How to prepare your hair and skin for your big day!


Once deemed a luxury service only accessible to celebrities and fashion show models, the increased popularity of on-location makeup artists (MUA) and hairstylists affords every bride the opportunity to hire her own “glam squad” for her big day.

As a Houston bride, your MUA options are truly limitless! While there is no real way to accurately count the exact number of wedding beauty professionals, a quick Google search of ‘Houston wedding makeup artists’ returns approximately 30 different companies in the Houston metropolitan area.

However, this list is by no means exhaustive. Offhand, I can think of at least 20 more professional businesses that are missing from this list. Additionally, this does not take into account for the legions of freelance artists who (1) primarily advertise through social media platforms such as Instagram or Facebook only, but do not have businesses that are searchable via Google, (2) are hired by one or more established businesses and/or (3) work for and provide complimentary application services with the purchase of products from such makeup giants as MAC.

On-location vs Salon/Shop Services

As a planner, my favorite type of MUA to work with is one who seamlessly fits into the predetermined schedule that we have for the day and one way to do that is by providing on-location makeup application services. While the number of wedding MUA may be overwhelming to choose from, narrowing these artists down to companies that will travel to your desired location makes the search process a lot easier. Furthermore, you will see that finding a MUA that also provides on-location hairstyling services as well is like striking wedding gold!

On-location beauty services for your wedding can include makeup application, hairstyling, and even nail services at your wedding venue and/or a location of your choice that is conveniently located nearby your venue(s). By contrast, salon or shop services are those in which the client has to travel to the salon or retail shop to receive services.


One of the biggest pros of hiring an on-location beauty expert are the flexible business hours. Traditionally, salon or retail shop services are confined to the business hours of the store; however, on-location beauty appointments can be easily adjusted to fit your needs outside of a standard 10am-9pm or 12-6pm “mall schedule”.

Also, keep in mind that when you sign a contract with an on-location MUA/hairstylist, you have undisturbed full access to your artist. Salon stylists and store employees are prone to retail or sales disruptions by other store customers that may delay the completion of your services.


On-location wedding MUA and hairstylists will typically charge according to the number of clients receiving services. This is traditionally with the per person cost being reduced with an increased number of clients- the bottom line, the trip has to be worth their while! Additionally, clients requesting services outside of the beauty expert’s service area will be charged a travel expense fee to compensate them as well as their team for excess mileage.

Salon or store service providers will not need to charge for travel, will not typically have a minimum on the number of clients served and are overall less expensive; however, this can replaced by a minimum product purchase. As a word of warning, a minimum product purchase can be a dangerous thing. Keep in mind that retail store employees are trained to sell product and in many cases may receive a commission based on sales. A simple purchase of a few shades of eyeshadow may easily turn into a full shopping cart of products that you may never use again or ever be skilled enough to use as effectively as the artist.

Location and Amenities

The location in which hair and makeup services are provided is more important than you may think. Some questions you may want to consider when deciding on where you’d like to receive beauty services on your wedding day include:

  • Is the area clean, private and relaxing?

  • Do you have access to adequate mirrors, lighting and seating?

  • Are there any restroom facilities close by with running water?

  • Is there enough space for other members of my wedding party to wait?

  • Will you have convenient access to electrical outlets?

Where you receive these services is just as important as the services themselves. The wrong environment can set a series of stressful events into motion on one of the biggest days of your life.

Many brides opt to have their pre-wedding preparation documented in their formal photo albums. Gorgeous photos of a bride having her hair and makeup done are a beautiful addition to completing the story of your big day and a beautiful space that photographs well is always a bonus.

Unfortunately, the amenities listed above will not always be available at salons and retail stores. While you are limited to the shop accommodations with these types of vendors, there is a definite bonus of using an on-location MUA and/or hairstylist. You have the power to choose the location that is a perfect match for all of your needs.

Service Limitations

While I am partial to using an on-location wedding MUA and/or hairstylist, there is one major disadvantage. Because these beauty experts are away from their studios and/or working outside of a salon environment, the range of services provided are abbreviated. For example, on-location hairstylists cannot provide any service that requires the use of a shampoo bowl such as color and highlighting, chemical relaxers and/or any other process that requires the client to have a product rinsed out of their hair.

From my perspective, this is by no means a deal-breaker to use an on-location service provider; however, this does introduce the need for multi-step, pre-event services that build up to your actual wedding day services. What does this mean? Multi-step services are progressive hair and/or skincare services that require multiple visits to a beauty professional in order to achieve your final desired look for your wedding day. Because of time constraints, chemical interactions, etc., these processes cannot all be completed on the same day.

There are certain beauty services that should be done before your wedding day, but what is the timeline? For hairstyling services, when should you have hair coloring done? Should I shampoo my hair on my wedding day? For makeup application, how far in advance should I receive facial waxing? What about med spa services such as chemical peels and specialty facials?

The purpose of this article is to help you plan out all of your beauty regimens before your big day. You will see that planning out your beauty procedures will not only produce flawless day-of results, but it will also help you budget accordingly, save time, and reduce stress when selecting a final look.

Ask an Expert

Over the past 15 years in the industry, I have had the pleasure of surrounding myself with some of the most talented hair and makeup artists that the city of Houston has to offer. One of my friendors (vendor friends), Nyoka Celestine of Nyoka Gregory Beauty is one of those uniquely talented artists who not only provides makeup application services, but is also a gifted hairstylist. In her 20+ years in the industry, Nyoka’s work has been featured in numerous high fashion bridal magazines and styled photo shoots. She has also been a guest speaker at beauty industry conferences and acts as a mentor to up-and-coming makeup artists

Photo courtesy of Eri of Taylor Golden Photography

Photo courtesy of Eri of Taylor Golden Photography

I thought that Nyoka would be the perfect person to help you prepare for day-of hair and makeup services. Not only has Nyoka Gregory Beauty adorned the lovely faces of women of all hues and ages, but she also has styled the locks of clients running the full gamut of textures and lengths.

In the upcoming paragraphs, you will see preparation suggestions first broken down into two major categories- Hair Prep and Makeup Prep. Within each section you will find a quick summary and general care/arrival instructions on the actual wedding day. Each section will then have a Q&A portion in which Nyoka Gregory Beauty has been so gracious to answer a few of my questions.

Pre-Event Hair Prep

From a planning perspective, pre-event hair prep includes all of the services provided before the actual wedding day that will reduce the amount of day-of styling time. To best align with the wedding day schedule, I typically recommend that day-of hairstyling services last no more than 45-60 minutes per person. It is commonly helpful that hairstyling services also be limited to “dry styling”.

General Care/Arrival

Before arriving for your hair appointment, you should have a final style selected to recreate for your wedding day. More specifically, brides should opt for a pre-event trial session with their hairstylist months before the wedding date to solidify your choice. A trial session will also allow your hairstylist to give you a “checklist” of what pre-event services you may need to receive in order to achieve your style of choice.

Q: Do you recommend that brides wash their hair on their wedding day?

A:  It doesn’t really matter if the bride has washed her hair on the same day as her wedding. Typically I just ask my clients to arrive with clean and dry hair unless otherwise specified.

Q:  What types of products should a bride avoid applying before their hair appointment?

A:  It is so much easier to style hair that is as clean as possible and free of product. More specifically, oils, gels, hairsprays, and edge control products should be avoided.

Hair Extensions and Haircuts

Finding a hairstyle that perfectly compliments your wedding gown is critical to mastering your overall look. Sometimes that hairstyle can be quite different than your everyday look. This may mean that a little extra help may be needed to add length and volume. For circumstances where your selected wedding day style includes bangs or a shorter style, a haircut may be in order.


Q:  For brides needing hair extensions, what is your preferred method of application?

A:  This is completely dependent on the style. I recommend that brides have a consultation with me in advance so that I may make recommendations as to whether the style is better suited with a sew-in, quick weave or clip-in service application.  

Q:  When applying sew-in hair extensions, does the braid pattern in which the extensions are applied [and amount of “leave-out”] matter when styling the final look?

A: Yes, I recommend that my clients attend a consultation to iron out all the details in advance.

Q:  Are there any types of hair extensions that are conducive to quick applications within a bride’s day-of hair appointment slot?

A: Temporary clip-in hair extensions that provide extra length and volume are the only ones. I recommend that all other hair extension techniques be done prior to the wedding day.

Q:  How far in advance to you recommend a bride receive a haircut?

A: I would recommend three to six weeks prior for a trim and 3-6 months prior for a complete haircut.

Hair Color

Enhancing your hair color for your wedding is a fantastic way to amplify your look; however, brides should proceed with caution when drastically changing their hair color before their wedding day. Months before the wedding, brides should revisit their bridal gown selection and try on their gown again (if it was purchased before the change of hair color). This ensures that the new hair color does not conflict with the style of the dress and that the bride has enough time to adjust her hair color if needed without damaging her hair.


Q:  How far in advance should you dye your hair for your final wedding day hair color?

A:  For an overall color change, I recommend 3-6 months prior to their wedding day. Once the client has decided on a final hair color she is more than welcome to “refresh” the color with a touch-up within 1-2 weeks before the wedding.

Q:  In the event of a color correction, how much time is enough time between color applications?

A: It really depends on the type of color correction, for a change in hair color that requires a double or triple process the correction should be done in weekly intervals or over 2-3 weeks total. For a single process, a week should be sufficient.

Q: Is there a threat of hair color transfer to veils and/or other wedding attire that comes in contact hair that has recently been dyed?

A: Yes, if the haircolor is non-permanent color there is a possibility of transfer.  Even if the bride’s hair does not get wet, they should take into account that perspiration from a fun filled night of dancing and activity will cause hair color to run. Hair color such as black or any primary colors such as red, blue or green transfer the easiest.

Q: How long does it take for hair color that has come in contact with skin to fade? What is the best way to remove hair color that has stained the edges of your face and/or neck?

A: Typically, permanent haircolor can be completely removed from the skin within 24hrs. Oil free make-up removers such as Micellar water are great for removing excess hair dye. Additionally, this should not be a major concern as residual hairline dye can sometimes be covered up with makeup.

Chemical Straightening

Chemical hair straightening processes such as relaxers are a great way of creating sleek wedding day styles


Q:  How far in advance do you recommend that brides have their hair chemically relaxed?

A: Ideally, I like my clients to have their hair professionally relaxed 24-48 hrs prior to an event, however, the hair should not be straightened to a level in which the hair is limp and lifeless.

Pre-Event Makeup Prep

As a planner, when scheduling makeup application services I typically allot approximately 30-45 minutes per person. Because skin tones and textures can change with the seasons, the occurrence of everyday breakouts, hyperpigmentation and other inconvenient skin conditions can sidetrack any previous makeup plans that you may have had in place. Therefore, it is imperative that anyone receiving makeup application services arrive approximately 15 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment start time with a cleansed face for the MUA to reevaluate.

General Care/Arrival

I highly recommend that all brides attend a trial session with their make-up artist. More specifically, I recommend that you attend this trial with the same hair color that you will have for your wedding day. I also encourage brides to select a consult time that is concurrent with a time where they expect to be photographed. Engagement or bridal portrait sessions are a great time to safely experiment with makeup looks and see if you like how they look in photographs.



Q: How should a bride arrive for her day-of makeup appointment in terms of cleansing, toning, and moisturizing?

A:  Please make sure that you arrive with cleansed and toned skin and a light moisturizer. Sunblock should NOT be applied as it will reflect light in photography.

Q: Do you recommend that a bride apply primer, mattifier and/or other oil controlling products before makeup application?

A:  No, based on the client’s skin type, I will apply the appropriate oil control product that works well with the makeup that I will be applying.

Q: When do you recommend a bride stop using acne treatments, exfoliants, products with retinol or AHA, etc. that may cause dry skin or peeling?  

A:  As directed by their dermatologist or skin care professional. For clients receiving such services I would recommend an airbrush makeup application (as opposed to traditional) so as to not further irritate the skin.

Hair Removal

There are various forms of temporary and semi-permanent hair removal available to brides including laser hair removal, waxing, dermaplaning and threading.

Q: What methods of hair removal provide the best results for makeup application?  

A:  Threading is preferred, however, my clients do have an option to do waxing. For laser hair removal, please consult with your dermatologist or skin care professional.


Q: What’s the latest a client should receive hair removal services in order to prevent skin irritation with the application of makeup?

A:  For threading and waxing, about 3-5 days prior so that the skin is no longer red and irritated.

Lash and Brow Enhancers

Lash extensions and brow enhancements such as microblading are very popular services. Brides often utilize these services to frame the face for makeup application or amplify eye makeup without the use of temporary lashes.

Q: Can upper lid eye makeup be applied to clients with lash extensions?

A: Yes, however, there may be some eyelash “fallout”. Because there are very specific care instructions for cleaning lash extensions, your MUA must be extremely gentle when removing any eyeshadow “dust” that may fall from the lid onto the lashes. Additionally, some of the eyeshadow residue may remain within the lashes after makeup application.


Q: How far in advance should eyelash extensions be applied before makeup application?

A: For anyone that may be a “newbie” to wearing eyelash extensions, I recommend having them applied at least 7-14 days prior. This affords brides the opportunity to get used to wearing the lashes and/or test out any allergic reactions that they may experience for the first time. For regular wearers, 2-3 days prior is sufficient.

Q: Outside of the recommendations given by a client’s doctor or licensed microblading specialist, are there any other considerations that clients with microbladed eyebrows should take into account when applying makeup?

A: I would recommend that they have them done about 2 months prior so that the desired brow color is established. Keep in mind that any unhealed skin in the area will be avoided by your MUA. For fully healed brows, the brows are typically only lightly shaped since they should already be groomed in a shape and style that is most complimentary to the client’s face.

Final Thoughts

As a planner, it is so exciting to see a bride’s complete look come together! It is such a joy to see a bride’s exuberance when she finds the perfect hairstyle or lipstick shade to match her dream gown. Luckily for Houston brides, there are lots of wonderful beauty professionals in the area that can help them put everything together perfectly.

Need help organizing all your beauty bits? Schedule a call now!