If you are considering a career in the beauty industry as a lash technician, you are probably wondering how much money you can make.
Now that I have worked as a lash tech for more than a decade, run my own lash business, and hired several lash artists across multiple locations, I decided to write this article to give you a better idea of how much you can earn as a self-employed lash tech or as an employee in an eyelash salon.
Let’s get started!
How Much Do Lash Techs Make
|Self-Employed vs Employee Salary||Employee||Self-Employed|
- The average salary for eyelash technicians in the United States is $43,424 per year, $3,619 per month, $835 per week, or $21 per hour.
- The average income for self-employed eyelash technicians in the United States is $90,480 per year, $7,540 per month, $1,885 per week, or $47.13 per hour.
Let’s address the elephant in the room first.
From the table above, we can see that self-employed lash artists make significantly more money than those who are employed by a lash salon.
But that’s because we’re comparing apples to oranges!
The self-employed numbers are what’s known as “gross salary”. When you are self-employed, you are responsible for paying expenses such as rent, products (glues, lashes, tweezers, beds), marketing, website, booking software, etc. The list goes on.
When you are employed by a lash salon, you don’t have any of those expenses. So if you want to make a truthful comparison, you have to deduct them from the self-employed income. You’ll then be able to compare apples to apples.
How I Collected Lash Tech Salaries (Methodology)
In order to be 100% transparent, I want to show you where these numbers come from and the exact steps I took to collect them. Let’s break it down between the self-employed and employed categories.
For this calculation, I assumed you’re a full-time stylist performing classic lashes only. Of course, if you’re able to include hybrid or volume lashes to your menu, your income will increase since they are premium services.
- 5 days a week of work
- 1 full set per day is completed at $164 each.
- 3 refills per day are completed at $71 each.
- Weekly salary = (5 full sets per week x $164) + (15 refills per week x $71) = $1,885
- Monthly salary = $1,885 per week x 4 weeks per month = $7,540
- Yearly salary = $7,540 per month x 12 months per year = $90,480
- Hourly salary = $1,885 per week / 40 hours a week = 47.13$
2. Employed in a Salon
Here are the salaries each website reported:
As you can see, there are some big disparities in the salaries reported based on which site you decide to consult. I think it mostly comes from the fact that this data is often user-submitted.
In other words, it’s people self-reporting their salaries. Therefore, the sample used by each site might be different, which would explain the discrepancy in the salaries.
Back to our table, here are the calculations:
- Weekly salary = ($950 + $593 + $962) / 3 = $835
- Monthly salary = ($4,117 + $2,572 + $4,167) / 3 = $3,619
- Yearly salary = ($49,412 + $30,860 + $50,000) / 3 = $43,424
- Hourly salary = ($24 + $15 + $24.04) / 3 = $21
Next, let’s see what are the biggest drivers behind a high salary (or low!).
7 Factors That Influence How Much Lash Techs Make
As you can expect, there are a lot of variabilities when it comes to the amount of money you can earn as an eyelash technician.
I’ll outline the 7 most important factors to consider below:
The cost of lash treatments can vary depending on where you’re offering your services. For instance, the cost of lash treatments in Los Angeles differs from that in New York or Chicago.
The rule of thumb is that salons in high-end locations or busy cities charge high prices. Although, the higher prices account for, the higher rent too.
The location also determines the type of clientele a lash artist has, thereby increasing the average salary in the eyelash extensions industry.
2. Reputation and Experience
Like in any career, a higher experience level means more pay for an artist, while technicians who’re just starting charge a lot less.
This only makes sense. Clients are willing to pay a premium for quality services.
Additionally, with experience comes speed. Lashing takes a lot of time. Your income will be very different if you can perform a full set in 3 hours vs 1.5 hours.
In my calculations, I used a conservative assumption of 1 full set per day and 3 refills per day. I say conservative because once you have built up a clientele, you can easily do 2 full sets per day and probably 1 more fill depending on your speed.
However, the kicker here is “built up a clientele”.
If you are a new lash artist starting in the industry, it will take time to build up a clientele, and your income will be lower than an established lash artist during this time.
For instance, it took me a good year before I was booked solid and didn’t have to worry about holes in my schedule anymore.
3- Lash Styles Offered
Depending on the lash extension styles offered, the total earnings of a lash artist can increase.
For instance, a Classic full set costs $164. So, if you do two full sets per day, you’re making over $300 per day, $1,500 per week, $6000 per month, or $72,000 per year.
As Volume eyelash extension sets are $192 per set, that translates to $92k per year.
So what does this mean?
If you want to make more money as a lash professional, don’t limit yourself to classic eyelash extensions.
It is completely worth it to invest in volume or hybrid training so you can offer more styles and make more money.
If you want to know more about the differences between these 3 techniques, check out my guide here!
Fun Fact: According to a Small Business & Marketing Advice, 12% of higher-end lash artists say their pricing is above $181, and 6% charge $60 or less for services.4
Eyelash artists offer training apart from lash extension treatments which can often add significant earnings to their bottom lines.
Training new techs take more time, but it’s productive and entrepreneurial. Most one or two-day courses you’ll find online charge around $1000.
5- Long Hours
The more time you spend on lashing, the more money you’ll make. I know captain obvious…
For my calculations, my estimates are based on a 5 days a week schedule. Having said that, you could work on weekends too and make more money.
I still remember when I first started, I would work 6 to 7 days a week because I wanted to build my clientele.
Would I do it again?
I now realize it was a little insane!
6- Self-Employed vs Employed
Self-employed lash artists make more money than employed lash techs. They also have more control over their time, bookings, and prices.
With high risk comes rewards.
Gross pay from a self-employed lash artist might seem impressive at first, but and that’s a big but, let’s not forget that you need to look at net pay if you want to compare apples to apples.
After subtracting the lash product costs, your rent, marketing expenses, taxes, and other costs, the net pay is usually a fraction of what the gross pay is.
So, just keep that in mind when making a decision!
7- Product Retail
Adding product retail to your menu of services is a great way to make more money as a lash artist.
I can say that it was a game-changer for my business.
The retail profit margin in the beauty industry is quite high. So, you get to keep a good chunk of what you sell.
For instance, let’s say you sell a $75 lash serum. The wholesale price is $40, and the retail profit margin is 47%.
This means you get to keep $35 for each serum sold. Not too shabby, right?
Self-Employed vs Employed Lash Artist: Which One to Choose?
Being an entrepreneur and opening a lash studio is completely worth it and extremely rewarding.
When compared to the employment route, you’ll make more money and have more control over your schedule.
According to Verified Market Research, the international false lashes market is growing at a CAGR of 6.95% until 2028 and $2.31 Billion from $1.36 Billion in 2020.5
What can we conclude from this data?
There’s never been a better time to get into the lash industry!
If you’re thinking about starting your own business, do it!
I promise you won’t regret it.
Yes, it can be stressful at times. You need to be good at budgeting, and marketing and have people skills to run a successful business. But if you put in the work, it WILL pay off!
I’ve been in the industry for over 12 years and I can tell you that it’s only getting bigger and better.
There’s always room for new lash artists!
The Bottom Line
A career in the lash industry is extremely rewarding and can be very lucrative. The industry is growing at a very rapid pace and the demand continues to increase.
Not too surprising when you look at this beautiful lady rocking her extensions 😉
At the end of the day, working for a wage in a salon setting insures a stable work environment and a stress-free life. Having said that, going the self-employed route has been extremely beneficial for me and led me to places I couldn’t have imagined.
If you’re thinking about becoming a lash artist or starting your own business, I say go for it! There’s never been a better time to get into this industry.
– Asako 🙂
- ZipRecruiter.com. Eyelash Extensions Salary. Retrieved from https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Lash-Tech-Salary (Accessed on June 6, 2022).
- Salary.com. Lash Tech Salary in the United States. Retrieved from https://www.salary.com/research/salary/hiring/lash-tech-salary (Accessed on June 6, 2022).
- Talent.com. Lash Technician average salary in USA. Retrieved from https://www.talent.com/salary?job=lash+technician (Accessed on June 6, 2022).
- Brandon Gaille (2019). 33 Eyelash Extension Industry Statistics, Trends & Analysis. Retrieved from https://brandongaille.com/33-eyelash-extension-industry-statistics-trends-analysis/ (Accessed on June 6, 2022).
- Verified Market Research (2021). Global Lash Extension Market Size By Product, By Constituent, By Distribution Channel, By Geographic Scope And Forecast. Retrieved from https://www.verifiedmarketresearch.com/product/lash-extension-market/ (Accessed on June 6, 2022).