Makeup Artist salary is, on average, around £20,000 per year, however, this depends on the type of work you do as a Makeup Artist. A typical freelance makeup artist salary is varied whereas the makeup artist salary of a counter worker is more predictable. Let's take a look at the rates and how much you can expect to earn this year.

Makeup Artist Salary

Freelance Makeup Artist Salary

A freelance makeup artist will often work in either fashion, beauty, film, TV or the private sector. A lot of the time, it will be a combination of sectors and rarely is one day every the same. A makeup artists salary will depend on a number of factors primarily determined by the amount of work they are getting over the course of a year. A freelance makeup artist salary can over exceed that of a counter working makeup artist as there is no cap to the amount they can earn. 

TV and film are lucrative sectors as the work is often contracted and can provide a makeup artist with a few weeks or months of consistent work. Fashion and beauty are more difficult industries to earn the big bucks. A makeup artist salary, for a top makeup artist in fashion, is often less than £40,000. Typically, this is due to the lack of consistent work and the low rates paid in the fashion industry. A makeup artist salary can be topped up with teaching roles and with a large selection of makeup academies and institutions,  there is always a high turnover of makeup artists teaching the next generation. 


To become a successful makeup artist you'll need to be self-taught to a high standard, have attended a makeup artist course or have assisted a senior makeup artist for a period of time. Once you've got the skills, you'll also benefit from on-set experience and a strong portfolio of work to show clients. Fashion makeup artists require a portfolio of work that shows off commercial and editorial work as well as some beauty shots. Makeup artists working in film and TV will often require a portfolio with special effects (SFX) showcasing their skillset. 


Makeup artist salary range: £11,973 - £35,893

makeup artist salary mobile
makeup artist working behind the scenes

Counter Makeup Artist Salary

Makeup artists who work behind a counter, selling and showcasing makeup brands can make a solid, if not spectacular, living. An annual makeup artist salary is around £20,000 and a combination of a basic rate and commission. Stronger sales people will earn upwards of £30,000. Counter work requires an excellent understanding of makeup product and application as well as exceptional customer services skills and the ability to sell.

Although a makeup artist salary is restricted when working behind a counter, it's a lot more structured than freelance work. Counter makeup artists work either set hours throughout the year or shift work. It also comes with paid sick days, holiday and all the benefits that come when working for a company. 


A counter makeup artist must be very comfortable talking and selling to the general public. It's essential that the makeup artist understands the products inside out including their contents, allergies and skin tone suitability. An ability to apply makeup quickly and professionally also plays a big part in the role and a high level of professionalism will ensure a healthy makeup artist salary.  


Makeup artist salary range: £19,000 - £25,000

makeup artist counter work salary
makeup artist working on a character for a project

Hannah Sorcha, a professional makeup artist was one of the first freelancers to join the Freelancer Club website. She has been a member ever since and is on page one of the Freelancer page. Hannah has also picked up a lot of paid work from the site and receives a lot of attention through the site. We caught up with her at our last ClubHouse Masterclass event to find out about her experience, finding work and making it as a freelance makeup artist.