Should You Do Hair or Makeup First When Getting Ready?

A beautiful African American female wearing a pineapple updo secured with hair clips during the hot summer season.

For decades, ladies have debated whether makeup should come before or after hair. The uncertainty can be maddening and even lead to disastrous consequences in some cases.

If you’re wondering which should come first in your beautifying routine, you’re in the right place. In this article, we will fill you in on just that. Should you do hair or makeup first? Let’s get right into it! 

Key Takeaways

  • Personal Preference Matters: Whether you start with hair or makeup largely depends on preference. Factors like skin type, the complexity of the hairstyle, and the overall look desired for events like a wedding day play a significant role.
  • Consider Hairstyle and Makeup Complexity: Opt for makeup first if you’re using heat-free hairstyles or for second-day hair. This approach prevents your makeup from running and keeps the look fresh, especially in hot weather or during a tight schedule.
  • Heat Tools and Weather Implications: In scenarios involving hot tools (like a curling iron) or warm summer seasons, doing your hair first is advisable. This approach minimizes the risk of makeup smearing due to heat or sweating, ensuring a stress-free wedding day or special event.
  • Makeup Application Techniques: For a clean and precise makeup look, start with a clean face. Use quality makeup products and brushes, considering factors like waterproof mascara or dry shampoo for final touches to suit the specific circumstances of the event.
  • Timing and Coordination with Professionals: When involving a beauty team, including professional hair stylists and makeup artists, coordinate arrival times and makeup/hair sequences, especially for a large group like a bridal party, to ensure a smooth getting-ready process within the planned time slot.

When You Should Do Makeup First

Whether you start with your hair or makeup first is completely up to you! However, there are times when doing your makeup first will help you get the best overall results.

Cute black girl ready for a stress-free wedding day wearing a blue bridesmaid dress for her friend's wedding.

Start with your makeup if:

  • Your hairstyle is heat-free – If you’re rocking a heat-free hairdo, you don’t have to worry about sweat or heat from the hot styling tools messing up your makeup. 
  • You’re on day two (or more) of your hairstyle – If your hair is styled the day before, it won’t take long to touch it up. Prioritize your makeup since it will take the most time and effort. 
  • You won’t be able to pull your hair back – If you want to avoid the creases and frizz that can come with pulling your hair back, you should start with your makeup. That way, you can pull your hair away from your face without ruining your hairdo.
  • You’re in a time crunch – Starting with your makeup first when you’re in a time crunch means you’ll have enough time to put your best face forward. If you run out of time, you can do a quick hairstyle like a ponytail or messy bun
  • You’re air-drying your hair – This time-saving hack lets you multitask and use the time it takes to apply your makeup to finish drying your hair.
Bridesmaid wearing an updo with minimal styling and a blue dress after following her wedding day beauty timeline.

Pros and Cons of Doing Makeup First

Now that you know when you should do your makeup first, it’s time to dive into the pros and cons of doing so.  


  • You won’t ruin your hairstyle when you pull your hair back off your face. 
  • Saving your hair for last helps ensure sure you’ll have enough time to flawlessly apply your makeup. 


  • You could mess up the makeup around your hairline as you style your hair. Because of this, you may have to do a makeup touchup after you finish styling your hair.  
  • Hair products can get on your face and mess up your makeup. 
  • The heat from blow dryers or flat irons can make you sweat and smear your makeup.
Black girl wearing a cute dress at the wedding party's walkthrough, consultation, and trial session before the event.

When You Should Do Hair First

As we mentioned before, there are some instances when you should do your hair before applying makeup. We’ll address those below. 

Do your hair first if:

  • You have oily skin – If your skin is naturally oily, you should do your hair first. You can wash your face right before applying makeup, and you won’t need as many touch-ups before you head out the door. 
  • It’s hot out – Sweat and humidity can ruin your makeup, so saving it for the last minute helps make sure it’s fresh when you leave. Spritz your face with a gentle facial mist before applying your makeup to cool down even more. 
  • You’re using hot tools – The heat from your blow dryer or flat iron can make you sweat through your makeup. By doing your hair first, you’ll have time to cool down before applying makeup. 
  • Your hairstyle needs time to set – If you’re using styling aids that require time to set, like Flexi-rods or hot rollers, doing your makeup while you wait saves you time. 
  • You’re heading to a formal event – If you’re getting ready for a big event, start with your hair. It’ll cut down on the chances of sweat or humidity ruining your makeup and keep it fresh and picture-ready. 
  • You like to lay your edges – For many women, a hairstyle isn’t complete until their baby hairs are laid. By doing your hair first, you’re giving the gel time to dry and secure your style. 
Lady with a detailed beauty routine that started with during her hair and finished with her make-up.

Should You Do Hair or Makeup First?

There are many different factors that determine whether you should do your hair or makeup first. We usually recommend doing your hair first, but depending on your specific situation that could easily change.

If you’re still unsure whether you want to start with your hair, consider this list of pros and cons of doing your hair first to help you decide. 


  • Your makeup will be fresh when you leave. 
  • You can slick down your edges without messing up your foundation or contour. 
  • Doing your hair first gives it time to dry or set, so your hair will be ready by the time you finish your makeup. 
  • Doing your hair can be tiring, and sweating while your face is covered in makeup contributes to clogged pores and breakouts. This is not an issue when you do your hair first. 


  • The hair ties, clips, or headbands that you use to pull your hair away from your face can leave dents in your newly-done hair. You might have to touch up your hair after you finish applying makeup. 
Confident African American female dressed for an early ceremony time with hair clips specifically holding her updo.

What to Expect When Getting Makeup Professionally Done

You should show up to your makeup appointment with clean skin. During the initial consultation, you’ll speak with your makeup artist to make sure they’re a good fit.

If you can, bring your makeup artist examples of how you want your makeup to look. Talk with your artist, so you know what to expect from your appointment. 

Makeup artists are going to get up close and personal, so mentally prepare yourself to have someone being inside your bubble.

It can take a minute to get used to the feeling of someone working on sensitive areas, like your eyes. Just relax and enjoy the process as much as possible. 

Makeup artists are trained to make your features look their best, so you should try to be open to their suggestions.

They may steer you away from a particular color or style but remember that they’re there to make you look your best. Take full advantage of their proficiency and ask plenty of questions so you can pick up some personalized tips! 

Lady wearing a quick heat-free hair curling iron after decided to apply makeup and a few key items for the wedding.

What to Expect When Getting Hair Professionally Done

When getting your hair done professionally, expect to spend a considerable amount of time in the salon. Bring in pictures that show what you want your hair to look like so your stylist has a clear idea of what you want.

While your hair doesn’t have to be squeaky clean, it should be relatively product free. 

Depending on what you are getting done, salon visits can be a reminder that beauty is pain. Hot tools and chemical processes, like bleaching or relaxing, can get uncomfortable.

Certain styles, like tight braids, or holding your head at an awkward angle can add to the discomfort. While getting your hair done professionally is a great way to pamper yourself, it might not always feel the greatest. 

Many stylists will prioritize the health of your hair. This may mean getting more of your hair trimmed than expected or having to skip the bleach.

Try to keep an open mind, as you’re going to a hairstylist for their expertise. They can help you pick a style or color that works best for your features and the condition of your hair. 

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So, there you have it! When getting your makeup or your hair professionally done, you want to strike a balance between your desires and those of your stylist.

That way, you leave with a hairstyle or makeup that looks great and makes you happy.

Whether you ultimately decide to do your hair first or your makeup first, we hope this article has given you the information you need to look and feel your best.

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