The Complete Guide to Makeup Trials for Indian Brides

11 min read

Most of us have never sat through a makeup trial, and while you have a vague idea of what happens at a trial, do you know how to make the most of it? If they’re free or paid? Find out everything you need to know about Makeup Trials for brides and why you need one.

1. Do I Need A Makeup Trial?

YES! You also don’t want a makeup artist to do your makeup or have a discussion with you directly on the day of your wedding! That’s leaving too many aspects to chance on this biggest day of your life.

Advantages of a wedding makeup trial

  • A trial helps you figure out SO many things about a makeup artist and your own bridal makeup preferences.
  • An advantage of getting a trial done is that your MUA gets to see your hair and skin in person, and so they can recommend which hair and skin treatments to get done in advance. They’re also able to see first-hand how your skin & hair react to the products they have and so they’ll be prepared with the right products to use on your main functions.
  • A big, but not talked about, advantage of a makeup trial is that your MUA will be able to identify your foundation shade!
  • Helps you experiment with different makeup looks, that you wouldn’t get a chance to try otherwise. So that intense smokey eye, dramatic cat eye, fake eyelashes or contouring – see if they suit your face!
Bridal makeup trial - a bride at a makeup trial with different eye shadows on her eyes.
A bride’s photo from a real makeup trial with Makeup Artist Tejasvini Chander

2. Are Bridal Makeup Trials Paid or Free?

Most bridal makeup trials are paid.

  • Full-face trial: The MUA will show you a complete makeup look – just not done to perfection as she would on your wedding day. These cost about Rs.1,500, which is why some brides choose to get this done right before an actual party or date night, so that they can “utilize” the makeup.
  • Half-face trial: The MUA will apply makeup on one side of your face so you can compare it to your natural look. She may also show you two different eye makeup looks (one style on each eye) or show you two different types of makeup (traditional vs airbrush) on each side.

Any payments made for a trial are adjusted into your final payment, if you do end up booking that makeup artist for your wedding makeup.

wedding makeup trial - a full face bridal makeup trial with slightly different eye makeup looks
A full-face trial on a bride with 2 slightly different eye makeup looks – with wedding Makeup Artist Tejasvini Chander

3. How Do I Book A Trial?

Call up your top 2-3 makeup artists and find a suitable date and time to have the trial. Do ask them if they need the trial amount paid in advance (if it’s a paid one).

4. What Questions Should I Ask About The Trial?

  • If the MUA wants you to bring along anything (outfits, jewellery, etc)
  • Is it a full-face or half-face makeup trial?
  • Will they do a trial for airbrush or HD makeup (if you want one of these)?
  • How many different eye makeup looks can you try?
  • Will you get to try out fake eyelashes? Should you carry your own or will they provide them? Will they charge extra for this?
  • Will the hairstylist be available? Is hairstyling a part of the trial?
  • How long will it take?
  • Should you apply moisturiser on your face before you come in?

5. What Happens At A Makeup Trial?

  • In all probability, your bridal makeup artist will want you to arrive with a completely clean face, and on time!
  • They will understand your skin type, how it behaves and what products you use that suit you.
  • They’ll want to know how much makeup you’re comfortable using daily, to get an idea of how heavy they should go on the bridal makeup look
  • The makeup artist will ask what outfits you’re wearing (if it’s already decided) as well as if it’s a day or night function, and how many functions there are in total
  • Whether you’ll be standing on the stage or not (on the stage usually means heavier makeup to make your overall look “NOT bland” from a distance)
  • You should talk freely to your MUA about what kind of makeup you like and show her reference photos of the style you prefer.
  • Discuss eyelash and hair extensions, and any worries you may have.

Once you’ve spoken to each other and gotten comfortable with what she’s going to do, begin the trial and observe what she’s doing and listen to what she’s saying carefully.

6. Does It Include A Hairstyle Trial?

Mostly, no.

This is what you typically get –

The MUA might hold up your hair in different ways to show you what a style will roughly look like. Some might use a curling iron or straightener on a small section of your hair to show you how “straight” they might make your bangs look or what they mean by “soft waves”.

If you’re really keen on trying the complete hairstyle – 

You should book the hairstylist the MUA will be using & pay them the full amount to style your hair. Of course, it will be ideal if you have a party to head off to so you can make full use of your perfectly done up hair!

7. What If I Can’t Travel To The Bridal Makeup Artist’s City For A Trial?

Ask a trusted friend or relative to take the trial on your behalf, and share extensive notes with them on what you’re expecting from the MUA. In addition to this, have a video chat with the MUA after the trial to discuss any finer details and get a sense of how well you get along with them.

8. Do I Need My Bridal Outfit To Be Ready Before The Trial?

No. Some of you may be getting trials done 4-6 months before the wedding, and most wedding outfits are not decided 2-3 months before the big day. The purpose of the trial is to judge the makeup artist’s skills, knowledge and equation with you.

If your outfit or jewellery is already decided, that’s just the icing on the cake. In that case, you can further refine your final look with the makeup artist, taking colours and fabric into consideration.

9. How Do I Judge The Makeup Artist Based On My Trial?

a) Behaviour-related

  • Was she professional in her behaviour?
  • Did you have a good time? Did she make you feel comfortable? This is important as it will help you stay calm and stress-free on your wedding day.
  • Share your vision and check their reactions. Some brides may prefer a bold lipstick or eyes while others may want a simple classic look. Make sure that the bridal makeup artist is paying attention to your preferences. Show them the makeup inspiration photos you have gathered from the internet or magazines and let them suggest ideas for the complete look they can create for you. Do not hire a makeup artist who is ignoring your requests and forcing her/his opinions on you. A good makeup artist always pays attention to what his/her clients say.

b) Makeup Skills & Knowledge

  • Whether the MUA has applied makeup according to your skin type (mattifying foundation for oily skin, etc)
  • Whether it’s blended well – check for any hard lines in your makeup. Ideally, the foundation, blush, contour and eye makeup should all blend seamlessly into each other.
  • The base should look natural, like second skin. A couple of hours after the makeup has been applied, look at yourself in the mirror and take photos again. Was she able to find the right foundation shade for you?
  • There should not be excessive amounts of blush on your cheeks, as that tends to look garish
  • Click photos of yourself to see what the makeup is looking like in natural as well as artificial light. In particular, see if the foundation is the same shade as your skin, that the MUA concealed any blemishes and acne marks on your face, and if your dark circles are suitably reduced (if they’re completely concealed they could potentially look unnatural).
  • Consider how long your makeup lasts for and if it suits your skin type.

c) The Basics

  • Ask about their hygiene practices. They should use clean brushes, washed makeup sponges, disposables mascara wands, mixing palette for products and regularly sanitise makeup. Avoid the makeup artist whose makeup kit looks unhygienic or unorganized – they should be using clean brushes on your face and should have a good idea of where each product is kept in her bag.

bridal makeup trial - bride took her wedding makeup trial just before the Pre-wedding photoshoot

10. Party Makeup or a Makeup Trial – Which One Should I Choose?

Go for the paid party makeup package if…

  • you don’t mind spending the full amount
  • you have a party to attend,
  • your pre-wedding shoot is planned around that time, or
  • your Engagement or Roka is happening!

There’s no better way to judge the makeup artist than to see how they work on you till the look is finished. If brides love their Roka or Engagement MUA, they’ll often book the same one for the wedding.

Go for the makeup trial if…

  • you want to save on cost
  • you’ve already seen your MUA’s work on your friend or relative’s wedding
  • you want to experiment with multiple makeup looks, products & techniques (airbrush vs HD) at the trial
  • there’s no event to attend afterwards

11. Next Steps

You should not go for more than 2-3 makeup trials with different artists, otherwise it can be confusing as well as a waste of money. Once you’ve compared photos and discussed what you thought with your “bride tribe”, pick the one you honestly felt most comfortable with and whose skills you have confidence in. Pay them the advance amount, and then read our Essential Wedding Makeup Tips for brides to read in the months leading up to their wedding. And prepare your skin with The Only Skin Care Plan You’ll Ever Need.

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