The Truth About How Long Hair and Makeup Takes

How long does hair and makeup really take on your wedding or elopement day?

Ok, it’s time to have a talk. Like a serious, pretend I’m your BFF chat revealing the cold, hard truth about how long it takes to do hair and makeup. All joking aside, getting ready on your elopement day involves a bit more than it does on an everyday basis.

wedding hair and makeup
Deidra worked with Kauai Wedding Hair’s Megan Daul for a gorgeous look for their Kauai Horseback Riding Elopement

I love capturing images, and I try to time my arrival for when the hair and makeup are not quite finished. The sweet spot is when it’s around 90% complete so that I can get a few images of mascara being swept on eyelashes and wisps of hair being pinned back. 

Here’s a bit of a secret—hair and makeup aren’t just intended to make you look even more gorgeous in person, but the additional purpose is to give life to your images. When eyes pop and skin appears flawless, it makes your images that much better.

These two had their makeup professionally done by HELLO Gorgeous.

A professional makeup artist will apply the right products to keep your look fresh for hours, and your hairstylist can give you a style that will still take your partner’s breath away while you’re on windy mountaintops. 

To ensure that we hit that 90% ready mark on the day of your wedding, I suggest that you have a convo with your hair and makeup artists. Especially if you have one person doing both hair and makeup or you have multiple people needing styling, you should have a frank conversation with them about your style and how far in advance you need to start getting ready. You and I will work on a schedule together about 45-60 days out from the big day. This ensures we will have enough time to finalize the timeline, but it also is close enough to the day that you likely have all your vendors lined up and booked.

Chatting with the Pros About Hair and Makeup

Although I have lots of weddings and especially elopements under my belt, I also consulted with the pros on their take on planning your wedding day looks. 

Makeup artist (MUA) Erika Brandmeier of HELLO Gorgeous suggested, “About an hour or an hour and a half for my makeup process.

And that’s per person for solely makeup. 

Minimalist-Geometric-Arbor-Oregon-Coast-Elopement, how long does wedding hair and makeup take

Meranda Lynn Beauty, also an MUA, said, “Usually about an hour and a half, depending on how bold they’d like it.”

It’s important to factor in HOW much makeup you want. A more natural look tends to take less time than a more complex eye look. 

Ashley Berglund of Style Me PDX is both a hair and makeup artist (HMUA), and she stated, “Trial, I say hair and makeup take about 3 hours. Day of at least 2-2 1/2 since we obviously want to talk about corrections made and execution.

Having a trial run—if it’s feasible—is an excellent idea because you can make adjustments as needed. It’s also a way for your HMUA to predict the timing more accurately. 

wedding hair and makeup

Another HMUA, Alyssa Underwood of Underwood Makeup, is also a fan of the trial run. She offered, “Timing depends on whether or not we have a trial run, but with most of my brides, I don’t get a trial run. I book two hours for hair and makeup, and I arrive 30 minutes prior to set up, then I get extra set up and clean up time. And I always tell them to buffer 30 minutes AFTER hair and makeup is finished till whatever comes next (ceremony or photos) for changing and getting ready to go (bathroom, packing a bag, finding all your accessories).

Such great advice as you don’t necessarily want to head from the beauty chair straight to your next activity. 

So, take it from me—and my HMUA and MUA friends—that looking gorgeous and planning enough time to do so on your wedding day is critical to ensure that the process isn’t rushed and you can be ready on time. I can’t wait to see you and your partner looking and feeling your best on your elopement day!