Makeup Artist Salary (United States)

Most Makeup Artists in the United States are women. The median pay for people in this role is approximately $15.70 per hour;. Pay starts at $9.81 per hour and can approach $49.32 on the higher side. The most important factor affecting compensation for this group is geographic location, followed by career duration and the particular employer. A majority of professionals in this line of work do not receive benefits; however, around one third report medical coverage and around one third claim dental coverage as well. Most Makeup Artists like their work and job satisfaction is high. Respondents to the PayScale salary survey provided the data for this report.
Makeup Artist Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$20,273 - $58,900
(Median)
20K
28K
36K
48K
59K
MEDIAN: $35,690
10%
25%
50%
75%
90%
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Makeup Artist Salary (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$9.81 - $49.32
(Median)
9
23
49
MEDIAN: $15.00
10%
75%
90%
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National Salary Data

 (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$31K$62K$93K
Salary
$20,273 - $58,900  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $4,684  
Commission
$0.00 - $11,635  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$20,676 - $90,855  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 82
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$25$50$75
Hourly Rate
$9.81 - $49.32  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.51 - $7.60  
Overtime
$11.22 - $74.11  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross, national 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Pay can vary greatly by location. To view local data, take the PayScale survey.
)
$0$50K$100K$150K
Bonus
$0.00 - $4,684  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $11,635  
Total Pay (?
XTotal Pay combines base annual salary or hourly wage, bonuses, profit sharing, tips, commissions, overtime pay and other forms of cash earnings, as applicable for this job. It does not include equity (stock) compensation, cash value of retirement benefits, or the value of other non-cash benefits (e.g. healthcare).
)
$20,676 - $90,855  
PayScale
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 3 Sep 2014 | Individuals Reporting: 412
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Job Description for Makeup Artist

Makeup artists use cosmetic products to enhance natural beauty and create attractive looks that meet clients' needs. They work in a number of settings, such as demonstrations at makeup counters and trade shows, high-fashion makeup for runway models, theatrical makeup for film and stage productions, and movie special-effects makeup design. Depending on the makeup artist's niche, they may based in one location (such as a salon or makeup counter) or travel regularly to different locations. Makeup artists may work as freelance professionals or for an employer. Examples of freelance makeup artists' jobs might include a bride's makeup for weddings, actors' makeup for stage production, and models' makeup for fashion photographers print and catalog work. Makeup artists with a single employer might work at a specific salon or makeup counter, among other locations. These professionals may continually expand their clientele and specializations, creating opportunities for career advancement. Makeup artists must be able to adapt to clients' specific needs, such as if they have an allergic reaction to a certain cosmetic or if certain products aren't translating to film or photographing well.
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Makeup Artist Tasks
  • Select makeup shades and products for individuals.
  • Sell makeup and cleansing products, and provide information and advice on cosmetic application.
  • Consult with clients, perform makeup demonstrations, and provide skin care consultations.

Common Career Paths for Makeup Artist

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Makeup Artists who transition into roles like Retail Store Managers—where earnings amount to an additional $5,166—are not commonly found. A Performance Makeup Artist role is the most prevalent career advancement for Makeup Artists, and paychecks swell by $3,941 per year. a Retail Store Assistant Manager position is another common transition for Makeup Artists; in this role, salaries typically decrease by $2,718.

Makeup Artist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Makeup Artist

Makeup Artists flock to M.A.C. for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $34,971 lead the pack in compensation; however, M.A.C. also provides employees with a wide spectrum of compensation ranging from $23K at one end to $42K at the other end. Employees of Sephora Usa, Inc can expect to make the least, with the company offering a median salary of $29,080; however, pay is widely dispersed from top to bottom, ranging from $21K to $46K.

Pay by Experience Level for Makeup Artist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.
Starting out, salaries fall in the $31K range but grow to $41K after five to 10 years. Compensation is $46K after 10 to 20 years. Makeup Artists' salaries shift downward after two decades on the job, averaging $42K. Experienced employees who have 10-20 years of experience make up 20 percent of the workforce; inexperienced individuals who have been working for less than one year comprise less than five, and senior people with more than 20 years under their belt fill out the remaining 6 percent. Most of respondents report one to nine years of experience.

Pay Difference By Location

New York
up arrow 37%
San Francisco
up arrow 30%
Chicago
up arrow 14%
Seattle
up arrow 13%
National Average
$35,000
Las Vegas
up arrow 2%
Los Angeles
up arrow 9%
Houston
up arrow 11%
Larger circles over a city indicate a job is popular in that location.
For Makeup Artists, working in the bustling city of New York has its advantages, including an above-average pay rate. Makeup Artists will also find cushy salaries in San Francisco (+30 percent) and Chicago (+14 percent). Houston is home to the smallest salaries in the field, lagging the national average by 11 percent. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Los Angeles (-9 percent) and Las Vegas (-2 percent).

Related Job Salaries

Experience Affects Makeup Artist Salaries

Experienced
up arrow 31%
Late-Career
up arrow 20%
Mid-Career
up arrow 17%
National Average
$35,000
Entry-Level
up arrow 11%

Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied Image
Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5 based on 85 votes.

Gender

Female
94%
female alumni
 
Male
6%
male alumni

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
4%
1-4 years
40%
5-9 years
30%
10-19 years
20%
20 years or more
6%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits Medical: 36% dental benefits Dental: 29%
vision benefits Vision: 22% employee benefits None: 61%
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