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Every bride wants perfect wedding makeup: subtly smoky eyes, a perfect pink pout, cheekbones made to look like a supermodel's, eyelashes for miles. But doing it yourself just hours before walking down the aisle is likely not going to happen unless you've got serious makeup artist chops. Paying a professional can run you $300 or more—and why not save that for margaritas by the pool during the honeymoon? The answer is a free session at a makeup counter, right?
The first thing you should know is that few things in life are free, especially not makeovers at makeup counters. Most have a minimum purchase that's either required or suggested, and if you don't spend that amount you'll pay by enduring a withering look from your makeup artist because most get paid on commission. The good news is that the most you'll likely pay is $50, and with that you'll receive a product or two that your artist will hopefully teach you how to use.
The second thing is: always make an appointment. You don't want to be hanging around the beauty counter while the groom is waiting at the alter. Lastly, know that all makeup artists are not created equal. When you make your appointment, tell them it's for your wedding, and that you'd like someone who's experienced. This is one time the word "wedding" shouldn't jack the price since there's usually a flat rate for everyone (just to be safe, ask them to quote you the amount before you say the W word). You might also want to describe in advance your skin and the look you're interested in.
All that said, we recommend these four counters for reliable, professional makeup on the big day. Drink a margarita for us!—Anne Jude Kiesow
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