Makeup Artist Salaries in Kentucky

In addition to traditional options for makeup artists like weddings and proms, Kentucky offers some unique opportunities for elite work such as beautifying attendees at the Kentucky Derby. Creative makeup artists even worked on the horses used to film Secretariat, so they would look like the champion.

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The Commonwealth has seen notable actors star in films such as Burt Lancaster in The Kentuckian and Sean Connery in the Fort Knox scene in Goldfinger. The film industry in Kentucky is undergoing a resurgence with the passage of its 2009 film incentives to bring productions into the Commonwealth.

Film professionals met in Louisville in 2013 to work on ways to market Kentucky’s film industry. They are working on building up a base of local talent to make it easier for producers to shoot in Kentucky, and this trend bodes extremely well for makeup artists in the Commonwealth. This is particularly true since makeup artists in the film industry tend to earn higher salaries.

Another major industry for makeup artists in Kentucky is working with customers in salons. With tips these professionals can augment their salaries as much as 25%, so their take home pay is likely to be higher than indicated here.

Salaries for Kentucky’s Makeup Artists

The average salary for a makeup artist in Kentucky was $22,175 in 2013 according to the state’s Office of Employment and Training. Since high level makeup artistry requires a lot of skill, makeup artists with a lot of experience make more than those who are just starting out.

The salaries for makeup artists in Kentucky should be increasing as the film industry becomes even more prominent there, and the starting salaries for Kentucky’s makeup artists were considerably higher than this in January 2015 according to

This job site provides an average of the starting salaries for makeup artists over the previous year. The average starting salary for a makeup artist in Kentucky was $35,000, although this varied a great deal throughout Kentucky.

Makeup artists in Ironville and Meads started at much higher levels than those in Kentucky’s other major cities:

  • Ironville – $46,000
  • Meads – $45,000
  • Louisville – $32,000
  • Lexington – $30,000