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Makeup artists are most commonly hired to apply makeup for weddings, birthday parties, red carpet events, Halloween and costume parties, video production, photo shoots, fashion shows and other special occasions. The most requested makeup looks are glamorous and bold, romantic and soft, or natural and clean. Some people also make special requests for tattoo or scar covering. Rates vary widely by geographic location.

Type of makeup

Depending on the event, makeup application can require more or less product, time and expertise, and therefore, costs vary significantly. These three event requests are common:

  • Bridal makeup often includes full eyes, lips, cheeks, false eyelashes and brows, with an option for airbrush foundation. Bridal makeup generally demands the highest rates.

  • Red carpet makeup often features a similar package to bridal makeup but may cost $25–$50 less because clients generally require less engagement from the makeup artist prior to the event.

  • A more standard makeup package includes full eyes, lips, cheeks and skin. False lashes, airbrushing, and highlighting and contouring bring additional charges.

Add-ons

Special makeup touches or false eyelashes affect the total cost of a makeup artist’s services because they require additional product and time.

  • Lashes: $10–$25

  • Highlight and contour: $20–$25

  • Airbrushing: $25 and up

Hair

Many makeup artists offer hair styling in addition to makeup. Bundling the services with one provider may reduce overall costs. Dyana Raz of Celebrity Army offers traditional bridal makeup and hair for the combined cost of $275 and offers the bride a gift. For custom Indian weddings, Celebrity Army has billed up to $750 for the very detailed makeup, hair weaves and elaborate flower accents requested.

Multiple people

Wedding parties and other large events often require makeup services for more than one person. Negotiating a group rate can lower overall costs.

Travel

Travel time, car mileage and gas all affect the cost of makeup artist services. Many makeup artists offer a set rate within their immediate area, then charge an additional fee based on distance. For example, Celebrity Army is based in Santa Clarita, California, and charges an additional $150 (round trip) for events in Santa Barbara, California, which takes 90 minutes to drive to one way.

Reputation

Makeup artists who have trained with high-profile teachers or can boast celebrity clientele often have higher rates than those just starting out or with less visibility.

Special effects

Fantasy makeup (for Halloween, costume parties or added glamour) can include various add-ons or special effects. Here’s how Celebrity Army prices some of these add-ons:

  • Rhinestones: $20

  • Hand makeup: $20

  • Neck makeup: $20

Hours

The number of hours a makeup artist is needed on location affects the cost of services. Events such as photo shoots, weddings and video production often require all-day presence. For events such as weddings, makeup artists will often negotiate a per-hour rate after the initial wedding party makeup application.

Cost-saving strategy

Some makeup artists are open to using false eyelashes provided by the client. They will then reduce the false lash add-on rate to just include lash application.

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Millions of people ask Thumbtack for help with their projects every year. We track the estimates they get from local professionals, then we share those prices with you.