- Leanne on Cynthia’s Christmas Wedding in Holyoke, MA
- rachellisamua on What’s the deal with airbrush, anyway?
- Liz Washer on Crystal & Matthew’s Smith College Winter Wedding
- Tammy Thompson on Crystal & Matthew’s Smith College Winter Wedding
- lisa johnson on Beauty Resolutions: Keeping Things Clean in 2013!
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Monthly Archives: December 2011
I was absolutely giddy when I saw these images from Sandra Costello/Studio SMC – they are just brimming with personality and did a beautiful job capturing the bride Carolyn’s unique spirit, craftiness, and sense of fun. I had a fantastic time doing makeup for Carolyn, her mom, her mom-in-law, and one of her bridesmaids back in October – they were all easygoing, funny, and were enjoying themselves thoroughly! I loved all the details, and I’ve been looking forward to sharing.
Carolyn has amazingly smooth, porcelain skin and opted for a very natural look: subtle foundation, a little neutral eyeshadow and brown eyeliner, and a rosey-pink blush & lipgloss. I loved that she rocked her glasses down the aisle, saying that it just wouldn’t be her face without them!
Here’s me putting the finishing touches on Carolyn’s glowing face:
I don’t know the first thing about flowers, but I know what colors I like, and I was absolutely in LOVE with her bouquet by Edge Floral Design:
LOVE the birdcage veil! Several of my brides wore them this year; it’s such a cool accessory:
Carolyn’s beautiful dress came from Pearl Bridal, one of the most stylish bridal boutiques in the region:
Carolyn hand-embroidered this parasol herself!
Continuing on the Autumn color theme, check out the mouth-watering reception cupcakes!
Want more? Click here for Sandra’s blog entry & a complete gallery of images! (Confession: I think I must have viewed that entry fourteen times already. Sandra, you are the best!)
Makeup is definitely one of those hands-on activities that’s easier to demonstrate than it is to explain with words! So I decided I’d try to a bit of both in this new blog series, “Anatomy of a Makeover:” step-by-step photos taken as I apply makeup, complete with explanations of the why and how. Hopefully this will help you with your own applications!
Meet O, an academic, model, and performer. I’ve done O’s makeup for shoots before, and she assisted me at a bridal expo earlier this year. She jumped at the chance to have me do her makeup documentary-style, and we scheduled the makeover just prior to a holiday party she was planning to attend with her boyfriend. She told me it was a low-key, casual holiday party, but that she was willing to rock more than the usual look. I decided to go with luscious-lipped, lots-o-liner, vintage-inspired makeup that would be flirtatious and fun, but classic and wearable at the same time.
Here’s O bare-faced:
I kept the skincare simple, as she said she tends to get shiny throughout the day: a bit of my favorite moisturizer, French drugstore brand Embryolisse, and for primer I opted for Make Up For Ever’s All Mat, which aids in oil absorption.
Next I addressed O’s undereye discoloration, which she says she has a lot of difficulty covering up:
I’m not a fan of heavy concealers under the eye, which can crease and look cakey – and slapping a light concealer over dark undereyes will look ashy and grey. Instead, I first use a light layer of a color correcting product – in this case, since O’s undereyes had a pinky-purple tone, the yellow cream concealer in Graftobian’s corrector palette. Yellow and purple are complimentary colors (they are opposite one another on the color wheel), so they cancel each other out. (For the same reason, I’m also a fan of the peachy shade in this palette for blue-ish dark circles.) I patted the yellow on gently with a concealer brush and softly blended it out under the eyes. See the difference already?
I applied a few additional touches of the corrector where needed, before proceeding with foundation application. (When I hand-apply makeup I often do foundation before concealer, so it doesn’t get wiped away… and the foundation often ends up providing enough coverage that you don’t need as much concealer. But in this case, I planned to airbrush, so I do concealer first so I don’t change the smooth finish of the foundation after the fact.)
I applied a blend of Temptu SB #s 4 and 5 to O’s face, focusing on the areas that needed coverage and keeping it very light overall, so she wouldn’t have a heavy-looking face of makeup for the party. I almost always end up blending foundation colors & corrector tones together to achieve a perfect match, which is why I prefer the Pro system to the consumer system that Sephora carries. (The pods are great for personal use if you are a good match for one of their 12 foundation colors, but they don’t allow for blending if you aren’t!)
She looks even – the undereye discoloration is corrected – but pretty flat, right? I never stop after applying only one color to the face – I prefer to add back a bit of contour and dimension. For this step, I used MAC Strada, a (sadly discontinued) matte taupe, in the areas of her face I wished to slightly recede: her hairline, beneath her cheekbones, her temples, and VERY lightly along the sides of her nose. I added a touch of Benefit Hoola matte bronzer along the tops of her cheekbones & nose (everyone needs a little warming up in the winter, right?), a natural, rose-colored blush (one of the shades in my La Femme palette), and a touch of MAC Shroom eyeshadow along the very tops of her cheekbones (yes, eyeshadow! Shroom is a light, shimmery beige that makes a nice highlight, but I use a variety of different products and finishes to achieve this effect – airbrush colors, creams, liquids, you name it. I LOVE highlighting!)
Now, the fun part – defining the eyes. I love doing eye makeup; it was my first love and it’s always something I enjoy, and with so many different eye shapes and colors out there, my job never gets boring! For O, the goal was a subtly contoured eye with black, winged liner and false lashes. I started by applying my favorite eye makeup primer, Too Faced Shadow Insurance, which provides an even-toned base and helps ensure the eye makeup will last long without creasing – I apply it lightly from lashline to brows. Next, I brushed on her crease shade, a light taupe MAC eyeshadow, using a fluffy brush at this point to keep the application soft & diffused:
I started working a darker matte shadow into the outer crease and corner of the eye to give it more definition – at this stage, you can switch to a firmer, pointer brush if you want a very noticeable effect, but I tend to choose softer brushes to keep blending diffused (it’s much harder to draw a strong line and then blend it out than it is to start softer and build the depth slowly):
Now to add a little subtle holiday sparkle! I used a denser brush to pat on a soft, shimmery rose-gold eyeshadow (MAC All That Glitters) at the center of the eye, to catch the light without disturbing the texture of the contouring. I also used a smaller paddle brush to apply a lighter champagne shade at the inner corner of the eye.
Time to line! I used my tried-and-true MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack, with a firm angled brush, to work the color along O’s lashline and start building up to the shape I wanted: very thin on the inner corner, and building up to a thicker line at the outer corner. This helps lift the eye and give it shape without weighing it down, and it’s a must for a vintage look!
Next, I slowly extended the line into a cateye shape. This is the trickiest portion of this kind of application, since you want it to be symmetrical. If you mess up, you can use a cotton swab dipped in makeup remover to correct your mistakes – I always carry a stash of DHC Olive Oil Swabs, since they’re double-sided, individually wrapped, and quick and easy to use as an “eraser” when needed!
Curling the lashes is so important as it really opens up the eye and makes the most out of your natural lashes (because if they point down, they aren’t as visible even with mascara). I’m a bit of a freak and have four different curlers, all different shapes and sizes – this one, from Urban Decay, is no longer available (I hope that means they’re re-engineering it so that the bumper pad doesn’t fall out so easily!) and has to be used carefully, but I like that it’s cage-free, making it fit almost any eye shape (and giving lashes one less thing to get snagged in!)
(I was not curling her lashes while taking this photo – that would be potentially painful! But I wanted to show the shape of the tool, which I’ve found helpful. Use curlers gently, especially when you’re starting out, and be especially careful if you have any mascara already dried on your lashes because they’re more brittle.)
I finished this phase by applying mascara – my old standby, CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion in Very Black. I use disposable mascara wands to apply, but you’ll appreciate the brush that comes with this tube if you’re applying mascara to yourself – it really grabs every lash and extends them beautifully, and I find it holds a curl well, too.
Have you ever applied eyeliner only to notice that you can see a strip of bare skin between your liner and your lashes? Tightlining to the rescue! Use a water-resistant product to gently brush color right into the lashline – I chose Urban Decay’s Perversion pencil liner, which is nice and soft (you won’t want a dry, hard pencil rubbing against the sensitive part of your eye, so look for a soft pencil or use a brush to apply pencil or gel liner).
Next up, a little “boost:”
I chose a pair of wispy lashes from eeyelash.com, which I trimmed to size and applied with Duo adhesive and tweezers. Here’s the lash just after being placed on the lashline (the glue has yet to dry):
I then used the tweezers to adjust the corners and gently press the lashes down into place, as close to the natural lashes as possible. Once the glue dried, you can really see the effect they have!
I almost always save the lips for last – like dessert! O has a slight scar on one side of her lip line, which you can see on the upper right of this image of her bare lips:
The scar is very smooth so it helps to use something opaque over it before going in with lipstick. I lined and filled in her lips in MAC Dervish, a pinky-mauve nude, to enhance the shape of her lips and even them out:
I finished by letting O try out two different lip colors – the first was a vampy red from Three Custom Color – I love this photo of O checking out her sassy new reflection:
She loved the sexiness but decided to keep the lips toned down with a more neutral color, so I blotted down the red and applied a lighter neutral-plum shade, also from 3CC’s Warm Lipstick palette (which is so nice for people with golden skintones):
Here’s the final “before & after” – thanks so much, O, for letting me do your holiday party makeup (and submitting yourself so bravely to the no-frills documentation process!)
What makeup did you wear for your holiday parties – bold & sparkly, soft & natural…? Share in the comments below!
Amanda was such a pleasure to work with, and I’m so glad I was able to do so! She contacted me very close to her wedding date and I already had a booking that day, but I was free until the afternoon and Amanda said that prepping in the morning was fine. I brought a second artist (the amazingly talented Kristen Strassel, who I have also assisted before) to help with the wedding party so that I would have plenty of time to get to my next appointment. It’s rare that I double-book a date but since the scheduling was open and Kristen was available it was easy to accommodate both brides, and I’m glad that I did because Amanda and her group were loads of fun!
Amanda told me at the trial that she was definitely a black eyeliner gal, and wanted a smoky look. (As long as it is well-blended and subtly contoured to suit the eye shape, a smoky eye is certainly suitable for bridal beauty!) I used airbrush makeup, waterproof eyeliner formulas and sealed the deal with eyeshadow to make her eye makeup bulletproof (no one wants black eyeliner running down their face when they get emotional!)
See how nicely her makeup help up all day?
I love the soft blues & greys worn by the bridal party – and what a stunning backdrop that house makes!
Photography by Douglas Bradshaw
Last Friday I had the honor and pleasure of appearing for a second time on WWLP’s Mass Appeal, a local lifestyle program that airs weekday mornings at 11:00am. Remember my article about individual false lashes a few weeks ago? Host Ashley Kohl asked me if I’d like to present a segment about lashes on the show, and of course, I said yes. Local model Kim joined me for the segment – she came over bright & early for her makeover before we headed to the TV station for the live taping, and I loved giving her a glamorous, holiday-inspired look using shimmery gold eyeshadow (matte contour shadows plus MAC gold pigment applied wet, for those curious!), black eyeliner and soft red lips. Here’s the segment:
My goal was to go over different ways to achieve flirty, fabulous lashes – but since TV segments go by quickly, I thought it would be helpful to share my notes here!
First, here’s how to make the most of the lashes you were born with:
- Use eyeliner right at the root of the lashes to make them appear thicker – I like a gel eyeliner on a flat-tipped brush, but pencil also works well. Makeup artists call this “tightlining.”
- Make friends with that scary torture device known as a lash curler! You can find them in many different shapes and sizes (Ashley particularly loved my little corner lash curler). Squeeze gently but firmly at the base of the lash (taking care not to catch your skin) and work your way towards the tip to achieve a nice, soft upward curl.
- You have lots of choices for mascara formulas – thickening, lengthening, waterproof or regular, etc. – and many different styles of applicator wands; I’m partial to CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion, but it’s really about what works best for you. Just remember that mascara ads are misleading (the models’ lashes are usually fake and enhanced digitally), so don’t expect the formula alone to get the results.
- When you apply mascara, first wipe any excess globs off so you don’t make a mess. Apply by wiggling the wand gently at the base of your lashes to coat them thoroughly, and continue to wiggle the wand up the length of the lashes, which will help add thickness and length. You can add as many coats as you’d like, but stop before you get stiff, clumpy lashes (unless that’s the look you’re aiming for).
- Use a lash comb (I like metal-toothed combs; Tweezerman makes a nice one) to separate any clumps and keep the lashes wispy. You can also use a clean, disposable mascara wand, as pictured below:
Still want a little added thickness? Individual flares to the rescue! Here are some tips:
- If you want a natural look, choose short or medium knot-free individual flares (here’s my review of my favorites).
- Use a tiny dot of waterproof glue at the base of each lash – I usually hold them with tweezers and dip each lash cluster into the glue on at a time.
- Looking down into a mirror can make it easier to apply lashes on yourself.
- Place each cluster directly at the lash root, focusing on the outer corner and center of your eye. The lashes should be a length that blends into your natural lashes seamlessly.
Want the real drama? Here’s how to make the most of lash strips:
- You have a variety of styles to choose from! Check out your local drugstore or beauty supply shop to see what’s available. To keep the look natural, look for clear, flexible bands (nothing too thick or too dark, unless you plan to wear heavy eyeliner), wispy styles (the more “uniform” the lash, the less believable it looks), and realistic lengths (especially if you wear glasses!)
- Place the lash on your eye to see whether it fits – very often, they’re too long to wear comfortably. Trim lash from outside in so it fits your eye shape – removing the longest lashes will keep the nicely tapered shorter fibers to blend with your natural lashes.
- Bend and flex the lash band to help it shape itself to your eye (I sometimes wrap them around a brush handle to achieve that nice curve) – this will help prevent the ends from lifting up.
- Apply thin strip of a clear-drying glue, with a little extra on the corners. You want a solid stripe of glue but not so thick that it starts seeping down and gumming up the lashes.
- Let the glue set for 30 seconds before application (I usually give them a little wave in the meantime) – you want the glue to be sticky enough that you won’t be struggling to hold them in place while they dry.
- Place the strip on top of your lashes in the center, & then adhere the corners. Press the band as close to the natural lash line as possible; you don’t want a visible gap.
- Once the glue has set, “pinch” the false lash together with your natural lashes. You can also gently add a bit of mascara to marry the two lashes together.
- Touch up the strip with eyeliner as needed (sometimes the dried glue looks a bit shiny, so you can matte it down again with eyeliner if desired).
- Peel off gently from the outside in when removing your makeup. I don’t recommend sleeping in your makeup, and that includes false lashes!
- Never share false lashes or mascara with others. You may be able to get a few wears out of your lashes if you gently remove excess glue and mascara before storage, but they are not for sharing. Think of false eyelashes and mascara like underwear!
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking to some supremely talented wedding planners recently, and that plus my own experience working at weddings has really made me appreciate just how complicated (and overwhelming) they can be. It’s a LOT of moving parts! Some of my brides have worked with coordinators to make sure everything runs smoothly (and to troubleshoot on the spot when they don’t, because when does everything run smoothly at a wedding?), and others have bridal party or family members assume this role – some brides even seem to do it all themselves! There’s no right or wrong way, as long as everyone’s having fun, right?
As an on-location artist, the environment in which I’m working is ALWAYS different. I don’t think I’ve ever had two weddings be the same. But there are a few things brides and their entourages can do to make the most of where, when & how they’ll be getting ready:
1. First of all, do everything you can do – ahead of time – so you can relax on the day of. Most brides want to be guests at their own wedding so they can enjoy the results of their hard work (and what they’ve spent so much money on!) To do that, you have to feel confident that things will be taken care of – that there is someone (often several someones) designated to handle the last-minute details or things that come up. You really can’t do it all yourself, and that’s OK! Talk to your recently married friends to find out what sorts of things you should anticipate. Ask them what they might have done differently that would have made them more relaxed and worry-free. And then hire, or delegate, or both, to make sure you aren’t being pulled in twelve different directions while your hairstylist is chasing you with a hot curling iron. (Because that’s just dangerous!)
2. Consider the space you have for prep. Do you have a chair that’s the right height for your hair & makeup artists? (I bring my own chair, but barstools and other elevated furniture work great if your artist isn’t as compulsive about packing as I am. For hair, you can usually be seated lower.) How about adequate, not-weirdly-colored light (indirect sunlight is always best, when it’s available), electrical outlets, and table space? (Once again, I’m a nutcase with a trunk full of just-in-case portable furniture, including a table, lights, extension cord and power strip… but not all artists will have this and you can waste a lot of time tracking it down or waiting for someone to bring it to you.) Is there a place for you to hang wardrobe, and steam it if needed? Adequate bathroom space and mirrors? Make sure you will have access to what you and your bridal party need to get beautified, and that the team you hire either brings what you don’t have, or can get ahold of them easily on the day of.
3. How many people can you fit in your prep space (and how many people do you WANT around while you’re getting prepped)? I spoke to a planner recently who always suggests to her clients (particularly those with large bridal parties) that “not everyone needs to be in the same room at the same time.” This is a totally personal decision: do you want some quiet time to get pampered, or do you prefer to have more of a party atmosphere happening? Do you want people to come in and out to congratulate you, or do you prefer that to wait until you’re prepped?
4. There are often more options for prep space than you think. If the hotel rooms are simply too small for your group (those beds eat up a lot of space!), ask the front desk if there is a conference room you could use instead. A family or bridal party member might have the perfect sunlit kitchen or dining room or even office space that they’d be willing to donate for the day. Ask around, while keeping in mind any added travel time that this could require – you probably don’t want to have a long trip from your prep space to your ceremony.
5. Make a decision about communications – will you be answering the phone, fielding texts, etc. yourself, or will someone in your bridal party take responsibility? When someone is in my chair, at some point I have to ask them to look up at the ceiling or close their eyes so I can do their eye makeup (which will definitely cut into texting ability!) – so having someone who can take over is a good way to stay on schedule.
6. Finally, consider the things that help you feel calm and happy. That could be music, or meditation, or the company of loved ones, or a call from your soon-to-be spouse at a specific moment… whatever makes you feel relaxed and delighted, try to have some element of it during preparations. One of my brides this year scheduled a massage for herself while her bridesmaids were getting their hair & makeup done; I thought that was a brilliant idea. Do what you need to do.