Whether you want glamour, drama or au naturel, finding and working with the right makeup artist can sometimes seem overwhelming. Like your venue, flowers or photographer, prices will vary, as do makeup styles, personality, and time spent on the application process.
Here are eight questions to consider before and after you hire someone.
What should I tell my makeup professional?
Everything. “An afternoon summer beach wedding in New Jersey has completely different weather, lighting and vibe than a winter nighttime church wedding with a reception at the Plaza,” said Ashlee Glazer, a celebrity makeup artist based in New York. “Telling us what you do like is as important as what you don’t.” Also, share what makeup and colors you use, the look you want, and how your skin reacts to certain products and ingredients. Then ask for their suggestions.
Should I bring photos?
Yes, specifically photos you like of yourself, your wedding dress and the wedding site. “Rather than turn to Pinterest or Instagram, which often have been photoshopped and the looks are not achievable, or the amount of lighting and makeup used is visually misleading, go with red carpet looks,” said Grace Lee, the lead makeup artist for Maybelline New York. “These are amplified, natural, and have the right amount of drama.”
How do I get the most out of my time?
Go to your appointment without makeup. “If I have to remove your makeup, skin can become red or irritated and then it’s harder to create a customized look,” Ms. Glazer said. For those who refuse to be seen bare, have the makeup artist come to you. Another tip: “Wear a white shirt because that’s usually the color of your dress,” Ms. Lee said. “Then take selfies or ask if a friend has a digital camera so you can see how it translates in different light and through different lenses.” Lastly, leave the makeup on as long as possible to see how it wears throughout your day.
Your service typically covers everything from the clavicle up, plus makeup glow on your shoulders and lotion on your legs. “Additionals are cutting or tweezing brows, faux lashes, covering scars or moles, and fixing tanning lines,” said Lori Taylor Davis, a professional makeup artist at Smashbox who is based in Los Angeles. Covering large tattoos is also usually extra. All of these specifics, Ms. Davis said. should be agreed upon at your trial session. Some prices include just the bride; other professionals offer services for three or four people for a set fee.
Do I need to like my makeup artist?
Yes. “Like dating, you should know within 15 or 20 minutes if you have a connection,” said Kelli J. Bartlett, the artistic director of makeup at Glamsquad, a mobile beauty service. She also suggested checking out someone’s work style. “This is just as important as their makeup skills,” she said. “Not everyone is O.K. with music or constant interruptions. Makeup artists have different styles. Some will be thrown if they work in solitude and you don’t.”
Should I have my makeup done for people or photos?
Both. “Brides are seen through many different lenses: in person, through an iPhone, a professional camera, and possibly a videographer,” said Frank Guyton, a celebrity makeup artist based in New York. “Consider hiring someone who understands makeup’s capabilities, but also knows lighting, contouring structure, blending, and highlighting.” Your artist should opt for waterproof eyeliner, mascara, and eyelash glue; long-lasting primer, foundation and eye shadows; and smudge-proof lipstick.
Should my wedding party have the same look?
If you want unification, hire an artist who comes with a team of stylists, say four or five. But treating everyone can be expensive. To save time, money, and to prevent miscommunication, send a requested looks note and photo of your vision to your party. “You’re already dressing them, it’s O.K. to tell them how you’d like their hair to be done and what color makeup they should wear so everyone’s look will be constant,” Ms. Glazer said.
How long should the makeup artist stay?
That depends on you, your finances and how many people the artist will be working on. Prices can range from $300 for just the bride and one sitting, to $4,000 for the day, which can also include three or four people. “You can book a ‘do and go’ where the artist does your makeup and leaves you the powder and lipstick,” Ms. Lee said. “Or a flat rate for the whole day, say six to eight hours, which includes everything from first looks through post reception.” To cut costs, some brides are opting for a “do and return,” where the artist leaves after the first application and returns to reapply before the reception. This is especially helpful for brides opting for a second outfit. “Since the color of the dress has changed, their makeup does, too,” Mr. Guyton said.
A Quick To-Do List
Start looking for your makeup artist 60 days before the wedding. Too far out and your hair is still growing and your skin still changing.
Take a test drive, or two or three with a makeup artist you might consider hiring. It’s a service worth paying extra for. During this time you can view the person’s makeup kit and products. Dirty makeup bag and brushes: red flag.
Schedule in hair and makeup time. Ninety minutes for each bridal party person, and three hours for the bride should work.
Have a tip handy for the makeup artist. The standard is 10 to 20 percent of the bill.
Prepare to pay before you put on your dress. “If your bridal party is paying for themselves, ask your made of honor to collect the money beforehand,” said Ms. Glazer. “It’s uncomfortable for us to walk around the room asking for payment.”