May 2, 2016 Sisi Nike

The Truth About Choosing Your Bridal Makeup Artist

Engaged and ready to start scouting out the makeup artist best suited for you on your big day? Maybe you’re not ready, so I’d like to offer some advice. The number one thing to note is that not every makeup artist that is great, is great for YOU. Make sure the fit is right and your expectations are explicit and understood. It is NOT all about if the artist’s work is good. Is that artist going to give you the aesthetic that you want? Is that artist timely and professional? Is that artist someone you would want around your family and closest friends on one of the most important days of your life?

1. Solely Rely on a Bridal Trial to Choose – Evaluate your ENTIRE experience with that makeup artist from the moment you contacted them. First, did you contact them through the appropriate channel? If so, did they respond within 24 – 48 hours? Multiple typos in their response? Schedule a consultation, trial or appointment and they cancelled/rescheduled on you? Did they show up to your trial early, on time or late? How they treat you from the beginning, is how they will treat you on the big day in the end!

2. Book Cheap and Expect Luxury – Just don’t. Are their rates “too low”? If so, consider their skill level, professionalism and bridal clientele exposure. (Cheap is whatever that means to you btw) Are their rates average? If so, expect average or nothing above and beyond. If they still go above and beyond for you, GREAT, but manage your expectations. Are their rates well above your budget? If so, ask very specific questions or pay attention to what they are doing more than any other artist. Consider how it’s worth it and the trust you have in them to do an exceptional job. Consider the clientele you would be keeping them from if they were to be the makeup artist exclusively for you on your day.

3. Let Them Rush You – Did they tell you they need 30 mins per face? Every makeup artist spends a different amount of time on their clients and every makeup artist knows that 30 mins for a bridal look is aggressive. Do they allot more time for you, the bride or the same time as your bridesmaids? You’re paying more than your bridesmaids, expect more time for you. Did they tell you they could handle your party of 10 by themselves? Be very very afraid or just be prepared to start BRIGHT and early.

4. Contact Your Favorite Artist When You’re Not Ready – If you are not ready to drop a deposit that day, hold off till you’re ready. Reserve the “scouting around” with other artists. The artist you really truly want to work with may not be able to wait on you and you risk the unfortunate scenario of losing your date. You got your hopes up for nothing. Some artists may even give you a discount when you act promptly (pssst: I do!). You wouldn’t apply to your top school choice with a half baked application, come prepared!

5. Expect to Pay $50 a Face – That goes for you AND your bridesmaids. That number is the bane of my existence (Thanks, MAC). But I get it, many women have that number in mind as a reference because of makeup brands in the mall. Please consider the following things and why that is not a realistic rate if you’re working with an amazing artist: freelance artists come to you, they must know about a MULTITUDE of products and not just one brand, well versed on diverse skin types, well trained and equipped for ALL skin tones, creatively understands the appropriate bridal look for all women of all ages and they invested significantly in their training in order to be able to execute the look YOU want. Once upon a time I charged less than this. I also had ZERO experience, no legitimate training, mini sized drug store makeup kit that may or may not have had everyone’s foundation shade and no true confidence if I would be able to deliver exactly what the client wanted upon request. Every makeup artist has a starting place, consider if you want to be their starting place. [Please note that this is indicative of the Northeast PA-NJ-NY metro area market]


Photography by Fola Lawal


1. Ask How Many Weddings They Did Last Year – That maybe why they are charging so low or so high in comparison to your budget. Get an understanding of their clientele.

2. Make Sure You Like Their Particular Aesthetic – I feel like you see 4 main types of artistry on social media nowadays: 1. Barely There makeup. When you said you wanted to look like yourself, you really did. You look like you just have mascara, blush and lipstick on. It’s clean, truly natural beautiful makeup application 2. Instagram Makeup. Extremely defined and bold, clean brows. Highlight, contour, thick eyelashes, nude lip and major shimmery highlight on your cheeks and tip of your nose. 3. Reality Show Makeup. Similar to Instagram makeup but bring on the bold eye and lip color. Color, color, color and detailed eyeshadow application! 4. Red Carpet Makeup. You’re definitely wearing makeup but the highlight and contouring is more subtle. Nude glossy lip. Soft eyes with little detail that are still impactful. It’s all about skin. Your brows look like brow hairs that are well groomed and gently sculpted. Please note ALL 4 styles of makeup are GREAT and require skill. My only point is, don’t go to the Instagram makeup artist and ask for Barely There. Match what you truly want with the artist that creates that particular aesthetic consistently. You can feel more assured that they will give you what you want and they will be happy to leave their signature look on you. Win, win.

3. Look for Inspiration on Women with Your Skin Tone – It makes a world of a difference in giving you a true expectation of what you aspire to look like. Baby girl, if your skin tone is rich in melanin, leave the Kim K photos alone. Lean on Kelly Rowland, Kenya Moore or Gabby Union for inspiration!

Because 8 is my favorite number, so I’ll stop here. I really could have kept going but it’s already long and besides, you can always contact me directly via my Bookings page if you’d like to know more or if you’re interested in having me as your makeup artist on your wedding day. I truly love bridal so I’d be honored, head over to that tab and drop me a line!

— with love

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