by Hayley Darcy

Can you make a sustainable living off of being a freelance makeup artist? This is a question I get asked a lot being in this industry. The answer is yes, absolutely! I personally know a few artists who have been in the business for a few years that support themselves solely with their makeup business. Anything you invest your time and energy into will eventually manifest itself into success. I am not saying you can just watch a handful of makeup guru videos and all of a suddenly label yourself a “makeup artist.” Don’t quit your day job just yet! Building the right skill, knowledge, and clientele takes time; but you will eventually get there.

Your salary as a makeup artist depends on a variety of different factors. The area where you live plays a huge factor in determining your salary. Where there is more demand, there is more potential to make money. Where there is more demand, there is more competition; something to keep in mind. So it is important to set yourself apart from the rest. In my area, most makeup artists are self-taught. So the first step I took towards becoming a freelance makeup artist was finding a certified makeup school. I felt getting certified gave me the edge I needed to be a cut above the rest in my area. Clients have told me they choose me because they felt safer choosing a certified artist. In my experience, clients have told me artists appear to be more “professional” when certified. Even if you are already a talented makeup artist, there are many tips and tricks I feel you can learn from going to a certified makeup school. In my case, being certified has helped set me apart from the majority of artists in my area, helped me gain some clientele, and helped me acquire a more professional reputation.

Another factor that will weigh into your salary is your level of experience. With any job, the more experience you have the more money you can make. The first question clients always ask me for before booking me for a job is to see my portfolio. Your portfolio should be large enough to show you have experience and should give your client the confidence they need to book you for their event. As a freelance makeup artist, in order to be successful in this business, you need to have a diverse portfolio. Your portfolio should show your client that you are capable


of applying beautiful makeup to every skin tone, and skin type. Having a diverse portfolio will widen your clientele, and therefore help you book more events.

Next, the way you market yourself will help determine your salary as a freelance makeup artist. Investing in a professional website, business cards, and getting onto social media is extremely important. It might surprise you that the number one way my clients find me is actually from referrals. It is vital that you are professional at all times! The way you represent your business and brand will determine your future as a freelance makeup artist. You can have the most professional website, and pay hundreds of dollars in advertisements; but if you have poor etiquette and professionalism, it is all a waste of time. Having a friendly and warm personality is a must when working as a freelance artist. A warm and inviting personality helps clients feel comfortable booking with you and referring you to friends. An unhappy client can do more damage to your business than you might realize. Make sure your clients leave satisfied with your work. Your number one priority when working as a freelance artist should be client satisfaction!

There are many different avenues you can get into to increase your salary potential when working as a freelance makeup artist. The potential income you can earn depends on what type of makeup clients in your area are looking for. It is important that in the beginning, you open yourself up to more than on avenue to increase your earning potential. Depending on where you live, the work demand will be different. Where I live the highest demand is the wedding industry. In my business, I offer wedding trials, bridal shower makeup, engagement shoot makeup, boudoir makeup, and of course the day of wedding makeup. This opens me up to more potential to make money within the highest demand of work in my area. It is also important to know what other artists in your area are charging. Setting your prices too low will raise red flags. Prices that are too low makes costumers think you are not experienced and skilled enough. Having them too high will limit your clientele. Make sure your prices are competitive for your area.

You can most definitely make a sustainable living as a makeup artist with the right

knowledge, skill, and perseverance. The truth is, the makeup artist industry is growing fast. It is a competitive field, and it seems makeup artists are a dime a dozen. If you are serious about becoming a freelance makeup artist then take the right steps towards making this a career. Get serious about growing your business. Invest your time and energy into education, refining your skills, start expanding your portfolio, and sell yourself. Your own determination will determine how much earning potential you can make as a makeup artist. As a freelance artist, you are your own boss. The sky is the limit!

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