wedding makeup

Airbrush Makeup- Is It REALLY All That?

For years now, bridal magazines, photographers, YouTube 'gurus' and blogs have been touting airbrush makeup as a 'must have' for brides on their wedding days. Claims that it is a long-lasting, natural-looking foundation that makes your skin look like perfection have all brides clamoring for it, even to the extent where they will only hire a makeup artist that offer this technique. But as a professional makeup artist with almost 20 years of experience under my belt, I have seen the pros and cons of airbrush makeup. Here are my thoughts on the whole debate...

Airbrush makeup, while easy for a trained professional to apply, is not formula-specific for more than one skin type. So if my client has very oily or dry skin, it's not nearly as effective as a foundation that is made for those specific skin types. It won't control oil, and it won't hydrate dry skin. Also, if you have very textured or more mature skin, I find it has a tendency to settle into fine lines and wrinkles, effectively aging the client. Since it's only sprayed and not actually worked into the skin like a traditional foundation, it can initially look great, but then gravity takes it's toll, and, BAM, all of those textural tiny flaws in your skin really stand out. Anyone over 35, take note, and don't be offended if I try to steer you away from airbrush. I don't even use it on myself. 

Your skin itself, and this is a big factor...Makeup can cover color, but not texture. What does that mean? It means that if you suddenly get a zit the day before your wedding, we can cover the redness but the bump will still be there. If you have the slightest bit of facial hair, even baby fine, airbrush makeup can make it look more prominent than it is. So please, please, pretty please with sugar on top, take great care of your skin leading up to your big day. If you have acne, see a dermatologist. Flaky skin? Exfoliate and moisturize daily, even if you have oily skin. Peach fuzz? Own up to it and try dermaplaning to get rid of it. While we might seem like magical fairy godmothers with glitter, makeup artists are not a walking version of Photoshop. Give us a great canvas and we'll give you a great makeup. 

Maybe it's because I am old-school, but I often prefer to 'hand paint' my clients, even though it takes me longer than simply blasting a client's face with my Iwata compressor and gun. I carry an arsenal of different foundations in my kit, including Armani, Face Atelier, MAC, Urban Decay and Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics which allows me to custom blend a foundation specifically for their skin type, coloring, and the effect they want, such as matte, natural or radiant finish. It also allows me to use the least amount of product necessary to get the coverage they want.  With the correct application technique, priming and finishing products, any foundation will give an 'airbrushed' or flawless appearance and should feel light on your skin. And as for the claim that airbrush makeup lasts all day?  Any experienced artist will have a treasure trove of primers and setting sprays that will make all of your makeup last for at least 12 hours! 

 Don't get me wrong- airbrush makeup, when properly applied, is great on certain clients! But when consulting with your makeup artist (Notice I said your makeup artist, not your wedding planner or BFF or Pinterest) about your wedding day makeup, ask them what your options are, and which one would suit your skin the best. Like your wedding itself, it's not a 'one size fits all' technique.

Complexion- RCMA Foundation applied in a stippling motion using a damp Beauty Blender

Complexion- RCMA Foundation applied in a stippling motion using a damp Beauty Blender


Destination Weddings and Makeup Artists

  So you have it all planned out to the smallest detail...a beautiful wedding deep in the mountains of Colorado or on the beach in Bali. The perfect destination wedding. But wait...who's going to do your hair and makeup? You have looked around for artists in the area of the wedding, but find nothing. Or even worse, the people you find have work that just isn't up to your standards. What's a gorgeous jet-setting bride to do? Well, you have a few options...grab your coffee, let's discuss. 

1- Take your makeup artist with you! No, really. Can I tell you how much I enjoy working on destination weddings? It's like a vacation, but there's work involved, so I can totally justify letting myself go out of town! (And yes, I do keep my passport current ;)  You still get to relax and know that you'll look super foxy, and your artist makes sure you have the best skincare, makeup, and setting products for the climate and overall mood of your big day. Every artist may differ in how their rates would apply for something like this. Some may charge you a full day rate for every day, including travel days, while some might say "Hey, pay for my trip and feed me and we'll call it even". Most are somewhere in between the two. Regardless what rates and services you decide and agree upon, be sure that you have a signed contract for what you expect of your artist on what days of the trip. Just because you may have your artist travelling with you, do not assume that they are cool with doing your aunt's cousin's daughter's makeup 3 times a day, every day, unless this was what you agreed upon. 


2- Hire a local makeup artist whose work you like to give you a series of wedding-specific makeup lessons. Whether you are good at doing your own makeup or completely clueless, it's important to know that there is a huge different between everyday makeup and bridal makeup. Not only the look, but the application and amounts. Lighting and environment can make a huge impact on how your makeup actually photographs vs. how it look in person. Not to mention direction on what kinds of products and tools you will need to purchase. Most makeup artists will also be willing to make you a face chart to take with you, so you are more easily able to replicate the exact look you decide upon on the day of your wedding.

Cincinnati photographer Lauren DiFulvio and her DIY bridal makeup after our lessons together. It makes me so proud! 


So how do you decide which option is the right one for you? Some things to consider are: 

  • Lifestyle - Are you typically a more natural girl that doesn't wear makeup? If so, the investment that you will make on lessons, products, and brushes might not be up your alley. But if you enjoy wearing makeup, it could be the perfect way to kill two birds with one stone. When Cincinnati photographer Lauren DiFulvio contacted me about giving her bridal makeup lessons, it was a match made in heaven. Lauren loved makeup, and wanted to be more knowledgeable on application for every day and work purposes. All told, between our time together and her makeup/skincare purchases, Lauren invested around $1,800. She now has a makeup kit that rivals my own personal stash! 
  • Confidence- When it comes to doing your own makeup, are you a nervous wreck? Is putting mascara on a surefire way to poke yourself in the eye? Some people just don't have the hand/eye coordination it takes to do really great makeup on themselves. Or perhaps your are farsighted or have shaky hands. Nothing to be ashamed of, just be honest with yourself and then make the best decision for you. 
  • Mood-  On your wedding day, is doing your own makeup something you even want to worry about? Do you want to feel pampered and spoiled and relaxed? What about the days before and after the wedding- will there be other events that you'd like to look amazing for? If so, then you probably want to consider hiring your artist to come with you. Look, even though I can do some pretty killer makeup on myself, you can bet your Spanx that I will be hiring someone to do my makeup the day I get married. Why? Because that's the one day in your life that it's all about you! And on that, I fully intend to take advantage. 
  • Budget- Money, of course, is always a factor. But whichever route you choose, please choose your artist wisely. If the artist you really want is $50 outside of your planned budget, take a step back and decide if saving that $50 and going with a different artist is worth it.  I once heard a photographer say, "A $50 makeup artist can ruin thousands of dollars worth of pictures", and I couldn't agree more.  




Tattoos and Brides...To Cover or Not to Cover?

A lot of brides struggle with the idea on whether or not to have their makeup artist cover their tattoos for their big day.  Some more so than others, depending on how much alcohol and Spring Breaky-ness was involved when they got said tattoo. There are a few things to take into account when weighing the pros with the cons. When done properly, tattoo coverage can look pretty good. When done incorrectly, you can end up looking like you have a week-old bruise. As someone with a lot of artwork myself (some great, and some that screams 'OMG, I just turned 18!), I can see both sides of the argument. 

Somethings to consider: 

  • Where is your tattoo located? Is it on an area where your dress or shoe might rub? Even the best makeup can't stand up to hard core friction without beginning to look like a crumbled mess, not to mention getting all over that gorgeous Vera Wang. 
  • How large is your tattoo? If you have a massive back piece, covering something that large could be very costly, as most bridal makeup artists charge by the square inch. Also, maybe you want the focus to be on you and that really expensive dress, not your ink. 
  • Is your tattoo controversial or overtly sexy? While you might really love that nude portrait you got of a reclining Joe Biden, is it really something you want future in-laws to see possibly the first time you are meeting them? While it kind of sucks, some people WILL judge you for things like that. Like it or not, it's the truth. 
  • How experienced is your makeup artist, and what kinds of products will they be using? If your makeup artist doesn't carry tattoo-specific makeup in their kit, you could end up with a runny mess by the end of a hot day. Grill your potential artist on these questions and ask to see examples of past work. Make sure you have a trial done before the actual wedding day. 
  • Are you willing to shave that area? No, really. Even baby fine and blonde hairs will be amplified by makeup.