The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Hair and Makeup Costs

How to successfully budget for bridal hair and makeup.

Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day. And while the wedding dress takes up the largest portion of your bridal fashion and beauty budget, it’s important to allocate money for hair and makeup too.

No matter what style you’re going for — elegant, glamorous, casual or demure — looking picture perfect is vital not just for your ceremony but for the wedding photos you’ll cherish for a lifetime.

Before delving into what hairstyle you want or how you want to be made up, it’s important to gauge wedding hair and makeup costs in your area so you’ll know how much to budget.

Wedding Hair and Makeup Costs for the Bride

The average wedding hair and makeup cost for brides in the U.S. is roughly $300. While the typical range for bridal hair and makeup services is between $150 and $600, it could cost more or less depending on where you live. In large urban areas like L.A., you could be looking at $1,000 or more for wedding hair and makeup while in some rural areas it could be as low as $120.

Just where you’ll fall on that hair and makeup cost spectrum will depend on: 

  • Your location.
  • How many people are working on you.
  • How many services you schedule.
  • How elaborate your style is.
  • If you go to them or if they’re coming to you.
  • If you want touch ups.

Wedding Hair Cost

Updo hairstyles — one of the most common requests by brides — will cost more than simpler styles like adding curls or doing a blowout. The average wedding hair cost for brides wanting an updo is $100 while simple blowout hairstyles are about $55.

Many hair stylists include a wedding hair consultation and trial in their price, but some will charge extra. Typically, the more swanky the salon, the more likely it is the hair stylist will charge you for the trial run.

Also, if your hair stylist is coming to your wedding venue — or wherever you’re getting ready — to do your hair, you can expect the cost to go up due to the increased time commitment and travel expenses.

Wedding Makeup Cost

Wedding makeup doesn’t come cheap. Most makeup artists charge by the hour and will bill for their travel time and costs if they have to come to your ceremony location.  

The actual makeup cost will depend on products used and what type of look you are going for. While the average for a traditional application is about $100, airbrush wedding makeup will be an extra $15 to $20.

The difference between traditional cosmetics and airbrush makeup is in its application. While traditional makeup is applied with sponges, brushes or fingers, airbrush makeup is sprayed onto the skin using an airbrush machine with a trigger-controlled spray painting gun.

To know what type of application you want, it’s a good idea to have a consultation with your makeup artist prior to your wedding day.

Wedding Hair and Makeup Trials Cost

Wedding hair and makeup trials are all about deciding how you want to look on your wedding day. Not only does this give you a chance to explain your bridal beauty vision, but it will give your makeup artist and hairdresser a chance to offer suggestions to fine tune your look.

These trial runs may cost more than a simple consultation, but will be well worth it because it ensures you, your hair stylist and makeup artist will all be on the same page on your wedding day.

While many hair and makeup artists do offer free consultations, doing an actual trial run of your wedding hair and makeup usually comes at a price. Ranging between $50 and $150 for both services, the average cost of a trial comes in at about $75.

One thing to keep in mind: if you want an airbrush application, you’ll pay more for the trial than if you opt for a traditional makeup style.

Should I Tip My Bridal Hair and Makeup Artist?

The short answer is yes. Tipping for bridal hair and makeup should be treated the same as any salon visit. If you’re pleased with the service you received from your wedding hair and makeup artist(s) you should be prepared to tip at least 15% of the total cost.

You may want to consider upping that number if they incurred parking fees or other costs to come to your wedding location.

Bridesmaid Hair and Makeup Cost

The average cost of bridesmaids hair and makeup is around $150 each with a cost of $75 for makeup and $50-$75 for hairstyling.

Not every bride expects her bridesmaids to have their wedding hair and makeup done by a professional. If you want to make this mandatory, however, etiquette says that you pick up the tab. After all, your bridesmaids have already shelled out for a dress and possibly new shoes in addition to buying you a wedding present — you can’t expect them to foot the bill for mandatory beauty costs too.

Pro Tip
If you don’t make professional wedding hair and makeup a requirement, then your bridesmaids should expect to pay their own bill if they opt to have their hair and face done.

Some brides also choose to pay for professional hair and makeup for their attendants as part of or in place of the traditional bridesmaid gift.

Wedding Hair and Makeup Add Ons

While we’ve already touched on some of the unexpected costs you may incur by hiring a hair and makeup artist, there are a number of special products or services that can up the price tag for professional hair and makeup services.

Below is a complete list of all the extra charges you could be faced with, especially if you choose expensive products or enhanced or add-on services.

  • False eyelashes — If you want to add drama to your eyes with false eyelashes on your wedding day, your makeup artist will likely charge you more because they are far more difficult to apply than a coat of mascara.
  • Airbrushing — This type of makeup application always costs more because you’re paying for use of the machine as well as the actual makeup.
  • An Updo — This beautiful wedding day hairstyle is far more labor intensive than adding some curls to long flowing hair.
  • Trial runs — Most makeup artists will charge you a fee for a practice makeup application. Some hair stylists will charge for a practice session too.
  • Travel fees — If you’re asking your wedding hair and makeup artist(s) to come to your wedding day location, you can expect to pay for their extra time and mileage.
  • Additional time — If you want your hair stylist, makeup artist or both to hang around to provide touch ups before your wedding pictures, you can expect to shell out more to accommodate them for their time.
  • Extra people — If you’re footing the bill for the women in your wedding party, you can expect the cost of wedding hair and makeup to rise accordingly, especially if you obtain the services of several stylists.
  • Tips — Tipping is an essential just like at any salon appointment.

When to Book Your Beauty Appointments

Wedding hair and makeup may not be as high up on your list as choosing a wedding dress or planning your menu, but it’s definitely not something to leave until the last minute.

We recommend starting your search for a hair stylist and makeup artist at least four months before you say “I do.” This will give you ample time to read online reviews and peruse the online portfolios or Instagrams of possible contenders. This should also give you a chance to chat with the hair stylists and makeup artists you’re most interested in to see who might be the best fit.

Once you’ve made a decision, make sure you book right away. By booking at least three months before your wedding, you’re more likely to get the stylist and makeup artist you want.

Other Beauty Considerations

Many brides opt to do pre-wedding beauty treatments in a bid to be at their best on their wedding day. If you’re planning to indulge in some extras, be sure to factor them into your budget over and above your hair and makeup cost.

While pricing will vary based on your location, here are the average costs you can expect to pay:

  • Spray tan — If you want a sun-kissed wedding look, a spray tan is a great option. You can expect to pay $35-$40 per session, although that price will likely go down if you book a package of sessions.
  • Color or cut — Don’t forget to factor in the price of a cut or color appointment if you want a hairstyle refresh before your big day. While the average cut is about $50, you can expect to pay around $70 for highlights and $100-$150 for balayage or ombre.
  • Facials — If you want glowing skin for your nuptials, a facial is a great way to achieve it. The average facial cost is $65.
  • Manicures — If you want to show off your new wedding ring with perfect hands and nails, a manicure may be the answer. You can expect to pay around $25 for a basic manicure, but the cost will go up for more expensive options like gel nails.
  • Pedicures — If you want to pamper your feet too, you can expect to pay around $38.
  • Waxing — Many brides opt for a Brazilian to be silky smooth for their wedding night and honeymoon. If you opt to go for a Brazilian, you can expect to pay anywhere from $50-$120 at a reputable salon. If you prefer a traditional bikini wax, the price will drop to $30-$40.
  • Eyelash extensions — If you’d rather not worry about your mascara running on your wedding day, eyelash extensions could be just what you’re looking for. With an average cost of between $120 and $300 depending on the style you choose, eyelash extensions are an expense that should be budgeted.
  • Brow grooming — The key to having beautiful brows on your wedding day is planning. If your brows need a lot of work, schedule an appointment at a brow bar or reputable salon for a total brow reshape and tint. If your brows just need a touch up, a brow wax and tint should do the trick. Brow tints are typically $20 while the average cost of brow waxing is $18-$20. A complete reshape for someone who has never had any brow work done can cost up to $75 at top salons.
  • Couples massage — While this certainly isn’t essential, booking a massage for you and your husband-to-be a day or two before the wedding is a great way to de-stress and relax together. Couples massage prices range from $120 to $220, depending on where you book your appointment.

Final Thoughts

Every bride wants her wedding hair and makeup to be flawless. And the best way to achieve that look of perfection is with the help of professionals. If you plan to hire a stylist and makeup artist for your big day, budgeting for these costs is essential. That’s what makes knowing the average price of wedding day beauty services so important. By having enough money allocated for all of your beauty needs, you’ll be sure to stun all of your guests and, of course, your husband on your special day.

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