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Makeup Artist Salary: How Much Can You Expect

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 opportunity 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 and editorial), and generally a wealthier client base. However, with more opportunity comes more competition – definitely something to consider.


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. The potential earnings 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.


A huge opportunity for makeup artists is to work at a beauty counter or under a major cosmetic label. It might not offer the creative freedom of freelance work, but it does offer a consistent salary, with the possibility of benefits as well. The average annual income for a makeup artist in this field is $35,000.

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 very 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. If you’re interested in this career path, QC Makeup Academy offers a Master Makeup Artistry course that teaches makeup for theater, live stage performance, and television.

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 MUA.

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