Makeup Artist Salary: How Much Can You Expect - QC Makeup Academy

When you’re just starting out, the pay can be unpredictable, and the world of makeup artistry is no different. It can be difficult to secure regular work—and get a paycheck for it! So what can you expect from a makeup artist salary?

The answer is—it depends. Here are a few factors that can affect makeup artist salary:


Makeup artists in large urban centers have more opportunities to earn a higher living, compared to their rural counterparts. They have a larger pool of potential clients, more access to high-paying industries (like film, TV, and editorial), and generally a wealthier client base. Plus, makeup artists who work in city-centers, like New York or L.A., have much easier access to public transit. This means you can live in a more affordable end of town and still work in affluent areas! If you have access to a car, then you’ll be set to offer your professional makeup services anywhere – rural or urban.

However, with more opportunity comes more competition – which is definitely something to consider! You’ll need to be familiar with using social media and marketing your makeup artistry business. This will help you gain more visibility, resulting in a larger client base and more referrals. If you want to raise your makeup salary to be earning more than the average makeup artist in your area, networking and putting your business out there will do the trick!


Makeup artists often start as freelancers, and while it takes some time to fill up your schedule with new clients, this field offers the most freedom. Not only do you choose your own hours, but you are also able to work as much and as little as you like. If you work a full-time job, becoming a makeup artist can add supplementary income to your bank account! And who doesn’t like a bit of extra spending money?

The potential earnings for a freelance makeup artist are the lowest in the industry—about $30,000 annually, on average—but it’s a great way to make connections and get your name out there, especially when you’re starting out. In order to gain experience as a certified makeup artist, your best bet is to freelance. Start with friends and family, and make your way into referrals. Once you have enough practice and are confident in your professional makeup techniques, you can start applying for assistant positions or makeup counter jobs!


A huge opportunity for makeup artists is to work at a beauty counter or under a major cosmetic brand. It might not offer the creative freedom of freelance makeup jobs, but it does offer a consistent makeup salary, with the possibility of benefits as well. Let’s face it – having the security of benefits is a huge perk in any career path!

The average annual income for a makeup artist in this field is $35,000. Of course, with experience, you’ll be able to grow in the industry. Most brands will train you to take on more responsibilities, and you have the potential to move into a management role. What’s more, you’ll know that even if it’s a slow day, you’re still getting paid for your makeup services. Having a stable makeup artist salary is a determining factor for many professionals.

TV and Stage

If you live in an area with a thriving television or theatrical scene, a career as a makeup artist on the set of a television show or theater company could be a lucrative option. In this field, you have the potential to earn anywhere between $45,000 and $75,000, depending on your experience and skill level. And once you land a makeup job in the entertainment field, your name will spread like wildfire. Of course, you need to nurture your prospects and professional relationships with production companies, but you’ll have your foot in the door!

If you’re interested in this career path, QC Makeup Academy offers a course that teaches makeup for theater, live stage performance, and television. Knowing foundational and advanced techniques gives you a competitive edge – most makeup artists just stick with simple techniques!

The possibilities are practically limitless. There is a lot of money to be made in makeup artistry, and a field that’s suitable for any certified makeup artist.

Ready to start an exciting career in makeup artistry? Embrace your potential with QC’s online makeup courses!

Author Mireille Pitre

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