How Much Money Do Makeup Artists Make?

Updated January 26, 2023

Makeup artists are professionals who help their clients highlight and enhance their natural beauty by using various makeup products and techniques to apply makeup to the face and body. If you are considering a career as a professional makeup artist, having salary information can help you decide if it's the right career path for you. In this article, we provide detailed makeup artist salary insights, as well as answers to frequently asked questions, job outlook, related jobs and how to increase your salary as a makeup artist.

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How much do makeup artists make?

When looking at the national average salary for a position, it is important to consider both the average salary and salary range. The national average salary for a makeup artist in the United States is $31.44 per hour with a salary range between $7.25 and $94.45 per hour. There are also other important compensation factors to consider, such as overtime pay, bonuses, tips, benefits packages and cost of living, to determine whether a career as a makeup artist is right for you.

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Makeup artist job outlook

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has two separate career categories that makeup artists can be grouped in: skincare specialists and barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists. The BLS projects skincare specialists will enjoy a job growth outlook of 11% and barbers, hairstylists and cosmetologists will enjoy a job growth outlook of 8% between the years of 2018 and 2028. These job growth outlooks are faster than the national average for all occupations of 5%. This means makeup artists should experience high levels of career stability and have several career opportunities available to them.

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Makeup artist salaries by state

When comparing the average salary of each state, it is important to consider the average salary and the comparison of the cost of living for each state to make sure you are getting an accurate picture that will help you choose which location is right for you. Here is a list of makeup artist salaries by state:

  • Alabama: $33.11 per hour

  • Alaska: $26.45 per hour

  • Arizona: $16.83 per hour

  • Arkansas: $10.34 per hour

  • California: $32.44 per hour

  • Colorado: $22.99 per hour

  • Connecticut: $23.03 per hour

  • Delaware: $25.56 per hour

  • Florida: $33.97 per hour

  • Georgia: $33.76 per hour

  • Hawaii: $25.32 per hour

  • Idaho: $23.40 per hour

  • Illinois: $33.85 per hour

  • Indiana: $42.18 per hour

  • Iowa: $67.83 per hour

  • Kansas: $20.48 per hour

  • Kentucky: $64.00 per hour

  • Louisiana: $10.51 per hour

  • Maine: $24.55 per hour

  • Maryland: $17.01 per hour

  • Massachusetts: $20.03 per hour

  • Michigan: $36.78 per hour

  • Minnesota: $38.96 per hour

  • Mississippi: $23.33 per hour

  • Missouri: $25.01 per hour

  • Montana: $23.52 per hour

  • Nebraska: $57.71 per hour

  • Nevada: $46.07 per hour

  • New Hampshire: $65.80 per hour

  • New Jersey: $19.53 per hour

  • New Mexico: $24.79 per hour

  • New York: $32.07 per hour

  • North Carolina: $16.47 per hour

  • North Dakota: $25.19 per hour

  • Ohio: $17.40 per hour

  • Oklahoma: $39.95 per hour

  • Oregon: $34.91 per hour

  • Pennsylvania: $32.94 per hour

  • Rhode Island: $84.97 per hour

  • South Carolina: $48.67 per hour

  • South Dakota: $14.42 per hour

  • Tennessee: $33.07 per hour

  • Texas: $26.67 per hour

  • Utah: $38.27 per hour

  • Vermont: $79.91 per hour

  • Virginia: $31.03 per hour

  • Washington State: $38.55 per hour

  • West Virginia: $20.29 per hour

  • Wisconsin: $49.17 per hour

  • Wyoming: $24.40 per hour

How to increase a makeup artist salary

Follow these steps to increase your salary as a makeup artist:

  1. Choose the right geographic location.

  2. Network with industry professionals.

  3. Advance within the industry.

  4. Consider secondary revenue streams.

1. Choose the right geographic location

The first thing you should do to increase your salary as a makeup artist is to choose the right geographic location to work in. Salaries of makeup artists vary greatly by location based on the demand for the services of makeup artists in the area and the area's cost of living. It is important for you to choose a geographic location that balances your earning potential and your cost of living for you to increase your salary and maximize the take-home value of your income.

2. Network with industry professionals

The next thing you can do to increase your salary as a makeup artist is to network with other industry professionals. You can do this by finding a more experienced professional within the industry to learn from and practice perfecting your skills and techniques when you are an entry-level makeup artist. Doing this will help you increase your salary by making you more valuable because of your level of skill and by helping you build connections with professionals who are already successful within the industry.

3. Advance within the industry

Next, you can use the connections you build through your networking to advance within the industry. For example, a makeup artist who is working in a department store may advance into an independent makeup artist position by networking with other independent makeup artists.

4. Consider secondary revenue streams

Finally, you can increase your salary as a makeup artist by seeking secondary revenue streams. For example, if you are working as a makeup artist in a local department store or a salon, you may consider building your own business by offering makeup artist services outside of work. You can also seek to learn new skills and pursue continuing education to diversify your skills so you can offer more services to your client base.

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Related careers

The following are careers related to the makeup artist role:

  • Esthetician

  • Hair stylist

  • Cosmetologist

  • Massage therapist

Frequently asked questions

How are makeup artists paid?

Makeup artists are paid in several different ways depending on their position and where they work. Some makeup artists who work in salons, spas, and retail environments are paid an hourly wage or set salary, while other makeup artists who are self-employed are paid per day or per job. Makeup artists who do theater or performance makeup and work on celebrities may be paid a set salary or be paid per day or event.

Do makeup artists receive tips?

Whether or not a makeup artist receives tips varies based on where they work and what their position is. Makeup artists who work in department stores or other retail environments are often prohibited from accepting tips, while makeup artists who work in salons and spas or who are self-employed usually do receive tips. Makeup artists who do earn tips generally receive between 15% and 20% of the cost of their service, as is standard for other service professionals.

How long does it take to become a professional makeup artist?

The amount of time that it takes to become a professional makeup artist varies depending on the cosmetology program the makeup artist is enrolled in and whether or not they attend the program as a full-time or part-time student. A full-time cosmetology student can usually complete their program and become a licensed cosmetologist in about eight months, while it may take part-time students up to two years to complete their program and become a licensed cosmetologist.

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