Why does it cost so much to hire a Makeup Artist?
Updated: Apr 14
"I can do makeup myself, why would I pay you so much for it?"
"I know the cost of makeup, why does it cost so much to use yours?"
"Why charge so much for just an hours work?"
These are questions I'm commonly asked by people after I've given them a quote for my services. If this is your first time booking a freelance makeup artist these questions are valid and I can understand why you might be surprised by the pricing. I've decided to put together this blog to try and make things a bit clearer for anyone who is unsure of how it all works and to hopefully make you feel more confident in booking a MUA. Don't worry, we're not trying to rip you off!
As mentioned, one of the things you'd expect to be covering the costs for is the use of makeup, and of course, I'm not charging you for the cost of a whole bottle of foundation! We take an estimate of what will be used and price this up accordingly. So what else is being paid for? A lot more essential kit is used to ensure you have the best pampering experience. Brushes, hygiene equipment such as sanitiser, towels, kit bags/trolleys are all a part of your beauty experience, and the cost of them comes out of your artists' pocket. If we also didn't include the cost of these in our pricing, we simply wouldn't see any profit!
Similarly, any good and professional artist requires insurance to protect both themselves and their clients, so this is also factored into costs.
Finally, your artist has to get to you! Anyone who runs a car knows it can be costly. Lots of artists, such as myself, include some mileage fee in their quote. For example, if you are within 10 miles of Plymouth you will see no additional cost from me for the travel. Again, this will be factored into your quote.
As you can probably tell, this all adds up fairly quickly!
Paying a wage
Okay, so we know how much this will cost in materials and expenses. If we were all able to do things for the sheer joy of it then the world would be a better place but, sadly, we can't. So how is your artist making a living?
As mentioned, I'm often asked why the costs are so high for perhaps only a few hours work. If we discuss the wedding industry alone, I could be helping the bridal party for 1-6 hours, depending on who needs to get ready. However, as most weddings happen at the same time of day it isn't often I can book more than one per date, so what I earn at this wedding will be my daily wage, thus the cost per hour tends to be higher.
Now, your wedding party looks and feels beautiful, and your artist packs up and leaves. Time for them to go home, put their feet up, and reflect on their hard work, right? Not quite. Everything in the artists kit has to be disinfected, cleaned and dried. Then, as they're self-employed, they probably have more emails to answer or admin to attend to. Sure, we can do this in our PJs, but I'd still rather be playing The Sims.
I am also often asked why a freelancer will cost a lot more than having makeup done in a salon. Great question! Often your salon staff are whizzes in several different areas of the beauty industry and will cover perhaps hair, nails and waxing at their salon too. This means that the makeup isn't their only source of income, they can see more regular clients, and so can afford to charge a little less. A freelancer is often more specialised in one or two areas, and so are committed to providing super high-quality services in the area they know best.
When I use the word luxury, I don't mean that I'm going to dust your face with gold and stick diamonds to your eyelashes. Although, if anyone out there does do that please send me photos because it sounds amazing. What I mean is that you're paying for someone with a set of skills that perhaps you don't have and you would like to experience. This individual has often invested a lot of time and money into these skills in order to be able to pursue a career in something they love and make a decent living in doing so. Their dedication, talent and experience shouldn't come cheaply. Keep in mind that an artist with a degree such as myself will be earning interest on their £40,000 loan (sigh), or those with other qualifications still have fees or loans to cover.
The level of luxury each artist provides will be evident in their pricing. This could be due to the cost of materials, their high skill level, high levels of training, type of clientele, or years of experience. I don't think anyone would expect a dinner from Gordon Ramsay for the price of a McDonalds!
Personally, I think it's incredibly important to be fair to both artist and client, and I believe this to be reflected in my pricing. I would love to be able to offer my services to every bride at every budget but, sadly, it's just not possible. I promise we're not con artists, scammers or rip-off merchants! I hope this post makes things a little clearer, and you can feel more confident booking a makeup artist knowing that you're going to get top quality service, and they get to keep doing a job that they love!