Setting Your Wedding Day Beauty Schedule

Molly Peach Photography

Molly Peach Photography

As your wedding day gets closer, you’re going to need to start locking in the timeline for all your vendors. There is so much to think about - what time will the flowers arrive? Will you be available to meet the florist at the door or will you be busy in hair and makeup? What about First Looks? When does the caterer need to start setting up? What about if the venue has limitations on what time you can get into the premises?

Wow. I’m overwhelmed just writing that. Y’all, planning a wedding is not easy, so I have some tips for scheduling your hair and makeup timeline on the Big Day!

First things first - ask your beauty vendors how much time they need to allot per person. Then, decide whether you’ll be doing photos before the ceremony. Will you be doing First Looks? What about photos of the family and wedding party?

Taylor Kern Photography

Taylor Kern Photography

Here’s a few scenarios that will help dictate the timeline:

If you’re only doing First Looks but saving the wedding party photos for after the ceremony, ask your photographer what time they would like you and your fiance(e) ready for photos. Your beauty vendors can finish up your wedding party while you’re off taking pictures.

If you’re doing the wedding party photos pre-ceremony as well as First Looks, check and see what time your photographer wants everyone to be ready. Your beauty team can still finish up your wedding party while you and your fiance(e) are off doing First Looks, as long as everyone else is completed by the time the group photos will start.

If you’re not doing First Looks but you are doing group photos before the ceremony, then obviously everyone needs to be ready at a certain time, and your photographer can help you navigate what time that should be.

If you’re not doing photos before the ceremony at all, I suggest having everyone completely ready an hour before the ceremony is set to begin. This gives everybody time to change into their wedding outfits, find their shoes and jewelry (the Getting Ready suites can get messy very quickly with so many things going on!), and allows time for the beauty vendors to do touch ups if needed.

If there’s travel time involved between where you’re getting ready and the ceremony, make sure you allow for at least an hour in between. Trying to corral so many people from one place to the next can be very chaotic - someone forgets a bouquet, someone lost a shoe, etc. You want to have plenty of time so you’re not stressing if something goes awry. And remember: if something does go amiss, it’s good to be prepared, but it will be okay. Breathe. Guests will probably have no idea that something went wrong.

Kaitlyn Blake Photography

Kaitlyn Blake Photography

Something else you need to consider is the actual timeline of who’s getting hair and makeup done at what specific times. This is where having a separate hair and makeup person comes in handy, especially if you have more than two or three people in your wedding party who are receiving beauty services. Another advantage to having two (or more) artists working at once is that it shortens the timeline for the Big Day, so you’re not all up at the crack of dawn to make sure there’s plenty of time to get everyone done with hair and makeup. It’s a good idea to communicate a schedule between both artists, or even CC them on one email chain so everyone is on the same page. And hey, some artists will go out of their way to communicate with the other beauty vendors and coordinate a schedule without you having to put in any effort! You want to make sure the schedule is set so that someone is not supposed to be in the hair stylist’s chair and the makeup artists’s chair at the same time. Although, should this happen, it’s not the end of the world - we typically know how to work around each other as long as the space allows for it.

Another question that pops up a lot is: What time should the Soonlywed get hair and makeup done? I try to get the Soonlywed in my makeup chair either second-to-last, or third-to-last if they’re doing hair after makeup. This allows time for him/her/them to relax before changing into the wedding outfit, grab a bite to eat, let the makeup settle a bit, and then I can provide any lipstick or powder touch ups if needed.

I know this is a lot to take in, but if you’ve hired seasoned wedding vendors, they can definitely help guide you through the process. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! That’s what we’re here for (within reason) and this coordinated effort is part of what you’re paying for when you hire us.

Good luck, and congratulations!

Planning a wedding? Reach out to inquire about professional makeup services for you and your wedding party!

You'll Only Grow as Big as the Box You're In

I heard a phrase a while back, “You’ll only grow as big as the box in which you put yourself.” That one hit me like nothing else could. I don’t know why that phrase resonated with me so deeply in that moment. I mean, I thought that I already knew the basic concept and benefits of getting out of your comfort zone.

But man, it’s so true, right? You put up these walls around you and confine yourself to this little box. It’s cozy in here. It’s comfortable. It’s just right and has everything you need. Sure, you may want more money. Sure, you may want a big opportunity. But this box has everything that will get you by, so why would you chance destroying it and clawing your way out to see what may or may not be out there, outside the walls?

Well, if you’re happy in there - truly happy - then by all means, enjoy your cozy little nook. But if there is something nagging you in the back of your brain or something you day dream about, in the quiet space before you go to sleep when your mind is wandering, you’re going to have to break down that wall, dude. It’s going to be scary and feel really weird. After all, you’ve been used to a certain environment for so long, and our cave brain says, “Hey. It’s safe here. Stay.” But then… everything will stay the same if you do.

I wish there was a magic wand I could wave or a fool-proof guidebook I could spout off to you that gives you step by step instructions on how to achieve your goals without any growing pains, stress, or long periods of time passing by. I had to wrap around my head around the fact that there’s just simply… not.

I had to get used to changing things up, to get used to putting forth major effort into expanding my mindset and changing certain habits, and then doing that over and over and over. I found that I would be a on a roll, breaking out of my comfort zone and doin’ thangs, opportunities were coming my way and I was killin’ it! Then I would get complacent. I thought I had it all figured out. I thought the ball I started rolling would continue to roll forever. But then it would lose momentum and I’d be left wondering why the heck my progress had slowed down. Well, I’ll tell you why. Because it was time to build a new box.

When you find yourself stuck in an achievement limbo, take a look around you. Have you become complacent and cozy in this new nook you’ve built for yourself? It can happen so quickly that you didn’t even realize you were done building this new nook! “Give me a second!” you might say. “I’m just now hanging up some photos!” But hey, man. If you feel stuck already, you know what it’s time to do. Keep moving it along. Keep taking chances. Keep taking those leaps that terrify you. If you have no idea how you could possibly grow any more, take a deep breath in a quiet zone and listen to your inner voice telling you what the next step is. If something pops into your head, your cave brain may immediately try to shut it down. Don’t pay attention to your safe-zone-loving cave brain. It doesn’t want you to grow because growth can be uncomfortable. Follow what that inner voice says and see where it leads you, and embrace the fact that nothing amazing comes from staying the same place.

When I took the leap to go full time with freelancing, I was terrified. I could stay at my current job with a pretty steady paycheck, working for someone else and not having to worry about anything more than selling makeup, or I could take this huge jump and put to use every ounce of faith I had, and do freelance work full time. Obviously, I chose the latter, and it’s been the best decision I ever made. Stressful? Oh, absolutely. Worth the stress? Oh. Abso-freakin’-lutely. Every time I have made the decision to break down my little box in the hopes of finding something bigger, it’s worked out. It hasn’t “worked out” in the sense that it’s been super easy and smooth sailing, but looking back in hindsight, I can tell you that everything has worked out in the way I needed. Don’t let fear or discomfort stop you from going out and getting your goal. Break out of your box.

Be sure to follow Allyson on Instagram and Facebook!

5 Tips For Doing Your Own Wedding Makeup

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Not everyone wants to bring in a professional makeup artist for their wedding day. Sometimes it’s not aligned with your budget or maybe you don’t feel comfortable with someone else touching your face, and you feel it would be less stressful to just do it yourself. Whatever your reasoning, there are a few key tips that you can take from the professionals to make sure your wedding makeup looks amazing in person and in photos.

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I know the common idea about wedding makeup is that it needs to be, like, 10x what you’d normally do, in order to “show up in photos.” This is true to an extent; however, with the amazing photography lenses and tools available these days, cameras generally capture what’s in front of them pretty spot-on. You can turn up the volume of your makeup a bit, especially if you don’t normally wear any, but you don’t need to go full on Mimi (okay, you can tell I’m old if you don’t get that reference). It’s important to pay attention to the editing style of your photographer. If they’re more “light and airy,” yes, soft peachy blushes or pink eyeshadows might get a little washed out so consider amping it up. If their photography style is on the dark and moody side, I’d go easier on a smokey eye because it can end up looking super black once they’re done with editing. From a makeup artist standpoint, we have a knack (and the experience) for knowing just how heavy the makeup needs to be to look great across all styles, but for someone who is not used to doing makeup for photography purposes, it’s a good idea to research and check out the makeup styles your photographer’s previous clients have done. Basically, it doesn’t have to be as heavy handed as it used to be back in the day.

Here’s a few examples of what the makeup looked like from my regular phone camera compared to the wedding photos from a professional photographer. The first, as you can see, has a bright and airy feel. The second was natural lighting so not much difference at all. The third has a slightly more dramatic and moody edit which was perfect for the glam style we chose for this bride’s makeup.

(Kaitlyn Blake Photography/Noreen Nooner Photography/Jess McGill Photography)

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Moisturize, but furthermore, adopt a good skin care routine a few months before your wedding and stick to it. You’d be amazed at how makeup that’s done with excellent technique can still look not-so-great on skin that’s been neglected. Skin care is the most crucial part of a good makeup application. Even if you think you’re oily, you still need to moisturize to create a balance for your skin. Your face goes through a lot in the day-to-day activities - sun damage, pollution, dehydration. It all takes a toll. So always cleanse your face, moisturize, and use sunscreen (sun damage is THE #1 reason for faster aging/unhealthy skin). Do a facial mask (one that you know you won’t have a reaction to) the night before your wedding for extra glow. You can gently exfoliate that morning for a nice, smooth base for makeup. And then on the day of your wedding, make sure your skin is nice and hydrated with a good moisturizer, and really give it time to sink into the skin before you do your foundation. Keep in mind that skin care can be different for everyone, depending on if you have sensitivities or other issues. These are very basic tips, and your skin may have different needs. That’s why it’s important to adopt a good routine months prior to your big day so that you’re not stressing over whether you’ll have a reaction to a product.

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I think many of us have seen the infamous Flashback Mary by now. Flashback is what happens when your makeup causes a white cast to show up in flash photography. Your photographer may bust out the flash later in the night when the sun has gone down and everyone is grooving on the dance floor during the reception, and you don’t want to be surprised when you receive your wedding gallery and realize it’s full of photos of you looking like a ghost. So how can you avoid that?

For starters, titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, and silica powder are the main causes of flashback. But it can get confusing because some products may be high in titanium dioxide/zinc oxide and still don’t create the white cast effect. And my favorite setting powder ever (RCMA No Color Powder) has silica in it and yet it does not cause flashback. The reason the Flashback Mary conundrum even happened is because this particular YouTuber coated his entire face heavily in setting powder. The reflective nature of these ingredients, when used in large amounts like that, will cause the flash photography light to bounce back and create that effect. You could use the same powder he did, but in a much smaller amount, and have no issues. Really, the simple answer is: if your products contain a large amount of any of these ingredients, just use a light hand. You really don’t need that much powder on your face, so I wouldn’t stress too much about this happening.

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They may be intimidating but false lashes look fan-freaking-tastic in wedding photos. My favorite are demi-wispy styles. They’re natural enough to not be over-the-top but give just enough “umph” to up your makeup game. I suggest buying a 5-pack and practicing, because applying falsies is not an easy feat and definitely not something to be trying out for the first time on your wedding day. But they’re worth the learning curve!

You’ll need lash glue, and I find a pair of tweezers helps me with placing them as well. You may need to trim the lashes to fit your eye, so before you apply any glue, put the lash on your lash line and see if it’s too long. Trim as needed. Then apply the lash glue and let it sit for about 30 to 45 seconds. If you try to put the lashes on too soon without giving the glue time to start drying enough to be slightly tacky, the glue will just slip and slide around and not actually stick. So these few seconds you’re waiting are a huge part of easy application. Pick the lash up with your tweezers and start in the middle of your eye when placing. Once the middle is secure, you can adjust the inner and outer edges. Once the lash is placed and seems to be set (you know, not lifting or moving around), carefully pinch your natural lashes and your false lash together in a few areas, to help blend them all together. And practice, practice, practice!

Here’s an example of some natural-style lashes that simply add the most perfect touch of drama to the look.

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Our faces, necks, and chest tend to be all different tones. The neck is generally lighter than the others, since our head is blocking it from the sun. The face can either be similar to the neck’s tone, or more similar to the typically-darker chest, depending on whether or not you wear SPF. If your wedding outfit is low cut and shows your chest, you’ll want to keep that in mind when selecting a foundation shade. You may feel quite strange that the foundation you’re putting on your face is not the same shade as the skin that it’s covering, but take a step back and look at the big picture of it all. Scan your face from your jaw and chin to your chest - do they look similar in tone? Good! You want everything to blend seamlessly. You don’t want your face to be way lighter or way darker than your body, and in order to make everything cohesive, you may need to bring the foundation down onto your neck and even your chest, so that it blends without a solid line of demarcation. Apply your makeup in front of a window with good day light streaming in. This will give you the most accurate representation of shades.

Whether doing your own makeup for your wedding or leaving it to the professionals, it should be a relaxing experience, so put on some good tunes and enjoy that precious time!

Did you do your own makeup for your wedding? Tell me how it went in the comments! And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Facebook for tons of makeup inspiration!

Subconsciously Letting Others Steal Your Confidence

I want to acknowledge what a wonderful, abundant bad ass you are. I want to testify to the fact that we have so much potential in this world. Everything is at our fingertips. But you know what I’ve noticed? All too often we shy away from the idea of fulfilling our potential or owning our confidence, simply because it may inconvenience somebody else. We don’t even know we’re doing it. We just know that:

  • We toned down our makeup yesterday because we knew we’d see that one conservative relative who would have something snarky to say. Or…

  • We overheard a coworker spouting “facts” that we knew were wrong, but we didn’t want to step on toes and make that person feel stupid, so we kept our mouth shut. Or…

  • Maybe we had plans for a blind date so we wanted to wear that super cute top that happens to show a bit of cleavage, but we didn’t want our date to “get the wrong idea,” so we opted for a full coverage dress instead. Or…

  • A stranger asked us how many months along are we, even though we’re not f*cking pregnant, but we just laughed politely instead of telling them how rude they actually are.

We did all of this for other people instead of owning our confidence and acting like the bad ass we are. We did this so we wouldn’t intrude on someones else’s comfort level, or have someone think of us in a negative light. But you know what? F*ck. All. Of. That.

We are not in charge of other people and we do not have to live by anyone else’s standards.

I know that sounds like common sense, and you may be thinking, “Yeah. Duh.” to yourself right about now, but seriously think about it - do any of these scenarios resonate with you in some capacity, without you even realizing it at the time? It seems so obvious now that we’re talking about it. But it happens at a subconscious level. When it comes to these little scenes in our day-to-day, the ones that happen so fast that it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary but then when you think about it later, you’re like, “Wait a minute…”, it can get lost in all the other shit we have going on in our lives. We don’t even notice that our confidence and assertiveness is being chipped away little by little.

If you find yourself downplaying who you are or shrinking back in situations, I want you to think about that one friend we all have. You know the one - the one who is so up front and to the point about things that it actually put you off the first couple of times you met her. She seemed really “bitchy.” But over time, you realized that she’s actually the sweetest and more generous person you know. Yes, she told you that your butt doesn’t look good in those jeans when you asked for her opinion. It may have stung, but you know she doesn’t sugar coat things so you know you can trust her. And when something upsets her, she works to correct it instead of stowing it away in the back of her mind where it will grow into resentment.

A personality this strong can come across as harsh and make others very uncomfortable (and there’s a difference between being an untactful “honest” asshole and simply being up front about things. We are not talking about the former.). We associate “confrontation” with negativity, instead of thinking, “Wow, I’m glad I know such a strong woman who’s so confident in her feelings and who she is.” We’re accustomed to not looking like a “bitch,” accustomed to holding our tongue even when something doesn’t sit right with us. But I’m here to tell you it’s okay to speak your mind. You’re not wrong for loving yourself enough to speak up.

And that’s directly where this type of confidence comes from - self love. Without self love, without enough self love, we second-guess our feelings. We second-guess whether what we have to say, wear, feel, or do is worthy enough. We don’t speak up when something bothers us because what if it upsets someone else? Well, guess what? If owning who you are and what you feel upsets someone else, that’s their journey they need to walk down and figure out. That’s not on you. Don’t feel responsible for someone else’s mindset.

It’s easier said than done, but it does get easier with practice. But what do you do when you’re in an especially hard situation? Say, for example, dear old Grandma commented on how you’ve gained a few pounds and even though it was rude AF, you’re not trying to ruin Sunday dinner by calling her out on her rudeness.

There’s two ways it can go. You can be so secure in yourself and in your own body, that her statement legitimately doesn’t bother you at all. It’s easy to brush off because you know her 89-year-old opinion doesn’t actually f*cking matter. So whatever, let it go.

Or, if it truly does bother you, then you need to speak up. But do it with kindness. It’s really hard for someone to get upset with you for speaking your truth when you do it with a smile on your face. You can still be direct, but they look like the asshole if they escalate the situation when you’ve done nothing but be sweet. Then you can direct the conversation elsewhere. For example:

RUDE PERSON: “Honey, you’ve gained a few pounds. Susan used the Weight Watchers program, maybe you should try it.”
THE BAD ASS YOU ARE: “I’m stoked Susan found something that works for her. I absolutely love my body and am not looking for any weight loss program. I am loving this new rug you bought, though! Where did you get it?”

If they continue to push the subject, they’re still the one looking like the asshole, and you can continue to redirect. There is an infinite number of ways to redirect a conversation, so hey, you can do this all day if they insist. Or, you can speak your truth even more and say, “I’m done discussing this topic. Let’s focus on something that makes us all feel positive.” Keep saying it until they stop. Again, you are not wrong for that. You are not wrong for protecting your peace of mind or your self confidence. You are not wrong for telling someone “no.” You are not wrong for ditching people or things that do not serve your higher self. You are not wrong for correcting someone. Don’t be afraid to make someone uncomfortable when they’re not even bothered to offer the same luxury to you.

So, here’s your motivation to go out into the world and take it by storm. No more shrinking back so you don’t upset someone. No more denying yourself of your true feelings because you think you’re not worthy enough to have them or that you’re wrong for having them. You are a bad ass. If you can’t see that yet, practice saying it to yourself daily. I’m serious! Say it to yourself enough times til it starts to sink into your subconscious. Soon, you’ll start to believe it, slowly but surely. Then eventually, you’ll start to act like it. Then, yes, you will be it. There is a super bad ass chick version of you out there, you just have to align yourself with her through little practices such as affirmations. Go get her!

5 Tips for Amazing Makeup That Lasts

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I’ve been offering makeup lessons for some time now, and when I first started, I was surprised to learn what a foreign language makeup is to some people. I’ve been immersed in the beauty community for years now, so the techniques and products and brand names are second nature. But for someone who has no idea where to start, the amount of info available is overwhelming. A hands-on lesson is always good so that you can get specific, customized information pertaining to your needs, but I’ve compiled a list of some tips that will work for most everyone.


Skin care can be a whole other lesson in itself, but we’ll start with the basics. Good makeup cannot be obtained without the proper prepping of the skin. Cleansing thoroughly, exfoliating 2 to 3 times a week, and applying a hydrating moisturizer day and night provides an excellent base for your makeup. If you feel like you get oily throughout the day, a hydrating-yet-oil-controlling moisturizer will be your best bet. When you have good skin prep, you don’t need a face primer. Let the moisturizer sink in for several minutes before applying foundation. You can work on your eyeshadow while you wait.


Doing your makeup in front of a window with nice, natural light (you’ll want to be facing the window) will give you the best idea of what your makeup actually looks like. When we apply in rooms like bathrooms, which tend to have dingy or warm lighting, we’re not seeing the true hue of the colors we’re using. In bad lighting, you may also be applying your makeup too heavily because you can’t see an accurate representation of what it’s going to look like in regular light when you’re out and about. Lighting is key! You also don’t want to sit in a window that has the sun beaming directly at you during the time you’ll be doing your makeup. If you’re having to squint your eyes while you’re applying, the sun is way too bright which is just as bad as dingy lighting.


Instead of going in with a huge amount of foundation all at once, apply in light layers to achieve the coverage you want. Applying in layers allows you to keep your skin still looking like natural skin rather than a mask of makeup. You may find that you don’t even need as much foundation as you think (and your wallet will thank you). You can even out your skin tone with a light layer and then go back with a thicker concealer to pinpoint and spot conceal the areas where you want more coverage.


I used to be guilty of bad powdering technique before I got really into makeup, and I see others doing it as well - don’t go overboard with the powder. No need to furiously dig into your compact, and no need to powder so heavily that you look as matte as a chalkboard (unless of course you REALLY love that look). It’s possible to be radiant and matte at the same time, when done with correct skin prep and application.

Use a fluffy brush that’s not too dense. You don’t want a brush where the bristles are closely packed together because then the powder will be heavily placed in just one spot and it won’t easily blend out. This makes the powder much more obvious and it’s how you can get that mask-like effect. Gently swirl the brush in your compact or loose powder. Tap the brush a couple of times to get off any excess powder in case you swirled too much, and hold the brush toward the end of the ferrule rather than right at the top near the bristles. This will give you a more gentle grip and put less pressure on the bristles of the brush, which makes for better and softer application. Then, dust it across your forehead and T-zone. If you really want a mattified look, swirl your brush in your powder and gently but firmly pat the brush in the places where you get oily. You can also use a soft velour pad for a matte look but go light with the product (we’re applying in layers, remember) and blend out with your fluffy brush for a seamless effect. For under the eyes, you may want to use a small tapered fluffy brush or even a small fluffy eyeshadow brush.


For makeup that lasts all day, get a good setting spray. You’ll spray this a few inches away from your face, and spritz it all over. Spritzing it all over typically leaves a more dewy finish, so if you do want to adjust the shine, spray it on a sponge or foundation brush and lightly pat it into your skin or spray it directly on your face first and then pat it in.

I hope you enjoyed these five tips that you can implement for a flawless finish that lasts all day! As with anything, practice makes perfect. You’ll get the feel of what works for you and perfect your technique over time.

Got questions? Want to book a lesson? Email me!

Three Steps to Get Rid of Those Pimples!

Sometimes, I look in the mirror and think, "I'm 28 years old. Why TF do I still get pimples?!" And I'm an aesthetician! This shouldn't be happening, right?! 

Well, it does. Hormones, bad habits, diet, stress - all these things contribute to breakouts, and no one is totally immune to it. So when you have a pimple (or several) pop up, how can you get rid of it quickly? Try these tips for a clearer face (Note: sometimes, there are deeper issues that topical treatments can't alleviate - please see a dermatologist or your primary care doctor to check your hormone levels to see if there's something else going on).

1. Double-cleanse your face with an oil cleanser.

Not sure what an oil cleanser is? You can read up on my favorites here. Basically, this is the process: Oil disintegrates oil. If you use an oil cleanser, it can help balance out any excess oil your face may be producing. Double-cleansing ensures you get rid of all the makeup/grime with the first cleanse, and the second cleanse allows the oil to really get down to the pore and help clear it out. You can double-cleanse with an oil cleanser every day as a replacement for your regular cleanser, or save it for when you're having a rough time with clogged pores.

2. Wear a clay mask.

Go and scoop up the super popular Indian Aztec Clay, or any bentonite clay mask you can find, and use twice weekly. The oil cleanser in the previous step has loosened up and cleared away most of the oil, so now the clay mask can absorb and pull out what's left. Leave the mask on until it hardens, and then rinse off gently. You can use a gentle toner afterward, such as the Thayer's Rose Petal Witch Hazel.

3. Use a BHA.

BHA stands for Beta Hydroxy Acid. The most well-known and effective BHA is Salicylic Acid and you'll generally see that listed on the product. This acid is great for working below the surface of your skin and blasting through any grime and extra oil in your pores, so they're cleaned out and in turn, look smaller and your face looks clearer. Salicylic acid also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties so it can help heal those pesky pimples. Grab a box of alcohol-free Stridex pads and use after your mask two to three times weekly, and you can use it on its own several times a week. Let it dry and follow with your moisturizer.


And there ya go! This is a simple, quick way of fighting those blemishes. Your face won't be totally cleared up the next day (it's skin care, not magic), but you should see a major difference after adopting a steady routine like this. And of course, you can always come see me for a facial!

How to Find The One

... Makeup Artist, that is.

Nashville Wedding Collection

Nashville Wedding Collection

But seriously - for your wedding day (or any special event, for that matter!), you want to know the person you pick is going to not only make you look and feel amazing, but also that (s)he will be professional, punctual, and sanitary. So where do you start?

Well, you can start with Google. "Makeup Artists near me," or "Makeup Artist [Your City]" should pull some good results. The first few results are likely going to be linking you to big wedding planning sites like WeddingWire. Underneath those, you'll find the websites of your local MUAs. WeddingWire and The Knot are great resources, but sometimes the artists on those lists are not even in business anymore or they may not update their listings with new material. You can also search for makeup artists in your local Facebook Wedding groups. Don't count out an artist if (s)he is not in your city. Most of us travel to you, and there may not be a travel fee depending on the mileage. Even if there is a travel fee, a good artist can be so worth it.

Jon Myers Photography

Jon Myers Photography

So, you have a list of makeup artists to choose from in your area. Cool. Now take a look at each of their websites. And I mean an actual website, not just a Facebook or Instagram page. If they have a well-put-together website, it shows they are really invested in their business - it should showcase their work and provide more information very clearly so you know how to contact them. Of course, some artists in this day and age just stick with a social media portfolio and do awesome with that, or if they're just starting out they may not have a website up yet. Or they work out of a salon so they don't have their own site. I understand that and it definitely doesn't prove whether or not someone has talent. So maybe I'm old school, but for freelancers, I think having a website is crucial to showing what you offer and it reinforces that you're a professional. It also helps the client get a feel for the vibe and style of the artist.

Most states require either an esthetician or cosmetologist license in order to do makeup. I know Tennessee does. To some clients, whether or not a makeup artist has the required license is not a high priority as long as the artist is good. Most of my clients don't even know that Tennessee requires you to have at least an esthetician license. And I'll note: a license (or lack thereof) does not make someone a good or bad artist, but it does show that they have invested lots of money and time into their education to follow the proper protocol for their state. They may also know more about how to be sanitary when working on clients, although any makeup artist who takes their career seriously is going to be a stickler for sanitation. Someone with a license is likely not a "fly by night" MUA who decided to wake up one morning and start doing makeup on people. A license shows that they have put months/years and lots of money into this and have taken state board exams in order to become a makeup artist.

Website? Check. License? Check. Now how's their actual work? Their portfolio should consist of several professional photos, not cell phone pics or selfies. A good place to see before&afters or cell phone pictures of clients is on social media if your artist has one for his or her business. Your artist may just be starting out so their port won't be huge. Are you down with helping them build their business or would you prefer someone with more experience? Keep in mind, someone with more experience will (or should) charge appropriately for it.

Keep in mind, someone with more experience will charge appropriately for it.

Speaking of charging... the next step is to determine if the artist is within your budget. I know you may have sticker shock when seeing how much hair and makeup costs for weddings, but remember that how you look is going to be captured in photos for... forever. I do think hiring a quality artist is very important - and I'm not just saying that because I'm biased! Of course, everyone has a budget. You may fall in love with an artist only to discover that the rates are more than you were expecting to spend. A good artist is worth her (or his) rate, trust me. We put a lot of our time, effort, and soul into our businesses and we can't make a living to keep doing this if we don't charge appropriately for our talent, our kit, and all the fees associated with running our business. If you find someone charging, say, $30 for makeup services, really consider what they can offer by charging so low. You can't stay afloat for long or invest in a quality kit if you're basically losing money with every service you do.

Check reviews and ask around in your social circle or Facebook groups. You'll likely get some honest input from those who have used the artists you're considering. And once you're ready to email the MUA - pay attention to the response time. Do you wait days and days for a response? Or do they answer within 48 hours? Now, the weekend tends to be our busiest time so cut the artist some slack if they don't answer you until Monday or Tuesday. I try to get back to potential clients within a day, but sometimes my day is jam packed and I can't find a minute to respond right away. Also, is their response helpful and insightful? Are they answering your questions thoroughly or leaving you confused with even more questions? Communication is another huge part of the wedding planning process so you want someone who is going to show commitment and care to your big day.

I know it can be overwhelming trying to find all the right vendors to fit your needs and your budget. I hope this article helps you, and maybe even puts into perspective what all comes with hiring a real professional for your beauty needs.


I have a few dates left for 2018, and am already booking for 2019. Ready to book? Have questions?

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.

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