Brought To You By A Beauty Snob: Hair and Makeup

I am assuming you have hair, and I’m assuming you have skin.  My apologies if you lack either, especially the latter.

Although I guess if you don’t  have skin, you don’t have acne problems either.  Fair trade?

The hair and makeup plan is quite often the last thing on the wedding planning train as far as the large items go.  It can be as complicated as dress shopping (how formal you want it, how that picture of the awesome model would actually translate to you, etc), or as simple as your daily routine.  The process gets infinitely easier once you make the biggest decision related to your day-of look: professional or DIY?


Often the route brides go, most girls will choose to have their hair and makeup professionally done.  This can be in a salon or at another location (like your home or wherever the ceremony will be), and you can either have one person do both or have a separate hair stylist and makeup artist.  How you mix and match those options is up to you, your budget (on site typically costs more, as does having to hire multiple people), and your vision.  The professional route is nice because you have someone who is used to dealing with special occasions who will know what looks good, what photographs well, and what will be best to highlight your features.  You should have pictures of the hair style you want as reference for your stylist to be sure you’re clear about what you want (but feel free to point out what you don’t like about a particular picture!).  Good stylists will be able to recreate the pictures you bring in, great stylists will be able to adapt it to you and make suggestions for tweaks.  You don’t have to worry about making sure you have all the right products to get the best look for the day, your stylist will have all that you could imagine and more for you to really get the look you want.


A great option if you’re confident in your own abilities, a rising number of brides are doing their own hair, makeup, or both.  The allure of this option is that no one knows your hair and skin like you do, and if you have the ability to manipulate it yourself why should you pay someone else to do it for you?  DIY hair is less common than makeup simply because of the limitations involved.  Namely that you can’t see the back of your own head all that well.  Some people don’t need to see it and can go just off of feel or stopping every so often to do the double-mirror trick, but others are more visual and not seeing how it’s going at every given moment is a major hurdle.  Makeup is easier, especially if you wear it on a regular basis and already know what works and what doesn’t.

Hiring someone is usually more expensive than DIY, and there’s the added caveat that any money you spend on a professional is for that one time whereas in DIY anything you buy you get to keep.  Keep track of what all you think you need to buy to do your own hair and makeup the way you want it; quality products can be expensive, and the cost can really add up.  If these are items you can/will/do use on a regular basis, then it’s not a big deal, but if you’re buying things just for this occasion and don’t see much of a need for them in the future you may be better off hiring someone for part or all of your look.


Regardless of which path you take, PLEASE do a trial!  Remember that not everything you imagine or have seen in pictures translates well to your actual features, and it’s better to find that out ahead of time so you can come up with a different plan rather than 2 hours before your wedding.

A trial with a professional not only lets you see how your vision will actually come out on you, it gives your stylist the chance to find out exactly what you want, so it’s beneficial to both of you to do a trial.  If you know exactly what you want, bring pictures to your trial and let your stylist go to town recreating the look for you.  If you aren’t quite sure, try bringing a couple of pictures of things you think you like and have an idea of how to articulate what qualities you want in your look.  If you have any accessories for your hair (which I know I still owe you a post on), bring those as well.  This is less a necessity and more of a way to make sure everything looks the way you want it.  Some people will forgo a trial with their stylist in an effort to save money, which is fine if you don’t want anything complicated or involved, but I really really recommend doing one both for your own peace of mind and your stylist’s.

If you’re going to do it yourself, you need to do a trial run.  The “I’ll just tweak something I’ve done before” almost never goes according to plan, and the last thing you want a few hours before your wedding is to be fighting with your stubborn hair because it just doesn’t want to do what you thought you could make it do.  The trick to hair that stays put for the whole day is copious amounts of hair spray used throughout the styling process, not just a heavy layer at the end (that makes your hair crispy and helmet-like).  It can take some time to get the right spray-to-work ratio, so it’s best to try it a couple of times beforehand to figure out how much spray you need to use to get the hold you want to have.

Giving yourself a makeup trial is more important than the hair trial.  Makeup can photograph differently than it looks in real life.  This is not a concern with hair.  Mineral powder makeups like Bare Essentials and what not tend to not photograph as well because of the way light from the mica interacts with most lenses.  Whether you’d getting it done professionally or doing it yourself, make a point to do a trial and to take pictures throughout the day afterwards, preferably at 1 hour intervals so you can really see the progression (bonus points if you can reproduce your anticipated activity level throughout the day, like dancing or crying).  Take pictures both straight on and at angles to get a good feel for how you may look in your pictures.  Some makeup that looks overly dramatic in person ends up being the perfect blend for photographs, while sometimes it can look like you got in a fight with an ink cartridge.

If you’re unhappy with your trial, don’t be afraid to redo it!  If you’re on your own, it’s no big deal to wash your face/hair and try again later.  If you’re getting it done, point out anything you’re unhappy with before you leave the appointment so they can try to fix it.  Don’t feel like you’re being a burden.  You are paying them for a service and you deserve to be happy with it, and they know this.  They want you to be happy with your look!  If it’s something you figure out later you’re not happy with, call them as soon as you can to discuss the issue.  It may be a simple fix that can be done the day of the wedding, or it could be something more complicated they want you to come back in to retry.

My Experience

I actually had 2 rounds of trials, sort of.  I had originally chosen a salon that was recommended by the same jewelry shop we got our rings from (they don’t recommend things lightly).  Since I’m more picky about makeup than anything (and I figure anyone could do the hair style I had picked), I wanted to do a makeup trial before committing to them, so I had my makeup done before Tim and I had our Valentine’s Day date back in February.  It went well, so I called them up and said I’d book them for the bridal party.  Well, I did some more research, and it turns out they’re NOTORIOUS for running late.  They do good work, but they do it on their own schedule.  Being a stickler for schedules, I decided this was not something I wanted to worry about, so I had them remove the block (I hadn’t sent in my contract yet, so it was no big deal which was awesome) and went back on the search.

I ended up finding a woman out of Grand Rapids, just an hour north of where we’ll be, who does on site hair and makeup.  Bonus: she does airbrushing, and that’s what I originally wanted before I realized NO ONE in our area does it!  We exchanged a couple emails and talked by phone, and I was ready to go.  Our personalities clicked fantastically, she was willing to work with some odd situations we have, and her photos look fabulous.  Second bonus: she does makeup for photo shoots for major magazines (like she’s currently in New York doing one for Seventeen), so she obviously knows her stuff.

I went to GR to have a trial with her this past weekend, and I’m so excited for her to be a part of my wedding now!  We had a ton of fun, which is always a plus, but she really was a wonderful artist.  I showed her a picture of what I wanted for my hair and sort of described what I wanted for makeup, and she just went to town.  She did the hair I wanted, but adapted it to work well with my texture and face shape (as well as my lack of bangs).  She was able to do it in such a way that my hair wasn’t crispy, and I wouldn’t set off a metal detector with the number of bobby pins in my hair like I’ve had with updo’s before.  It was fantastic…but what was really impressive was the makeup.

I don’t think I’ve ever felt so pretty before!  She was able to pick just the right blend of colors to keep me still looking like me, like I do almost every day, but make me look special.  It was the right shading and shimmer, and I loved that she took the foundation down my neck and a little onto my chest to cover up the uneven-ness I have throughout my whole upper portion.  My eyes were my favorite part, and despite me not usually be a fan of false eyelashes, she completely sold me on them.  They looked completely natural and just added that little extra oomph to what I like to think is my best feature.  And when she said that stuff was waterproof she wasn’t kidding.  I’ve had “waterproof” before, and it’s always more like “water-resistant”.  This stuff was incredible.  I cried and it stayed still (hey I won’t see Tim again for another 3 weeks, cut me some slack!), it stayed through some “my AC is broken and this 3 hour drive sucks” sweat, and most impressively it stayed on when I tried to wash my face.  That’s right, I had to wash my face three times to get it off.  And it’s not like it got all smudgy, no it just slowly got less pigmented.  And I didn’t even get it all off, I was still wearing the eyeliner when I went to work on Monday.

In summary?  My hair and makeup person is AWESOME.

Immediately after the trial!

This is 8 hours later, just after I’ve pulled into the driveway at home!



Posted on May 8, 2012, in Attire, Misc. Topics (Wedding), To-Do, Wedding Planning Isn't For Sissies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Your hair and makeup looks awesome and how long it lasted is even more awesome! I still don’t know who I’m getting to do my hair and makeup, but I guarantee you I will not be doing it myself.

  2. You look AWESOME! I love your makeup. Your eyes do look really really good. Right now I am on the DIY look for both. I don’t really ever wear makeup so I am not planning on wearing any on the day of and my hair is a weird combination of black hair and white hair so no one knows what to do with it. I have been meaning to schedule myself a trial run day to play with my hair but I haven’t had much time recently. Booo…

    • Aw thanks!

      If you change you mind on the makeup, I’ve spent way more time than I should admit to playing with it over the years and would be happy to share tricks I’ve picked up if you’re interested 🙂 That being said, you always look fabulous in your blog pictures and you can EASILY get away with never wearing it. I’m kind of jealous. A lot.

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