I recently got coffee with Scottsdale, Arizona based hairstylist Ashley Hoff, and asked her some of the common bridal hair & makeup questions that I get asked as a Planner. With over 10 years of experience in the hair and makeup industry, and having done over 300 bridal styles, Ashley was ready to be blunt & correct common misconceptions. Between her experience and mine (and a few iced coffees), we worked through a lot of these questions and more:
When should a bride begin looking for & booking her HMUA (hair & makeup artist) team?
For some reason, brides have been misguided into thinking that their HMUA teams can be booked late in the game. Even some of the big name planning timelines don’t mention bridal hair & makeup until 2-3 months before the wedding date. Ashley confirmed it’s not just a Midwest fallacy, either.
Ashley & I both agreed; begin researching hair and makeup teams right around the same time you begin dress shopping. Don’t worry about reaching out to professionals that you’re interested in as early as 6-9 months prior to your wedding date. The earlier the better, because these artists aren’t just doing bridal updos and makeup…they’re still servicing everyday clientele.
So, you’ve secured your bridal hairstylist and makeup artist, now when should you schedule your trials?
Ashley recommends scheduling hair and makeup trials at least two months prior to the wedding date. That way, the bride has ample time to schedule another trial if (on the off chance) she’s not pleased with the first one.
The same goes for makeup trials. You’ll also want to take advantage of your bridal hair and makeup trials by scheduling something else later that evening, like your bridal shower or bachelorette party!
So, you’ve scheduled your bridal hair trial. Should you bring anything along?
Yes! Ashley encourages all of her brides to bring along any jewelry accessory and, most importantly, veil or hairpiece.
“I even suggest inviting the person who will be putting the veil in her hair,” says Ashley, “if it’s not going to be me.”
Any accessory you’re sure of, or even still deciding on including in your bridal look, should come along to your trial appointments. As well as any photos of your in your wedding dress!
What condition should your hair be in on the morning of your wedding?
Ashley says, “a shampoo style two days or the day before, by the same stylist, is always recommended. This way the stylist knows exactly what is in the bride’s hair.”
But sometimes this isn’t an option because of time, money or location, so just be sure to have washed it the night before. A big bridal hair no-no, according to Ashley (and every stylist I’ve ever talked to), is washing your hair on the day of your wedding. Don’t do that! Your hair is too clean then and more difficult to style.
So, your bridesmaids, Mom and soon to be Mother-in-Law are all getting their hair and makeup done, too. When should you?
This is an incredibly common question that I get; usually texted to me while I’m setting up at the venue. Ashley and I both agree on this one, too; be conscious of your order in hair & makeup.
A bride should be second to last for her hair service. You never want to be the first to be styled because you want it to last & be fresh. However, because of timing, your photographer’s schedule, etc., you don’t want to be last getting styled, either. You have to make time for your makeup – which is why a bride should always be the last to get her makeup done.
“The hairstylist should stay, too,” Ashley says, “until the dress is on; to make any last minute tweaks.”
How much do bridal hair and makeup services typically cost?
Ashley is in Arizona, so the prices are a bit higher, but typically bridal hair styling costs $75-$125. This price could increase if you require onsite services. Bridal makeup actually falls in the same price range. However, bridesmaids services are more like $55-$100.
If you want airbrushed makeup, it’s usually a bit more expensive; however, I recently had a bride DIY airbrushed makeup with an airbrush-experienced bridesmaid (what’s up, Alyssa!). Airbrush makeup kits are available online.
Now let’s talk about some bridal hair & makeup misconceptions. We all know how amazing Pinterest is. But, many hair and makeup artists get frustrated with the unrealistic expectations that it feeds their clients.
You might pin an image that you found under ‘bridal hair,’ and show it to your stylist.
“Chances are, that bride or model has extensions in or blessed with incredibly thick, voluptuous hair,” Ashley says. “When women are looking for full, luscious bridal hair, I usually suggest clip-in extensions because it’s a quick application, and can be easily taken out – no commitment issues.”
Regarding a successful bridal look, Ashley continues, “I always recommend a little softness around the face, too. Oftentimes, brides think they want the hair to be full in the face, but with a few pieces softly falling down, it adds just a bit of beautiful mystery.”
Finally, Ashley adds, “if you’ve fallen in love with a bridal braided look, be sure to ask your stylist if they can or are comfortable braiding hair, because not all stylists can.”