- 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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Read part 1 here
Talk about good fortune: I was the lucky recipient of a complimentary tooth whitening session by local dentist (and former client of mine), Dr. Jyotika Dhawan from 1st Advantage Dental on King Street in Northampton. Dr. Dhawan uses the innovative Venus products (which she described as being much gentler than Zoom and similar whitening systems), and she wanted me to experience a whitening session for myself. I was game, so we set the appointment (somewhat miraculous, considering our respective crazy schedules!)
Let me start by saying that I am two things:
1. A total wuss about pain, especially dental pain (and I have wickedly sensitive teeth – I couldn’t even tolerate more than a few days of Crest White Strips!)
2. Insecure about many things, sure… but not so much about my teeth, as my natural tooth color has never really bothered me. (Dr. Dhawan confirmed that my teeth were already on the lighter end of the spectrum.)
Accordingly, I am a very odd candidate for cosmetic tooth bleaching. But when she suggested that I try it out in case a client ever asked me about it, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity!
I spent two surprisingly short appointments with Dr. Dhawan – first, to get my teeth fitted for trays (which hold the soothing gel that you use after a session to reduce any remaining sensitivity), and then for the actual whitening session itself. On both days, I was so impressed with her “chairside” manner – she explained everything she was doing and has a definite talent for relaxing her clients (and I am rarely relaxed at the dentist – I still pine for the days of nitrous oxide!) Even with an oral speculum in place, I was quite comfortable as she applied a protective barrier to my gums, kept my mouth very dry (no small task!), and proceeded to dab on the whitening compound. No UV lights are used for the Venus system; you just sit comfortably for about 15 minutes while it works its magic on your enamel.
I didn’t feel a thing until the last minute or so. And honestly, what I felt couldn’t even be described as pain – more like a twinge, a minor nerve annoyance (Dr. Dhawan called them “zingers”). But since it’s an unusual feeling, I was too anxious to continue – I had an early commercial shoot the next morning and was afraid I’d be too distracted by my sensitized teeth to concentrate on my work. (Such a wuss!) So we stopped after one round, and Dr. Dhawan applied the soothing gel to my tooth trays and I bit down on them, which was very satisfying and immediately alleviated the minor discomfort. I kept the trays in place for about half an hour afterwards, and once I removed them, I ate a bowl a soup with no trouble at all. And then I promptly forgot about the trays and gel, because I no longer needed them – within a few hours after my session, I was fully recovered!
Dr. Dhawan provided me with everything I needed in a gift bag: comfort gel, whitening toothpaste (including an innovative new brand designed to reduce sensitivity), and two bottles of clear mouthwash (much better for freshly bleached teeth than green!) She followed up with me afterwards to make sure everything was comfortable and to see whether I had any questions about maintenance. I was so impressed with her professionalism and follow-through.
Because I only did a single 15-minute round of bleaching before the minor twinges made me too nervous to continue, the results are very subtle (normally clients would do between 3 and 4 applications) – but I still saw a result, especially on my front teeth, which I attempted to capture below. Thanks to the maintenance products she provided, the effect has lasted, even as I sit here cluelessly drinking coffee and probably staining them anew.
In hindsight, I wish I’d toughed it out for at least one more round – I had no idea the twinges would go away within an hour of my appointment, and I could have tolerated many more “zingers” than I did. But hopefully this gives you an idea of what’s possible:
So if you’re self-conscious about your tooth color and haven’t had luck with at-home/over-the-counter systems, I would absolutely recommend seeing a professional like Dr. Dhawan for a whitening session – it was nowhere near as uncomfortable as I thought it would be, and anything that makes people more willing to smile is OK by me!
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.
I’ve been getting Rob Alberti’s email newsletter for years – he was one of the people who inspired me to create my own ezine and keep writing about the job I love so much! He was kind enough to meet up with me at Panera last week and talk shop.
Tell us your name, business name, what you do, and where you do it!
I am Rob Alberti, owner of Rob Alberti’s Event Services based in Westfield, MA. We help couples transform their wedding with the use of light, sound and our award winning entertainment services.
How many people currently make up your team?
I currently have 12 DJs, 6 lighting crews, and 2 photo booths.
What – or who – got you started in the industry?
I was always a huge music buff. In high school, I became involved in theater productions, working behind the curtain with lighting and sound. During role in student government, we were trying to put on a school dance but couldn’t afford a band, so I decided to wire my stereo and my friend’s stereo together and “I was a DJ”. When I headed to college, I decided to take all my college savings and buy my first real DJ system and I started DJing every weekend to work my way through college. After college, the business just kept growing to the point that I just didn’t have time to go to my day job anymore.
It’s about knowing how to manipulate crowds into coming out of their shells and becoming involved in the celebration. It’s about knowing what song to play next to get the impact you are looking for out of your audience. It’s not about tricks, it’s about watching a crowd – not just the people on the dance floor, but everyone – and figuring out what makes them tick.
What inspires your professional style and the work that you do?
My involvement in organizations such as the CT Professional DJ Association and national trade shows has inspired me to become better – not just in being a better DJ, but in being a better business person. We want our clients to walk away not just saying they had a great time at their wedding, but telling us that we made the entire planning process from their first email and every interaction with us as smooth and as professional as possible.
We love soulmates and trend-setters. We want couples with a vision of a celebration that is not like the McWeddings that so many people have attended in the past. No chicken dance, no corny jokes – just an amazing time for both the couple and all of their guests. We are looking for couples that want to be involved in planning a personalized and unique celebration of their love for each other.
One of the most challenging things is to explain to potential clients that not all DJs are alike. Their decision about entertainment can either turn their wedding into a boring and forgetful event, or one that will have friends and families raving about the fun they had and that it was “the best wedding ever!”
As one of my DJs stated, “We work for hugs.” If our couple comes up and hugs us at the end of their wedding, that is by far the most rewarding moment of the night.
Not all DJs or lighting designers are alike. You need to hear them make announcements (video clip, audio recordings), you need to read the past client reviews, and you need to have it all in writing. Remember, you get what you pay for. If someone is charging significantly lower than another, there is something inherently different in the level of service that you are going to get. (Craig’s List is probably not the best place to find a DJ for your wedding!)
This past July, Chantal & Steven’s reception at St. Clement’s Castle in Portland, CT. They were just such a fun couple from the start. Chantal & Steven probably sent me more emails and details than any other couple. They knew exactly what they wanted. (Not bridezilla style, just really engaged in the process of planning the party!) They made a video clip to be played during their introduction to help get the crowd excited. They made slide shows to go along with their parent dances. They brought their own props for guests.
Their ceremony was down by the CT River. As Chantal and her dad came down the hill, Train’s “Marry Me” was playing. The ceremony was short but heartfelt. As they were pronounced man & wife, “Get Down Tonight” came roaring in and Chantal & Steve and their bridal party boogied back up the hill to the cocktail hour.
They were a party crowd. Everyone was enjoying using our photo booth. Their guests signed their very own hockey jersey (Chantal’s dad was a professional hockey player). The room just glowed with our wireless controlled uplighting. I remember at one point Chantal came up to me to request a song and she made this comment about how cool the DJ gear was, so my assistant coordinated with her to “spin a set” at her own wedding – she donned the headphones and everyone cheered. It was awesome!
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.
I answered a bunch of questions from Thumbtack when I set up my profile; figured I’d post them here as well!
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
First and foremost, look closely at the makeup artist’s portfolio. Does the work and quality reflect what you are seeking? Does the artist demonstrate skill working with different skin tones? Does the makeup look natural and seamless in photographs, or heavy/unblended? A professional makeup artist should be able to show a range of current photos of their work.
If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
High definition cameras have changed the way we do makeup, from the products themselves to the application techniques (including airbrush), and makeup that looks fine to the naked eye may not translate to a photo. A professional artist who has worked with pro photographers will understand how to ready your face for the spotlight.
What questions should a consumer ask to hire the right service professional?
1. Ask to see their portfolio, if it isn’t already accessible online.
2. Ask if they have any references from clients similar to you (you can also sometimes look up reviews online), or a client list.
3. Ask them about rates, and give them as much information as possible so they can give you an accurate quote. Don’t forget to include the date you are interested in so the artist can determine their availability. And always remember (if you’re reeling from sticker shock!) that an artist’s rates are determined by the scope of the job and the time involved, as well as their experience, preparation, and product cost.
What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
Since I work almost exclusively on location, potential clients should be able to indicate where I will be traveling to. I also need to know either how much time I will be there or how many people I will be making up, so that I can provide an accurate quote. Clients are always encouraged to share pictures of looks that they like so that I can get a sense of their preferences and style – communicating with images is always better than with words. (“Smokey eye” means different things to different people!)
What do you like most about your job?
A. I love bringing out everyone’s natural beauty – enhancing what is already there and making it shine. I especially love the reaction my clients have when they see themselves in the mirror! I also love the creativity, incorporating color theory and contouring in ways that are unique to every face I work with, and being able to vary the effect – from the natural, no-makeup clean look that is my specialty to more dramatic looks that are so much fun to do – with just a few strokes of my brush!
What are your most common types of jobs?
My work is divided into two main categories: commercial/industry and private client (hence my two websites!) My commercial work includes advertisements and promotional materials (print, web and video), as well as editorial fashion projects; my private client services include bridal makeup and photography sessions (such as headshots and portraits). I also offer lessons and consultations to private clients as well as groups.
Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
Absolutely; I am always adding to my skills! I have taken workshops from Temptu airbrush and MAC Pro, and am an active member of the Powder Group (an association in NYC that offers programming and education for professional artists). I also read and research extensively, and am always up for learning new techniques. I’m a knowledge junkie!