Truth is, this question stumps even me. Wedding makeup artists do have something of a bad rap. We associate them with mask-like foundation, overly airbrushed-looking blush and too-dramatic eye makeup. That said, many brides view wedding makeup artists as a necessary evil--because let's face it, perfectly executing your makeup when seriously frazzled on the morning of your wedding can be a daunting prospect.
Thankfully, there are tons of great wedding makeup artists out there who realize that you want to still look like you when you walk down the aisle. So where do you find them? I asked two highly rated ones to give us some pointers.
1. Do some Facebook stalking.
Click through the wedding photos of friends, friends of friends, and heck, even old frenemies from high school. See whose makeup you absolutely love, and then find out who did it. And put the word out among acquaintances that you're looking for a really great makeup artist--hopefully someone will know a recent bride who'll have a rave review to share. "The best method is to use the network around you, versus blindly searching for someone through listings," says New York makeup artist Jessica Liebeskind, a highly sought-after wedding-day pro.
2. Hit the local mall.
"Most department stores have makeup artists you can hire out for your wedding day," notes Nars makeup artist James Boehmer, who's in-demand among chic NYC-area brides. Finding them there is efficient because you can meet and try out several at once, and free of trial charges (just be sure to tip and/or buy a product after they spend a good deal of time working with you).
3. Schedule two trials.
Book the first trial before a big night out--you don't necessarily have to create a wedding makeup look. "The first trial is mostly to see if you have good chemistry with the makeup artist and whether she can follow direction well," Liebeskin says. "She should be able to listen to what you say you like and translate that onto your face in a way you're responsive to." The second trial is when you should do a dry-run of the actual wedding look, closer to your wedding date. Wary of paying for multiple trials? Some makeup artists will deduct trial fees from the final cost of your wedding makeup if you end up hiring them; it's worth asking.
4. Know what you want.
A good makeup artist can guide you toward a flattering look, but if you speak up more during a trial, you give her/him a better shot at pleasing you. "It is important for your artist to know as much about you as possible--how you wear your makeup daily, what colors you're attracted to, colors that you never wear or dislike, products/finishes that are uncomfortable," Boehmer says. "Your artist can't read your mind, so don't be afraid that you're offering too much information." Bringing magazine photos of makeup you like might help you convey the look you're hoping for.
5. Look--and book--early.
Considering how far in advance brides consider details like flowers and fonts, it's surprising how long many wait to book a makeup artist. "The best artists will be booked months in advance," Liebeskind notes. "Your makeup is something that will live on forever in your photos, so it's just as important to think about during planning as the band or the dress."