- 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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Raise your hand if this sounds familiar: you’re getting a makeover, but you find yourself tongue-tied when describing what you want, and you’re not sure what to say when the artist asks questions. As a result, you don’t see what you had envisioned in the mirror when the artist is finished.
How can you speak the artist’s language and translate what you’re seeing in your head into the real-life face that looks back at you in the mirror at the end of the session? The good news is, you don’t have to learn a whole new set of lingo – communicating with beauty pros is easier than you think! Here are some tips for getting the most out of your makeover:
1. Picture this. Can’t figure out how to describe that perfect shimmery smoky eye you’ve been daydreaming about? Track down the picture(s) that gave you the idea in the first place and bring them to your session, or send links in advance. That way the artist can get a sense of your tastes and adapt a look you love for your features and coloring. Magazines, Google image searches, makeup blogs, and Pinterest are all great resources! However: Try to choose pictures that show models with similar features to your own, and remember that what looks good on one face won’t always look good on yours. Provide images as a way to share what you like, not to provide an exact template (your artist will know what will and won’t work to enhance your features).
2. Who’s your point of reference? One request makeup artists hear almost every day on the job is “I want a natural look.” And who wouldn’t want to look naturally gorgeous, right? But I always ask a few follow-up questions when I hear this, because what I think looks natural and what my client thinks looks natural might be two very different things. I might be thinking a barely-there/”no makeup” look like Tilda Swinton, whereas you’re thinking Kim Kardashian. (I would never in a million years hear the word “natural” and think KK!) “Smoky eye” also means different things to different people, so when in doubt, show, don’t tell.
3. Think happy skin. If you know you’re allergic to aloe, your makeup artist will need to make sure not to use an aloe-based moisturizer. A latex allergy means several common eyelash adhesives are not an option for you. While most artists stock their kits with products that have few active ingredients in order to avoid skin irritation, everyone has different allergies and sensitivities – and claims of “hypoallergenic” and “noncomedogenic” are largely marketing (they’re not medically regulated terms and offer no guarantee that your skin won’t react). Be specific and, if you have a product you’d like the artist to use, don’t hesitate to bring it along and politely offer it to them as an alternative. Also, be sure to speak up – in advance – if you’re vegan, so the artist can use products and brushes that aren’t derived from animal products.
4. Got plans? Where will you be wearing your fabulous face? Artists take lighting, wardrobe, setting, and longevity into consideration when making someone up. You’ll probably want a bolder and more long-lasting look for a night out at a club, as opposed to a professional headshot photo session. Will you be outdoors in daylight? If so, we’ll probably keep the complexion natural looking (direct sunlight makes heavy foundation look unflattering) and start with a layer of SPF. Will you be photographed? If so, camera-friendly products are key. You get the idea – just let us know what your plans are.
5. Be honest… A good artist wants to know what you think, and ultimately wants you to love the look! So don’t hesitate to give us your honest feedback when you finally get the big reveal.
6. …but keep it real. Unless you’re getting full-on Halloween makeup, you’ll probably still be able to recognize your face in the mirror when the artist is through. Usually this is what clients want, but sometimes the unspoken expectation is that makeup will erase certain features that you consider to be flaws. If you’re concerned about a particular feature, be sure to tell your artist about it so he or she can explain what will and won’t be possible with the makeup (for example, it’s impossible to erase wrinkles just with makeup, but you can minimize their appearance). We won’t automatically know that you hate your mole and want it covered up (especially if we thought it was a lovely beauty mark!), so definitely speak up. But most importantly, don’t expect to look exactly like your inspiration pictures when the artist is done – it’s still your face, and a good artist should help you enhance and celebrate your unique beauty, not spackle over it.
Makeup can do a lot for disguising blemishes, but so far the cosmetic universe hasn’t dreamed up a formula that can paint teeth whiter just for one day. So what are your options as a bride?
First of all, a reality check – teeth are NOT pure white. They’re not supposed to blind passersby. The perfect, snow-white teeth you see in ads are often Photoshopped to perfection, and most celebrities these days have a mouth full of veneers or get a routine dental whitening procedure. So be sure that you’re not holding yourself to an unrealistic standard. (This goes for all things beauty!)
If you’ve accepted that but still want a whiter smile for your big day, you have a number of choices. Many dentists offer a cosmetic whitening treatment that can be done in a single session or several short ones (more on that in Part 2 here!) You can also try whitening at home with strips or similar products, but definitely read the consumer reviews before selecting a brand – they don’t work for everyone, and they can cause varying levels of (usually temporary) tooth sensitivity.
Be very aware of what you eat and drink, especially after whitening – a glass of red wine or a few cups of coffee can stain, undoing the hard work and expense you’ve put into your mouth. Drink lots of water, and keep your teeth clean and flossed. And definitely pay attention to this on your wedding day as well! (Your photographer may include retouching in his or her package, but your Facebook photo-tagging guests may not be so kind!)
Certain lipstick and gloss colors (especially cooler, blue-based tones) will help make your teeth appear more white, while others (brown and purple-based colors) will bring out the yellow, so make sure to stick with a shade that won’t exacerbate any discoloration.
Then let loose and smile – everyone is more gorgeous when they smile or laugh in photos, no matter what shade their teeth are!
This article is currently featured on the Eutopia Events blog – and it is very similar to what I share with my brides before their weddings. With a few simple skincare tips observed in the weeks leading up to the big day, you too can put your absolute best face forward during your walk down the aisle!
Beauty begins with the skin
The better the condition of your skin, the better your makeup will look. However, dramatically changing your regimen in the weeks before the wedding can create MORE breakouts and other skin reactions. If you want a facial, make sure to do so no later than a week (preferably two) before your wedding – your skin needs the recovery time. Continue using the products your skin is accustomed to, with extra attention to moisturizer, sunscreen, and lip balm.
Wedding day eve
The day before, gently exfoliate to remove any flakes or dead skin on your face and lips. Sugar mixed with honey, olive oil, or lip balm makes a great lip exfoliator! Avoid the use of overly scratchy ingredients (such as ground walnut shells).
You are what you eat
What you put into your body affects your skin, so drink as much water as possible to keep yourself hydrated and to aid in skin renewal. Nutrition affects the health of your skin, particularly if you have any food allergies or sensitivities, so be sure to consult a doctor well in advance if you have concerns about your diet, or a dermatologist if you have specific questions about skincare, acne, etc.
Wax on, wax off
Don’t leave any form of facial depilation – especially waxing – to the last minute (a week beforehand is best). In addition to leaving redness behind, waxing can temporarily create an unnaturally smooth surface, preventing makeup adhesion. If you’re taking medication or using a topical acne treatment, remember that your skin is probably drier and more prone to being damaged by waxing.
If you’d like a spray tan for the wedding, it should be done in advance so the color has time to soften and settle so it doesn’t stain. Only use self-tanning products if you are experienced with application and familiar with the product’s durability, as they can also stain your garments (not to mention your palms!) Whatever you do, don’t go too dark or orange – stay within a natural range for your skin tone.
Avoid using magnifying mirrors – they encourage excessive picking and plucking (and irrational levels of insecurity!)
If you will be having tattoos or any large areas of skin concealed on the wedding day, be sure to shave the area thoroughly on the morning of, including up to an inch of the surrounding skin – this will help the full-coverage makeup to lie flush and blend well. (There is generally no need to shave or wax your face prior to makeup application, but feel free to contact me if you have questions about facial hair.)
Get as much sleep as possible, drink lots of water, and if you feel puffy on the morning of, refrigerated cucumber slices will soothe the skin around your eyes.
Originally published on AlwaysNewYou.com
The best way to look fresh – and younger! – is to use as little product as you can get away with. You want people to see your skin and let whatever color cosmetics you choose (such as a bright lip, or a smoky eye) take center stage. So, repeat after me: heavy coverage is out, soft is in!
For starters, don’t take the word “foundation” too literally. You don’t have to plaster your entire face with base. Once you’ve found a good color match, apply only where you need coverage and let your healthy skin shine through! If you already stick to sheer products like tinted moisturizers, you’ve got that “covered” – but if not? Make your own! A full-coverage liquid or cream foundation can be thinned with moisturizer until you achieve the perfect level of coverage. Start with a very light application and build up to the amount of coverage you need, where you need it.
Got a bit of redness? Start with a sheer layer of a green or yellow color correcting primer to neutralize the flush, and then apply your skintone shade on top. Use a translucent powder to set.
Over-plucked brows will age your face just as fast as cakey makeup will. Your eyebrows provide the frame for your beautiful face, and their shape is very important, but don’t overdo it: a natural brow is far more youthful and flattering than a thin, heavily plucked one! Your best bet is to get a professional brow shaping from an esthetician, and then maintain their shape. Before you pluck out any hairs, brush your brows straight up and carefully trim the tips that reach above your brow – you may find that you don’t have to pluck as many as you thought. This will keep your brows from becoming too sparse.
Here’s another recent media feature – read the whole article online here!
Pleasantly surprised to see the results of an email media query that actually took place nearly a year ago! Two photos of my work are shown as well. Here’s the paragraph I am quoted in:
Skip the Usual Tubes: Don’t like the feel of heavy lipstick or goopy gloss? Go for a soft stain, which will wash your lips with a hint of color without excess shine. “Tangerine is one of my favorite color trends in recent years,” says Liz Washer, whose makeup expertise has appeared in Essence. “It just looks so juicy and fresh, and there’s a shade for every skin tone. But if you’re not quite up for a bright orange or tangerine, try poppy or coral. You can also soften a bright lip look by patting lipstick on your lips with your ring finger, achieving a softer stain effect, or use a semi sheer gloss in the same color family.”
Full article: Brightening up Winter with Tangerine Lips
I started off the year with a set of Beauty Resolutions to help keep your skin healthy and avoid spreading infection. As a follow up, I wanted to outline what professional makeup artists do to keep their kits clean and their clients healthy:
- HAND SANITIZER: Artists should wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer between clients, since touching the face is usually a necessity during makeup applications. (My personal favorite sanitizer is Jao, because in addition to sanitizing effectively, it smells wonderful!)
- BRUSHES: All non-disposable brushes (especially eye and lip brushes) should be thoroughly sanitized between clients. Most pro artists carry a fast-drying brush cleanser on jobs so they can quickly clean brushes that need to be used again. I swirl my brushes in an agitator bottle and then wipe them off on a paper towel, repeating until they wipe clean. In addition, brushes are thoroughly shampooed and deep cleaned between jobs.
- CREAMS: Cream-based products, such as gel eyeliners and lipsticks, are best applied from a separate palette. Most artists will carry a stainless steel, plastic, or disposable surface from which to work. Cream products are scraped out of their container and onto the palette for application. This way the brush can be reloaded after touching the face, without contaminating the original container of product. (Note: since cream products often apply best after being warmed up, some artists work off of the back of their hands – this is a common practice and acceptable if the artist uses hand sanitizer.)
- LIQUIDS: Liquid products, such as foundation and lipgloss, should be dispensed onto the palette prior to application. Since many consumer products are sold in tubes with a built-in applicator, this step prevents contaminants from getting into the product itself. Once on the palette, they can be applied cleanly. (Tubed lipgloss can also be applied with a disposable wand, without dipping back into the tube once the wand has touched the client’s lips.)
- MASCARA: As outlined in the previous entry, mascara should not be applied directly from the tube unless the tube is brand-new and being used only on one client. Disposable wands and fan brushes are used instead, with no double-dipping.
- PENCILS: Eye and lip pencils are sharpened between clients and wiped down with alcohol.
- LOOSE POWDERS: Loose powders can be dispensed onto palettes or applied from the underside of the cap, which is easily wiped clean.
- PRESSED POWDERS: Eyeshadow and other kinds of pressed powders should be applied with a clean brush or applicator. Unlike creams and liquids, the dry surface of a pressed powder is a poor environment for germs, so as long as the product is kept dry and applied cleanly, direct application is acceptable. The top layer of powder should be wiped down at the end of the day so a fresh surface awaits the next client. There are also cleansers that will sanitize without marring the surface and damaging the product (Beauty So Clean is the best-known).
- FALSE LASHES: They should be brand new. False lashes are too difficult to sanitize thoroughly and, as a result, they’re not suitable to be reused on different clients.
- AIRBRUSH: Airbrush is perhaps the most sanitary application method out there, since the gun never touches the face directly. (The guns do need to be thoroughly cleaned between jobs so they don’t clog.)
What you should see: Disposable applicators. Hand sanitizer. Brush cleanser.
What you shouldn‘t see: Artists licking or blowing on brushes. The same in-tube mascara or lipgloss wand being used on everyone. Noticeably dirty brushes (natural brush hairs may be stained from use with bright pigments, but the bristles should not appear dusty or damp).
Will all artists take these or similar precautions? In the grand scheme of things, makeup poses a fairly low health risk, and therefore not every artist will be as fastidious as outlined above. But my opinion is that ANY ethical pro should eliminate unnecessary risks, and keep their makeup and their tools clean. And as a consumer, you are entitled to ask questions about artists’ practices and advocate for your health as needed.
Have you made your New Year’s Resolutions yet? Whether you have a long list already or don’t go in for that nonsense, here are some really easy – but very important – hygiene steps to take in 2013:
1. RESOLVE: To remove your makeup before bed
Makeup was not meant to be worn for days at a time – it can block pores, leading to a breakout (yes, even the all-natural, mineral, or noncomedogenic varieties can affect your skin when they’ve been ground against your face and a pillow all night!) Leftover eye makeup can irritate your eyes and the skin around them (which can result in styes and other blemishes). Leaving makeup on is also rather drying – you’ll miss out on the benefits of applying a good moisturizer at night, and if you skip this step consistently, you may develop wrinkles earlier than you would otherwise.
Even if makeup itself doesn’t tend to break you out, the world is a rather dirty place, and accordingly, your face is subject to free radicals throughout the day. You need to cleanse your skin to help keep it healthy and youthful in appearance.
2. RESOLVE: To keep your germs to yourself
Consider a well-loved, half-full tube of lipgloss. It not only contains the product, but microscopic skin cells and other contaminants that were picked up by the applicator every time you swiped on some color. (And unlike the surface of a lipstick, which can be dipped in alcohol and wiped down, there’s no way to sanitize the inside of a gloss tube.) Sharing lip gloss can spread cold sores, flu, not to mentions all sorts of bacteria.
Or let’s take a tube of mascara. Sharing mascara runs the risk of spreading conjunctivitis (pinkeye) and herpes simplex (yes, in your eye – are we having fun yet?) Still not convinced? Just take a moment to run a Google Image search for “eyelash mites.” (Are those things scary-looking or what?!?)
Is this something you really want to share with a friend?
3. RESOLVE: To protect yourself from other people’s germs
After reading the above, hopefully you’ll NEVER use the testers at the mall directly on your lips or eyes – especially anything with an in-tube applicator that cannot be sanitized. (I always assumed this would go without saying, but I’ve seen Sephora shoppers applying tester lipgloss directly to their lips – yikes!) Thoroughly wipe down the outer layer of powders with a clean tissue (or a sanitizing product like Beauty So Clean) before using, since people tend to test eyeshadows and similar products by wiping their fingers against them. When in doubt, test colors on the back of your hand and take advantage of the store’s return policy if that new lipgloss or eyeliner just didn’t look good on you after all.
While most beauty pros have been trained in safe cosmetic hygiene practices, others are either ignorant or simply unconcerned about the potential risks, so it’s up to you to advocate for your health. If you’re getting a makeover and the artist comes at you with an in-tube mascara wand that you know has touched countless other eyes (rendering both the applicator and the product itself potentially contaminated), confess to being “a bit of a germ-phobe” and politely decline.
4. RESOLVE: To clean your makeup brushes regularly
Nothing like applying a soft neutral eyeshadow only to muddy up your lids with the dark purple you wore several nights before! Brush cleaning is easy – I like to use the same cleanser I use on my face. Swish them in lukewarm water against your palm using cleanser to thoroughly clean the bristles, then gently rinse and squeeze out excess water. Lie the brushes flat to dry so water doesn’t drip into the ferrule (which can loosen the glue and cause shedding).
Ideally you should clean your makeup brushes once a week, but if you can only squeeze it in a few times a month you’re still doing better than most. (Makeup artists have to clean them between every single client, so count yourself lucky!) If you don’t have time to deep-clean, there are plenty of brush cleansers available for purchase that will clean and sanitize the bristles and dry very quickly (my personal favorite is by Cinema Secrets).
If you prefer sponges and puffs, make sure to replace them frequently (although some – like the Beauty Blender – can be washed and reused). If you’re still using the same sponge or puff that came with a pressed powder or cream-to-powder compact, it is very likely coated with skin oils and impurities, which will affect the application and can even form a glazed “crust” on top of the makeup. (Tip: press clear tape against the glazed surface to remove a few layers of powder, or scrape it off entirely with a fingernail. And replace the applicator immediately!)
5. RESOLVE: To dispose of any unused or expired cosmetics
Pay attention to the manufacturer’s recommendations for a product’s shelf life, but also use your common sense – when in doubt, throw it out. For example, here’s a quick way to tell if a lipstick or gloss has gone rancid: give it a sniff. If you detect a strong, offensive wax-y odor (like a melted crayon), toss that puppy pronto!
The first thing to go will usually be your mascara – yep, 3 months after purchase. Mascara dries out quickly, as you’ll undoubtedly notice when it starts giving you stiff spiky spider lashes, and you want any product used near your eyes to be as clean as possible. Products with SPF also have an expiration date (generally around two to three years), so don’t count on protecting yourself with five-year-old sunscreen or tinted moisturizer. Finally, remember that any product with no preservatives will have a much shorter life, so follow the manufacturer’s guidelines accordingly.
As for powders, wipe them down occasionally and pay attention to the consistency and performance of the product. As long as they remain dry and maintain a clean surface, they will have a much lengthier life than the creams, gels and liquids in your makeup bag.
As for any unused products, return them if you can. Or give yourself a few months to see whether that impulse buy actually makes a happy appearance on your face. If not, give it the ol’ heave-ho and make room for the colors you’ll actually like and use. (Or the next impulse buy; whichever comes first!)
Even if you’ve planned thoroughly in the weeks and months leading up to your big day, a lot happens on the wedding day long before you walk down the aisle. Wondering how to make the most of that pre-ceremony prep time? Here’s what you need to consider:
When should I do my nails? If you’re planning on a mani/pedi, consider getting your nails done the day before. Depending on the formula used, nail polish can take awhile to harden completely (they might seem dry but many kinds of polish can be easily dented hours after application), so you’ll be unable to do much of anything until they are fully hardened. Unless you’re getting a fast-drying manicure at the very crack of dawn, save yourself the frustration by getting it done the day before (and set aside a bottle of a matching color & top coat for any emergency chips!)
Which comes first, hair or makeup? In a perfect world, hairstyling happens first because the hot styling tools might cause perspiration, and also because the makeup artist can remove any overspray from the skin before starting. However, your schedule may dictate that hair and makeup happen in tandem – or, in a pinch, simultaneously. As long as you avoid having a shine product sprayed too close to your face after your makeup has been done, it’s OK to switch up the order. (Definitely try to avoid going under a hot dryer with a finished face, though – that can be uncomfortable!) Also think about your chosen style – for example, if you’ll have bangs or wispy pieces of hair across your face, that section should ideally be finished after the makeup, or gently pinned back before makeup begins.
What time should I start hair & makeup? I always ask my clients to determine when they’ll need to be dressed and ready, and then we work backwards from there. I suggest finishing hair and makeup approximately one hour before “go time” – that leaves plenty of time for everyone to get dressed, gather their things, hug, take pictures, and share a final toast. You may not need that much time but also remember to factor in whether or not you are having getting-dressed photos, first look photos, or if any family or bridal party photos will be done pre-ceremony. That way you can determine the order and scheduling of services accordingly.
Does the bride go first or last? Again, this depends on your schedule – if you’re going to have pictures taken before the ceremony, you may need to be finished earlier than the rest of your group. If not, I usually save the bride for last – it’s a good finale!
How long does hair & makeup take? This depends on the artist(s), on the number of people getting services, and on the complexity of the desired looks. I always allot at least 30-40 minutes per person for makeup, with a little extra time for the bride. Hair can range from just a few minutes for a simple primping to an hour or more for an intricate updo. My suggestion is to OVERestimate how much time you’ll need – that way your schedule will allow for different styling choices and last-minute add-ons, as well as late family members, interruptions, and other unanticipated (but often unavoidable) wedding day chaos. If you have a very large group and you know you’ll be tight on time, ask your hair and/or makeup artist to bring a second stylist, or book one yourself.
Where should hair & makeup happen? Whenever possible, I always request a spot by a window – natural light is ideal for makeup! Make sure there’s somewhere for makeup & styling tools to be set up, a power outlet or two, comfortable temperature, and a reasonable amount of space for the number of people who will be in the room. I always come prepared with lighting, a folding table, an extension cord, and my own makeup chair, but not all artists will be so equipped, so plan accordingly!
How will I get everything done while sitting still in the hair & makeup chair? This is where it’s best to delegate ahead of time, decide what the rules will be, and stick to the plan. Answering the phone, texting, getting hugs from friends and family, answering bridesmaids’ questions about which earrings to wear… all of these things are great but they can slow down the beautification process significantly, which is a problem if you’re on a tight schedule. Also, if everyone is demanding your attention at once, it will be difficult to relax and enjoy the process of being pampered. Instead, delegate phone-answering to a bridal party member if you can, and try to limit the total number of people in the prep area. If nothing else, your artists will love you for it!
Do I really have to figure all of this out myself? No – that’s something wedding planners and coordinators are happy to do for you! Decide whether you want to be in charge of every detail, or whether relaxing is more your style. And don’t overlook the possibility of unexpected problems on the day of – every bride has a story to tell about minor (but annoying) things that went wrong, and how they were handled (or not!) Hire if you can; delegate if you cannot.
It has always struck me as somewhat amusing that the word for male makeup and styling is “grooming” when so few grooms actually opt for it.
Wait… what? Am I really suggesting that masculine types get MAKEUP?!?
It may come as a surprise, but makeup isn’t inherently feminine or a “woman thing;” it’s merely a feature-enhancing, flaw-minimizing, photo-readying thing! I cannot tell you how many wedding photos I see where the bride looks immaculate, but her new husband looks like he’s still detoxing from the bachelor party. Red, blotchy skin and shine know no sex, no age, no sexual orientation, and no gender expression – looking disheveled is 100% equal opportunity. (Kind of heartwarming, isn’t it?)
Male actors, politicians, models, and high-powered executives all receive makeup for photo and video shoots, and there’s no reason grooms, groomsmen, and other non-girly types (yes, you sexy tomboy brides & butches, that means you!) can’t partake if they want to look their best. The trick is to make it undetectable. If a cakey face is a no-no on the bride, it’s a DEFINITE no on the macho members of the wedding party.
Before a photo-heavy day, grooms can get a MANicure (matte and unpolished – just enough sprucing to make their hands and cuticles look clean and smooth in those close-up photos of the rings), a brow grooming (usually just a trim and very, VERY subtle shaping only where needed)… they can exfoliate their skin to avoid dullness or flakiness, and groom their facial hair however they like to wear it.
Sometimes that’s enough. But if undereye circles, redness and pimples, pallor, uneven tone, or greying eyebrows/facial hair are concerns, a skilled makeup artist can correct these matters in minutes without changing a man’s appearance noticeably. (I’ve also been asked to disguise razor nicks, bruises, and bright red noses on grooms & dads.) A full face of makeup is rarely necessary – spot concealing, color correction, antishine, and a very light powder application will usually do the trick.
Not all makeup artists know how to do male makeup without having it look too noticeable or dramatic, so make sure the artist you hire can demonstrate this expertise before bringing them on board. With most grooms, less is more!