What to Include in a Makeup Artistry Contract - QC Makeup Academy

It is very easy to run into misunderstandings and potential headaches as a makeup artist, and this is where a makeup artistry contract comes in!
As important as your client is, you also need to look out for your own best interests at all times. Drawing up a contract and having your client sign before any work begins is the best way to eliminate hassles, and ensure that you protect yourself as a professional makeup artist.

So what should you include to make sure you cover all your bases? Stick with us as we run through a list of the most important items to include in your makeup contracts!

Personal information

The first order of business on any makeup artistry contract is to get your client’s full information, and the basic list includes their full name, address, phone number, and email. In addition to this, we recommend including a field where they can indicate any allergies, colds, or other illnesses they may have, plus their doctor’s contact information.

Being aware of any skin or ingredient allergy, current illness, or other ailment that your client has allows you to provide them with the best service while not aggravating any conditions or causing them issues before their event. The last thing you want to do is trigger a reaction in a client who wants to look and feel beautiful! Avoid any liability issues by having them fill out this section in your contract.

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Pro Tip: Know that you can actually refuse to apply makeup on a client who has a nasty cold or an infection. You certainly don’t want to put yourself in harm’s way, so be confident in exercising your own judgment with each of your clients!


As a makeup artist, your time is worth its weight in gold. As your clientele grows, your free time will become scarce, so you’ll need to be particular with the timing of your appointments (and be careful not to overbook!). When it comes to your makeup contract, indicating specific start and end times for each client is one of the best things you can do for yourself – your time will be respected, and there won’t be any surprises for you or your client when it comes to scheduling.

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Not all freelance makeup jobs are the same, so your makeup artist contract should reflect exactly the type of look you’re creating. For example, if you’re working with a bridal makeup client, you’ll need her wedding date and time, venue address, colors, the total number of people who need makeup and hair services, and the time that the bride needs to be ready. For other events, be sure to include fields that denote what time the client needs to be ready and when the appointment will end. In general, most appointments are one hour per person, so keep this in mind when drawing up a contract.

By making sure your makeup artistry contracts have clear indications of timing, you’re respecting your own time as well as that of your clients. This will improve your reputation as a makeup artist!


This is the section of the contract that needs to be crystal clear for your client. That’s not to say that the rest of the contract should be clear as mud, but when it comes to details around payment, you want to leave little room for confusion. Ask clients for a non-refundable, non-transferable deposit at the same time that they sign and return the contract to you. This confirms their commitment to the appointment and to you, and sets the overall tone of the agreement between you and your client going forward.

In terms of how much the deposit should be, 20%-50% of the overall price is a fair and common range. Make it clear in the contract that the client’s date and scheduled time will only be reserved once the deposit and signed contract are in your hands. This is even more important in the case of bridal makeup, as the client’s wedding date and services for their bridal party will not be secured until payment is made, and these are all extremely important details for a bride-to-be!

With the deposit out of the way, it’s time to focus on the payment itself. You’ll have discussed and agreed on your rate during the initial consultation, so the makeup contract is not a time for negotiation. It’s a good idea to ask for the final balance to be paid in full on the day of the client’s appointment, and be sure to indicate in the contract which methods of payment are accepted (cash, money order, cheque, etc.), and who it should be payable to. Spend some time researching the best methods of payment for makeup artists, and decide which ones you’ll accept.

Encourage your clients to ask any questions while reviewing the contract together, so they’re completely on board.

Cancellation clauses

As this section is closely connected to payment, keep these two portions close together in your contract. Your client’s deposit secured their appointment, so if they need to cancel, they will not receive a refund. However, you can be a little more lenient if you wish (especially if you’re just starting your career as a makeup artist).

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If it seems too harsh to deny your client a refund of their deposit, put a rule in the contract that indicates that they can have their deposit refunded if they cancel within a week of signing the contract. This is an acceptable grace period that you can put in place if you’re not totally comfortable with the other rule. After this period, however, your client is out of luck and cannot have their deposit refunded.

Now for the other side of the coin – what if you are unable to perform your duties on the day you’ve agreed on with your client? Illnesses, emergencies, and unexpected events happen, and this is precisely why a makeup artistry contract has been created in the first place! Decide on a clause that you’re comfortable with when it comes to not being able to follow through, such as refunding your client more than their deposit as compensation – we recommend 110%. Don’t skimp on the details of this refund either. Be sure to clearly state how the client will receive their refund and how long it will take.

Your reputation as a makeup artist is extremely important, and can be compromised in this type of situation, so you want to make sure that you go above and beyond for your clients and show them that they are number one.

Makeup artist’s requirements and requests

You‘ve probably noticed that the majority of this article has been focused on the needs of your client, and while this is priority, your makeup contract should also have your own requirements and requests. After all, it is an agreement that takes both parties into account!

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Firstly, make sure you lay out the terms surrounding location. Are you happy to travel to your client’s home to create their look? One item you can include in this section is a travel fee, which is applicable only outside a certain radius – for example, if you’re focused in New York City, clients beyond a 30-50km radius will need to pay a travel fee, which will be clearly indicated in the contract. If you’re traveling to the client’s home, you may need items such as a table, chair, outlet, specific lighting, or general work area, so the client will need to be organized before you arrive.

On that note, you can also request that your client be ready once you arrive, so if you’re creating wedding makeup, for example, you can request that they wear a specific type of blouse and moisturize their face so you can start as soon as you get there.

No one ever said being a freelance makeup artist was easy! Check out 11 struggles only freelance artists will understand!

Author Victoria Begin

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Join the discussion 7 Comments

  • Natasha Nischol says:

    Very informative blog
    It is important as a professional to secure your self with a contract, and if you are confused what to add to your contract is blog will help you.
    Thank you was a great blog.

  • Kela says:

    Loved this blog!! Very informative!

  • Anastasia says:

    Very informative and knowledge information, I wish my teacher from my 2day makeup course taught us this

  • Nia says:

    Very informative information. With this I’am able to create my own contract. Thank you.

  • Gemma Mannering says:

    I never do a bridal, film job without a contract. It secures you and the person who is hiring you. On mine I have personal details and the event plus a break down of prices so for instance bridal trial and on the day plus bridal party and anthem any additional guests,then the price for each one then a total, deposit and amount owing with the date that the outstanding needs to be paid. I also have information about if they cancel and what happens if for any reason I have to cancel and then there is a space for both of us to sign

  • Jordan Garcia says:

    Wow, I think this is probably the single most important thing to protect you from any trouble. I didn’t really think about all the small details that should be going into a contract, but I’m so happy that they were outlined in this article! I definitely want to make sure that I’m a fair business practitioner but also making my clients feel like royalty. I think having everything laid out initially via a contract can definitely help both parties feel comfortable with the transaction.

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Sarah-Lynn Seguin says:

      Thanks so much for reading, Jordan! xx We definitely agree that a well-written contract is a staple for any professional makeup artist. It’s important that the MUA is not only protected, but the client as well. A strong contract is the single best way to ensure that all parties are treated fairly, with no room for either side to take advantage of the other. 🙂

      Great comment, we appreciate your insight! 🙂

      All the best,
      The QC Team

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