Finding "The One," A.K.A. Your Wedding Makeup Artist

The time has come to search for your makeup artist match for your holy matrimony. Well, Shit…where do you start?

If you’re reading this, you probably feel like 80% of your day is spent scouring the internet, planning your wedding, and the other 20% is spent dodging questions from everyone about your guest list. Inarguably, one of the most time-consuming tasks is finding your vendors. There are so many to choose from, and a lot of them love to keep their pricing a big surprise until you reach out to them directly (boo, let’s aim for transparency, vendors). To help make your search for a makeup artist a little less of a time suck (and everything suck), here are a few do’s and don’ts:

It takes a bride to know a bride. Reach out to past brides for vendor recs!

It takes a bride to know a bride. Reach out to past brides for vendor recs!

DO reach out to past brides/grooms, whether you know them or not.

Ideally, you have a friend or two who have gotten married recently. Who am I kidding? If you’re over 26, you have 90 friends who have had a wedding within the past year, and you’ve had to take out a small loan just to be a part of them all. Anyway, the most painless procedure to finding your makeup artist is through good ol’ word-of-mouth referrals. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out to that one girl from high school that you still awkwardly creep on via Instagram to ask about who did her STUNNING makeup for her wedding day. My favorite way to get referrals if not through a friend: Facebook Groups. If you’re in Orange County, LA, or San Diego, the Something Borrowed, Something New group is an amazing resource for referrals and wedding advice. In summary, you’re going to get all of the details you need if you go through someone who has been in your Badgley Mischka shoes before.

You: “LOOKS GREAT, BRITTANY, THANKS!”

You: “LOOKS GREAT, BRITTANY, THANKS!”

DON’T trust “a friend who is good at makeup” to do your/your bridal party’s makeup if she/he is not a pro.

“But whyyyyyy it saves me so much moneyyyyyy,”  you say. I hear you. However, there is so much that goes into professional makeup artistry, I could dedicate an entire post about it. But, in order to prevent boring you to tears, I’ll just say that it takes a pro to strategically create a timeline that aligns with other vendor’s needs, and your needs, for that day. Also, product is key. Your friend is probably not going to have the entire rainbow of foundation shades to make sure everyone’s head looks like it belongs to their body. Your not-pro friend is also not likely to have much practice on faces other than her/himself. It’s a fine art. Finally, it’s super difficult to tell your friend you hate it, should that happen. Makeup artists get paid to do a job, not a favor...which means we expect feedback in order to make sure you’re getting what you paid for.

#OCMakeupArtist on Instagram

#OCMakeupArtist on Instagram

DO searches on Instagram, and know how to filter through the noise.

Some of us can’t afford to pay for advertising on platforms like The Knot (psst, and some of us don’t need to). But, platforms like Instagram can sometimes feel like a bottomless pit. Here are some good search tips to help you find a good artist:

Use smart, specific hashtags. Here are some I’d start with:

  • #[your city or county]makeupartist

  • #[your city or county]mua

  • #[your city or county]muah (if you want someone who does both makeup and hair)

  • #[your city or county]weddingmakeup

  • #[your city or county]wedding 

    • This one will give you broader results, but you can see artists that are tagged in venue/photographer/planner’s photos.

Your photographer has seen makeup artists will keep your face in place for better or for worse.

Your photographer has seen makeup artists will keep your face in place for better or for worse.

DON’T forget to ask your photographer.

Your photographer has seen a dozen weddings and gets an inside look at what it’s like to coordinate logistics with various makeup artists, what their attitude is like, and of course, what the final product looks like IRL. Unlike some venues and some planners, they don’t have obligations or agreements to refer you to anyone specific. They also have seen first hand how long makeup has REALLY lasted and photographed throughout the crying, dancing, eating drinking, and if you’re like me on my wedding night: puking (post-reception, don’t worry. It’s a great story).

You falling asleep during your trial cause let’s be honest, it feels good when someone touches your face.

You falling asleep during your trial cause let’s be honest, it feels good when someone touches your face.

DO book a trial.

Most makeup artists require that you book a trial to figure out if you’re a good match, but even if they don’t, book one anyway. Regardless of how experienced your MUA is, it takes time to get to know your facial features, and things always turn out better the second time around (a.k.a. your wedding day). Secondly, you’ll sleep easier after spending some time with the person who will be, quite literally, all up in your face on your big day. 

TIckety tock, bride-to-be!

TIckety tock, bride-to-be!

DON’T wait until the last minute!

Three months is the last minute. For some artists, even six months is the last minute. If you’re getting married during prime wedding season (June through October in California), you’ll want to find your MUA as soon as possible. The good ones book up fast! 

Got a tip that I didn’t list here? Share that shit! Slide into my DM’s @hustleandglowmakeup or comment below.


Desiree DeLattre