Makeup artistry is a luxury service. The cost of this service is often questioned by clients whom do not consider the many factors that affect pricing, relating to obtaining the highest quality service within the profession.
These factors will be discussed further in this blog post. While it may be important, as well as sensible, to have a budget, it is also vital to recognise that in this industry you often get what you pay for. Therefore, it is a necessity to be more informed about why and how make up rates differ and the costing hierarchy.
Over the last few years the demand for makeup artists has increased greatly and makeup artistry as a profession has become more desirable. As wonderful as this is, the supply and demand of such services has led to a influx of people who are unchecked and lack the training, experience, and often vital components essential within this business such as insurance.
It is incredibly important that you research who your artist is, their background and experience and whether they are insured to work on you.
I believe it is our job as artists to educate our clients as to why our services are priced the way they are and why they might differ dramatically between artists.
Makeup is very expensive.
Unlike many professions, our tools have a fairly early expiry date.
Makeup runs out, it expires and so it needs to be repurchased regularly. It’s expensive to replace and even with Pro discounts offered by some brands, a standard kit has a value of around £5000 upwards. This can easily add up to double when we are considering an artist who buys the latest products to keep their kit up to date with a variety of colours,formulas,textures and trends.
A break down of kit costings:
An average foundation will set you back a minimum of £30 from any reputable high end brand. Artists will ensure they have enough colours to work on all skin tones. For a basic kit, you’re looking at roughly 4 colours, although most artists will carry more. This would add up to £120 for just 4 shades. This would be one type of texture and one formula, and it’s no secret that not all formulas work on everyone. Most artists will have 2-3 formulas in their kit, and more than likely some cream and powder foundations as an alternative for the different skin types we work on. For bases alone, you’re looking at £300-400.
To go to university and acquire a BA in makeup and hair will set you back around £27,000 in course fees alone. This is excluding the kits you need to purchase in order to do your course, stationary materials and then of course your university living expenses on top. To get into a university, you will either need an art foundation or a level 2 and 3 in makeup. These courses cost approximately 2 grand each. A second option of education would be to complete a course from a Makeup School. From a reputable London based school you are looking at paying £4000 for 4-5 weeks and often students will need further training till they feel comfortable enough to start charging for their work.
Once you are qualified you will want to regularly update your training, you might want to specialise in a particular area of makeup or hair.
‘Add on’ courses like these are often within the hundreds for a 1-2 day training, and from prestigious schools, often a lot higher.
Once qualified an artist will pay for their insurance, website fees to maintain the site online, to update the site, to improve ranking and professional photos to keep their portfolios up to date. They will likely have an accountant if they are doing makeup full time and usually an assistant if they are very busy or running a team of artists. Many artists are also paying for advertising for their websites to allow you to find them more easily, this can cost anything from £50 upwards a month.
One of the luxuries of booking an artist vs having your makeup done in a department store is having the artist travel to you. Often with weddings, artists will book out the entire day for the morning of your wedding to accommodate travel and to ensure the day goes smoothly.
It’s likely you’re getting married on a Saturday which means if we’ve booked out the day for your wedding it’s not likely we’ll be able to book in other clients. Our busiest days for event makeup are friday-sunday, so essentially bridal artists are trying to make up a 5 day wage in just 3 days.
Living in London is extremely expensive. The location of your chosen artist will have a dramatic difference on their rate. The same job in London will be less well paid in the countryside as the living costs are very different- It’s the same with makeup. If you are based out of London, it might be an idea to select an artist in your area if you are on a budget.
Being Self Employed
Being employed by a company offers many perks that a self employed individual doesn’t receive. No maternity pay or holiday pay, no sick, pension or grievance pay. If we don’t work, we can’t earn a living. This is something that is often overlooked and affects our rates greatly.
Independent vs Agencies
With the demand for makeup artists on the rise, many companies have been created offering a selection of artists via a website team page or even a mobile app. These companies work by giving the artist a platform to host their work and later taking a percentage of any jobs taken by the artist. The rates are usually lower than industry standard and after the commision has been taken away, artists are usually earning £30-40 per person. Whilst these services are able to offer artistry at a cheaper rate, this usually means the artists aren’t vetted as the company’s main interest is to take on as many artists as possible to fill the client demands. I have personally been approached online by a few agencies and have never been asked to do a trade test, interview or kit examination. These companies often are not able to give clients the 1 to 1 service that clients desire as the demand for bookings is so high, it simply is not possible to build up a relationship with all clients. I think there is absaloutely a need for companies like this, and it is not necessarily bad or harmful to the industry. I do think depending on the event your booking for, an agency could be a good idea for you. If you’re wanting a personalised wedding service, I would go with an independent artist 100%.
Missing out on important occasions
Ok, so this might not be a financial one per say, and it does ‘come with the territory’ but I still feel this should be taken into consideration. Artists will often miss out on the weddings of their friends and family, birthdays and christenings.
We tend to book 1-2 years ahead and financially we can’t always turn down jobs as our work can be very seasonal. A professional artist will always put your booking first and will not cancel on you on your big day or occasion, of course this then means they miss out on their own personal events!
Cheap isn’t always cheerful
When it comes to artistry, you really do get what you pay for.
Imagine this. It’s finally the day of your wedding morning. After months of planning it’s now time to marry the partner of your dreams. Your mother in law is driving you insane and your bridesmaid is being a drama queen. Experienced artists have been a part of hundreds of weddings during their careers. We really have seen it all and this means we are equipped with the knowledge on how to professionally handle any potentially awkward moments.
We won’t rush you, we’ll help you get into your dress, we’ll touch your makeup up as many times as it needs to be touched up, to make sure you feel perfect.
I hope this blog post has shed a little light on the different factors that affect pricing within the industry.
Lastly, I just wanted to share a few kind reviews written by my lovely brides as I feel they really show the difference a good artist can have on your very special wedding morning.
” Alma did my wedding make-up on 17.07.16. I was so pleased with the make-up on the trial, but had asked for a few changes to made. On the day, Alma did the most incredible job and I looked perfect! She is not only talented, but friendly, professional and helpful. Most of our communication was via email; she always replied promptly and could not do enough to help. On the day, she was also my island of calm. I hope to stay in touch as I feel I have got to know her, and she is an inspiration to be around. 5 stars is not enough <3
“I met Alma quite by chance but immediately struck up a great rapport with her, as her passion and dedication to make up styling and beauty shone through. Her knowledge is quite fantastic with a professional attitude to match; I immediately knew I was in safe hands. At my make-up trial Alma kept my unruly set of bridesmaids in check, creating individual looks to reflect each of their very different identities. Working with the subtle palette of each of the dresses, each member of the bridal party was elegant and photo ready. At one stage I was concerned that the girls might out-shine me, the Bride! But of course, I needn’t have worried; across two trials Alma worked with me to create the perfect look, tweaking to suit my own style and taste with exceptional patience until we had it totally nailed. On the day of the wedding Alma turned up with her usual incredible smile, instantly helping me to relax on what is a very anxious morning. The schedule was perfectly co-ordinated with Alma having allocated enough time for the bridal party working with my hair stylist, at no point was it hurried or that we were running behind – everything ran perfectly to plan. My make-up endured the tests of the day, numerous tears, tissues and air kisses later – I felt at my best at all times, which having head-banged to The Darkness for our first dance was quite a miracle. I had so many compliments about Alma’s make up at the time as well as from the photographs posted on social media afterwards too. Her commitment to making me feel special was first rate and I can’t recommend her services enough – the day just wouldn’t have been the same without her being a part of it!”
“I couldn’t recommend Alma more, she is a talented and professional artist. I have worked with her and employed her to head teams and run events for me in the past and I have never regretted it. Alma is a must for any Bride to be who wants a perfectly skilled artist who can work extremely well under pressure and who has a lovely calm friendly nature too.”