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The Obsessive Bride is back!

Remember how I told you how to find the right wedding photographer? The photographer will make you look pretty in REEL but what about looking pretty in REAL? That's where the makeup artist comes in!

To tell you the truth, I LOVE makeup. But only on others. Because I have no idea how to apply it. No man, not even eyeliner! I'm your average kajal & lip balm kind of girl. So how does someone who is a novice at makeup find herself the perfect wedding makeup artist?

I thought, how hard can it be, right? You like an artist, you call them and fix the date and voila, done. But wait, called one, not available on my wedding date. Called the second one, charging wayyy too much. Called a third, she said something about a trial?

It finally took me 3 months to finalise my dream bridal makeup artist! But it won't take YOU that long. Why? Because I'm here for you, my fellow OCD brides! Here's everything I learnt (after talking to Mya Dang and Tejasvini Chander) about finding and hiring (and making the best of!) the makeup artist for your big fat (or small & intimate!) Indian wedding:

When Should I Start Looking For a Makeup Artist (MUA)?

Start searching for your makeup artist about 6 months before your wedding. If you're looking to book a top MUA, then you might want to start a year in advance.

What Kind Of Makeup Should I Go For? And What Are The Charges?

1. Wedding Day makeup: Bridal makeup for your wedding day is relatively more expensive compared to makeup for other smaller functions.

2. Special occasion makeup: This is makeup for the bride for other wedding functions - Sangeet, Mehendi, Engagement and Reception. Brides tend to experiment more on these functions in terms of their makeup and hairstyle compared to wedding day where brides tend to keep it more traditional (classic makeup with hair tied into a bun).

3. Party/Guest makeup: It is generally for guests and the rest of your family members. You can also go for it in case you have a small roka ceremony or even for your mehendi day function. The expenditure for party makeup usually comes down to almost one-fourth to what you would spend on the wedding day makeup.

To give you an estimate of what charges for makeup artists are like across categories, I've made a table for your reference:

Airbrush VS HD Makeup:

In airbrush makeup, the makeup is sprayed using a gun instead of sponges, brushes and fingers and is recommended for oily skin and summer brides. It is typically more expensive than the other options. HD makeup is a method of application with HD makeup that is traditional with brushes and sponges where the pigments are more finely milled.

What All Is Included In The Bridal Makeup Package?

1. Makeup

2. Hairstyling

3. Draping (Dupatta or Saree)

4. Nail painting

How Do I Find A Makeup Artist For The Wedding?

1. Use Online Wedding Portals: Such as (duh!) where you can filter makeup artists by city and budget, and view the work they've done on real brides in recent years.

2. By Word of mouth: Remember how you totally loved that girl’s makeup at the last wedding you attended? Don’t hesitate to ask your most favourite bride(s) about their makeup artists!

How Do I Shortlist A Makeup Artist?

1. Go through their online profiles - this will give you a broader idea about their work.

2. Find out if they are available on your wedding dates.

3. If yes, then what are the charges and how do they break it down for:

  • Wedding Day
  • Special Occasion Makeup (Sangeet, Reception)
  • Party Makeup (Mehendi, Roka, For other Family Members)

4. Don't forget to consider the location you want to get ready at:

  • The venue itself
  • The makeup artist’s salon
  • Your own home

Now let me help you understand why and how these three locations matter. Suppose you are a bride living in south Delhi and you have your wedding in Noida (in the evening) on an auspicious day of the year (hello, 60,000 Delhi weddings!) You CANNOT risk travelling too much and getting stuck in traffic so it's best to get ready at the venue itself unless the salon or your own house is near the venue. So think of the distance, auspicious date, traffic and time of your wedding before finalising location!

Should I Go For A Makeup Trial?

If the MUA is tried and tested by your BFF, didi, bhabhi or chachi or they're one of the biggest names in the wedding makeup industry, you can skip the trial. In all other cases, go for a trial if possible.

There are three categories for makeup trials:

1. Paid and adjustable (they adjust the trial charges to the final payment if you do book them)

2. Paid and non-adjustable (you pay for the trial separately, irrespective of whether you book them or not)

3. Free

What To Keep in Mind At A Makeup Trial:

1. Click pictures (arre haan selfies, bhai) in different lights (Day light + Artificial light) and see if it suits your complexion

2. See how your makeup is holding up and for how long, and see if it suits your skin type

3. Ask yourself - Does it feel too loud for your liking? Or too subtle? Has the makeup artist managed to conceal your dark circles, blemishes, acne marks?

Should I Get Ready At A Salon OR Go For A Freelance Makeup Artist?

Salon:  Makeup artists in a salon have a hierarchy of artists (Head, Senior and Junior) and charges vary as per their position. Head artist charges the most. If a salon MUA is travelling to your location, she will charge 50-100% extra as she would be bringing her kit, artists and lights (almost her salon to your place)

Freelance MUA: Freelance MUAs usually have a head and a set of assistants (which includes a hairstylist). They typically carry makeup lights to the location.

How Do I Find The Best Makeup Artist In My City?

1. 10 Best Makeup artists in Chennai

2. 20 Best Makeup artists in Banglore 

3. 16 Best Makeup artists in Delhi 

4. 20 Best Makeup artists in Mumbai 

Things To Keep In Mind Before Finalising A Makeup Artist:

1. What does the package include and exclude

2. Availability of dates and time and how many booking does she have on the same day

3. Who will be coming to the venue - whether the head herself or an alternative, and how many people. Clarify this in advance to avoid any last minute surprises!

4. Ask for a trial before finalising if needed

5. For outstation weddings, it is necessary to confirm how comfortable the MUA is in travelling along. Travel and accommodation logistics and clarity on who would bear the charges is required. It is generally accepted that these are paid for by the bride.

6. About the makeup lights! Discuss who is bringing it. If you have to arrange for it, make sure you know where to get supplies from.

7. Try not to rely on a verbal contract. Sign a written contract!

8. Ask how many bookings your makeup artist has on the same day. If there are others, consider how comfortable you will be with the scenario where your MUA has to split her attention amongst several brides.

Things To Keep In Mind After You Have Finalised Your MUA:

1. What is the advance payment amount, and by when you need to pay it to book her.

2. Give details about the venue, date and time. In case of any changes, do not forget to update them.

3. Discuss in advance if there is any skin or hair treatment the MUA recommends for you - such as a specific facial, home remedy or bleaching a part of the face or body.

4. If other members of your family are also using the same MUA, discuss it beforehand - exactly how many people will be getting ready, their specific requirements, etc.

What To Ensure After Finalising The MUA?

1. Make sure your MUA has seen your outfit(s).

2. Discuss your preferable hairstyles for each wedding function.

Answers To Payment FAQs:

1. Discuss which mode of payment your makeup artist would prefer- cash, card or cheque.

2. The advance payment usually varies from 10% to 50%

3. In case of cancellations from your side, advance is generally not refunded. If only, you cancel long before the date so that the MUA is able to find another booking (which generally is not the case)


1. Try to finalise only one MUA for all wedding functions to avoid any confusion.

2. Having the same MUA will ensure that you look different for each function. 

3. While you are finalising one makeup artist try to keep one as a backup plan (get trials done, get a rough idea of the pricing). Just in case of any last minute cancellations.

4. Ideally artists offer reduced packages when booked for multiple ceremonies.

5. The advance is not refunded in case you end up cancelling your booking.

6. MUAs are generally willing to travel all across locations given their travel and accommodation charges are paid for.

7. Don’t confuse a freelance makeup artist as a fresher.

8. Once you have booked your makeup artist, make sure to call them a week prior to your wedding functions. (As a reminder!)

Now that you are well informed on what to consider while hiring a makeup artist. To help get a head start on finding makeup artist in your city, follow the link (and don’t forget to thank me, Ciao!)

1. 10 Best Makeup artists in Chennai 

2. 20 Best Makeup artists in Banglore 

3. 16 Best Makeup artists in Delhi 

4. 20 Best Makeup artists in Mumbai 

Featured Image Credits: Shutterdown

Everything You Need To Know About Hiring A Wedding Makeup Artist!

by ShaadiSaga

Everything You Need To Know About Hiring A Wedding Makeup Artist!