Updated: May 23
Hiring a makeup artist, like any other wedding vendor, is a big deal and one the can be overwhelming. EVERYONE is a makeup artist now and that makes determining who is a professional and who is doing it for fun or playing a professional a little tricky. Here is a guide that can help you navigate the process.
Six Things To Look For:
Being a professional bridal makeup artist is a combination of artistry and business. Lots of people can be a great artist, but if they lack the skills and experience to understand how to make a bride's day amazing, then we've only solved half of the equation. It's only half artistry -- the other half is about knowing how to do more than re-create a photo you hand them. In a sea of people calling themselves professional bridal makeup artists, here are some things to look for:
When you inquire with your artist, you should get a response within 24 hours - 48 at the most. When you ask a question, it's important that you get a response. We all have times when our life has us running behind the bus that is our emails, but if an artist is hard to get in touch with, it's a red flag.
If an artist is using just a social media profile as their web presence, that's a red flag. Does it mean they don't do great makeup? No. Does it mean they're a hack? No, not necessarily. What it does say is that they haven't been willing to put in the work to create even a simple website so they can communicate both their skill and who they are as a business to the client. Having a website is a sign of being thorough and caring about their professional image.
To piggyback on this, I feel the same way about free email accounts. Gmail, hotmail, yahoo, aol, etc. are free email accounts and when I see a vendor using one exclusively instead of purchasing their own branded domain, it tells me that they aren't overly concerned with appearing professional. A domain is between $10 and $30 per year, so the investment is low to promote a professional vibe to their clients.
This one is HUGE. Sanitation protocol is IMPERATIVE to applying makeup safely. If an artist isn't using the proper sanitation protocol, they could pass any number of viruses, bacteria, or other micro-organisms to you. Pink eye, cold sores, impetigo, herpes (twice, just for the people in the back), stys, lash mites, and all sorts of other gross stuff can be passed by dirty makeup products and tools. Here are the things you must watch for:
Hands are washed (washed, not sanitized with sticky hand sanitizer that just dilutes the dirt and makes their hands sticky).
If the artist has long nails, like me, you should see them scrub under their nails.
All cream products are decanted out of their containers with a clean spatula and placed onto a clean palette (wax paper palette or stainless steel)
No product should be applied to your face with it's original applicator UNLESS you will be keeping that product (like if we are gifting you a lip gloss)
Mascara should be applied with disposable spoolies. THE SPOOLIE GOES INTO THE MASCARA TUBE ONCE AFTER IT'S TOUCHED YOUR LASHES.
Liquid eye liner pens are not able to be sanitized, so watch out for those. Liquid eye liner should be decanted from a bottle or pot and applied with a clean brush.
Brushes should be clean and not have makeup residue on them. The artist may clean them in front of you.
Eye pencils, brow pencils, and lip pencils should be sharpened with a clean sharpener, then soaked in alcohol for 10 seconds. The sharpener should then be soaked in barbicide (or barbicide alternative) for 10 minutes. Alternately, the artist could smoosh (it's a word, I promise) some of that pencil onto a palette and apply it with a brush.
Lip colors should not be applied from the tube -- it should be scraped from the bullet and applied with a clean brush, unless we are gifting it to you.
4. They Ask The Right Questions
Professional bridal makeup artists are going to ask you questions that maybe don't seem to relate to hair and makeup in order to determine what you're looking for in a bridal experience. They may ask you how you wear your hair and makeup on a daily basis and what your comfortable in before designing your bridal look. When artists are new or inexperienced, it's common for them to just re-create whatever is in the inspiration photo you provide, but that's not really a professional artist -- it's a technician. Our job is to figure out if that look will be flattering, mesh well with your wedding aesthetic, your personality, your personal style and comfort level, and make recommendations on what would work.
Our job is to also keep you relaxed and calm on your big day and understanding as much as possible about the wedding day helps us work as a team with your other vendors to do just that.
5. Liability Insurance
This one is the great equalizer. Professionals are business people and business people understand risk. Pro artists have liability insurance. Period. Say we drop an eye shadow palette on your white carpet. Covered. Maybe the handle of my kit snaps off and catapults down a flight of stairs, taking out your Aunt Karen. Covered. Maybe a curling iron melts the surface of a table in the bridal suite of your venue. Covered.
Pros have liability insurance. Liability insurance is expensive and worth it.
6. They're In Your Corner
Professional bridal artists are in the business of listening. Our whole job is to listen to you and then flesh out a look that will be flattering and that you'll be comfortable in. If we don't get it right, our response should be something that indicates we are committed to your satisfaction. If you don't like something, we should listen and respond with a solution. You should feel heard, not pushed into a look you don't want but feel pressured to wear because you don't want to hurt someone's feelings.
No matter who you hire -- whether it's our company or another artist, I want you to have the information to make the best decision for you.