Makeup Artists: What Are You Actually Paying For?

It’s 2019! What the actual..? Last year flew by in a haze of giving birth, trying to keep a small human alive and a whole host of wonderful weddings! But here we are already in a new year and I’m ready for it!

It’s that time of year when wedding planning begins to pick up, and you are undoubtedly on the search for flowers, cake, photographer and makeup. I often see comments on social media questioning how much some makeup artists cost compared to others and wondering if they are being “ripped off”. I have also seen some makeup artists charging as little as £15 - £20 for bridal makeup and accusing anyone who charges more as costing “way too much”.

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I would like to take a wee bit of time to outline what I spend myself on the everyday running of my business to hopefully clear up why we charge what we charge!


Everyone’s favourite search engine, Google, is often the first port of call in finding wedding suppliers. Type in “Glasgow Makeup Artist”, and up pops my site on the first few pages. To create that website, I hired a web designer to design and build it. I had to pay to have my logo designed, to change and add pages, for web hosting and my URL. If I didn’t do any of this I would probably appear on page 1,000,000 of Google search, so it’s a necessity in my opinion! Who even bothers scrolling past page 2?


Alternatively, you may have found me via an online directory or wedding collective. I pay every year to advertise on these sites. And if you didn’t find me at any of those places, chances are you saw me on Facebook. Did you know that Facebook charges businesses to have their posts seen? If I posted something without paying money to Zucherberg, chances are it would be seen by about 45 people, which is crazy considering I have nearly 1500 followers! So that’s a whole bunch of money, before I even have a single booking.


I spend around 12 hours a week sending emails, making contracts up, social media-ing and sending out invoices. I technically don’t get paid for any admin hours I do, but I couldn’t run my business without doing it! For many brides who get in touch with me, they will go ahead and book a trial. Trials are such an important part of bridal makeup. They help us get to know each other better and understand what you want on your wedding day. It makes the wedding morning much for relaxed if we’ve met before and know each other a little. But where do trials happen? Sometimes I do up to 5 trials a day, so travelling round to everyone isn’t practical. To make this a little easier, I hire a studio space next to Glasgow Green with some other AMAZING wedding suppliers. Hiring a space means paying rent every month, but it also means I have a beautiful, bright, professional space I can bring all my brides to, where they can enjoy a cup of tea and chat whilst trying out their wedding makeup.

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But before I can have anyone in my studio to have any makeup applied, I need insurance. If I didn’t have insurance, I wouldn’t be covered if anything went wrong. I wouldn’t have public liability insurance if someone fell over my makeup bag and broke their leg for example. I’m sure it makes all my brides much happier knowing this is all covered! The bottom line is, if you don’t have insurance (mine is with BABTAC), you shouldn’t be trading as a makeup artist. I pay this every year without fail. Another expense, but one I can’t do without.


I haven’t even mentioned the most important thing about my job yet! Makeup! Now I can’t say for sure how much I have spent on makeup in my 5 years as a makeup artist, but I’m willing to bet around £6000. At least. I need a shade of foundation for every skin tone. Foundation goes out of date, so needs to be replaced regularly, even if it’s hardly used. I need different primers for different skin. Some things need replaced every week like cotton wool, mascara, eyelashes and cotton buds. I need different coloured eyeliners (gel and pencil), a whole host of blushers (cream and powder), bronzers, highlighters, moisturisers for different skin types, and more eyeshadows than you can shake a stick at. Every lipstick needs a matching lip liner. The list goes on and on! But as a professional makeup artist, I can’t turn up to a job without every possible piece of kit I may need.


So you’ve had your trial and have decided I am the makeup artist for you. Great! There is nothing I love more than a happy bride who wants me to be part of her day. We arrange timings for the day, and your morning prep is starting at 7am in the deepest, darkest Scottish wilderness. Public transport isn’t going to get me there unfortunately, so I need a car to get to the majority of my weddings every week. My car isn’t cheap to run. It needs serviced yearly, petrol funds, and the usual wear and tear costs, MOTs, yadda yadda yadda. I simply could not do my job without my trusty green Fiat 500!

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Your wedding day arrives, and I rock up at your beautiful venue in plenty of time. But it’s December, and pitch black outside. I can’t do makeup in the dark (trust me, I’ve done makeup for fashion shows in nightclubs before!). But my professional lighting system will save the day! I had this imported from America and is one of my best purchases as a makeup artist. I take this everywhere with me. Sometimes even the lighting in hotel rooms in the middle of the day isn’t great for makeup application, so I always make sure I have the equipment to apply your makeup as best as possible. You don’t want to be walking down the aisle with an orange glow!


After all of those expenses, which I’m sure most people would never even think about, the rest is used for me to live on. Makeup artistry is my bread and butter. This is what I do day in, day out, and is how I pay my bills and buy my food. It isn’t something I “do on the side” of another full time job. I pride myself on how I conduct myself at weddings, I have dealt with every situation imaginable! I have worked at roughly 300 weddings and someone with experience is invaluable on your wedding day. I have never let a bride down, which unfortunately can’t be said for many others working in the industry. Remember, your makeup is going to be on show all day long, as well as being in all of your pictures for years to come. So why try and scrimp on something so important?
Hopefully this has cleared up why makeup artists aren’t ripping anyone off. They charge what they do because it is their job, their passion, and guarantee you look absolutely gorgeous for you whole wedding day (and well in to the night!).