Ways to Increase Your Makeup Artist Salary

Getting a raise is exciting no matter your career. Makeup artists can actually create ways of increasing their salaries. Even if you don’t see immediate profit, MUAs of every level can do things to benefit their salaries over time.

Assess Your Skills

Trying to increase your makeup artist’s salary in too many ways at once can be overwhelming. Choose methods that will improve what you do. Ask yourself

  • Where your strengths lie
  • Where you could improve
  • What do you realistically have time for

Assessing your abilities helps you decide which course of action to take. Choose one that will let you profit and thrive.

Ways to Improve Your Makeup Artist Salary

Options that are good for experienced makeup artists aren’t necessarily the same for new MUAs, and vice versa. Any artist with confidence and a good work ethic should take whatever steps they’re comfortable with for improvement.

New professionals might consider:

  • Additional training
  • Assistantships

Experienced professionals might consider:

  • Secondary revenue streams
  • Diversifying their skills

You might also try:

  • Networking for new opportunities
  • Improving your portfolio
  • Adjusting your attitude

Choose a Strategy

Makeup artists who are willing to invest the time and effort into improving are already on track to increased salaries. Check out these other strategies!

Additional training

Most makeup artists become certified because their local industry is regulated. It is also, however, quite experienced-based. Skills develop during your studies and evolve during hands-on work.

You can also study to specialize in things like special effects or airbrush makeup. For some artists, returning to school is the ideal way to increase their makeup artist salary. You might not see immediate profit, but it is a solid investment in your makeup artist career.

Artists who want to profit and train at the same time might work for reputable cosmetic or retail chains. Some companies give employees free ongoing makeup training that is highly regarded. Be aware, however, that the techniques you’ll learn are sometimes very specific to that company. In the long run, certified makeup artists are often paid more than those with less training.

Professionals with qualifications and real-world experience build a solid foundation of skill. The better your qualifications and experience, the more people are willing to pay.


Some experienced artists hire assistants. Working for a reputable artist is a great way to learn tricks of the trade. You’ll work closely with a professional, picking up on what they do well and absorbing how they deal with mistakes and emergencies.

Classrooms aren’t ideal for everyone. Professional programs can also be lengthy and expensive. If you’re already licensed or working in an unregulated area, there are other ways to become a more qualified MUA.

Assistantships might not sound glamorous, but they help you become a more qualified makeup artist. If you train under the most prestigious makeup artist in the country, clients will be willing to pay higher prices than they would otherwise.


Networking with potential clients and other professional MUAs is a great way to find new opportunities that can help you work towards a higher salary.

Learning to network online and in person is important. Makeup artists use Facebook groups or website forums to discuss industry related topics and advise each other on problem solving techniques. Perhaps another artist is looking for a creative partner for a prestigious contract? Maybe they know of an upcoming position at the agency they worked at before branching out? Networking with makeup artists that respect you at tradeshows and events might result in new contracts or recommendations.

Improving your portfolio

If you don’t have a portfolio, invest time in creating one. If you have one, make it better! Build an electronic version to send to prospective clients and employers. Put together a physical portfolio to bring to and from meetings. Create a brief online portfolio to give website viewers a taste of your skill.

A professional portfolio is the makeup artist’s best tool. For some people, reading or hearing about your work is fine but pictures of your gorgeous makeup will convince them to hire you.

Well-organized, professionally displayed photos of your best work show preparedness. Prospective clients and employers pay more for the services of makeup artists with impressive portfolios than those who expect to be hired without proof of their skill.

Your attitude

If you’re looking for ways to improve, you’ve already got the right idea. A positive attitude won’t immediately increase your makeup artist salary, but it plays a role in reaching your goals.

Your attitude influences how clients and employers view your professionalism. If you are egotistical, unfriendly, or easily defeated, you won’t be hired as often. Being positive, passionate, and approachable shows others how much effort you invest in your work. Clients and employers pay according to your work ethic.

Secondary revenue streams

Experienced MUAs can supplement their income with secondary revenue streams. This means more responsibility, but it can also mean higher profit. You’ll continue taking makeup contracts but you’ll offer additional services as well.

Makeup artists have a wide range of options for supplementing their income:

  • Retail or product representation: Many freelance makeup artists also work at cosmetic stores or makeup counters. Others independently represent cosmetic brands, selling products at events or hosting parties to sell cosmetics and give guests makeup tips and makeovers.
  • Workshops and seminars: Between contracts, give seminars, guest-speak at events, or host workshops. Also consider online webinars, tutorials, and consultations. Experienced MUAs are paid to share their expertise with other professionals or advise clients who want to learn about doing their own makeup.
  • Expand your services and diversify your skills: If you usually concentrate on makeup for fashion or film, take advantage of your skills in other ways. Expand into special effects makeupairbrush makeup, or another specialization. You might even consider a related trade like hair styling to offer alongside makeup artistry.
  • Create your own products: Some experts create products or makeup lines. This requires a high level of cosmetic knowledge and experience, knowledge of marketing and branding, and sometimes a reputable name.

Be Pro-Active!

Being proactive about your career sets you apart from the competition. Waiting passively for an opportunity won’t benefit you. Find ways to make it happen! Have confidence in your plan of action and take pride in the fact that your profit is based on your own hard work.

Find out how to spend your higher salary! Check out our guide on building a professional makeup kit based on your salary!

Author Corina Wan

More posts by Corina Wan

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