Bridal makeup trials can be expensive so it is better to review a few selected beauticians and make a shortlist of the ones you want to visit for a trial (selection tips are also given on Your Dream Shaadi website). This is your chance to meet the beautician in person and decide exactly how you want to look on your special day – by discussing your wedding dress, hair and makeup styles, colour schemes, timings, etc. But to ensure that you get the maximum benefits of an effective trial, here are some helpful tips to prevent you from simply wasting your time and money.

When to have the trial?

Some of you may have already booked your makeup artist (with a contract and deposit) to secure the date and are going for your trial to finalise all the details for the day. In this case it is advisable to go for your trial at least 6-8 weeks before your wedding date.

Otherwise you may be going for a trial to simply test the beautician’s skills in hope of possibly booking them for your wedding event(s). With most of the talented beauticians being booked up at least a year in advance, you need to start arranging these trials as soon as possible; leaving it just before the wedding would be too risky and you may not find the right beautician for you. At this time, you probably won’t yet have bought your outfit or jewelry, so the trial itself would need to be focused on finding a makeup artist whose style of work suits you best. A good makeup artist will always be able to recreate a similar look on the day, adjusting to the exact colours and details of your wedding dress.

Checklist of things to take with you

  • Do lots of research in advance and bring along different images that appeal to you for various functions, so that the makeup artist can get an accurate idea of the looks you are trying to achieve. Bridal magazines usually have plenty of ideas and most makeup artists are familiar in how to re-create those styles.
  • Note down photos and clippings showing makeup styles that you would like to avoid.
  • It may be handy to bring along a photo of yourself that you really like, to show how you usually do your own makeup when you are going out. It will give them an idea of your preferences and general makeup style.
  • If you have already bought your outfit and jewellery, it is a great idea to take this with you so that your makeup can be coordinated with it. Hair accessories such as tiaras and diamontes, for example, play a major part in the overall hairstyle that you end up choosing.
  • If you have not yet chosen your wedding outfit, an experienced makeup artist will be able to work from the pictures you present and create an appropriate look. Even a dupatta alone or a fabric swatch of the exact colour of the outfit is sufficient for the makeup artist to work with.
  • You may wish to bring the colour of the flowers from your bouquet into your makeup, so taking colour samples to the trial would be helpful.
  • If you have preference to a certain foundation or cosmetic item which you would want to wear on the day, then take it with you to the trial session and let the makeup artist try it with the rest of the look.
  • Remember to take a digital camera with you – we will discuss the reasons shortly!
  • You may like to bring a friend or relative with you for a second opinion.
  • Remember to go to the trial absolutely natural, without wearing any make-up.

Clearly explain what you are looking for

A few points to explain clearly:-
Which facial features you would like to accentuate or try to cover up?
Do you prefer shimmery colours / glitters / matte / powdery shades in eyeshadows?
Would kind of foundation coverage do you prefer – light / medium / heavy?
Are you allergic or sensitive to any skin products?
What kind of lipstick or blusher shade will you require – light / medium / dark?

Before the trial, you will have a good idea of what you want to look like on your wedding day, but more importantly, you will know what you do not want to look like. Try to explain clearly and concisely what kind of looks you have in mind and any personal likes and dislikes. Photos are a great way to communicate the look you are aiming for as everyone perceives colours and textures differently; a photo will show the beautician what you mean to say and vice versa, preventing them from making too many errors. However, remember that the same makeup applied on you may look totally different to what you expect to see from the photograph.

Other points to show or explain can be your flowers, the wedding colour theme, dress style, and bridesmaids styling and colours. This information can be very handy in helping the makeup artist create and coordinate your bridal look.

Ask to See a Portfolio

A portfolio should be impressive, as it is demonstrating the artist’s finest work. Faces by Avina believe that to get a good idea of the actual quality of work, ask to see the artist’s portfolio of previous bridal clients instead of just model portfolio shots. Photographs taken on bridal magazine shoots are always re-touched to perfection using computerized effects and are far from portraying the true skills of the makeup artist.

Experienced beauticians are likely to have a detailed portfolio for you to examine, showing a variety of different bridal styles on various faces. Photographs of “Real Brides” with before and after shots are always best to show their real talent.

When browsing the makeup artist’s portfolio, study the individual photos instead of just flicking through.

Does everyone seem to have the same look or style of makeup applied on them?

Does he or she have experience working on different types of skin tones and textures? Do the people in the photos look polished and complete?
How do the makeup colours translate on the actual photograph – particularly with flash photography?

If the makeup artist is just starting out, don’t worry if they don’t have too many photos to show you. It doesn’t necessarily mean that they are incapable of creating a great look for your wedding day. Often, makeup artists without a portfolio will charge you less if you agree to give them some copies of your professional photos after the wedding as it would help them in the future with other prospective customers.

Pay Attention

The trial can last as long as necessary, however, a reasonable time for a full bridal trial including hair and makeup would be approximately 90 minutes. So make sure you arrive at the time allocated for the trial so that your beautician is able to spend maximum time with you without excuse. They will also appreciate your punctuality and will have more time to devote to discussing your needs.

Paying attention to the small details within a trial will aid you in the decision making process. Here are some pointers on things to look out for:-

  • Take note of the beautician’s hygiene, make sure that their hands are sanitized before starting the makeup. Notice whether the make-up brushes are clean and that the makeup is applied using fresh sponges, wipes, and disposable wands for the eye-make-up.
  • Notice the beautician’s attention to detail. Ideally, you would want to find a beautician who has a similar taste and style to yourself or somebody who genuinely cares about your needs. She will be able to understand straight away the kind of style that you want and listen to your personal needs throughout the trial.
  • Make sure that your beautician is up to date with latest colours and looks as well understand your particular cultural traditions and requirements, particularly when it comes to dressing or setting the dupatta.
  • A talented make-up artist will know how to use effective highlighting and shading techniques to bring out your best features and minimize flaws. You will notice the difference it makes straight away when you look in the mirror and this style of corrective make-up art is a great bonus if your beautician is able to achieve it.
  • Make-up artists should understand your skin tone and adjust the use of colours and shades so that it suits you. Notice if they have noted down what they have used so they remember the actual look for the day.
  • Pay attention to the quality of their makeup products. Do you think these brands of makeup are long lasting and are likely stay looking fresh throughout the entire day?
  • During the trial, do take a note of the amount of time spent with you to make sure you are happy with the result. This will also give you a rough indication on how long it will take your beautician to get you ready, hence helping you prepare a schedule for the day to help things run smoothly.
  • Is the trial rushed to finish even though you haven’t covered all the details of the day? If you have gone for a hair and makeup trial, make sure the artist completes your hairstyle aswell until you are happy with the style you have chosen.

Ask for references

Testimonials from actual brides on the website are helpful in finding out more about the beautician, as long as they are genuine! Make sure you ask the beautician for references from previous bridal clients. You can later follow through by calling them to get a real opinion from somebody who has used them in the past.

As well as the makeup and hair itself, ask about the beautician’s punctuality, time management, ability to work under pressure and how they worked with everyone in the bridal party. Things can get hectic on the actual day (with family members rushing around, etc), hence it is important to find a beautician who is able to cope with the pressure and is organised enough to work efficiently if things are running late. Also, ask how they were referred to the makeup artist and if that individual would hire them again in the future. Faces by Avina believe that if the beautician comes recommended, it is always a good sign.

Take Photographs

 Take a camera with you to the trial so you can see what the makeup looks like when a photo is taken. This is often very different to what you see in front of you and a makeup artist’s real flaws are often exaggerated when a picture is taken from a digital camera.

Remember, bridal makeup for photography requires different rules than makeup for every day. A good makeup artist will know how to use colours, textures and tones within the makeup to ensure that you look just as great in person as well as in photographs. Confirm that your makeup artist is someone who is used to doing makeup for weddings as well as on camera.

Other Questions to ask

You get a good idea of the dedication and work of a beautician during the actual trial. Don’t shy away from asking questions to give you the peace of mind.

  • Ask about their background, how many brides they have got ready, any disastrous experiences they’ve had, etc. Try to build a rapport with them; it will help to know if they have the sort of personality that will calm you on the actual wedding day.

  • Know exactly what is included in your full makeup package. Clarify if accessories like false eyelashes, hair pieces and bindis are included in the package cost and if not, how much extra these are likely to be. You should also clarify transport costs to your wedding venue, if known.
  • Ask how long the make-up will last? Ensure that the beautician gives you long-lasting and waterproof makeup that will throughout the entire day, including past the sobbing at the Vidai ceremony. Enquire if your make-up would require any touching up after a while and whether this would incur any extra costs should you hire the makeup artist for this.
  • Check that your beautician is insured and ask to see a copy of their public liability insurance certificate for extra assurance. You would only need to know this for a worst case scenario in which you end up claiming for damages; you will know their insurance could cover the costs.
  • Enquire how many brides she has booked on the same day as your wedding. There is nothing worse than compromising the quality of your bridal look by a makeup artist who is delayed from a previous appointment or has to rush off to another wedding.
  • Also remember to ask if the charge for the trial itself can be claimed back if you decide to confirm the booking for your wedding.

Speak your mind

Bear in mind that a trial is a chance for you to experiment different ideas, so don’t be afraid to try something different that you wouldn’t normally imagine on yourself, or a style that your beautician suggests for you. You never know, it may be the perfect look for you.

After the beautician has completed the chosen look at the trial, remember one thing:- you know your face better than anyone. You need to ensure you have a fully coordinated look and that your makeup and hair work together and not against each other. The beautician is there to guide you, but if the end result is something you are not comfortable with, let them know. Even if you disapprove of any particular product or minor detail, make sure you speak up. Make up can easily be fixed so an understanding makeup artist should not be offended if you ask for a few changes to be made. Do not let yourself get talked into something you are not confident about; remember those wedding pictures will last a lifetime and you want to be proud of them.

Make sure you are 100% happy with the chosen look and have full confidence in the beautician before finalising any bookings on the spot. If at all unsure, just say you will have a think about it and get back to them at a later date. You may even change your mind afterwards about the look you have chosen during the trial, but it is important that you have confidence in your makeup artist’s ability to recreate any look whatsoever (even without a trial) and make any adjustments on the day according to your new requirements.

Check the details of the day

If you are satisfied with the results of your trial and wish to place a booking, you will need to sign a contract and pay a deposit to secure your booking. Some inexperienced beauticians may not have an official contract, so it may be worthwhile for you to write down the terms of your agreement on paper before any money changes hands. Ensure that you understand all the contract conditions and that it covers the following points:-

  • Who will be getting you ready? Make sure it is the same person you did a trial with and not a trainee.
  • Ensure the full date, time and location for the arrival of your beautician is given clearly in writing. Also negotiate a price for additional time incase your event is running late.
  • A full description of the service you have booked – including any additional charges for transport, hair accessories, body art, dupatta setting, bindi/peer, makeup re-touches, etc.
  • Ensure that the contract covers you by way of providing a substitute makeup artist in case of unforeseen circumstances, or compensation if your beautician turns up late on your event or doesn’t show up at all.
  • If you pay a deposit, make sure this is either stated in your contract or you have a receipt as proof.
  • Ensure that the contract is signed and dated by both parties, otherwise it would carry no value!


What many brides don’t always realize is that this initial consultation is actually 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. It’s all about experimenting with different looks – your artist might do the left eye in one colour combination and the right in another, so you have a comparison of which works better.

Finding the right beautician for you can be more difficult than expected – especially with so many makeup artists in the Asian bridal market. With all the trials you go to, you’re bound to find both positive and negative attributes on all the makeup artists, possibly making your choice even harder. The best advice would be to go with your instinct and book the beautician who gives you the most confidence about the big day in all areas – quality of work, reliability, personality, etc.

By following these simple guidelines, Faces by Avina guarantees you will be able to make the most out of your bridal trial, so when your big day arrives you will be able to sit back, relax and trust your makeup artist to work their magic on you.

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