Makeup Artists: What Are You Actually Paying For?

It’s 2019! What the actual..? Last year flew by in a haze of giving birth, trying to keep a small human alive and a whole host of wonderful weddings! But here we are already in a new year and I’m ready for it!

It’s that time of year when wedding planning begins to pick up, and you are undoubtedly on the search for flowers, cake, photographer and makeup. I often see comments on social media questioning how much some makeup artists cost compared to others and wondering if they are being “ripped off”. I have also seen some makeup artists charging as little as £15 - £20 for bridal makeup and accusing anyone who charges more as costing “way too much”.

IMG_1898 (1).JPG

I would like to take a wee bit of time to outline what I spend myself on the everyday running of my business to hopefully clear up why we charge what we charge!

Everyone’s favourite search engine, Google, is often the first port of call in finding wedding suppliers. Type in “Glasgow Makeup Artist”, and up pops my site on the first few pages. To create that website, I hired a web designer to design and build it. I had to pay to have my logo designed, to change and add pages, for web hosting and my URL. If I didn’t do any of this I would probably appear on page 1,000,000 of Google search, so it’s a necessity in my opinion! Who even bothers scrolling past page 2?

Alternatively, you may have found me via an online directory or wedding collective. I pay every year to advertise on these sites. And if you didn’t find me at any of those places, chances are you saw me on Facebook. Did you know that Facebook charges businesses to have their posts seen? If I posted something without paying money to Zucherberg, chances are it would be seen by about 45 people, which is crazy considering I have nearly 1500 followers! So that’s a whole bunch of money, before I even have a single booking.

I spend around 12 hours a week sending emails, making contracts up, social media-ing and sending out invoices. I technically don’t get paid for any admin hours I do, but I couldn’t run my business without doing it! For many brides who get in touch with me, they will go ahead and book a trial. Trials are such an important part of bridal makeup. They help us get to know each other better and understand what you want on your wedding day. It makes the wedding morning much for relaxed if we’ve met before and know each other a little. But where do trials happen? Sometimes I do up to 5 trials a day, so travelling round to everyone isn’t practical. To make this a little easier, I hire a studio space next to Glasgow Green with some other AMAZING wedding suppliers. Hiring a space means paying rent every month, but it also means I have a beautiful, bright, professional space I can bring all my brides to, where they can enjoy a cup of tea and chat whilst trying out their wedding makeup.


But before I can have anyone in my studio to have any makeup applied, I need insurance. If I didn’t have insurance, I wouldn’t be covered if anything went wrong. I wouldn’t have public liability insurance if someone fell over my makeup bag and broke their leg for example. I’m sure it makes all my brides much happier knowing this is all covered! The bottom line is, if you don’t have insurance (mine is with BABTAC), you shouldn’t be trading as a makeup artist. I pay this every year without fail. Another expense, but one I can’t do without.

I haven’t even mentioned the most important thing about my job yet! Makeup! Now I can’t say for sure how much I have spent on makeup in my 5 years as a makeup artist, but I’m willing to bet around £6000. At least. I need a shade of foundation for every skin tone. Foundation goes out of date, so needs to be replaced regularly, even if it’s hardly used. I need different primers for different skin. Some things need replaced every week like cotton wool, mascara, eyelashes and cotton buds. I need different coloured eyeliners (gel and pencil), a whole host of blushers (cream and powder), bronzers, highlighters, moisturisers for different skin types, and more eyeshadows than you can shake a stick at. Every lipstick needs a matching lip liner. The list goes on and on! But as a professional makeup artist, I can’t turn up to a job without every possible piece of kit I may need.

So you’ve had your trial and have decided I am the makeup artist for you. Great! There is nothing I love more than a happy bride who wants me to be part of her day. We arrange timings for the day, and your morning prep is starting at 7am in the deepest, darkest Scottish wilderness. Public transport isn’t going to get me there unfortunately, so I need a car to get to the majority of my weddings every week. My car isn’t cheap to run. It needs serviced yearly, petrol funds, and the usual wear and tear costs, MOTs, yadda yadda yadda. I simply could not do my job without my trusty green Fiat 500!


Your wedding day arrives, and I rock up at your beautiful venue in plenty of time. But it’s December, and pitch black outside. I can’t do makeup in the dark (trust me, I’ve done makeup for fashion shows in nightclubs before!). But my professional lighting system will save the day! I had this imported from America and is one of my best purchases as a makeup artist. I take this everywhere with me. Sometimes even the lighting in hotel rooms in the middle of the day isn’t great for makeup application, so I always make sure I have the equipment to apply your makeup as best as possible. You don’t want to be walking down the aisle with an orange glow!

After all of those expenses, which I’m sure most people would never even think about, the rest is used for me to live on. Makeup artistry is my bread and butter. This is what I do day in, day out, and is how I pay my bills and buy my food. It isn’t something I “do on the side” of another full time job. I pride myself on how I conduct myself at weddings, I have dealt with every situation imaginable! I have worked at roughly 300 weddings and someone with experience is invaluable on your wedding day. I have never let a bride down, which unfortunately can’t be said for many others working in the industry. Remember, your makeup is going to be on show all day long, as well as being in all of your pictures for years to come. So why try and scrimp on something so important?
Hopefully this has cleared up why makeup artists aren’t ripping anyone off. They charge what they do because it is their job, their passion, and guarantee you look absolutely gorgeous for you whole wedding day (and well in to the night!).

What to consider when searching for your perfect wedding makeup artist

As much as I like to think that once you’re engaged and you start planning your wedding, your wedding makeup artist is the first thing you’re going to think about, I know that’s not always the case… But once you have the “big things” organised like your venue, photographer, band and bridal alpacas (this is a thing. I have seen it with my own eyes), you will eventually think about the little bits and pieces that will help make your day extra special, and this is where your makeup artist comes in!


With makeup artistry becoming an increasingly popular profession, and everyone and their dog posting Instagram pictures and Youtube tutorials on a perfect glitter cut crease or “baking” (turns out this is not limited to Tuesday night GBBO binges), it has become difficult to sort the professionals from the inexperienced. Your wedding day is probably the only day of your life that is going to be photographed from beginning to end and will be looked back on for generations, so I think that’s a pretty good reason to find the makeup artist who is perfect for you!

Here are my top things to consider when searching for your perfect wedding makeup artist…



    You will probably have an idea in your head of how you want to look on your wedding day. And even if you don’t, you’ll certainly know what styles of makeup you really do or really don’t like. You might really like a makeup artist who does crazy contouring and bright eyeshadow with huge fluffy lashes, but unless that’s what you want to look like on your wedding day, they probably aren’t the one for you. Similarly, if you love carved out brows, spotlight eyes and highlighter as bright as the sun, don’t go for a makeup artist who has a more natural style. Although most makeup artists will be capable of doing any style of makeup, we definitely have our preferences, which is generally what we’ll show in our portfolios. So look at as many Instagrams, websites and facebooks as possible and find a style you like and can picture yourself wearing on your wedding day.


    Your makeup artist is one of the first people you will see on your wedding day. We arrive before you’ve even had your morning coffee and will be there until you’re in your dress and about to walk down the aisle, so it’s important that you can have some good chat. Some of my favourite wedding mornings have involved in-depth analysis of the latest episode of Grey’s Anatomy (noir spoilers please!). If you want to make sure you’ll click, organise a trial before booking your date. That way you can meet, chat, and find out if you share a passion for red wine and Gilmore Girls.


    Every makeup artist works differently. I know some who will arrive at a wedding, do makeup and leave a couple of hours before the ceremony. Others will stay and help you get dressed, attach buttonholes, dry off flowers, keep your future mother in law calm, and stick boob tape all over dresses to keep everyone’s dignity intact. I am definitely the latter, which some brides like, but others prefer to be left to get on with the day themselves. It is entirely your choice, but it’s worth asking what they will help with on the wedding morning.

A makeup artist who you click with and who gets your style is worth their weight in gold, so take your time and do a bit of research. Getting pampered and glammed up for your wedding should be a relaxing experience for you and your bridal party, whilst we do the hard work (if you can call it that!).