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5 Ways to Make Money as a Makeup Artist

It isn’t a 9 to 5 job, but you can make money as a makeup artist and have total control of your free time.

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Traditionally, you can earn a median annual salary of $66,000 (based on data from US Bureau of Labor Statistics), but this is just for a single job. Since makeup artists can create numerous income streams, their income has the potential to grow much more than 66k.

You have two routes: bring your makeup trolley everywhere you go and actually give another person a makeup, or go online and talk about cosmetics. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to choose.

5 Ways to Make Money as a Makeup Artist

You can make money as a makeup artist whether you focus online, offline or both.

Here’s how:

1. Do Makeup for Events

Providing makeup services for other people is the most traditional way of earning through cosmetics. Because not everyone knows how to blend foundations, create shadows and match lippies to the dress or eyes, makeup artists get to earn huge amounts during events such as:

  • Weddings, bridal showers, engagement parties, and similar occasions
  • Prom, junior prom, graduation, and other formal school events
  • photo sessions: may this be solo like Boudoir, family pictures, class picture day, and so on
  • Parties – from birthday parties to girls’ night out, debuts or Quinceañera, and other similar parties may also require makeup services
  • Special events like charity balls, award ceremonies, and other similar events
  • Commercial work – You may get contracts to work as makeup artist for TV shows, ad agencies, music videos and other industries

The amount you could earn from doing makeup for events largely depend on how much your rates are.

Because your job is freelance, you have to consider your own hidden costs such as transportation to the venue, makeup expenses, taxes, etc. and include them into your rate.

Once you decided on your hourly rate, you can now choose from setting package prices, using by-person rates, or any other pricing structure.

2. Teach Applying Makeup

Teaching is a very lucrative discipline no matter what you’re specialization is, but if you’re good with makeup and have the portfolio to back it up, you can make money as a makeup artist teacher.

You have total freedom in the type of makeup lessons you’re going to offer. Some examples would be:

  • One-on-one makeup lessons. Either visit the client’s home, or you meet at your studio.
  • Group lessons. You teach a group of people with certain makeup techniques, such as “day-to-day no makeup look.
  • Professionals. You teach other would-be makeup artists about the trade, from computing hourly rate to choosing the best makeup products to use.

Because these makeup lessons vary, the lesson fees would vary as well.

Generally, teaching professionally (with fellow makeup artists as your students) would cost higher since you’re sharing trade secrets and potentially creating your own competition with every lesson.

If you have the credentials or name to attract a bunch of students, you can also look for a teaching gig at the local Cosmetology School near you.

Imagine how impressive this would look as part of your portfolio.

3. Test and Produce Makeup

One of the most traditional jobs as a makeup artist is working at the hair salon, day spa, or the local store’s makeup counter.

If you love testing makeup products and is looking for ways to gather experience without breaking your budget, these gigs will surely help you gain the knowledge and practice hours you’d need to hone your skills.

Another way to make money as a makeup artist is to produce your own makeup line. This will probably be exclusive to makeup artists who have a lot of experience and plenty of following. If your career is in the level of brand ambassador, you can find white label makeup and produce your own line.

It isn’t going to be easy, but if you have the market and knowledge, the rewards would totally surpass any other way you could make money as a makeup artist.

4. Write Makeup Reviews

Here’s another way to test makeup and get paid from the experiments.

You can write makeup reviews for a third-party company (and get paid per review with a flat fee, or commissions for every referral).

You can also post all the reviews on your website to get 100% of the future revenues. This is a passive income type of earning, so you have to have a ton of patience with the returns.

If you have a good following on Instagram, you can also share your makeup reviews there and make use of any of the income-generating possibilities on Instagram.

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5. Make Money Doing Makeup Tutorials on YouTube

Creating makeup tutorials for YouTube is probably the most popular way you make money as a makeup artist these days.

And for good reason. YouTube earns billions of dollars each year and has made ordinary people millionaires from different parts of the world.

Here’s how you can make money with your YouTube channel:

  • AdSense – As an AdSense publisher, all the videos you upload to YouTube will have relevant ads that could earn you money whenever viewers watch the ads. Although the earning per ad view is very small (a few cents per view), this adds up if you have numerous videos on your channel.
  • Affiliate marketing – With affiliate marketing, you mention the makeup on your tutorials, add a link to Amazon (or any other online store) on the video description and earn commissions when the ad-clicker buys anything from that store. Like the Adsense ads, the more videos with affiliate links you publish, the higher your commissions could potentially become.
  • Sponsorships – Partner with makeup brands, promote their products on your YouTube videos and earn a pre-agreed upon amount either per video, monthly, or any other payment structure. Note that this isn’t for beginners, since brands usually go to YouTubers with plenty of subscribers already.
  • Direct selling – If you have your own makeup line (or other products within your niche), you can sell them directly by showcasing them on your YouTube videos.
  • Market your makeup/event business – You won’t earn directly from promoting your brick-and-mortar business, but the exposure those YouTube videos you put out into the world could lead to jobs doing makeup for events, regular contracts for agencies, and other opportunities.

If you need more help with any of these techniques above, I’ve talked about them more comprehensively with my ‘How to Make Money on YouTube’ post.

The Bottom Line

You see, you don’t have to be stuck working a 9 to 5 job if you’re a professional makeup artist. You can expand and grow your own career by mixing and matching the opportunities above.

I recommend you take both quick-cash (doing makeup for events, teaching gigs) and passive-income generating “jobs” (writing makeup reviews or doing makeup tutorials online). Both of these opportunities will give you financial freedom after working at it for a year or two.

2 thoughts on “5 Ways to Make Money as a Makeup Artist”

  1. Thanks for sharing this great article. My friend is a Makeup artist and she needs to promote herself as a makeup artist. I’ll recommend her this article.

  2. Hi Steve, this is a great post. I worked doing makeup at parties like St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween and it worked very well. I would love to work with YouTube tutorials, but I haven’t done it yet. Thanks for sharing! :)


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