Altar Ego Wedding Ed: Bridal Hair and Makeup!

Amy Karp Photography

Amy Karp Photography

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between a professional hair and makeup artist and an amateur?  Why can’t my friend do my makeup?  Should I use my regular hairstylist for my wedding day?  Our special guest today is Dallas-Fort Worth wedding makeup and hair artist Erin Gobin of Erin Blair Makeup and Hair Design.  Erin is an Altar Ego Weddings favorite and special vendor friend of ours in the DFW area and we’re delighted to share her expertise with you!  Below we tackle some of the questions that get asked by our brides.  Enjoy our candid chat and don’t miss the special link to an average cost breakdown for bridal hair and makeup in the DFW area.

Q: I have been doing my own makeup since I was 12 years old / My friend from high school is really good at makeup …do I really need to hire a professional makeup artist?

A: If you absolutely love the way you do your own makeup, are extremely particular about it and don’t think anybody else can do it better than you, then by all means do your own! But for 99% of brides, hiring an artist will be one of the best decisions they can make for their wedding day. You need a real, professional artist who understands bridal makeup, bridal trends, and bridal photography.

Allen Tsai Photography

Allen Tsai Photography

For starters, a professional makeup artist will have his or her kit stocked with the highest quality professional products. Most of the brands you probably haven’t heard of and aren’t going to be found in your local Sephora. Why? Professional products are designed for PROFESSIONAL use. They give amazing results but may not be EASY to use. Consumer products are designed to be accessible for the everyday woman, which means they are forgiving and won’t last as long.

Additionally, makeup artists will have received specialized training in application techniques. They will look at your face with professionally trained eyes, and know how to draw attention to your best features and minimize imperfections. They will know how to apply makeup that looks perfect in photos, video and in person. After all, you’ve probably invested a lot in your photography. Do you really want to hate every picture because you hate the way your makeup looks?

Basically, if you want your makeup to look flawless for 12+ hours and withstand tears, sweat, hugs, kisses and the Wobble – you’ll want to hire a pro.

Q: What about my hair styling? The lady that has been cutting my hair since high school said she can do it for cheap / My sister is really good at hair… why do I need a special event hair stylist?

A: Some salon cosmetologists do excellent updos, and if that’s the case with yours – great! But in my experience I’ve found most cosmetologists specialize in cutting and coloring, but NOT styling. There is actually little to no training on updos and special event styling in cosmetology school. We have received specialized training and have years of experience creating beautiful special event hair styles that will stay in place for several hours. It’s a very specialized service!  This is all we do and we pride ourselves on being very good at it.

Q: Okay fine. How much does professional hair and makeup cost?

A: I recently participated in a survey conducted by one of my other colleagues, Shannon Dowling with Something You Makeup Artistry and Hair Design.  It gives a great breakdown of the price ranges and average costs of professional hair and makeup services in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. We hope this guide will be helpful in budget planning for recently engaged couples!  You can access the guide here.

Q: Wow I had no idea it cost so much! I’ve always gotten my makeup done at the mall for around $50. How is this different?

A: There are a few reasons a professional costs more than a makeup counter actually, so let me break it down:

Apryl Ann Photography

Apryl Ann Photography

  • This is a luxury service where we come to you. We bring the studio to you, transporting multiple cases of equipment and supplies, as well as chairs and lighting, to the comfort of your bridal suite. Do you really want to be driving all over the city, fighting traffic and crowds on your wedding day? Heck no you don’t! You want to lounge in your beautiful hotel suite in your robe sipping a mimosa and getting pampered. The relaxation time prior to the ceremony is money very well spent.

  • Makeup counters are in the business of selling makeup. The person doing your makeup may have little to no experience, or she may be a fantastic artist. But the fact is, she’s there to sell makeup, and she will have to pause to help other customer while she’s working on you. There is a big difference in the level of skill and education that denotes an artist who can charge more for what they do and be their own boss, and it’s because they bring something more to the table.

  • Makeup lines provide their artists with all the makeup and supplies, whereas a freelance artist has purchased her makeup and supplies herself, from a variety of brands. Besides, do you want your wedding makeup to be applied from makeup counter demonstration samples that have had a million grubby fingers in them? A professional freelance artist will have a clean, sanitized kit.

  • Customer service. Will the person at the makeup counter or salon answer your frantic text message at 11pm the night before your wedding with a question about an emergency breakout? No, but a dedicated professional freelance artist absolutely will.

  • Supply and demand. 99% of weddings are on Saturdays, which means they are in high demand. And therefore, most artists who specialize in weddings only have 52 days a year to make their yearly income. Due to the higher demand for Saturdays, those time slots cost more.   Additionally, any artist that is in high demand will likely carry a high degree of integrity,
    professionalism and skills, and his or her rates and minimums will likely reflect this.

Q: Well I found a makeup artist who charges a lot less than the averages in your pdf, why shouldn’t I go with her?

Proceed with caution! Anyone charging significantly less than the averages is likely a hobbyist, not a professional.  There is a reason they are charging less and you get what you pay for. Do you want to entrust something as important as your FACE to a hobbyist? Think about how much you are probably spending on your shoes, and they’ll probably only be in one picture! Your face will be in every picture, so don’t go cheap when it comes to your face!

Q: I understand why professional artists charge what they do, but I simply can’t afford these prices. What options do I have?

A: I once was a bride on a budget myself, so I am completely sympathetic to this dilemma! However there are absolutely some options for you.

  • Start planning your budget in advance. You could likely afford the artist you really want if you are just able to set aside $50/month or so throughout your engagement. And for the reasons we described above, it is SO worth it!

  • Be flexible on your scheduling. I will say that the majority of our brides book an 11am-4pm time slot for a 6pm wedding.  If you can take a morning or late afternoon appointment around another booking, I can waive my minimum.

  • Let your bridesmaids pay for themselves. It’s not ideal, but bridesmaids are fully aware of the costs associated with being in a wedding, and are likely expecting to pay for hair and makeup in addition to their dress, shoes, gift and travel. OR, pay for one service for your bridal party, ask them to pay for the other. I’d recommend providing professional makeup for all of them, but give them the option to add on professional hair styling as well at their own expense. This can cut your cost almost in half!

  • Ask if you can work with the artist’s assistant. Chances are they carry most of the same products and have learned the lead artist’s techniques, but are still working on gaining experience and building their portfolio. An assistant or team member of a reputable artist is a safer bet than a cheap artist who is out on their own with no credentials or training.

Erin, thanks so much for sharing your valuable experience with our Altar Ego brides!  We always love when our clients hire you and your colleagues to pamper them on their wedding days!  We look forward to more beautiful brides becoming even more gorgeous on their wedding days thanks to you!  Here are some of our past brides!

Lynn Michelle Photoraphy

Lynn Michelle Photoraphy

Ashleigh Photography

Ashleigh Photography

Absolute Photography

Absolute Photography

If you like these tips, check out our entire Altar Ego Weddings blog here!