Bridal Beauty Tip #12 ~ The Wedding Makeup Trial Checklist

I can’t stress enough how important your pre-wedding day makeup trial is. Not only is it your opportunity to perfect your look for your big day, but it is also an opportunity to avoid a major disaster on the biggest day of your life.

Jenny Lee Wedding Dress

In the past few weeks I have had multiple brides call me the week of their wedding to tell me their makeup artist has cancelled on them. They wind up being totally stuck because all the good makeup artists have invariably been booked for months, and unless they get incredibly lucky they have to face their wedding day with no makeup artist.
I even had a maid of honor call me in tears 2 hours before the ceremony because the artist they booked didn’t bother to show up. 
He decided he had something better to do.
The bride and all her bridesmaids came with no makeup because they were paying for  makeup artist. Can you even imagine walking down the aisle with no makeup on??
I was already booked and couldn’t help her.

The common thread in each case was that the bride had gone the super budget route, and had chosen a makeup artist from Thumbtack. I’m sure on some level you can find a good makeup on a cut rate service, but I don’t like your odds.

So how do you avoid a wedding day makeup nightmare?
Start with the clues you can spot at your makeup trial.

1. Beware the “free trial”
When someone offers a free trial they are telling you straight up that they don’t attach value to their time, their skills, the products in their kit. If they don’t see themselves as worthy, why should you?
A professional will attach value to your trial. 

2. Expect Punctuality.
A good artist will arrive to your trial on time and fully prepared.
If they arrive late to your trial you can’t expect them to arrive on time to your wedding. The trial is the job interview – your artist needs to present their A game, show you that they respect your event.

3. Note Their Appearance.
As above, this is a job interview. Your artist needs to present looking like a great hire. That means clean hair, good grooming, nicely – not sloppily dressed, and they should be sporting nice makeup. If their makeup is poorly applied or looks overblown, you can take that as a warning sign!
Even if the artist’s work is brilliant I would see a sloppy appearance as a giant red flag. 

4. Check Out Their Kit.
When that makeup kit opens up there is a goldmine of information looking right up at you!
My first concern is how clean is the kit? Does it look dusty and powdery? Are there broken powders and shadows floating around? Are the bottles of foundation and palettes of products looking clean and well cared for, or are they messy?
Next you want to glance at the makeup brushes. There is never, ever any excuse for anyone to arrive with dirty brushes. Artists carry brush cleaning fluid, and part of packing up from a job is cleaning your brushes before you head out to the next job. When an artist gets home the expectation is that they wash their brushes, no matter how late it is.
Think about a chef after a busy night at the restaurant. Does he say he’s too tired to clean up and leave dirty dishes and food scraps everywhere? or does the entire restaurant get cleaned spotlessly?

5. What Products Are They Using?
We all use a variety of makeup products, but the majority, if not all of the products in your artist’s kit should be quality products. Cheapie products aren’t built to last 12 hours. You are paying for the artist to do a great job with quality products that have been designed to work well, be photographed and last all night.

6. Listen For The Questions.
Is your artist asking you a lot of questions? He or she needs to ask questions about you, your makeup style and preferences, your dress, the overall look of your wedding, the time of your ceremony – there are tons of questions to ask. A good artist will get the information and then create something fabulous to go with it. 

7. Where’s The Contract?
You don’t have a deal – a business deal – without a contract.
A contract binds the 2 of you together for your big day. I would be very wary of anyone who didn’t give you a contract to fill out and sign. A freelance makeup artist is an owner operated business. The contract shows their commitment to their business, without a contract its all just talk. 

8. Check Their References.
Check your artist out online before you make the commitment. If they have been doing weddings already (do you want to be their first?) they will probably have reviews that you can read. If they don’t have reviews you can call around wedding planners and photographers and see what the word on the street is about this artist.  People love to praise artists who have been reliable and who have done a fabulous job.

Remember: when it comes to your wedding makeup, a bargain is seldom a bargain. Don’t blow $5000 of photography on $50 worth of makeup

Bridal Beauty Tip #11 Should You Wear Facial SPF On Your Wedding Day?

Brides are always asking me whether they should skip facial SPF on their wedding day.

image via

There is a lot of noise out there about facial  SPF’s and flashback with flash photography, which makes many brides panic and think their faces will flare white in their (super expensive!) wedding pictures.

Because I am such a die-hard facial SPF obsessive, (I like to think of my self as an SPF enthusiast, but really, who am I kidding??)
I would never in a million years even consider being out in the sunshine without a facial SPF myself, so there is no way I would ever advise a bride to go get herself a good burn on her big day.
But I do have some rules when it comes to the subject:

1. No Moisturizer Containing SPF
There are two main reasons that I am anti moisturizers that contain SPF.
Firstly they are deceiving. Most girls don’t apply a large dollop of moisturizer and then work it in evenly across their entire face, throat and decolletage. It takes a thick, even coating to get the advertised SPF value – you may think you are applying SPF 20 but actually may only be getting random patches of SPF  2.
Secondly I don’t know what the active ingredients are. And for the most part I’m not interested in wasting time on a wedding day googling the bride’s moisturizer to see what the SPF ingredients are.
They probably are going to involve zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, the two main culprits in SPF flashback. 
I prefer to use my own moisturizers or hydrators on my bride’s skin, so that I can get the skin prepped the way I want it, have no greasy film on the surface of the skin, and then apply my own, photo friendly facial SPF in a layer that will protect the skin properly (otherwise the whole exercise is a waste of time) and that will not flare under flash.

2. No Foundation Containing SPF
Mostly for the same reasons as the moisturizer equation, but also because the foundations I use are pro foundations, and don’t come with SPF. I need my bride to look flawless for 12 to 14 hours, so I use foundations that are designed to last that long, look gorgeous on camera, but also look like beautiful skin to anyone standing close or leaning in for a kiss. 
My personal feeling is that if I were to go after the SPF protection on the bottle I would need a thick, opaque layer of foundation, which is the exact opposite of the look I’m going for.

3. Use a free standing facial SPF.
By that I mean it is it’s own product, not built into anything else.
When you use a freestanding SPF you are completely aware of where you are applying it, and how evenly you are applying it. You actually can get the protection advertised on the product.
I have two main facial SPF products that I use not only on weddings, but also on any outdoor shoot, be it with models or actresses, or anyone else. I like them for the protection, I like that they don’t leave any greasy residue, and I love that they never, ever flashback.


The first is Kiehls Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+
Oil free, super lightweight, broad spectrum (protection against both UVA and UVB rays) with a patented photo-stabilizing technology, this one not only gives you long lasting protection, but is weightless. Some facial SPF’s feel heavy, I like that this one feels like it disappears into the skin

The second is Neutrogena Dry Touch With Helioplex SPF 85
This is the product that I wear 365 days per year. I buy the highest SPF number they have on the shelf – If they have 100, I buy SPF 100, if the highest they have is SPF 75. I buy SPF 75.


There is some debate about the efficacy of anything over SPF 30, but the way I see it with sun damage being the leading cause of skin aging, and with my desire to completely avoid melanoma and carcinoma, if there is so much as a whisper of a chance that there might just possibly be more protection in a bottle of SPF 85 than in SPF 30, you can count me in!
Neutrogena’s product is definitely heavier than the Kiehls product, but it’s dry touch finish is perfect for makeup.

4. If You Insist 
If you insist on using your existing facial SPF that has flare potential, you can minimize the flashback by setting your foundation with a loose, color pigmented powder like Makeup Forever Super Matte Powder, which is a staple in my pro kit.

5. If You’re Still Not Convinced…
Think about what time of day you will be outdoors having pictures taken. If your pictures are happening after 3:30 when the sun is  starting to soften a little (this does not apply to Phoenix, where the sun is white hot until much later), and you really don’t want to risk wearing a sunscreen, you can probably get away with not wearing it. Personally, I would always wear SPF, but that’s just me…

Bridal Beauty # 10 Wedding Makeup Tips For Green Eyes

Did you know that only 2% of the world’s population have green eyes? I love being part of that tiny percentage! 

Angelina Jolie gorgeous green eyes

I also love it when I get to do wedding makeup for a bride with green eyes – it is so easy to make a green eyed girl’s makeup look simply stunning, and with very little makeup.

If you look at this picture of Angelina Jolie (who has green eyes) you will see that her eyes captivate you, not her eye makeup. In fact she doesn’t look overly made up at all. She just looks beautiful.

When you are approaching makeup, and especially approaching bridal makeup, the key is to create the illusion that there is very little makeup going on. You want to bring out the best features, make the eyes spark, and see gorgeous girl rather than piles of makeup.
When he sees you we want your groom to get lost in your eyes instead of trying to find you under layers of makeup.

With green eyes they key is to play up the eye color so that they become the focus on the face. The way to do this is by using basic color theory. Choose eye shadow colors that are opposite green on the color wheel.

You can see here that the shades opposite to green are made up of reds, purples and pinks, edging their way into oranges. I translate the orange end into beautiful copper bronzes and melon tones.
Although I am crazy about red eye shadow, it’s not a shade we normally associate with wedding makeup looks. Instead of red eye shadow, think about red based brown.  
The best eye shadow shades for brides with green eyes are pinks and plums, reddish browns and copper bronzes.

Here are 7 Celebrities With Green Eyes
Each of these are beautiful wedding makeup looks.

Angelina Joile



Kate Winslet


Kristen Stewart



Kate Hudson



Amanda Seyfried





Emma Stone