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What Should You Charge as a Makeup Artist?

All the latest from DaySmart to you


Written by Andrea Miller

Did you know that makeup artists can make upwards of $45,000? 

As a makeup artist, one of the most important decisions you will make is how to price your services. Charging too little can devalue your work while charging too much can scare away potential customers. So, what is the right amount to charge as a small business owner? 

This article will help you find the answer. We’ll discuss common pricing strategies and give tips on determining what’s best for your business. Let’s get started! 

Professional vs. Amateur Makeup Artist: What’s the Difference 

When it comes to makeup, there are two camps: those who prefer a more natural look and those who like to go all out with bold colors and dramatic designs. But even within these two groups, there are a variety of opinions on what makes a good makeup artist. 

Some people believe that only professionals can create truly beautiful looks, while others think anyone can learn the basics of makeup and produce stunning results. So, which is it? Are professional makeup artists better than amateurs, or is it simply a matter of personal preference? 

To answer this question, it’s important to understand the difference between professionals and amateurs. 

The Pros 

Professional makeup artists have usually undergone formal training, whether from a cosmetology school or through an apprenticeship. As a result, they often have years of experience perfecting their craft and usually have access to high-quality products that amateurs may not be able to afford. 

As a result, professional makeup artists are often able to create looks that are both technically flawless and aesthetically pleasing. 

The Novice 

Amateurs, on the other hand, typically rely on YouTube tutorials and drugstore products to achieve their desired look. While they may not have the same level of training or experience as professionals, many amateurs are extremely creative and have a keen eye for detail. In addition, with so many great tutorials and products available today, amateurs can easily create looks that rival those of professionals – sometimes at a fraction of the cost. 

So, which is better – professional or amateur makeup artists? Ultimately, this is a decision that comes down to personal preference. 

You could advertise as a professional makeup artist and charge a higher price for your services. Or, you could focus on your creative abilities and market yourself as an amateur makeup artist who can create unique looks at a lower cost. Both approaches have pros and cons, so it’s important to consider what you want from your career before making a decision. 

Whatever route you choose, remember that the most important thing is, to be honest in what you can produce for your clients. 

How Much Do Makeup Artists Charge: A Quick Overview 

Makeup artists are in high demand these days, with everyone wanting to look their best for their wedding day, a night out, or even just for everyday life. But, with so many people wanting their services, you may be wondering how much do makeup artists charge. 

The answer may surprise you. Makeup artists typically charge anywhere from $50 to $200 per hour, depending on their experience and the type of event they are working on. 

For example, a wedding may require a more experienced artist and take longer than a night out so the price will be higher. However, regardless of the price, you can be sure that your makeup artist will help you look and feel your best. 

Prices for Makeup Artists: Suggested Prices per Service 

If you’re thinking about becoming a makeup artist or already working in the industry, you’ll need to know how to price your services. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all answer, and your prices will depend on factors like your location, experience, and the type of service you’re providing. 

However, some general guidelines can help you to come up with a fair price for your work. 

Wedding Makeup 

$100-$200 

This is typically the most expensive type of makeup, as it requires a lot of time and effort to create a flawless look that will last all day (and night!). In addition, wedding makeup artists must be experienced in a wide range of looks, from natural and understated to glam and over-the-top. 

Bridal 

Usually, makeup artists will structure their prices differently for bridal makeup, as this is a more significant job that includes several practice runs, skin-care advice, and a makeup trial. For this reason, bridal makeup artists typically charge a flat rate that covers all of these services rather than an hourly rate. 

Prices can range from $100 to $150, depending on the artist’s experience and the requests from the bride. 

Bridesmaids 

Sometimes, the bridal party will include the bridesmaids and maid of honor. In this case, makeup artists usually charge a lower rate per person to account for the extra time required. 

For example, an artist may charge $100 per person for bridal makeup and $75-$85 per person for bridesmaids. 

Family and Friends 

If the bride wants her makeup artist to do the makeup for her family and friends, then a discounted rate may be offered. This is usually around 20-30% off the regular price. 

For example, if the makeup artist charges $100 per person for bridal makeup, they may charge $80-$90 per person for family and friends. 

Special Occasion Makeup 

$50-$100+ 

This includes makeup for events like proms, sweet sixteens, bar/bat mitzvahs, and quinceañeras. The price will depend on the time required for the makeup and the number of people being served. For example, a makeup artist may charge $50-$75 for one person and $100-$175 for two people. 

Special occasions can include: 

  • Prom 
  • Engagement party 
  • Birthday party 
  • Bachelorette party 
  • Red carpet event 

Everyday Makeup 

$30-$60+ 

Some clients will ask you to do a one-time daily makeup look. This makeup is usually pretty simple and can be done in under an hour. The client will expect some pointers on how to vamp up their daily routine and what products to choose from. 

Performance Makeup 

$50-$200+ 

This includes makeup for theater, dance, and other performing arts. The price will depend on the number of performers and the time required for each makeup application. For example, a makeup artist may charge $50-$100 for one performer and $150-$200 for two performers. 

Performance makeup can include: 

  • Musical theater 
  • Opera 
  • Ballet 
  • Dance 
  • Circus 

Special Effects Makeup 

$100-$500+ 

This includes makeup for film, TV, and Halloween. The price will depend on the complexity of the makeup and the time required to apply it. For example, a makeup artist may charge $100-$300 for simple makeup and $400-$500 for complex makeup. 

Special effects makeup can include: 

  • Hair and wig styling 
  • Prosthetic makeup 
  • Airbrushing 
  • Beard and mustache application 
  • Tattoo cover-ups 
  • Corrective makeup 

Makeup Lessons 

$50-$100+ 

This includes makeup lessons for individuals or groups. The price will depend on the number of people and the time required for each lesson. For example, a makeup artist may charge $50-$75 for one person and $100-$175 for two people. 

Makeup lessons can include: 

  • One-on-one makeup lessons 
  • Group makeup lessons 
  • Makeup parties 
  • Theater makeup workshops 

Specialty Services 

As a makeup artist, it might be beneficial to offer specialty services. These services can include waxing, nail care, and lash extensions. 

Waxing 

$15-$45+ 

This includes waxing for brows, lips, chin, and other facial areas. The price will depend on the number of waxed areas and the time required for each waxing session. 

Microblading 

$200-$700+ 

This is a semi-permanent makeup technique that is used to fill in eyebrows. The price will depend on the complexity of the design and the time required for each session. 

Lash Extensions 

$50-$250+ 

This includes the application of synthetic or mink lashes to natural lashes. The price will depend on the number of lashes applied and the time required for each session. 

Nail Care 

$20-$60+ 

This includes manicures, pedicures, and nail art. The price will depend on the type of nail care, including: 

  • Basic 
  • Acrylic 
  • Gel 
  • French 
  • Dip powder 

How to Set Prices: An Extensive Guide to Makeup Artist Business 

Now that you know all the different types of makeup services and how to price them, it’s time to put it all together and create a pricing guide. 

To do this, start by creating a list of all the makeup services you offer. Then, break down each service by its individual components. 

Your Experience 

One of the most important factors in setting your prices is your experience. If you’re a makeup artist with years of experience, you can charge more than someone just starting. 

Put together an extensive portfolio to showcase your experience, even if you just started out. This will show potential clients what you’re capable of and help them understand your level of expertise. 

Your Location 

Another important factor in setting your makeup artist prices is your location. If you live in a small town, you should charge less than someone in a big city. 

This is because there are more makeup artists in big cities, so customers have more options. 

In addition, your location will also affect the types of makeup services you can offer. For example, if you live in a small town, you may not be able to offer special effects makeup because there’s no demand for it. 

On the other hand, if you live in a big city, you can charge more because there’s a greater demand for makeup artists. 

Your Target Market 

When setting your makeup artist prices, it’s important to consider your target market. Are you targeting high-end clients or budget-conscious clients? 

You can charge more if you’re targeting high-end clients because they’re willing to pay for quality. On the other hand, if you’re targeting budget-conscious clients, you should charge less because they’re not willing to pay a lot for makeup services. 

However, your target market will expect the quality according to the price, including makeup products and makeup services. 

Your Costs 

Another important factor to consider when setting your makeup artist prices is your supply and operational costs. This includes the cost of makeup products and additional overhead costs. 

Your back-bar makeup supply cost will include the wholesale cost of all makeup used for your services. 

Your additional overhead costs will include your: 

To calculate your makeup product cost, start by adding the wholesale cost of all the makeup products you use and divide that total by the number of makeup services you offer in a month. For example, if it costs you $900 per month in back-bar makeup supplies and you offer 20 makeup services monthly, your overhead supply cost per makeup service would be $45. 

To calculate your total overhead cost, add your makeup back-bar supply cost and any additional monthly overhead costs which can also be divided over a period of time or per service. Make sure to take into consideration everything you are paying for to complete the service and manage your business.

Here are two great examples:

If you are a traveling artist and it costs you $300 for gas/mileage per month and you offer 20 services monthly, the total cost is $20 per service. Take the $45 per service spent on back-bar makeup supplies and add the $20 gas/mileage cost for a total overhead cost of $65 per service. 

If you rent a booth for $400 per month and offer 20 makeup services monthly, the total cost is $20 per service. Take the $45 per service spent on back-bar makeup supplies and add the $20 rental fee for a total overhead cost of $65 per service. 

Now that you know your total costs, you can start setting your makeup artist prices. To do this, start by adding up your total overhead costs and your desired profit margin. 

When considering the examples above, you can calculate this by taking the total overhead cost of $65 per service and the total profit you want to make, such as a 40% profit margin, you would charge $91 per makeup application service. It may be best to round up to $95 to make the pricing even and simple to relay to clients. However, you should consider your time and the uniqueness of each service to solidify your rates. You may want to set your prices per consultation. That way you can be flexible and negotiate based on the service request. 

Remember, the most important thing is to make sure you’re making a profit to continue doing what you love—being a makeup artist! 

Your Pricing Structure 

Finally, when setting prices, consider the structure of presenting them to your clients. You can charge per hour or ask for a flat rate. 

You can also offer discounts for certain services or for booking multiple services at once. For example, you could offer a discount for booking two makeup services at once, such as makeup and hair styling. You could also offer a discount for booking multiple makeup services, such as makeup, nail care, and microblading. 

Become a Makeup Artist Today 

Now that you know how to charge as a makeup artist, it’s time to start your makeup artist career! Enroll in a makeup artist program today to learn the skills you need to succeed. 

In no time, you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful makeup artist! 

Are you looking for a smart way to manage your business? Start with a free trial today!