Is South Asian Bridal Makeup Too Expensive?

TikTok has been aflutter with brides sharing what they believe to be “the biggest scam” in the wedding industry.

Sadaf Ahsan

July 11, 2022

Is South Asian Bridal Makeup Too Expensive?
Makeup artist applies bridal make-up on a woman in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. (Creative Touch Imaging Ltd./NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“What’s a scam that’s become so normalized that we don’t even realize it’s a scam?” TikTok user @DebtCollective posed on the short video social platform.

Last week, a TikTok user offered an especially passionate response — sparking a heated debate about South Asian weddings. “Bridal makeup! Why are all these MUAs charging £900 minimum?” Ascia, the user’s name as it appears on her TikTok account, asked. The comments exploded, with many dubbing it an “out of hand” operation with “no standards” other than “massive markups.” 

The makeup artist's job at a typical South Asian wedding involves one to several looks, hair styling, jewelry, draping, tikka placement, bindi, and dupatta setting. The costs can range from $200 to over $1,000, depending on their skill and experience. However, former and about-to-be brides have taken to TikTok to lambast just how much they were charged for single looks — many claiming fees upwards of $1,000 — in addition to unexpected charges and poor results.

At the time of writing, Ascia’s video had over 700,000 views and had amassed hundreds of comments, with some calling the cost of bridal makeup “the biggest scam in the South Asian wedding industry.” Meanwhile, makeup artists vehemently disagree.