Freelance Makeup Artist: The Definitive Guide

So, you are trying to build a career as a freelance makeup artist. Right? That's why you are here. Let me help you with this step-by-step guide.

But first, let me tell you some real facts. Facts that you might know already but maybe what you have known until now is wrong.

Freelancing has become the trend lately and has become the most favorable way of working as the curse of COVID-19 fades away.

Freelancing comes with its own unique perks like you get to choose what jobs you want to do, set your place and work, just for the hours or days you want to.

But with all the flexibility and other cool pluses, the field has its own hardships demanding high self-motivation as you have to work on your own, passion for the job you’re doing, good communication skills and a great deal of drive.

Plus, being a freelancer can often feel lonely and overwhelming and trying to grow your business can be even more so.

But there is hope! If you want to learn how to start a career and market yourself as a freelance makeup artist, I have some great ideas for you.

Chapter -1

Starting your career

Starting your career as Freelance Makeup Artist

Beginning in a new career line is not easy and you must be having a lot of questions.

In this article, I will begin with the creative aspects of this field, such as skill assessment, improvement as a freelance makeup artist and the critical financial & business components like time investment, client management and salary scales.

Before starting any new career option, it is important to know whether the finances are viable for your requirements and the same goes for a freelance makeup artist. So, before setting a plan and moving on with it let’s first have a review of the financial aspects of this job.

How much money does a freelance makeup artist make?

For any wannabe makeup artist, the basic question that arises in their mind is about the wide range of salary alternatives.

As a matter of fact, the beauty industry is a constantly growing field of work today with its current worth of more than $532 Billion, and it has been given the status of being a goldmine for self-made women by Forbes.

So, the average pay of a freelance makeup artist ranges from $35,000 to $45,000 a year with the top 10% making up to $75,000. This clearly shows how flexible the work can be. Climbing to the top is not a very difficult task as long as you are determined and have the relevant skills (including business qualities) to back you up, and you can always take this up as your full-time career option.

Money in part-time as a freelance makeup artiste

If you’re diving into the field just to have it as a side income source, freelancing allows you to charge on an hourly basis with just the basic qualifications. You just need to set the right amount to charge while starting this new business.

This may vary depending upon various factors such as:

  1. Your Location: Check out your local competitors, how much they are charging for different activities. You can also list yourself on Google My Business and other business directories, so that whenever someone in your locality needs a makeup artist, your name will pop up.
  2. Experience that you have: If you have good qualifications in the field, you can take the liberty of keeping the prices on a higher-end whereas if you’re simply trying to expand your profile, giving some discount to your clients might be helpful.
  3. Target customers: If you have a luxurious target base, you can choose to keep the rates on the upper end. Just make sure you have the relevant skills and equipment to deliver on the promise.

Initial Steps as a Freelancer

Skills and Qualifications

As a makeup artist, you don’t need a Ph.D. to prove your skills. It’s purely a form of art and if you have the talent the industry will respond to it, you just need to make it all available in your portfolio, be it the social media platforms, website or word of mouth.

If you’re a beginner, it is highly recommended to take a professional beauty course. It can just be an online course as well so that you know what all is going on in the industry and where you stand in the crowd with your current skill set.

Even if you have been through a beauty school and are confident of your skills, being aware of your exact qualifications and skills, before planning anything further, always gives you an edge in the market.

Beauty Industry is a field of trends and it is important to keep yourself and your skills updated with the latest trends.

Showcasing your premium work will help develop an initial trust among the customers and pull them based on those skills. Remember, continuous learning is necessary to keep up in the race. So, along with your makeup skills, keep brushing up your business and financial skillset as well which will help you take the next steps.

Your Brand & Signature

Setting up your brand identity can be quite fun both creatively and from the point of view of your business. A good identity not only gives you a position in the high competition but also assists in selling your business more smoothly.

Besides creating your unique identity, another big plus is to have specialization as a makeup artist.

It can be based on a certain part of makeup, lips or eyes, or it can be based on events like marriage and ethnicity (Indian or American marriage).

Find your niche and play with it until you master it. (Of course, it is not necessary to have one, but if you do, definitely go for it.)

Explore Opportunities for Makeup Artists

Choose your target audience for the initial market invasion, then expand your business as you proceed in the first. The few options available are:

  • Events like weddings, graduation, etc.
  • Local business calls
  • Beauty Salons and Spas
  • Photoshoots
  • Film and TV Production
  • Cruise Ships or Five-Star Hotels

Being a freelancer, it is essential to develop a personal level of connection with your prospective and regular clients to cater to customer retention along with lead generation.

Chapter - 2

Building up as a freelance makeup artist

Building up as a freelance makeup artist

Perfecting Your Own Makeup Kit

Assembling a kit is a time and money-consuming process, but it is worth the investment, which not only ensures you a professional personality in front of the customers but also gives you confidence while you do your job.

Try having a personal touch to the kit, try as many samples as you can find and rather than sticking to all the branded products, give some place to local brands as well if they’re offering a good product quality. This will appeal to your customers as to how much thought you have put into the kit.

For cutting down your makeup kit costs, try the pro-artist memberships, which may provide you with a discount of up to 30% off. You can Google for those.

Makeup Artist Collectibles

Some business essentials like business cards, a separate business phone number, a business scheduler, an online appointment app (like TidyCal) and a calendar app.

If you’re really into this, you can get a cosmetic train case to arrange your makeup kit and ensure neatness & sanitary. A general problem a freelance makeup artist faces is of spreading skin infections and bacteria, and proper sanitary helps keep a check on that. A few other essentials are:

  1. Pro-makeup brush set
  2. Foundation shade palette
  3. Mascara spoolie
  4. Cleansing wipes
  5. Makeup sponges
  6. Cotton pads
  7. Spray bottle
  8. Micellar water
  9. Lotions & Creams
  10. Disposable applicators
  11. Hand sanitizer
  12. Antiseptic and Disinfectant
  13. Paper towels
  14. Rubber gloves, and
  15. First aid

Maintenance and other essentials

Things like gasoline, babysitting, tools, time, taxes, and insurance, if needed, are to be kept on the priority list of your earnings.

For initial starters, you can try the bulk supplies from Shany, Wet n Wild, Nyx, or even Morphe. Try keeping a low-cost investment and hence a low-price range for your service in the initial phase, to grab up your personal audience first.

Chapter - 3

Growing up as a freelance makeup artist

hairstylist fixing her client s hair

Marketing Platform and Initial Client Reach

Being a freelancer, you have several options to use as your marketing/work platform, for instance:

  1. Your own personal portfolio website and at-home services.
  2. Renting some space in an already existing Salon.
  3. Beauty appointments through social media accounts such as Facebook, and Instagram or personal references on apps such as WhatsApp.
  4. Setting up your own beauty salon.

For initial reach, focus on social media platforms and collaborations with other beauty artists such as hairdressers or nail artists to promote each other. The first few weeks can be a bit rough as you have to invade an already existing stable market, but with constant efforts and proper management, you can increase your reach in no time.

Getting your first few customers will not only seem to be a personal achievement (and worth celebrating) but will also play a key role in defining your further steps and business impact.

It is not news, that an occupation like makeup artistry demands a client’s trust and credibility.

Customers, happy and satisfied with your services, will positively review you on social media platforms and recommend you to their friends and family as well.

Ensuring everything goes right

To make this sure, besides offering good quality makeup, your attentiveness towards client’s preferences will help you establish better personal connections and with time and more visits, you will get habitual of their likings and will be able to deliver individual satisfaction, all on your own. 

Chapter - 4

Trusting Yourself

Time management

If you’re doing this with a job, giving one or two hours on a daily basis for planning and stuff should be enough for the initial stage. Once you’re ready to go to the market, take out more time for your business. Try working your weekends just on planning the final touches so that the launch comes with a bang!

Your own experience counts!

As a makeup artist, inspiration from your own past experiences with beauty services can help make your own list of Dos and Don’ts.

Trust your inner artist

In today’s social networking world, there are millions of ways in which you might feel underconfident in your skills and methods, by looking at other beauty videos or assessing your own skillset. Do not let that happen!

Being confident is a must while you’re out there to gain your customers’ trust and sell your business. Just be aware of what you have, where you stand, and stay true to yourself.

Chapter - 5

Marketing Yourself as a freelance makeup artist

Wear Your Worth.

Makeup is all about looking beautiful for events, photos, makeovers, whatever the case may be - therefore it only makes sense that you yourself need to look poised, pretty and put-together.

Do your makeup whenever you go out and when you don’t do full makeup, still make sure your skin is clear, your lips look plump and your eyes are bright.

But why?

Because if you walk into the mall or shops or salon portraying a well-groomed, aesthetically pleasing professional you will impress nearly everyone you come into contact with, this includes potential clients and promoters.

You are your best (and cheapest) advertisement – wear it well.

Get Yourself Business Cards.

Business cards may seem old hat, but they are still very much necessary for any entrepreneur who wants to grow their business. Makeup artists are no exception to the rule.

In fact, a properly designed business card can mean opening doors to your future just as easily as the absence of one can cause those doors to slam shut in your face unceremoniously.

Think of a simple scenario: You do make-up for a bridal party, and it’s spectacular in fact it’s probably your best work yet. The bridal party is all hyped up but the attention for that day is certainly (and understandably) not on growing your business.

Good news, though - one of the bridesmaids is impressed and she liked your work! But the thing is - in all the animation flurrying around, probably only of them can locate their phones in the moment that you’re ready to leave, and that one girl is probably not the bride-to-be.

You could give your number to some distant friend and sure, and the bride has your info, but after this, there’s the honeymoon for her. So when she gets back, all the feel-good wedding vibes have died down for the bride-to-be and she likely won’t think about you again until she needs to find her vendors, but does she remember your name?

A simple solution: A good old-fashioned business card or business card, rather. Bring a whole stack along and pass them out, display them on your table, hand one to the events coordinator when he or she comes sniffing around.


Because it’s so, so simple and it works.

Have business cards printed, and always have some with you wherever you go.

Set up your Business Online.

Unfortunately, it’s a basic requirement for you to be online because if you’re not there you will not be seen and being seen translates to more clients, a greater income and it adds instant credibility.

It can appear daunting at first but it's not that big of a deal. It now has only two elements: a website & few social media accounts.  Let’s see the basics of each:

Make use of Websites


Is it really that important? Isn’t that really excessive and expensive?

Important, definitely. Expensive? Not necessarily.

And if done right, there is no limit to how much an online presence can help to grow your business.

Think of a website as the beating heart of your online presence, it directs the flow of attention to your blog, social media and even your mailing list whilst also being pretty darn impressive on its own.

Without a heart your social media presence will die. Don’t let it die. If your budget is tight it doesn’t mean that you forfeit this game, it only means getting creative. Very literally.

There are so many, mostly free, drag and drop website builders that make it easy (and fun) to build your own website.

A key point, however, is making sure to personalize that domain name (website address). Of course, a website called is better than nothing at all, but you want to be branded as a professional, right? A personalized domain name will do that for you.

Take full profit from social media

The best social media for makeup artists will be anything that can visually display your work. But it’s one thing for people to be able to find you, but showing them your style and quality of work is another thing entirely, and it’s important to do so for many reasons.

First, any type of content that includes visuals i.e., good quality photos and/or videos, will draw 94% more attention than content without photos or video.

That’s 94% more attention to your work!

Second, any potential clients or promoters can see your work and decide whether or not you could be a good fit for them – this is also why the quality of your content is so important.

So post "before and after" of your work on your blog, PinterestInstagram, and Facebook.

  • Start your own YouTube channel where you do tutorials and tips, skin care advice and product reviews.
  • With marketing, you need to give more to receive more.
  • Share others’ relevant, good-quality content along with yours. Comment and engage on said content.

And once you’ve built a bit of following, you can approach influencers, people with a larger social media following, to potentially share some of your content.

  • You can and should also engage with other relevant professionals in the industry like hairdressers, photographers, caterers, dressmakers, and event coordinators.

You will find many of them will be able and more than happy to bring up your name in conversation.

A glowing recommendation (in the form of a business card, maybe?) from someone that a bride or potential client knows can go a long way to secure you more work.

This is why it’s important to mingle.

Social media makes it so easy.

You can also meet new clients or promoters at weddings or fashion shows - after all, these are the kind of places where people are just dying to get to know you.

And that is exactly what marketing is all about.

Don’t stop learning

As mentioned several times in this article, the industry is constantly changing by the day with new products and application techniques coming out regularly. Do not make a run for it all, be selective of what you need and what you have then go on learning it.

You also need to keep your hands on surfing the web and polish the tech skills as well. This will help your brand in expanding its reach and securing its position online.

About Gaurav Tiwari

Gaurav Tiwari is a blogger, influencer and designer with expertise in brand regeneration and growth hacking. He is the co-founder of Gatilab, a successful digital agency focused on content and design.