What to Ask Your Makeup Artist

Everyone has done it, downloaded the guide or bought the binder. Every bride knows what I am talking about. In this bridal binder, the one that keeps you sane for the year long engagement, organizing appointments, deadlines and flower types; there is a list of questions that every vendor category provides as “helpful things to ask”. As a professional, allow me to tell you one important thing: There are a few questions they’ve forgotten! From a professional standpoint, and specifically with beauty expertise, allow me to help you with that list. Here are the real questions you should be asking your makeup artist:


1. Are you insured?

Every other vendor, from your caterer to your photographer, are usually insured. Your makeup artists should be too. This is a very personal service that has a lot more need for coverage than say, a linens provider, and surprisingly many makeup artists are not insured. Why do they need to be insured you ask? What if their mascara gives you pink eye on your honeymoon? Or they drop a stick of lipstick on your white dress? It isn’t enough to take someones word for it. Ask, and then ask for proof. Anyone who has insurance coverage should be able to provide you with a certificate or letter saying that they do in fact have coverage.

2. What brands do you use?

This question may be on your binder list, but I should help you with this question. Every makeup artist will tell you that they use high end makeup. The real thing you should be listening for is variety. If your makeup artist says they use “mostly MAC” or “mostly/exclusively anything”, be weary. A real, professional makeup artist uses a wide variety of makeup brands. This is due to the fact that most product lines are not the best at everything. MAC might make beautiful eye shadows but Makeup Forever might have better concealer. An experienced makeup artist will have a variety of product to deal with a variety of skin types and preferences.

3. Do you do airbrush makeup? What type of gun do you use?

It isn’t enough to ask if your makeup artist does airbrush makeup, you will also need to ask what type of airbrush gun your artist uses. In the makeup world there are two types of guns: there are the “pods” which are considered less professional and used for personal use, and there is the actual gun. The difference: the pods are pre-mixed, meaning they come in one shade, you clip it in, and spray. This type of airbrush is a very “one size fits most” approach. If your artist is using the pod airbrush system, you will not be getting the best application. It has a small cup on top that the makeup artist mixes a blend of colors to match your skin tone. This is important because a professional artist will need to highlight and contour with different shades.

4. Are there any additional fees for arriving early or bringing an assistant?

This is a very helpful question to ask, since these are the type of things you will deal with much closer to your wedding. It isn’t fun being a month away from your wedding to find out that your makeup artist is going to charge you an additional $300 to come to your hotel before 8am or because you added 3 more makeup applications. Surprisingly, it is quite common for makeup artists to charge an extra fee for early arrival, make sure to know this upfront so you can plan for it. Also, it is quite common for a makeup artist to work alone. That means if you have a party of 6-7 women receiving makeup, they will need backup. A lot of the time, makeup artists pass this charge on to the client, calling this an assistant fee.

Alison Harper Beauty & Shawn Hubbard Photography

5. How long is the trial?

A trial is a practice run of your makeup. The ideal trial run should allow the client to show pictures of what they want, allow the artist to try multiple looks on the client, and then allow time for client feedback and adjustments. Surprisingly there are many makeup artists who only allow a set time for a trial run. Ask this question, you may be surprised that your makeup artist only plans 30 mins-1 hour for the entire trial run. This is doing a disservice to the artist’s talent and to the client, because achieving that perfect look may take a bit longer. Try to find someone who allows you the time you need to find the look you like.

6. What do you do for sanitation?

This is the most important question on this list. I will say it again: This is the most important question on this list! Not only should your makeup artist be good at doing makeup, they should also be clean. This is a very personal service, and if your makeup artist doesn’t take sanitation seriously you can get really sick. If your artist answers this question “I clean my brushes between clients” that is the basic level of sanitation. Brushes should be cleaned between each client and then deep cleaned after each event. Your artist should be using disposable implements for mascara, lip gloss or anything else that can’t be depot-ted on to a pallet. All of their pressed shadows, bronzers and blushes should be sprayed with a 70% alcohol between clients. Your artist should also be using a pallet for foundations and liquids instead of the back of their hand. Many artists have explanations for why they use their hand, but the point of it is -It isn’t sanitary. Make sure your makeup artist has a sanitation plan.

7. What is your backup plan if something happens?

Every artist should have a backup plan. Life happens and you never know what could happen with your makeup artist that day: a family emergency, a car accident, etc. You want to make sure though that you are not left hanging on your wedding day. Finding a makeup company with a large team is a great plan, and if your makeup artist is working on her own, she should have a close relationship with another artist she can call. Make sure to know that your artist has a plan and who that secondary person is. And if all else fails, make a backup plan of your own!

Rustic Woodland Engagement by Lauren R Swann Photography
Rockville Winter Couple Session by Anny Photography

check out our most recent posts