Hiring a Bridal Makeup Artist: 5 Do’s, 5 Don’ts, & 5 Red Flags

You’re getting married! Congratulations! Here comes the wedding prep, remembering all of the little details, hiring vendors…If you haven’t started the process already, you will be soon!

I write this in hopes that I can assist in at least part of this exciting but equally as daunting list by offering you some advice when it comes to choosing one of the vendors that will inevitably be on your checklist – your bridal makeup artist.

I have heard as many horror stories as I have success stories from clients and friends when I have asked them about their past experiences with makeup artists. These stories are a huge source of inspiration for writing this article and while yes, having a negative or lack-luster experience with a makeup artist is not on the same level as some of the real tragedies in our world (let’s keep some perspective people), your wedding day is a pretty terrible day to have a makeup artist butcher your makeup or even worse: not even show up!

Below, I have compiled a list of my top five “do’s”, “don’ts”, and “red flags”  in order to avoid scenarios, like the two listed above, when choosing a bridal makeup artist. In addition, I have added some practical advice and suggestions when it comes to selecting your makeup artist. I hope that these suggestions leave you empowered and confident as you begin the hunt for your makeup artist!


1. KNOW YOUR BUDGET: Before you expend a ton of time and energy researching, making phone calls, and booking appointments, know how much money you have set aside in your wedding budget to hire a wedding makeup artist. This will save you time (take it where you can get it!) and give you an excellent starting point when you begin researching makeup artists in your area.

2. ASK A FRIEND: If you want that honest, real-life, no BS opinion of someone’s experience with a makeup artist, who better to ask than a friend or family member? Ask your friend what she liked, what she didn’t like, and what she may have done differently.

3. DEMAND TO SEE A WEBSITE OR PORTFOLIO: Very few businesses in the 21st Century do not have a website, Facebook Page, Instagram, or Twitter account. The more social media platforms the better. Expect your makeup artist to have photos of her work, her pricing, reviews from past clients, and a way to contact her readily available to you.

4.RESEARCH AND BOOK A.S.A.P.: The sooner you can start research the better! I have clients booked for as late as Christmas of 2018! While I wish I could’ve said that I thought that far ahead when I was planning my wedding (I definitely didn’t), it is an admirable goal and also will ensure that you are guaranteed to book the makeup artist that you have fallen in love with.

5. BOOK A TRIAL: DEFINITELY have a test run before you sign contracts, pay a deposit, and book your makeup artist!  In addition to this being the time where a makeup artist does your makeup as if it was your wedding day, a trial gives you one-on-one time with the makeup artist and is the opportunity for you to discuss your vision for the style of makeup you want. Bring Pinterest photos, Instagram photos, (ANY photos!) of makeup styles that you like to your trial so that your makeup artist can better understand and create the makeup look that your desire. (I am always ecstatic when a bride brings photos for me to look at. You could spend 15 minutes trying to describe the smokey eye or dewy skin you want, or you could just pull up a picture!) Booking a makeup trial is also your chance to “feel” out a makeup artist and  meet them face-to-face. In this situation, first impressions are crucial – especially because the next time you see your makeup artist will be on your wedding day. Spending an hour with each other will either solidify your confidence in their credibility and professionalism or shatter it. (WOULD A “WHAT TO ASK/WHAT TO EXPECT & LOOK FOR AT YOUR TRIAL” BLOG POST BE HELPFUL?? COMMENT BELOW IF YOU WOULD LIKE ME TO WRITE ONE!)


1. WAIT TOO LONG TO BOOK: This one is pretty self explanatory. If you have a found a makeup artist that you love, don’t drag your feet on booking him or her! Take the necessary steps to secure your makeup artist. Many makeup artists require a signed contract and security deposit to secure your wedding date. Just because you have verbally told a makeup artist that you are going to book her, doesn’t guarantee your wedding date saved. Get it down on paper and formally book your makeup artist.

2. SETTLE: Do not book a makeup artist that you are not thrilled with or have apprehensions about! This touches on another “Don’t” below but it’s worth having it’s own category. If you are not completely confident in a makeup trial you have had, book other trials with other makeup artists – and don’t feel bad for looking elsewhere. With the million things you have to do, scheduling another trial can feel like a serious pain in the butt and can leave you feeling like “good enough” works for you…BUT you will be so grateful that you held out for the makeup artist that you absolutely love.  Not feeling confident on your wedding day because your makeup wasn’t what you wanted can be equally as much of a pain as scheduling that extra trial.

3. BE AFRAID TO BE SPECIFIC: Know what you want and if need be, SPEAK UP! Us makeup artists may be intuitive but we are not mind readers! If you definitely don’t want winged liner, say so! Collect those Pinterest pictures I was talking about to show your makeup artist, discuss with your makeup artist what your makeup likes and dislikes are, and if your makeup artist was a little too heavy handed with the blush during your trial, let her know.

4. FEEL GUILTY: Do not be afraid to say, “No.” If you aren’t comfortable with a makeup artist using an eyelash curler on your lashes or if you are feeling pushed into wearing a certain type of makeup look that is not your style, you can (and should) be 100% comfortable with using the word, “No.” If you feel like you have to book a makeup artist because you had a makeup trial with him or her, don’t! A trial is not a commitment or promise to book with a certain makeup artist. Do not be afraid of hurting your makeup artist’s feelings. As long as you communicate what you dislike or want in a constructive and respectful way, you are doing nothing wrong.

5. NEGOTIATE PRICE: Do not try to talk down a makeup artist’s price – unless he/she offers. Remember, for many makeup artists (including myself), this is how we pay our bills and make a living.  It is also how we can afford to stock our makeup kits with all of those high quality makeup products that provide the flawless makeup application that you want to stay on all day long. Being a makeup artist is as much of a job as any other profession and should be treated as such. A reputable makeup artist’s pricing will be competitive but fair (just like any other business.) And remember – you get what you pay for.



1. MAKEUP ARTIST’S OWN MAKEUP IS DONE POORLYHow a makeup artist does his/her own makeup is a pretty good indication of how he/she will do your makeup. If her makeup is poorly applied, there is a good chance that your’s will be too.

2. NO DIGITAL FOOTPRINT: Like I mentioned earlier in this post, it is important that your makeup artist has some sort of way for potential clients to access his/her work. If he or she doesn’t have a website, blog, or portfolio to show you, you may want to reconsider working with them.

3. POOR COMMUNICATION: Poor communication or a lack of response from your makeup artist can be a red flag. If your wedding day is six months away and it takes your makeup artist a few days to get back to you about a non-urgent matter, cut her some slack. However, if you have followed up with your makeup artist and you haven’t received a reply back or you haven’t heard from your makeup artist since your trial months ago, problems could be on the horizon.

4. NO CONTRACT OR BACK-UP PLAN: A required signed contract is as much for your protection as it is for a makeup artist. If a makeup artist is not willing to legally guarantee to be present on your wedding day or supply a back-up makeup artist if she has an emergency and cannot fulfill her commitment, then find a different makeup artist who will.

5. MAKEUP ARTIST IS PUSHY, STAND-OFFISH, OR GENERALLY UNPLEASANT: As the millennial saying goes, “You do not need that kind of negativity in your life.” You will be spending a good deal of sacred time (that is the getting ready process on your wedding day) with your makeup artist. Ask yourself, “Is this someone who I will get along with and will put me at ease during the busyness of my wedding day?” Also, a makeup artist who pressures you into wearing a makeup look you do not like or makes you feel obligated to book with her is a sign that you should walk away and seek elsewhere.


I hope that these tips help you as you search for your makeup artist! Finding a makeup artist is supposed to be one of the more “fun” things you do when preparing for your wedding. What is more fun than playing with makeup and getting dolled up? And it’s for such a special day! As long as your are equipped with the right questions to ask and go in prepared, finding a makeup artist that works with your style and budget should be an enjoyable experience.

I wish each and every one of you the best of luck! Comment below with any questions you may have or stories to share. And definitely let me know if you would like to read a more in-depth post on what to expect/ask/look out for at a makeup trial!


Photo credit: 47 Moments Photography


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