Most Makeup Artists in the United States are women. The workforce as a whole earns a median of approximately $16.75 per hour. Compensation for this group is mainly affected by the company, but geography and years of experience are influential factors as well. Job satisfaction for Makeup Artists is high. Not all workers are lucky enough to have benefits; in fact, the greater part are without coverage. Medical insurance is claimed by nearly two in five and dental insurance is reported by slightly less than a third. This overview is based on answers to PayScale's salary questionnaire.
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$14,971 - $84,020
(Median)
$15K
$39K
$84K
MEDIAN: $38,638
10%
50%
90%

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$10.07 - $39.69
(Median)
$10
$17
$40
MEDIAN: $16.00
10%
50%
90%

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National Salary Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$29K$58K$87K
Salary
$14,971 - $84,020  
   
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,034  
Commission
$0.00 - $5,918  
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).
)
$20,590 - $84,772  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 99
National Hourly Rate Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$26$52$78
Hourly Rate
$10.07 - $39.69  
   
Hourly Tips
$0.00 - $10.11  
Overtime
$7.18 - $76.56  
National Annualized Data (?
XAll compensation data shown are gross 10th to 90th percentile ranges. Take the PayScale Survey to find out how location influences pay for this job.
)
$0$60K$120K$180K
Bonus
$0.00 - $5,034  
   
Commission
$0.00 - $5,918  
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).
)
$20,590 - $84,772  
Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 28 Oct 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 397
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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 often transition into upper-level roles like Retail Store Manager, for which the average compensation is $41K per year. The most common promotion for Makeup Artists is Performance Makeup Artist, a position that typically pays $40K annually. Another standard transition for Makeup Artists seeking advancement is to assume an Esthetician role, where pay is often $31K.

Makeup Artist Job Listings

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Popular Employer Salaries for Makeup Artist


Dominating the field, Sephora Inc., M.A.C., Sephora Usa, Inc, Estee Lauder Companies Inc, and M.A.C. Cosmetics are top firms with a reputation for hiring a great number of Makeup Artists. Makeup Artists flock to Self-Employed for generous paychecks, where average earnings of $56K lead the pack in compensation. Nordstrom, Inc., Estee Lauder Companies Inc, and Macy's, Inc. also offer top salaries for Makeup Artists. Workers at these firms can expect to earn about $47K, $41K, and $39K, respectively.

The lowest pay by far can be found at Sephora Inc. — this employer offers a median salary of $25K, less than half of the top paying company's rate. Also approaching the lower end are Sephora Usa, Inc at $29K, Saks Fifth Avenue at $34K, and M.A.C. Cosmetics at $35K.

Pay by Experience Level for Makeup Artist

Median of all compensation (including tips, bonus, and overtime) by years of experience.


Makeup Artists with more experience do not necessarily bring home bigger paychecks. In fact, experience in this field tends to impact compensation minimally. Workers in their first five years can expect to earn $32K, but people who have been around for five to 10 years earn a noticeably bigger sum of $38K. On average, Makeup Artists make $44K following one to two decades on the job. Makeup Artists who surpass 20 years on the job report pay that isn't as high as one would expect; the median compensation for this crowd sits around $46K.

Pay Difference by Location

National Average: $36,143

Larger city markers indicate a job is popular in that location.

Dallas is home to an above-average pay rate for Makeup Artists, 41 percent higher than the national average. Makeup Artists can also look forward to large paychecks in cities like Los Angeles (+41 percent), Las Vegas (+29 percent), San Francisco (+26 percent), and Washington (+24 percent). Location is a huge contributor to overall pay, with Makeup Artists in Austin earning a whopping 35 percent below the national average. A couple other locations with smaller-than-average paychecks include Philadelphia (29 percent lower) and Seattle (15 percent lower).

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Experience Affects Makeup Artist Salaries

Late-Career
up arrow 28%

Experienced
up arrow 22%

Mid-Career
up arrow 5%

National Average
$36,000


Job Satisfaction

Extremely satisfied
Rated 5 out of 5
based on 50 votes.

Gender

Female
93 %
Male
7 %

Years of Experience

Less than 1 year
6%
1-4 years
47%
5-9 years
21%
10-19 years
16%
20 years or more
9%

Common Health Benefits

medical benefits
Medical: 39%
dental benefits
Dental: 29%
medical benefits
Vision: 24%
dental benefits
None: 59%
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