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what to ask makeup artists

You've got a long list of questions to ask your beauty professionals:

  • Does she give free consultations? If not, what are the fees? (Note: It is common for makeup artists to charge for a consultation, but it may be worth it.)
  • Does she have a portfolio of her work that you can examine?
  • What is her philosophy about how a bride should look on her wedding day?
  • What does she think would work best for you? (You don't have to agree, you just have to get a sense of what she thinks is beautiful.)
  • Will she bring her own supplies (such as makeup brushes and tweezers), or will you be responsible for having these?
  • Will she require you to bring some of your own makeup? If so, will she be available to help you select the right colors for your eyes, lips, and cheeks?
  • How does she charge -- by hour, or by head? Does she have a group rate?
  • How many events does she do in one day? Will yours be the only one, or is there a chance she will be rushed to get to another appointment?
  • Do you go to her or does she come to you on the wedding day?
  • Will she stick around to do touch-ups?
  • How does she work with hairstylists?
  • Does she have a list of references that you can call? (You'll be able to get the inside info on things like promptness, attitude, and professionalism.)

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Everything You Need For Your Wedding:

beauty - your look

Bridal Beauty: Find Your Wedding Day Look

Whether you're a DIY beauty bride or going pro, here's everything you need to know to look absolutely gorgeous.

Photo: Kristen Alexander

Whether you're going for a natural look or for something with a little more oomph, chances are you'll definitely want to put your best face forward on your wedding day. Your makeup and skin have to look picture perfect -- and we'll show you that "pretty" is pretty easy.

Choosing a Look

When you envision yourself on the big day, what do you see? Something dramatic? Glamorous? Ethereal? Avoid nondescript words like "natural" -- that's a given. Every bride wants to look natural. (Really, you'll never hear: I want to look like Christina Aguilera on my wedding day!) But beyond expressing your penchant for au naturel, you'll want to be able to intelligently share style ideas with your makeup artist.

The Inspiration

Before you start ripping your favorite pages out of beauty magazines, look at favorite pictures of yourself. Maybe your eyes or your full lips make you stunning -- or perhaps you loved the rosy glow in your cheeks that day. Only after you know what it is that you love about yourself can you look to, say, Nicole Kidman for beauty inspiration. Afterward, look at the big picture of the wedding itself. Where you're marrying and what time of day will affect the beauty specifics: A wedding on a beach might call for a bronze and dewy look; an evening affair always requires more drama against dim lighting. Next, consider your wedding style. (Vintage? City sophisticate?) For example, if your gown and your details evoke an all-American preppy, striking cat-eyes probably aren't going to work.

Make note of your day-to-day beauty dilemmas, such as mascara on your bottom lashes tends to give you dark circles or lip liner makes your lips dry, and share these concerns with your makeup artist. And don't be afraid to try something new -- as long as you test-drive the look before the wedding. You may find colors or combinations you are afraid of actually look great on you.

tip

Bring actual photos of looks you love when you meet with your makeup artist. After all, your idea of what's "natural" or "elegant" might be different from hers.

Finding a Makeup Artist

A good makeup artist can mean the difference between a nice wedding face and a drop-dead beautiful one. As with any wedding vendor, you'll want to do your research. Look online, talk to the ladies at your bridal salon or your reception venue, speak with local brides and friends -- cover all the bases. Nowadays, you can hire a makeup artist through the same salons where you find your hair specialists. Many salons offer makeup applications, and often a line of cosmetics -- which can be a big help for a bride with limited cosmetic resources. Some salons offer a discount if you book both your makeup and hair professionals there.

You can also find a great makeup artist through local department stores. If you have a favorite makeup counter, head there for a free makeover (or visit 20 different counters and then pick a favorite). When you like what you see, ask the salesperson if she does any outside makeup work. She may be willing to come to you on the wedding day or, if not, maybe she can set aside an appointment at the counter for the morning of the wedding.

Finally, if you live near a big city, you can find makeup artists through agents (the same folks that represent models and photographers). Check the pages of your favorite magazines to find big makeup names, or scour the Internet for reps. Yes, those artists will cost a pretty penny, but you might find it worth the extra dough.

Once you find one you love, you'll need to set up a consultation. Many salons or professionals will charge a consultation fee -- anywhere from $25 to $100 -- and then a separate wedding-day fee, which can run as high as $1200. Others will charge only one price up front, slightly higher than a wedding-day fee, and offer a free consultation as part of the package. Take caution: The problem with the latter option is that you sign on with the stylist before you've had a chance to critique her -- so don't be lured by the prospect of a free consultation (it's not "free" if you hate the results and need to find someone else).

What many brides don't realize about a consultation is that this is a trial run -- which means, most professionals will only want to give you an idea of the look you're after, not an exact replica of what to expect on wedding day. Your artist might do the left eye in one color combination and the right in another, so you have a comparison of which works better.

After everything with your professional is said and done, remember this: You know your face better than anyone. Don't get talked into something you absolutely hate or won't feel comfortable with. You're going to have to live with that face -- not only for the rest of the day, but in pictures for the rest of your life.

No Expert? No Problem

We always strongly suggest that you should have a professional do your makeup on the big day -- mostly to spare you the extra stress of having to do it yourself. But if an expert isn't in your budget, here are some things you'll want to keep in mind.

Since you're not just preparing for a day at the office, don't skip a trial run. Practice on your face in all kinds of light -- outside, inside, daytime, nighttime. Have someone take a few pictures of you, so that you can get a well-rounded idea of how the makeup will come out on film. And don't be afraid to ask for help. It might be worth a trip to a makeup counter anyway so you can grab a few application tips from the salespeople there.

What You Can Do

The great thing about being a bride is that you get to experience that all-day bridal glow, the dewiness that makes every girl look amazing. Unfortunately, that glow does not work miracles -- and neither do the best makeup artists in the world. Since much of your beauty condition on your wedding day is completely in your own hands, there are a few things you’ll need to do before the wedding to ensure your skin is in shape.

Get some sleep. Models might be able to stay out until 4 a.m. partying, because those next-day photos are airbrushed into oblivion for the magazines. Your body requires a minimum of eight hours of rest to rebuild and repair itself. In that time, it sheds dead skin cells, flushes toxins and excess water, and regulates its natural moisture levels (among other things). Deprive yourself of sleep, and expect to see dull skin, dark circles, and puffiness when you wake up in the morning.

Your skin reflects how well you take care of yourself. Excessive smoking and drinking can also leave you with a pallid complexion. Since cigarettes and alcohol both restrict the circulation of oxygen through your body, your skin does not get the oxygen and nutrients it needs to look healthy and supple. Drinking lots of water (at least eight glasses a day) and getting enough exercise, however, can help to increase circulation and flush out toxins.

Last, create a skin regimen -- one that you'll stick to. For the most part, this should include washing your face twice a day with lukewarm or cool water (hot water evaporates the moisture from the surface cells, prematurely aging skin) and afterward applying a moisturizer with an SPF. Since we all tend to diagnose ourselves wrong (for instance, thinking you have dry skin when you actually have oily), a dermatologist can give you specific instructions as to what kind of products you should be using and how often.

-- Joanna Saltz

See More: Bridal Beauty Secrets