5 Tips To Get The Most Out Of Your Hair And Makeup Trial

Hair and makeup is such an important part of your wedding! Your wedding day is the single most photographed day of your life and your hair and makeup is in all of those photos. We’ve teamed up with our friend Carrie from Paper Dolls Wedding Hair and Makeup to walk you through an underrated part of the hair and makeup process; the trial. Check out her tips below.

The Importance of a Hair and Makeup Trial

I recommend that all brides do a trial run. It gives you and your artist an opportunity to work together in a low stress environment to create the perfect wedding day look. I’ve put together a few tips to help you get the most out of your trial run experience.

1. Search For Inspiration, But There’s Always Room To Combine and Create Looks

Thanks to all the wedding blogs, online wedding magazines, Pinterest, Instagram and Google you have plenty of resources to find inspiration for your hair! Try to find models with hair color similar to yours for your hair inspiration. Try narrowing your searches by searching specific things. Instead of “low bun” try searching “brunette low bun”. Instead of “wedding hair” search “bridal half up style”.
Most hair pictures only show the style from the back or the side. Remember that you can choose elements from multiple pictures to create the perfect wedding day style! These photos only serve as a guide to get you and your stylist on the same page at your trial run.
I love when brides say “I like the look and shape of the bun on this photo but I like the placement of the bun better on this other photo and I love the texture and volume on this photo”. You don’t have to find one perfect photo of the look you want! If you plan on wearing a veil and/or hair piece you should bring it along to the trial run if possible.
Also, don’t eliminate styles you love because you assume your hair won’t do something or that you won’t have enough hair for it! Most talented artists can give you the hair of your dreams you may just need to get clip in extensions or filler hair for the style!

2. Learn To Read The Makeup In Photos

When searching for makeup inspiration try to find models with a similar skin tone to yours. For example if you are fair with freckles try searching specific hashtags and keywords like “natural makeup for fair skin”. Searching for makeup inspiration pictures can be tricky! You have to look past the pretty face in the picture and actually look at the makeup in the photo. Here is an example of how I usually break the photo down into sections when a bride shows it to me. For some reason I always start with the eyes!


  • What colors can I see on her eyes?  determine what colors I see on her eyes and make sure that my bride is on the same page as me
  • What color is her eyeliner? Is it winged? Is there a liner along the waterline (inside on the bottom) or not?
  • What about a shadow along the bottom lash line?
  • Are there false lashes?
  • Is the cheek peachy, pink or bronze?
  • What about a shimmer/highlight on the top of the cheek?
  • Is there contouring below the blush to chisel out the cheekbones?
  • Usually for this step we go with the brides preference and try to keep her in her comfort zone. Most brides have a color they wear every day and incorporating that can help you feel like yourself!
  • Is the finish on the skin dewey and glowing or is it more matte?
These are just a few things to consider when looking at a makeup inspiration photo! Try to imagine each element of the photo on your face. Talk through each of these steps with your artist prior to starting the makeup trial run. Don’t ever just show a photo and have the artist just start right up on you! Each face is different and the makeup needs to be customized to accentuate YOUR best features, not look like a carbon copy of a pinterest photo! Also, try to avoid photos that are super edited and filtered. Everyone has pores – even celebrities!

3. Think About The Timing Of Your Hair And Makeup Trial

Try to schedule your trial run on a day where the weather is similar to what it will be on the wedding day. This can be tricky when planning from out of town but it’s really important, as your hair may hold up beautifully in a down style at your trial run in January, but it may not stand a chance in the Charleston humidity in July. Also, try to wear your hair and makeup after the trial run for as long as possible to really test out the longevity of it – your wedding day is going to be long and you want to make sure that your hair and makeup will last. After all, that’s what a trial run is for!

4. Schedule Your Trial and Bridal Portraits Together

If you are planning on doing bridal portraits, try to schedule them the same day as your hair and makeup trial run. If you aren’t planning on doing bridal portraits you could always schedule your dress fitting for the same day – this way you’ll be able tovsee your entire look put together.

5. Let Your Artist Know What You’re Thinking

This is the most important tip I can give you! If you aren’t 100% sure about anything at all SPEAK UP! We are professionals and we won’t get our feelings hurt if you want to see a different style or change something about the hair and/or the makeup! We really, truly want our brides to love their hair and makeup on their wedding day and the whole point of the trial is to try different things so we get it right. Don’t ever walk out wishing you had asked to have something changed – a true professional won’t get upset.

Hope you enjoyed this article! Check out Paper Dolls Bridal Hair and Makeup for your wedding day  and of course, all photos were taken by Nicholas Gore Weddings. Let us know what you think in the comments below.