Makeup Artist Salary

By on October 7, 2010 in ArticlesHow Much Does

How much does a makeup artist make? A makeup artist earns a good to excellent salary for their artistic services. Makeup artists apply makeup to enhance performing artists appearances for television, movies, or stage productions. The makeup artist designs makeup for the performers reflecting the time period and setting of the role. Some theatrical venues require makeup artists to work on hair and wig design in combination with makeup design for stage productions. Makeup artists may be self-employed or work directly for a television station, theater, or production company.

How much does a makeup artist make?
How much does a makeup artist make? Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Fashion Makeup

Fashion makeup is used in magazine photography and on the fashion runway. Fashion makeup is also commonly used in film and television

Theatrical Makeup

Stage makeup is used in conjunction with stage lighting to highlight the actors' faces, defining the eyes, lips, and highlight the facial structure of the actors face. The stage makeup allows the actors' expressions to be visible to the audience from stage to seating distances in a theatre.

Special Effects Makeup (FX Makeup)

The use of special effects techniques enhance physical features, exhibiting metaphysical characteristics as well as fantasy makeup. Prosthetics and plaster casting are used for projects requiring non-human appearances. Accents to this kind of makeup include theatrical blood and ooze.


Airbrushing uses a small air-operated device that sprays alcohol and water-based makeup by a process of nebulization. This technique was used in the film version of Ben-Hur, and has recently been re-popularized by the advent of Digital Photography and HDTV. Liquid Foundations with thin texture are applied with the airbrush product.

High Definition

High Definition is an art which involves the use of ingredients such as minerals and light reflectors, giving the skin a flawless finish. This technique was developed due to High Definition mediums and the higher cost of airbrush makeup.

Makeup Artist Job Duties:

Analyze a script, noting events that affect each character's appearance, so that plans can be made for each scene.

Evaluate environmental characteristics such as venue size and lighting plans in order to determine makeup requirements.

Select desired makeup shades from stock, or mix oil, grease, and coloring in order to achieve specific color effects.

Study production information, such as character descriptions, period settings, and situations in order to determine makeup requirements.

Establish budgets, and work within budgetary limits.

Write makeup sheets and take photos in order to document specific looks and the products that were used to achieve the looks.

Demonstrate products to clients, and provide instruction in makeup application.

Apply makeup to enhance, and/or alter the appearance of people appearing in productions such as movies.

Assess performers' skin-type in order to ensure that make-up will not cause break-outs or skin irritations.

Cleanse and tone the skin in order to prepare it for makeup application.

Examine sketches, photographs, and plaster models in order to obtain desired character image depiction.

Provide performers with makeup removal assistance after performances have been completed.

Alter or maintain makeup during productions as necessary to compensate for lighting changes or to achieve continuity of effect.

Duplicate work precisely in order to replicate characters' appearances on a daily basis.

Requisition or acquire needed materials for special effects, including wigs, beards, and special cosmetics.

Design rubber or plastic prostheses that can be used to change performers' appearances.

Attach prostheses to performers and apply makeup in order to create special features or effects such as scars, aging, or illness.

Confer with stage or motion picture officials and performers in order to determine desired effects.

Create character drawings or models, based upon independent research, in order to augment period production files.

Advise hairdressers on the hairstyles required for character parts.

Wash and reset wigs.

Theatrical and performance makeup artists generally study postsecondary training at a school of cosmetology or other specialized makeup school. These types of programs may require a high school diploma for admission. Courses in art and design may be helpful for makeup artists. Some states require makeup artists who also style hair to have a state license.

Employment for makeup artists is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations. There will be increased demand for makeup artists for movies, television, and theatrical and performance makeup artists. Makeup artists face strong competition for theatrical and performance jobs. Makeup artists with experience generally do better with employment than entry level workers in this industry.

How much does a makeup artist make per hour?

A May 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics report shows the median hourly wages for makeup artist was $21.64.

Industry And Hourly Wages

Motion Picture and Video Industries $41.31

Performing Arts Companies $27.20

How much does a makeup artist make per year?

The median yearly salary for makeup artist according to a May 2009 Bureau of Labor Statistics report was $45,010.

Industry And Annual Wages

Motion Picture and Video Industries $85,930

Performing Arts Companies $56,570

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