You have your cell phone on you almost all day, but the second someone actually calls you — you can’t find it! It’s Murphy’s law!
When it comes to makeup artists, you probably feel the same way! You see all these beautiful pictures of makeup artists’ work but when it comes time for your special event or wedding, they are no where to be found.
I received an “Ask Setareh” from a bride who is in a similar situation. She asked:
I’ve been seeing your posts on Instagram lately and have taken a special interest in your makeup work because I am getting married this July. I know you are in Germany but I wanted to ask you a few questions about your wedding makeup work and what I should do for my own wedding… and really just any tips or advice you could give me as to where to start would be great!
A quick google search, “Makeup Artist DESTINATION NAME” should yield a fair number of results BUT how do you know which one is right for you? Well, you’ll need to do the obvious. Go to their bridal portfolios AND their social media pages. It’s one thing if the makeup artist has some beautiful images in their bridal portfolio but you also want to check out their social media pages to get a sneak peek into their personality. Are they showing only photo-shopped images of their work? What are their captions like? How is their bio? You want to hire someone who you feel comfortable around — not necessarily someone *just* with pretty pictures. After all, makeup is really personal. In my opinion, you bridal makeup sets the tone for the entire wedding, along with the dress. So digging a little bit deeper is important than a generic google search.
I’d say start by following hashtags like #CITYmua or #muaCITY #STATEmua #makeupartistSTATE (you get the idea). Follow MUAs to see if you like their style — see if you like their consistency and “story” — after all, makeup is really personal. In my opinion, it sets the tone for the entire wedding, along with the dress. I would do all these same steps for hair, unless you have a stylist already.
For example, although I am not based out of or near Denver, that doesn’t mean that I’m not available to travel to Denver! There are so many amazing artists out there that are able and willing to travel domestic and internationally for their brides and clients — and many artists are traveling to/from conferences, masterclasses, visiting family — your favorite artist may be in your area around the time you are getting married. Plus, you’d make any makeup artists day by asking if they are available to travel far for your wedding and even requesting a price quote. You can read more about that below!
Do you already have a location? A photographer? A dress or caterer? Likely, these vendors have and know trusted makeup artists! Just ask them to see if they have a list you can take with you to start your search.
So as far as price is concerned, you can have someone do your makeup for free or for a low cost — maybe to build their portfolio or just out of the kindness of your heart. I would only suggest allowing this person into your bridal “vendors” circle if in fact this person has done your makeup flawlessly in the past or if they are indeed a makeup artist and as a best friend, are willing to gift their services to you. (A really generous gift, that is). I would 100% recommend a trial run and also perhaps schedule your engagement session on the same day so you can see how your makeup photographs. If you love it, yay! If not, at least it’s not your wedding photos and you can gracefully decline the offer.
There’s lot of “freelancers” and “makeup enthusiasts” and really, anyone can call themselves a makeup artists these days out there that aren’t charging that much for wedding makeup. So how do you know who to trust? Price is a great way to generally determine reputability.
Also consider that if you hire an artist that is not located in your immediate area, prices will likely be higher! Also keep in mind prices may be lower or higher depending on which state you live in.
Most of the times, you get what you pay for!
When you hire someone who hasn’t invested in a website, they probably haven’t invested in a quality makeup kit.
When you hire someone who hasn’t set up a contract or deposit, how sure are you that they will show up on time and in a professional manner?
When you hire someone who doesn’t ask you ANY questions before booking your wedding, how do you know you can trust how they are going to do your makeup?
For an extremely budget conscious bride, I would say expect to pay $65 and up. This makeup artist may or may not have a website, a ton of experience, a contract, or a guarantee. Their brushes may or may not be clean. You’d really want to make sure all your bases are covered when hiring someone at this price.
What Does Minimum Pricing Mean?
Some makeup artists have minimum prices, which make sense. If a makeup artist can make $5,000 on a large wedding — taking a wedding for $500 is simply not a good business decision. Sometimes, it’s worth just paying the minimum price to have a purely luxury and personalized experience!
Yes! Any really good makeup artist should be willing and able to travel to you. I’ve flown internationally for clients in the past because they felt like I was worth it (and I’m oh-so-flattered when a client flies me anywhere)! Most makeup artists, including myself travel free within a certain travel radius as part of their bridal makeup pricing (one of the many reasons bridal makes is more costly than special event makeup).
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I do charge early start fees (before 9am) and Holiday Fees. Keep that in mind. I would definitely budget for a wedding makeup trial (normally recommend on engagement photo or bridal preview days). Sometimes, MUAs want to work in certain venues or with certain photographers and will be willing to negotiate a better price if you request it. Feel it out and go with your gut 🙂
Ok, a professional makeup artist does all the heavy lifting for you! That is all calculated in their pricing. It’s not just doing the makeup — it’s doing all the research.
Remember, less is more — and you probably want to run the other way if the MUA is too faddish or unnatural. I’ve worked on building my reputation as a “natural” makeup artist because I like to keep the integrity of my client’s personality. Unfortunately, lots of MUAs apply whatever fads to the client or makeup that looks good on them and not their client.
Good luck and congratulations!
I’m Natalie, an American born makeup artist & makeup educator based in Wiesbaden, Germany. I truly believe that makeup, when applied well, can transform us in so many ways. My page is a space for inspiration, education, and advice. Thanks for being here & I’d love to connect with you!
Makeup education a great passion of mine. I have personally witnessed how makeup education has positively changed lives time and time again.
Throughout the years, I kept noticing the lack of real-life, practical, and easy to understand makeup education.
After developing PDF guides for my private lesson clients, then workbooks for my makeup workshops, enough people told me I should write a book. So in 2019, personally funded and self-published my first book, Be Your Own Makeup Artist.