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How Much Does a Celebrity Makeup Artist Make?

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Celebrity makeup artists work with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood and the entertainment industry. Their job is to make the stars look their best when they appear in public for movie premieres, fashion shows, awards ceremonies and other red-carpet events. These professionals may also work on the sets of movies, TV shows and theatrical productions. Although makeup artists generally make low or average salaries, celebrity makeup artists tend to make more money than the typical makeup artist.

Job Description

Celebrity makeup artists work closely with their clients, many of whom are A-list celebrities. They use their expert knowledge of lipsticks, eyeliners, blushes, moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners, and other products to help their clients look their best or to achieve a desired look. They must understand the effects of stage lighting on a person’s appearance and apply makeup accordingly. Celebrity makeup artists generally work in comfortable, well-lit settings. They may be required to work odd hours, depending on their client’s schedule.

Hourly and Daily Wages

Hourly wages for makeup artists working with celebrities in the motion picture and television industries is typically quite high. The website Celebrity Net Worth estimates hourly rates at $41.31 — about double that of a regular makeup artist who works in a salon. According to Crystal Wright, president of Crystal Agency and author of "The Hair, Makeup & Fashion Styling Career Guide," top celebrity makeup artists can make as much as $2,500 in a single day.

Annual Wages

Annual wages for makeup artists who work with Hollywood celebrities are also quite high. Celebrity Net Worth estimates the average annual salary is $85,930. This is almost double that of regular makeup artists, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics says made $45,010 per year as of May 2009.

Employment Outlook

Of the roughly 38,000 makeup artists working in the United States as of 2006, only 2,100 worked with celebrities in Hollywood and the entertainment industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Needless to say, this field is extremely competitive. For those who work on film sets, the job may be somewhat unstable and fluctuate according to filming schedules. Celebrity makeup artists may increase their earnings by designing their own line of makeup products, publishing books and endorsing beauty products.


Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.