For some brides, selecting their overall "look" is a piece of cake. It's something they've envisioned since they were five years old. For others, it's a huge challenge. Hair up or down? Red lip or neutral lip? Let's break down some factors that each play an important role in choosing your look:
1) Overall Theme: The biggest question to ask yourself is what is your theme/ color palette/ vibe of your wedding? Your look should play a big factor in matching, or being cohesive with this. For example, a Roaring 20's themed wedding could include a red lip, lashes, blusher, and finger waves shaping your face. So really think about what your overall style is and how it can blend with the wedding as an entirety.
2) Dress Style: Once you have your dress picked out, your hair and makeup style should compliment how it fits you. If you have an elegant, lace covered back, perhaps having your hair up to show it off would be best. If your dress has a lot of texture and detailing on it, a simple, clean makeup look would best show it off, and not overwhelm the look.
3) Your Comfort Level: Some people are very confident wearing a more dramatic makeup look, whereas others want a very simplistic look. This often depends on what you wear day-to-day. A key reason why trial runs are important! I always ask what you wear daily to gauge your comfort level with products. Feeling and looking like yourself on such a big day is necessary!
4) A Timeless Look: While makeup trends come and go, photos are forever! When choosing your look, keep that in mind! Will your look be timeless in years to come? A dramatic winged liner might be trending right now, but will it still be fifteen years from now? I'm not saying to not have fun with your look, but I encourage you to modify it to some extent so it remains elegant and timeless for years to come. Same goes for your hairstyle.
5) Combining Hair and Makeup: These two factors should again, COMPLIMENT each other. True professional hair and makeup artists will work together to create a cohesive and beautiful style for you. I encourage you to show each artist what you're thinking for makeup and for hair, or even better, do the trial runs together if possible! If you're wanting soft, romantic waves for your hair, you makeup artist should keep to that style; soft and romantic.
If you're still unsure of how you want to look, experiment! It's okay to do a couple of trial runs with your hair stylist and makeup artist. Or, try a few different lip colors at your trial run. At the end of the day, it's about YOU and what you're envisioning. My final plug: Remember that Pinterest photos can be a good reference point, BUT they are often over-edited, photo-shopped pictures done on models. Try to find reference images of someone that replicates your skin tone, hair color, face shape, and eye color. Lastly, remember to enjoy the process and have fun!
Photo by: Anne Mientka Photography // Hair by: Down the Aisle Upstyles // Florals: Nancy Bishop Floral // Venue: Inn at Manchester // Gown: Everthine
There is a lot of appeal in the idea of having to deal with one less wedding vendor! Often, brides think that hiring just one person who can do both hair and makeup can save them money on a travel fee, and make the morning go more smoothly. Here are a few reasons why you should hire TWO separate artists (or more!):
PC: Hannah Photography / Hair: Down The Aisle Upstyles
Creating a wedding budget is stressful; plain and simple! Determining what's important, what costs the most, what's negotiable, what's not... the list goes on. Often, bridal makeup and hair are one of the last things booked for the big day. Sometimes, seeing bridal makeup and hair rates can be startling. Let me break down some factors that come into play when we determine our pricing:
1- Education/ Marketing: Depending on state regulations, hair and makeup artists have to become licensed. The average cost of cosmetology school in the United States is $17,000 (average taken per capital). If a license isn't required, like in Vermont for makeup, reputable artists will still seek out some type of education. Marketing is also important for businesses! Facebook ads, Google ads, website domains, WeddingWire, etc all add up! So, on average, each artist is spending thousands of dollars towards classes, schooling and marketing. Let's call it an average of $15,000 for the first year, and $6,000 on years after the license/school is paid for.
2- Inventory/ Kit: Probably the most obvious cost for H/MUA's would be the cost of their kit! A professional kit takes a long time to build up and perfect. I am always adding and changing things out, too! I could create an itemized list of all the products and tools I carry, but this blog would turn into a few pages long! For quick cost examples: $80 eye shadow palette, $45 foundation bottle, $65 moisturizer, $21 eyeliner, $50 brush. Now, multiple those by a few shade ranges and styles! And remember, makeup expires! We have to replace items every single year, or multiple times a year to keep items fresh. Let's call the kit cost an average of $6,500 to build, and $3,000 on re-stocks and upgrades for each year after.
3- Insurance/ Taxes: No, we don't just play with makeup and hair for fun! We, like any other business, pay taxes and carry insurance. The government cuts us no breaks on being small businesses. On average, I pay thousands per year into taxes and insurance. Gotta keep the IRS happy! Depending on the size of the business, average cost can vary, but let's say it's $6,000 annually for these.
4- Travel: The majority of makeup and hair folks travel onsite for events/ weddings. That's part of what makes our jobs a luxury experience for our clients! Sometimes the commute can be ten minutes, other times, it's five hours. Travel fees apply because you're paying for our time in the car, the gas to go into the car, and the maintenance on our vehicles. After all, we need reliable transportation! According to the Huffpost, the average american spends $2,000 on gas alone each year. Add on car maintenance, and we're talking around $3,200 annually.
5- "Office Time": For lack of better terms, I'm calling "office time" the time spent on our computers updating our websites, marketing on social media, answering emails, scheduling client phone calls, etc. This is the business side of things! Every quote we create, contract we send out, question we answer is our office time and calculated appropriately into our rates. I personally love the customer service/ office side of things just as much as applying makeup, but it's still work, no matter how much I enjoy it! I usually spend about 20-25 hours a week on office tasks. Apply Vermont minimum wage, and that's about $14,000 a year I should be getting paid.
6- Application Time: The part where we actually apply makeup or style hair!! Crazy, right? When all is said and done, this is actually a small portion of our job! This is typically a 3-6 hour time slot, depending on how many bridesmaids/ mothers we are glamming up. Remember, we also have loads of stuff we bring with us that we have to carry in, set up, break down, and carry out again. (Kit, chair, table, lighting system, etc!)
7- The Cleanup: After we leave the venue and get home, we don't just kick up our feet and relax with wine (well not right away!). The kit has to be cleaned out, re-sanitized, and TONS of brushes have to get deep cleaned. On average, I spend around 2 hours post-wedding doing this.
So, with all of those pieces broken down, let's add up some of the total costs/ payments: Education, kit, travel, office time, application, and cleanup: ALMOST $45,000 for year one, and around $28,000 for years after (take out the schooling license and kit startup cost).
If you see an artist charging $50 a face, please realize that they are likely not paying taxes, carrying insurance, or offering the best quality products on the market. You truly get what you pay for! As much fun as this job is, I still have a house to pay for, pets to feed, and bills each month, too. Now when you start getting bridal makeup/hair quotes that seem expensive, please note ALL of the factors that go into setting our rates.
(I based these rates on Vermont, and working as an individual freelance artist, not a bridal team or salon).
When you think of getting your makeup professionally done, you may imagine J-Lo or another celebrity sitting in a big directors chair chatting on their phone, eating a snack, sipping a drink, and having tons of people clustered around them. Well, for brides, I try to provide the opposite experience! Here are some tips and things to think about for your big day:
1- Timing: Before you even sit in my chair, ensure that you and your bridal party know the timeline for the day. In order to keep things on time, people have to BE on time. This also means that each person receiving makeup should come to me with a clean, makeup-free face. If I have to remove last nights makeup, that tacks on an additional 5+ minutes to their time slot. If things start on time, the day is much more likely to run smoothly!
2- Cell Phones: This is probably the biggest offender! I completely understand that wedding mornings can be hectic and fast paced. However, every time you have to answer a call or text, that adds on unnecessary time to your appointment, and runs the risk of us falling behind schedule. My suggestion is, designate your maid of honor or another trusted friend to be in charge of your phone while you get your makeup done. After all, you should be RELAXING and enjoying yourself while getting pampered! This goes for bridesmaids, too!
3- Vendor Interruptions: This is a touchy subject because, well, I AM a vendor! But, if you have the planner, florist, caterer, photographer, etc., interrupting our appointment time, well, you know by now- things will run behind! It's difficult because we each were hired for a specific job, and sometimes that means getting final approval from the bride. If you find vendors coming in and needing to chat, just let them know that you have X amount of time left in makeup, and then they can have your FULL attention. Of course, there are always exceptions to this! Something may need immediate attention, or the photographer might be there to capture you getting ready. I am always happy to share the space with those who are capturing this special time.
4- Bridesmaid Interruptions: Another touchy subject! Of course you should be enjoying your time getting ready with all your favorite gal pals. However, it makes my job difficult if you have to keep turning your head or getting up to see their hair, their nails, their snap chat, etc, etc. It's also a safety risk if I'm working around your eyes and you keep moving or turning your head abruptly. Try to take the time in my chair to reflect on the day ahead, and really soak it all up. I promise, their hair will still be there to look at after 30 minutes ;)
Wrapping things up, I just want you to enjoy your time in my chair and take a moment to breathe. Even though that one text, or that one vendor chat might not seem like a lot of time, it does add up. Unfortunately for makeup (and hair) folks, if the morning falls behind schedule, we are usually the scapegoat. Just keep in mind how stressful that rushed first look might be, or rushed group photos might be, all because of distractions. I try to build in an extra 15-30 minutes of "buffer" time, in case distractions come up, but you (and your bride tribes') cooperation is extremely helpful!
Planning a wedding can be a challenging, yet rewarding experience. Planning a wedding in another state or country can create a whole new level of challenges! Let me break down some tips to help get your special destination day planned:
1- Invest in a planner: Investing in a wedding planner can be an extremely helpful asset. Not only do they know timelines and coordination, but they will have a large list of trusted wedding vendors! If you're planning a destination wedding, hiring someone who is familiar with the area you're going to, and can provide local insight will help ease the whole process for you. A favorite Vermont planner of mine is harlowdahliaevents.com/.
2- Google Search: If a planner isn't in your budget, searching vendors on the world wide web can be extremely overwhelming. The biggest questions to ask yourself when searching are: Does this company have a website? Is this company active on social media platforms? Does the company have lots of reviews? Does the company list prices, or are they in my price range? In today's day and age, anyone can claim to be a florist, makeup artist, planner, etc. Do your research and look for lots of testimonials, pictures, etc. A clean, professional, and easy to navigate website are all important!
3- Social Media: Taking it one step further from #2, looking into social media platforms is huge. Again, ANYONE can create a Facebook or Instagram page. Be sure that the company has an actual business page, and not a personal one. Look at the quality of the content they're posting, and how active they are. Of course, there are exceptions of vendors who are top notch, but aren't on Facebook. Instagram in particular is a great way to see a quick visual portfolio. As a makeup artist, it's a great way for me to express and show my work off in a visually pleasing atmosphere. As you're looking over pages, you'll get a great idea of the style, talent, and tone of the vendor. Then ask yourself, can you see yourself or your big day presented on their page? Does your style match theirs? PS- search #hashtags relevant to what you're looking for; i.e., #vermontmakeupartist or #vermontweddingvenue
4- Wedding Wire/ The Knot: These two sites offer a wide range of vendors in an easy to use search function. My caution with these is that the companies who pay the most per month for their listing will be at the top of the search list. This doesn't always mean the ones paying the most are the best option. Take your time and scroll through the listings, click on website links, and even reach out for a phone call with the vendor. A great alternative to these, if you're looking in Vermont, is www.vermontweddings.com/. The layout of the site is easy to navigate, and since it's a local who runs it, she vets and screens the listings a bit better than Wedding Wire/ The Knot.
5- Vendor communication: Once you see what you like, reach out to that vendor with some questions! Don't just email or call saying "how much is this". Reach out and genuinely ask the questions you want answers to. Some great ones include: "What is your availability for X date in 202_", "We have X number of guests, can you accommodate that?", "Have you done weddings at X venue before?, If so, what was your experience?" Once you've sent your initial inquiry, see how long it takes that vendor to reply. It is guaranteed by me that I will reply within 24 hours. I always try for even less, though. If a vendor takes days or weeks to reply to your initial inquiry, that is a red flag. Granted, during peak wedding season, we all get very busy! However, clear and quick communication is a good sign that they know what's up.
6- Other vendor recommendations: Once you start booking some of your bigger vendors, like the venue or photographer, ask them if they can recommend a great hair stylist, makeup artist or DJ. Chances are, they will have a few in mind! Vermont is a relatively small knit community, and in general, everyone is happy to team up and work with or recommend other talented professionals.
7- When to start booking: There are many mixed opinions on this topic. The biggest things to keep in mind is, when is your wedding? Peak New England dates are May through October. If your date falls on a Saturday in October, chances are, you'll need to start the booking process a year to a year and a half in advance for ALL vendors. If your date is a Sunday in December, chances are, you can wait a bit longer as it's not a peak time of year or day of the week (at least for New England!). As a makeup artist, I've found a lot of brides reaching out 3-4 months prior to their wedding date wanting to book. I hate turning anyone away, but I always try to educate that a year or more is usually necessary, and will recommend some other great artists.
So that's it, folks! I hope these little pointers will help guide you to your dream team of wedding vendors. Happy booking!
With 2019 wedding season well under way, I'm noticing a few bridal makeup trends popping up. I'm also conducting a lot of trial runs for the 2020 season. Between the two, I am seeing some fun and inspiring looks come to life!
Skin looking like skin: The BIGGEST thing I am seeing right now is the request for skin to look and feel like skin. A lot of brides come to me who typically don't wear a ton of makeup in their daily life. Because of that, they're not wanting to feel or look totally different on their big day. Having a lightweight feeling on their wedding day is most important to them. I use a series of luxury skin preparation and techniques to blend the foundation and concealers perfectly into your skin.
More blush less contour: Don't get me wrong, contouring has the right time and place, but some people simply don't need a ton of it. They may have naturally carved out features that simply already accentuate their face. Adding more blush and less contour has come up a few times this season, and I love it! I think adding that rosy flush to create a supple and soft bridal look is one of the most elegant things to do. I use a combination of cream and powder blushes to achieve this desired look.
Statement lip color: Keeping the rest of the face simple, and adding a bold lip statement is popular with a lot of fall and winter weddings. Often, hints of red or burgundy to match the wedding color palette is requested. I think this is a great way to tie in your floral colors, or colors of your bridesmaid dresses. I have some great matte lip options to ensure the bold color stays put throughout the evening.
Lashes: Although many clients come to me having only worn false lashes once or twice, I always encourage them! I use brands that have a small, comfortable band on them, so you barely know they exist! Lashes make a huge difference in the overall finish and polished appearance of the look. Not only do they complete the look in person, they make the biggest difference in photographs. I will work with you to find the perfect ones to fit your style, face, and eye shape.
Finding the perfect wedding venue can be one of the biggest, and most fun, challenges a couple can face. Although I am a Vermont based makeup artist, and not a venue owner, I have had the privilege of traveling to some of Vermont’s finest wedding venues. Here are some of my favorites (in no particular order!) Is your venue on the list?!
1- The Barn at Boyden Farm: This venue is the of epitome of a classic Vermont wedding. Views extending over the Green Mountains, and fields of their vineyard create an elegant and luxurious backdrop for any wedding. Stepping inside the big red barn, it can really be a blank canvas for any type of decor you want to add. As a makeup artist, I personally love the “getting ready rooms” in the lower part of the barn. Having a space designed for makeup and hair artists is a win in my book! Be sure to check them out here: https://www.boydenbarn.com/
2- Lake Bomoseen Lodge: Looking for a lakeside wedding in Vermont? Look no further! Arden and the team at Lake Bomoseen Lodge will be sure to give you and your wedding guests the best experience out there! Views of Lake Bomoseen can be seen from nearly every window in the grand room. They even have an island you can boat out to for your ceremony! As a makeup artist, I can appreciate the well-lit and spacious rooms on the grounds. For more deets, check them out: https://www.lakebomoseenlodge.com/celebrate/
3- Sleepy Hollow Inn: How could I not pick a Vermont wedding venue in my town?! Sleepy Hollow Inn provides a quaint, charming, and intimate wedding experience set within the rolling mountains of Huntington, Vermont, just below Camels Hump. Their unique Round Barn provides an open area that all wedding guests can enjoy! Looking to get more outdoor feels? Enjoy the gazebo overlooking the pond, or explore the extensive trails on over 800 acres! This Vermont venue will be sure to charm all your guests. More information: http://www.vermontweddingsatsleepyhollow.com/
4- River Road Farm: Looking for that extra luxurious and extravagant Vermont wedding venue? Look no further than River Road Farm in Manchester, Vermont. Their 100 year old barn has been extensively renovated into a dream facility. Add large and dramatic drapes, and long, elegant tablescapes to the space to create your dreamy Vermont wedding. With some housing onsite, your guests can enjoy the intimacy of such a special event. I was lucky enough to get the full tour when I worked on a Styled Shoot here in 2018 with Harlow & Dahlia Events. To read more about this gem, click here: https://riverroadfarm.com/weddings
5- Jay Peak Resort: With multiple location options onsite, Jay Peak Resort offers up one classy location! With stunning mountain views, and plenty of rooms for your guests, Jay Peak is a top hitter for venues in Vermont. For a unique experience, travel up the Tram to the top of the mountain- can’t beat those pictures! Stay an extra few nights and discover the golf course, or Jay Peak water park. For more details: https://jaypeakresort.com/trip-planning/weddings
Photos by: Lindsay Raymond Jack, Gallivan Photo, Celia K Photography
Going to keep this one short and simple for you! As often as I can, I try to support cruelty free brands. With it being 2019, you’d think that EVERYTHING cosmetic related should be cruelty free. Sadly, that is still not the case. Below are some of my favorite cruelty free brands and products:
1- Kat Von D: Not only is she a bad-ass tattoo artist, she also creates a full line of cosmetics that are cruelty free! Some of my favorite products by her include: Lock It Tattoo Eyeliner, Shade and Light Contour/ Highlight Palette, and her Setting Powder. She also offers full coverage foundation, concealers, eye shadow palettes, and more!
2- Charlotte Tilbury: Quite honestly, you cannot go wrong with ANY of her products. The quality is top notch, and the colors/tones are on point. They truly look beautiful on any skin tone (just take a look at all the Victoria’s Secret Angels!) I personally love her Pillow Talk Eye shadow Palette, and lipstick shade.
3- Physicians Formula: If you’re looking for a drug store option of better quality, Physicians Formula offers a variety of products that are not only cruelty free, but some are vegan. Their Butter Bronzer and Blushes are to die for! Both are staples in my personal collection.
4- Covergirl: Another drug store option is this O.G. line! They have really stepped up their game over the past few years, and I do love their foundations! Their shade ranges have increased, and the quality is there.
5- Colourpop: An online- only option here, but an affordable one! Colourpop is best known for their liquid lippies, and glosses. Since their launch in 2014, they have increased their offerings to: brow products, sponges, foundations, and concealers! They have some of the best long lasting liquid lipstick options out there.
6- Ecotools: Now that you have a few makeup options, you’ll need some cruelty free brushes! Ecotools can be found in the drug store, or online at Ulta/ Walmart. These are affordable and durable. I personally love the fluffy powder brush they offer.
If you’re out shopping around and you’re not sure if something is cruelty free, a great phone app to check out is ‘Cruelty- Free’. You can simply scan a bar-code on an item, and it will automatically pull up if it is or not. Pretty cool! Another thing to be aware of is that some larger companies and corporations who are NOT cruelty free, own brands that claim to be cruelty free. Some examples of that include: NYX claims to be cruelty free, but they are owned by L’Oreal which is not cruelty free. Becca and Smashbox Cosmetics claim to be cruelty free, but are owned by Estee Lauder, which again, is not cruelty free. Lastly, Tarte is actually owned by Kose, which is not cruelty free.
Website Links: www.katvondbeauty.com/ colourpop.com/ www.charlottetilbury.com
The question has been popped, and you and your partner start planning out venues and details for your big day. Each and every vendor decision you make along the way is an investment. Often times, bigger items such as venue, photography, and catering are the first to be budgeted for. Remember that each and every vendor you pick will play a very important role. Here are some reasons wedding makeup can be an excellent investment!
1- You should feel stunning: After all, it is one of the biggest days of your life! All eyes will be on you as you walk down the aisle to your love. Whether your day-to-day makeup is just some mascara, or full glam, your wedding day makeup should accentuate your features and make you feel confident!
2- Uniformity: Having your bridal party looking and feeling their best will make everyone happier! Maybe champagne and wine were consumed the night before, and some under eye bags are needing to be covered up; your artist can help! Plus, having an artist who can recognize face shapes, skin tone, etc., will help to create a uniformity in your parties look.
3- Style: Your artist should be able to compliment the whole feel of your wedding. Asking the right questions and having the right discussions will lead to a very successful result. If you have an elegant theme with whites and greenery, your makeup look should reflect that. Investing in an artist who can create this with you will be worth it.
4- You get what you pay for: In a market where there are SO many options for every aspect of your wedding, knowing and realizing that you get what you pay for applies in makeup as well. Investing in an artist who can supply a fully stocked, high quality kit, with proper disposables for sanitation will be worth it. You're also paying for knowledge. An experienced artist will have schooling and courses under their belt. This is all so they can provide the most excellent services to you.
5- Pictures are forever: You're investing lots of money into your photographer to capture those stunning and amazing moments- so why wouldn't you want to look your absolute best? Investing in a makeup artist who can use HD products, and can ensure you'll look great from all angles and in all lighting is key. If you're good at doing your "day to day" makeup, just know that the products you use might not work in extremely bright outdoor lighting, or very deep indoor lights. Invest in someone who knows the industry and can ensure a flawless application.
This will be aimed for brides-to-be, but the skin care regimens remain the same even if you’re just looking to up your nightly skincare treatment game. So listen up! The bottom of the Blog has some of my favorite recommendations.
1- Timing: Good skin doesn’t happen in a week. It’s something that takes some trial and error, and some time. I’m going to preface by saying, I am not an esthetician. I am knowledgeable on skin care and products, but always recommend visiting with an actual esthetician, particularly if you have very sensitive or problematic skin. You can never start too early- so get going!
2- Know your Skin: What kind of skin do you have? Do you find yourself looking like an oil slick by the end of the day, or do you find little dry flakes coming off on a washcloth? Knowing if you have normal, dry, oily, or combination skin is a good place to start. Once you’ve locked that down, now you can shop for products catered to you.
3- Cleansing/ Washing: I know we’ve all been guilty at some point of not removing makeup at bed time. It happens. If you can, be sure to remove ALL makeup at the end of each day. Even if you don’t wear any makeup, oils and excess junk can build up throughout the day. I recommend using a makeup wipe or face wipe to remove the majority of product, then follow that up with a facial cleansing foam/ soap with warm water. This will get you squeaky clean! PS- do this in the AM, too! Pillows have a crap load of crap on them (Technical term!)
4- Exfoliating/ Toning: After you’re squeaky clean, it’s time to exfoliate or tone your face. Exfoliating is removing the dead pieces of skin on the top layer, revealing a natural glow. Toning is great for those with oily/ acne prone skin. It really helps get that extra oil and grime out of your pores and under control. Note that exfoliating shouldn’t be done more than 2-3 times per week. Over exfoliating can cause irritation and inflammation of your skin.
5- Moisturizer: A big myth I hear a lot is that people with oily skin shouldn’t moisturize because it will make them more oily. False! Moisturizer can actually HELP balance the oils in your face and skin. This is a key step in knowing your skin type. You want to get a moisturizer that will help combat dryness or excessive oils. Moisturizing in the morning and at night are extremely beneficial. It can go on under your makeup (or without!) and can go on at night. Proper moisturizing can decrease blemishes, improve skin hydration, and some can help with anti-aging. Speaking of hydrating, DRINK WATER! That’s right, good ole’ H2O can drastically help your skin! So get those 8 ounces in.
6- Serums/ oils: Lastly, oils and serums are beneficial to lock everything you just did into your skin. Since oil is so thick, it should be applied last. I have a few oils I love to rotate through: Vitamin E, Rose-hip, and Vitamin C. All have their own perks! Since it’s so thick, I personally don’t use every night, but usually 3-4 times a week. More in the winter, less in the summer (for my skin type).
Product Favorites: Face wipes/ Makeup Remover: Neutrogena Facial wipes, Burt’s Bees Facial wipes. Cleansers: Cetaphil Facial Cleanser, La Mer the Cleansing Foam, and CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. Exfoliates: Tom Ford Exfoliating Energy Scrub, St. Ives Fresh Skin Facial Scrub, and Crepe Erase Refining Facial Scrub. Toners: Clinique Clarifying Lotion, Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, and The Ordinary Glycolic Acid. Moisturizers: Origins Ginzing Boosting Gel, Clinique Moisture Surge, and Olay Complete Cream Moisturizer. Serums/ Oils: TruSkin Vitamin C Oil, Kate Blanc Vitamin E Oil, and Kate Blanc Rose-hip and Seed Oil.
Hillary Fay, Vermont Makeup Artist.