Makeup Artist Salaries in Illinois

Illinois is home to a large number of makeup artists. It had the fifth highest employment level of these professionals in the country in 2013 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Chicago in particular has a large number of makeup artists, and the BLS reported that it had the third highest number of makeup artists of any metropolitan area in the country in 2013.

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Chicago offers opportunities for makeup artists in its rich and diverse theatre scene that ranges from more than 200 small, local companies to big name productions that come from New York and other major cities to play the Theatre District in the Loop. In addition, more than 1,100 film and TV productions have been shot in Chicago since 1980 according to the Chicago Film Office.

Another prominent industry for makeup artists is expected to benefit from the 2013 decision by the Illinois legislation to legalize same sex weddings. These types of ceremonies are expected to generate as much as $103 million in Illinois during the first three years according to a study by the Williams Institute at UCLA.

The bridal industry offers opportunities for makeup artists offering special event services to earn an exceptional income. For instance, Springfield offers about two-dozen venues for large wedding receptions, while Rockford has more than a dozen.

Makeup Artist Salaries by Experience Level in Illinois

Makeup artists with experience are more highly skilled and can better create what their client wishes. They are also more likely to be able to get jobs in the lucrative performing arts industries. Thus, the salaries for experienced makeup artists in Illinois were 83.5% higher than those who had just entered the workforce.

The average starting salary for makeup artist positions advertised over the course of the previous year are available from It showed that makeup artist salaries varied a great deal in different parts of Illinois.

Those in Chicago had an average starting salary of $49,000 in January 2015. This was substantially higher than the starting salaries in other major cities in the state:

  • Rockford – $44,000
  • Aurora – $39,000

The median salary for a makeup artist in Illinois was $24,004 in 2013 according to the state’s Department of Employment Security.

These figures are likely to underestimate the take home pay for makeup artists in Illinois, because many of them receive tips from their clients.