Average Cost of a Makeup Artist

The average cost of a makeup artist (MUA) in the US is between $90 – $475, but this can vary wildly depending on your actual location, the style of makeup you want, what your makeup is for, and a range of other factors.

In most cases, you should be paying a set fee for your services rather than an hourly rate, though some makeup artists may charge hourly if you need them for longer periods.

If you’re unsure of what a professional markup artist should be charging you, keep reading this article for a full understanding to pay a reasonable price and not be ripped off.

How Much Does A Makeup Artist Cost?

Makeup artists charge on average $90 – $475 for a specific service across the US, but the actual price will depend on exactly what type of makeup service you want and your location.

For the average person, the highest cost makeup services will be wedding makeup, with the average cost being between $250 – $650.

If you’re looking for a specialized makeup artist for funerals, they are around $250 which can include makeup and hair.

Makeup for events that provide a professional or glamorous look will cost on average $75 – $125.

Makeup artists that provide prom makeup services charge on average $60, but the expectation may be to do more people altogether, so individual prom makeup services could be higher.

Ensure that you review multiple makeup artists in your area that provide the services you want to understand the price range. 

What Can Impact The Cost Of A Makeup Artist?

Makeup artist costs vary depending on many factors, so it’s important to know what can increase the costs; the most common factors are below.


Location plays a massive factor in makeup artist costs, large cities will often have much higher average prices, but you will have a bigger range of options from a makeup artist.

Smaller cities will often have lower prices but fewer options. In some cases, your options may only be in beauty salons from a general beautician rather than a specific makeup artist.

If your makeup artist needs to travel to you, the costs can be increased, and you could be paying an hourly rate if you require them to stick around for the day and apply touch-ups such as for a wedding at a specific location.

Makeup Style

The style of makeup you want will change the price; if you want a simpler natural look, then the time and product cost is lower. 

However, if you want full glam makeup, the time and product cost increase, increasing your price.

Brand Of Makeup

Makeup artists generally stick with brands they know or feel are good options for their services. Makeup can be very cheap or extremely expensive, so if your MUA is using expensive makeup, then all their services will be instantly higher.

Two equally experienced makeup artists can have very different prices simply from their makeup brands’ cost.


Your makeup service will generally include full makeup for your face, which is the MUA applying makeup to your eyes, cheeks, lips using standard techniques. However, advanced makeup options will have added costs, including:

  • Lash Extensions: $10+
  • Highlighting and Contouring: $20+
  • Airbrushing Options: $25+

Special Effects

If your makeup is for Halloween, cosplay, or you just want some special effects included with your makeup service, then these options will increase the price.

  • Rhinestones: $20+
  • Hand/Neck/Body Makeup: $20+

Often special effects makeup artists will charge set prices for Halloween kits, such as $100 to look like a zombie, or they may charge an hourly rate of $60 – $125 per hour on average.


Many makeup artists can include hairstyling in their services which reduces overall costs if you only need basic styling, but that is not their core skill set.

Hairstyling add-ons can range between $90 – $110 on average.

Number Of People

Booking group makeup artist services can lower or raise the costs depending on what type of event and how long is available to each person.

Simpler makeup for events such as a prom could provide a discount for groups because the makeup is easier and faster, so it’s beneficial for the MUA to get more people at a slightly lower price. When booking a group, prices could go from $90 per person to $60 per person.

Events like weddings require more time per person. If the wedding party is large, a single makeup artist may not be able to perform all the work, so an assistant or additional MUA will be required, which raises the costs significantly.

Experience Of Your MUA

Experience can play a significant role in the cost of your MUA. For example, a newly graduated makeup artist may be charging as little as $90 for wedding makeup as their experience grows and they can improve their skills.

A newer makeup artist will also have a smaller portfolio of work to showcase to potential clients, so it can be beneficial for them to offer lower rates to include you in their portfolio for future clients.

Should I Tip A Makeup Artist?

Makeup artists are highly paid professionals that are setting rates based on time or services offered. However, the general expectation is that you do need to tip your makeup artist between 15-25%.

This additional 15-25% should be factored into the price you’re being charged to see if it’s still reasonable and within your budget.

You don’t need to tip if your bill explicitly indicates tipping is not required, or you’re in an area where tipping is not common. So ensure you’re aware of tipping customs if you’re traveling, such as for a wedding.

Makeup store artists should not be tipped as they are salespeople trying to make a sale rather than offering you a service.

Are There Free Makeup Artists?

Depending on your makeup requirements, you can get free or low-cost makeup artist services from stores like MAC or Sephora. They provide walk-ins or appointments to showcase their makeup products in a style that you request. The service is free or a small fee that could be redeemable for makeup.

Makeup services from stores are often limited in time, so you may get between 15 – 60 minutes with the makeup artist.

Makeup stores provide this service to give you ideas on products of theirs that you can buy, so your options for makeup will be limited to that store, and the makeup artist may not have professional training but should have the required skills for your basic needs.