The Dos And Don'ts Of Getting Your Makeup Professionally Done

To get your makeup done, or not get your makeup done? That is the question. We all love a good makeup session, but maybe not so much the price tag. When the next big event or fancy date night rolls around, you may ask yourself if it's worth it to shell out the money for a professional makeup artist. If doing makeup is your jam — by all means, you probably don't need a professional. However, big events like your prom, your wedding, or a red-carpet event are all great excuses to treat yourself. On the other hand, if the thought of doing full glam yourself makes you want to run for the hills, then it is probably time call in the big guns. Once you decide to hire a pro, keep in mind that getting your makeup done should be exciting, enjoyable, and empowering. After your time in the makeup chair is up, you should look into the mirror and see an image that looks like you, but shines a little brighter. 

To help ensure your appointment is smooth sailing, we compiled some of the best practices and tips from makeup professionals and experts to help make sure you the get the look you've been dreaming about and have a pleasant time every step of the way. So, if you want to know how to have your best professional makeup appointment ever, then read our definitive guide below on the dos and don'ts of getting your professional makeup done.

Do: Book an appointment in advance

Some salons and makeup artists may allow walk-ins, but to be on the safe side, be sure to call ahead and secure your spot. This is especially true if you are getting your makeup done for an event. For a standard formal event, begin booking a few months out, and for a wedding allow even more time. "Bridal makeup artists book up months, sometimes a year, in advance," professional makeup artist Elena Miglino told Brides. "When choosing your artist, you want to make sure they are a bridal makeup artist, meaning they do weddings and understand the severity of the day. Make sure they have a contract and are 100 percent professional." 

Additionally, prior to your appointment make sure to do your homework and research what kind of style you are looking for, so you can clearly articulate you desired makeup aesthetic to your artist. Bring a few realistic photos for inspiration to show to your makeup artist.

Don't: Do harsh beauty treatments right before your appointment

The maxim "less is more" is apt for those who have an upcoming professional makeup appointment. Certain beauty treatments, such as waxing, lasers, and aggressive exfoliation, might cause the skin to be red and extra sensitive, which could cause a painful experience, as well as less-than-desirable end results. Makeup artist Mimi Tran advises, "Do not get your brows waxed (or any facial waxing) the day you are getting your makeup done. Besides the area being sensitive and red, foundation has a hard time adhering to or sitting well on the waxed skin" (via Byrdie). 

This sage advice is especially pertinent for soon-to-be brides who should quell their adventurous inclinations for harsh treatments or new products shortly before the big day. "The last thing you need a few weeks before your wedding is a bad reaction to something new you tried. So just keep using things that work for you — now isn't the time to change it up," explains New York–based aesthetician Sofie Pavitt to Vogue.

Do: Brush your teeth

The day of a big event is usually jam-packed with last minute to-do items, so it's very easy when you're in a rush to leave the house in such a whirlwind that brushing your teeth becomes an afterthought. However, the day of your makeup appointment try to allow yourself some extra time, because you don't want to make the mistake of having food in your teeth or — gasp — bad breath. This is because during your makeup appointment, you will be seated very close to your makeup artist and getting some quality one-on-one, face-to-face time, so they will be grateful if you hit the toothpaste before arriving. Furthermore, according to Benefit's Head Makeup Artist, Lisa Potter-Dixon, it is also best protocol to apply moisturizer and brush your teeth before applying makeup. Brushing your teeth after your makeup is set could mess up your lipstick, so do yourself (and your makeup artist) a favor by brushing your pearly whites ahead of time (via Glamour UK).

Don't: Rush the appointment

Be a courteous guest and arrive a little early, because not only is arriving late rude, but it could mess up the flow of appointments for the entire day. Every appointment has a set timeframe that allows for a brief consultation to go over the plan, discuss your desired look, and answer any questions. Then you will get into the actual makeup application phase. Finally, after the application has finished many makeup artists have a cleanup phase where they disinfect all the tools and brushes they used so it is ready for their next client. 

Overall, appointments typically last 45-60 minutes, according to makeup services provider Blushington. If you arrive late, you risk throwing off the timing for the day and making your artist rush through your appointment, which could hinder the overall result. Makeup artists approach their trade as a true craft and art form, which is not something that is meant to be rushed or hurried. Senior Blushington makeup artist Lauren Serra noted, "For best results, you don't want your appointment to be rushed." Remember: Art takes time.

Do: Wear a robe or button down top

To have a seamless wardrobe change into your event outfit (or whatever you want to wear after your appointment) it is best not to have to pull clothing over your head, as this could risk messing up your makeup and even smudging makeup onto your clothing. Wear something comfortable and easy to take on and off, such as a button down top, front-zip sweatshirt, or robe. 

Furthermore, make sure you wear something you don't mind getting a little dirty and that can easily be washed in the case of any makeup spills during the application process. Before changing into your final look, make sure your makeup is fully set and your hands are clean to avoid getting any unwanted stains on your outfit. If you can't step into your outfit, try shielding your face with a plastic bag or scarf, like some Twitter users suggested (via Allure). Your makeup should stay on your face, not on your clothes.

Don't: Go overboard

Many makeup pros talk about how it is best to focus on one feature to play up instead of trying to highlight them all. Trying to do a smokey eye and a bold lip at the same time can leave a harsh and overdone impression, and more is not always better when it comes to makeup. Instead of asking your artist to put a hundred different colors on your face, trust them when they have something more streamlined in mind. 

To achieve a balanced yet stunning look, ask your artist to curate your look around one feature you want to draw attention to. To pull focus toward your eyes, go for a smokey eye look. You can look to the '90s as key inspiration and as an aesthetic that is making a comeback. "The rise of the '90s smoke contrasts with the over-embellished, elaborate eye makeup of today," MAC makeup artist Dominic Skinner told Harper's Bazaar. "There's a chicness to the simplicity of a dark eyelid and a transition shade through the socket — it's classic so will always work." Your artist will likely pair a smokey eye with a nude or light pink lip color. 

In contrast, for a bold lip, keep it simple by going with a classic or deep red hue and then leaving the rest of your face bare or with minimal makeup to emphasize your lips and natural beauty (via Into The Gloss).

Do: Arrive to your appointment with a fresh face and an open mind

The morning of your appointment, do your usual skincare routine — cleanse, tone, and moisturize — making sure you are using gentle and moisturizing ingredients, so your skin is smooth and ready for makeup application (via L'Oréal). (Pro tip: don't skip the SPF!) Coming in with a blank slate and an open mind will provide the perfect canvas for your artist to work from. 

"We should do something fun and different that you normally wouldn't do or buy," advises makeup artist Gabriel Almodovar. Part of the fun of getting your makeup done is being able to achieve a look you wouldn't be able to on your own, so feel free to play around and have fun with new aesthetics. (However, if you are doing makeup for your wedding, pros recommend you don't stray too far out of your comfort zone.) 

When it comes to skin prep and products, your makeup artist will have skincare products available for use. However, if you have a skin condition, be sure to tell your artist or use your own skincare products ahead of time. If you have any questions regarding your skin and makeup, feel free to ask your artist during your appointment as questions arise. Finally, depending on the type and style of makeup you are having applied, ask your artist about the best way to remove your makeup at the end of the night and whether they recommend any skincare steps for afterwards.

Don't: Forget to do a trial-run for important events

For big events such as weddings, many makeup artists will offer a trial appointment (for an additional fee) ahead of time to make sure you know what you want and so the makeup artist can nail your look on the big day. According to Glamsquad, the concierge beauty service provider, the bridal makeup trial can be thought of as a comprehensive consultation that allows you to dive deep into all things bridal makeup with a bridal-certified makeup artist. During your appointment, you can discuss your expectations, aesthetics, and get any questions answered. 

Additionally, your artist will do a full application so you can understand the process. This is a great way to try out different aesthetics and see how your desired inspiration looks you have found on Pinterest or Instagram translate onto your face. By the end of the appointment, you should be able to verify the type of aesthetic you like, so you have a game plan moving forward with your artist and you will know exactly what to expect during your appointment on the actual day.

Do: Communicate with your artist

Great communication is the key to any good relationship, and that includes the one you have with your makeup artist. Being able to speak openly is crucial to feeling comfortable with the process and to ensuring that you end up with the exact look you want. One makeup artist stressed to Reader's Digest the importance of being honest with your makeup artist to ensure customer satisfaction and happiness: "An important part of being a makeup artist involves having an open dialogue with our clients. If you don't like something, speak up, so we can change it." 

We know that at times it can be difficult to voice your opinion, because you don't want to come across as rude or ungrateful, but as long as you speak to your artist with kindness and respect, they will appreciate your feedback, even if it errs more on the side of constructive criticism than complimentary.

Don't: Forget to take care of your skin the week leading up to your appointment

Great makeup starts with great skin. And getting great skin is not something that happens overnight, there are many components that go into healthy skin, such as genes, lifestyle, overall health, and your skincare routine. But to maximize skin health and beauty, start taking extra good care of your face in the days leading up to your appointment. A week prior to your appointment be sure you are keeping up with your regular skincare routine, which includes cleansing, moisturizing, SPF, light exfoliation, and feeding your skin from within, so think healthy foods and lots of water. 

The skin whisperer Dr. Nicholas Perricone recommends the anti-inflammatory diet for extra glowy skin. According to Perricone, the diet consists of "food and beverages that help maintain normal levels of insulin and blood sugar. Go for high-quality protein, such as fish, shellfish, poultry, and tofu. Salmon, halibut, trout, and other cold-water fish give skin a great glow, as does taking at least three capsules of omega-3 fish oil supplements per day. Stick to low-glycemic carbohydrates such as colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. Don't go fat-free — that will ensure a dull, dry complexion — but eat healthy fats," says Perricone (via Glamour). He also recommends drinking green tea, which is high in antioxidants, and enough water to keep you hydrated. 

Do: Bring special products that you want incorporated

Make artists will typically carry a makeup kit, which is a beauty arsenal stocked full of their own supply of favorite tools, as well as skincare and makeup products at the ready for their clients. However, if there are specific products you would like to use because you have an allergy to a specific ingredient or have very sensitive skin, you are welcome to bring any products you would like them to incorporate (via Dapper & Divine). 

For example, if you have rosacea or a specific skin condition that doesn't play well with certain products explain to your artist how your skin reacts and share your products you would like them to use instead. If you have specific products that you want utilized, make sure to arrive to your appointment with the products and discuss at the beginning of your appointment which products you have brought. 

If you have questions or want recommendations about beauty products, be sure to discuss with your artist, because most makeup artist are hardcore beauty lovers and love chatting about their favorite products.

Don't: Be judgmental of yourself, or overly critical of your flaws

It can be intimidating to bare your makeup-free face to a stranger. That insecurity can be compounded by the constant comparison to celebrities and photos we see in the media. When we are looking on Instagram, Pinterest, or in magazines for inspiration for our makeup looks, it's easy to feel bombarded by images of women who have what appear to be perfect baby soft skin, unearthly bone structure, and toned, thin bodies. What is not typically disclosed is that behind the façade, these photos often utilize filters, Photoshop, and medical and/or expert intervention. Images of models are not representative of what real, unaltered humans look like. The more we compare ourselves to these unrealistic images, the more we despair and bring on negative psychological consequences (via Science Direct). 

It is critical to remember that nobody is perfect, and makeup is a tool to enhance our natural beauty, not a vehicle in which to achieve perfection. Even though our society teaches us otherwise, perfection is not an attainable goal, and the pursuit of such a goal is a dangerous endeavor.

Do: Trust your makeup artist and be respectful

Remember that the artist doing your makeup is a professional, and they consider their work a craft and true art form. They likely have spent hours training and practicing, so instead of trying to control the appointment and micromanage their application, you will be better served if you sit back, relax, and let them take the wheel. If you are new to makeup or don't consider yourself skilled at the art of putting on makeup, your time spent at the appointment can be a great educational moment, where you can learn tips and tricks of the trade that you can take with you into your everyday life and use the next time you want do your makeup. It is also important to note that makeup artists are of a different category than aestheticians or cosmetologists, so be sure to address them with the correct title and come to them with reasonable expectations for their specific line of work (via Masterclass). 

Don't: Forget to tip your makeup artist

Just like any other beauty service, tipping is part of the etiquette and will be very much appreciated. According to Thumbtack, the average national rate for professional makeup services ranges from $125 to $165. However, prices can vary depending on the location and services required (bridal makeup is notoriously higher priced). When paying be sure to factor in tip, 15%-20% of the total price per industry standards. "A tip helps guarantee your people show up to the best of their ability," wedding hair and makeup pro Mia Hendrickson told Brides. "It energizes and inspires hair and makeup artists to [do things] bigger, brighter, and better."

Also, prior to your appointment, be sure to inquire the best form of payment (cash, card, check, or digital), as well as whether the artist requires a deposit beforehand. If you have the payment and financial questions all squared away prior to your appointment, then you can just relax and enjoy the process when the day comes.

Do: Enjoy your new look

After all the time and money that went into creating your new look, you deserve to enjoy your makeover and feel the boost of confidence that comes with having a great makeup day. As Cardi B says, "I feel beautiful without makeup on, but when I do put makeup on, it just gives me this extra pop" (via Byrdie). In a similar vein, you don't need to wear makeup to be beautiful; however, many enjoy the subtle transformation that comes with the application skills of someone who has been professionally trained. So whether you decide to get your makeup done for your wedding, school dance, big work event, fancy date or just for fun remember that the point of getting your makeup done is to treat yourself and help enhance your natural beauty. Don't get stressed out trying to control everything, because you might miss out on the fun of a makeover. So get your glam on — minus the stress!