Average Makeup Artist Salaries by Region [USA, UK, NZ, AUS, CAN] - QC Makeup Academy

When you’re starting your career as a makeup artist, it can be tricky to determine exactly what salary you’ll be making. Different factors such as experience level and clientele come into play, as well as location, which plays a huge role in how much you’ll earn as a makeup artist.

To help give you a better sense of makeup artist salaries, we’ve put together a helpful list by region. When deciding where to begin your career, you can make the best location choice based on what the average salary will be!

Read on as we travel through five countries and delve into the makeup artist salaries for their different regions.

United States

In a huge country like the United States, it is no surprise that there is a great deal of money in makeup artistry. To give you a specific sense of what salary to expect as a makeup artist, we’ve split the country into three regions:


The picturesque Eastern part of the United States is an attractive area to start a successful career in makeup. On average, makeup artists can expect to earn $41,794 per year in a state such as Massachusetts, and this can absolutely increase with more clients and experience.


States such as Minnesota, Indiana, and Kansas (to name a few) offer a lower makeup artist salary than the Eastern states. Certified makeup artists can expect to earn $36,511 per year in a Midwestern state such as Minnesota, but this number can increase depending exactly on which city you decide to start your career as a makeup artist.

Doing some research into larger Midwestern cities will pay off!


If you’re keen on working in the Western part of the United States, we have great news for you – a makeup artist salary is higher than both Eastern and Midwestern states! After all, Los Angeles is the home to the famous Hollywood Hills! The epicenter of western cinema, many professional makeup artists flock there to start a career in film. In sunny California, you can expect to earn around $76,000 a year. However, as with the Midwestern states, be mindful of which region you choose, as not all Western states boast the same makeup artist salary (Colorado’s average salary is a bit lower, at $36,454).

professional makeup kit

United Kingdom

Become a makeup artist in the United Kingdom and watch your skills and salary grow quickly! The different regions in this beautiful country offer very competitive salaries and many a successful makeup career has been jump-started in swinging London! Here are three regions to consider:

South East

This area is the third-largest region of England, and home to many prosperous cities such as Canterbury, Oxford, and Portsmouth. If you start your career as a retail makeup artist in this area, you can expect to earn £17,673 per year on average, while freelance makeup artists earn slightly more, with £19,675 as the yearly average.


A sprawling, sophisticated metropolis such as London is a fabulous place to start your career.

Not only will you have a serious amount of options in terms of makeup jobs, you’ll also enjoy an average salary of £20,000, which will improve over time as you gain more clients and experience.

North West

Next to the South East region of the United Kingdom, and London (of course), North West England is the most populated region in the country. Freelance makeup artist jobs in Liverpool, for example, will provide you with an annual salary of £16,500, which is less than both the South East area of England and London, but still allows you to grow your skills and earn more as time goes by.

red phone booth london makeup artistry salary

New Zealand

When you think of New Zealand, adventure and sunshine are probably what come to mind first. After all – it’s one of the world’s most beautiful countries, and known for its beaches! Did you know it’s also a profitable country to start your career as a makeup artist? Here are three regions to check out:


This city in New Zealand boasts an urban population of 1,660,000, making it the most populated area in the country! This fact makes it an excellent choice for makeup artists starting their careers – you can expect to earn a salary of $32,000 – $62,000 per year when working at a makeup counter.


If you choose to work in this major center of New Zealand’s North Island, you’ll likely find yourself creating special effects makeup or working on films. Wellington is an entertainment hub, and makeup artists can expect to earn $19.00 to $20.00 per hour as they begin their careers. Expect this hourly rate to increase, however, as you’ll make connections regularly and build your clientele faster than you think!

Makeup designers who create makeup concepts for film and television can potentially earn between $40-$50 an hour!


Picturesque Gisborne is a great region to seek out freelance makeup artist jobs. Many tourists flock to its beaches and wineries, and makeup artists are always in demand! In Gisborne, you can expect to earn $35,000 per year, but freelance makeup artists can set their rates based on their own experience and level of service.

Auckland city


In addition to beaches, warm weather, and positive attitudes, Australia is known for having an excellent makeup industry! There are several regions to consider, each with competitive makeup artist salaries, so we’ve provided three for you:


Sydney is one of the world’s most exciting cities. You can boost both your experience and skills working in this booming metropolis, and expect to earn around $22.00 per hour as a makeup artist – keep building your skills and knowledge, and this number can only increase over time!

Did you know? QC Makeup Academy tutor Azzi Williams is a Sydney-based makeup artist. Find out how she prices services for her makeup business!


Holding the title of the world’s most liveable city for the last six years, Melbourne certainly lives up to its name! Excellent infrastructure, economy, and diversity abound, and makeup artists can expect to earn an average annual salary of $50,000.

Gain a competitive edge and take this salary even higher by completing a specialized makeup course!


With a buzzing business community and a sophisticated atmosphere, Brisbane is an amazing region of Australia in which to start your career as a makeup artist. On top of being part of a fabulous community, you’ll also earn around $47,000 per year as a makeup artist – this is a decent living, and will allow you to live well within such an exciting area.

beach modelling makeup artistry photo shoot


Canada may be known as a cold country rich in landscape, but it also has some first-class cities that are super profitable for makeup artists. East, Central, and Western regions of the country all offer amazing opportunities for aspiring makeup artists who want to earn a good income and grow their careers! Take a look at these Canadian regions:

East Coast

Some of Canada’s most beautiful cities are located on its East Coast – St. John, Halifax, and Newfoundland. Start a successful career in makeup in this area and you can expect to earn an hourly rate of $15.82. Keep learning and practicing, however, and this rate will undoubtedly increase – you’ll be able to live well in this beautiful region!


Canada’s Eastern region boasts two of the country’s largest cities – Toronto and Montreal. Toronto, specifically, is Canada’s most populous city and has several neighborhoods, like Yorkville, that will allow makeup artists to earn a seriously competitive salary.

For those just beginning their makeup careers, the average annual salary is $34,060. But choosing the right neighborhood and client type is key if you want this number to rise.


Not all of Canada’s cities are located in its Eastern region! The country’s Western region contains Calgary, Edmonton, and Vancouver, all of which are great starting points for aspiring makeup artists. As a special effects makeup artist in Vancouver, specifically, you can expect to earn around $58,240 per year – which is even higher than Toronto’s average makeup salary!

Pro tip: Vancouver is a popular city for film and television companies, so if a career as a movie makeup artist sounds interesting, you’ll benefit from an even higher income!

canadian landscape makeup modelling

Now that you know what to expect in a makeup artist salary, check out the top ways of increasing your income!

Author Victoria Begin

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