5 Reasons Why Hiring a Cheap Makeup Artist is a HUGE Mistake

Image: Lydia Royce Photography

If you are about to hire a makeup artist for your own wedding, or know someone who is getting married soon....this post is for you, and it's important! Bear with me...I know it's a little long, but I am going to tell you THE REAL DEAL.....the BS FREE, full truth reason why onsite bridal makeup and hair costs what it does, and why getting a cheaper deal is actually a huge mistake.  But first, I'm going to share with you a real story about a real bride to be....I left out her name for her privacy, but this conversation is a pretty common one. The original exchange prompted a great discussion within the DFW makeup community, and my peers actually requested that I blog about it! I agreed, because this is what brides really need to know to make an informed decision when planning their beauty budget for their wedding. 

It all started with a bride to be who was shopping for a makeup artist.  After getting a couple of quotes, she posted this message on her Facebook page:

"Can anyone help me find a good hair and makeup artist?  I just got a quote for $2300 for 11 people!! I didn't plan on spending over 2K for natural makeup and hair that isn't even pinned up."

My friend tagged me in the post, referring me to this bride and asking if I could help her.  I sent this Facebook message to her:

"Hi ________! Thanks for accepting my friend request! I got a notification that _________ referred me to you for bridal beauty per your inquiry? Sounds like you have sticker shock, which I completely understand....there isn't much information out there on what are industry averages for bridal hair and makeup in Dallas/Fort Worth. I have actually been asked to give some speeches (one is next week) to wedding vendors in other categories to help educate their clients! $2300 for 22 services is very reasonable for our area. The very bottom end for pros....and these are girls who are new and just starting out...would be $75 per service, at the higher end is $200 per service. Most of the well known pros who are my peers (as well as myself) charge roughly $150 per service for bride, $100 per service for attendants, not including extras like travel (usually added if its' over 25 miles), trial runs, or assistants due to such a large group. 

 The only way you'll find less expensive services is to use people who don't run a bridal beauty business....people who work at makeup counters, blow dry bars, etc. These people generally don't have the same level of experience, and can't provide the flawless results you want, delivered in a seamless and stress free way. Pro makeup artists like myself have majorly invested in our businesses....I have $20K worth of product invested in my kit/tools/etc., and that's not even including items like makeup wipes, lashes, etc. that I go through in bulk each year. I spent $800 I lashes alone last year, and that's at $1 a pair....it adds up, for sure! Add in insurance, marketing, education and other business expenses, as well as the actual time involved in consulting, creating contracts, handling payments, and the event itself....any artist who charges less than the minimums I mentioned cannot make a living, that's why it's a dead giveaway that they aren't a pro if they charge less. Hope that all makes sense! I am happy to send you pricing if you like...I don't know your date or if I'm open, but mainly I just wanted to take the time to give you the info you need to make a good decision. it's not cheap....great bridal beauty is an investment, but a worthwhile one. You and your girls will enjoy a fun and stress free day getting ready with people who know exactly what to do to make everyone happy and stay on schedule, plus you'll all look and feel fabulous. You'll love your photos and video, and you won't be focused on anything other that enjoying every moment of the day...because you'll look amazing! If you go the cheaper route, you are risking major regret....awful makeup and hair, an artist being late or not showing up, or not getting everyone done and running late because they don't specialize in weddings and the necessary timelines....all real things that can and do happen.

 Also, your post mentioned natural makeup and hair that's down (not pinned up), neither makes a difference in regard to pricing. Fabulous natural makeup takes the same amount of time (sometimes more) than more dramatic looks, and same with down-do's....updo's can often be faster than curling and doing down-do's. Pro's don't charge different prices according to the look you desire, it's standard across the board, because what you're paying for is a culmination of experience, time and product, and there isn't much difference between softer natural looks and dramatic ones. I forgot to mention, and I guess this is important! I have been a pro makeup artist for 24 years, specializing in weddings for 18....I've done nearly a thousand of them, currently about 70 each year. I am passionate about bridal beauty....I love what I do! I use licensed and very skilled hair contractors for my brides who ask me to provide hair services....the girls I use also work for a couple of other top makeup pros in DFW and they're awesome. I focus on my area of expertise, which is bridal makeup! You can check out my work at LipServiceMakeup.com, Facebook, Instagram.....it's all over, lots of images for you to see, plus lots of articles I've written on wedding and beauty tips. Regardless of anything, I'd love to have you as a follower on social media if you enjoy what you see. If you want more info on my specifics for your wedding, then please email me at lipservicemakeup@gmail.com. If not, no worries at all....like I said I just want you to have the correct info so you can have amazing wedding day makeup, whomever you should choose to hire. I wish you all the best _______!! JT"

Sorry, that's really long, but I need to say more than "that's just what it costs", right?  I don't know about you, but I'm willing to pay for something better, especially when I really understand WHY it's better. (Yes, I drove my parents nuts with "Why" questions when I was a kid!  No different as an adult....give me the REASON.) I wasn't really concerned about her booking me personally...honestly! I just wanted her to feel confident that the pricing she'd been given was indeed legit, and that she'd be going down the wrong road to hire someone who charged a lot less. If you're getting married....next week, next year or 5 years from now....this is info you need to know, and they don't really talk about it in bridal magazines or blogs. Hear me please when I tell you...YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. Bridal beauty is not the time to bargain shop. Cheap prices...meaning anything well below the industry standards...are NOT a good thing. Why?
   Let's recap the top 5 reasons:
Image: Credit.com
  1. Cheap often = inexperienced. You'll find cheap rates at blow-dry bars or volume beauty services.  I love an inexpensive blowout on occasion too, but I guarantee you the top bridal beauty experts in your city aren't working at a blow dry bar or an uber cheap mobile beauty service! Those options are where new people go to get their career started. Nothing wrong with that, but let's face it...you don't want a brand-new artist using your face and your wedding as an experimental training ground.
  2. Cheap and Shady are only good when describing sunglasses! An artist who undercharges could be undercutting local competition to steal business.  This means they are a jerk with shady ethics.  Do you want to trust a jerk with making sure you look your best on wedding day?  (Short answer....um, NO.)
  3. They're Cheap because they're desperate. They might be cheap because they are desperate for business and will accept ANYTHING, even if it's well below typical rates.  Think about it...if they were talented and reputable, they would have full schedules and wouldn't be desperate.
  4. Cheap Means They Aren't business savvy. You can't make a living charging really low rates....period.  Done correctly, this is an expensive business....quality cosmetics and skin care, tools and brushes, bulk supplies, insurance, education, marketing, etc.  Any legit artist has crunched the numbers and charges appropriately because they actually do this for a living and are invested in their career...and invested in their reputation, so if they don't?  Yep, dead giveaway that they are not a pro.  Don't hire someone who does bridal makeup as a once in a while hobby!  Regardless of how they might try to frame it up to make some cash, someone who plays with their Caboodle and practices contour along with Youtube videos in their bedroom is NOT a makeup artist, and they definitely are not capable of handling the most important makeup you'll ever have done.
  5. An artist who charges below market rates doesn't value their work.  If they don't value their time and skills, why should you? Think about it. Super low rates convey pretty clearly that they don't think their makeup skills are up to par...why would that be ok with you as a customer, especially on your wedding day?!  A great artist knows that they can deliver, and has confidence that they're worth their rates. That's the person you want in charge of making you look fabulous on your big day.

We all love a good deal...myself included!  There's nothing like the excitement of finding a pair of $250 shoes on sale for $100, or getting a good deal on your new cell phone......I get it completely. But in the land of bridal hair and makeup....going cheap is a HUGE risk that you'll regret.  Just ask anyone who DID go cheap....you'll hear stories of artists not showing up, makeup so bad it had to be washed off and the bride had to reapply herself, the artists taking so long that the bride was late to her own wedding...and on, and on and on. (I heard a particularly shocking story recently...that might turn into a separate post!) I've lost track of how many last minute brides I've squeezed in because a fly by night makeup artist bailed at the last minute or never showed up. Don't go that route...it's not worth the stress. On site Bridal Beauty Pros know exactly how to create perfect, long-lasting looks....and get everyone done on time!  Don't accept anything less for an occasion as important as your wedding.  Make your choice based on style, personality, reputation, portfolio, referrals, good reviews.....not price.  If you choose someone based on price alone, you're wasting the money you do spend.

I know what you're thinking....what if I don't live in Dallas/Fort Worth, how do I know what my market rates are so I can find a legit artist? Pricing does vary...it's less is smaller cities, and quite a bit more in places like New York and LA. Check back with me here, I have a future post in the works with tips on how to shop for a makeup artist and how to check someone out before you even call or email them. (Plus there are a few more helpful tips here.)  One of the best things you can do? Talk to trusted wedding planners and photographers in your city.....no one understands the value of flawless bridal beauty more than these vendors, and they can point you to reputable artists who specialize in bridal beauty and charge standard rates for your area.  Trust me, there's bound to be dozens and dozens of trusted, experienced and talented professionals where you live that charge what they do...because they're worth it.
Image: Jessica D'Onofrio Photography

I never did hear back from that bride, but that's OK! I felt better just knowing she had the FULL SCOOP, and I think she did wind up hiring one of the girls she had already received pricing from, so hopefully my message helped her feel more confident in her decision. Mission accomplished!  SO....let's wrap this all up with a little bow....

Ladies, you have one chance...ONE....to look and feel like a million bucks on your wedding day, and in the photos and video that you'll cherish for years to come.  I said it in my message to that bride and I'll say it again....

"Bridal Beauty is an investment, but it's worth it!"

Still have questions?  Did you or someone you know go the cheap route with your bridal beauty and regret it?  Share in the comments!

(All Makeup on this page, and on this website by Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup)

Copyright Lip Service Makeup 2015

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