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Bad hair days and smudged makeup happen—but they shouldn’t happen on your wedding day. That’s why hair and makeup trials are so important. These practice runs make sure you’ll look exactly as you imagine when the big day comes around. To make sure those trials are worth your while, here are our tips so you can prepare for the best possible pampering experience!

Planning Ahead For Your Wedding Hair and Makeup Trials:

Buy your dress first. 

If you haven’t already picked out a wedding gown, stop right there—there’s no use in scheduling a hair and makeup trial appointment just yet. Your dress will dramatically affect the style you choose for hair and makeup. A ballerina bun would look a little off with a boho-inspired dress, and a stunning back might call for an updo instead of cascading curls. (Be sure to bring a photo of your dress to the trials!)

Give yourself plenty of time. 

And we mean that in more ways than one. First of all, you need to give yourself enough time before your wedding day. After all, if the trial doesn’t end well, you could need time to schedule a second one. Three months before your wedding date should give you enough time.
Plus, be sure to schedule a long enough appointment. Since you might be testing out a few different styles, the trial will take a little longer than an average appointment. Your stylist should be able to recommend a timeframe.

Know what you want. 

Your trial will go much smoother if you have an idea of what you’re looking for. Know what you don’t want, too—that can be just as helpful! Plus, this knowledge can help you decide if you even need a trial. If you sport a pixie cut and just want a fancy headband for the big day, there’s no need to practice.

Schedule smart. 

When you leave your trial, you’re going to be all primped—so don’t just sit around the house. Try to plan these appointments for the same day as your dress fitting, engagement photos, bridal shower, bachelorette party, or just a fun date night!
When scheduling these appointments, also consider if you’ll do them both on the same day. If only one stylist is doing both, one appointment will be easiest. But if you’re working with two separate stylists, meshing schedules might be a little trickier. It’s worth it, though, so that you can see the whole look together! If it’s just not possible, do your hair or makeup (whichever appointment you’re not going to) a little better than usual so you get the same effect.

Go clean and product-free. 

For a hair trial, wash your hair the night before (so it has time to regain its natural oils) and don’t put in any product. If you need to do a little taming with a straightener or curling iron, that’s OK—just don’t overdo it. You want your hair to be as natural as possible.
For a makeup trial, continue your typical skin-care routine. Don’t put on any products before your trial. A clean face will hold makeup better.

Bring photos. 

And lots of them. If you like elements of a couple different hairstyles or makeup looks, bring photos of all of them, so your stylist can use them to build one cohesive vision. Bring along photos of what you don’t like, too, because your definition of a “smoky eye” might be much different from the makeup artist’s definition!

Pick the right outfit. 

If you plan to repurpose your look for the rest of the day, wear clothes that are easy to change out of. But choosing an outfit carefully can make your trial that much more enjoyable. Select a top that has a similar neckline to your dress—you’ll get a better picture of your big-day look.

Don't Forget

1. All of your accessories. Veils and other headpieces should be a given—your hair wouldn’t look the same without them! But don’t forget about jewelry. Bring any earrings and necklaces you plan to wear.
2. A camera (or your phone). Aren’t you dying to know what you’ll look like in your wedding photos? Snap a few pics at the salon to get a sneak peek! But don’t limit it to the salon. Take photos outside and in other settings to see what you look like in different lighting.
3. Your wallet. Hair and makeup trials usually aren’t free. Be prepared to pay for the appointment.
4. A friend. What’s better than having someone there to compliment you when you’re looking your best? A friend or family member can offer much-needed support and encouragement (and some tough love if needed).

During The Trial:

Photo by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash
Photo by Chalo Garcia on Unsplash

 Sneak up.

Don’t like something? Say something! That’s the whole purpose of the trial. Don’t be shy.

Run your stopwatch. 

Timing the appointment can help you plan your wedding-day schedule later on. If the stylist takes an hour to do your hair during the test run, she probably will on the big day, too.

Pay attention! 

Keep tabs on how your hair and makeup are holding up. Has your lipstick totally disappeared? Are your curls starting to look limp? A little wear is expected—just note it and ask the stylist to add more hairspray or plan to touch up your lips often on the day of.
Emrys J Hutton
About The Author
Queer, nonbinary writer.