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Behind the Brushes...

Insider tips from your Makeup Artist blog by Tobi Bolt, Independent Makeup Artist

two women applying make up
Tobi beautifying one of our brides.

Deciding how to approach wedding makeup for you and your bridal party (including Moms) involves careful decisions, and a good dose of confidence. After all, you are trusting your face to your artist on your most important and photographed day. Some simple decisions can help you feel secure on your wedding day and impact how you feel about your wedding makeup experience.

After 29 years of wedding morning perspective and a couple thousand faces over those years, I've learned that wedding makeup can impact not just your wedding look, but also how you show up for all the biggest moments ahead. Wedding makeup must reflect your personal style, be touchable up close (your new spouse appreciates that), translate perfectly in photos, last all day and be waterproof from sweat and happy tears. I like to describe it as a “unique alchemy” of results required from makeup that's different from daily application. Yet, it must be authentic with the perfect balance of feeling special without tipping into overdone. Whew! That's a lot to ask from makeup!

toby applying make up to a bride
Capturing the Essence of Bridal Elegance, One Stroke at a Time

Here are five key tips for working with your makeup artist that will make your journey easier:

Start Early. As soon as you have your date, venue and gown, book your makeup artist. It's one decision that you can check off early! That way you have time for trials and any skincare adjustments. With my bridal clients, we do a “design session” to determine the look, test it and plan for day-of details. Be sure to discuss any inspiration photos and the feel of your day. And be honest! If something doesn't look or feel right to you, say something. (I usually make my brides pinky swear to be honest as we collaborate at their design session).

No surprises. Are you planning to get your eyebrows waxed, or make any adjustments to your skincare? Ask your makeup artist when they recommend doing those adjustments and procedures (hint: they shouldn't be within two weeks of your Big Day). Any closely timed drastic treatments, peels, exfoliation or enhancements can leave you with challenges on the wedding morning. Ask about guidelines from your artist if you plan to spray tan.

Explore! It's ok to trial various artists. Since makeup is an art, each person will have a unique hand. You get to look the way YOU want on your wedding day, so explore to be sure that your face is in the hands of a person you like and trust on your wedding morning. The vibe should be confident and calm. Do you prefer a classic brush feel or airbrushing? Consider testing lash enhancements to enhance your eyes in photos. Perhaps try a power lip for your reception entrance. Great times to trial your look are before a shower or timed with your hair trial. If you trial before a shower or date night, ask your artist to soften the look before you leave so that you don't reveal your entire look ahead.

a woman applying makeup in front of a mirror
Adding a splash of color to her special day.

Gather Tips. Working with a makeup artist to prepare for your wedding is a chance to gain tips for daily makeup and also color suggestions. If you have a destination wedding, want a minimal look or want to reduce the vendors present on your wedding morning, consider a group lesson for your bridal party and purchase products for your bridal party to enjoy and apply themselves. The colors will be within the range of your palette and everyone will learn along the way. If you choose onsite application, always purchase your lip color or ask for a sample so you have it for touch-ups. It's probably a fabulous shade on you anyway! Also ask about a shade darker or lighter for engagement photos or rehearsal dinner. I always enjoy treating my brides to a “Mrs. Makeover” after the wedding to see photos and have a lesson for everyday makeup based on her style.

Morning Bliss. Most brides want a wedding morning filled with friends and family with an easy schedule and memory makers. To achieve that, schedule hair and makeup to be done together on-site either at your venue or an offsite location. Feathering those two activities at one location, mixed with some cork popping and laughter will bring out the best in your bridal party and keep you on schedule. Be sure that the bride is not the last person to have hair or makeup done since we want her looks to settle a bit before a final touch-up at the end, before the gown goes on. Normally, your photographer will set the “gown on” time and you can back the timeline for hair and makeup from that point.

Be sure to enjoy the process of working with a makeup artist during this special time. Since it's a season when you are making great decisions and know your personal style best, it's the ideal opportunity to enhance your best self with makeup and gather tips for the times ahead as well.

Tobi Bolt is an Independent Makeup Artist designing exclusively with Mary Kay professional pigments. She offers onsite makeup artist services or individual or group makeup lessons. For a copy of her portfolio, contact her at Tobi has served as Premiere Couture's resident model and event makeup artist for over a decade.


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