How Much Do Makeup Artists Earn in the USA?

how much makeup artist earn in usa

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on makeup artist salaries in the United States! Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting out in the industry, this in-depth article will provide you with valuable insights into the earning potential of makeup artists in the USA. Read on to discover how much makeup artists earn, what factors influence their income, and how you can maximize your earning potential in this exciting and rewarding field.

According to Payscale, the average annual salary for makeup artists in the United States is around $64,000. However, this figure can vary significantly depending on several factors, including experience, location, and specialization. In this article, we’ll delve into these factors in detail and provide you with a comprehensive salary range for makeup artists in the USA.

Factors Influencing Makeup Artist Salary


Experience is one of the most significant factors that influence a makeup artist’s salary. As you gain more experience, your skills and knowledge improve, making you more valuable to potential clients. Entry-level makeup artists with less than five years of experience can expect to earn less than those with more extensive experience. Conversely, makeup artists with more than ten years of experience typically command higher salaries.


The location in which you work as a makeup artist can also impact your salary. Major metropolitan areas like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago typically offer higher salaries than smaller cities or towns. This is due to the higher cost of living in these areas and the increased demand for makeup artists in the entertainment industry.

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Makeup artists who specialize in specific areas of makeup, such as bridal makeup, special effects makeup, or fashion makeup, can earn higher salaries. This is because their skills are in high demand and they have a unique set of expertise that not all makeup artists possess.

Freelance vs. Full-Time Employment

Whether you work as a freelance makeup artist or a full-time employee can also affect your salary. Freelance makeup artists have the potential to earn higher salaries than full-time employees, but they also have to cover their own expenses, such as insurance and marketing. Full-time makeup artists typically earn a fixed salary with benefits, but their earning potential may be limited compared to freelance makeup artists.

How to Maximize Your Earning Potential

Build a Strong Portfolio

One of the best ways to maximize your earning potential as a makeup artist is to build a strong portfolio that showcases your best work. This portfolio should include a variety of high-quality images that demonstrate your skills and creativity. Make sure to update your portfolio regularly with your latest work to keep it fresh and impressive.

Network With Other Makeup Artists

Networking is essential for success in any field, and the makeup industry is no exception. Attend industry events, join online makeup communities, and connect with other makeup artists in your area. Building relationships with other makeup artists can lead to referrals, collaborations, and opportunities to work on bigger projects.

Get Certified

Getting certified as a makeup artist can help you stand out from the competition and command higher salaries. There are various certification programs available, such as the Makeup Artistry Certification Program from the International Makeup Association (IMA).

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