Tip Tuesday | top 10 questions to ask to help you choose a Hair + Makeup Artist | Pro Tip

1. How many weddings have you done?
Make sure you ask about bridal experience in particular, what it requires to be a bridal specialist is quite different from an editorial, commercial or instglam artist. Bridal Hair + Makeup is not only about creating a beautiful look, but LISTENING and translating what a bride wants into reality. For hair, if you’re considering using your normal stylist, be sure to check with them how confident they feel about event styling– not everyone who is talented at cut and color is as good at special occasion hair, and vice versa. Most regular hairstylists haven’t had the advanced training of a special event artist.

2. Do you have a portfolio? A website?
All professional hair & makeup pros will be able to show you a good, varied portfolio on request. Nowadays, your artist should have an up-to-date website or blog for you to have a look at, making it easy to browse at your leisure. One red flag to look out for is if the looks they showcase are always the same, only show images of themselves or if they’re only showcasing images from styled shoots with professional models – you want to make sure they can create a look desired by the client!

3. Are they recommended by other pro’s you trust?
Unfortunately, some wedding “pros” are dishonest by using images of other professionals’ work on their websites and portfolios. To be absolutely sure, it’s worth calling other vendors that recommend them and chatting to them directly. If your artist is a true professional, working in your area, they should have name recognition from others in the wedding field.

4. What do you charge?
This seems like an easy question but this can vary based on location, experience level, client base and demand. Depending on if they are a singular artist, artist working for a team or working for a salon - different artists price’s are based on skill level and your artist or team they my have several rate levels. Most bridal pro’s charge a premium for services due to the limited nature of available dates, luxury of their service and amount of training that goes into what they offer. This is more than a haircut that can grow out, the service your bridal pro provides will last a lifetime in photos and has to transcend trend and remain timeless.

Be sure to ask about additional fees on top of the base rate; travel costs, tattoo cover up, additional artists and touch ups throughout the day. If you’re asking your pros to work on your bridesmaids, mom, etc. as well as the bride, then you’ll also want to know whether they charge per person or per hour, and how many people they can accommodate.

Another important cost question to ask is how much they charge for a retainer. This goes into our next question of “Do you have a contract"?”, it’s for your protection as well as theirs.

5. Do you have a contract?
Now that being a makeup artist is a trendy career, lots of people seem to be setting up shop without a contract and very little experience. It’s good for everyone involved to have a clear written record of what is and isn’t included, and what’s expected. Be sure that the contract includes information on payment, deposit, schedule, and provision for unforeseen events. A contract is there to protect the artist and the client and a HUGE red flag is lack of a contract.

6. What happens if you can’t make it on the day?
We’re all human – things happen. Your artist should have a good plan for the “what if’s”. Working with a team of artists is the best way to ensure there is someone else to be there when needed. Since there are multiple artists that work with a team, then you have the piece of mind that there is more than just on person you are relying on. A good hair & makeup pro will have a backup plan in place, so ask.

7. What brand of products do you use, and do you sell them commercially?
This one’s most relevant when it comes to makeup. No matter how good a brand is, it’s not going to be right for every single skin tone or type, and a good makeup artist will have a range of quality products in their kit. There are several direct sales brands calling their sales people “artists” - You don’t want you or your bridesmaids to have to listen to a sales spiel.

8. What is your timing like? How many weddings can you do in one day?
Timing is a big deal, some artists take 60-90 minutes per service, per person. If you have a large party, this becomes an issue. Your artist should be confident in their timing and be able to give you a solid answer of how many people can realistically be done. Many artists take multiple bookings in one day, this is nothing abnormal, but confidence in their timing is key. Of course, you can’t expect your pro to be exclusive, especially on a spring or fall Saturday. However, you also need to know they won’t be rushing off before you’re happy. Make sure their scheduling is on point or see if they allow for exclusivity for an additional fee.

9. Can you work with my specific needs?
Most brides have special requests. Perhaps you have sensitive skin, fine hair that needs clip in extensions, or you just want to know that your artist can work with your complexion. You should always feel comfortable asking your artist about specific requests, we would rather know up front what to expect. “Difficult” hair textures, acne prone skin, discoloration and a number of other issues are quite common for event artists but should be asked about - if you artist is a pro it’s something they have dealt with before. Importantly, if you have a tattoo or scar that you want covered – this can cost extra. Whatever your needs, be sure to chat about them beforehand.

10. How far in advance do I need to book?
You’ll be surprised how far in advance pro artists book but depending on how important looking beautiful in images is to you, will decide how far in advance you book. If your artist won’t take your booking more than 6 months out be wary, this may mean they are anticipating a life change or career change and if you have to force someone to take your money, maybe you shouldn’t be booking them.