Using Oil to Wash Your FACE?

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Using oil to wash your face? Um... sounds counterproductive, right? But yes, you can absolutely use oil to cleanse your face.

"But I have oily skin! Why would I want to put more oil on it?!"

For some people, overproduction of oil is caused by dehydration. If your skin is being thrown off balance by harsh cleansers or other improper care, the natural surface oils may be stripped, so throughout the day your skin tries to overcompensate. Ever notice you get shinier throughout the day? If you get super oily, your skin may be overproducing to try and balance itself out.

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And did you know that oil also disintegrates oil? So all those pesky clogged pores and congestion you feel underneath the skin can be dissolved by massaging the areas with oil. It will loosen up and begin to disintegrate the oil and dirt that is trapped in the skin. The oil also leaves your skin soft and helps protect against further water loss. So while you're getting rid of the dirt and clogged sebum (a.k.a. your skin's natural oil), you're still leaving behind the moisturizing effects of the cleansing oil - so your skin won't feel like it has to produce a ton throughout the day.

Mind blown, yet? 

Now, before we get into how to do oil cleansing, I want to make the disclaimer that since not everyone's skin reacts the same, you may find the oil cleansing method doesn't work for you. Or, you might find that your skin hates rosehip oil (like mine does), but loves jojoba oil. And while coconut oil is super comedogenic (which means it very easily clogs pores), it works like a charm for some people. Always patch test to check for reactions.

Anyway, let's get to the good stuff: How the heck do you do it?

To make it easy, I buy pre-mixed cleansing oils. The one I use on my clients is this one. I use this one on myself since I tend to save the luxury items for my freelance kit. 

On totally dry skin (not "dry" as in skin type, but literally dry), rub one or two pumps of oil gently all over your face. Massage and really work it into the skin. If you feel little bumps on or under your skin, pay extra attention to those to allow the oil to work its magic and break up those clogs. They won't all break up in one go, but you might feel little gritty pieces and see specks of grey or black on your fingers. These are hardened, clogged oil that have been released. 

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If you use the pre-mixed cleansing oils, they will easily rinse away. And if you wear makeup, cleanse twice (and dry your face in between). The first time, you're getting most of the makeup off, and the second time is for getting a deeper clean. Pat dry.

Note: You can also use plain ol' oils (such as jojoba or mineral oil), but those are more of a pain to rinse. You will really need to take those off with a warm, wet microfiber towel since they don't rinse off easily.

Then continue with the rest of your routine if you have one (such as applying toner and moisturizer). I will do another blog post detailing the various steps that are possible in a skin care routine, but it'll be hella long so for now we're just focusing on the cleansing portion.

So there's the lowdown on oil cleansing! I love it. It's done wonders for my skin and I hope it works for you, too!

I'm always available for lesson, consultations or makeup applications, so email me if you want some hands-on help.

3 Steps to Creating Your Wedding Day Timeline

Your vendors are booked and you're all set for the big day... except for one thing: The schedule. How on Earth are you supposed to know who needs to be where, and when?

Between hair, makeup, and photos, it's important that things run as smoothly as possible before your ceremony (I mean, duh).

First, speak with your photographer. Will he or she be on hand to capture your party getting glammed up? What about First Looks before the ceremony begins? Family pics? Wedding party photos? How much time does your photographer need if you are taking photos before the ceremony? The photographer should give you times of when (s)he is going to arrive, start taking the photos, and what the photography schedule will look like. Now, you can start planning around everyone else.

The next step is to ask your makeup artist and hair stylist how much time they allot per service. For example, for makeup applications, I save 45 minutes for each bridesmaid and one hour per bride. Hair styling times can vary depending on length of hair and type of style, so be sure to communicate with your stylist about your ideal looks for both you and your party. 

As far as which comes first - hair or makeup - typically we know how to work around each other. If a bridesmaid's hair is already done when she sits in my makeup chair, I have no issue carefully working around a beautiful hair style without messing anything up. It can actually help having the hair already done so that the client can get the whole look all at once. Have you ever done your makeup but left your hair messy or flat? Yeah, somehow the makeup can sometimes look a bit... "too much."

If the photographer is going to capture photos of the party getting ready, you need to schedule yourself in either hair or makeup usually about 20 minutes after the photographer is set to arrive. They may want to walk around and get a feel for the lighting or get the detail shots (such as your shoes, dress buttons, bridal corsages, etc.) before coming and taking your getting ready photos. Of course, if you're already done with hair and makeup by the time the photographer comes around, the makeup artist can simply act like she's powdering you or applying lipstick. And also note that it's better to already have some makeup/hair done than have nothing done at all.

You're ready to make your schedule! Simply swap out the people who are getting beauty services -  try not to have someone getting hair and makeup done at the same time. Granted, it can be done, but it's easier to do one at a time. Here is an example of how you can do the Wedding Day Timeline, with one hair stylist, one makeup artist, and 45 minutes per person (save for the bride - she gets an hour):


Okay, but what happens if hair or makeup goes over the allotted time? What if a bridesmaid can't be found when she's supposed to be getting her hair done? Try and combat these issues by emailing the timeline to each person receiving services and printing out a copy and placing it in the getting-ready suite for everyone to see. Don't forget to send it to your hair and makeup vendors, too! But things happen, and the schedule may get switched up. Of course party members can switch places on the schedule if need be, and as long as the artists know that the schedule is starting to get out of order, we can adjust our timing as best as possible in order to accommodate. Communication is key! Little anecdote: I once had a party member show up four hours late. She showed up 45 minutes before the first photos were supposed to begin. I knew it was crunch time, and I was able to finish her look in about 25 minutes. She then had to go into hair (and luckily she was already dressed for the wedding). But as I was packing up, she was still in hair... and pictures had started without her. I knew we were in crunch time mode but I'm not sure if the hairstylist knew. This is why it's so important to have constant communication about the schedule, and a timeline to guide you throughout the day. Even though the schedule got thrown a bit, we adjust and make the best out of it. She still got to be in some pictures and I hear the wedding turned out amazing.

I'm not saying this to stress you, I'm saying this to let you know that it's all going to be okay. Trust your vendors, trust your friends and family, and know that it's going to be okay even if there are small nuances.

There's a lot to think about for your big day, so I hope this helps and gives you some guidance for making your schedule. Congratulations!








Back To School Makeup

It's almost August and that means a new semester is right around the corner. Whether you're in college or high school, the later you can sleep in and not mess with a full face of makeup, the better, amiright?

I'm actually starting school again this fall, and now that I'm a stay-at-home mom to a 1 year old, also pregnant, and no longer in my spunky early 20s, knowing I'll have to get ready to be presentable to the public already has me exhausted. 

I'm not one to wear a ton of makeup as is, but I'll definitely be looking for something I can quickly apply without fussing too much so I can head out the door. Here's some of my favorite picks for easy, back to school looks:


- LimeLight By Alcone Botanical Foundation

I love this because it's so pigmented, so it doesn't take much time or product to give me a finished look. You can use a beauty sponge, a brush, or just use it as concealer to conceal the spots needing coverage. I don't typically need to use concealer when using this foundation, which also saves me on time.

- FitMe Matte and Poreless Foundation
For a drugstore option, I'd go with the FitMe Matte. I personally love the Dewy one, but you do have to set that with a powder and it's not the best choice for oily skin. So for long days at school, a matte formula is more likely to hold up better if you don't have time to take the extra step for powdering or using setting spray.


- LimeLight By Alcone Complete Waterproof Concealer

If you do need an extra bit of coverage, or you don't want to put on foundation and just want to conceal dark spots and blemishes, go for this waterproof concealer. It will last all day and is opaque without being noticeable.


To bring a little color to your face after concealing, you can very lightly pinch or massage your cheeks while you're walking out the door. But if you actually have time to apply blush, I'd recommend the cream blushes from NYX. Lots of beautiful colors, and a few swipes on your cheek is all you need for a natural, glowy, flushed look.


- CoverGirl LashBlast Mascara

For drugstore, this is my Holy Grail mascara. It gives me lots of volume and length and the wear time is great. Nothing fancy or over the top, just one or two coats and I'm good to go.


Honestly, I don't apply eyeshadow when I'm in a hurry. I use mascara to bring some life to my eyes but that's it. A good option for quick, neutral eyes is simply using a bronzer if you have one. Swipe it on your lid and into your crease to define your eyes but keep it natural and fast. For color, you could use a blush but some red pigments are not safe for eyes so you may want to check the packaging first. Also, MakeupGeek and ColourPop both have good, affordable eyeshadows.


A simple touch of color lip balm works wonders, so swipe some on and you're ready to go!


Beginner's Guide to a Pro Kit: Eyeshadows

Hello, future pro makeup artist! Welcome back to my series where I discuss the best tips and tools that I've come across in my time building my own career. Don't get me wrong - I still have a long way to go, but when I was brand new, I researched every piece of info I could find from all parts of the internet and from books, so I decided to combine some of that, along with my own experiences, here on my blog. A lot of becoming a talented professional is figuring out how to work things out on your own, but I do want to share some good info that will help you along the way.

So far, we've talked about the first steps in your journey, foundation suggestions, and skin prep. Let's move on to what most clients focus on when asking for a makeover: the eyes.

When I was first starting out, there weren't as many well known options as there are now. It seems like new brands and palettes are popping up every day. But in the beginning, I only carried a few things in my kit:

The Naked 1 palette from Urban Decay
The Lorac Pro 1 palette
A few MAC single shadows
L'Oreal Infallible Single Shadows (Amber Rush and Eternal Sunshine)
Maybelline Color Tattoos

I still have most of these actually, I just don't use them as much and some have moved from my client kit to my own personal stash. The Urban Decay shadows are decent, but they have a ton of fallout, so I would suggest doing eyes before foundation. I don't think the Naked 1 palette is anything to write home about, but it works and I used it almost exclusively for awhile. In fact, I'm pretty sure I used only shades from the Naked palette for my first bride, and she looked beautiful. And although I've nearly retired these items, the Lorac Pro Palette still gets used semi-regularly. The Infallible shadows are pigmented and long lasting. I do love the quality, but they only come in shimmer and are not cruelty-free if that is important to you. And the Maybelline Color Tattoos can be used alone, but they actually make awesome bases for other shades as well!

However, I'd say Viseart palettes are your best bet, to be honest. If you can save up and buy some Viseart, you truly won't need anything else for a long, long time. The quality is remarkable and well worth the price, and the packaging was designed with makeup artists in mind, so it is simple and sturdy. The integrity of the brand is also important to me, and Viseart has plenty of integrity. Aside from their regular $80 palettes, they do offer a $30 Petit Pro Palette, which is a small version that includes 8 matte and shimmer shades.

 A look using only Viseart shadows

A look using only Viseart shadows

I also really enjoy the Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Palette. It has beautiful warm, orange and red shades that pick up where my Neutral Viseart palette leaves off. You can do a lot with the MR palette. It has some lovely shimmers and mattes, although it won't achieve any cool toned looks you may want to do.

 A look using mostly Modern Renaissance

A look using mostly Modern Renaissance

Another option is to buy a few single shades and design your own palette. You really won't need as much as you think you will: a few shimmer shades, some good neutral mattes, a pop of color. Don't be afraid to mix shades, or use blushes or highlighters as eyeshadows. Inglot, Makeup Geek, Ben Nye, Graftobian, Kryolan, and ColourPop are all good, quality options. 

And I know Morphe, Coastal Scents, and BH Cosmetics are popular among enthusiasts because they're big palettes for super cheap. But I can tell you why they're cheap: they are low quality cosmetics made in China using bottom of the barrel ingredients, with less emphasis on hygiene standards than here in the U.S. $19.99 for a 35-pan Morphe palette... the consumer is only paying 57 cents per shade, and Morphe needs to make a profit so that means they paid even less than that. What kind of quality can come from that? I don't care what YouTube told you. I don't care that Jaclyn Hill acts like she had an actual hand in creating the formula. I don't care how "buttery and creamy and soooo pigmented" they are (of course they're going to look pigmented when you're using your finger and pressing down as hard as you can). They're "affordable" because they're made with super cheap ingredients (and probably some lead and asbestos thrown in) that could cause reactions on your clients. The Beauty Gurus of the world get paid beaucoup bucks to shell out their affiliate codes to you, so uh yeah, they're going to push their codes when most of their audience can actually afford to click their link and buy it. If you want to be taken seriously, you need to be serious about the profession. Hey, we're makeup artists and we can be a bit snobby but it's because we research this stuff and are more informed than the average consumer. We're not just liable for the products we use on ourselves - we are liable for hundreds of different faces with different allergies and sensitivities, so we need to keep only quality products in our kit.

Okay, now that I got that off my chest...

There are good options out there that won't make your wallet shrivel up and die. I've listed some brands that are a good starting point. Don't try to collect every color of the rainbow at first, because I guarantee you you won't need it. If I had a dollar for every client who pretty much wanted the same exact smokey eye - I'd buy myself a new Viseart palette ;)

Beginner's Guide to a Pro Kit: Skin Care

Skin care is one of the most important things you'll have in your kit. So many different canvases are going to sit in your chair, many of them with years of skin neglect that you'll somehow have to remedy in very little time. You should invest in good products, as it will make your job so much easier and your work so much better.

But you're just beginning your MUA journey and you don't have a lot of bucks to spend! So what are you supposed to do?

When I was first starting out, I was broke, still in school, and taking unpaid gigs to build my port. To prepare for my first client, I went out and bought one of those $1 blue tins of Nivea Creme from Walgreens because honestly that's about all I could safely afford, and you know what? It worked. Was it a good purchase for my kit, and would it work on everyone? Nope. It's a body lotion first of all, and the main ingredients are pretty much just mineral oil (which can cause allergic reactions for some people), wax and petroleum jelly. But hey, I was new and I was learning, and it got me by until I could afford to invest in better skin care.

So I saved some cash, did my research, and decided my next purchase would be Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, which is a basic staple in many pro makeup artists' kits, and it was affordable. I actually wrote a Product Spotlight post about it here. It is a good, basic moisturizer that I can use on anyone. If you're just starting out, I recommend skipping the $1 bullshit and grabbing this. If you want some variety, I also recommend their Hydra-Mat formula for your clients with oily skin.  And don't forget some basic cleansing wipes to clean the skin of residue before application.

I used the Lait-Creme for a long, long time. I only recently updated my kit and picked up some new items. Now I have a plethora of skin care in my kit:

Embryolisse Hydra-Mat
Graftobian OxyDerm Moisturizer
Sonia Roselli Beauty Japanese Cleansing Oil 
SRB Sex-A-Peel
SRB Water Balm
Limelight By Alcone Skin Therapist
Limelight By Alcone Must Dew

I use different ones for different clients, depending on their skin's needs. As I've stated a million times, it takes a lot of time and a lot of money to build up your kit, so invest what you can into the important items such as foundation and skin care, but don't get discouraged if you can't yet splurge for the luxury items you see in other artists' kits. It takes a lonnnnggg time, trust me! Just remember you'll want something to cleanse the skin, and then something to moisturize. Then you can add other stuff such as serums and exfoliators as well.

If you have any questions or want to see my work, check me out on facebook at or Instagram (@allysonroemua)!

Beginner's Guide to a Pro Kit: Foundation + The Basics

 Ava V. Photography

Ava V. Photography

If you read my last post about becoming a makeup artist, you know the next move is building your kit. Like I mentioned in the previous post, your kit is going to be expensive and you'll constantly be finding new products to add and take out. And I know it's difficult if you're just starting out, but you really need to keep your professional kit separate from the makeup you use on yourself. I have all the fancy schmancy good products in my kit, so - although rare - sometimes I'll want to bust those out on myself for a special occasion, but generally I keep my personal stash and my kit completely separate.
If you have the credentials, you can get pro discounts at professional makeup supply stores such as Camera Ready Cosmetics and Frends Beauty. These online shops are targeted to makeup artists, carrying lines you won't find at Ulta or Walgreens (although, they do carry consumer lines as well). Ben Nye, RCMA, Face Atelier, Graftobian, Cinema Secrets, Kett, Kryolan, and Mehron are just a few examples of pro lines that are good to have in your kit. Pro products are generally more pigmented with less filler ingredients, designed to last long hours, and look undetectable on camera. 
I would say the first thing you need to invest in is a foundation palette. As I said in my last post, get a foundation palette so "you're not turning down work because you can't color match someone, and you're not relying on the client to have their correct shade and a decent foundation to use."

                                RCMA Shinto VK Palette

                               RCMA Shinto VK Palette

Camera Ready Cosmetics actually offers sample size versions of foundations, so you can order some and test out a few different formulas to see which one you like best. I keep Face Atelier (various shades), RCMA (Shinto Palette), and Graftobian (Warm Palette) in my kit. The RCMA palette is the one you'll find most MUAs recommend for a newbie. Fair warning: it has a learning curve, but once you figure it out, the result is beautiful. It's very skin-like. Take a look at this clean makeup I did on model Veda:

Face Atelier Ultra Foundation is a good liquid version if that's what you're more comfortable with. It's pricey but you can get the sample sizes for $1 on the FA website, which can last for maybe three clients or so. They also sell samples of it at CRC but it's a little more expensive. Here's what it looks like straight from my phone camera and professionally edited:

RCMA, Face Atelier, and Graftobian are all beautiful on and off camera, but there's even more options out there besides the brands I keep in my kit, so do some testing and find which ones work best for you.
Some other basic items you'll need...
- A metal palette and spatula. Use the spatula to scoop out your cream/liquid products onto your palette. If your spatula touches skin or anything unsanitized, do not dip it back into product until you've cleaned it. 
- Disposable mascara wands (you can cut off the wand of the mascara you use in your kit so that you don't absent-mindedly use it on a client). These also work great for brushing eyebrows.
- QTips (the ones with the pointed ends work great for cleaning up winged liner)
- Cotton Rounds (for skincare prep)
- Spray Bottles: One for 70% alcohol and one for water (just in case there's not a sink for you to use should you need it)
- A color wheel is nice to keep in your kit to reference if you need it
I hope this helps get you started on your journey! Feel free to comment below with any thoughts or questions, and make sure you follow me on Instagram and Facebook for daily posts!

So You Want to be a Makeup Artist...

Makeup has always been popular, but in recent years it seems to have blown TF up with the surge of YouTube beauty gurus and the wealth of information that's easily available now. That leads to more people becoming better at doing their own makeup, and beginning the crossover into professional makeup artistry. However, I come across countless Instagram accounts where the bio states that the person is a "self-taught professional MUA"... but then there's literally nothing but selfies on their page. If you're not getting paid for doing makeup on other people, and the only thing you can show is how well you wing your own eyeliner, I hate to break it to you but you're not a makeup artist - you're an enthusiast. So if you really want to begin a professional career doing makeup, there's a few things you'll want to do first.



I cannot emphasize this enough. In Tennessee, you must have a cosmetology or esthetics license in order to do makeup and get paid for it. Straight from the Tennessee State Board, which makes the laws for things such as cosmetology:

62-4-108.  License required to practice or teach. 
      Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person shall practice, teach or attempt to practice or teach, cosmetology, manicuring, aesthetics, or natural hair styling in this state without a valid license issued by the board pursuant to this chapter.
     (1) "Aesthetics" means any of the following practices:
          (A) Massaging, cleansing, stimulating, manipulating, exercising, beautifying or similar work with hands or mechanical or electrical apparatus or by the use of cosmetic preparations, antiseptics, tonics, lotions or creams;

          (B) Placing or applying artificial eyelashes; or

          (C) Giving facials, applying makeup, giving skin care or removing superfluous hair by tweezing, depilatories or waxing;

Do people follow this? No. I know a number of people who are makeup artists and not licensed. If State Board were to find out, they could be given a hefty fine, and perhaps worse if they were caught doing it again. Will State Board find out? Eh... probably not, but if you care at all about making this your career, you'll follow the law, not only to educate yourself but also just to cover your ass. If you give someone pink eye, all they have to do is call the board and let them know you've been practicing without a license, and boom! your career is over. Also, keep in mind that not every state requires a license, so if you plan on moving soon definitely check out the laws in your new state.

(The exception to this is makeup counters - people working in retail settings do not have to be licensed as they're essentially "demo-ing" the product and only the products are being paid for, not the application.)

Secondly, read everything you can about sanitation. The main thing is: 99% alcohol is NOT effective at disinfecting. Per the CDC, 70% - 91% isopropyl alcohol is best to use. Any higher, and the alcohol evaporates much too quickly and merely freezes the bacteria. It is a common misconception, and even The Makeup Artist Handbook says to use 99%, so no wonder this myth gets perpetuated. But use 70%.

Most artists know this, but use disposable applicators such as mascara and lip gloss wands. Do not reuse sponges. They harbor bacteria, no matter how much you think you've sanitized it. It's best to use disposable, or stick with brushes.


Speaking of brushes... CLEAN THEM after every client (duh). Preferably, you'd have enough brushes to not have to worry about cleaning in between clients if you're doing a party, but this is not always possible, especially when you're just starting out. Bring a brush cleaner and 70% alcohol with you in your kit, and when you get home, wash with either a specified brush cleansing soap, or baby shampoo. It is important to note that soap and water do not sanitize. You can spray them with alcohol but there is a chance it will dry your natural hair bristles out over time, if you use brushes with natural hair.

Use a spatula to scoop out creams, and never ever double dip. I also like to wash my hands as soon as I get to the client's home. It's part of the little touches of customer service to put them at ease and let them know my hands are clean. Kevin James Bennett, pro makeup artist, also suggests using individual alcohol wipes instead of hand sanitizer. If you go to touch your cell phone or anything outside of your kit, re-sanitize your hands. This is one thing that was drilled into my head in esthetics school, because when you take the State Board licensing test, they will penalize you if you absent mindedly touch something such as your hair or even your sleeve without sanitizing afterward. Better to be meticulous than not.

Those are the basics, but always do your own thorough research. You may run into contradicting information occasionally. For example, in one of my pro groups it is often argued as to whether or not sponges are sanitizable. Some artists say they reuse their sponges and have had no issues. Others point out that it is illegal in some states to reuse sponges because you cannot disinfect them, so you should be using disposable. I always prefer to go with a better safe than sorry method and use disposable, or I gift the sponge to my client if I'm going for the non-disposable option. 

On to the fun part! Your kit. It should be clean. Clients don't want to see foundation caked all on the inside or applicators not in containers when you open your kit. Make them feel rest assured they chose the right artist who is going to give a shit about their health and well being. I don't care how good of an artist you are if you and your kit look dirty. Appearance goes a long way and is part of good customer service.

As far as what goes in it, I will write another blog post about good options for a beginner, because all the info out there is a bit overwhelming and sometimes it takes trial and error. I am forever finding new products to add to my kit, and getting rid of items I hardly touch anymore, even if they used to be my holy grails. Building a kit is expensive. And it takes time. And you'll probably be rotating items in and out of your kit until the day you retire. I'd say the most important thing to invest in is a foundation palette, that way you're not turning down work because you can't color match someone, and you're not relying on the client to have their correct shade and a decent foundation to use.

So now you're licensed, you're educated on proper sanitation practices, and you've started building your kit. Now it's time to put in the work. Practice on everyone! It's very important to get familiar with various skin tones and types. As a makeup artist, you'll come face to face with so many different people - many of whom do not know how to take care of their skin, so you'll need to know what to do in each case. It takes time and experience to get it down, and you'll probably mess up along the way but that's what learning is for. Practice on friends and family as much as possible, and you'll probably do a lot of free work at first. You can charge a small fee for your time when you first begin but you need to let the client know you are inexperienced and still learning. It's really uncouth to claim you're a "pro MUA" when you're not. I've seen people put up Facebook ads calling themselves a pro makeup artist, but charging $20 a face and the client has to bring their own foundation. Just... don't do that. Be upfront with your skillset. People will appreciate that much more than they will if they think they're getting the Dior treatment with an E.L.F. budget.

There are many other aspects of being a makeup artist, as essentially one day you'll be a business owner - which brings a whole other set of issues such as taxation and insurance - but these are the beginning steps to get you there. Good luck, always believe in yourself, and don't shy away from hard work.

Let's Talk: Finding Your Passion

Today's post isn't strictly about makeup. It's about finding what makes you happy. Doing people's makeup just happens to be what makes me happy, but I didn't figure that out until I was 24. 

Growing up, it was drilled into our heads that we had to graduate high school, go straight to college, graduate in four years and then we'd be set with a job. Well, that didn't exactly work out for me.

At 18, I thought I knew what I wanted to do with my life. For years, I had wanted to be a news journalist. So naturally I went to college right after high school and studied Broadcast Journalism. I made it 3 years before dropping out the first time. I mean, I had other personal issues going on in my life that contributed to my dropping out, but I went to a different school the next semester and ended up dropping out again. My heart just wasn't in it. Yes, I still had personal issues, but I think if my heart was really in it - if I really felt passionate about this career and where I was going to go with it - I could have worked it out. But I just didn't care enough.

Maybe it was because I was 21 and wasn't ready for real life. Maybe it just truly wasn't what I was meant to do. Maybe if I had been a little more put together at the time, I would be giving you the latest news on CNN right now. I'll never know if I could have been a great journalist if only I had given myself the chance, but I think if that was the direction my life was meant to go, I would have done it somehow. It's okay to fail, as long as you keep going.

I feel like we push kids to know what they want to do so early in life. It took me until age 24 and dropping out of two colleges to discover what I feel I was meant to do, and I still feel like 24 was pretty young to have figured it out. That's a lot of pressure - on top of social media being in our face constantly so we get to see the highlights of everyone's life and feel like we're being left behind. I have peers who seem to have it all together. They had stable, salaried jobs at 22. At 22, I was working 5 or 6 days a week - 4 of those days being doubles - as a server, just trying to get by. I was a college dropout - two little words that make your entire future seem doomed. I was lost and had no idea what I was going to do with my life. 

One day I'll write about exactly how makeup became my passion, because it's a bit of an interesting story, but just know that when I finally figured it out, I felt at peace. I felt aspirational. I was meant for great things and nothing could stop me. So for maybe the first time in my adult life, I put my nose to the grindstone and got to work on accomplishing my goals.

If you don't know what you're meant to do and you feel like you're being left behind, you're not alone. We are all just winging this as we go. So what makes you happy? What gets you so revved up you couldn't imagine your life without it? If sitting on the couch watching Netflix is your answer, well I'd say maybe try a new activity once a week and see if you discover something else you love. Or hey, you could start a blog reviewing all the shows you watch, or maybe create a website matching people up with shows that they would like based on their personality! You never know what could work out until you try. The important thing is: don't give up. I truly believe if you are head over heels passionate about something, you can find a way to make it work for you and earn a living. Many people just give excuses and you know, maybe I'm generalizing too much and maybe there are certain dreams out there that are not profitable no matter how you spin it... but this life is all you have. As cliche as it sounds, you get one life and you gotta make the most of it. It's okay to not know what you want to do. Don't feel rushed to figure it out, but when you do find it, it's going to feel like you can accomplish anything - and you can!

Product Spotlight: Viseart 01 Neutral Matte Palette

Viseart shadows are amazing in general, but today I'm going to focus solely on the 01 Palette - the Neutral Mattes.

Yes, the price leaves you with sticker shock ($80 per 12-pan palette)... but I promise you it's worth it. Not only are the shadows incredible, but I like knowing I'm supporting a small business who puts so much love into their products, and has hands-down the best customer service I've encountered. 

I ordered this palette from Camera Ready Cosmetics and put it on rushed shipping specifically so I could have it for two out-of-town events: The Candlelight Ball 2017, and my trip to Colorado for the music video. These events were so huge for me and I needed a palette that was going to make application even easier, so I could be fast and flawless.

But when it arrived, something looked weird... The first two shades in the palette seemed to be identical. I took several pictures and contacted CRC, but the rep I talked to told me that it was hard to tell by the pictures whether or not the palette was faulty. So if I wanted to return it, they would have to send me a return envelope, I would need to send it off, and then they would send me a new one. Well, at this point I had I think 2 or 3 days til the Candlelight Ball and I had no time to do that. So I posted in one of my pro makeup groups for opinions.

Anastasia, who runs the US branch of Viseart, personally commented on my post, apologizing for the faulty palette. She told me to email her so they could get me a new one ASAP. She said to keep the faulty one, and they'd send me a correct one, along with another surprise palette! PLUS, she overnighted it since she knew I needed it before leaving town!

So yes, I had my new Viseart 01 palette, along with a 6-pan Theory palette in Minx, right before I left for the Candlelight Ball and my Colorado trip. I couldn't believe it! I kept the faulty one for my personal makeup, and although I don't wear makeup that often, I use it every time I do. I am beyond grateful to Viseart for being so kind and quick on fixing the situation and they now have my lifetime loyalty!

Now, onto the actual quality of the shadows. Here are the swatches:


The 01 Palette is perfect for everyday wear. You can create a smokey eye from this as well as a totally natural "day time" look. The first two shades are my favorite for transition/crease colors. I also use the red-orange shade for the crease for many of my looks. There's a mix of cool and warm tones which is a definite plus for me! I have done looks for clients using only this palette and nothing else, as long as they're not wanting anything shimmery. I've even used the light brown as eyebrow powder, and you could definitely use it for contour as well. It's incredibly versatile.

They're not as soft or buttery in the pan as say, Lorac Pro shadows are. But I actually prefer that since I don't feel like I'm wasting as much. They do feel silky on my finger when I swatch, though. And the blendability! Oh, it's marvelous. This is going to sound dramatic, but the first time I ever used this, it was like the shadows were doing the work for me. They blended out perfectly with such little effort, and seemed to just go wherever I wanted/needed.

Here's one look I did today:

I just love how soft yet dimensional it looks. There's no harshness from where one shade ends and the next begins. They just belong seamlessly together, and the best part is that I didn't even have to go heavy on the blending!

I am so spoiled now. If I need even warmer shades, I'll still dip into my Modern Renaissance palette... buuuut yeah, Viseart has ruined me. The brand actually came out with its own Warm Mattes palette so if I am able to scoop that one, I might just retire the MR palette out of my kit. I'm trying to downsize as is since I carry so much unnecessary stuff with me "just in case", so I think having a few Viseart palettes on hand could help me achieve that.

I know - I KNOW - the price seems steep. I'm sorry. But it actually breaks down to a little over $6 a shade... that's almost like buying a Makeup Geek shadow, and just a couple bucks more than ColourPop. If you love good quality eyeshadow and supporting small companies who have integrity and work ethic, it's definitely worth the investment.

MAC Coming to ULTA

You may have heard the news... the iconic cosmetics line is coming to 100 Ulta stores by June.

This comes as quite a shock to me. It actually makes me weirdly uncomfortable, like... what is happening in my makeup world?? MAC was once a prestige brand catering mostly to professional makeup artists, but this move makes it seem as though the company is seeking desperate measures to stay relevant amongst the myriad of new makeup brands coming to the market. While it's true that MAC has lost some of its luster in the eyes of professionals (some say the quality has gone down), it's still a "go-to" brand for consumers, mostly because of the name. I personally think it's a bit overhyped. I don't have much MAC in my kit - not because it's not good, but because there are other brands out there that offer just as good - if not better - products, often times for more affordable prices. I keep mainly professional brands stocked in my kit that the every day consumer has never been exposed to. I can't tell you how many times I've had a bridesmaid ask what brand ("brand," as in one - lol!) I keep in my kit, and when I rattle off names like Graftobian, Face Atelier, RCMA... they stop me and say, "Oh, I really think MAC is the best. Do you have any MAC?" Often times I find that MAC is the one name even casual makeup wearers recognize, so it may seem like this Holy Grail brand of makeup. But MAC is not the be-all end-all. I do enjoy the Pro Longwear Concealer and the gel eyeliner in Black Track, and of course the iconic lipsticks. But honestly, MAC comes out with so many new limited edition collections that I have stopped paying attention. There's a new one every time I turn my head! Many of the collections seem very gimmicky to me, like they were made just for quick sells without putting in actual effort.


Maybe MAC sales are down in recent years so they're trying out new strategies. Estee Lauder, the parent company, wrote in the 2016 fiscal review: "Operating income was impacted by a decline in retail traffic in the United States related primarily to mid-tier department stores that primarily affected Estée Lauder and Clinique, as well as certain M. A. C freestanding stores." MAC knows that partnering with ULTA will bring in new customers who have never shopped at MAC before. I've heard people who work at ULTA say they get customers asking for MAC all the time anyway since that's the one brand they know. If you're a makeup newbie, chances are you haven't heard of Becca, Too Faced, or maybe even Urban Decay... but you probably have heard of MAC. So when you step into ULTA and feel overwhelmed, now you'll be able to head straight for a familiar brand name. 

Here in Clarksville, our only option to purchase is to go online or drive all the way to Nashville for a lipstick... No thanks. So in that sense, I am excited that (hopefully) Clarksville will be getting access to MAC - if it comes to this town. I might actually be more inclined to add some more concealers to my kit if it will be easily accessible and simple to restock.

I do find it odd that MAC chose ULTA over Sephora, but I think that's because ULTA has brick-and-mortar stores with way more square footage. You can typically find a Sephora (and MAC) in malls, where there is limited space, but you'll usually find an ULTA standing on its own. It has the space to handle another huge brand. 

Obviously, from a business standpoint, it's a good move for MAC. It will bring in a lot of extra revenue from new consumers. As a professional makeup artist though... well, I'm sad that the main goal seems to be to push a new mediocre collection down the throat of the consumer, while catering less to the professionals who helped build the brand to what it is today.

Will you be purchasing more from MAC now that it will be more accessible? 

Working on a Music Video in Colorado

Hello! I haven't written a blog post in a while as I've been out of town doing some work in Colorado. Here's a little write up about that awesome experience!

Singer Lacey Cash was cast as the lead actress in a music video that a local band, Sonic Octane, was filming. I've worked on Lacey's makeup before, and she requested that I come with her to do her makeup for the video. She called me mid-February and asked if I'd be interested... UH, YES! I was so excited and honored that she wanted me to come with her! Robert, band member and producer, agreed to fly me out just for her, so I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity.

We left Sunday, March 12th and began shooting the following day. The first day was pretty long and was met with some challenges. First, the air in Colorado is incredibly dry, so I had to really adapt my skin prep regimen. I was not aware of the lack of humidity, although looking back it was obviously common sense. I just hadn't even considered it! We definitely weren't in Tennessee anymore, haha. Both Lacey and my's skin lean dry, so the weather really did a number on us. Lesson #1 learned: slather your face in moisturizer and drink a TON of water.
I had also purchased a new foundation palette that was specifically made for HD filming, so working with that was an adaption as well. I am really happy with my purchase, but since it's a cream foundation rather than the liquid Face Atelier I usually use, I really have to warm it up before it will glide on like a liquid, and coverage must be built up slowly rather than all at once.
Then, we spray tanned Lacey... I learned how to spray tan with a big machine in esthetics school, but I'm not an expert at it by any means. Lacey had brought a bottle of tanner with her, so I sprayed her down and well... I got her quite dark. So then it was very hard to color match the tan and I had to spend a lot of time figuring it out. We were running behind. Honestly, I was stressing on the inside but trying not to show it. When on a job, you gotta turn off emotions and just make it work. I finally got her matched, and she looked great! We were filming outside, and the wind made it extremely chilly. Poor Lacey was in shorts, but she made it through!

Our next scene was a little ways away in Longmont at Electric Tattoo on Main Street so Lacey could act out getting the band's emblem tattooed on her. The shop owners were super nice and let me set up at one of their stations. I had to change Lacey's look to a glammed up night look, so I used L'oreal's Amber Rush Infallible shadow for a bit of glitz on the lid, with some smokiness added using Viseart shadows from the 01 palette. I added some lashes, curled her hair, touched up her foundation, and she was good to go. We were all very hungry at this point but we had to finish this scene!

The second day of filming started out at a beautiful farm. This was where Lacey's character ("Kaitlyn") lived. She's a farm girl with an edgy rock star side. The makeup for this was a "just woke up" look, so I lightly applied foundation just to even out her skin tone, added a pinch of color to her cheeks using Ben Nye cream blush, lined her eyes with brown powder shadow, gave her a few swipes of mascara, a Laura Gellar sheer pink lip gloss, and a skin tone wash of shadow on her lids. I wish I looked as good as she did when I "just wake up" ha!

We had so much fun that second day. The production crew was made up of some amazing, talented people. Jake, the director, had a very easy going way about him where he made everyone feel at home yet was able to keep everyone focused and on task. Then there was the other Jake, a film student at Colorado Film School. He was behind the camera filming. He was so sweet and I enjoyed getting to know him and hear him talk about his dreams and passions. He's really going to go far. Sergy, another student, was our audio engineer. He is so funny! The little one liners that came out of his mouth had us cracking up. Addison was on our second camera and was also the Drone controller. I know he got some great air shots on that neat thing! I can't wait to see!

After the farm, we filmed a scene out on some dirt roads and I almost ran out of gas since we were so far from a gas station haha! But we made it back into town, and that day wasn't as long as the first day so Lacey and I got a great sleep that night. We had planned on just taking a nap and going out on the town, but we were so exhausted we just slept right through the night. It was glorious, ha.



The final day of filming was shot at only one location - the Dickens Tavern on Main Street in Longmont. This place was built in 1881 and is said to be haunted! It was really cool seeing and learning about the history of it.

The day was bittersweet. I was so happy that the video was almost complete, but sad because this crew had become like a little family. The production guys and band members were all super chill and great to talk to. We had some really good conversations and I miss them all so much

It was time for one last big breakfast together and then we had to get to work. It was going to be a long but fun day. The start of filming began with Lacey singing a Johnny Cash tune ("Folsom Prison Blues") a capella and she nailed it. Her voice is incredible. I can't get over how great she can sing!


The final scenes were filmed later that night at a concert Sonic Octane was performing at the Tavern. Although we were all very tired, the show was so much fun! I am thrilled to have been a part of this whole experience. I feel like I made some lifelong friends. It's always nice to connect with other creatives since we understand each other on a level others may not get. As a team, we were able to create something wonderful and I can't wait to see the finished product!

Product Spotlight: Maybelline Fit Me Concealer

The Maybelline Fit Me Concealer is one item I keep in both my personal makeup collection and my professional kit. It really is quite good. It's not the only concealer I have in my kit, but it's one of my favorites. I use it on myself every day that I wear makeup. I own three out of six shades.

Ulta's website describes it as: "Natural coverage... Exclusive translucent base and lightweight pigments allow skin's natural highs and lows to show through," which makes it sound as though it's not a very full coverage concealer. But I find it to be quite a nice medium-high coverage on me. Somehow though, it does still look natural and never obvious or cakey. I use it on my under-eyes and blemishes, and it works great on all areas. I have read others have issues with it looking cakey under their eyes, and don't consider it as high coverage as I do, so that's something to consider for your own skin's needs. For under my eyes, I usually blend it out with the Real Techniques Miracle Complexion sponge on myself, but I have used fingers, a flat foundation brush, and a small fluffy brush as well. I prefer the softer finish and blendability the sponge gives. When using my finger, I tend to pick some of the product right back up onto my finger versus just having it simply all blend out, and with a foundation brush I really need to take my time to blend it out to avoid streakiness, but a fluffy concealer brush and lighter pressure works well on my clients. 

However, the shade range leaves something to be desired. There are 6 shades total, and the Ulta website has a horrible representation of the shades, in my opinion. The supposed darkest one in the lineup (Deep) is actually lighter than the fifth darkest one (Cafe), and the second shade (Fair) is actually lighter than the first shade (Light) for some reason. Cafe isn't even super deep, but I suppose it can be used as a highlighting shade on some deeper skin tones.

It lasts me all day, but I do set it with powder just to ensure the longevity. It's lightweight, and not as thick and heavy as Maybelline's Master Conceal. For $6.99, I think this is a great steal!

Let's Talk: Skin is In

Full coverage foundation. Full coverage concealer. Contour your face with this cream and that powder. Paint your entire forehead with four layers of makeup. Don't let anyone know you have real skin underneath, cuz we need to cover that shit up!

Just stahhp.

Okay, before I go any further, let me get this disclaimer out of the way: YOU DO YOU. I'm not one to shame anything that makes someone happy with his or her self. So if you like full coverage, go for it! I know there is a time and a place for everything, and sometimes a full coverage look is necessary.

But don't feel like you have to in order for makeup to look good. The trends I keep seeing involve so much makeup that it's hard to not feel like you're doing it wrong if you don't use as much.

I watch makeup videos on YouTube, and many of these beauty gurus cake it on. I mean, just piling on layer after layer of full coverage products all over their face so that by the time they're done, you can't tell they have real skin at all. They have erased all their natural features and then have to go back and create them again with contour and highlight. This technique, combined with the photoshopping filters on every camera, is sending a message that it's not okay to let your real skin show.

I was watching Jaclyn Hill's "Full Face of First Impressions" video, which is what prompted me to write this. She often shows her bare face on SnapChat and her skin is glowy and perfect (maybe she has a filter on her phone camera as well, IDK). But when I saw how much product she applies on herself in this video, I just shook my head. It was so unnecessary! Her skin looks great already! What is the point of covering up gorgeous skin?

I'll be the first to admit that some days I enjoy doing the absolute-maximum-coverage-"beat your face"-Instagram-style makeup. Some days I feel like I just need it. And with that style being what's shoved in my face with every video I watch, it started to become a habit at the same time. I used to feel "incomplete" if I was doing a full face and not slathering my forehead and chin in a lighter shade of concealer ("to highlight"), on top of my full coverage foundation - even though there's really nothing to cover. But I worked to break this habit, because it's 1) a waste of product, and 2) completely unnecessary. You know, some days it still happens, though.

But that's just my habits for my personal application. As a makeup artist, it's my job to enhance a client's features without being obvious. Now, some clients love and request a full coverage look like they saw on Instagram, and that's fine! I'm here to make you happy so I will do whatever look you're going for! But for the typical client, and especially for editorial shoots and film, the base makeup should not be blatantly obvious. I mean, people know you're wearing makeup. We're not fooling anyone. But the goal is to simply even out the skin tone and provide real coverage in just the places that need it. I love the professional foundations I keep in my kit because they look so skin-like and natural and I don't need to cake them on. I don't want to blank out the entire face and turn it into this muted matte mask, and then have to go back in and add dimension with layers of concealer and contour. Of course, it depends on the client and the skin, but my goal is to never have the makeup look (or feel) heavy. Comfort of the makeup is just as important. You don't want to be distracted all night because you feel like your face is practically weighed down by a bunch of layers, or that it might come off when you hug your friend.

I love doing editorial because the emphasis is usually on clean-looking skin, not overdone looks. If I could drill one thing into everyone's head, it would be to drink lots of water and invest more in your skincare, so your natural glowy skin can shine through and there will be no need to cover it up. I think if beauty gurus started focusing on clean skin looks, and emphasising that skincare is key before anything else, instead of layering on foundation, the natural look could come back in style and we would see more of that instead of these tutorials where you draw lines all over your face for highlighting and contouring. I already see a few YouTubers going foundation-free, which is a great message in my opinion.

Of course, this is just my opinion and I'm not trying to bash or make anyone feel bad, because like I said, some days I use an insane amount of foundation although I have been practicing becoming more comfortable with going out with minimal or no makeup on. Generally, I prefer to see real textures, real pores, real people. This look doesn't suit everyone, because not everyone has crystal clear skin. That's why I try to teach that proper diet and a great skincare routine (which, I know, is harder for some people because nothing seems to work. I get it.) can do wonders.

Are you ready for the natural look to come back in style? Tell me what you think!

Everyday Makeup Tips

(Not my quote but it sure is funny!)

As a makeup artist, I really enjoy speaking with clients about their makeup routines and trading tips for better application. Sometimes I'll offer a tip that is totally second nature for me, but it's like a lightbulb went off for them. So I thought I'd share some with you today! If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you've probably seen a few of these already. For those who don't follow me (what are you waiting for!?), I hope this list helps make your beauty routine a little easier!

  • If you don't have a clear brow gel, you can spritz hairspray onto a spoolie and run it through your brows to help them stay in place all day.

  • Ahh crap! You smudged your mascara while applying your makeup! Don't wipe it off immediately. Wait for it to dry, then use a Q-Tip to gently flake off the mascara mark. Works with most mascaras, although some formulas might need a little more rubbing than others.

  • Always double cleanse your face if you wore makeup that day. Take your makeup off with a remover wipe or oil, then use your regular face wash to get the rest of the grime left behind.

  • Make your own "BB Cream" by mixing your foundation with your moisturizer.

  • Dip a pointed Q-Tip in makeup remover and use it to clean up your winged liner for an extra-crisp line. I would suggest doing your eyes before your face if you're going to do this!

  • For an easy "no-makeup makeup" look, tightline your upper lashline. This will open up your eyes without having to go through the process of doing full liner. Get in between all the lashes for a full lash look.

  • To tone down harsh lines on your eyeshadow, take a light or skin tone shade on a small fluffy brush and use it to blend out the very edges of your shadow. The lighter color diffuses any harsh lines without muddying up the rest of your look.

  • For an everyday look for small eyes, don't take your lower eyeliner all the way in toward your tear duct. This can close off your eyes and make them appear smaller. Instead, take the liner just to the outer edge of your iris.

  • To brighten up your eyes, use a nude colored waterproof liner on your lower waterline.

  • For a smoother lipstick application, exfoliate your lips using sugar and coconut oil, followed by a moisturizing lip balm. Blot lips dry before applying lipstick.

  • Don't rely on layers of foundation to cover up blemishes or spots. Dab concealer on the area and then blend out the edge of the concealer with a very small brush or your finger. This way, the spot stays fully covered by the concealer but the edges are not obvious, and you don't have to use multiple layers of foundation.

  • If you're not sure where to place your contour, start at the top of your ear and angle down to the corner of your mouth.

  • You can mix liquid highlighter in with your foundation for a luminous "lit from within" glow.

  • To cancel out dark circles, keep the color wheel in mind. Yellow and orange cancel out blue and purple, respectively, so typically a peachy shade will work for most people with fair skin, and a coral or deep orange shade works better on deeper skin tones.

Okay, I hope that gives you some ideas! I know there's a ton more tips but I need to finish my coffee and put on some makeup. If you have any tips, share them in the comments!

Product Spotlight: RCMA No-Color Powder

Y'all... I just love the RCMA No-Color Powder. I know it got big when YouTuber KathleenLights started raving about it, but it's been a cult favorite of professional makeup artists for years.

            Photo from RCMA website

           Photo from RCMA website

One of the things that make it so great is that I can use it on any skin tone. It looks white but it goes on invisible. I don't know how this sorcery works. I've used it on every skin tone with no issues. I mean, yeah, if you over-do it, it can become ashy on deeper tones. But you really have to try hard to over do it because it only takes a small amount to make the magic happen.
Here are examples of different skin tones on which I've used this powder:

Now, I'll admit: when I first bought this, I could not figure out what the big deal was. It made my finished looks become all cakey and very obvious. Under the eyes would turn out crepey. What was everyone so on about?

Then I realized I was using way too heavy of a hand. It's honestly unbelievable how small of an amount you need to use in order to get the job done. I take a... oh, maybe a half a teaspoon size amount... for each section of the face. That's a very rough estimate - I mean, all I do is pour some out onto my palette, quickly dab a big fluffy brush into the pile (and I do mean quickly... I don't want too much on my brush), then I still tap off the excess even though there doesn't seem to be much on there, and brush it across the face in a sort of light gliding or flicking motion. It distributes the product with just the right pressure so the powder clings to the skin without being heavy. I have gotten it down to a science. I can actually see it put a flawless finish over the foundation and give it this sort of... soft focus look. That's the only way I can think to describe it. It seems to blur the pores right in front of my eyes. It's really remarkable, but it did take many a trial-and-error to get there. If you use it under the eyes, use an even smaller amount than you think you need. That is an area that will definitely look cakey if you use too much of this powder. A medium-to-big, soft fluffy brush is your best bet for the face, and a smaller soft fluffy brush like the Real Techniques Setting Brush is best for under the eyes. Don't get the powder over the whole surface area of the brush, though. Just get it on the center of the brush and allow the outer bristles to do the dispersing for you as you glide it over the face. That's my little tip but you may find a technique that works better for you. 

That being said, I truly do not get YouTubers baking with this. I know it looks good on camera, but from my experience using it on a variety of skin types, there is no way it looks as good in person, so I do not recommend baking with it. I mean, I don't recommend baking in general because I think it's absurd for everyday wear, but I digress...

So another tip: for very oily skin, I will dust some of the RCMA No-Color Powder on after a mattifying moisturizer has sunk in, and then continue onto the eyes. This gives the powder time to soak up any excess moisture left on the skin before I put on the foundation. After foundation, I'll go back in with another layer of powder and use Ben Nye Final Seal to lock everything in place.

And of course, the price... $12 for 3 oz. of product, and it lasts sooo long. The bottle is pretty big. I've made only a dent in mine and I've been using it for nearly two years. I have even given some away to friends and brides so they could try it out, and I still have plenty left. I consider it a steal for that price. 

I don't think I'll ever be able to replace this powder in my kit with another product. Have you tried it?

Why You Need To Hire A Professional Makeup Artist

 Iron Lace Photography

Iron Lace Photography

I know weddings are stressful and expensive. I know many people try to cut corners where possible to help ease the financial burden. Let me tell you right now: your makeup is not one of those corners. Hire a professional makeup artist.

 Ava V. Photography

Ava V. Photography

Lots of brides-to-be think, "Why should I hire a professional when my cousin/sister/bff will do it for free? She's really good at doing her makeup." Okay, that's great, but you need to take into consideration a few things:

1. Just because she (or he, but I'll be using the "she" pronoun for ease) is good at doing makeup on herself, that does not mean she can do makeup on other people. Have you ever tried to put eyeliner or mascara on someone else? I know from experience that it is hard at first and takes a lot of practice. Maybe she has plenty of eyelid space which makes it easy to rock any eyeshadow look or big winged liner. Meanwhile, you have hooded eyes, so the same style of winged liner may not translate well onto your shape. It not only takes an understanding of the different shapes and what flatters them, but also the experience to be able to execute it well. Even if she's done your makeup before, the actual wedding day can be stressful, and you need someone who is experienced in dealing with weddings, and the pressure and time constraints that come with them. You also want someone who is going to have all the products you could possibly need in their kit. Because...

2. A good professional kit is stocked with everything needed to tackle any skin type and skin tone, and contains high quality, professional-grade products that look good on camera and in person. There are brands that are staples amongst professionals (like Graftobian and Kryolan, for example) and most consumers might not have heard of these brands, but they are formulated specifically for long lasting and reliable wear in all circumstances of film, editorial, and bridal. Also, a professional makeup artist knows that proper preparation of the skin is what will allow the makeup to apply well, and all skin care is not created equal. Many makeup artists are also licensed estheticians (and FYI - in Tennessee, it's against the law to practice makeup artistry for pay if you are not licensed in either cosmetology or esthetics, so keep that in mind when hiring), so they have a true understanding of skin care and what to do to combat certain issues. The average consumer (or your cousin's friend's sister doing your makeup) may not have that understanding so - assuming they know to do skin prep at all - your makeup could end up with issues like looking cakey or breaking up on your skin. Apart from just knowing how to prep the skin, I have heard horror stories from other makeup artists about having to work alongside non-professionals. One story that sticks out to me was from a makeup artist hired to do makeup for a bride, but the other bridal party members didn't want to pay for their makeup to be professionally done, so they had a friend do everyone else's makeup. The friend brought only one foundation shade to use on everyone (and they were all different skin tones), the brushes were dirty and also not cleaned in between each client, and she was only using products from her own personal makeup kit... meaning germs galore. Which leads me to my next point:

3. Sanitation. If someone doesn't have a professional kit that is ONLY used for clients, then chances are high that the products being used on you have not been used sanitarily before they're applied to your face. Pink eye, herpes, MRSA, and other diseases can easily be spread through unsanitary cosmetics. Your friend using her mascara on you and your fellow bridesmaids is dangerous, and frankly, disgusting to boot. Someone using lipstick straight from the bullet can transfer herpes or even the common cold from one person to the next. There is proper sanitation protocol that isn't necessarily common knowledge (such as 70% alcohol being the best to use for killing germs, or scooping out creams with a spatula onto a palette, and never double dipping). Some people don't realize what a huge issue this is, especially if you're close friends or family. But it would be terrible for you to wake up on your honeymoon with pink eye or a cold sore. So please, hire a reputable, experienced makeup artist to avoid these kind of disasters.

 Steve Herlihy Photography

Steve Herlihy Photography

4. Appearance is another reason to hire someone who does this for a living. The makeup artist looking professional is a small detail that makes a huge difference. The typical makeup artist "uniform" is an all black outfit, hair up, manicured nails, and (for me, anyway) plain yet professional looking makeup. The reason for all of these standards is so we don't ruin your getting ready pictures with loud clothing and/or nails that will take away from you being the focus. Wearing all black also makes sure that I'm not reflecting any bright colors onto your face that may throw off my makeup application. These details are important but are not something a non-professional would necessarily consider.

5. We are contractually obligated to show up. As long as there is a contract in place, you can rest assured you will have your makeup done that day. That random friend who promised to do your makeup can cancel (or just not show) for any reason, like because she forgot, has a hangover, or couldn't find a sitter. I know we always want to look for the best in others, but you're putting your trust into someone who is not legally obligated to be there on one of the biggest days of your life. Don't take the chance.

If there's two things you should not skimp on in your wedding budget, it's your beauty services and your photographer. I promise you that it is worth every penny, and especially worth your peace of mind. Your wedding photos are forever, and there's no do-over. The food gets eaten, the alcohol gets consumed, the dance floor gets groovy... and you need to know that you're looking good through it all. 

 Graceful Designs Photography

Graceful Designs Photography