As I chatted with my clients and engaged friends, I noticed there were many things they didn’t know about wedding planning — where to look, what’s a “normal” price range, what questions to ask potential vendors, and what are some red flags. That’s why I’m starting an IG Live series to chat about different aspects of wedding planning with different talented vendors. The Live is recorded and reposted in my IGTV and is transcribed in blog posts, so you can learn in whichever way is best for you!
For the first episode in the series, I went Live with Paige Griffith, Simran Dosanjh and Ashley Dosanjh; all exceptional makeup artists that I’ve worked with, and have published with (yes! I’ve published multiple times with every one of these ladies!). In this chat, I really wanted to talk about bridal makeup, how it’s different from regular makeup, how a bride should look for their artist, what a makeup trial is, how professional bridal makeup is SO HELPFUL for in person AND in your photos, and other things MUAs want you to know! You can watch the IGTV below, or read the transcription:
How is bridal makeup different versus DIY?
Specifically for weddings longer than 6 hours.
P: Bridal makeup is really a balance of looking beautiful and flawless in photos and having the bride stand out, but also looking beautiful and like yourself in front of people. You want it to be a classic look that you’ll love when you go back through your photos for years to come.
S: I also feel like as opposed to doing it yourself, it also takes the stress off. You can just sit there and relax. We are a bit like your therapist where we can talk and calm your nerves, as opposed to doing it yourself, running around, trying to find the right products.
A: Overall I feel like the wedding industry is booming again. I feel like for weddings the most important thing is to have a trial. It’s great for an artist to learn about what their clients like and don’t like, and will make things a lot smoother on the day of.
E: How would you say Bridal Makeup is different from regular makeup (like night out or everyday makeup)? In particular in relation to photography and the duration needed for the full day.
P: I think it’s definitely a layering of product that is really important. It may be something you talk about during the trial, but it’s about understanding your skin and skin prep and getting everything in order to get your makeup lasting longer. Obviously great makeup helps, but if your skin is for example parched or dried, it’s not something that can be fixed in one session. So working with your makeup artist that can explain to you what your skin needs to add into your day-to-day routine so to your skin looking flawless for your wedding in advance. And then really the layering of the products. A professional putting on makeup on your wedding it’s going to look good, it’s built to be longer lasting, it’ll look good in photos. If you get shiny in areas, they’re going to address that for you.
S: I feel like also when you’re in contact with your chosen makeup artist, they’ll probably give you some prep steps leading up to your big day. Like what to do, like a lot of artists will say drink lot’s of water so your skin is nice and hydrated so your makeup does applies nice and smooth.
A: Communication is the biggest key and that’s why trials are really important to get to know your client and prep for the day of. It just makes everything a lot easier, to help out and make your clients feel a lot more comfortable.
What should you look for when hiring a makeup artist?
Why are these things important? What are some green flags? What are some red flags?
P: I think definitely looking at their portfolio. We live in a really great time; I couldn’t imagine planning a wedding pre-Instagram and websites. Having a clear vision of what you like, and finding an artist that’s reflecting that in their work. There’s a lot of great artists out there and there’s a lot of unique looks, so finding something that you like is the biggest step. Making sure their aesthetic matches what you’re looking for, for sure.
A: Yeah, definitely what Paige said. I feel like a lot of makeup artists may be your vibe and are what you are looking for your big day. Obviously try them out, go through different makeup artists before you stick to one. Sometimes their photos may look a bit different from what you feel like it looks like on your face as well. I definitely recommend going through a few different artists before you stick to one.
S: And I feel like that even that initial communication step when you’re inquiring about your dates and rates, just seeing how they’re speaking to you, if they’re replying promptly, if they have you on schedule and if everything is smooth, leading up to your big day.
E: So are there any green flags you guys particularly like, or things you like to do, or any specific red flags even from those initial communication steps or from the trial?
A: Communication. I feel like knowing exactly how many clients there are, the time, the venue, when you have to be ready for, really really helps for the day of. So that is really helpful for the time of when you make your bookings.
S: In addition to what Ashley said, just asking those questions, like date, time, sometimes it can seem being annoying, but really just asking all those questions you can to have all those details you need to set them up for your day.
P: Yeah, absolutely. I think having an open line of communication and getting a lot clarity around everything you need to know. And even for brides too, there may be multiple dates for the wedding, so you really want to make sure they’re available that date, and the time you need to be ready by is set for sure.
E: Are there any red flags that maybe you guys have seen?
P: Yeah, definitely. If they’re asking you to bring any of your own products. It’s one thing if you had something that’s ride-or-die and you absolutely love it. But no makeup artist should be asking you to bring your own foundation or anything like that. We’re all global artists and stocked with every product for every skin tone and skin type. So I would say if someone asked you to bring your own item that’s definitely a red flag.
E: I was thinking also from a hygiene perspective too, I guess you wouldn’t necessarily see these things unless you’re in the studio. Maybe you guys can talk about what you should expect to see when you are in the studio and what you should expect them to do?
P: Sanitation is a huge thing and you may not necessarily be looking for this when you’re just getting your makeup done and you’re enjoying the experience. But definitely their brushes should be clean, and they’re sanitizing between clients. That if they’re working on a group of bridesmaids you should be seeing that they should be using new brushes or sanitizing in between. Not dipping into liquids or anything like that. Using disposals like mascara wands and lip sticks.
A: And as a makeup artist, whenever I go to a booking, before I start, I ask they where the washroom is and make sure I’m washing my hands in front of them and they know my hands are clean.
S: And even to have it sitting out, sanitizer in a spray bottle. And definitely mascara wands, if they’re double dipping on the eyes, that’s a no.
A: And I feel like just looking at a makeup artist’s kit you can also tell if it is tidy or untidy, and you can tell where their hygiene levels stand too.
S: Yeah just the presentation in general, for example if there was powder everywhere, on your products, you can just tell, definintely.
Bridal Makeup Trial
E: So it seems like you guys have all talked about the trial, but I think a lot of people actually don’t realize or don’t think too much about the makeup trial. And it’s actually something that I always suggest to my clients. If maybe one of you guys can talk about what it is and why you do it?
A: I feel like for the day of a booking it also helps with yourself (the MUA) for packing light. You know what products you’re going to use for the client so you don’t have to take your whole kit and you can pack a lot lighter. So that’s a plus for me.
E: So essentially it’s like you’re doing the bridal makeup but it’s not your actual wedding day.
S: Yeah! So I guess you can play around with different types of looks. For example if they wanted to do a traditional red lip, or a nude lip you can always change it around and see what goes if they have their outfit chosen. As opposed to doing it on the day of. And if they’re like “oh I don’t like it” and having to change it last minute it can be tricky. Like going from a red lip to a nude lip or vice versa, it can be scary.
E: Yeah, so a lot of people I don’t think realize that this is an option. I think a lot of people think it’s like 0 to 100, like I don’t know you and then wedding day. I love to tell people to do trials and line it up with their engagement shoot. Like if you can, you can line up your hair and makeup on the same day around the same time, and then you’re done up and you can take these engagement photos. And it’s also great for you to see how this look looks in your photos. And that’s why I always tell people to do trials.
P: Yeah! And it makes sense especially coming out of COVID too, we all haven’t had big events to get glam for. You know going from at-home mascara to full glam, it can fee like a lot if you haven’t worn makeup in a while. And when you go to your trial you might feel overwhelmed cause it feels like a lot but then you go for your engagement photos and get them back, and you’ve worn it throughout the day, you’ve seen how your family and friends like it, it can really make you feel more comfortable with the level of makeup, maybe what you were wearing pre-COVID for events. And when you see your photos you see how much of your makeup is “lost” in the editing and in the natural light.
E: Yeah, I was going to say that in your typical light and airy photos, everything is edited lighter so like the eye shadow looks a bit lighter, the eyes look a bit lighter, so everything is a bit more blown out. Similar to using a ring light I guess, it’s just a little bit extra. So definitely this is why I always suggested my clients do a bridal trial. What about bridesmaids? Do you think if you’re doing the bridesmaid makeup, if the bridesmaid should also do a trial?
P: You don’t see that a lot. I would say if someone is more particular or more concerned about how they’ll look on the day of, they’re more than welcome to do it. I think it’s really about personal levels. But I usually just do the trial with the bride.
What do you do if the bride really doesn’t like it during the trial?
E: I feel like some people might feel bad for bringing it up, but also have the panic of “oh no, I’m going to look like this on my wedding day”.
S: Always to begin with, even if it’s not a trial and it’s just a booking, I’ll let them know not be afraid to hurt my feelings, I’m okay, but you need to be happy. So let me know if you want to change anything along the way. If you want to be surprised at the end totally cool, but making sure that you’re both on the same page of what they’re going to look like and exactly what they want. If anything just give them a mirror to hold if they’re ok with looking along the way, have them look at every step and that way, no surprises.
A: Especially for the clients, be honest! Please be honest! We want you to feel comfortable and beautiful for your day of. So definitely be honest with us, it won’t hurt our feelings.
P: For sure, and the beauty of makeup is that anything can be changed and removed, and it’s not something as permanent as like hair colour. It is flexible and beauty is really subjective. So someone may say they want something that they consider a natural look but in their mind is a smoky Kardashian look. There’s a lot of words that people use to describe beauty that are quite subjective so I find that photos always help too. And if you don’t like something, address it. And if you can, bring photos to your trial for sure.
E: Kind of like Pinterest inspiration or something like that?
S: Or even like multiple photos! If you like an eye look from one picture and a lip colour from another, we can mash it all together. But pictures really do help.
P: I always love to see if someone has a photo where they had their makeup done before that they really love because it helps me gauge their levels of how much they like to wear for a going out look. It’s a great point for us to know.
What advice would you give to a bride who’s wedding planning right now?
A: Drink a lot. It’s definitely stressful and you’ll definitely be stressed out! *haha* But no, Plan. I feel like make a checklist, go through it, know what you want, go through the trials before you pick your makeup artist. Every makeup artist is different and I feel like their pictures do look different online from when you do it in person and how you look like in the mirror. So I would suggest go through trials before you pick a makeup artist.
S: Also get a wedding planner! Like an actual agenda to jot down ideas. For someone like me, I’m a visual person. I like to see everything in front of me; where I’m going, what I’m doing, what I need so I feel like that really helps too.
E: Are there more makeup-specific tips that you guys can think of?
P: I think just do some research into looks that you like for sure. Even if you’re not ready to book a trial just yet, if you have a wedding on the horizon, just start following some inspiration pages, even wedding blogs, just kind of getting a feel for what you like. Even if you’re not engaged you can start your Pinterest and Instagram boards now to get a feel for what you like. It is a big day and you’re going have those photos forever, and how you look really sets the tone for the day, so just having a clear understanding of what you like.
E: So you mentioned before that having that classic timeless look is super important. So are there any certain things that would go into that category? Like is smoky eye class and timless?
P: Yeah, I think it can be. It all depends on what is your wedding, if you’re having a beautiful New Years wedding or a Christmas time snowy wedding, having a smoky eye and red lip can totally play that up more. I think everything really comes together — your dress, your colours, the season. There’s all these things that play into it and your makeup artist can definitely guide you on that.
From the audience, what is the correct way of hiding undereye lines?
S: I would say, for eye lines, make sure to use an eye cream and really prep your undereye area well cause when you put makeup on top of it, it is going to cause texture, and that texture will show. But there is a way you can minimize it. I always get clients that say “I have these two lines, can you cover them?”. It’s really hard to cover texture sometimes, so make sure your skin is very very well prepped. From there your makeup artist will take it into their hands.
E: So would you do that a bit beforehand? Like a few weeks?
S: Yeah beforehand, and there are products for before you apply makeup. But I would say that the initial step of you doing your skin care routine at home will make a huge difference. Make sure to get lot’s of sleep!
P: Yeah, skin care is key to be honest. You can have the most luminous foundation in the world, but if your skin is on the dehydrated side, you’re still going to get those dry spots and lines. So it’s amazing what a great moisturizer and eye cream can do.
E: I guess the product that you choose would be better for that type of skin already?
Over the course of the day, do you suggest usually the bride doing touch ups? Like later in the evening when you’re long gone?
A: I personally don’t suggest it. If they have the same product that you use, because most of the time the bride does not have the products that you used to touch up. If they do, go ahead. But I try to do the makeup so that it doesn’t move for the whole night, so it just stays and the bride doesn’t have to touch up, as much as possible. Especially they don’t carry the types of products we used on them.
P: Yeah exactly, and if you’re concerned about it, you can always book a touch up. So I’ve come back to a wedding where I’ve done the bridesmaids and the bride really early in the morning and we’ve gone back to do a touch up on them. But I would say like 99% of the time their makeup still really looks flawless. And it’s just the way we layer the product. There’s a lot that goes into making it last for a wedding day and it usually pays off and lasts all night.
So if you can ballpark this, how many products do you use on a typical bride’s face?
*silence while thinking*
E: How different items do you pull out for this one lady?
A: A lot…
P: A lot for sure…
P: Yeah I would say 30 would be a low number.
S: Cause there’s like multiple products for like one specific part. Like sometimes you need to mix two foundations, or a concealer to cover and a concealer to brighten. So I’d say 30, 35?
E: That’s crazy… And you also buy these things in all the different colours. I think that was one of the things that when I first started working with you guys, I was like wait… how do you know what colour this person is? And you’d be like I DON’T. And you brought your whole suitcase. And I think that’s something that people don’t often think about, when you’re getting matched at the store, you’re getting that one particular bottle. But when you’re working with a makeup artist, it’s exactly this colour.
P: Yeah, and if we were to give you a list, like if someone was having a one-on-one lesson for their destination wedding and they’re doing their own makeup, like even just providing the list of what we would use, it would cost you a lot (to buy). There’s a lot that goes into it for sure, even for natural look. Like some people want a no-makeup makeup look. Like sometimes those looks require more product than you would ever imagine.
S: Yeah, you’d be surprised how many products go into making it a no-makeup makeup look.
What would be your #1 product that you would need to have for a wedding day?
If you could only pick one; your absolute fav.
A: Setting spray.
S: It’s just so hard to choose one! Because each product is so important.
A: I just think the setting spray just brings it all together, beautifully, at the end.
P: It’s really hard to choose, but setting spray is the game changer. But I think a good pair of lashes really completes the look. That’s where I can see everything ties together, adding the lashes are the final piece.
E: Ooo, in terms of lashes actually, I have a friend who’s planning a wedding and we were talking about that. Do you guys use the lashes with glue, or have you guys tried the magnetic? And if you can talk a bit about that?
S: I prefer to use the traditional glue. I feel like they stick on a lot better, you don’t need to worry about it flying off. Sometimes with magnetic lashes, I don’t know if you guys have had the same experience, but I can’t always get the band to hide with my natural lashes so you can kind of see the difference, and there’s this spacing. So I would prefer the traditional glue.
A: For me as well, I prefer the traditional glue for sure. I just trust it a lot better and I know my lashes are going to stay put all night. With the magnetic, I always find the inner corner or outer corner will pop out eventually.
P: Yeah, I think especially for a wedding day when you need it to be on for a long time, sticking with glue. And your artist will know which glue, and they’ll have a glue they like. There’s a lot of great options out there, but a traditional glue is definitely the safest option.
E: I’m part of this wedding party and I was planning on going with traditional glue because that’s what I’m used to and I’ve done weddings in those lashes. So I was planning on doing that anyways. But that’s good to know!
What is your favourite thing about being a makeup artist?
A: I just love meeting all the different people out there. And communicating and getting to know them personally. It’s just comforting and nice being a part of that wedding ceremony with them and being a part of that whole thing.
S: Mhmm, in addition to that just seeing how happy they are with the end result when you’re finished. Just looking in the mirror and they’re like “wow! I didn’t even know I could look like that!”. It’s just very rewarding.
P: For sure, we’re part of people’s biggest days of their life, the happiest day of their life. It’s really nice to be a part of it and the energy of weddings is just so fun. And it’s just such a rewarding fun job. No day is ever the same and that’s the greatest thing about doing makeup for sure. I feel like there’s so many jobs where you’re going in and day to day, and it’s really repetitive. And it’s never the same with makeup, which is really great.
What’s the funkiest, most bizarre time you’ve had to go to work?
S: Two in the morning for me.
A: Mine was two in the morning as well, yeah.
S: And driving from Vancouver to Surrey, it’s so dark and you’re so tired. It’s not fun.
A: You’re just like please don’t fall asleep, please don’t fall asleep.
E: So why would somebody need you to go there at 2 o’clock?
A: Especially for a bridal booking, in Indian weddings, they want to be ready by 9 in the morning. (They need to be done by 9am?) Yeah, they need to be ready by 9 in the morning so you want to be there on time.
S: Or sometimes the bride needs to be ready for pictures, and sometimes that starts at 6 or 7am, typically. And then the family members come over to their house to take pictures. They all need to be there at the same time. So if you’re doing multiple people, starting at like 2 or 3am is pretty normal.
E: So how do you work on the undereye lines then? *giggles* You just sleep as much as you can, and drink as much water as you can?
S: Also I find carrying those undereye patches in your kit really helps, while maybe when you’re doing their hair, just to give them that extra ten minutes of hydration, right before you start doing makeup really makes a difference.
E: I think I’m always quite blown away how big a difference there is when someone has had their makeup done, especially for our styled shoots. It’s like so nice that not only does it make the editing easier cause I don’t need to retouch like pimples or anything bits and bobs, but it just looks very smooth and radiant without any extra photoshop. So it even makes editing faster.
P: You can tell when you get professional photos back of the bridal party if there’s someone who didn’t get professional makeup done. You can tell, and I think there are just some key kind of things that you see like maybe the blush placement isn’t enough, or the face shape isn’t as defined as when it’s professionally done. So you can see that in professional photos with them side by side, someone who has gotten professional makeup done versus who haven’t. There are indicators that you see.
E: Yeah, I think one of the biggest things is that when people are putting on regular makeup, you’re putting on for in real life. I think when you’re used to your everyday/work makeup, it’s always a bit toned down, so I think when you’re talking about the differences in these pictures, after the editing, it looks even more toned down. Whereas for wedding makeup it’s really *POP*
P: Yeah, and it’s getting out of your comfort zone too. I think we’re all in a comfort zone of what we do for our makeup, so for a day like that where you’ll be photographed, you want to give it a bit extra. You want to push it maybe just 10% more, so if you’re doing it yourself it’s really hard to know where to push it to.
Are there things you look for in a client? Things that you like it when brides do when they’re reaching out?
P: I think just clear communication. Obviously we just came out of a really crazy wedding season and we’re gearing up for next year to be even busier. I just love it when I’m going through my emails and everything is in one email right away: location, time, number of people. It definitely makes it a little bit quicker, and then we can tell you, like maybe we’re booked that morning but we have the afternoon free. So just all the information you can put in the email in one is great. You’ll get a quicker response from us with the answer if we’re free.
Favourite Setting Spray
S: I wanted to ask, since all of us said setting spray, what your favourite setting sprays are?
A: Morphe and Charlotte Tilbury!
S: Yeah, ok me too!
P: Yeah, I love the Morphe one. I also really like the Patrick Starr one too. With the masks I feel like these setting sprays have been pushed to their max so we know which ones are great. Especially during the heat wave of last summer, we were doing weddings with 37°C days, where these poor girls standing outside in the heat. So we know these products have been tried and tested for sure.
How does wearing masks affect the makeup?
S: I feel like that’s where your setting spray and your powder and all that stuff will come into play, really keeping in the spot. Where even with the on and off, your makeup won’t be moving around.
E: And it will actually stay on?
A: I definitely tested them out a few times before.
P: And there also the masks too I find. I have a bunch and if find certain masks make my makeup last longer than others. I find the lining makes a big difference. Like the lining makes a big difference. Like if it’s silkier or softer, I find that my makeup (lasts longer). Cause I work all day in it, if I take it off I can tell which one’s been better for it.
What is the popular lip colour?
A: I feel like nudes are just really “in”. There’s not a specific colour that I find that is really popular right now, but just nude lipsticks in general are really “in” right now.
P: Yeah for sure. And the perfect nude kind of depends on each individual person. It’s like related to your skin tone, your undertones and all of that. So we always have a lot of nude options in our kits.
Favourite foundations for dry skin?
P: I really like the NARS foundations. The NARS Radiant and the NARS Sheer Glow are really lovely for drier skin.
A: I’m dry skin and I find the Too Faced Born This Way foundation doesn’t dry me out.
S: Mhmmm, and the Makeup Forever UltraHD one. And the Smashbox Halo Healthy Glow. It is a tinted moisturizer, but honestly it gives really great coverage and looks great in photos, especially if you mix it with something.
E: Yeah, I would never think of using a sheer one for photoshoots and stuff. I actually got the Serum Foundation from Tarte and I quite enjoy that as well. I haven’t used it at a wedding yet so I don’t know how long it will last.
S: Is it the HydroFlex one? (Yeah!!) It’s a good one and has been really popular too!
Do you have a favourite mascara?
S: I love the Benefit Bad Gal. That’s my favourite.
A: I personally don’t have a favourite mascara. For me it’s the wand. The wand matters to me. It depends on how the wand is, that’s how I choose my mascara. For my upper lashes, it has to be a fluffy wand. For my lower lashes, the thin, small one.
P: I really love the L’Oreal Lash Paradise for myself personally. I find that it’s the one that gives me the most volume. But I also wear a lot of lashes, so I feel like when you’re wearing lashes, the mascara matters a little less, versus if you’re going au naturel and mascara is your only feature.
Thank you ladies for being a part of this Live!
If you have any questions you’d like answered, drop them in the comments below!