How Much Does a Makeup Artist Charge?

How Much Does a Makeup Artist Charge?

How much does a makeup artist charge? This question is top of mind for brides planning their dream wedding, actors preparing for opening night, and promgoers getting ready for the big dance. However, the rates for professional makeup applications can vary widely based on the artist’s experience level, the services required, and additional factors like location and travel fees. While an Instagram makeup artist may charge $50 for a basic glam look, a celebrity artist could charge upwards of $1000 for a red carpet appearance.

Determining your budget for makeup starts with understanding the typical rates in your area and the particulars of your event. Are you looking for a full bridal trial and wedding day makeup? Or a simple touch-up before family photos? By learning about industry standards, you can set realistic expectations. With some smart planning and cost-saving steps, you can get gorgeous, professional makeup results while still staying within your budget.

This article will explore exactly how much does a makeup artist charge for different services. We’ll cover the average costs for different services, what circumstances cause prices to go up or down, tips for saving money, and the right questions to ask when booking an artist. If you’re wondering what you should actually expect to pay for your wedding, photoshoot, or special event makeup, you’ll find the answers here. Let’s start by looking at typical hourly rates based on an artist’s experience level.

Table of Contents

How Much Does a Makeup Artist Charge Per Hour?

When budgeting for professional makeup services, one of the first things you’ll want to know is how much makeup artists typically charge per hour. Hourly rates can vary widely in the industry depending on factors like experience level, location, and the complexity of the services required.

1. Average Hourly Rates for Makeup Artists

On average, here is what you can expect to pay makeup artists on an hourly basis:

  • Entry-Level Makeup Artist Rates – $50 to $70 per hour
    • Just starting out in the industry
    • 1-3 years experience
    • Limited training and portfolio
    • Best for simple makeup services
  • Experienced Makeup Artist Rates – $70 to $125 per hour
    • 3-5+ years experience
    • Extensive training and varied portfolio
    • Can handle complex makeup jobs
    • Ideal for weddings and events
  • High-End & Celebrity Makeup Artist Rates – $250+ per hour
    • 5-10+ years experience
    • Works with celebrities, models, TV/film
    • Specialized skills and marketing ability
    • Luxury products and services
How Much Does a Makeup Artist Charge Per Hour?

As you can see, a seasoned makeup pro with higher levels of skill, experience, and expertise can command hourly rates that are substantially higher. The most sought-after celebrity makeup artists can even charge $1000+ per hour for major red-carpet appearances and celebrity weddings.

Experience LevelHourly Rate Range
Entry-Level$50 – $70
Experienced$70 – $125
High-End & Celebrity$250+

2. Factors That Influence Hourly Rates

Many variables beyond basic experience level can impact what a makeup artist charges per hour. Here are some of the key factors:

1. Location

Like with most service-based businesses, location significantly influences makeup artist rates. Artists working in major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, New York City, and Miami charge higher rates due to the higher cost of living and demand. Rates in small towns and rural areas are typically much lower.

2. Type of Client

The profile of the client will also affect rates. For example, the fees to do makeup for a bridal party may be lower than doing makeup for a magazine cover shoot. Celebrity clients are charged premium rates across the board.

3. Scope & Complexity of Job

The specifics of the makeup job at hand impact hourly fees. More complex services like airbrushing, intricate eye makeup, or special effects makeup take more time and specialized skills, so the rates are higher.

4. Travel Requirements

Many artists charge an hourly fee for travel time plus mileage costs. The further the location, the higher the travel fees added onto on-site services.

3. Questions to Ask About Rates

When reaching out to makeup artists to understand their hourly rates, here are some questions to ask:

  • What is your hourly rate range?
  • Do you charge differently for weddings vs. editorial shoots?
  • Is there a minimum number of hours required for booking?
  • How far are you willing to travel, and what are your travel fees?
  • Are rates different for weekends vs. weekdays?
  • When do you require a deposit or pre-payment?

Knowing the hourly rate is just the starting point for understanding what a makeup artist will charge. Be sure to ask for full-price quotes for the specific services you require. Rates can vary widely, but this inside look at hourly fees provides helpful benchmarks as you set your makeup budget.

Average Costs for Common Makeup Services

In addition to hourly rates, makeup artists typically quote average pricing for common services like bridal makeup, special events, photoshoots, and more. Here’s what you can expect to pay for standard makeup applications and services.

1. Bridal Makeup Costs

One of the most popular services makeup artists provide is bridal beauty. Here are typical bridal makeup prices:

  • Bridal Makeup Trial – $75 to $125
    • Perfecting the wedding day look
    • 1-2 weeks before the wedding
    • 1-2 hours with the artist
    • Trying different styles
    • Nailing down products and techniques
  • Bridal Makeup on Wedding Day – $100 to $250
    • Final wedding day application
    • Typically 1-1.5 hours
    • At the venue or getting ready location
    • Makeup touch-ups as needed
  • Bridesmaid Makeup – $50 to $100 per person
    • Wedding day makeup for bridal party
    • Simpler than the bride’s makeup
    • Often done in groups
    • Airbrush or strip lashes extra

Bridal makeup costs ultimately depend on the number of people needing services, extras like airbrushes or lashes, and travel fees. Full wedding makeup for the bride plus several bridesmaids can easily cost $1000 or more.

Average Costs for Common Makeup Services

2. Makeup for Special Events

Special occasions also call for professional makeup services. Event makeup prices typically range from:

  • Prom Makeup – $50 to $100
  • Homecoming or Formal Makeup – $35 to $75
  • Quinceañera Makeup – $50 to $150
  • Pageant Makeup – $100 to $200

Factors like complexion products, false lashes, airbrush makeup, and intricate eye looks can increase costs for event makeup.

3. Photoshoot Makeup Costs

For models and subjects appearing in photoshoots, makeup pricing may range from:

  • Model Portfolio or Test Shoot – $75 to $125
  • Fashion Photo Shoot – $150 to $300+ per day
  • Editorial Photo Shoot – $100 to $250+ per day
  • Ad Campaign or Commercial – $250+ per day

Image-focused photoshoots require specially tailored makeup looks and greater attention to detail, increasing the cost. Day rates are standard.

4. TV, Film, and Theater Makeup Rates

For makeup in television, movies, theater, and other performances, daily or production rates typically apply:

  • Live Theater Production – $100 to $150 per day
  • TV/Film Production – $400+ per day
  • Special Effects Makeup – $500+ per day
  • Prosthetics Application – $600+ per day

Production makeup requires very early call times, special tools and cosmetics, and the potential for extensive overtime. Day rates are higher to accommodate this.

Now that you know the typical pricing for common makeup services, you can better set a budget and manage expectations when hiring a professional makeup artist. Just remember that rates vary based on your region, the artist’s experience, and exact needs. Get a custom quote!

What Factors Influence a Makeup Artist’s Rates?

A makeup artist’s hourly fees and service prices depend on several important factors. While experience level plays a major role, elements like location, client type, job complexity, and more also influence how much a makeup artist will charge.

1. Experience Level

One of the biggest factors determining makeup artist rates is the artist’s overall experience and training background.

Entry-Level vs Experienced

  • Entry-level makeup artists just starting out in the industry typically charge $50-$70 per hour. Their skills may be limited.
  • Experienced makeup artists with 3-5+ years of experience and advanced skills usually charge $70-$125 per hour. Their work commands higher rates.

A makeup artist’s experience level is a major factor affecting how much does a makeup artist charge per hour.


Makeup artists who hold certifications from schools like Make-Up Designory or Cinema Makeup School can charge more because of their accredited training.

Continuing Education

Artists who invest in continuing education (e.g. workshops, conferences) to refine their skills or learn new techniques/trends can justify higher rates.

2. Artist’s Location

Location greatly impacts a makeup artist’s rates:

  • Urban areas like Los Angeles, New York City, Miami have a higher cost of living. Rates are higher.
  • Makeup artists in rural areas or small towns often charge less due to lower demand and cost of living.

Some artists charge travel fees for destinations outside their home area which can add to costs.

3. Type of Client

Rates vary depending on the client:

  • Individual clients – Lower rates, simple makeup
  • Celebrity clients – Highest rates, exclusive services
  • Bridal parties – Mid rates, specialization required
  • TV/Film – Day rates, airbrush makeup needed

Well-known artists or those with celebrity clientele can demand premium pricing across the board.

4. Scope and Complexity

More complex makeup services warrant higher fees:

  • Simple, basic makeup – Lower rates
  • Airbrush makeup – Higher hourly rate
  • False lashes – Added cost per strip
  • Special effects – Significantly higher rates

The number of people needing makeup and the overall time requirements also impact cost.

By factoring in these elements, a makeup artist can tailor their rates appropriately for each job and client. The right rate results in fair compensation for the artist’s time, skills, and expenses.

When determining how much does a makeup artist charge, keep in mind that rates vary greatly depending on the artist’s experience, location, the complexity of the services, and other factors

Types of Makeup Services and Typical Costs

Professional makeup artists offer a diverse range of beauty services for all kinds of clients and events. Here is an overview of common makeup services and what they typically cost.

Types of Makeup Services and Typical Costs

1. Bridal and Special Event Makeup

Bridal makeup is one of the most popular services for makeup artists. Services and average pricing include:

  • Bridal Makeup Trial – $75 to $150
    • Perfecting wedding day look before the big day
  • Bridal Makeup on Wedding Day – $100 to $250
    • Final makeup application at the wedding venue
  • Bridesmaid Makeup – $50 to $100 per person
    • Simpler makeup for wedding party
  • Flower Girl Makeup – $35 to $50
    • Light makeup looks for children
  • Prom Makeup – $50 to $100
    • Formal makeup for school dances
  • Quinceañera Makeup – $50 to $150
    • Celebratory makeup for Latin American tradition

Bridal makeup costs are highest due to the specialized skills required. Extras like airbrush, strip lashes, and travel fees can increase prices.

2. Photoshoot Makeup

Photoshoot makeup requires special artistry and typically costs:

  • Model Portfolio Shoot – $75 to $125
  • Fashion Photo Shoot – $150 to $300 per day
  • Editorial Photo Shoot – $100 to $250 per day
  • Ad Campaign Shoot – $250+ per day

Flawless makeup that photographs well is crucial for models and photography subjects.

3. TV, Film, and Theater Makeup

For makeup artists working in entertainment, typical rates are:

  • Live Theater Production – $100 to $150 per day
  • TV/Film Production – $400+ per day
  • Special Effects Makeup – $500+ per day
  • Prosthetics Application – $600+ per day

The extensive time, specialized products, and creative artistry involved warrant higher pay.

4. Makeup Lessons and Consultations

Makeup artists also provide private instruction and guidance:

  • One-on-One Makeup Lesson – $50 to $125/hour
  • Group Makeup Workshop – $60 to $100 per person
  • Makeup Party – $60 to $100 per person
  • Color Analysis – $75 to $125 session

Instructional services allow clients to learn new makeup skills from professionals.

Makeup artists offer diverse services to meet various client needs. Being informed on typical pricing helps you plan your beauty budget.

Additional Costs to Consider With Makeup Services

When budgeting for professional makeup services, be aware of additional costs that can impact the total price. Beyond the base rate for application, extras like travel, peak fees, and gratuity can make the final price tag higher.

1. Travel Fees

Many makeup artists charge separately for travel to and from a location. Typical travel fees include:

  • Hourly rate for transit time (often half their normal rate)
  • Mileage costs for driving, usually $0.50-$0.75 per mile
  • Parking fees, tolls, public transportation costs

For destinations far from their normal service area, overnight stays may also be required at the client’s expense.

2. Premium Rates for Peak Days/Times

Higher rates often apply for makeup services on:

  • Weekends
  • Evenings
  • Holidays like New Year’s Eve
  • Any peak event date like Valentine’s Day or prom season

Artists reserve the right to charge 1.5x or 2x their normal rates during premium days/times when demand is highest.

3. Gratuity

It’s standard practice to tip your makeup artist, typically 15-20% of the total cost of services. Some artists include gratuity in their pricing, but be prepared to add a tip otherwise. For wedding makeup, tips for the entire bridal team are customary.

4. Add-Ons

Additional makeup products and services beyond the standard application increase costs:

  • Strip false eyelashes – $10-$20 per pair
  • Individual false eyelash extensions – $15-$30 per eye
  • Airbrush makeup – $10-$20 additional
  • Body makeup and treatments – $15+ per area
Additional Costs to Consider With Makeup Services

5. Kit Fees

If makeup products aren’t supplied by the client, the artist may charge a kit fee to cover the cost of using their professional cosmetics, tools, and supplies.

Knowing these extra charges that go beyond hourly or service rates allows you to budget for the full price of professional makeup. Ask your artist directly about add-on pricing and any required deposits.

When budgeting for a makeup artist, be aware of other charges beyond just how much does a makeup artist charge per service.

Be sure to factor gratuity into your makeup budget, as tipping your artist 15-20% is considered standard practice. Get tips on how much to tip your makeup artist for different services and events

Saving Money on Professional Makeup Services

While hiring a professional makeup artist does come with a price, there are ways to get gorgeous results while sticking to your budget. With some savvy tricks and smart planning, you can save on makeup services for your wedding, photo shoot, or special event.

1. Hire an Entry-Level Makeup Artist

Booking an artist who is just starting out can be a budget-friendly option. Their hourly rates are lower – typically $50-$70 vs. $100+ for experienced artists. While their skills may be limited, they can still deliver nice makeup.

2. Skip a Makeup Trial

Some brides choose to skip a makeup trial to save $100 or more. This can work if you’ve had makeup done before and trust the artist. But a trial does allow you to perfect the wedding day look.

3. Provide Your Own Makeup and Brushes

Supplying your own foundation, mascara, lipstick and disposable makeup brushes can save on kit fees. However, artists prefer to use their professional products.

Skip Extra Lashes and Airbrush

While false lashes and airbrushes create a glam look, they aren’t mandatory. Opting out of these add-ons saves $15-$25 per service.

Book Early Weekdays Instead of Weekends

Many artists offer lower rates for weekday bookings. You can save 10-25% compared to premium weekend rates.

Do Your Own Makeup for Casual Events

For informal occasions, do your own makeup at home to spend $0. Watch YouTube tutorials to improve your skills.

With some adjustments to your services and booking details, you can cut costs without sacrificing too much quality. Get the glow you want for less!

With some creative solutions, you can still get professional makeup services without breaking the bank on how much does a makeup artist charge.

How to Determine Your Makeup Budget

Setting a budget for professional makeup services involves calculating your total costs and aligning them with what you can afford. Follow these steps when determining your makeup budget:

1. Make a List of Required Services

Itemize exactly what you need from a makeup artist. For example:

  • Bridal trial run
  • Bride makeup for wedding day
  • Bridesmaids x 5
  • Flower girl makeup
  • Touch-ups throughout wedding
How to Determine Your Makeup Budget

2. Get Price Quotes

Contact several makeup artists to get quotes on the services you require. Compare their rate ranges.

Some questions to ask:

  • What are your rates for bridal trials and wedding day makeup?
  • How much for bridesmaid and flower girl makeup?
  • Do you charge hourly or per service?
  • What additional costs like travel fees do you charge?

3. See If Any Add-Ons Are Optional

Review your list and decide which extra services are non-essential and can be nixed to save money, like:

  • Airbrush makeup
  • False lashes
  • Lip treatments

4. Compare Quotes to Your Budget

Once you have comprehensive quotes, compare costs to the total makeup budget you have in mind.

Are the quotes aligning neatly with your budget, or do they exceed what you wanted to spend?

5. Adjust Services if Needed

If quotes are too high, you may have to scale back services. For example:

  • Reduce the number of bridesmaids having makeup done
  • Opt for basic makeup instead of airbrush
  • Require bridesmaids to pay for their own makeup

Careful planning and cost comparisons will allow you to get the makeup services you need while staying on budget. Analyze quotes closely so there are no surprise costs!

Questions to Ask When Booking a Makeup Artist

Booking professional makeup services involves more than just looking at rates. To ensure you hire the right artist for your needs, ask these key questions before signing a contract:

1. What is your experience level and training background?

Choose an artist with training from a reputable makeup program like Make-Up Designory. Experienced artists with 5+ years of experience are ideal for complex services.

2. What is included in your standard makeup application fee?

Find out exactly what products and services are covered by their base rate. Are extras like false lashes or airbrushes an added fee?

3. Do you charge for travel? How far are you willing to travel?

Understand their travel fee policy – mileage rates, minimums, and accommodations required for overnight stays. Ask how far they’re willing to come.

4. When do you require a deposit or pre-payment?

Many artists require a non-refundable retainer fee upfront to secure the booking, often 30-50% of total services.

5. What is your cancellation and refund policy?

Ask about the required notice to cancel and whether deposits are refundable. There are usually penalties for last-minute cancellations.

6. Can I see a portfolio and client reviews?

Vet their skills by viewing a portfolio of their work. Read reviews and ask for referrals to understand their professional reputation.

Asking the right questions helps verify an artist has the proper experience, policies, and skills to meet your makeup needs. Do your research before booking!

Signs of a Good Makeup Artist to Hire

Not all makeup artists are created equal in skill and professionalism. When evaluating artists to hire, look for these signs that indicate a talented and reliable pro:

1. Formal Training and Certification

Seek out artists with training from reputable programs like:

  • Make-Up Designory (MUD)
  • Cinema Makeup School
  • A MAXIMA Makeup Academy

Certifications like those from the CMUA validate their education.

2. Varied and Strong Portfolio

A portfolio displaying diverse looks – bridal, editorial, and special effects – shows a range of expertise. Weak portfolios are a red flag.

3. Positive Reviews and References

Reviews, testimonials, and referrals provide insight into working with the artist. Satisfied clients indicate a good experience.

4. Clear Consultation and Trial

During a trial run, a good artist will guide you through options to create your perfect wedding day or event look.

5. Timely and Helpful Communication

From the initial quote through the event date, they should communicate promptly and professionally via phone, email, etc.

6. Stays on Trend

They should stay up-to-date on the latest seasonal makeup colors, techniques, and best practices. This shows passion for their craft.

Vetting an artist thoroughly first helps ensure a positive experience with the makeup pro you hire. Focus on credentials, skills, and professionalism.

One sign of a good makeup artist is having a strong and varied portfolio displaying their skills and expertise. Aspiring artists can learn how to build an impressive makeup portfolio to showcase their talents in our guide on how to build a makeup artist portfolio

Warning Signs of a Bad Makeup Artist to Avoid

When researching makeup artists, beware of these red flags that can indicate a poor quality artist to avoid hiring:

1. No Formal Training or Certification

Lack of training from an accredited makeup program or school is concerning. Opt for artists with verifiable credentials.

2. Weak Portfolio Showing Limited Skills

A portfolio lacking diversity or showing weak technical skills suggests they may not be able to handle your makeup needs.

3. Bad Reviews or No References

Negative reviews and the inability to provide references a huge warning signs. This likely signals dissatisfied clients.

4. Makes You Feel Pressured or Uncomfortable

During a trial or consultation, you should always feel at ease. High-pressure sales tactics are inappropriate.

5. Poor Communication Skills

Artists who seem unresponsive, disorganized, or unprofessional through calls, emails, or texts may be frustrating to work with.

6. Uses Outdated Techniques and Products

Makeup skills, tools, and products should be up-to-date. The lack of current techniques is problematic.

Doing your homework helps weed out inexperienced or unprofessional makeup artists. Focus on qualifications, portfolio, and client reviews to find the best fit.

How to Prepare For Your Makeup Appointment

Getting ready for a professional makeup application requires some planning and preparation on your part. Follow these tips to ensure you’re ready for your makeup artist:

1. Show Up With Clean, Moisturized Skin

Wash and moisturize your face so your skin is clean yet hydrated for optimal makeup application. Exfoliate lightly if needed.

2. Use Minimal Skincare Products

On the day of your appointment, skip leave-on skincare items like serums and oils. These can interfere with makeup adherence.

3. Apply SPF if Outdoors

If you’ll be outdoors and in sunlight, apply facial SPF so your skin is protected. Let it sink in before makeup starts.

4. Provide Your Own Foundation if You Need Specific Shade

Supply your usual foundation and concealer to ensure an exact color match. But check if your artist prefers using their own products.

5. Wear Loose, Button-Up Top

Avoid wearing tight shirts or sweaters you’ll have to pull over your head and mess up completed hair and makeup. Loose, button-up tops are ideal.

6. Arrive Early with Clean Skin

Show up 5-10 minutes early with a fresh, makeup-free face. This gives you and the artist time for the best application.

7. Bring Makeup Inspiration Photos

Showing reference pictures of makeup looks you love helps guide the artist in creating your vision.

8. Be Open to Artist Suggestions

While photos help, also be open-minded to the artist’s ideas on what will flatter you most. Take their suggestions into account.

Proper prep and clear communication sets you up for a smooth and successful makeup application. Follow these tips to look and feel your best!

Key Takeaways on Makeup Artist Rates and Services

Hiring professional makeup services for your wedding, photo shoot, or special event requires factoring in makeup artist rates, average costs, and your budget. Here are the key takeaways:

Rates Vary By Experience Level

Hourly rates typically range from:

  • Entry-level – $50-$70/hr
  • Experienced – $70-$125/hr
  • High-end/celebrity – $250+/hr

Higher experience demands higher pay.

Average Service Costs Differ

Common makeup services average:

  • Bridal makeup – $100-$250
  • Prom makeup – $50-$100
  • Headshots – $100-$250/day
  • Production makeup – $400+/day

Budget for All Costs

Beyond hourly fees, budget for:

  • Travel expenses
  • Premium weekend rates
  • Add-on services like lashes
  • Gratuity (15-20%)

Save Where You Can

Reduce costs by:

  • Hiring newer artists
  • Skipping trials
  • Providing your own products
  • Avoiding unnecessary add-ons

Ask For Exact Quotes

Get custom quotes from several artists to compare to your budget. Ask what’s included and not.

Knowing makeup artist rates sets clear expectations when hiring your beauty pro. Discuss rates upfront and align them with your budget for a winning look you’ll love!

Now that you know the main factors that influence how much does a makeup artist charge, you can better plan your beauty budget.

If you’re interested in becoming a professional makeup artist yourself, learn all about the steps for how to become a makeup artist including building your portfolio, getting training, and more.

2023 Makeup Artist Prices — Charges & Price List (

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