How much do Make-Up Artist’s earn?

How to Become a Makeup Artist

If you’re deciding to become a Makeup Artist, you’ll naturally want to learn the answer to your most burning question…

“How much do makeup artists earn?”

The good news is that although Makeup Artistry is a very competitive industry, qualified and professional makeup artists can make a very decent living!

Australian makeup artists can expect to earn between $35,000 per year (at $17 per hour) and this is considered to be a low end of the spectrum, up to $105,000 per year (at $50 per hour). This is considered to be a high end of the spectrum however this is very much achievable for makeup artists who excel, continually book lots of clients and earn themselves a great reputation.

The average makeup artist salary in Australia is around $53,000 per year and $25 an hour – so before you get too excited about earning the big bucks, make sure you’re okay with the average as many people will hover around this rate.

If you’re just starting as a makeup artist, you also need to be realistic about your salary and the rates that you charge your clients… a top salary is something that you need to work up to!

There are some key factors that will impact what you earn as a makeup artist, including:

  1. Your level of experience.
    A makeup artist with 6 months of experience cannot expect to earn as much as a makeup artist with 5 years experience and a bigger portfolio. That’s not to say that you can’t work your way up, but being realistic and honest with yourself about your skillsets in relation to the market rate is very important.
  2. Your chosen niche.
    Like any other job, your salary will also depend on where you work (for example someone starting out as a makeup artist at MAC may expect to earn more than someone starting out as a freelance makeup artist. Do your research and consider the going rate for any jobs that you apply for and if you’re hoping to be freelance, make sure that you can financially sustain it.
  3. Your location.
    If you’re becoming a makeup artist in a larger city like Sydney or Melbourne, you may have more opportunities open to you than in a smaller city such as Hobart. This is because larger cities will tend to have a more booming television, film, fashion and entertainment scene where MUAs are in very high demand. Of course the downside to this is that competition can be more fierce, so be prepared to fight extra hard for jobs! A smaller city may present you a lower quantity of opportunities but if competition is lower too, it can also be a great foot in the door. It’s up to you to weigh up the pros and cons!
  4. Your level of education and/or certification.
    If you’re a certified makeup artist, you’re likely to command a higher salary than a makeup artist who has no formal makeup training. Employers will always be willing to pay more for someone who has a certification to prove that they have the professional skills required to do an excellent job!

Other things to consider:

Don’t be discouraged by the idea of working your way up the earnings ladder as a Makeup Artist! It is just the same in almost every industry. Also try to consider that the salary you take home isn’t always your full compensation package. For example, some employers may have staff benefits such as employee/staff discounts on makeup or provision of additional industry training to further your career.

If you’re wanting to increase your pay as a makeup artist, there are some proactive steps that you can take alongside allowing yourself the time to gain industry experience, such as:

  • Getting more training
  • Learning new skills & adding new certifications to your portfolio
  • Specialising in a niche of makeup artistry
  • Working in a different area where you feel your prospects are better
  • Improving your portfolio

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