Guide to Finding a NYC Makeup Artist
New York City is still a hotbed of creativity. An enduring center for media and high fashion, the city is rife with modelling and editorial shoots, high-profile events, and, of course, New York Fashion Week. As a result, NYC makeup artists are plentiful—and typically busy, especially if they are good. In an industry where practice makes perfect, this means you’re faced with a selection of some of the most experienced and talented makeup artists in the world. The question? How to pick the right one for you.
A luxurious wedding-day experience begins with clarity and peace of mind, not chaos and confusion. When it comes time to find a NYC makeup artist for one of the most significant days of your life, you may run into an overwhelming amount of material. From wedding magazines to bridal blogs, you have a wealth of information at your fingertips, but not necessarily the answers you seek. Based off of the questions I’m most frequently asked—and the ones I should be asked more—here is SB Beauty’s official guide to finding an NYC wedding makeup artist.
Where’s the best place to begin my search?
That’s easy—Instagram. Where else? The most visual social media network offers a hidden map of NYC makeup artists. I recommend you start with the basics: Your wedding planner, photographer, and venue. Ask each of them for their preferred vendor lists, and then head straight to their Instagram pages to get sleuthing. Determine who previous brides at your venue have used, what about your NYC friends? Go down the rabbit hole. The more photos you see, the better sense you’ll get of what you do and don’t like. And don’t give up too quickly—the next photo tag you click on just might be the one.
Should I hire multiple teams, or just one?
While some brides hire different teams for different portions of their wedding party in attempts to cut costs, I highly recommend sticking to one team. Most NYC makeup artists, SB Beauty included, can service anywhere from two to 25 guests. Working with just one team simplifies the planning process, saving you from communicating and coordinating with multiple teams, and allowing for a smooth and seamless event day. When time is money, it’s the wisest way to spend.
Should I find a makeup artist who also does hair?
Absolutely! While it’s not standard that every makeup artist will also offer hair styling, opting for one that does circles back to the answer above. The fewer teams you’re working with, the more simple and predictable your day will be. At SB Beauty, we offer both hair and makeup services. We find that keeping everything under the same roof is best, providing the most enjoyable, stress-free experience for our brides.
What type of makeup will the best NYC makeup artists use?
Good question! While makeup artists may use popular name brand makeup, many NYC makeup artists—SB Beauty included—may also use makeup artist only lines that you’ve never heard of. These products contain the color, vibrancy, and longevity necessary for a long, photo- and event-filled wedding day. So, while makeup quality is certainly important, being open to artists who use lines you’re unfamiliar with is a good practice—and may even be something you actively seek. At SB Beauty, we provide each attendant with a makeup touch-up kit, giving them a few products to hold onto throughout the duration of the event.
How can I tell if a makeup artist is the right fit?
This is crucial. Finding not just any makeup artist, but one that will provide a true luxury experience is key. A high-end service will take a very personalized approach, accounting for your style, catering to your time wishes, and taking care of your day-of needs beyond just the makeup. While you won’t necessarily be able to determine all of this from an initial phone call, being given the opportunity to communicate with the owner of the company is important—and a telltale sign that your experience will be a priority. You’ll also be able to gauge whether or not an artist is for you—based on the way they approach the trial process, and how much they’re willing to personalize it. While it may sound basic, don’t forget to read online reviews while screening prospective makeup artists—it’ll give you valuable first-hand insight.
What can I expect during the trial process?
Above all, the beauty trial process should be highly personalized and enjoyable. Personalized because it’s necessary—and enjoyable, so that you know you can relax during the ramp-up to your walk down the aisle (and beyond).
At SB Beauty, it all starts with you coming into the studio. We’ll look at pictures of your dress, your hair and makeup inspiration, and any accessories you’re looking to incorporate into your look to get a solid understanding of the look you’re creating—and the overall vision you’re creating for your big day. Then, we’ll apply the trial makeup. You’ll give us feedback, we’ll make the appropriate tweaks and changes, and we’ll land on the perfect natural, enhanced look—with a pop. Make a point to ask that you receive the same artist for your trial as your wedding day. With any luxury makeup service, this should be standard—but best to double check.
Like many services, we accept bookings a year or more in advance. While you can choose to lock-in your trial session before or after booking, we do recommend you do it as soon as possible—the best NYC wedding makeup artists tend to book up quickly. At SB Beauty, any phone consultations to work out your trial schedule and beauty vision are complimentary. It’s a delicate, personal process—and we aim to make it as painless and pleasant as possible from the moment you pick up the phone to call us.
What is a bridal beauty timeline? Do all NYC makeup artists use them?
A lot of unexpected things can happen on a wedding day—and the last thing any bride wants is panic and chaos. To ensure that your day is as simple and stress-free as possible, it’s vital that you select a makeup artist that knows how to create—and refine—a bridal beauty timeline for you. At SB Beauty, this timeline is a beautiful spreadsheet. It details everything that is going to happen the morning of the wedding, and at what time. We work closely with your team—from your planner to your photographer—to create this timeline. We make it as detailed and as flexible as possible—accounting for any and all hiccups that may arise.
The timeline accounts for every attendant getting their makeup done. This way, everyone can relax knowing they’ll be taken care of—from the initial application to their touch-up time—relaxing and enjoying the pampering instead of being anxious about it. We’ll take special care to make sure the bride has the opportunity to finish early—easing everyone’s nerves and providing a seamless and joyful experience.
How long will I have the artist on my wedding day?
As part of the luxury experience, many NYC makeup artists will offer additional, optional touch-up time. This means your artist will stay for an extended period of time, adjusting for any hair, makeup, or outfit changes, accompanying you to central park for photos, and keeping everybody fresh. At SB Beauty, this time may include anything from buttoning up complicated dresses to dusting off jacket shoulders and blotting nervous foreheads. We’re more than happy to step in anywhere, understanding that one look in the air conditioning may require a bit more attention in the summer breeze.
Will I be pressured by my makeup artist to follow a certain look?
This is a major misconception in the makeup artist industry, and is something you shouldn’t have to worry about with your wedding makeup. While certain artists may lean towards a certain style, as a bride, you should never be pressured to agree to a certain look. Like most high-end wedding services, SB Beauty offers a natural enhanced look—with a pop. You’ll still look like you on your wedding day, and we’ll follow your wishes like any good makeup artist would, never bullying you into anything. We understand that you want to be heard, and we’re here to listen. The same goes for your bridesmaids and other attendants. We’ll come equipped with a wide variety of colors and shades—ensuring that we have options for people of every color, preference, and taste.
Your bridal beauty process should be as painless, enjoyable, and exciting as possible—search included. Sifting through all of the resources available can be exhausting, but sticking to this guide should set you on a path for bridal beauty success. If you have any lingering questions about finding a NYC wedding makeup artist—or about SB Beauty in particular—get in touch today.