sure to check out your competition in order to see what they're currently charging for their professional makeup services.

Additional Pay
Don't forget to factor in tips, overtime, bonuses, commission jobs, and whether or not medical, dental, and vision are included in your salary as a makeup artist. Almost half of the makeup artist jobs available today include medical care, about a third offer dental care, and a little more than a fourth offer vision care.