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!

Why Does Wedding Makeup Cost So Much?

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I read something the other day on a wedding planning Instagram page that really didn’t sit well with me. This page was encouraging soonlyweds to lie to vendors and act like they were planning a fancy birthday party in order to get cheaper rates, because apparently all wedding vendors are just out to price gauge and screw you over, as though we just make up our rates for fun.

That’s not how it works. I promise you, wedding professionals are not sitting there mischievously like Mr. Burns, concocting ways we can throw in hidden fees and taking you for all we can get. There is a lot that goes into our rates, and yes, wedding makeup and anything having to do with weddings typically costs more. Why? Let’s talk about it.

molly peach photography

molly peach photography

First of all, weddings can be stressful and time consuming. There is a lot of back and forth when planning a wedding, from meetings to emails to last minute changes. The amount of time I spend communicating with clients - discussing their needs and wants, drawing up a contract, answering every question over the course of their wedding planning period, etc. - it adds up. Most people in a “normal” job don’t work off the clock, and wedding professionals shouldn’t be expected to, either. You may not see it happening or even think about it, but this behind-the-scenes office-type work also has to be accounted for when it comes to our rates. Weddings take more time: more time the day of the wedding, more time behind the scenes. Soonlyweds get very personalized attention because this is one of the biggest days of their lives, and trust me, we care as much as you do about your day and we want the best for you. We put the time in for you because we know how important it is, but we have to charge accordingly.

Secondly, contracts. Weddings must have contracts because there’s so much detail and information needed and we both need to be protected. And contracts costs money. We need to have them created by - or at least have them looked over by - a lawyer. Guess what? Yup. $$$

Of course, coming from a makeup artistry point of view, the products come into play. My kit costs are very expensive. A lot of that stems from the non-reusable items like sponges, mascara wands, and lashes. Say I’m doing a large wedding party, I can go through an entire sleeve of cotton rounds (especially if some of the members are still rocking makeup from the night before and I have to use half a bottle of Micellar Water to get it all off…). Replenishing our kits adds up very quickly, and we go through items faster when doing weddings.

We’re not just makeup artists, either. Sometimes we have to be gentle mediators (like when your Maid of Honor wants a heavy party look but you're wanting everyone to look more natural), sometimes we have to play stylist and zip up dresses or cut off tags - all of which is part of providing our clients with the best experience possible. I don’t show up to a wedding, not talk to anyone, do the makeup, and leave without a word. I do whatever I can to make the time you’re with me feel as luxurious and relaxing as possible. Part of providing such an experience is charging appropriately for it. If I charged $40 for everybody’s makeup, I honestly wouldn’t be very happy about being there. That’s not enough to cover my business expenses nor my time, and I would feel discouraged very quickly; in turn, my attitude can totally ruin your experience on such a special day. But I know you’re paying me what I’m worth to be there, and I will be damned sure you get your money’s worth!

kaitlyn blake photography

kaitlyn blake photography

Business expenses, kit costs, the experience, and time are all part of our rates. Weddings take more of all of those things, so they cost more. And usually, you get what you pay for in these circumstances. I hope I’ve cleared up some misconceptions when it comes to wedding costs. I know everyone is on a budget but maybe it can ease your mind knowing that wedding professionals are not just trying to pull one over on you.