How Much Money Can Cosmetologists Make?

If you love cosmetology and want to make it a career, you need to know what type of salary you can expect. There are a lot of statistics thrown around and it can all seem very confusing.

Let’s start with the base. On average, a cosmetologist is making $14.23 per hour as their base pay. That works out to $569.20 for a 40-hour week. If you work 50 weeks a year (given vacation and sick days of 2 weeks), then that’s $28,460 a year in base salary.

Ziprecuiter has a great study on the average salaries across the United States. Check out this table that they’ve put together on the difference in salary between the bottom 25% of cosmetologists versus the top 25% (75th percentile) of cosmetologists.

Salary Range (Percentile)
 25thAverage75th
Annual Salary$20,500$29,026$30,000
Monthly Salary$1,708$2,419$2,500
Weekly Salary$394$558$577
Hourly Salary$10$14$14

Your Experience Matters

Don’t be discourage if you’re making on the low end of this salary range. Until you have some quality experience and confidence in your skills, you won’t be able to command a higher salary.

Becoming efficient, highly knowledgeable about the services you’re providing, and personable to your clients will raise your hourly wage as your boss sees how valuable you are.

You will also command higher tips as your clientele appreciates your skills and advice. You can easily triple your money with the right clientele.

Location Matters

Making the best tips and maximizing your salary will come down mostly to where you are doing your business. An upscale neighborhood or urban setting is likely to pay a lot more than a more lower-income development.

It may be surprising, but the areas that have the highest-paying salaries for cosmetologists are Washington state, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii.

Do You Give Clients Special Perks?

If you’re the kind of cosmetologist that is willing to give special perks to good clients, then you can earn more money by just being appreciated that much more.

For example, say you are willing to do hair or other services on a Sunday morning or late on a Friday night when your clients are finally free of their work responsibilities (think super busy doctor or lawyer). Sure, you will charge them 30% more because of the irregular time. However, your client could very well tip you much more because of this.

Your Specialty Matters The Most

When you graduate from Cosmetology school, you generally have a range of potential jobs that you can get depending on how you tailored your education.

Wanna do esthetics? That’s primarily specializing in facials and facial skin care. In the right environment, that career could be a gold mine. Right now, the average esthetician makes roughly $20/hour.

How about a more alluring and glamorous job like being a film stylist? You could transform Brad Pitt into his next character.

Want to go even higher? Think about being an artistic brand director. A brand director can work with a specific company and direct the future artistic direction of a company or a specific brand. This is a great career for someone who is great and predicting the next trend.

Salaries for an artistic brand director depend on your experience, your ability, and who you’re working with. Expect to make anywhere from $50,000 – $100,000/year.