The answer to this question is totally situational, there’s no blanket rule for what to do here as bridal parties vary in size (as do wedding budgets!) but I’ve tried to provide my view on it to help you out.
Personally, I paid for my Bridesmaids Hair & Makeup but let me give you some context…I was one of those lucky Brides with incredibly traditional (and generous) parents. My Mum & Dad picked up the bill for 90% of our wedding, the only elements we paid for were the venue decorations and the wedding party styling so, I was more than happy to pay for my maids to have their hair and makeup done. I would also like to add, I only had two bridesmaids, one of which had pixie cropped hair so I only had to foot the bill for one hair and two makeups.
Some Brides will have upwards of six to eight bridesmaids, when this is the case, I often see a few different approaches. If you’ve got more friends than money, then you can ask that the bridesmaids pay their way but in this situation, you cannot expect to insist that they have the pro’s take the reigns. Weddings (and Hen Parties) cost a lot for your maids so some of them may not have the budget to get their hair and makeup done on the day, and you should try to respect that. If you want to encourage all your maids to have their hair and makeup done, you could offer to pay 50% of the cost, budget permitting of course - I see this solution quite often.
Some Makeup Artists will also offer ‘eyes only’ - the tricky bit! If you’re happy with the maids doing their own base then this can be a great way to get synergy in your larger bridal party at a lower cost. It’s also quicker, usually taking 15-20 minutes per person so it can be a fantastic sleep saver if you’ve got a large bride tribe.
My best advice is that you be open and honest with the Bridesmaids from the outset, if you can’t afford to pay for it all tell them. True friends would never expect you to pay for everything, they’ll just be flattered if you should offer. But true friends also don’t make people pay for what they can’t afford, so try to remember that before you go all Bridezilla on them if you’re not paying or contributing.