How To Get The Most Out Of Your Bridal Makeup Trial

You’ve found a stylist you like and you’ve booked your hair and makeup trial.  But what will actually happen at the appointment? And as you’re spending money on it, how can you be sure you get the most out of it?

The most important reason for a trial is to make sure you’re happy with the look your makeup artist will create for you on the day. It’s also a way to make sure you feel comfortable with them, as they’ll be with you and your family for a good chunk of the morning. It will also help them to feel confident about what they’ll be doing on the day.

From someone with hundreds of wedding trials under my belt, here are some tips to make sure you get the most out it so that you look your best when the big day arrives.


Prepare a mood board in advance

Firstly, let me tell you how much Pinterest has changed my life. When I began doing weddings in 2007 I would carry a folder full of magazine tear sheets to each of my trials. It was heavy, awkward and was limited to pictures of models in photographic makeup rather than real brides.

Pinterest has made life so much easier for me and my clients! I bet you already have a wedding board to help you plan your whole day.

If you haven’t already, create a board specific to hair and makeup (it can be a secret board if you don’t want anyone to see). Pinterest has a feature that helps you to find more images based on the ones you’ve already pinned, making the job even easier.

I have my own set of boardstoo that you can use as a starting point, especially if you want something specific such as hairstyles for short haircurly hair or fringes. I also have boards for different types of hair accessories like flower crowns and veils. There are plenty for makeup too.

Make sure you collect the right sort of pictures

This may sound obvious but it’s important when choosing images that you make sure the thing you like is the hair and makeup, not the dress, the location or the model. It’s easy to pin lots of pictures of Keira Knightley to a board but do you actually like the makeup she’s wearing? Or do you just want Keira Knightly’s face?

Try to find pictures of people who have similar hair and colouring to you. Some styles work better for blonde hair, some for dark. Things like fringes and skin tone can make a huge difference to the overall look. Narrowing it down like this will make it easier to find something that suits you.

What to wear

Wearing you favourite navy jumper at your trial won’t help you to see your makeup in the best possible way. If your wedding dress is white, wear something white or have a white towel handy that you can hold up against your clothes. Pale colours reflect more light than dark colours and can make your makeup appear completely different.

Similarly, it helps to wear a top with a similar neckline to your dress if you can. That way, you can if the shape of the hairstyle compliments it or not.

What to prepare

It’s a good idea to have a picture ready of how your usually wear your makeup or even keep your everyday makeup on until the start of trial. Makeup is such a personal thing that everyone does differently. One person’s heavy smokey eye is another person’s natural look so it can really help give your makeup artist an idea of what you’re used to.

If your hairstylists hasn’t already let you know, find out how they would like you to prep your hair beforehand. Some stylists want your hair to be freshly washed, others don’t mind if you do it the day before.

If you’re reading this because you’ve booked a trial with me and I’ve sent you here – I don’t mind either way! I find most people know how their hair works best. Just don’t apply any product such as mouse or hairspray, as it can make it difficult to style.

Hair accessories

If you’ve already chosen something to go in your hair then have it with you at the trial so your stylist can make sure they create a style that’s suitable. Fresh flowers or a flower crown made by your florist make this difficult for obvious reasons so you could buy a cheap fake flower alternative just to give you an idea of how it will look.

If you’re wearing a veil and you haven’t been able to pick it up yet, show your stylist a picture so they know what the shape is like. I have a veil and some fake flowers to use that saves brides the trouble of finding their own.

Some people prefer to decide on a hairstyle first, then choose accessories to fit and that’s fine too! Ask your hairstylist what they think would work best or have a look at some of the accessory boards on my Pinterest.

Setting up for a trial at your home

This bit is really important if your makeup artist is travelling to you for the trial. If you give her the best possible space to work in she’ll be so grateful.

Good light will make both of your lives easier so try to find the part of your home where it’s lightest. Natural daylight is best for a makeup artist to work in so if your makeup trial is during the day or in summer choose a bright room or a space near a big window.

Sometimes you have no option but to have your trial during a dark winter evening. It’s not ideal but here’s how you can make the best of it. Avoid rooms lit with just a ceiling light as this creates unflattering shadows under your eyes and chin. It doesn’t make anyone look nice, no matter how good the makeup is!

Try to choose a room decorated a light colour and place several table lights around it. Combined with a ceiling light, this should create an even effect.

Make sure you provide a good sized table or work space near a plug socket as they’ll probably have a huge amount of kit with them. You’ll also need a comfortable chair with a back that isn’t higher than your neck. A dining or office chair is ideal, sofas and armchairs are too low and will give your poor makeup artist back ache!

It might not be perfect first time

Your hair and makeup trial is an opportunity to get your it right before the big day and that may involve some tweaks and changes as you go along. Your stylist might get it perfect first time away or they may not. If so, let them know what you’d like changing.

It can be hard for some people (especially the British) to speak up but remember that your stylist will only know if you tell them. I always say that I never mind been asked to make changes as long as it’s done nicely! After all, my job is to make you happy and I’d much rather someone be honest with me than go away wishing they’d said something at the time. Think of the trial as a process rather than a “before and after” reveal.

And finally…

Make sure you enjoy it! Take the time to get to know your hair and makeup artist and let yourself be pampered. It’s lovely to finally see how your hair and makeup will look and it often makes the wedding feel a little bit more “real.”


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Hi I’m Rebecca

I’ve been a makeup artist and hair stylist in the fashion industry for 15 years. Welcome to by blog where I write about all things beauty, makeup and skincare. Check out my Instagram below for daily content and mini tutorials.