April 25, 2022

How Much Do Professional Makeup Artists Charge?

Charges of professional makeup artist

Becoming a makeup artist means more than just practicing your art—it may also mean running your own business. Professional makeup artists are often responsible for defining their own prices, regardless of whether they’re freelancing, working from home, or working in a salon.

There are several economic factors to consider when creating a price list. These factors include the types of makeup services you offer, experience, your brand, the market you’re working in, overhead costs, and education costs. It’s important to have a sustainable pricing structure so that you can continue to grow your business. 

Consider Your Location, Competition, and Market

The salary or average rates of professional makeup artists can vary widely depending on your location and market. When you’re setting your prices, do some research about the average salary of professional makeup artists in your area. You can use these figures to determine your own prices and what pricing model is sustainable for you. Competitive pricing based on your area’s market is crucial to your ability to generate and retain clients and be profitable.

Competitive pricing isn’t just about offering lower prices than the other artists in your area. It’s also about balancing your pricing with your overhead costs and the value of your experience. For example, having more than one makeup degree, diploma, or certification would warrant increased prices. This is because your increased training makes you a better artist, giving you a competitive edge. 

Create a List of Services

How much professional makeup artists charge is often directly influenced by the services they are qualified or willing to provide. Some services require more overhead costs than others, so you may need to set your pricing higher. Additionally, services that require specialized experience may also be more expensive.

When creating your service list, it’s essential to look at the demand in your area. This can help you understand what services are popular and worth offering. It will also help you identify underserved niches that you may be able to fill. 

List of Services Example

Here are examples of some services that professional makeup artists may offer and an idea of their average pricing:

  • Special effects — Special effects makeup is a specialty makeup field that uses specialty products, including but not limited to grease paint, liquid latex, and prosthetics. Because of this, the pricing is likely to be higher, and artists need specialized training to produce the desired effects. According to payscale, special effects makeup artists can charge an hourly rate that averages $23 an hour or even a flat rate or day rate that can be $500 – $1,000 depending on the piece’s complexity or length of the project. Charging an hourly rate is the norm in this field because, depending on the desired look, special effects makeup could take several hours to several days to complete depending on the desired look. 
  • Makeup lessons — Makeup lessons may be a service you offer based on the demand in your area and your experience as an artist. Price variation is huge for this service. What you’re going to be teaching, your teaching qualifications, and how much time, effort, and the products you’re using all affect lesson prices. Supplying your students with products or having them bring their own will also influence how much you charge. Because there is so much variation in this field, you’ll want to research other lessons by artists at your same experience level to get a feel for average pricing.  
  • Eyelash extensions — False eyelashes have been a beauty staple since the 1960s. Professional eyelash extensions have steadily risen in popularity and are a readily-available specialty service in most places. According to Glamour, eyelash extensions can cost anywhere between $120 to $300, depending on the level of lash customization and the time it takes to apply. 
  • Microblading — Microblading is a type of semi-permanent brow tattoo, where fine-point needles deposit pigment underneath the skin. The microblade does not penetrate as deeply as a tattoo gun, which is why they are semi-permanent. Microblading is a specialty service that can cost between $500 to $2000, according to Cosmopolitan. You need a professional makeup artist certification and license to offer microblading in many states. This is one of the reasons it is a more expensive service. 

Pricing Structures

You may find that different pricing structures suit different types of services due to time commitments or consumer demand. Here are a few basic structures:

  • Flat rate — This is when you charge one price for every client who purchases this service. This structure works well for more uniform services. For example, eyelash extensions, makeup application, or makeup lessons work well on a flat rate because there is a specific process to follow. 
  • Half or full-day rate — This is when you charge a flat rate based on an amount of time rather than the specific service. Half-day rates work well for more involved projects. For example, bridal makeup, where you may be working on several people, or you’re needed over an extended period, like on a photoshoot. 
  • Hourly — This is when you charge a fee by the hour. This structure is flexible and well-suited for specialized jobs like special effects, which can take hours depending on the desired look. 

Additional Costs to Consider

Besides overhead product costs, there are other costs to consider when creating your prices. Some of these costs include:

Space rental — It’s common for hair and makeup stylists to rent a salon booth or chair to work out of. Salon booth rentals can range between $250 to $1200 per month depending on what salon you’re renting from and where that salon is located. 

Storage costs — As a professional makeup artist, you will likely have a lot of products. You likely won’t need all of those products every day. Some of these products may be temperature-sensitive or require special storage. It depends on the services you offer and the products you use. You should factor in storage costs when making your business budget. 

Cost of living in your area — To be a sustainable full-time makeup artist, your income has to cover your product costs and your living expenses. This may be easier in some areas than others. It may also push you to expand your service list or seek further education. 

Further education — Pursuing further education can increase your value and widen the range of services you can provide. You can take a specialized class or even go back for additional licensure or even a degree. If this is something you plan to do, you should factor in the program’s cost as a whole. Include axillary costs related to admissions, class supplies and textbooks, and licensing exam fees. 

Sanitizing products — Keeping your tools and workspace clean is crucial, especially when working around sensitive areas like the eyes. Any product costs associated with sanitizing your makeup and tools should be a regular part of your business’s budget to keep your clients and yourself healthy and safe. 

Permits — If you’re operating your business out of your home or have purchased your own business space, your city or state will likely require you to have one or many different permits. The average cost of a general business permit can range from $50 to a few hundred dollars, and some even have renewals fees. Make sure you do your research on your state’s specific requirements ahead of time.


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