Follow these expert-approved tips for getting the perfect look.

bridesmaids pink gowns
Credit: Aria Isadora & Tiffany Sage for BFA

It's not every day you wake up and get beautified by the pros. While the bride will have pre-wedding trials to help get her hair and makeup look just right, her bridesmaids won't. So, what's a 'maid to do? To ensure you end up with a day-of look you love (and want to see in photos for years to come), follow the tips below from Katlyn Conway, owner of Beauty Artist Group.

Pre-Prep Your Skin for Makeup

"Good makeup starts with good skin," says Conway. "In the weeks leading up the wedding, drink plenty of water and try to take especially good care of your skin." As you approach the big day, she also tells bridesmaids to start assembling a touch-up kit with day-of essentials like cotton swabs, tissues, lipsticks and glosses, and blotting papers that will be vital during a long day of celebrating.

Bring Photos of Beauty Looks You Love

A photo is worth a thousand words when describing your ideal vibe, so make sure you're choosing the most helpful ones. "Look at someone with similar hair color and skin tone as yourself," advises Conway. In other words, be realistic about your expectations. Another great source of inspiration? You! "Pictures of yourself at a time when you thought your hair and makeup looked great is a quick way to introduce your artist to your personal esthetic!" Conway adds.

Spell It All Out in the Chair

When the day arrives, give your artist as much information about your skin as possible before she gets to work. "Tell her if you get sweaty or oily throughout the day, as this information will change the way she preps your skin," explains Conway. And once she gets to work, trust that you're in good hands, even if it feels like she's layering on the makeup to a nerve-wracking degree. "The flash of the camera will wash you out in wedding photos. So don't be afraid of a little extra makeup that day. Lashes are essential!"

Remember These Helpful Beauty Buzzwords

If you have trouble explaining your vision, choose a few key words to explain what you like: Soft, defined, smokey, natural, glossy, matte, and coverage (as in less, some, and more) are all good guiding words. Pick two or three to avoid any confusion. A good example? "I prefer a natural overall look with less coverage, but still like a defined eye."

Good Hair Starts the Night Before

"Wash your hair the night before the wedding, then blow it out as smooth and as straight as you can without using a flat iron," says Conway. Why? Flat irons demand too much of your hair, she explains. Additionally, Conway says to skip adding any product to your hair since different styles require different products. Give your hairstylist a clean slate when you sit down.

Research Hairstyles That Are Achievable with Your Hair

Avoid a major don't when you're browsing for hairstyle inspiration. "Make sure that the hairstyles in the picture are achievable with your hair length or texture," says Conway. In other words, don't choose a style with mermaid length hair unless you're willing to rock extensions. They're hairstylists, not magicians.

Tell Her About Your Everyday Hairstyle

With your carefully researched photo in hand, have a detailed but brief (there are a lot of you 'maids!) conversation with your hairstylist before she begins. Tell her how you usually wear your hair, what it's overall texture is like, and where your part is. "You should also explain what you'd like your hairstyle to look like and any aspects of your inspiration photo that you don't like," Conway instructs. "Do you want hair in front of your face? Do you prefer your hair swept back? This will really help your stylist know what's part of your ultimate look."

Remember These Helpful Hairstyle Buzzwords

Words like "puffy" and "messy but not messy" are usually far less helpful than we realize. Feel free to pull from these clear keywords to better describe your look: Volume (as in less, some, and more), structured, romantic, sleek, textured, symmetrical, and asymmetrical. Once again, stick to just two or three buzzwords, like, "I'm looking for a romantic half-up style. I like a little volume at the roots and want my hair to still have some texture."


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