Bridal FAQ

Brides ask a ton of questions… the poor things are so bogged down with wedding plans and price lists, menus and measurements they often lose out on the details. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions I get from my brides, and ones that I hear from fellow MUA’s with many of the same FAQs. Here goes…

1: Do I REALLY need a Makeup Artist? “Becky, my friend from high school is really good at eyeshadow! My sister always does her makeup really well, I’m sure she can do mine! I know, I’ll just go to MAC, get one of the girls to paint my face and then buy all the products, and I’m set!”

No, please do not go with Becky, “sister” or MAC-Lady. Yes, You do REALLY need a Makeup Artist. You need one who understands you, your style, the wedding esthetic, and is a real Professional. Not some girl who likes to play with lipsticks who is ‘really good at eyeshadow’. You need a pro who is good at doing ‘a whole face’.

On your big day, it is imperative that you get a few moments to relax before ceremony time. You want to get an artist who is mobile and will come to you so you have less running around to do on that day. You also want to make sure you did a trial with her before the day of so that the two of you know there is a plan in place. It is going to be your most photographed day of your ENTIRE LIFE. Hire a pro who can make you look good from every angle, in every light, and in your photographs and video. Someone who understands that a bride sweats, gets shiny, kisses people endlessly, and needs to stand out above everyone else in her photos. Get an artist who will make you shine, and, make you comfortable and confident in their skills. Even if you pay more for a mobile artist, the relaxation time and worry-free moments prior to the ceremony will be invaluable and is money very, very, well spent.\

2: Why do I need to leave a deposit?

Do all the rest of your bridal contractors take a retainer fee/deposit? Yes they do. It’s because no one wants to have a client retract services at the last minute and leave them high and dry. This happens, especially in a business where a couple sets a budget and often spend several thousand dollars over budget but don’t realize it until the last moment.

Leave your retainer for the date you are booking, and try to pay your balance prior to the date. Some artists ask to be paid the balance 30 days prior to the wedding, others ask that the balance be paid on the day but give you the option to pay in advance if you wish. If you can financially manage it, pay in advance. It’s one less envelop of money to worry about giving out on the big day.

3: Can I negotiate the price? I never budgeted for a makeup/hair artist for the wedding 😦

Firstly, don’t let this happen to you. Budget it in. You’re budgeting in something for everyone else that day from music, tuxes, food, entertainment, etc. so remember to include something just for you in the budget too.

Should you try to negotiate price? Some artists may budge, some may not. Artists who post their rates directly on their websites are usually of the ‘no-nonsense’ types and don’t play games with their vendors. Some Artists use the idea of not having rates public to either try to make contact with a potential client who may not have contacted them because their price is too high for the client or to make an individualized quote depending on how deep a client’s pocket is. You can try to negotiate, but always remember that you get what you pay for. Now if Gina around the way is charging you $10 for ‘just the eyes’ and you’re happy with her, go for it. But you can always find a great artist for a reasonable price. Pricing also depends on your geographical location. Ask a friend and see if that artist will give a referral discount. Book a large party and see if they will throw in the false eyelashes for free. You never know what you may get by negotiating, but in the end, be prepared to pay their worth if they are a worthy Artist.

4: Will you do touch-up services?

Now every artist is different in terms of what they do to perform their job, but professionally, I never recommend that a client do ‘touch-up services’. If a client needs a secondary makeup application, the Artist should start with a clean canvas and do a new application. Piling makeup on top of a sweaty, shiny, oily face is bad for the Artist’s brushes, bad for their makeup, and bad for the client. It will photograph as caked-on, opaque, heavy or even with a big colour difference (especially in women of colour). So no, no touch-up services. Please ask for details regarding a secondary application. If you have many hours between the ceremony and reception, this may be a great add-on for you.

5: I ONLY like ______ products! Do you use______ (<—- Insert consumer brand name cosmetic company here)?

Most artists I know are not brand loyal. We are not interested in selling you the products, we are interested in selling you our skills. Sometimes we may use items that are from a ‘prestige brand’ and sometimes we may use an item that is from the drugstore beauty section, but either way, we use items that perform. Period. An artist may use a Skinfinish by MAC or a blush colour from NARS, but their whole kit & caboodle usually doesn’t come from one place. And the mark of a good artist is someone who uses what WORKS, not just what looks expensive to a client. And therein lies the difference between what an Artist may buy verses what a client may buy. There are some notable differences between Pro brands and Consumer brands which often affects an Artist’s purchasing choices. Consumers often buy products because they are new, exciting, and marketed well. Pros use brands because they work, they perform, they are highly pigmented, waterproof, hypoallergenic, etc. We don’t care if it comes in a jar, bin or bucket. If it works well, we want it. It doesn’t need an expensive name scrawled across the outside packaging to impress us. The fact that our colleagues all talk about how well it performs is proof enough for us.

Also, many, many artists need travel friendly kits so they often downsize by ‘depotting’. This term is used to describe the many ways we artists eliminate heavy and bulky packaging by taking our makeup items (blush, eyeshadow, powder, bronzer, etc) out of their packaging and putting them in flat empty palettes that hold a multitude of items. This saves us on lots of space. Many Artists also downsize liquids  (foundations, liquid bronzers, face cream, toner, etc) by putting them in small 1/8, 1/4, or 1/2 oz bottles to eliminate the heaviness & high possibility of breakage of carrying several glass bottles in our kits. Cream products (lipsticks, concealers, cream foundations) are also often downsized too in all kinds of flat palettes for ease of mixing and, again, to eliminate packaging & weight. Which means when an Artists opens their kit and it’s full of downsized items, they could be any brand: an Artist may be using an Urban Decay eyeshadow, a La Femme blush, a Ben Nye powder, a Joe Blasco concealer, and a Revlon Lipstick… but you hired the artist based on skill, photos of their work or a sound referral from someone who has hired them before so have no worries about what brands they’ve got and trust they will make you as stunning as you’ve hired them to. It doesn’t matter what they’ve used so long as it doesn’t irritate your skin, it lasts all day/night, and you love the look they’ve given you!

6: How do I know you’ll be able to do makeup on my Asian/Indian/Irish/African skin tones? Can you do “Indian” bridal makeup with heavy and dramatic eyes? Can you do “Asian” bridal makeup with a sculpted face? Can you do “African” bridal makeup with deep pigment in the blush and eyeshadows?

If you’ve hired a reputable artist, they SHOULD be able to do makeup effectively on every skin tone and skin type. They SHOULD have all the items in their kit to create any foundation shade to match any client. And they SHOULD be familiar with different cultures and how the makeup is styled differently.

That being said, some artists in more multi-ethnic and multicultural geographic regions may have more skill or more practice doing makeup regularly on a multitude of skin tones and complexions. If you live in a less multicultural area where you have not tried out the Artist you’re considering hiring, you might want to do a trial (ensure you take LOADS of pictures in all kinds of light) or you may want to considering hiring an Artist from a different part of town or a different close-by city. You may need to pay more for them to travel to you, but it would be worth  it to have the peace of mind to know your Artist has the right skills and products to make you look your best.  And at the end of the day, your comfort is the key to a smooth wedding day.

7: I think I want to look like Kim Kardashian! I really want that Nicki Minaj pink lipstick! I really think that I should go for J.Lo’s bronzed complexion for my ivory skin tone, don’t you think?

Remember, you may have an idea in your head of what you want but the Artist’s job is two-fold: one, to help you get the look you want and two, to help ensure the look is balanced, suits your skin tones, features and dress/accessories style, and will photograph wonderfully. So send your makeup artist an email PRIOR to the trial with a photo of yourself and a photo of the look you want. This also means that when you choose photos of looks you like, remember to picture them ON YOU and not on the girl in the photo. If you look like Brandy, but show up with a photo of Jennifer Lopez, please, please understand… You must be realistic about how a look may translate on you and whether or not it will flatter YOU specifically. (Kim K. lashes on a small almond eye? Nicki Minaj pink lipstick on a chocolate coloured lady? White-nude lipgloss on a mature bride? a bird-cage fascinator with an au naturelle curly fro? oh. hell. no.)

8: Can you change my skin colour? Can you change my eye shape?

Some tricks are easier than others. You want poutier lips? Easy. You have Brandy’s complexion but want to look like Beyonce? Harder.

And while we can take a mono-lid and double it, or take a darker complexion and brighten it, at the end of the day, the features you have are YOURS. Be proud of them! It’s what makes you who you are and makes you the person your groom-to-be is excited to marry. Be you on your wedding day!

9: I’m not sure what I want, I think I like these 10 photos of different hair and makeup styles, we can try them ALL and THEN decide on what I like, right?!

Not right. It’s ok to have an idea or two, but a trial is not meant to be a 5 hour session of playing “makeover” with your artist. It’s meant to help your artist determine your look and fine-tune the colours and shades that will be used on your big day, to make sure it photographs well, to ensure colours match the accessories or bouquet, and to ensure your skin’s comfort, and the longevity and wear-ability with the makeup. So do all the Googleing and photo scouring before the trial, so that when you see your artist you can focus on making that one look you have in mind, just perfect!

10: I really want to look amazing on my wedding day, I should try something fresh and new! Right?

Wrong. If you are the girl who is normally wearing heavy eyeliner and a pink lip, how will your Husband-to-be react when he sees you down the aisle in a smokey eye and red lipgloss? Do what suits you but what is also a recognizable style on you. Be you, just a more polished, photographic, and slightly more ‘done up’ version of you. You also want to look timeless and classy. Remember, your grand-kids could be seeing these photos one day and wondering who on earth that woman is standing beside Grandpa. So be the best version of you on your big day.

Now remember, communicating with your Artist is key. So if you have allergies, expectations, photos, or hopes and dreams about your wedding day makeup, share them with your Artist! It’s the only way they can make you gorgeous, happy and glowing on your most celebrated day.

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Models: What to Bring to a Test/Portfolio Shoot?

There are a few things models should always have with them, even if there is a full crew expected at the shoot. Heaven forbid, but if your hairstylist doesn’t show & you showed up looking like you’ve got sex-hair, the shoot is about to be a disaster. So, if you pack the following things, you should be good in a pinch no matter what disasters strike!

Please bring:

 

1: a good attitude. No, not a hungover attitude. A good, wide awake, energetic, ready-to-pose positive type attitude 🙂

 

2: makeup. These items are your basics & should be in your bag incase the MUA is not there. Items with * beside them include both male & female models.

~foundation*

~concealor

~translucent/anti-shine setting powder*

~clear brow gel*

~mascara

~eyeliner (black, white & a colour to match your brows)

~eyeshadows (neutral brown, black, shimmery white or gold if you are an ebony toned model)

~blush (a peach tone & a pink tone that flatters you, no shimmer)

~bronzer* (no shimmer)

~lip balm*

~lipstick (one nude, one red, one soft pink, one deep brown/deep plum/deep burgundy)

 

3: directions and phone numbers. Don’t just store them in your iPhone, print them and pack them in your bag. If you get lost & have no reception or your phone dies, you can still go to a gas station or ask a transit personnel for directions. Or if you have the numbers of the crew written down, you can call from a payphone to let everyone know you’ll be arriving a bit late.

 

4: hair things.

~flatiron. Preferably a round barrel that can do both straightening and curls.

~hairspray

~texturizer/messy hold gel*

~a hair elastic & bobby pins

 

5: clothing. Always bring the basics, even if wardrobe is provided. I have seen it happen so many times where we have used a model’s white tank or leggings.

~leggings

~skinny jeans (slim jeans for the men)*

~white tank*

~white tee if you’re ivory-medium/black tee if you’re medium-ebony*

~g strings. black, white & nude. not thongs with those thick straps in the back. g strings.

~bras. strapless in nude/black/white. pushup in nude/black/white. at the very minimum you need these 2 types.

~white or denim button down shirt*

~nylons/pantyhose, 1 nude & 1 black

~a blazer/leather jacket*

~a pencil skirt

~ 3 pairs of shoes, minimum. 1 classic black/dressy. 1 bold & trendy. 1 casual (flats, boat shoe, etc. Runners don’t count)*

~accessories. a hat, a tie, suspenders, jewelry, etc. Whatever you have that you like & is vintage, classic, or ultra trendy. Leave stuff from 3 seasons ago at home.*

 

6: clean nails. Nails should be freshly manicured on hands & toes with a clear or neutral lacquer. No lacquer required for men.*

 

7: snacks. There may be no break or it may be a long time before dinner. Bring things like fruit or veggie sticks, protein drink, granola bar, cheese wedges, etc. Nothing greasy or carbonated (which could leave your waistline bloated in photos).

 

8: iPod. Bring music you love. Play it while you model. Put stuff on it that will get you in the right kind of mood for your shoot. Somber, upbeat, grunge… whatever does the trick. And even if you can’t play it in the studio (for whatever reason), you can pop on your headphones in between changes and get re-focused and re-charged.

 

9: safety pins. Always.

 

10: your business card/comp card. You just never know who you might meet 😉

Wedding Day Checklist! How to be Hair & Makeup Ready

These tips will help you prepare so that you’ll have an easy, smooth wedding makeup and hair experience on the day of your wedding. Follow my ten tips and you’ll be able to sit back comfortably and relax while you’re makeup and hair artist gets you gorgeous for your big day. There are also a few do’s & don’ts so make sure you know all the ins & outs!

1. Wash your face the night before and remove all traces of makeup. Cleanse and moisturize your face the day of the trial and do not apply any makeup. This give the makeup artist a clean canvas to work.

2. Do any colour touch ups to your hair about 1 week prior to the wedding day. Freshly cut hair may be harder to style in certain styles so be sure to make hair cuts very simple and not too drastic as this could affect your hairstylist’s ability to create your wedding style. Wash your hair and blow-dry it the day before the wedding. Make sure the hair is clean, product free and dry on the morning of the wedding.

3. Any facials/microdermabrasions should be done 2 weeks prior and waxing/threading should be done 2 days prior to the wedding day because makeup doesn’t adhere as well to freshly waxed or harshly exfoliated skin.

4. Set up an area for the makeup artist/hair stylist to work on, on the wedding day. You should set up a table across from a window with lots of natural light coming in and near to a power outlet to plug in curling irons/straightening irons, etc.

5. If you’re using a tiara/hair crystals/jewel combs/flowers, etc, be sure to lay them out for the hairstylist on that morning so that everything will be in arms reach and will go smoothly. Also if you’re using a veil, be sure that it is steamed and hung nearby to where the hairstylist is working.

6. If you have photos of the makeup or hairstyle, lay them out where the makeup artist/hair stylist will be working so them can have a visual of the look you decided on as they work (unless you had a trial, in which case the artist should know and have photos of, the look you chose at the trial).

7. If you are incorporating any wedding colours into your makeup, be sure to lay out your bouquet, or your cloth swatch so the makeup artist will be sure to get you a perfect colour match. (This is also essential for the bridesmaids/MOTB/MOTG, etc.)

8. If there are any specialty items you want the makeup artist to use, be sure to have them laid out that morning (such as bindis, specialty eyelashes, etc) that way you won’t need to hunt around for them in the middle of your hair or makeup being done.

9. If you’re using any special makeup products that you are supplying (such as a particular face cream or foundation that you really love or a product that is specific to your sensitive or allergy prone skin), be sure to lay those items out on the day of the wedding.

10. Pack a face-kit. If you haven’t hired your makeup artist to come back and touch you up for the reception or for the pictures after the ceremony, then be prepared to have one of your bridemaids or the MOTB stick a few items in their purse for you. You should pack: a lipstick in the same colour you’re wearing (lipstick will wear longer than lipgloss), a lipgloss for layering colour if you’re going for a glossy look, blotting papers (I love the ones from Clean & Clear or NYX because they absorb oil without adding powder to your face), a pressed powder (use sparingly on shiny areas only), some bobby pins (just in case you get a fly-away), and a waterproof dark eyeliner pencil if you’re going from a morning/afternoon ceremony to an evening reception and need to quickly amp up your look.

*This next one all depends on your artist. Many artists ask to be paid in full prior to the wedding date. Others ask for a retainer and that the balance be paid in cash on the site when services are being done for the bride/bridal party. If the latter is the case:

11. Be prepared to pay your artist! Ensure that you have collected all the cash from your bridesmaids or if you are gifting services, ensure that all the money is put together in one envelope with no change being required from the Artist. This is usually best handled by the MOTB or the Maid of Honour so that the Bride doesn’t need to be bothered with that and so that the Artist doesn’t need to go running around asking about being paid when the morning is already hectic enough.

12. Remember, it is customary to tip, although not mandatory. Think of it like a salon service that was mobile, you would tip your hair dresser or colourist or esthetician if you enjoyed their services, so if you love what they did, then remember that services well-done should receive a tip. And if you have paid the balance in full before the date, there is still no reason not to put an additional 10-25% into an envelope with which to tip your Makeup and/or Hair Artists.

13. Make sure you get a business card from your artist and mailing address so you can add them to your thank-you card list afterwards, to help them for making you gorgeous on your wedding day.

Bridal Trial Checklist!

The number one thing to remember during your bridal trial prep, is that you want to feel comfortable, prepared and have peace of mind so that on your wedding day, you’ll have no mishaps or surprises and you’ll know exactly what to expect from your hair and makeup artist. These ten tips will help you prepare for your bridal trial with your makeup artist and/or hair stylist.

1. Wash your face the night before and remove all traces of makeup. Cleanse and moisturize your face the day of the trial and do not apply any makeup. This give the makeup artist a clean canvas to work on during the trial.

2. Wash you hair and blow-dry it the day before the trial. Make sure the hair is clean and product free and dry when you arrive for your hair trial.

3. Any waxing/threading should be done 2 days prior to the makeup trial (facials/microdermabrasions may need 10-14 days depending on your skin sensitivity) because makeup doesn’t adhere as well to freshly waxed or harshly exfoliated skin.

4. If you have any ideas of the makeup or hair style you want to have on your wedding day, bring photos with you to your trial. That way the artist can get a clear idea of what you’re looking for and make sure that you’re getting the look you want on your special day.

5. Bring a photo of your wedding dress/outfit, bouquet and/or bridesmaid dresses (or a cloth swatch) with you to your trial so that if you want to incorporate any of the wedding colours into your makeup look, the makeup artist can be sure to colour match you for the perfect look.

6. If you’re planning on having a tiara/veil/hair combs/hair crystals/flowers in your hair on the day of the wedding, be sure to bring those items with you so the hair stylist can position your pieces into your hair to see what feels comfortable for you so on the day of the wedding, your hair pieces will be sure to stay comfortably in place.

7. If there are any specialty items you want the makeup artist to use, be sure to bring them with you. Things like bindis/gems or specialty false lashes are things you want to make sure to try out before the wedding day to make sure you get the look just right and you’re comfortable with the look and feel of everything.

8. If you plan to discuss the makeup and hair you want done for your bridesmaids/bridal party on your wedding, bring any additional photos with you to the trial so you can set a aside a few minutes to discuss those details with your makeup/hair artist that way there won’t be any surprises for you on the wedding day with regard to how any of your bridesmaids look. It’s also always a good idea to choose one look for makeup and hair for all the bridesmaids to give your party a more uniformed and classy look.

9. If there’s anything else that you want the makeup/hair artist to know, such as special makeup products that you need to be use or that you will bring for them to use, if you have any skin allergies or makeup sensitivity, etc. please use the opportunity to discuss all of those details with your artist during the trial so that you’ll have no surprises or mishaps on the day of the wedding.

10. Bring your camera! Capture a few shots of yourself so that you can go home and review your look and take a few days to decide which look you liked best. That way you won’t feel rushed on the day of the trial to make a decision plus you get to see how your makeup could photograph so you’ll know exactly what to expect on your wedding day.

This is an add-on depending on your makeup artist, but…

11. Be prepared to sign a contract and leave a retainer for services (typically 25-50%) in order to secure your date. Most artists give you a 24-48 hour grace period to email the contract and wire your retainer after the trial, but if you liked the service and skills, be prepared to book on the spot in cash (many do not accept cheques).