How to Earn Over $100,000 a Year as a Tattoo Artist

Tattoo artists in the US earn less than $40,000 a year on average (1).

Only the top 20% earn close to $100,000.

But what if you could work only part-time and still earn $120,000?

How to Earn Over $100,000 a Year as a Tattoo Artist

Doing Permanent Makeup as a Profession

Let’s do the math.

Imagine that you see five clients each week.

You spend between two and four hours with each one for 15 to 20 hours of work.

Each visit earns you $500.

Multiply that, and life gets exciting.

You can take a two-week vacation and still make over $120,000 per year.

Plenty of income and free time, too 

Yes, you’d need to specialize in permanent makeup. It’s different than doing tattoos.

But the basic principles are the same. You need a steady hand and a good eye for color and detail.

If you do it well, being a permanent makeup artist ensures that you earn well and have free time to do other things with your life.

You could still pursue tattooing and worry much less about how much you make with that.

What Does It Take to Become a Permanent Makeup Artist?

The requirements for becoming a permanent makeup artist vary from place to place.

In general, you’ll need to study techniques like microblading, skin and face anatomy, color theory, and safety and sanitation.

You can expect to spend at least 100 hours in training.

Depending on the school and the schedule, that might be a couple of months or less.

Be sure to attend a course approved by the Society of Permanent Cosmetic Professionals or the American Academy of Micropigmentation.

Demand Versus Supply Raises Prices

One of the reasons why cosmetic professionals who do permanent makeup make so much money is because they are few and far between.

While there may be a hairstylist on every corner, there may be only one or two qualified permanent makeup artists in a city.

Microblading and similar procedures have grown in popularity and reach beyond the rich and famous.

Women and men alike turn to cosmetic artists for a variety of reasons.

They want to disguise bald spots, fade scars, cover up vitiligo, or simply enhance their appearance.

You’ll be helping others feel more confident and more beautiful.

How Is Permanent Makeup Different from Regular Tattooing? 

Cosmetic tattooing has come a long way.

In the past, artists used carbon-based ink that tended to turn green over time.

Just as bad, lip liner and eyebrows didn’t always match the client’s skin tone. They looked painted-on.

Nowadays, the inks used for micro-pigmentation blend well with natural coloring.

Moreover, they fade slowly after 6 months to a year and need to be touched-up.

The touch-ups are a boon to the artists.

How to Get Started with Permanent Makeup at Home

If you’ve had some experience tattooing and want to try your hand at permanent makeup, you can buy equipment online to practice with at home.

For example, many of the best tattoo brow pens are quite similar to rotary tattoo machines.

Then, all you need is equipment to maintain a sterile workplace and take care of the healing process.

Microblading, like tattooing, creates small wounds in the skin. It’s important to use the best healing creams for tattoos to avoid infection and scarring.

Also, just like with a tattoo, you’ll need to keep the area clean and dry. No sweating, no swimming, and no makeup until the skin has healed.

It’s a great idea to buy practice skin and get used to the equipment and the ink before you ever work on a human being.

On the bright side, since the ink fades after a few months, the effects aren’t permanent if you make a mistake.


A career as a permanent makeup artist is worth exploring.

The purpose is worthwhile, the money is very good, and the hours are flexible.

The skills you learn crossover into tattooing, as well. accessed November 4, 2019