Could you start by telling us a little about yourself and how you got into makeup professionally?
I’ve been doing people’s makeup since I was a little girl. Even my brother’s [laughs]. I would do my friends’ makeup, style and pose them in front of a sheet, and then take their picture. To start my career I went to the Make-up Designory in NYC; I knew I had to move to New York. I started working for a custom-blend makeup line called Giella at Henri Bendel, which is where I first started blending makeup. I’m from Pennsylvania originally and when I moved back, I opened a custom-blend makeup boutique in Center City and set it up like a kitchen with makeup pigments in spice racks along the wall. They didn’t do it like that at Bendel’s — I just always had that idea in the back of my head.
Cool! So how does that work, blending your own makeup?
This is the heater [a small box with two dials and holes for vials]. To make lipstick, for example, you add pigments to the all-natural beeswax base until you get the desired color. You can add different oils to make it more sheer or whatever, and natural oils for fragrance, too. Then you put it in this [a small metal rack next to the heater] to cool. I can make lip gloss, cream eyeshadow, etc. It’s great for weddings because you can match bridesmaid dresses, nail color, or create a custom lip shade for the bride. It becomes a little keepsake.
What, in your opinion, makes a great bridal makeup look?
Finding a balance between wanting to look good in photographs and feeling like the best, freshest version of yourself. And perfect skin. And brows. I tend to go very light on the eyes and a coral or pink on the cheek. That’s what most brides are asking for these days: natural.
Are there common makeup mistakes a bride should know about?
Getting too trendy. If a red lip is one of your fave looks then go for it, but if you’re not sure about it, then this is probably not the day to experiment.
What should she consider in terms of photography?
Take photos after your bridal makeup trial! Once you’ve settled on a look with your makeup artist, go home and have someone take a bunch of pictures of you. Generally a flash will wash out a lot, so you have to trust and work with the makeup artist. Know that she knows what’s going to show up and what’s not. Bring translucent powder on the day of, too. A lot of weddings are outdoors these days, so you’re probably going to be a little sweaty and greasy.
Any tips for makeup “staying power”?
Yes. Tons of priming. I prefer and tend to do very natural looks for brides, but I might spend an hour creating her bridal makeup look. Prime the eyelids, prime the lips, prime the face. Urban Decay makes a great eye shadow primer and setting spray. I also like Tarte’s face primer and Giella’s lip primer.
What’s the best way to look for a makeup artist for your wedding?
Honestly, recommendations. If you ever see someone look amazing in their wedding photos, even if you’re not engaged or even thinking about getting married, get their makeup artist’s name and keep it in your back pocket. Reach out when you need one, and if they’re not in the area or doing makeup anymore, they can probably recommend someone who is. You could also ask your photographer or wedding planner. Most artists will have a website with a photo gallery of their work.
How do most bridal consultations normally work? What should a bride bring?
I usually conduct one trial with a bride before her wedding. I ask her to bring photos of bridal makeup looks she loves, a photo of herself that she really loves so that I can see what she looks like when she feels beautiful, and any photos of her dress or other details about the wedding that are important to her. Go home and try on your dress after the trial to see how everything works together, and take photos! If she can, I also recommend that a bride schedule her trial before a night out to see how the makeup holds up.
Do you have any favorite places you look for makeup inspiration?
Pinterest is great for weddings. Red carpet looks, too. It’s tempting to look at editorial or runways for inspiration, but makeup for weddings is an entirely different thing. Editorial is about making a statement. Weddings are about the bride, and creating a look that will look last. Build a board! I love to see brides’ boards, it tells me a lot about them.
What prep can a bride do to ensure her most beautiful skin on the day of her wedding?
If you do only do one thing, keep your skin hydrated! Stay moisturized and drink a ton of water. Staying hydrated plumps up your skin. A wrinkle on a dry skin will look more severe compared to hydrated skin. Any blemishes you have will be easier to cover up as well, if your skin is moisturized.
The 3 things a bride should include in her clutch on the day of:
Translucent powder, lip color, and something for the cheeks (blush or bronzer).
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