"Hi! How much do you charge for makeup?"
I get that question quite a lot via emails, PMs, SMS, or personal inquiry. It's quite flattering to be chosen to do makeup for whatever important occasion and thankfully, there are clients who have been my clients up to this very day who stick to you no matter what. From the initial inquiry up to the make-up job, everything is just a breeze, it doesn't seem like work. I'm very thankful for clients that came my way that have that quality and also have referred me to their friends and family.
But as they say, not everyday can be like that, and there are some that can be difficult to deal with. There are difficult clients (something we all have to undergo), bridezillas, crazy momzillas (yes, that happens), and some not-so-pleasant situations which we all have to deal with and understand. However lately, I've noticed how our craft as makeup artists has been insulted quite a number of times. At first I thought, I was the only person experiencing this, as being more of a recluse, my human interaction skills aren't at par with the friendliest person in the world. As I was meeting a handful of my makeup artist friends one time, we've just shared our woes and exasperations at comments that just made us just want to cry, laugh, pull our hair, and plot world domination at the same time.
"What? Tumatawad pa but she wants airbrush?"
"No more out of town fee kasi Tagaytay lang?"
"She wants retouch up until reception but not willing to pay retouch fee?"
Yes, I'm apparently not alone. We get these quite a lot, when we give our rates, client asks for a discount. Or wait, they ask for a discount even before we give our rates. If you've heard it once okay pa, but if it's heard like ten times a day in a bridal fair and spoken in a demanding tone like you ought to give it, you just want to just poke their eyes out with the handle of your eyeshadow brush. If you don't give that discount, they walk away making you feel like you just want to wipe out their bank accounts for your 20th LV bag purchase. Let's face it my darlings, makeup costs money, and there are people like us who make a decent living out of it. Just for everyone's sake, I have decided to come up with this blog post to show the basis for our rates and why our rates should never be compared to that of a beauty parlor or a salon (no offense to beauty parlors).
Why salon rates are different from makeup artist rates.
"2000? You're not even sikat! Buti pa ang parlor mura! Parlor na yun ha!"
I get this quite a lot, especially from old-school clients.
For the record, here are the standard makeup artist rates:
traditional makeup are Php 2,000 - 3,000
airbrush makeup - Php. 2,500 - Php 3,500
Some salons charge around Php 950, and some parlors charge less. A makeup artist friend of mine explained the reason why parlors can charge lower: the overhead costs in a parlor (their budget for electricity, water, etc), are already absorbed in the other costs.Also, next time you go to a parlor that charges Php 500 for hair and makeup, please check the brands they use (which then I proceed to my second point).
Branded and high-quality makeup cost a lot of money.
Our makeup did not fall from the sky. If that happened, then the world would be a happier place for makeup artists. When I started with makeup, I got nerdy and did costing of my raw materials. I got a weighing scale. I approximated the amount of makeup I used and did some math, just as how a baker costs his or her products. I even included the approximate number ot tissues, wipes, and sponges I used to the cost I factored in transportation, labor, miscellaneous fees (water and soap for cleaning my brushes), and all that. I also did my homework and did some research and counter-checking with my fellow peers if our rates are more or less the same, to make sure that the cost is fair to my client and to myself and also to my competitors. We cannot lowball, meaning charge way lower than standard. Otherwise, we're killing the industry. And the industry will not be happy with that.
Aside from that, makeup is expensive. If you don't want to believe me, go to a makeup counter and see for yourself. We are constantly in search too of suppliers that can offer our materials at more reasonable costs, but these too do not come in cheap. A 150-peso imitation cosmetic powder brand bought in Divisoria may not last during the car ride to the party as compared to the MAC Studiofix fluid foundation in my makeup kit. On top of that, we invest in a variety of shades and colors plus skin care and brushes to fit every client's whim and personal preference. . If your face is oily and want makeup to last longer, here's my solution: makeup primers, eyeshadow primers, waterproof mascara and eyeliner, and makeup setting sprays. They're expensive but mind you, they work and we should make it work. Wanting branded and imported cosmetics but asking for a discount is like riding a taxi but only wanting to pay student jeepney fare price.
We keep ourselves updated by going back to school. attending workshops, buying books, and doing research.
Enrolling in makeup school costs a lot of money. It doesn't stop with the initial tuition fee. There's supplies, transportation fee, buying books, etc. Attending one-day workshops organized by makeup schools and brands also cost money. Even if it entails buying books or searching at the internet to keep ourselves updated, the knowledge did not just materialize in our minds in like a minute, just like in The Matrix. Do we really need to go to makeup school, you may ask? Baka pampamahal lang yan. Here's our answer: Yes we do. For both our sakes. For us because we need to be continuously be up to date with the latest technology in makeup and the latest trends. For you, it will help you look your best and your look not dated.
Transportation and Manual Effort
In the world of Harry Potter, Apparition and Floo powder were the way to travel. Even in the wizarding world, Apparition entails lessons from your Hogwarts professor and Floo Powder costs money. In the Muggle world, we do not materialize from thin air with our makeup bags to get to you. We travel by car to get to our destination. There's such a thing called gas, and we all know how gas prices are. There's also car insurance and the car itself, which we have to pay for. For makeup artists who commute, taxis cost a lot of money. A taxi ride from Ortigas to Rockwell costs Php 100. Makati to Fort is around the same rate. Fort to Ortigas is Php160. Fort to Alabang is Php 450 + toll rate of Php 120 one way. Aside from the petrol, there's also the stress we get from traffic, from hailing a cab, or if the budget is so low, we leave our cars and opt to take the public transportation, which is double the stress. Ever rode an MRT carrying heavy equipment in peak hours? Not a good idea. Oh, the venue is so near why not take the tricycle? Libre ba tricycle? Walk? Okay - heavy and bulky makeup bag in tow results in injury. Oh, and even in walking, there's adenosine triphosphate, which is the molecular unit of currency of intracellular energy consumed during the process of walking and the process of makeup. So you see honey, getting to our destination, doing our job, carrying our equipment, entails energy, and we need to refuel. Actually love, come to think of it, you're not just paying for my equipment and transportation but also my time, my skill, and my energy,
On Out-Of-Town Charges and Retouch Fees
For out-of-town locations, makeup artists and hairstylists have corresponding out of town charges. This does not include board, lodging, transportation, etc. Out-of-town charges are expensive for a very obvious reason: it's farther. Travel is time-consuming and gas consuming. Plus we all know the toll rates are crazy nowadays -Skyway, SCTEX, SLEX, NLEX., and all. Also, since the event is out of town, You're not only paying for our gas but also the time we're there and the time we spent travelling. Also, if it's a wedding on another island, say Boracay or somewhere that needs a plane ride, you're booking us for practically 2-3 days, so the fee is more.
Okay, the million-euro question on retouch. If you notice, in wedding packages, there are some packages which include retouching/second look. There are cheaper options that do not include retouching in the package, which we recommend for brides on a budget. I've written a post before on how to retouch. As I've told you, it does not require a master's degree in molecular science or makeup artist degree. It's something that's super easy and even you can do it yourself. Why makeup artists charge a premium for retouch? Because you're also paying for the extra time we have to spend working and waiting instead of leaving after the hotel preparations, we still have to be there before her church entrance, wait for her after the ceremony, and retouch the bride before heading off to the reception. That's also the reason why a photoshoot where a makeup artist would have to stay costs more than doing hair and makeup and then going costs more.
We're not stingy. We give occasional discounts and promos. Go to a bridal fair and you'll see suppliers giving out promos and discounts. We also give special treats to our friends. However, like sales and promos in a clothing store, this does not occur everyday. When we give our rates, that's our final price. A fair-and-square standard price that we did not invent. This is still business, after all. Do we go to Meralco and ask for a discount when paying our electricity bill? No. When we order at McDonald's and ask if the price of the Big Breakfast meal is the last, the attendand will say of course it is. If you want a discount, wait for a promo or another bridal fair. Don't force it out on us, make paawa, threaten us, get mad, or make us look like we're wiping out your savings.
On Credit and Exposure
"Do makeup for free, but you'll get great exposure! I'll tell all my friends about you. I have a really good network and tell what a great job you do!"
X-deal, work for credit, or exposure, that's something that's been abused nowadays. Many young artists have been exploited by this. As a startup artist, we all have had our fair shares of x-deals, and we still do now, for friends that we've been working with since day 1. However, if you're a new client who tells me to do her makeup for free because she knows so and so and has a big network of corporate bigwigs, lawyers, doctors, and socialites and will promote my services to her amigas in return, darling here's what I have to say. Sure I'll do it for free because you want me to. I'll ride a taxi to get to you because taking a car can get more expensive and I don't want to take the jeep because I want to be in top condition when I go to you. I'll tell manong taxi driver that I won't pay but I'll tell my clients and friends to hire him to drive them. I'll have to replenish my makeup and ask the stores to give them to me and rave about them. It just doesn't work that way darling, and I think that if that's the case, they'll be hurling me out of their stores. And if you name drop that you are work for so-and-so company with a very good network then that means that you have the capacity to pay for my services in full, right?
And just to let everyone know, X-deal does not mean the makeup artist, photographer, model, or performer will work for TY. it means that they will get something after, although not monetary, say products, clothes from the designer, shoes, food, GC, treatments, etc. Work for TY is not x-deal, it's called pro bono.
In the end here's the thing: as makeup artists, we do this to earn a decent living. Makeup artistry is a business we have to take care of. We have to be fair to everyone. First of all, we have to be fair to our clients. We know they pay a premium, so we give them the best. We keep ourselves updated. We use high-end makeup that won't melt, crack, or cake within 1 hour. We give them utmost care. We have to be fair to our contemporaries and colleagues. We make sure we keep our rates within reasonable standard so we don't kill the industry. If you're working in an office and still have your makeup job on weekends, keep it standard instead of going lower just to book a gig. Last and most importantly, we have to be fair with ourselves. I hope this clarifies why we charge that much.