A hair and makeup trial is like speed dating for your overall wedding look.

You get to try out a bunch of different options to see which one gives you all the feels - kind of like how you found your soon-to-be spouse.

 By the end of it, you should feel just as over-the-moon ecstatic as you did when they popped the question (just don't tell your fiance).

Your hair and makeup should complement each other, rather than compete for the most attention. When it comes to your wedding day look, limit yourself to one or two focal points- a jeweled hair piece or a deep smoky eye- and keep everything else simple. Eyes will be drawn to what you want to emphasize, while the rest of your look supports those key elements.

When in doubt, embody Coco Chanel: “Before you leave the house [or in this case, walk down the aisle], look in the mirror and take one thing off.” Otherwise, you’ll end up looking like this:



A few months out, you’ll have a much clearer vision of your overall vibe and will be able to better explain what you’re looking for. You don’t need to have 6 months to think about what you chose and change your mind 1,000 times. Plus, doing your trial in the season you’re getting married will give you a sense of how your hair and skin will hold up in the climate. Think about it- your skin and hair probably feel a little different in December than they do in July, so it’s important for your stylists to get a realistic idea of how both should be managed.

Hair complements makeup and makeup complements hair, so seeing both done will give you an idea of your full look. Trust us, looking at yourself with only one done would leave you feeling naked and like something is missing. It’s not the eyeliner or lip color, it’s just that your makeup has been perfectly crafted but your air dried baby hairs are sticking up like alien antennas.




 Some trials are done in your own home, which makes it super convenient and comfortable for you. If this is the case, make sure you give your stylists everything they need. If you can't provide any of the below, don't freak out! Just give your stylists a heads up so they can come prepared.

Place a higher chair (like a stool) and a surface to set up on near a window with natural light (morning light is the best!). If natural light isn’t possible, the space should be brightly lit with white light, not yellow (a lot of artificial light can be warm or yellow toned, which can skew the color of your skin- and leave you with a face that doesn’t match your neck…cringe). Many artists have makeup lights they can travel with, so if you don’t have great light in your space, just let them know!

Set up a lower chair (like a standard dining chair) near an outlet or power strip so your stylists can utilize multiple tools. They will also need a surface to set up on, so make sure the area has a table or counter within reach.

It’s always a good idea to run your AC or fan for at least an hour before your trial. This will help ensure the room is cool, which can make all the difference. If the space is too warm, makeup can melt and hair can frizz, and you can end up looking like Hatchet-Face from Cry-Baby rather than a bridal beauty (NOT cute).


Plan for each trial to take 2 hours. While trials typically take 1-1.5 hours, you should block at least 2 hours per trial so you're not rushing out the door. You want enough time to get to know your stylists and try out a few different looks without stressing about time. However, make sure to ask your stylists how long they think they'll need, just in case they anticipate it taking longer than usual.




Set your stylists up for success.

It’s important that your skin and hair are prepped and ready to be worked on, so give both a little TLC the night before the trial.

It might be true that dirty hair holds a style better than clean, but no one likes feeling like a greaseball. Trials should always start with clean hair- we can “dirty” it up with products if need be. Shampoo twice and use a minimal amount of conditioner, and ask your stylist if they prefer it be washed the night before or morning of. Also check if they want your hair to be damp or dry- if dry, have them specify if they need pre-blown or air dried, and if they want you to use any product. For our curly/textured girls- if you’re wearing your hair naturally, consult with your stylist on how to best prep for the trial.


Make sure you have a clean, moisturized face. Using a light enzyme exfoliating cleanser like Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant will remove dead skin and provide a smooth canvas for makeup application. Your artist can provide suggestions for a customized skin regimen to give you the look you want, or you can check out our skin section here.


be ready with photos & inspo

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s worth even more when it comes to your trial. Images help your stylists understand what you are looking for, so have photos of everything listed below on hand.

  • Yourself with everyday hair/makeup and “going out” hair/makeup (this helps your stylists see how you’re used to looking)
  • Yourself at an event where you absolutely love your hair and makeup
  • Hair and makeup that you like (try to find photos of people with similar coloring- hair, eyes, skin)
  • Hair and makeup that you hate (to give your stylists a sense of your style)
  • Your dress, bridesmaids dresses, floral arrangements, and anything else you think portrays the overall vibe of the day


Should I bring my accessories?

If you have the jewelry you’re going to wear, bring it with you. It can be helpful for your makeup artist to know whether you are wearing silver or gold, and your hair stylist to know whether you are wearing dangling, stud, or statement earrings.

If you’re planning to wear a hair accessory (including a veil!) for the big day, or even just considering it, bring it with you! This is a great opportunity to see if it works with your style or not.

wtf do i wear?

The goal of a trial is to give you the full vision of how you’ll look on the big day- plus to give you all the feels. Try to wear a shirt that has a similar color and neckline as your dress to get the full effect. Colors can cause a skewed reflection onto the face which may change the way the makeup looks, so try to find something as similar as possible (and remember, ivory and white are different).

If you can’t find something close to your dress, just wear a robe and a strapless bra. This way, you can slip the robe off your shoulders when it’s time to see the finished look.

Should I get a spray tan for my trial?

If you plan to get a spray tan for your big day, it’s good idea to do a test run first.
Getting it before your hair and makeup trial will help your stylists see the skin tone you want to have for the wedding and adjust colors accordingly. They can also provide feedback on whether or not the tone works best for you, so you don’t end up looking like you’re auditioning for Jersey Shore.
If you aren’t able to get a spray tan before the trial, don’t stress! Your makeup artist will be able to make tweaks to your look even if you’re slightly tanner than you were at the trial.


Once you have a look you’re ecstatic about, your stylists should take photos of the finished product. This will help them remember what they did, and show you how the look translates on camera. Have them send you the photos so you can share them with the family and look back at what you chose.

If you want to take a selfie or two (or ten) throughout the day, remember to utilize natural or white light. You’ll look your best with the light shining evenly in front of you, rather than behind or off to the side.

Only share the trial photos with a select number of people. Showing too many people will just force you to listen to unsolicited options (give it a damn rest, Aunt Karen!). Don't let other people get in your head - trust your gut and only ask those closest to you who understand personal style.

Don't panic if your look doesn't last though dinner and drinks with your friends- or even your night of Netflix and wine. If you went from curls to straight to a messy bun all in the same trial, none of them will have been set to last all day (or else you'd have been in the chair for 5 hours).