How Much Do Makeup Artists Make an Hour in the UK? (Truth Revealed)

Makeup artistry is one of the most popular and strived careers currently trending. As a makeup artist, you can make around £11.97 per hour and £412 per week. Your monthly compensation can be approximately £1,594, depending on your skills and experience.

Who doesn’t like to have a glow-up on any special occasion! Everyone wants to look their best at their special events, or people who have jobs where they have to entertain the audience need some smoothing out or full base makeup. As per a study, the trending value of makeup artists is going to increase by 14% within one year. So, if you have always wanted to focus on this career path but could never gather enough confidence to do so, ergo, this is your sign to accomplish your dreams!

Makeup artists help you create attractiveness and elegance using cosmetic products. They use beauty products to improve a person’s attractiveness by bringing out colour and highlights while covering up or blending out any kind of flaws. Makeup artistry produces inventive characters and visual effects for films, television, photography, and theatre at the most intense. 

The cost of makeup artists depends on multiple factors, including their experience, in which city they are working, customer service, their creativity and imagination, time management, perception of art and design.

A superb makeup artist possesses good colour sense, a passion for the craft, and outstanding communication abilities. You’ll need to be artistic and inventive. You must be able to handle clients under pressure and possess exceptional commercial judgment and charm. You must maintain your stamina, patience, and focus at all times. You must have a keen eye for detail as well as the ability to think outside the box. You should always have the willingness to work for more extended periods.

Average Starting Income 

Recent surveys in the United Kingdom on ‘how much do makeup artists make’ conveyed that the average hourly wage for a makeup artist is £12.57 whether you are a phenomenal makeup artist or a noob. Your earnings will gradually rise by proving your excellence and incredible qualities in this field.

In a city basis analysis, you can easily find the uppermost money making cities in the UK for makeup artists. You might be thinking about how much money makeup artists make an hour, here you can find its answer. The cities with the highest salaries for Makeup Artists are listed herein; Cardiff £20.87 per hour, Birmingham £19.98 per hour, Glasgow £17.03 per hour, Edinburgh £16.00 per hour, Manchester £14.02 per hour, London £10.60 per hour, Belfast £9.15 per hour and Newcastle upon Tyne £9.11 per hour.  

A day’s payment for a freelance makeup artist will range between £93.85 to £215. New freelance Makeup Artists can make between £80 and £100 a day, while experienced Makeup Artists can make between £200 and £300 per day. With a couple of weeks off for vacation, the professional freelance makeup artist works three billable days per week, resulting in a yearly income of £12,000 to £45,000 with a couple of weeks off for vacation. 

An experienced makeup artist in top companies like MUA, Lloyds Bank, N2O Limited and Artisan People can earn somewhat between £16,900 to £56,400 per year.

Makeup Artist Jobs

Bridal Makeover

Brides nowadays mostly prefer to hire a makeup artist on their special day, so everything goes smoothly. Bridal platforms are an effective networking tool, and word of mouth is the best advertisement in this industry. Since most bridal makeup artists are freelancers and independent consultants, the main advantage of this career is flexible employment or workplace; you can create your own schedule and work your own hours. You can earn somewhere between £129 – £320 per wedding.

Occasion Glow Makeover

People often hire makeup artists for their special occasions, whether it could be birthdays, baby showers, bridal showers, guest appearances, and many more. If you have hands-on art with great experience, you can undoubtedly start up a freelance career in this sector. You can make from £45-£130 per occasion. Based on your quality of work and years of experience, this amount can either increase or decrease.

Fashion or TV-Film Makeover

Fashion models are prepped for photo or video sessions by makeup artists. So they require a wide range of knowledge, including not just how to make their subjects look best but also how makeup is applied concerning lighting and photography. Weddings, fashion shoots, corporate headshot photography, and other special occasions that will be photographed or filmed are becoming especially important for makeup artists. Experienced makeup artists are needed in the television and film industries since actors’ looks must be enhanced to emphasise the character they are portraying. You may expect to earn £7.68 an hour for a £3m to £6m budget project and £22.42 for £20 million to £30 million budget project.

Theatre and Performance Makeover

Makeup specialists in theatre and stage must sensationalise and dramatise their clients’ makeup. It is one of the thrilling jobs in the makeup industry. You may have to use prostheses like the nose or replicate bruises, ageing, and injuries. It is one of the highly skilled works with odd hours, enabling you to intensify your talents. You may get paid £75 to £220 a day for each client based on their requirements and your work’s quality.

Special Effects Makeover

Follow your dream and develop your patronage and business. These jobs can be undeniably fascinating if you prefer body painting and mimicking scars or creating fantasy horror monsters, the appearance of bloodstream and thrust, creative and imaginary creatures, protagonists from ancient times, and many more. If you follow this career path, you will most likely work on a freelance basis and begin working in smaller events, including local theatres and contests, before making it to the film industry. At this point, you must be thinking how much do horror makeup artists make. You can make £126 – £415 per day according to your expertise, experience and quality of work.

Developer of Makeup Products

Sometimes you may feel the beauty goods you are using or recommending others to use are not worthy, or there can be better products produced in a similar price range. You can launch your own makeup brand or start a career in the R&D department if you are gifted with a creative vision. Operating with chemists on the one hand and retailers on the other, you can combine all of your talents in one job and bring out new commodities in the market. A good marketer with great products will always be respected. You can ensure up to £45,000 per year.

Beauty Blogger and Social Media Influencer

It could be one of the best makeup based professions for you if you enjoy both creating makeup and writing. You can gain popularity and establish a loyal audience on social media, including YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, by testing and reviewing cosmetics and tools or writing blogs or working for a magazine. It might take a lot of time, hard work, and devotion to making this dreamy career come true. You will most likely have to work without earning a penny for a while, so be prepared to put in long hours. You can expect to earn around £250 per sponsored post. Currently, the top 15 highest paid social media influencers have a net worth ranging from £800k-£20 million.

Retail Makeup Artistry

When most people think of makeup artistry, this is probably the first thing that comes to mind. This is potentially a great career. Teaching people how to use makeup effectively is enjoyable and can make you feel as if you’re providing a valuable service through your work. Retail makeup artistry allows you to share your initial passion for the power of makeup with other people. Your experience and certification can help you pave the way for a prosperous career on this path. You can help new makeup artists walk towards success and earn an average of £10 per hour. 

Beauty Advisor

This can be a suitable job for you if you have creativity and an eye for creative makeup. You can utilise all your skills and experience in advising people more about beauty arts and products thoroughly. You can start off as a freelancer. In this case, you have to have a solid portfolio and valid license to show your clients. Otherwise, you can work with beauty companies like MAC, Sephora, Estée Lauder, NARS, or any other brand. You can earn around £10-£15 in an hour.


Makeup artists usually exclusively work on the face, where cosmetologists professionally specialise in administering cosmetic operations, therapies, and treatments to people’s hair, skin, and nails to improve clients appearance. While no formal schooling is required to become a makeup artist, completion of an approved cosmetology course is required to become a cosmetologist. Hairstyling is not usually included in the makeup artist’s services. Cosmetologists, on the other hand, are more skilled in skin, nail, and hair care treatments, therapies, and best practices. Hairstyling and nail care are among the services they provide. Makeup artists can get a basic job after completing any course, whereas cosmetologists can open up their own business. The average hourly wage for a cosmetologist is £12.06.

Tips For A successful Makeup Artists

You need to have collaborative creativity and strenuous coordination skills to prosper as a makeup artist. You must attain more qualities, like:

  • Adjusting in any situation: As a makeup artist, you must be adaptable to every circumstance since every client is different and each client has unique requirements and expectations. Some clients like to try new things, while others prefer to play it safe. As a result, you ought to be able to comprehend what your client desires and should always go as the client wishes.
  • Keep up with current trends: Keeping up with the latest makeup trends should be enjoyable for you. You should do your online research, read fashion blogs, and keep up with all of the fashion shows throughout the world. You can also follow several of the world’s best makeup artists on social media. 
  • Handle difficult clients: Communication is key! Make it a point to thoroughly grasp what your customer wants before you begin the makeup application. If they’re still unhappy with the look, you should ask them what they don’t like about it and try to fix it. 
  • Keep practising: We all know practice makes everything perfect. You can obtain critical knowledge from professionals, but if you don’t practice on your own, then there is a possibility that you will start losing the grip of applying makeup. Play with products on as many skin types, face shapes, and ages as you can to figure out what you’re excellent at and what you need more experience with. 
  • Market yourself: Considering the major influence social media has on makeup artists, you must have an online presence to be successful. The more you exhibit your art and are introduced to other people’s stuff, the more you will flourish. There’s a whole new approach to interact with creative ideas. 
  • Keep your tools clean: It is the most important thing to do. You must keep your makeup brushes and other tools clean. Never use the same brush on different clients. Make sure you have sanitised your brushes properly before using them on your clients.
  • Choose the right products: Always try to choose products that are high quality yet inexpensive. As a makeup artist, you must handle a wide range of skin types and tones, so having a large selection of products is essential. Rather than purchasing individual pieces, a palette is preferable. You can buy eye shadows, blushes, and highlighters in bulk for less than the cost of individual products. It will also make it easier for you to be organised when setting up for a client.

How To Become A Makeup Artist

A makeup artist is a cosmetics expert who uses artistic talent and makeup items to enrich or alter somebody’s appearance. It should be relatively easy for you to accomplish a makeup artist course and build a portfolio if you admire cosmetics and have a creative flair.

However, becoming a successful makeup artist is far more difficult as there is no set line of work. Most of them are self-employed; building a client base and having a decent career as a makeup artist takes excellent abilities, devotion, and time management. Whereas a degree isn’t really required to work as a makeup artist, a known credential is a good starting point. 

The application process for a makeup artist course is determined by the type of course and qualification you wish to pursue. You can attend a masterclass or an evening course, do a diploma or a BTEC with certain GCSE grades or even do an undergraduate makeup degree.

July 2, 2021

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