Makeup Artist Salaries in Virginia

There are plenty of opportunities for beauty professionals in Virginia that graduate from makeup artistry programs housed in accredited beauty schools. There are over a dozen state-approved schools located in such cities as Richmond, Roanoke, Suffolk, Lynchburg, Manassas, Newport News, Reston, Woodbridge and Virginia Beach.

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In addition to learning basic makeup application techniques, students learn about skin tones/types, face shapes, sanitation methods, color schemes, contouring/highlighting, bridal makeup, airbrush techniques, permanent make-up and theatrical special effects.

The following average annual salaries of makeup artists were published on Websites that develop an aggregate of salaries garnered from “help wanted” ads:

  • Virginia (statewide) – $36,000
  • Norfolk – $32,000

Makeup Artist Salaries in Virginia

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics theatrical/make-up artists in Virginia earn the following annual salaries and hourly wages.

Annual Salary
50th Percentile (Median)
75th Percentile
90th Percentile

The income of personal appearance makeup artists is often bolstered by gratuities or commissions. Tips are usually between 10 and 25 percent of the cost of the service. Cosmetics company employees who do “makeovers” at retail outlets earn commissions on products they sell. These extras can significantly increase a makeup artist’s overall income.

Working as a Makeup Artist in Virginia

There are two career paths in makeup artistry: theatrical/production makeup and personal appearance makeup. Employers of theatrical makeup artists include:

  • Motion Picture and Video Companies
  • Performing Arts Companies
  • TV Broadcasting Studios
  • Production Companies
  • Circuses

Employers of personal appearance makeup artists include:

  • Beauty Salons
  • Spas
  • Resorts
  • Bridal Boutiques
  • photographic studios
  • Cosmetics Companies
  • Retail Stores
  • Mortuaries

Many makeup artists work for themselves as freelancers. Some rent a chair in a salon while others develop a specialization, like bridal party makeup.

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