Not every bride will need, want, or care to have a hair or makeup trial, or indeed professionally styled hair or makeup on their wedding day, and that’s perfectly okay.

But, maybe you’re a bride who simply wants peace of mind? Knowing that hair and makeup are two items ticked off the list of things to worry about ahead of your wedding can be freeing. In that case, I’d highly recommend booking in a trial.

Having your very own glam squad on the morning of your wedding is fun and relaxing. And for me anyway, hugely confidence-boosting.

If you’re someone who panics at the thought of having your makeup done by someone else, or is nervous about how your chosen hairstyle will work with your type of hair, then having a practice run will ensure you’re happy with the pro you’ve chosen, and the look they’re going to give you on your wedding day.

So, to help you make the most of your hair or makeup trials I’ve put together a bunch of tips. I’ve gathered advice from my own experience and my friends’ own trials. Plus, I’m bending the ear of every hairstylist and makeup artist I meet!

1. Be Armed with Ideas (But, Not Too Many)

While I was sure on the hair front (I had a single screenshot from Instagram), I went to my own makeup trial with a folder on my phone filled with pictures of makeup ideas, and they were all a bit different from each other. It just left the makeup artist a bit confused about what I was looking for.

Likewise saying you’re ‘fine with whatever they think’ is equally frustrating to a professional who wants you to feel like you on your big way.

Take time to go through Pinterest or Instagram. Or, look to your favorite celebrities or beauty bloggers for a look you love. Bringing pictures will definitely help. We recently published 6 modern bridal hairstyles we love perfect for 2022 & 2023 brides.

2. Bring Your Makeup Bag and Go-To Products

If you have products you love, you know work for you, or that last well on your skin or in your hair, bring them along with you.

Your stylist might not choose to use them. But, it will be helpful for them when they’re selecting tones or figuring out what’s best to use for your hair or skin type.

Lipstick in particular is something you’ll be topping up throughout your wedding day. So, it’s helpful to have one you already own or will buy for your big day, so you can freshen up afterward.

As for your hair, if you have them, bring your hair accessories or veil with you too.

Photo by Sarah Ingram with Hair & Makeup by Katie Gurley Artistry

3. Not All ‘Naturals’ Are Created Equally

Your idea of ‘natural beachy waves’ or ‘natural makeup’ might be very different from your hairstylist or makeup artist’s idea.

One hairstylist I spoke to, said that when brides say they want ‘beachy hair’ they really want more of a Hollywood wave, but are terrified of ending up with tight curls. Again, this is why it’s so important to bring visual aids to show exactly what you mean when you say ‘natural’.

I, for example, wanted ‘natural’ wedding makeup. But, by the end of my trial, I was asking my makeup artist to load on even more false lashes. I’m obsessed!

4. Budget It In

Many brides are shocked at the price of hair and makeup trials and often forget to factor them in while planning their beauty budget. Especially, if they end up having more than one or two.

Before you book, ask any potential hair and makeup artists about their trial prices and their wedding prices. This way you can definitely afford them for the big day if you love their work.

Also, be sure to ask them how much time they allow for a hair trial. Many only leave time to complete one look, leaving brides disappointed if they were hoping to try out several different styles.

5. Ask About Pre-Trial Prep

Depending on what you’re having done, and how long your stylist or artist has, you may need to come with your hair or skin prepped a certain way. For example, hair freshly washed or a day old, untouched skin or moisturized an hour in advance.

You’ll also want to replicate the real thing as closely as possible. So, if you’re planning to have a spray tan or tinted brows, try to have that done ahead of your trial too.

Likewise, try to have your hair about the length and condition it will be on the day. You don’t want newly cut bangs and bleached hair on your wedding morning to throw off your hairstylist!

6. Replicate Your Dress Colour & Neckline

This might seem silly, but if you’re wearing a white or off-white wedding dress, try to wear a similar color to your makeup trial.

This way you can see how your complexion looks and photographs against white (not always the most forgiving color!).

And for your hair trial, attempt to replicate the neckline of your dress. Whether it’s backless, strapless or off-the-shoulder – it will give you a better idea of how your hairstyle will look and sit on the day. You’ll ensure you’re showing off your gown at its best.

7. Take Note of the Timings

A friend of mine said her makeup artist was really slow at the trial, but figured she’d be more prompt on the day. She ended up holding things up on the morning of the wedding. In the end, the bride and her bridesmaids were 40 minutes late to the church (and pretty stressed!).

Take note of how long your hair and makeup take during your trial. Talk to your stylist about timings on the day to make sure you allocate enough time for everyone in your pre-wedding prep gang to have their hair and makeup done. You’ll want time to spare for any last-minute mishaps.

8. Ask Lots of Questions

Make the most of your hair or makeup trial by asking your hairstylist or makeup artist lots of questions. Ask for tips, get the products they’re using. And, find out how you can better prep your hair and skin for your big day. Inquire if there are some products you should invest in for freshening up throughout the day.

Likewise, make sure you ask them everything you need about logistics for the day. Find out how much space they’ll need, and what lighting they should have. Ask how they accept payment and how much time they’ll spend between you and your bridal party or family, etc.

Take your chance to ask all the questions you can so you don’t need to chase them up afterward.

9. Be Honest

If you don’t like what they do, tell them. Now, I need to take my own advice on this. I’ve left the hairdresser with a smile on my face only to cry outside on countless occasions!

The whole point of a hair or makeup trial is to try out a look. That way you can make tweaks before your wedding day. Things like fuller brows, a different lip color, or looser up-style, can easily be fixed while you’re at your trial.

If the problem is something more significant like poor quality products, the wrong foundation color, bad service or the makeup artist or hairstylist simply not listening to what you want, it’s probably best to take the hit. Consider it money well spent on a mishap avoided, and book in another trial with someone new.

10. Make Plans for Afterwards

I’ve added this final tip for two reasons.

One: you’ll look gorgeous! So, make the most of your pro-styled hair or makeup. Go out dancing, get some cocktails or plan a special date night.

And two: giving your hair and makeup a proper test run means you can see how it wears over the course of a day or night. You can check how it looks in photographs. Plus, test and tweak any of the products you may need for longevity.

I got my hair and makeup trial on the day of my hen party. I can safely vouch that it looked as good when I woke up the next morning with bunny ears on, as it had when I walked out of the salon the afternoon before!

Find more hair & makeup tips in our Beauty section.