Congratulations! You are engaged. You start planning and researching everything you need for your big day – including hair and makeup so you can look your very best on one of the most important (and most photographed) days of your life! But where to start? So many artists and options out there it may seem overwhelming. Being a hair and makeup artist myself, here a few things to look for in your search that I find the most important.
Licensed or certified? Know the difference
Knowledge of Sanitation and hygiene practices
Do they have a professional website?
Reviews from past clients
Experience and training listed
Do you like their work?
Does their work fit your desired aesthetic?
Assess what you need and what you value
Are their rates within your budget?
First up, Licensing. An unpopular opinion of mine but this is what I find single-handedly the most important. Unfortunately, in most states, the state is not keeping a close eye on artists and stylists opening their own business with no licenses. With the rapid growth of social media such as YouTube and Instagram, anyone can become an artist. While this is a great tool for people to showcase their work give them a platform to be the artist they desire to be, it's hurting the actual professionals. If anyone can be an artist/stylist, where is the regulation? How do you decipher between a true professional and a non-professional?
Licensing vs Certification: You browse the web and come across a great artist, and in their bio, it says they are ‘certified.’ Great! That means your artist took the time to invest in themselves to gain further education in their craft. Not a bad thing - Bonus points, if you ask me. But this does not mean they’re licensed. Certifications should be used to further one’s education and skill. I like to compare it to teachers, electricians, lawyers, nurses etc. They all must take a state-regulated exam and must pass in order to be a professional. Makeup artists and hair stylists are not any different. Look for someone who holds a cosmetology or an esthetics license.
Sanitation: Hairstylists and makeup artists work with the general public. They come in contact with bodily fluids, skin conditions, conjunctivitis, cold sores, potential open wounds and whatever else the client may or may not have. Your artist needs to be able to know how properly handle any illnesses/diseases/contagious conditions of the client. (And in school, you learn all about contamination, proper sanitation, hygiene, anatomy, etc) You want to make sure your artist/stylist practices proper hygiene and sanitation. A few simple things to look for is disposables. Does your artist have mascara wands, cotton pads, q tips, alcohol, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant? Are they using mascara straight from the tube and double dipping? (Can you say pink eye!?) Are they using lipstick or gloss straight from the tube onto your mouth? (how about oral herpes?!) How about the brushes, are they dirty with the last client’s makeup still on them? It's equivalent to going to a makeup counter and applying testers, that thousands of people have used, all over your face. Yuck.
Next is Website. Does the artist/stylist you are hiring have a professional website? I know today people use social media sites such as Instagram and Facebook to show off their work, but you want to look for someone who has really invested the time and money into building a professional website for their business. Here you not only can view their work but can also access their rates, reviews, bio, etc
Reviews are so important to research! You want to work with someone who has reviews from past clients and read about their experience with this artist or stylist.
Experience: Most likely on their website they will have an about me section. There you can usually find more information on your stylist/artist of their career experience and find out their qualifications, education, training, etc. This doesn’t necessarily mean someone with say 10 years in the business is better than someone with 5, but it’s important to know the background of your stylist or artist to see if they fit your needs.
Portfolio is also very important when it comes to finding the right stylist or artist for you. You not only want to like their work, but you want to make sure their overall general aesthetic compliments yours. For example, if you are a bride who really loves the dramatic and glam hair and makeup, I would suggest finding someone who has a lot of that particular style in their portfolios. If you view their portfolio and find that most if not all of their work is nothing even close to what you’d like, then maybe that artist/stylist isn’t the best fit. Many artists and stylists can accommodate all different styles but finding someone who can help create your vision for your wedding day and compliment your personal style would be best. If you are ever unsure of what your artist/stylist can create for you, be sure have a full consultation beforehand and book a trial.
Also, be cautious to artists who over edit their work. If you find photos of their work are heavily filtered and clearly edited with smoothing tools and photoshop, the work they deliver may not look like what is in their portfolios. Try to find a makeup artist that does not filter or heavily retouch their photos.
Last but certainly not least, is Pricing. Every bride has a budget and a lot goes into planning a wedding. There are many vendors to be considered to fit into this budget so its essential you budget properly to make sure you have enough put aside to invest in your wedding day hair and makeup. Again, this is probably the most photographed day of your life and you want to make sure you and your bridal party look and feel beautiful.
Ask yourself, What do I value? What are my needs? If you really value hair and makeup, need services for your whole party, need on location services, and require touch-ups, etc – you’re going to need to invest in all of those luxury services. If you’re a bride who doesn’t necessarily care about her hair or makeup, you may not need or see value in all these luxury services. Your budget may be much different than someone who does. More needs = Higher Budget. If you want the best of the best, you’re going to have to invest!
Also, keep in mind that experience plays a factor as well with pricing. Someone who has been a professional for longer may be more expensive than someone who hasn’t. Someone who is in higher demand may also have higher rates.
Rates and pricing are most likely listed on their website. If not, contact the stylist or artist and ask for a price quote.
And most importantly: Be sure not to price shame. While the beauty industry is fun and rewarding, at the end of the day it is still a business. We are still a wedding vendor just like your DJ, and your florist, and your dress shop. Be sure to budget properly and do your research to find someone who will meet your needs and expectations that fits within your financial means. I am a firm believer in you get what you pay for.
Written by Miranda Berube