What Things SHOULD Cost: Hair/Makeup

Wedding Makeup & Hair Products

As someone who has produced photo shoots for major publications, one of the things I’ve learned is how much great hair/makeup artists and photographers should cost. I’ve already written about how much wedding photographers cost, and how they get you to pay more, which was something I was shocked to discover. (It still amazes me to see photographers charge the same amount for one wedding as they do for a 5 day shoot!)

The quotes I’ve seen from wedding makeup artists, however, seem to be more in-line with what I’ve seen for shoots. However, while the average, magazine-worthy hair/makeup artist will charge around $500/day for several different looks, it still seems overpriced to pay a potentially less qualified wedding hair/makeup artist $300 for one look.

After going through multiple nationwide quotes from bridal hair and makeup artists, I’ve come up with the average wedding hair and makeup cost you can expect across the country. Now, I’ve seen a WIDE range of proposed prices…with $300 being the highest quote for a bride’s hair/makeup and $150 being the lowest.  While there are going to be hair or makeup artists that charge way more (or in a rare case, less), these ballpark figures are, in my opinion, what you SHOULD pay for a reputable makeup artist in a major city. Which means if you find someone with higher prices than this, you should attempt to negotiate your way down to this pricing level.

Bridal hair/makeup: $180

Bridesmaid/mother of the bride hair/makeup: $150

Hair or makeup only: $80

Need wedding planning help? Our wedding e-book will teach you everything you need to know!

*Note, these prices do not include a “trial” hair/makeup run, which can cost anywhere from $50-$150. IMHO, I think $65 for hair/makeup trial is a fair price to be argued for. You can also expect to pay for their travel, which typically runs you $30 depending on location, plus the cost of valet.

Did you hire a hair/makeup artist for your wedding? If so, how much did you pay?

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  1. says: Melinda

    I am getting married in the Bay Area and just makeup alone the quote was 300$ for just makeup including the trial, airbrushing, and false lashes. Is this reasonable? I have no idea if I should try to get someone a little less expensive. I thought it would be good to get two different people to do hair and makeup to save time. Any suggestions?

  2. says: Melinda Paule

    I am getting married in the Bay Area and just makeup alone the quote was 300$ for just makeup including the trial, airbrushing, and false lashes. Is this reasonable? I have no idea if I should try to get someone a little less expensive. I thought it would be good to get two different people to do hair and makeup to save time. Any suggestions?

  3. says: Catherine

    Thanks for the perspective this article offers! Here in Los Angeles, I am paying $150.00 for day-of hair done at my site, $150 for day-of MU at my site. I’m using 2 different people. Is $300 considered high for day-of hair/make-up traveling to me?

  4. says: Edie

    I recently adjusted my Packages and Prices and yes at a higher rate (not by too much), I didn’t want to have to do this but my advisers suggested it be done. Apparently the idea is that you rate your own worth by doing so which I have always agreed with. I Do Not want to be considered a discount bridal service, because I am not, at the same time I was able to sneak in a few ways a Bride saves with me verses with my competitors, such as:

    I do free Tattoo coverups for all my Brides. I still do not charge for my time (no matter what a bride pays she gets me as early as 4:30 am up til she walks the isle), and I do not charge for extras such as lashes,or extra hair that may be needed.I am flexible as well, if a bride asks me to to adjust my rates to fit her budget I am not against doing that at all (within reason). If a client is asking that you bend a little it isn’t them trying to rip you off, because they can easily find someone cheaper or have a friend do their hair and makeup , consider it a compliment she’s pushing to retain you as her Bridal Hair and Makeup Artist.

  5. says: Samantha G

    Your post has information I’ve been looking for-desperately- as I am experiencing exteme sticker shock while looking for hair/makeup professionals for my wedding in October.
    So far, what seems to be the best prices in the NYC area (I’m getting married in Queens and want on-site hair/makeup) are:
    $200 for a trial (with airbrushing) with $100 of that going towards a bridal package that is $850, which includes my hair & makeup, with airbrushing and lashes ($350) and four hair and/or makeup services at $100 each. Each additional hair or makeup service at $85.

    In total, I’d end up spending $550 on hair and make up for the trial and the day of the wedding. It sounds like a lot, but I can’t seem to find a better option that is still high quality.

    Any recommendations for the NYC (specifically, Brooklyn and Queens) area??


  6. says: Floribel


    Just stumbled upon your website and I really love it!

    Could you share who you used for your wedding hair + makeup?

    I am also looking to keep to a tight budget.

    Thank you 🙂

  7. says: Woman Getting Married

    Hi Tracy!

    I’m so glad that the info is helpful!

    Wow! $300-500 for hair/makeup or just makeup?! Does that include a trial or anything else? In Miami, I paid $125 for my makeup (negotiated down a bit so it fit our budget), and $100 for hair, but had to guarantee at least 3 other bridesmaids. (Bridesmaid makeup was $90, hair was $75-100 depending on style). I also paid for the hair/makeup trial, which was $50, as well as $50/hour to have the makeup artist do touchups before the wedding (we had there for the hour we were doing photos beforehand until right before the ceremony, so two hours). So basically I ended up paying $375 in the end.

    On a side note, SYR looks gorgeous! I would love to see your photos after the big day!

  8. says: Tracy

    Thank you so much for all of your very VALUABLE info! Not just on make up, but invitations, etc…The costs above would be great…but I’m seeing anywhere from 350-500 in LA! And although I’m getting married in Santa Barbara (at SYR!!!! 🙂 ) the prices are STILL that high.

  9. says: Woman Getting Married

    Sam! I’m so glad you’re checking out the site! Srsly let me know if I can help you with any recc’s! I’ll Facebook you some links!
    Yeah, the prices are a little bit insane I think, as I’m sure you’re finding for a lot of the stuff. It adds up FAST!

  10. says: Samantha Judge

    This is soooo helpful! A friend of mine who is also does make up and hair offered to do mine for the wedding! For free! What a gift! Until she told me a week ago that she probably won’t be able to come to my wedding!
    Thank you for the quotes, I was really upset about such a costly last minute addition to my wedding!