Friday, May 23, 2014

“Why we charge what we charge”

We receive an email, “how much do you charge for makeup for my wedding?” , we answer with our rates and availability, we offer trials and we welcome questions. That’s the last we hear from the bride at times. Why? The price.

This may leave some makeup artists scratching their heads wondering what went wrong. Why did this bride never contact me again? Were my prices too high for them? With this, the artist sends a follow up email or even a follow up call touching base with the potential client. They receive no response. The bride has most likely moved on.

There may be many reasons why someone may shy away from hiring you as their makeup artist and it may have nothing to do with the price. Sometimes, however, it is the price. So, depending on where you live there may or may not be a large market of competition for jobs amongst makeup artists and people who claim to be makeup artists. This may be where your problem lies.

See, the general population doesn’t understand what constitutes being a professional quality makeup artist. They simply see that if someone else can make them look better than they themselves can do, then that works for them! They don’t understand the factors that go into hiring a professional to do professional job vs hiring the cheapest low baller out there who is going to cut as many corners as they can in order to get the job. Unfortunately the bride (or other client looking for the MUA) is the one that is going to lose out and learn a valuable lesson. In the meantime, you, the artist, are out a job thanks to the under cutter and inexperienced person who did get the job.

For those people out there trying to figure out why we charge what we charge let me paint a picture to give you better insight on things so that you may choose the right artist for you.


Did you know that depending on the area you live, artists charge differently? For example the average price in NYC can be anywhere from $200-$400? In upstate NY it can range from $75-$125 and so on and so forth. Now, let me also advise you that in NYS it is not required for a makeup artist to be licensed and unless they’re going to be working in a salon somewhere. Freelancers are free to work as they please. This is a double edged sword for both the customer and the professional makeup artist. For you, because anyone can call themselves a makeup artist simply because she’d like to do makeup as opposed to because she/he has had extensive experience or training in the field. For the professional makeup artist this can mean that we have to compete with those people and may lose out due to price. Remember YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR so be wary of the super cheap “artist”.

A true professional makeup artist isn’t (generally speaking) going to show up with drug store makeup in their kit. Sure you might find Mabellene Great Lash Mascara or Wet and Wild Lip Liner cuz well they’re awesome, but most cosmetic companies have a “Pro” line that is provided to professionals after they’ve proven themselves with credentials. You’ve got MAC and then you’ve got MAC PRO and most lines will offer this to a professional. The difference is staying power, pigment, finish & quality.  Any artist can beat your face with say Revlon and it will look good…. for a while. Depending on your skin, you may look flawless for a couple hours, and if that’s what you’re looking for then by all means proceed. The difference with the pigments in the shadows and blushes will be the same as if you applied them. When you apply makeup and go to work, do you ever find that 4-5 hours into your day your colors look different and may have even faded? You’ve primed, you’ve buffed and you’ve applied what you thought would be almost too much to last all day and yet at the end of the day you find yourself touching up before you leave work? THIS is what I’m talking about.

We as artists, invest in our kit. We purchase quality cosmetics in order to deliver a flawless finish and perfect coverage that will last as long as you need it to. Blotting an oily skin or reapplying lipstick may still come into play but generally speaking, that makeup isn’t budging.  The techniques that we’ve learned and honed, our creative eye, our desire to make you look amazing, these are all things that the budget makeup artist isn’t going to provide.

If you’re still not convinced let’s just take the cost of the products that would be used on you. Just the basics so you can get an idea let’s just start with the basics:  Foundation can run you anywhere from $20 - $135, powder can range from $25-$60, blush $25-$52, eyeliner, $18-$38.50, mascara $20-$61, and even lashes range from $5.00-$16.00. With that, now take the fact that professional makeup artists have experience behind them, artistic eyes to think outside of the box and cater the makeup look to YOUR face and you have a pretty priceless experience. Let’s go ahead and add in the fact that we travel to our clients, stock our kits with professional products to ensure professional long lasting results and think on that.

It sometimes makes us wonder how women will spend whatever necessary on their hair, be it color, cut or style but when it comes to their makeup, they don’t see it as something they should invest in. It’s all part of your image so make sure you know what you’re choosing J

Now, if you would like to go out and purchase all of the products you’re going to need, watch a couple of youtube videos and attempt to achieve a professional long lasting result on your own then our MUA blessings are with you. Sometimes, that’s what’s in your budget and that’s ok.  If on the other hand, you’re planning on nickel and diming your makeup artist because you just don’t understand the reason behind the price, please think again. We absolutely love what we do but that doesn’t mean we don’t have bills to pay.



  1. Love the post. My daughter is an up and coming MUA and I just had the same talk with her a few weeks ago. People should come to you because you are excellent at what you do, and not because you are cheap. If they want to nickel and dime you don't even waist your time. Keep it moving! There are some people out there who understand the concept of you get what you pay for!!!

  2. Thank you Lory for reading and for commenting! I was thinking I may have struck a cord with a few people, maybe more negatively than positively but I felt moved to publish my post.

    To be honest, it's not so much about the money (though obviously we all want to make money) but also the fact that people trying to "talk you down" also negates the validity of what we do.

    I've worked for free when I first started out as a lot of makeup artists have done. That is how we gained experience and started our portfolios, however doing the same work at a discount seems to be more of an insult than anything else. This is not a "coupon" business, and most likely you're not going to catch Joanna Schlip or Monifa Mortis putting Groupons out there for their work! LOL...

    Thanks again for tuning in Lory, I hope you subscribe!


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