6/8 Real Bride Amy: A Makeup Artist’s Take on Bridal Beauty

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One of the many hats I wear is “makeup artist.” I’ve worked in the industry for a decade and am currently working for one of the biggest beauty brands and freelancing, so I’ve worked with a lot of brides. Now, being on the other side as bride myself gives me a new appreciation for the challenge of working with vendors, including hair and makeup. I thought I’d share a few of my inside tips with my fellow Broke-Ass Brides.

No matter how much makeup you normally wear, use this as a rule of thumb: If you feel like your makeup is just right, add a little more. If you feel like you have a little too much on, then it’s perfect. The reason is twofold: First, you’re wearing it all day, so it will warm and fade a bit. Going a bit heavy-handed ensures it won’t completely disappear. Second, you need a little more to show in photos, otherwise your features fade away and you can look washed out. So don’t be scared of blush and a little lip color. I really do recommend wearing makeup — you may not wear much or anything on a daily basis, but for this occasion makeup helps your features from getting lost.

Real Bride Amy: A Makeup Artist's Take on Bridal Beauty

In action at a friend’s wedding

That said, if you don’t wear a red lipstick and winged eyeliner everyday, your wedding day probably isn’t the time to start. Some brides have a theme that calls for a certain look — for example, I had a bride that was getting married at a very vintage venue, so they did a 1920s theme and she wanted her makeup to fit. Other than a scenario like this, you should look like yourself, just enhanced. I cringe when I see super dramatic bridal makeup with dark smokey eyes, etc., or when brides bring me photos of a celebrity on the red carpet as their inspiration. I can certainly tailor it, but be reasonable with your expectations. If you don’t look like Kim K., you won’t (and shouldn’t!) on your big day. Timeless is key for photos!  I’m sure there were quite a few blue-shadowed brides in the ’80s. Don’t be that girl. Right now lashes, wings and airbrushing are very in, but, in my opinion, they tend to look more fake and overdone than not. Be true to you. You don’t want to look back on the photos in 20 or 30 years and think “wow, what was I thinking?!?” You can’t go wrong with timeless neutrals.

Be open, but come with some ideas. It’s helpful to know what you like and don’t like. Pinterest and Instagram are great resources. Again, don’t pick something because it’s trendy or looks great on someone that looks nothing like you, but if there are colors you like to wear or you really like to play up your eye color or your lips, let the artist know. Having nothing to go on makes it harder for you both, and more likely you won’t like the result. More information is better. I like to know what kind of makeup my clients wear on a daily basis. What’s your venue? Indoors or out? Day or evening? What are your colors or theme? How are you wearing your hair — all back and up or some down in front? And most importantly, any skin issues or sensitivities?

On that note: If you have allergies or sensitives, please let your makeup artist know up front so she can prepare accordingly and bring products that work for you. That’s another reason I avoid airbrushing. It can be heavy, less breathable and more susceptible to breakouts or reactions. It’s just not necessary. Your photos will likely be retouched anyway, so if you have heavy makeup to begin with skin can look plasticy post-editing. Keep it light, and try it out if you haven’t worn it before.

No matter what kind of makeup you go with, do a trial first! I’ve had several people tell me they had their makeup done only to wipe most of it off and re-do it themselves, What a waste! Trials can give you a feel for the makeup, how it wears and looks. Plus, most importantly, you can see it in pictures. Always snap some photos to get a true sense of how it will look.

Consider having hair and makeup done for your whole party. It can be an expense for you or them, but when you think of pictures, you want it to look uniform. You don’t want to have one girl who did her own and have everyone else looking well quaffed. Also, if you’re going to require them to get this done, it’s a good idea to foot the bill. Because it’s really not awesome to ask your crew to cover all these things (attire, beauty, parties, etc.) when they’re just trying to be good homies to you on your wedding day.

Last, but not least, mind your budget. Onsite beauty services are not cheap, for sure, but they don’t have to break the bank, If you have a large group, try to negotiate a group price. If you can go to their location, at a salon or otherwise, you can often save a travel fee. Think outside the box. If there is a department store makeup line you use, see if one of the people at that store or counter freelance. That way you know the artist and the product and they will often charge less than a full-time artist. Stores and makeup counters will sometimes provide the service in-store for a small fee (about $50). The cheapest route is to DIY, and I’ll try to provide some tips for in future posts, but only do this if you’re really confident or have a talented friend. It can create a stressful morning if you’re struggling. Go to a store and ask the artists to give you a lesson beforehand. Make sure you have the right products, and then practice before the big day!

As a side note, we love getting pictures and hearing from you! If you loved your look, tell us. It’s our art and we take a lot of pride in helping you look and feel beautiful and love to see photos so we can see the fruits of our labor.

If you have questions about beauty, bridal or otherwise, leave a comment below, or let me know if there’s something you want to see in future posts!

Amy is an outside-the-box Upstate N.Y. busy bride-to-be! She squeezes in wedding planning between her day job in healthcare, her second job as a makeup artist, an 8-year-old soon-to-be stepson and blogging for BAB as well as a local community blog. She tries to have a social life and occasionally sleeps. In her precious free time, you'll find her snuggling on the couch with her favorites, her two rescue pups, catching up on her shows and eating a snack that is not on the pre-wedding diet. Follow her on Instagram @beautywithsass.