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Open Thread: Beauty


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by Rachel W. Miller, Contributor

Open Thread: Beauty | A Practical Wedding

Though I’ve been a total beauty junkie my entire life (much to my tomboy mother’s dismay), for the past few years I’ve avoided beauty blogs and the rabbit hole that is YouTube beauty videos…so that I could more easily avoid the financial death trap that is Sephora. (Adulthood! So fun!) I love the samples I get in my monthly Birchbox (the best way to curb beauty-store binges if you ask me) but, for the most part, I’ve been doing less experimenting and more sticking with what I know works and costs as little as possible. The biggest change of late? Earlier this year, I decided to let my eyebrows grow in completely. Not to save money, but because after fifteen years of regular eyebrow grooming appointments, I really wanted to learn what they actually looked like, preferably before my own wedding. (The saving money and throwing-vanity-to-the-wind thing was just a nice bonus!) Not long after this, I started working from home and, well…before long, I found myself feeling really hairy and also totally fine with it.

But since I was in two weddings this summer, I had two good excuses to do a little experimenting and indulging. Suddenly, I was reminded of how much fun I used to have with my products. And so, in the spirit of my new year’s verb, I started getting crafty with powder and face paint. I learned to give myself a beehive. I tried the most amazing nail wraps. In preparation for wedding showers and rehearsals, I scheduled blowouts for the first time in my life. (Well, after Googling “What is a blowout?” Turns out, it’s just what white girls call a shampoo.) After three months of letting my brows go totally untouched, I had a super minimal brow planing in July because I figured if I was going to be in a wedding at the Trump, I should probably do something about my totally uneven, making-me-avoid-natural-light arches. He used his magic potions to give me the most glamorous Liz Taylor eyebrows (that also happened to make it even more difficult for people to tell what race I am).

Since I wasn’t having my hair or makeup professionally done for the second wedding, I went to Target and bought one of those fancy curling wands that looks like a sex toy, spent a delightful weekend watching YouTube videos and Pinning hairstyles and makeup looks, and attempted to give myself big sexy curls every morning before work for the next ten days. I went to see a man about my eyebrows again; this time he sold me the kit I needed to give myself full and fabulous brows for my friend’s wedding. I practiced giving myself full and luscious eyebrows diligently for about twenty minutes each morning; the first several days I looked more “Angry Birds” than Hollywood royalty, but I got a little better at it each day. Anyone with whom I Skyped that week saw my big sexy curls and big full brows, somewhat out of place with my standard Lululemon jacket + leggings – bra look. Again, I was totally fine with it.

As planned, on the Saturday of the second wedding, I did my own hair and makeup…only to have the completely undetectable Northern Michigan humidity cause the curls to fall out during our pre-ceremony outdoor photos. (This was supremely disappointing, because short of a typhoon coming, my hair does not move.) I redid it in a rush right before the ceremony…only to have the curls fall out again during our post-wedding trolley ride, at which point I just threw my sex-toy-curling-wand across the room and gave my toast with kinda ratty hair. But! It only took me three tries to apply fake eyelashes to myself that day and my eyebrows looked positively bangin’, so I’m still considering it a success overall.

I don’t know about you all, but when I think about how I’ll look on my wedding day, my thoughts are mainly focused on my neck up. I’m kinda not that concerned about how my dress will look, but I am concerned with having thick Bambi lashes, glowing skin, and having one of the best hair days of my life. (Not having the best hair day of my life is fine, but I’d really like to break the top ten.) So last week, I started figuring out how to get my stylist from Houston to Austin to do my hair for my morning wedding and began looking for a wedding day makeup artist. (Sample email: “Dear highly-Yelp-rated makeup artist, Here is my wedding date. Also, I noticed all the women in your portfolio are white so I just wanted to confirm you have enough shades of foundation for us to work together. Thanks! Rachel”)

While I’m excited to work the pros on my wedding day, I can’t close the Pandora’s box of DIY beauty I opened this summer. And the whole experience made me want to experiment more and talk hair and makeup with you all. (Those of you who are into hair and makeup, that is! I know some of you feel about makeup like I do about bras, Spanx, and leg shaving, which is to say, filed under “n” for “Noise, fuck that.) What beauty and hair blogs/YouTube channels do you like? Are you doing anything fancy with your hair and makeup for your wedding? Do you have any dilemmas that need solving? IS ANYONE ELSE LETTING HER EYEBROWS TAKE OVER HER FACE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MORE THAN A DECADE???

The beauty shop is open; let’s chat!

Photo by APW Sponsor Lisa Wiseman Weddings

Rachel W. Miller

For most of her life, Rachel has loved the sound of her own voice. She loves reading, doing yoga (she still refuses to call it “practicing”), hanging out with her dogs, and talking Eric’s ear off. She lives in Houston, TX. You can read more from her on her blog.

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  • Anonymous

    I love this piece! Rachel, can I give you some food for thought? I went back and forth on whether to have my hair and makeup professionally done for my wedding. While I ended up with professional hair, I not only do my make up for every occasion, I get lots of compliments on the regular about it. I wanted to save money so I decided to do it myself. I went to Sephora (I usually wear Almay or whatever is on sale at CVS/Walgreens) and got waterproof eyeliner, waterproof mascara, waterproof concealer (I’m a big crier w/huge dark circles) and magic potion (meant to keep your eyeshadow on long term).

    I ended up spending about $80 on my supplies. Which seemed to be close to what I would have paid a professional. Except – I still have the makeup. So if you’ve been abstaining from buying yourself those beauty products you secretly crave, and you’re confident you can apply your own make up (I watched youtube videos for makeup and got some great tips) then maybe do it yourself (which also only takes 5-10 minutes versus the hour a prof is going to need) so you get to spend the money on months worth of makeup instead of makeup for one day. Just an idea, but it worked for me, my makeup looked awesome and I felt good about “saving” the money for a professional.

    • Rachel

      So funny, I just decided I am actually doing the opposite for my wedding…paying for pro makeup but doing my own hair! I’m going to have my hair done about a week before in Houston (I actually find it looks best after I’ve slept on it for a few days) and just touch it up that morning.

      But! This is still really great advice! Kinda similar, but someone mentioned on a past post that instead of paying for day-of makeup, you should pay for makeup lessons, and I love that idea! I feel SO relieved by the idea that I’ll be doing half my look myself the morning of.

      • Copper

        I’m so glad to hear that someone else is doing that! I’m going to my regular hairdresser for a bang trim and a blowout the day before, and sleeping on it. I anticipate pretty much every woman in my family questioning this decision.

        • http://partialto.tumblr.com LIZ (SINCE 1982)

          You can tell them an internet stranger supports you and is doing the same next weekend. Second-day hair is the best!

      • http://www.nerds-in-love.net Stephanie

        I did this too (paid for makeup lessons, that is) and it was totally worth it. What I did was go to Sephora for their makeup lesson- its not a specific charge so much as minimum purchase of $50.
        I went, not knowing how to do anything and I left knowing how to do eyeliner (my super worst fear) and with over $100 worth of pretty pretty makeup that I wore on my wedding day and then have worn since.
        Obviously it wasn’t any cheaper, but that wasn’t really my motivation. I’m glad I actually know how to do my own makeup now and have good quality makeup to use for events when I want to look fancy.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu CarolynC

        I did my own hair and had my makeup done.

        I never wear makeup and I don’t know how to do it.

        But my hair is past my butt and I don’t trust anyone to know what to do with it other than me. I got lots of compliments on my hairstyle.

        My cousin is a professional makeup artist who works runway shows in Los Angeles, so I was super lucky that she gave me her makeup skills as a gift!

      • Shannon

        In the spirit of “it’s okay to declare that something about my wedding wasn’t perfect,” I have to say that I regret doing my own makeup. I was so easy-breezy going into it that I didn’t explicitly plan every bit of my look, and I realized in pictures afterward that I used a weird color to contour my face so I had slightly orangey cheekbones. I got my hair done professionally because I’m hopeless with hair, but my curls fell out and I regret not going with an easier hairstyle. I think it’s great to do your own beauty stuff, but I highly recommend giving yourself the “trial” that you would get from a professional and put the whole look together, once.

        I feel stupid that I have such petty regrets since I got so lucky with other wedding potential disasters, I just wish I hadn’t been QUITE so easy-breezy. I overshot.

    • Emmy

      I also did my own makeup and swear by the foundation primer and especially the makeup setting spray from Urban Decay. My makeup looked just the same 7 hours later!

      • http://butnothanks.blogspot.com NB

        Holy crap, that setting spray from Urban Decay. I think it is distilled from unicorn tears. It is magic.

    • Jacy

      I went to Dillards. They “don’t charge” you to do your make up and then you buy $50 worth of products that you get to take home and use for touch-ups etc. I didn’t even bother with a trial run, I just went the day of and thought they did a great job. I had the MAC people do mine! I ended up buying lashes, lip gloss and lipstick. Now when I wear any of those things, I am reminded of my wedding day!

      • Jacy

        I also got a great deal for my hair. I bought a Groupon about 2 months before my wedding just for a wash and cut (for like $10). I really connected well with the stylist and asked if she did updo’s. She said that she didn’t but was hoping to learn/practice to add it to her skills. She gave me a free trial (so she could practice) and only charged me $25 for a professional looking updo that did last my entire wedding day. I ended up tipping her extremely well because I was so pleased with the whole experience.

  • Copper

    “Dear highly-Yelp-rated makeup artist, Here is my wedding date. Also, I noticed all the women in your portfolio are white so I just wanted to confirm you have enough shades of foundation for us to work together. Thanks! Rachel”

    I LOLed at my desk at this… I just had my makeup trial and felt like I was fighting my makeup artist to have her let my skin color be my skin color. And I do happen to be white. For some reason she had this obsession with “getting the red out”… but I’m a pinky sort of person. After her first try I looked like I was dying of liver failure I was so yellow. Problem is, it’s pretty late in the game, she’s the right price, she’s super fun and funny to work with, so I want to keep her for those reasons. And she had me wipe off the yellow (mostly) and re-did, just using untinted BB cream and powder, and it looked a lot better. But frankly, I still like the way I do my foundation at home better than what she did. She was great with eyes, lips, etc. But I don’t know how to tell this lady, I know I said it was ok (yeah, I realize I shouldn’t have) but how about we try this whole different way of doing it instead?

    • AmandaS

      You could say that you were doing your make-up for whatever occasion and discovered you totally like the way that x looks better than the y (her way). I’m sure she wants you to look your best and there’s nothing wrong with realizing there was something better and available out there. Plus it’s not like your planning on cancelling on her all together.

    • Hannah K

      my pal did her own eyebrows but had a makeup artist–she just told her in advance that she was going to do her own eyebrows, and the makeup artist was gracious about it. so you might be able to just be firm but nice and excited.

      also, i too am plagued by how fucking yellow all but the palest foundations are. do you have a product you use that doesn’t hide the pink? please share your secrets!!

      • Copper

        My foundation combination, which I layer depending on how “made up” I want to be that day is:

        Stila’s all-day 10 in one tinted bb cream
        Benefit Play Stick foundation in Spin the Bottle
        Benefit powder in Georgia Peach. I know this one was discontinued though, I’ve been milking the bottom of that powder box for like 3 years, for special occasions only.

      • jenen

        Lancome has more non-yellow foundations than most of the department store brands. The true “cool” shades seem to be mostly in the lighter range, but their “neutral” tones are also generally less yellow than many brands.

      • Melissa

        I have very pale, pinky skin and pretty awful pregnancy acne (like I am 14 again, sheesh!) but just discovered Dr. Jarts BB Detox Cream. I cannot rave about it enough! It looks medium shade coming out of the tube, but it blends right in and I hardly ever use concealer afterwords. Just BB cream and Loreal Natural powder foundation in 456/Soft Ivory and I am good to go most of the day. I do use oil blotting sheets throughout the day but a cheapo trick there is to use the tissue toilet seat covers in most public/office restrooms. The BB cream and powder stay mostly put even with the blotting. Check the sample/travel section at Sephora for a smaller tube of the BB cream so you can try it out without paying for a full tube.

        My sister just got married last weekend and I used my BB cream/powder and even in the unedited photos my face looks great (I did use concealer that day). Wish I had known about it for my wedding.

        Also, best concealer that I’ve found (for pale, pinky folks) is the Loreal True Match stick in n-1-2-3.

      • Alison O

        I am a (pale) pink person, as well. I use Erth Minerals 3.0 powder foundation, which I really like. (If you’re a dark pink, the 2.7 might work well….but there are lots of options http://www.erthminerals.com/collections/mineral-makeup-foundations) For blemishes, I use Erth Wheat concealer, which is a pale yellow powder that counteracts the redness of acne, scars, etc. really well on my skin. I apply that before the foundation. Underneath all that I just use a basic moisturizer and wait ’til it’s absorbed.

        It may very well be due to my lack of skill, but I don’t like the way liquid/stick concealers and foundation look or feel… with any kind of scab-like blemishes, it seems to get sort of stuck in there and actually accentuate it and broadcast, “I am wearing makeup!” As long as I don’t apply too much, I don’t find that the powder presents that problem. Also, I like that the company is (or at least does a good job of appearing to be) more earth/animal-friendly than a lot of traditional makeup.

        One more thing–I’m not sure what size the foundations sold on the website come in, but they’re listed for $17, and I only pay about $10 for it at the natural foods store (not a chain) I buy it at…

        • Alison O

          Oh! And the Erth Wheat is really good for my under-eye circles, too.

    • Mellie

      Yeah, my make-up lady noticed I had gotten a little more tan since our consultation and proceeded to paint my face orange. I stared at it through my hair-doing appointment and at the end just told her I was a shade too dark and she just said OK! and started over like a MF professional. It was great because I was so nervy that morning I probably would have cried if she had tried to tell me to live with it.

    • Alison O

      Yes, haha, that comment took me back to a trip to Bangladesh a few years ago, where I got my makeup done at a salon with other members of a bridal party for a wedding I was in. I was pretty sure they wouldn’t have anything close to my verrry pale pink skin, and when I ended up looking like a jack-o-lantern, my hunch was confirmed. Luckily I’d thought to bring my own powder along so I could redo it myself. :-)

    • Keeks

      Oh GOSH!! I thought brown girls only had this problem. I’m using the same artist that my sister used a couple of years ago. We chose her because she was the only one who didn’t try to make my sister look fairer. (She also happens to be great at what she does)

      Maybe just say you’d like to look more natural? Don’t be scared to be honest with her. It’s a lot easier to be straight if you assume she thinks she’s doing what you want and would change it if she knew that wasn’t the case…

      • Copper

        I’ve noticed that a lot—assumptions made about makeup, hair, etc. or color-matching problems are often attributed to race and I go “but, I have that problem too and I’m a pasty white girl with a big unruly puff of hair.” I’m not saying that *none* of it is race-based, but I wonder whether as much of it is race-based as gets assumed. It’s just hard to accommodate all of our differences in tone, color, and texture in a way that’s easy and profitable for companies to manufacture and market, because we humans are hella diverse like that.

  • AmandaS

    I’m doing my own make-up or rather with my own supplies, I bet my sister will do it. And getting my hair done professionally. I’m super pumped about my short hair “up do”

    My query is this: I cannot keep lipstick on to save my life. I apply it and then it’s all licked/smooshed/just holding my mouth normally but now it’s gone by the time we go out the door. I will never remember to bring lipstick with me/reapply so can anybody recommend some tips or links or products (at drugstore prices) that will help it stay on longer than 10 minutes? Thanks!

    • Rachel

      Oh! Oh! I’ve sworn by Cover Girl Outlast for years now. It’s sort of eerie how it DOES NOT COME OFF. I love the original formula, but it looks like there are some newer variations out now too.

      • AmandaS

        Thanks! Covergirl! Why do I never think of covergirl!

      • Emmers

        I’m also a fan of Revlon colorstay. There’s a liquid lipstick (has a little brush where you paint it on like a lipgloss), and I’ve also used coverstay overtime– same brush concept, but at one end they have clear stuff that you paint over your lips to seal everything in after you’ve applied the color. It seems to stay on most of the day!

      • Anonymous

        Totally what I wore for my wedding and it stayed on all night – even after chicken and waffles.

        • Ariel

          chicken and waffles!!! <3

    • Stephanie

      Covergirl Outlast lipstick is your lipstick BFF for long-lasting color at drugstore prices. A few tips: it’s a 2-step process — step one is the color, which you have to let dry for about 2 minutes. And that shit feels like it is drying your lips into the Sahara. But! Then step 2 is a topcoat that’s basically lip balm, and it makes everything nice and moist again.

      The week of (or a few days before), be super-vigilant about using lip balm so that the day of the wedding you don’t have any dry chapped spots on your lips, because those will look horrible (and probably flake off and leave a spot with no lipstick color) with a long-lasting lip color.

    • Stephanie

      Well, Rachel was faster than me. Covergirl Outlast FOREVER!

      But keep an eye out for any chapped lips. You’ll thank me. (Learn from my mistakes. Don’t let your lips look like spotty freaks!)

      • Pumpkinpicker

        I LOVE the Covergirl Outlast balm sealer.
        The balm is worlds better then all of the sticky long-wear topcoats – also they have a red that looks KILLER on me, which is hard to find.

        • Pumpkinpicker

          Getting it off at the end of the night however… that’s another story.

    • Emily H

      The Sephora brand lip stain is like a permanent marker. I like to do one coat, blot off excess, then a second coat. Be careful to stay in the lines of your lips, because it’s that staining!

    • Hannah K

      l’oreal infallible never fail lipcolour BLOWS MY MIND. for example, last weekend i wore it to go out dancing. i put it on at 7, stayed out til 1, ate a hostess cupcake and had six drinks, and it looked ONE HUNDRED PERCENT, EXACTLY the same when i got home as when i put it on. it has changed my can’t-pay-enough-attention-to-my-mouth-to-keep-it-looking-good life!

    • WeddAsh

      Lipstain.

      I am currently loving on two types both by Revlon – “Just Bitten” and “Just Bitten Kissable.” The former is a marker for your lips and has a balm on the other end so you stay moisturized. The latter is like a crayon (the color and the balm in one). I find that the “Just Bitten” has a little more staying power but they both stay on pretty well. Used it on my wedding day and only reapplied the color once. I have several shades of each line and will continue to purchase them as long as they’re made.

      • Breck

        I am completely addicted to the “Just Bitten” balm/stains. They are super color-saturated, last forever, and very moisturizing–good thing they’re only $9 (i.e. I own 6 of them without feeling super guilty).

    • Sara B

      What I usually do to make lipstick last is:
      -apply lipstick
      -open mouth and stick a square of single ply toilet paper to lips (or a part of a single ply of a tissue, basically you want a very thin layer of tissue/toilet tissue stuck to your lips, all the way around, you’ll look and feel silly at this point)
      -load up a blush or powder brush with blush or translucent powder and dust heavily all over your lips, through the tissue
      -peel tissue from your mouth
      -apply one additional coat of lipstick

      It stays for a long time.

    • ella

      I am a lipstick longwear expert. Here we go:

      1. Put on some clear lip balm and let it sink in for about ten minutes. This will keep your lips from feeling too dry later on.
      2. Dab on a little bit of foundation all over your lips, and let it dry. You will have the added benefit of looking like a corpse for a few minutes, which is fun!
      3. Put on lip liner, and fill in your lips entirely. This will also give you an easy guide for when it’s time to actually put on the lip color.
      4. Lip color time! Using a lip brush, q-tip, or straight from the tube, put on the color. Do not swipe it around like we all want to do with chapstick. Instead, dab it on, pressing it into your lips. Take your finger and smear it into your lips a bit, creating a stain. Blot once on a tissue.
      5. Add more color, again, pressing into the lips and staining. Do this three to four times, always blotting in between coats.
      6. Dust on a little translucent powder and you are good to go. Seriously, it will not move. I have eaten burritos with lipstick on using this method, and my lips still look fine after.

      If it starts to feel a little dry, put a little lip balm on your finger and press it in, again, never smearing it around. You can add a little gloss on top too if you don’t prefer the matte look.

  • HeatherS

    I’ve been growing in my eyebrows for a while now, and I love them! In the past I’ve just kept them up at home and got them professionally done about once a year.

    I decided to do my own hair and makeup for my wedding next year (I haven’t told many people about this yet). It’s soooo fun to go down the YouTube makeup and hair tutorials rabbit hole! So far I’ve mastered the Gibson tuck (wedding material, for sure) and I recently gave myself a long hair faux hawk which I think looks completely bad ass. I can’t wait for it to get colder so I can rock my leather jacket with the faux hawk. I’m also getting much better at eye shadow blending.

    • ella

      I love the Gibson Tuck! It’s deceptively easy and looks so fancy. I’m also considering it for my wedding hair, and I’ve been trying it with a deep side part and french braids, gathered into the ponytail at the bottom and rolling it up into the tuck. If you’re a good french braider, it literally takes about three minutes and it looks gorgeous. Throw some flowers in the back and you’re done.

  • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

    I just recently did a friend’s hair for her wedding, being fairly gifted in the braiding arena. We did two test-runs: one just to confirm this was the desired hairstyle and it could be done to her hair, and one as a dress rehearsal of sorts to test staying power. She had half her hair down, which was important to her, and curled, but her hair really didn’t hold a curl well (even when I tried to let it set), and on her wedding day, the humidity was cranked to the max and all the curls fell out within an hour ( I re-did, and then re-fell out). I’d simply advise to avoid curls if your wedding is going to be outdoors with potential humidity, but to each her own. Hair is really important to me, so I have detailed plans for my wedding-day up do, but I’ll likely do both hair and makeup myself, as I can do both reasonably well.

    Latest beauty endeavors on my front:
    1. Attempting the Oil Cleansing Method for my face. Not quite two week in, and I’ve been less than diligent, so I’m giving it til the end of the month. Nothing has gone wrong, but my skin has not magically resolved any of its issues yet.

    2. Re-learning how to do my make-up, now that I’m wearing glasses full time again. I wore contacts for over a decade, and learned to do makeup when I could, you know, see. I know what I’m doing in application, but if I get close enough to the mirror to properly see, I can’t fit a brush between my face and the mirror. Learning to go by feel and to capitalize on smudgy, blendy techniques.

    3. I quit shaving my legs a little over a year ago and I haven’t looked back since. My hair is blonde, but my legs are definitely hairier than my partner’s– which is saying something, as he is lumberjack-level.

    Also, Rachel, I’m totally adopting “filed under N for Noise, Fuck that.” Love it.

    • http://www.dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      Magnifying mirrors will help with the seeing issue. They’re a must when my allergies are bad and I need to wear my glasses.

    • mimi

      I’ve been using the Oil Cleansing Method for a year or so now and I really like it. I’ve adjusted the proportions of oil a couple of times and now use 1/3 each of olive, grapeseed, and castor oil. I moisturize at night with jojoba (unless I’ve straightened my usually-curly hair, in which case the oil does tend to make my hair a little greasy the next day).

      • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

        The reviews I’ve heard all say “stick with it, and it’ll be great,” so I’m giving myself extra time to get into the routine (which will be inhibited again by travel this weekend). I’m not great at noticing subtle skin changes, so I’ve started just with mostly sunflower seed oil and a small amount castor oil, and I’ve just been mixing it in my hand until I’m confident enough in the method to mix a bottle at a time. I also have some lavendar essential oil to drop in once I mix up a whole bottle. Glad to hear another positive review :-)

        • Jennifer

          I tried the oil method, and I just couldn’t stick with it. I’ve heard great reviews, but it just wasn’t for me. I hope it works better you!

          • Madeline

            I’ve been oil cleansing for about 6 months now for my skin. I just use straight up raw extra virgin coconut oil and double cleanse with it every night. It supposedly has some antimicrobial benefits and smells like vacation every night. For me, it is amazing. I have always had super dry, acne prone skin and this has just balanced things out so much. I still get the odd hormonal spot here and there, but the cystic acne is totally gone now.

    • Sabrina

      Hairy leg solidarity! I have super blond hair and super sensitive skin, and i am SOOO much happier now that I decided razors can go to hell. And my FH still gives me leg rubs WOOT !

      • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

        My partner is definitely into it, too. I mean, he’s laid back in the first place, but he also studies social norms, and he’s impressed I could kick such an entrenched one to the side. I could never shave quickly, so it was always such a process and a hassle. The “Fuck you, patriarchy” is just a really nice side benefit.

    • http://cuvikingadventures.blogspot.ca/ Jenny- Adventures Along the Way

      I tried washing with olive oil and that didn’t work for me, but I have been washing my face with coconut oil since April and that has been working really well for me. I just do that and don’t need to use any moisturizer or anything. And I have even started using it as “lotion” for my body too. I love how minimal it is to travel with; I went down from 3 products to 1. Plus like Madeline said just below…it’s like a mini beach vacation every time I wash my face!

  • Steph

    Rachel, I’ve been wanting to grow out and re-shape my eyebrows for a long time now…I think this post is a sign I should take the leap! I’ve always been afraid to because they get SUPER thick and are very dark (Italian, whatcha gonna do). Do you have any tips? Did you just let yours grow without touching them AT ALL? Did you use concealer and/or a brow pencil to make it look slightly less like a scraggly forest of eyebrow hair was taking over your face? Because that’s my main worry… ;)

    • Hannah K

      check out annie’s eyebrow posts on xovain.com–hers are completely untouched and they look amazing.

      • Steph

        Thanks for the tip, I’ll definitely check that out!

    • Rachel

      Yes, learning to use a brow pencil was a total breakthrough in the process for me! It’s amazing how adding more hair makes the scraggly ones less noticeable. I used Ybf Universal in taupe (though I think I could have gone a little darker). The kit I got (linked to in the post) is AMAZING. It’s all these different powders and highlighters and it’s SO good. The downside is that it’s really pricey and it takes a while to do the whole routine beginning to end…but it is like getting an eyebrow transplant, no joke. I don’t do it every day, but for special occasions or just when I want to be reminded of the end goal, it’s awesome.

      Other than that, yep…just no touching them AT ALL! I feel like they are going through phases. Some days I’m like, “Eh, this isn’t so bad.” This week has been a total, “I CAN’T!!!” But I’m sort of enjoying my own willpower. Also, other people have repeatedly told me they don’t notice it like I do, so I’ve just stopped getting SUPERCLOSE to my mirror and hoped for the best.

      • Steph

        Well, your brows definitely look bangin’ in that photo you linked to, so clearly it’s working for you! That kit sounds pretty fantastic and seems like it would be worth every penny if I decide to splurge on it. Thanks for the inspiration and the great tips!

    • Kestrel

      Something you might try is just trimming your eyebrows. That can help with the ‘bushy’ look.

  • http://uncommon-courtesy.com Jaya

    Help! So while I really want to get my hair done professionally for my wedding (I’ve never been able to reach and figure out the back of my head, and I will pay for the comfort of knowing it’s done right), I want to do my own makeup. I got my makeup done as a bridesmaid and I just looked so different, and I feel like even when brides tell makeup artists to tone it down, it always is too much for me. I know there’s the whole idea of “but it looks better in photos with more than you’d wear normally,” but honestly, I’d be fine with photos where it looks like I’m not wearing much in favor of actually feeling comfortable (and my husband wanting to touch my face).

    I was fine with this idea, of buying makeup and learning from videos and practicing, and figured that for the same price I’d learn the makeup skills. But my mom and FMIL keep talking about wanting to get their makeup done. They also seem to want the makeup to be a fun girls moment for us. Would it be weird if they had their makeup done and I had my own? Is there a way I can stand up to them? Or, if you’re in the NYC area, is there a makeup artist you like that actually listens when you say you don’t want a lot?

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Could you schedule getting your hair done while they have their make-up done? Or maybe paint your nails while they’re under the brush or something? There are plenty of ways to have a bonding moment (key feature: being together. Everything else: icing) without doing something you’re not sold on.

    • Rachel

      It occurred to me as I was dealing with trying to find a makeup artist for myself/my bridesmaids that I didn’t check with my mom (who literally never wears makeup) or my FMIL. I thought about it and realized that figuring that out (for me, the logistics of it being so early is a huge pain/expense) is just not something I feel obligated to add to my plate. I think it’s totally fine to email them both and say, “I’ve decided to do my own makeup, but if you’re wanting to get yours done, you may want to coordinate and find an artist you both like!” (Or something to that effect.) I don’t think it’s weird at all for them to have theirs done and you to do your own.

    • Laura C

      Do you have bridesmaids? If so, is it too late to say you already had plans for makeup-doing with your bridesmaids as a fun girls moment?

      But be glad your mother and FMIL are talking to you about this! I had a friend who showed up the day of her wedding at the salon she’d booked to have her hair done and found her mother sitting there, having made an appointment for herself without telling my friend.

      • http://uncommon-courtesy.com Jaya

        No bridesmaids, which is the other thing! No one else to do makeup with, which I am fine with. The moment would be more for the mothers than for me.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      My sisters/bridesmaids and I had our hair done by the same person, and my sisters had their make-up done by the person I did a trial with. Both professionals were at the same salon. My mom and sister smoothed things over with them so there wasn’t awkwardness with me backing out of having my make-up done professionally. Then my mom’s best friend came to the house to do Mom’s make-up. I did my own.

      I chose to do my own because I didn’t like the trial, and the professional’s products didn’t seem to be higher quality than what I owned or could afford. On my wedding day, I went from noon to 8pm with no touch-ups, not even of lip gloss, and I’m amazed that I don’t look sloppy in the photos. In the photos from after dinner, I can tell my lip color rubbed off, and that’s it, and I had been sweaty during the ceremony. I don’t know if this is photo editing, normal with my high-quality products, or wedding-day magic (most likely some combination of the 3), but I’m more than content with the related decisions.

      I didn’t wear make-up often before the lead-up to the wedding. Like others, having done my own make-up for the wedding, I appreciate owning my high-quality products, as well as the skills I developed practicing before the wedding.

    • http://www.nerds-in-love.net Stephanie

      Second the idea to get your hair done while they’re getting makeup done at the same salon. That could still be fun girls time.
      Although maybe they would be interested in doing their own makeup with you if you mentioned that (if you’re into it).

      Like Rachel, I did not want the added expense of time or money of finding makeup/hair for everyone else. I literally Googled for about 5 mins, found 2 highly rated salons in the vicinity and gave people the info if they asked. My aunt and grandmother both had professionally done hair and makeup, as did the moms. Me and the bridesmaids? We did makeup ourselves and it was a great experience which I highly recommend.

    • Jenny

      I’ll throw in some doing your own make up solidarity fist bumps. I did my own, after buying some new makeup and doing practice with APW tutorials, plus my super awesome friend who insisted on pampering me by blow drying my hair and doing my eye makeup. The end result was better than ANY of my professional makeup experiences.
      Is there some other pampering thing you could do while they get their makeup done (like your nails?)

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/whitehindu CarolynC

      I know there are makeup artists who do listen to you! They might be hard to find.

      My cousin is in Los Angeles or I would recommend her. Her policy is, always give the bride what she wants rather than what you think she should want!

    • Paranoid Libra

      I also did not trust make up artists and was hell bent on not wearing any the day of my wedding as I never like how I look with anything but eye make-up. Eyes I can enjoy but anything else made me feel fake. Somehow the day of my wedding I got shanghai’ed into letting my best friend and sister do make up on me and quite frankly it’s my biggest regret looks wise. Quite frankly when I got married I had the worst self-esteem and still think it was when I looked like the worst. I honestly don’t like my wedding photos that I am in because I am wearing make-up.

      Learn from me and don’t let them force someone to do it on you. If you feel good with yourself doing it and have practiced and like it all, do it that way, but don’t let them con you into having someone you don’t want doing it.

    • Annie

      Jaya – the woman doing my makeup is based in NYC (recently moved there) and specializes in ‘natural’ looks. I had my trial with her a couple of weeks ago and she was awesome – asking what I normally do for makeup (very little) and not pushing me to do anything outside my comfort zone. I will say I don’t normally wear any foundation and she did convince me to go with a light overall foundation to even out my skin, but it looked good so I was on board! Plus she’s just $40 for a trial – so totally worth checking out. Here’s her website (also check out the link to her facebook page that has more photos):
      http://cargocollective.com/sarahpatch/About-Sarah-Patch

  • Becca

    This may sound like an odd dilemma, but – what to do about thin lips? I have very thin lips and would like to do something special and out-of-the-ordinary for my wedding day (on the rare occasion that I do wear makeup, it’s basically concealer, mascara and maybe a little eyeshadow), but anytime I use lipstick or brightly colored lipgloss I feel it only accentuates how thin my lips are! So what to do? Also, do lip plumpers work? Are they worth the money?

    • http://expectcowgirls.blogspot.com Expect Cowgirls

      Doesn’t look like anyone has replied to this yet, I hope I’m not too late for your wedding! Some things you can try: use a light-reflecting under-eye concealer around the outside of your mouth, especially the middle (or other highlighting/illuminating product if you have one); use a lip liner that matches your lips and go slightly outside your natural lips (be so careful with this one and practise heaps, it can look good but also can look crazytown); use a lighter lip colour, not necessarily nude but maybe a pale pink or purplish shade, or if you don’t want pale go for bright rather than dark (e.g. an orangey red rather than wine red); you probably won’t want loads of sticky lipgloss but choose a lip colour with a shiny, glossy or even slightly sparkly (slightly!!!! Not frosted style!!!) finish. The Revlon Lip Butters are good on this front, feel like lip balm, intense colour like lipstick, shiny like lipgloss. I like the bright pink but there is a great pale lavender and a million other good colours too.

      Lip plumpers work a bit but only by having stuff in them that stings your lips and makes them swell – not as frightening as it sounds, often they just contain mint or cinnamon, but I don’t recommend it unless you are seriously bothered by the thinness of your lips.

      Also I hope you have a super wedding and best wishes for your marriage!

  • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison

    Rachel! (Or anyone gifted with curling implements!) Can you PLEASE tell me how you learned to use the “fancy curling wand that looks like a sex toy”? I bought the one that you linked to from Target and so far, all I’ve done is succeeded in giving myself four, second degree burns (one on each ear and 2 on my left hand…). Help!?

    Also, “Those of you who are into hair and makeup, that is! I know some of you feel about makeup like I do about bras, Spanx, and leg shaving, which is to say, filed under “n” for “Noise, fuck that.“)” made me laugh out loud. Thank you.

    The greatest beauty thing I’ve learned recently is how to wear liquid/gel eyeliner. About 50% of the time, I have to apply it multiple times (which requires a lot of eye makeup remover and extra time to get ready) but I love the look when I get it right. So fun!

    • Laura C

      Speaking as an ungifted person who’s burned myself a lot in the past on curling irons, a few years ago I got a flat iron and found it so much easier to use than curling irons. Then sometime when I was desperate to fix my hair but didn’t have my flat iron with me, I had to borrow a friend’s curling iron, and I found that I was much more able to use it because of the practice I’d had with the flat one. Granted I wasn’t trying to do anything intensely curly, just get all my hair pointing the same direction, but maybe if you have a friend you can borrow a flat iron from it could serve as training wheels for you in the way it apparently, unintentionally, did for me?

      • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison

        Oddly, I’m skill with a flat iron, but inept with a curling iron. Looks like it’s back to the drawing board (vanity mirror?) for me!

        • http://andshelovesyou.com Lucy

          This is going to sound dumb (and trust me, it FEELS dumb) but practice with it turned off. Basically you have to build up the muscle memory of using it and keeping it at certain distances from your head/face/shoulders/etc. Honestly I’m so clumsy that doing this was the only way that I figured out how to do anything with my hair without burning the shit out of my neck every day.

    • Rachel

      I just watched YouTube videos over and over again and practiced a lot! I really liked this video (actually this whole channel): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KApwbyYV6V0

      And these as well:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Waxy5aefO4

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQCZOCsgu5s

      I do skip the pinning step because I just kept messing things up with it, but I may just need better clips (bobby pins = fail).

      And I burned my fingers a lot too, so don’t feel bad.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Burning your ears is a matter of holding the wand away from your head while you’re curling. Maybe do the pieces near your ears first, before your arms get tired? Burning finger-tips is a pretty common learning side affect of curling irons in general, but I’d suggest doing sections of hair that are all the same length so it’s easier to hold onto the very ends while curing with the wand. For example, if you’re pulling hair in sections straight out from your head to curl, layered sections will mean that you have some shorter pieces, and holding on to the shorter ones while trying to capture the whole section will be difficult to do safely. Curling wands are tricky, because you can’t wrap that last inch around the wand, you need to hold onto it!

      Practice, practice, and focus on one section at a time

      • http://simply--a.blogspot.com/ Alison

        It’s so hard! I think I need better clips to hold sectioned hair, and also just a lot more practice. I also want to investigate using hot rollers, because I have a set. I guess we’ll see how it goes!

    • Brenda

      Smashbox pen eyeliner. It goes on like a marker. I’ve been wearing it for a couple of years now and I think I messed it up once. I had to use some other more liquidy kinds when I moved abroad, and they were okal (L’Oreal, I think) but now they have Smashbox in London again I’m SO HAPPY. It’s the best.

    • Anonymous

      I too am terrified of these styling wands but I had a random waitress at Disney World of all places, comment on my curls (done with an old fashioned curling iron) and she went on and on about how it changed her life. Also she was very sweet, but a bit dim so I felt confident that if she could handle a styling wand, by god so could I! Then I promptly cut all my hair off. :)

  • Laura C

    All I need as day-of hair for the wedding is a blowout — there’s just not much to do with my hair but I’ve never had a bad blowout so I guess I’m not a real challenge there — but this post spurred me to look at makeup artists on Yelp and mentally formulate my own email: “I am a fairly fair-skinned white person. My fiance is Indian-American. In the past, when I’ve been wearing makeup, pictures of him have tended to show a blotch of pale powder transferred from me to the end of his nose. Do you have magic that will prevent this from happening?” (Speaking of, does anyone know if airbrush makeup is less likely to transfer to another person?)

    • http://www.dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

      Try a setting spray-you can find them at Sephora. Primer might also help reduce transference.

    • AmandaS

      Can I just say that it’s adorable that you and your fiance are close and affectionate enough that transfer happens. He loves you, you love him, awwww!

  • Stephanie

    My wedding is Saturday (I CANNOT EVEN BELIEVE THIS), and I went to Ulta yesterday to stock up on all the makeup I needed (some I already had, and some needed replacements, but I didn’t own eyeshadow at all).

    On a normal day, I wear mineral powder foundation (if I have dark circles under my eyes, then also concealer), mascara, and Urban Decay’s fantastic 24/7 eyeliner. If I’m making an effort for a fancy occasion, I curl my eyelashes and use a white highlighter at the inner corner of my eyes and way up under the arch of my eyebrows, and lipstick.

    I’m a fairly pale blonde, and that means 2 things when it comes to makeup: (1) eyeshadow looks weird on me (to me), although a neutral taupe color is generally fine, but I just don’t wear it; and (2) I get warm and flushed REALLY easily, so I am pink pink pink all the time and do not wear blush.

    So for the wedding, I’m doing: moisturize like crazy; foundation primer; concealer under my eyes; mineral powder foundation; curl my eyelashes; WATERPROOF mascara; eyeliner (Urban Decay’s 24/7 is the most budge-proof eyeliner I have EVER used; it is magic); eyeshadow primer/base; neutral eyeshadow; white highlighter on the inner corners of my eyes; and lipstick. I’m opting for the bold lipcolor/neutral eye look.

    And DEFINITELY stocking my clutch purse with oil-blotting paper. That stuff is fantastic, and I get hot and shiny even when it’s 50 degrees.

    Oh my god, THREE DAYS YOU GUYS!!!

    • Hannah

      HAVE AN AWESOME WEDDING! So exciting!

      • Stephanie

        Thanks! My to-do list this week is long and slightly hilarious, but Saturday is going to be here SO QUICKLY. I can’t even believe it.

  • Julia

    I’m great with braids but can’t comprehend heat and products, so I worked it out with my hairdresser to tag-team it: I braided the top (with her providing the sections in the back so they all came out even) and then she curled the bottom. It was literally the best hair of my life and I was so proud. Just wanted to add a voice to the unusual-but-functional-arrangements-with-stylists chorus.

    I also did my own makeup, and love still having it around for special occasions. Although, when I was about to walk out the door, my MOH said: “WAIT! We forgot your makeup!” I said: “This is my makeup! It’s done!” MOH: “Oh, no no no. You still need eyeshadow. And blush. And sparkles. And something on your lips.” And she took over. By my standards, I ended up looking like a fairy had sneezed on my face. But the pictures are nice, so no complaints!

    • http://becomingbrown.wordpress.com Jennifer Lyn

      OMG, I laughed so hard at this, “I ended up looking like a fairy had sneezed on my face.” LOL. Awesome image.

  • Lizzy

    Is it bad that I don’t really care about my fingernails and what they’ll look like? I’ve been playing piano for so many years that painting my nails is just asking for a chipped look, and I’ve never done fake before. I just can’t bring myself to care, really.

    I’m not that talented at hair or makeup, so I’ll be going the professional route, but how do I avoid getting overdone? And about how much should it cost? I want the ‘no makeup’ makeup look, and something relatively simple for my hair.

    • Stephanie

      I don’t care about my fingernails, either. I mean, I’m going to make sure they’re filed neatly and look presentable, but I’m not getting a manicure or anything. I paint my nails maybe once a year (usually Halloween), so it would look really jarring *to me* if I had them painted for the wedding. I think it would be a distraction, believe it or not.

      Now, my toenails are a different story. I paint my toenails all year round, even in winter when they’re covered up any time I’m not in the shower. I just like seeing painted toes when I get out of the shower, I guess! Anyway, I’m not wearing open-toed shoes for my wedding, but the odds of me kicking off my shoes at some point are very high, so I want them to be painted when that happens.

      • Lizzy

        Definitely going to paint the toenails, not sure what color yet. I don’t even know what my shoes look like yet . . . Maybe I’ll just do blue for my something blue!

        • ElisabethJoanne

          I did old/new/blue by accident when I got my toe nails painted blue a week before the wedding just ’cause it was trendy. Then the necklace Mom wore at her wedding was the only one short enough to sit right on my dress’s high neckline. And the dress was new. I hadn’t planned on following this “tradition.”

    • Jessica

      My hands down favorite finger nail product is Nail Envy’s original nail strengthener. It makes my nails look polished and classy but doesn’t chip off; if anything it seems to wear away if you go too long between applications. Also dries in a flash.

    • Lindsey d.

      I second this. My normal makeup routine is moisturizer and mascara, but I know I want more for my wedding. But I don’t know where to start.

      I also don’t care about my nails. I hate the weight of nail polish on my fingernails and stick to those buffing kits they sell at kiosks at the mall, so I’m planning to stick to that. And bright blue toenails for when I invariably take off my shoes to dance.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I had my nails short and bare for my wedding even though at the time I was getting professional manicures regularly. I knew that worry about chipping was not worth any added beauty. The only picture that really shows my hands is one of my dinner plate (I’m carrying it back from the buffet). I love the photo because it also shows my wristwatch. (My dress had long sleeves.)

      No one commented on my nails before, during, or after the wedding.

    • http://www.nerds-in-love.net Stephanie

      I’m an avowed nail biter and have been my whole life. My nails are short ugly stumps. They don’t show up in nearly enough pictures to matter, and in person… well everyone who knows me, knows that I chew my fingernails and cuticles when I’m bored so they’ll just have to get used to it.

      I did not paint or even try to file/shape my nails. And I do not regret it.

      • Lacey

        See, I am a cuticle picker, and my nails look awful, and I am really self-conscious about it. So I’m just splurging and spending the money to get a shellac manicure every 2 weeks… for some reason, I pick a LOT LESS right after I’ve had my nails done, but as soon as I see the first chip in the paint, it’s all over and back to finding places to pick my cuticles. The shellac lasts a lot longer. So this is like expensive, long-term training to not pick my damn cuticles anymore! Hopefully with the added benefit of having pretty hands on the day.

        I’m sure no one notices but me, but it really is the thing I am most self-conscious about, so it’s worth it to me to try and fix it. (And medication and therapy haven’t helped, although I am still doing those things. Damn trichotillomania!)

        • Alison O

          I’ve had issues with mindlessly messing with cuticles, as well. What works best for me is to moisturize my hands/nails/cuticles a lot. Usually it’s when the cuticles and surrounding skin are a bit dry that they start to…I don’t know, become more pickable. I keep lotion by my bed and put it on my hands usually a few times before I go to sleep. (Does anyone else ever feel like their hands are legit thirsty?)

    • Kirsten

      I totally understand. I’m a violist, so I always have my nails really short, and it’s just not worth it to paint them when I cut them at least once a week. Plus the color is distracting when practicing, in my opinion. The way I see it, as long as your fingernails are clean and nicely trimmed/filed, people will probably not even notice.

      • Bella

        Why not try shellac or gel nails – they shouldn’t chip and will give them a nice glossy look. If you don’t want to draw attention just go for a neutral/nude colour.

        • http://butnothanks.blogspot.com NB

          I second this, if you think you might want to try them—I am not a nail person either, at all, but I did a french manicure with gel nails, and it ended up being really lovely. (And sturdy! I gardened in it immediately following our wedding).

          I can’t recall whether we actually have any pictures of my hands, and here is where I reveal that I am gross, but: it meant that the usual thin coat of gardening dirt, dings, and raggedy edges was hidden by shiny, and I really liked that. Also, it stayed nice for almost two weeks, while I wiggled my fingers around and felt surreally fancy.

      • Sewassbe

        I’m also a violinist and I do a heckuva lot of typing at home and work, plus I cook a lot, so nail polish on the fingernails is just asking to get chipped. Plus, not gonna lie, long nails (especially the square-ended ones!) kinda freak me out.

    • Liz

      I’m not much for nails either, but I got them done for the wedding since it’s pretty cheap ($15-20 for a manicure), and the pampering was nice.

      What you can do is just get the cuticles and nails taken care of, then just have the manicurist put the clear, shiny base/top coat on. It’s much lighter than polish and adds a nice sheen to your nails.

    • Leslie

      A month before our wedding I dropped something on my left index finger and it made a HUGE nail bruise. Took up over half the nail bed. I thought about painting my nails for about two seconds and then said “nah!” All I did for my nails was trim them the night before. The bruised nail is visible in a couple of pictures, and I actually really like it because it somehow connects me to the fact that my wedding was really a particular day in my life, not some “timeless event” or whatever.

      The nail is almost grown out and I’m kind of sad about it! I’ll miss my bruise.

  • http://www.devabydefinition.com deva

    So… my bridesmaids did my makeup and I loved it. I hired someone to do my hair because I struggle with the simplest of French Braids (seriously, if someone can tell me how to do one ON MY OWN HEAD I will be forever grateful) and because I wanted to weave a strand of my grandmother’s pearls into my updo.

    The one thing I struggled with most is that I have some exceptionally awesome body acne and my gown was strapless. I spent the week before the wedding spot-treating some little spots and the months before on an oral antibiotic because I am surprisingly self-conscious about my body acne. I had the best skin day of my LIFE the day of my wedding and I don’t know how much of it was that I was overwhelmingly excited. Midnight my wedding day my husband texted me “I can’t wait to marry you in 16 hours” and I melted and that glowy melty feeling lasted for.. a good while.

    I didn’t really GET makeup until last year and now I love it. Of course I’m typing this on a day where all I’ve got is tint, and I’m OK with that. But th is year I’ve gotten really really good at my lashes, lids, and foundation. I’m still learning blush, and I’m not even messing with my brows beyond my normal “tweeze until they look like sisters, not like the very hungry caterpillar” routine.

    and um.. in hair news, I went shorter than shoulders for my post-wedding do and now I’m growing it out to shoulders and I’m going crazy trying to figure out how to style it.

  • http://readingandthensome.blogspot.com/ Martha

    I had my hair done for my wedding but totally did my own makeup. As did everyone else in my bridal party. My mom is a trained esthetician so I am pretty competent at makeup. I, like many others have said, bought pricier makeup for the day of just because! And it was great water-proof mega mascara and a tube of eyeshadow primer.

    I read http://www.thesmallthingsblog.com/ almost daily. The author, Kate, is a haristylist by trade and posts really great tutorial videos and product reviews. I used to really like Pretty, Shiny, Sparkly, but I find most of her products and style inaccessible for my budget. Kate, at The Small Things, uses everything from drugstore to premium brands in makeup. She sometimes posts jewelry and clothing too, but mostly just beauty products and hair how-to’s.

  • Shayna

    In case anyone is looking for the best mascara ever, get thee to Sephora for Blinc. It makes little tubes around your eyelashes that won’t come off with water or crying (seriously, you could wear it swimming) and doesn’t need eye makeup remover. You just apply warm water and gentle pressure and it comes off. I always had black rings under my eyes but not with this stuff. I am Cheap with a capital C when it comes to makeup, but I spend $18 on a tube of this stuff every year (or less) because it’s really worth it.

  • Rachael

    I did my own make up for my my wedding and it was successful (I think). I was pretty clueless about make up other than the very minimal basics. I did some research and felt overwhelmed, so I went to Ulta and ended up getting a free make over. It was useful in that I learned a lot about how to apply eye make up, in particular. It was also useful in that I learned that I really hate how I look with too much make up on (completely changed my skin tone, looked weird in natural light) and that I hate how my face feels with all that make up.

    It took me a couple of weeks to figure out which products I liked and which didn’t work for me. I took the time to really do my make up before work every day to practice (which kind of made me look crazy and overdone for my casual work place, but I was running out of time). On the big day, everything went pretty smoothly – except I would advise DIYers giving yourself lots of time to slowly and carefully apply your make up. I thought I had left time, but my hair (done by my sister, trying out the hairstyle for the first time that day) took longer than we expected and I felt nervous and rushed doing my make up. Even better that I had practiced, I guess.

    I did grow my eyebrows out several years ago. I hated it. It was so slow and tedious. I was able to make a much better shape of them because of it, so it was worth it. Unfortunately, they never grew in to nice, thick, shapely eyebrows (likely why I started plucking to begin with), so I still have to fill them in.

    • MK

      So how did you arrange the thing at Ulta? I’m a recent do-makeup-sometimes person, and have a basic set of “for dress-up office” stuff, but know exactly one look, and it’s not even that exciting. And I just…don’t care, most of the time. But I don’t really want to spend money on a makeup artist because a) money and b) Texas …everything I’ve seen looks way over-the-top for what I like.

      So I want to know sort of a “wedding look for dummies” thing. I saved a page from APW on a bold-lip easy makeup DIY and was planning on testing that out, but I’ll take all the advice I can get.

      • Rachael

        I lucked out – I happened to go on Mother’s Day morning (never occurred to me that it was Mother’s Day and thus a make up store may be totally nuts, lesson learned) and I guess they were doing make overs. I must have looked lost (I totally was) and a sales person probably saw dollar signs when I said looking for make up for my wedding. She handed me over to a make up artist who, I didn’t realize at the time, was working for a specific make up company. He figured out very quickly that I was an idiot about make up, so he walked me through it like I was a 2nd grader.

        What I hated was I really felt like I had to buy EVERYTHING he used on me, because he considered everything a necessity. I ended up returning the primer, the liquid foundation (I prefer powder), the mascara, the lipstick, the eyeliner, and I swapped for a different brand of eye shadow primer. I kept the all-in-one color palette, the concealer, and the eye lash curler and then just used the make up I already had for everything else.

        It was useful, but glad that I will never do it again. I definitely subdued what he was trying to do – he had way too much black eyeliner on me for a casual, outdoor, rustic wedding – but used the techniques he taught me and then practiced to get the look I wanted. I also threw out the contouring because once I got rid of the thick liquid foundation I didn’t need it. So it might still be useful to have it done somewhere because even if it’s over the top you can always modify according to your own taste.

        My big thing was learning how to apply eye shadow (like 3 colors at a time!) because I never wear it and how to highlight (to get the glow-y bride look). If you can find a tutorial on that, I think that would be my top couple transformation-making steps.

  • Avery

    First time commenter; love this community! I have already decided to do my own hair and makeup for my wedding as I figure, why spend so much money just on application when I can spend less money and get to keep all the fun and new products that I discover? However, my beauty dilemma is this: my fiance does not like it when I wear a lot of makeup (aka noticeable make up). We started dating in high school before I got really into makeup and hair products and now, 8 years later, it still takes him aback when I experiment with different looks (read: bold lip). When I asked him how much makeup he would be comfortable with me wearing for the wedding he suggested that I don’t wear makeup at all. I’m torn because I want to look good for my groom but I also want to look good in my wedding pictures. Any natural makeup wedding tips?

    • Anonymous

      I had a similar problem with my husband. In fact we got into several fights early on in dating, after he’d too strongly expressed a negative opinion about my make up, the amount I wear/the colors I wear. Finally I told him he supposedly liked me as I was and I liked my makeup, so he could kindly shut his face about it. A lady friend of his told him the same thing which actually seemed to finally get through to him.

      Its your life and if you’re cool with him being opinionated on the way YOU look, then take his feedback and do what you will with it. I just want to point out that (in my opinion) its no ones business but ours how we dress and do our makeup (presuming not work related).

      We also had many fights about my wedding dress as I wanted short and he wanted me in long. His point was, if I wanted him to think I was beautiful on our wedding day, I should take his opinion into account. This is flawed logic. I told him if he was marrying me, he should think I look beautiful if I walked down the aisle in a garbage bag and if he couldn’t get on board with that, we weren’t getting married. We got married btw. ;)

      Some folks have lots of opinions and feel its their right to share whenever they want. My husband belongs to that group. Maybe your fiance does to? I belong to the to each his own/live and let live/none of my business/not my place to judge group. So I have to stick up for myself and you might as well.

      My husband was actually the one who recommended I watch you tube videos to learn to do my own wedding make up. I was surprised, especially because those tutorials have you use lots more make up than I normally do. But he really liked the trials and liked giving positive feedback.

      • Avery

        Fair enough! Glad to hear other couples have had these same discussions and have found ways of resolving them. I might need to steal that “think I’m beautiful in a garbage bag” line :) I really your approach of bringing your finance, now husband (congratulations!), with you through the process of finding the right look. I think the biggest thing my fiance is scared of when I talk about the different makeup looks I want to try is that I won’t look like me at the end. I think if I show him the trial runs and ask his opinions, he’ll be reassured that when I walk down the aisle he’ll be able to recognize me. Thanks for the reply!

        • Anonymous

          Exactly. By doing my own trials, he could see what it was going to look like and understood I’d look like I always did; like me. :)

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Visit the “How To” tab in the header. There’s tutorials for a “no makeup” look, and you can take bits and pieces from the other tutorials, too (like for sheer foundation, or a nude lip, etc.).

      Do what’s comfortable for you, but whatever look you decide on, maybe wear it more often between now and the wedding, as I’m sure he’d get used to it the more he saw it on you!

      • Avery

        Thanks for the pointer; I definitely need to check that out!

    • ElisabethJoanne

      My husband has opinions on my different looks, but they’re not important to him. I asked for his opinion after a couple make-up trials. He didn’t like them. I didn’t either. So I did my own make-up. Had we had a disagreement, I would have done what I wanted because, even if he had an opinion, I had a stronger opinion about my own body.

      One of the big adjustments of being married has been having someone look me over regularly. I was never the kind of person who spent a lot of time in front of the mirror noticing new freckles or 1/2 inch diameter change in my thighs. My husband’s always nice about his observations, but just knowing someone was looking at me hard every day took some getting used to.

      • Avery

        Good point! I never thought about that shift before. Hmm . . . thats going to be interesting.

      • Alison O

        Haha, I WISH my bf had that attention to detail! Then it might mean he could actually SEE all the dust on the furniture, the oil smudges left on the dishes, etc…

        • ElisabethJoanne

          My husband is selective in what he notices – my newest freckle, yes; oil smudges on the dishes, no; sauce splatters on the stove, yes. Part of it is ADHD, but part of it is just personality differences.

    • Rebecca

      My husband is also anti-makeup in general. What worked for me was doing it how I wanted it (which, since I don’t wear makeup much, was pretty darn neutral. My coloring is on the fair side, so light foundation, taupe-y eye makeup, blush to match my natural pink, and a lip color just a half shade or so bolder than my natural lip) and then hanging around him for awhile without telling him I was wearing it, and then asking him what he thought. Once he realized I wasn’t going to look “weird” he was cool with it. Although his stated opinion was that I looked “anti-aliased.”

  • Michelle

    This brought my thinking on beauty to a whole other level…I’m a non-leg shaver and have recently let the pit hair go also….now my only question is what to do with the locks south of the neck for the big day! Especially knowing that my mother will actually have a cow if I not only get married in not white, with a not legally-binding ceremony, with NOT shaved anything.

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Sounds like it’s less “what to do about my body hair” and more “what to do about my mother’s expectations.” Yes? In which case, maybe worth the boundary-setting “this is how my body/lifestyle/personal taste is, and even the vast amounts of love I have for you will not change it” or maybe worth “just shave the damn armpits” to avoid a round of potential drama.

      Or maybe don’t bring it up, and she’ll see how lovely a wedding you have, no matter the state of your pits? You know your mom best.

      • Michelle

        YES! Exactly! That is precisely the question of the day! Whose standards are we trying to meet? Who are we trying to make comfortable. I spent the rest of the afternoon thinking about it, and I’m pretty sure those questions could pretty much apply to the entire wedding planning process!

        • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

          Haha, and in that context, deciding whether or not to shave seems like miniscule piece of a huge ideological question. Nothing is ever easy, huh? Good luck on figuring it out!

  • Beth

    The best thing I figured out about make-up for my wedding is that ORIGINS shops will do professional make-up FOR FREE! That’s right, I walked into the local Origins shop, started chatting with the guy behind the counter (a fabulous gay ex-Mormon who’s great at applying make-up), and before I left we had scheduled a trial run on the same day that my hair trial was happening. I loved the look, with a few tweaks, and scheduled him for my day-of make-up. I got it done right after my hair appointment (the two places were walking distance apart) and the only money I spent was on the powder and lip-gloss that matched what he used. I brought these to the wedding and my good friend acted as “touch-up girl” during the photos to make sure I didn’t look too shiny. It worked out perfectly! And I’m a girl who doesn’t usually wear make-up or care about these things, so it was right up my ally to not spend too much money on it.

  • Jennifer

    I’m definitely getting my hair professionally done, but I’m having a bridesmaid do my makeup. She’s a former Clinique consultant (plus she did makeup for several of our friends’ weddings and it was great!) but I’ll be using all Arbonne products. (I’m obsessed with their products, especially the primer).

    I am trying to figure out the timeline of it all though. I know some bridesmaids want to get their hair done too, but I don’t know if we are all going to go to the same place or what. I can’t pay for everyone, so I don’t feel like I can say they have to go one place or another…

    • mimi

      For my best friend’s wedding, we each paid for our own hair but she scheduled appointments for us all at the same salon so we could all be together while we were getting it done. It worked fine.

      • Jennifer

        That’s probably what I’ll end up doing. I just need to talk to my bridesmaids and see what their thoughts are too!

    • melise

      For my wedding we couldn’t pay for bridesmaids hair. I told them how much it would be to get it done where I got mine done and gave them the choice to pay or do their own. It was pretty cheap and everyone ended up getting their’s done, but I felt better knowing that they had a choice.

      • Jennifer

        Yeah, I would never ask them to have their hair professionally done if I wasn’t willing to pay for it myself. I will probably give them the option like you said, so if they want to pay for it we can all get it done together, and if they don’t they don’t have to. I don’t really care how their hair looks anyway, so it’s really up to them!

  • Emily

    Okay. So I NEVER wear makeup, ever. The whole “vanity industry” is a money-suck I’ve just never had the patience for! I have no idea what I want to do for my wedding! Of course I want to look pretty, but I am not sure what that means as far as cosmetics. Has anybody foregone the cosmetics altogether? We’re hiring a photographer, so I don’t want to look awful in the most expensive pictures ever!

    • http://namelessw0nder.blogspot.com Tasha

      I didn’t wear anything, but I also got married in my parents’ backyard and jumped into a swimming pool at the end of the ceremony :). I used to wear make-up, but stopped after a while when I realized I was using it to hide. I think the rule is to make your hair & make-up just a bit more than what you’d normally do. I’d say enlist a friend whose style you like to help.

    • mimi

      You could ask your photographer for tips, but usually something like mascara will help your eyes stand out in the photos and a little concealer on red areas and around your nose will help even out your skin tone. Maybe some lip gloss too for a little color?

      • C R

        It’s a good idea to ask your photographer — mine said she had trouble in the past with her flash highlighting weird spots on concealer-only users. Maybe try some different concealers or foundations, depending on what you need/want, and have a friend snap some shots with a flash. That way you can keep it minimal but get a better idea of how the makeup will look in photos.

      • Emily

        I wouldn’t have thought to ask the photographer, good idea!

    • April

      I just go married on Saturday, and while I splurged for the professional hairstyling (sooo worth it) I “did my own makeup” … which is to say I threw on some eyeliner, bronze eyeshadow, and a little tinted lip gloss and called it a day. I’ve already seens some of the pictures and they look great! Here’s the thing – any photographer worth the price is going to touch your photos up a bit, so having flawless skin isn’t really mandatory. More food for thought – boys typically aren’t wearing makeup in wedding photographs and they look fine, so why wouldn’t you? If you’re more comfortable going bare-skinned, I say go for it!

      Here’s a really thoughtful post on one bride’s choice to forego professional makeup: http://thenaturalweddingcompany.co.uk/blog/2013/06/beauty-is-a-feeling-a-personal-post-on-why-one-bride-cancelled-her-wedding-make-up-artist/

    • http://www.nerds-in-love.net Stephanie

      Your husband isn’t gonna wear makeup, is he? But he’s gonna look just fine in the pictures, right? Oh but if you don’t, you’ll look “awful.”

      What has the WIC done to us, ladies?

      • Emily

        Haha! Good point!

        • http://www.nerds-in-love.net Stephanie

          I did wear makeup to my wedding though I don’t wear it regularly. And I must say, I looked very pretty. But I still think that this idea that people perpetuate that you can’t dare be photographed in your natural face is absurd and kind of damaging. What man would ever think he shouldn’t be photographed in his regular face?

    • Paranoid Libra

      If you really don’t want it then DON’T! Make-up is the reason why I don’t like my wedding photos, more so it’s the straw that broke my self-esteem camel’s back as I was and still am near the heaviest I have ever been but the make-up just puts me over the edge of it all. I feel like I have a bitchy face when I wear it no matter how natural looking it is claimed to be.

  • http://namelessw0nder.blogspot.com Tasha

    This Beauty title didn’t end up going where I thought it would. Beauty to me has never meant make-up. I got married in my parents’ backyard and jumped into a pool at the end of my ceremony. There was not going to be any risk of mascara running down my face when I got out, so I didn’t wear any. I felt exposed and I felt myself. My wedding wasn’t really about glamming up.

    That’s not to say that it’s not okay for other people who put Beauty and Cosmetics together, it’s just not me.

  • MK

    Can someone explain the Birchbox thing to me and if it is a good way to try out makeup as a complete makeup imbecile? I gleaned “samples” from Rachel’s post and perked up, but if it’s sort of random stuff that doesn’t go together…maybe I should just hit up a drugstore with a list?

    • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

      Birchbox is a monthly subscription that delivers a range of beauty samples to you- hair care, skin care, makeup, nail polish, etc. So it’s not going to be a box full of makeup samples that “go together.” I’d suggest finding a makeup store (like Sephora or Origins) or a counter in the department store to get the basic down. They might use way more makeup than you want, but you can ask questions about technique and get a sense of what colors and color families to look for in the drug store.

      • MK

        Ooh. Thanks. I’ve heard it whispered across the internet, but I never really “got it.” I think there’s a Sephora just around the corner; one day I’ll be brave enough to actually go in.

        How much should I plan on spending?

        • https://twitter.com/SnippetsofSarah Sarah E

          I’ve never done it myself (so someone else can correct me!), but I think at Sephora they do the makeup for free, as long as you purchase $50 or more in products. As in any store, there’s a range of price points and products for nearly everything you never knew you needed for your face. But $50 should probably get you a few basics without splurging on one-time use colors/items

        • http://www.dungeons-and-flagons.com/ Heather L

          It depends on what items you’re looking to buy, the brand, etc. In general Sephora stuff is more expensive than drugstore makeup, but they do pretty awesome sales sometimes (they also give out free samples and deluxe samples if you order online). Also, they have all the products out so you can play with them.

          In general, Sephora does free basic consults and also more extensive personalized ones if you spend 50 dollars on product.

          Here’s their list of services, free ones are toward the bottom: http://www.sephora.com/store-locations-events

  • snazzlefrass

    Perfect timing as usual, APW! I’m thinking about going the professional hair route for a half up/half down curly look with some vintage rhinestone hair combs. I’ll visit my usual stylist about a month prior for a cut and a trial.

    For makeup I’m going to have a friend (not a pro, but skilled) try and reproduce some pretty eyes I’ve seen on Pinterest. Then my usual foundation and powder, simple lipstick (thanks for the stay-put tips!)

    Question: Should we go to the MAC counter or Sephora to try and get a pro to help us with the eyemakeup and sell me on some expensive stuff? And if so, how do you know you have a “good” person? Is there a best time to go to the mall? Do they take appointments? Other makeup store suggestions?

    Also, bachne! Ahhh! What do I do?

    Thanks!

    • mimi

      For Sephora, they recommend making an appointment. I forgot to and went in one night after work. The lady took pity on me since it was only 2 weeks before my wedding, but at first they told me I had to make an appointment. They have a minimum buy with the trial – I think it was $50, but it could have been a little less.

      • L

        This may be a weird question, but does the $50 have to be spent on things that were used in your trial? I have a few makeup products I use regularly that need to be replenished, all from Sephora, and the total would be right around $50. Can I get the trial, but then buy my old faves to cover the $50 if I don’t love the things they use during the appointment? Thanks in advance to anyone who knows the answer…

        • Jennifer

          I don’t think they care what you spend the $50 on, as long as you spend it :)

          • Mads

            I had a makeup trial done at Sephora so I could try out some new products and to try to get a good foundation. The sales person put so many different products on me, I looked like an ice-skating circus star when I left. I was embarrassed to even go grocery shopping afterward, much less appear as the bride in a wedding. I had to wash my face three times and use makeup remover to get it all off. I didn’t end up using a single product she tried on me. In my experience, you are not required to buy anything, but I am part of their beauty insider program. That said, I don’t recommend them. They are trying to sell products to you. It’s worth it to pay a professional or have an experienced friend do it for you as a wedding present.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I don’t know about MAC, but when I’ve gone into Sephora with a shopping list, when it’s not very busy, usually someone will help me with a full face of make-up even without an appointment. One not-busy time was a weekday morning, and the other was maybe 11am on a Sunday.

      I’ve seen emails from Sephora that if you go the appointment route, there is a minimum purchase. I would expect you can purchase anything, and you should definitely tell them what you usually use, anyway, because it will help them select products for you. For example, I brought in engagement photos that showed a problem with my old concealer (recommended by Sephora) and brought in the concealer, and they recommended something better.

      [I got prints of those engagement photos just for this purpose; the problem was only apparent in a few of the hundreds of engagement photos we got.]

      Sephora was one place where I got a wedding up-sell. At that visit, I wasn’t even sure I was shopping for my wedding day (I was still considering hiring a professional), but I mentioned the wedding, and was recommended only high-end products. When I went back a couple weeks later and just asked for a primer, I only received recommendations for mid-price products.

      Finally, at least a year ago, the manager at Sephora was explicit that their floor staff do not earn commissions.

    • HeatherS

      I love Sephora. I’ve never felt like they were really pressuring me to buy things, but, then again, I feel comfortable saying when I don’t want to buy things. In my experience, if you go in saying that you’re looking for something (ex. foundation, lip stain, mascara), they’re very happy to help you find things and try them on. The employees aren’t paid commission and everyone that has helped me seems to really like working there. If no one is available, I’ll just try things on myself (they have little vanity setups throughout the store with mirrors, single use applicators, and makeup remover).

      As for the bacne, have you tried Salux cloths (http://www.saluxshop.com/)? It’s like a bath poof on steroids, you just use it with your regular bath wash and get amazing exfoliation. I got one about two weeks ago and it’s banished the keratosis pilaris bumps on my legs (hopefully the discoloration will go away soon, too!). I love it soooo much!

    • yet another Meg

      I bought my wedding makeup at sephora and tried it first. I didn’t make an appointment and no one said anything to me about a minimum purchase. However, I wasn’t really getting lessons on application and I was very specific about what products needed, so it was quite obvious I was there to spend.

      As for how you know you have someone good, my personal opinion is that they won’t push a ton of extras on you. Suggest, sure. Push, no. When I went the sales girl gave me exactly what I asked for and then suggested things that she made clear weren’t necessary but might be helpful. That to me was good service.

    • LMN

      Hi, Snazzlefrass–I have consistent and noticeable acne on my back/shoulder area, and I chose a strapless gown for our wedding. I tried a salicylic acid body wash, but it didn’t do anything for me. So I bit the bullet and bought Proactiv about six months before our wedding. And you know what? It works! After all the annoying infomercials and junk mail, I almost didn’t want it to, but it really did work (for me, anyway).

      Before I started, I bought a package of men’s white Hanes tee shirts, several cheap white hand towels, and a bunch of cheap white face cloths from Target. Then I would use the Proactive trio of products before bed on the nights that I’d be showering the next morning (I’m a shower every-other-day person). I’d use the wash, the toner, and the lotion, then put on my oh-so-sexy oversized white tee and head to bed. The benzoyl peroxide really does stain (like bleach stain!) any fabric it touches, so make sure the tee covers up any area where you’ve applied the lotion, and make sure to use your cheapo towels/facecloths when you’re applying it. Then I would scrub it all off the next morning in the shower, and repeat a couple days later.

      It took a few weeks for my skin to start getting better, but about a month in to the treatment, it was looking pretty good. After six months: my back and shoulders were absolutely perfect for our wedding day, and the good skin lasted through our honeymoon even though I didn’t keep up the regimen while we were traveling. Best of luck with finding something that works for your skin!

  • http://Www.smittenchickens.com SarahHoppes

    Anni Bruno (NYC faces in the apw vendor directory) did my wedding makeup and is a hella rad makeup artist who actually listened to what I wanted and rocked the shit out of it in every way. She’s not local for you, but her site has lots of helpful info and behind the scenes stuff that could be good to check out.

    • Rachel

      Awesome, thanks for the tip!!

  • http://www.wrightremedy.blogspot.com Addie

    For years I hated getting my nails done and never got manicures. Turns out I love (like obsessively love) nail art…I just hate sitting in a salon. A few months ago I started doing my own nails and now I’m getting pretty good. I like to craft so I just think of my nails as mini canvases. Plus who doesn’t love Arizona Green Tea bottle designs on their nails…or mini city landscapes? It just takes practice but it’s fun to experiment.

    For example,
    http://wrightremedy.blogspot.com/2013/09/nail-arts-and-crafts-arizona-green-tea.html

  • mimi

    I got married in August and I did a Sephora trial before the wedding, then did my makeup myself. I have somewhat invisible eyebrows (light brown, fine hair, kinda sparse), so I don’t usually do much with them, but the Sephora lady went crazy with the brow pencil. I used the brow pencil for the wedding, but haven’t really used it since. She did introduce me to a fabulous raspberry lip liner (I think it’s Givenchy) than I now wear a lot and my husband loves it.

    I got my hair did for the wedding and I’m so happy with how it turned out. I went for a beehive/French combo and it turned out great (especially considering that my hair is only a little past my shoulders).

    On a regular basis, I wear concealer for my dark circles (Bobbi Brown), and I use Bare Escentuals Mineral Veil (the shimmery one) all over. I use Korres blush and mascara. I generally just use plain or tinted lip balm or gloss. On the weekends, I”ll add some eyeliner and lipstick. I haven’t really worn eyeshadow for a while. I used to play with makeup a lot more than I do now, and I think I’ve stopped for similar reasons to Rachel.

  • http://www.hiveandhoneyphotography.com Sarah

    Right now I’m currently in the saddest hair state of my life since I had the most beautiful white blonde hair and had an accident that caused a HUGE chunk of my hair to burn off so now I have this lovely 3 inch shock of hair all down my head at the part. I dyed it back to brown so no more damage would happen but it’s UGLY. Praying and wishing it grows to a decent length by the time of my July 4th wedding next year but I may just have to chop it all off and rock a pixie/headband combo for a few months.

    My hair is my biggest vanity so I will cry and hide under a hat if my wedding day hair is not my best hair ever.

    • Rachel

      :( I’ve had to cut my hair off twice in my life because of major breakage, and I struggled with that SO MUCH. Fingers crossed it grows quickly and you love it by your wedding!

    • Avery

      Something you may want to look into is hot oil hair treatments. I’m not sure if this technique works for all hair types (I have very coarse Asian hair), but its something I’m trying out for my July 3 wedding and it seems to be working (granted its only been a couple of weeks). I’ve been using coconut oil; supposedly its suppose to strengthen and promote hair growth.

    • Teagan

      I was growing my hair out for my wedding, and then I hated it! A week before the wedding I got it all cut off to about ear length and it looked awesome.
      What I am trying to say is that you can totally rock short hair at your wedding, but if you have never done it before start looking at pictures now and find styles you like.

  • Laura

    OK this question is not about hair or makeup as much as it is about **skin**.

    I just had my 28th birthday, which means I have been dealing with face, chest, and back acne for a solid 15 years. And over that time, I have run through the gamut of products and routines to clear up my skin, to no avail. And I am so over it. Especially now that, like in the cliche commercial, I have to deal with both wrinkles *and* zits. Worst.

    My skin isn’t terrible – mostly I just have very large pores which are constantly congested and occasionally erupt into blemishes. I also work out pretty regularly and bike commute, which I think inflames my back and chest (although those areas will break out in the winter when I’m being lackadaisical, too). But. I DO NOT WANT zits *anywhere* on my body for my wedding (10 months away). What to do, what to do??

    My fiance, whose skin was arguably worse than mine when we met, started getting monthly facials 6 months ago and his face looks *great* now. So that’s something I’m considering, but A) I haven’t had the best history with facials [read: sensitive skin] and B) That’s $60/month at least.

    I am also considering getting a prescription for oral antibiotics before the wedding so I can at least keep redness and swelling at bay. But I have a crappy HMO insurance plan and a nitpicky clinician, so I’m a little worried about being able to get the prescription and the potential cost if it’s not covered. [Side note: I am *not,* however, worried that it will interfere with my birth control. Mirena FTW!]

    Thoughts? Suggestions?? Does anybody swear by facials? Has anybody tried the antibiotics route? What other solutions have worked for people??

    • Ruth

      I had a facial before my wedding and it worked really well (it’s best to do it about a week before, because having a facial can temporarily make your skin look worse – i.e. really red – before making it look better. Your skin needs a few days of down-time after a facial) Then the day before my wedding, the lady who did my facial offered me a free ‘pre-wedding rejuvenation’ treatment – no extractions, just a calming mask. The facial was pricey – I remember it being around $100 plus tip, but that, plus the pre-wedding treatment gave my skin such a wonderful glow. I usually break out during times of stress (like pre-wedding!) and I din’t at all. I recommend facials. You want to go to a good, well-trained person, though – good to ask people you know for recommendations.

    • ElisabethJoanne

      I turn 30 in 10 days and still struggle with acne. With diligence beginning a few months before, I had great skin on my wedding day.

      In my teens and early twenties, I had 2 rounds of oral antibiotics. They worked, but after I had been off them several months, the acne came back.

      For my wedding:
      *I drank 2 additional cups of water each day for several weeks before the wedding
      *I was consistent about taking the over-the-counter equivalent of the former prescription acne medication Nicotinamide. My last dermatologist had prescribed it with the oral antibiotics and recommended I stay on it indefinitely. It is no longer available as a prescription, but it was always just niacin, zinc, and copper supplements. (Taken together or separately, each of these pills makes me nauseous, but I understand this is an unusual side-effect, especially if you use the niacinamide version of niacin. I take them right before bed so I’m asleep before I feel ill.)
      *I was consistent about applying benzoyl peroxide cream each morning for the 2 months before the wedding. Apart from the oral antibiotics, I think benzoyl peroxide has been the most effective acne treatment I’ve tried.
      *I was consistent about applying my sunscreen with retinol every morning, too. Like the mineral supplements, the benzoyl peroxide cream and retinol sunscreen were just over-the-counter versions of prescription medications I had been on years before.

      My dress had a high neckline, so my only wedding-day concern was my face. On my body, I find salicylic acid helps, where it never helped on my face. I’m sure benzoyl peroxide would work better, but it stains linens and clothes, so I don’t use it on my body.

      Usual caveats about how it’s best to have the advice of a medical professional.

      • Laura

        Hm, interesting re: Nicotinamide. Do you have a recommendation for an OTC brand? And how many mg/day worked for you?

        • ElisabethJoanne

          I take whatever is cheapest. My current pills are from drugstore.com and Target.

          In a google search, it looks like the prescription contained 750 mg niacin, 25 mg zinc, 1.5 mg copper, and 500 mcg folic acid in one pill. My prescription said to take it twice a day, but I took half that because of the nausea.

          When I went to buy new pills a few months ago, nothing came in precisely those amounts. I think my current pills are 1000 mg niacin, 30 mg zinc, 1 mg copper; and I don’t take folic acid because it’s expensive, and the link between it and acne treatment is weak. (The over-the-counter equivalent to the prescription is to take each mineral as a separate pill.) I was taking similar doses around the time of my wedding.

          I’ve been off of all these treatments, off and on, over the last few years. When I went off benzoyl peroxide about a month ago (because I ran out), it took a couple weeks for me to notice a difference. Then it took a few weeks back on it for my skin to clear again. The effects are more subtle when I’m on/off the supplements, but I do think they’re still helping.

      • Katelyn

        Yes to benzoyl peroxide and retinol! I have a night cream by Neutrogena that really has been a miracle worker for my hormonal acne.

        Obviously a more severe case is going to need a bit more intervention than these two products, but adding those to my routine has really been the turning point in my mid-20’s skincare routine.

      • Liz

        Since adolescence, I have never had good skin. I was able to get it together for my wedding with lots of water and constant acne washes.

        I’ve recently started using witch hazel (you can get the Dickinson’s brand at CVS or Walgreens) several times and a day, and that’s helped with the acne on my face.

        I still get small cysts on either side of my neck, along my jawline. Ugh.

    • Breck

      As soon as I crossed over onto the hallowed ground known as adolescence, I had issues with acne. Small bumps on my forehead and chin, and the occasional eruption pretty much anywhere. I tried tons of over the counter stuff and a lot of different Rx products, but the only thing that really worked AND gave me amazing, glowing skin was being on a low-dose regiment of Accutane. Most dermatologists will prescribe a really high dose (like, 2 pills/day) for about 3 months (which leads to super sensitivity to sunlight, really dry skin, and sometimes other, more serious problems), and then supposedly your acne is cured forever. Instead, I had the dermatologist to the Gods, and he believed in a low dose (1-2 pills/week), long-term plan that ended whenever we agreed my skin had figured out not to be OD oily. I did this for 4 years and seriously never got one zit.

      Fast forward to me getting on my own insurance plan, and this whole routine became prohibitively expensive (sob). I’ve had a lot of weird hormonal things go on in the past few months or so (switching BCs, etc.) in addition to going off Accutane, so my skin has been pretty shitty. It’s finally normalizing again, and the #1 thing I can credit is Origins products, especially the Zero Oil Lotion. I don’t know how it works, but it stops my face from being oily and keeps it matte all day. I use the whole Zero Oil line (face wash, toner, and spot treatment), and it’s definitely been helping. Everyone’s skin is so different, though, so who knows what it’ll do for you.

      It might be worth it to look into how much a few visits to a dermatologist would be, just to get you started on the right path.

    • Lindsay

      I’ve suffered from acne since I was 10 years old (I’m now 27). Last year, knowing an engagement was approaching, I decided to “take back my skin”. I had tried everything – Proactiv worked in highschool but was now too drying, I tried the Neutrogena skinID system, the Olay adult acne system plus a myriad of other drug store acne cleansers – nothing worked. Facials were awful – they just made me break out even more and left all red (definitely do not suggest getting a facial anytime close to your wedding!)
      I finally decided to read the book “The Clear Skin Diet” by Alan Logan and it’s basically been life-changing. Foods really can affect acne, because it’s an inflammation (similar to how heart disease is an inflammation). For me, it’s dairy. I used to get huge, hard, cyst like acne but when I stop eating dairy – they became non-existent. And I know it works, because if I do eat pizza or ice cream or something, within the next week I’m all broken out again. I was in a wedding this summer and went dairy free for a whole month and my skin was great. For my wedding next summer, I plan to be dairy free for 2 months to make sure it’s perfect. There are a whole bunch of other food triggers in the book, so I highly recommend reading it and experimenting. I was able to see a difference in just 2 weeks.
      As for my back and chest acne – I’ve just had to be super diligent about cleaning up after workouts etc. As soon as I get home from the gym, I take off my sweaty shirt and sports bra and wipe my chest and back down with a sacylic acid pad. In the shower, I use the same acne cleanser as I do on my face (just Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne wash) and then when I get out of the shower, I spray my chest and back with Neutrogena Body Clear Body Spray. It’s a lot – but I seem to need all that to keep things under control.

      Best of luck! Acne is definitely my number one beauty issue and the one thing I hope I can finally control for my wedding day. I definitely recommend the Clear Skin Diet book though if no products seem to be helping you!

    • Kate

      My skin really cleared up when I stopped wearing makeup, and stopped picking at zits as much. One product I really love is Burt’s Bees Orange Essence Facial Cleanser. It may feel weird if you’re used to the stripped clean feeling of other face washes, but it could help with oil overproduction (a lot of acne treatments dry out your skin, forcing it to overcompensate).

    • Sarah McD

      I cannot second the diet aspect of acne enough. Dairy is a HUGE trigger for acne and processed foods (think white flour) don’t do you any favors either. I’ve struggled with acne for years and going dairy free is the only thing that keeps my skin breakout-free. Right now my skin is atrocious because I visited a friend in Austin two weekends ago and pigged out on queso / had cheese on everything.

      My plan to get my skin gorgeous by my early September 2014 wedding is get back to clean eating (no dairy / wheat / processed food but lots of brightly colored veggies) and facials every 4-6 weeks. I can’t recommend the facials enough – but you HAVE to find the right esthetician for you. I refuse to see anyone but the woman I see now. If I haven’t had a facial in a long time, my face will purge hardcore and take about 2 weeks to clear up into gorgeous skin, then I don’t purge again after my next one. If your skin is sensitive, I’d stay away from microdermabrasion and intense peels. Maybe a light peel designed for sensitive skin to exfoliate without being too harsh (my esthetician does an amazing pumpkin peel for sensitive skin). My skin has always been so awful ever since high school that it’s worth the money for me to have clear glowy skin on my wedding day.

    • Samantha

      About once every 18 months I end up on a 4-6 month oral antibiotic regimine for acne. I’m 25. It’s the only thing that helps my acne. Start early. It takes minimum 4 months for major improvement.

    • Little Bear

      I’ve had acne for about as long. :( Once it was even cystic all over my face and body. At the time, I was on my parents’ insurance and was able to get myself to a derm. And that derm was amazing. Since my skin was a hot ol’ mess, he gave me doxy, a face cream and spironolactone. The doxy was an antibiotic to clear up my lovely bacteria, the face cream was Aczone (which is a dapsone cream) and is EXCELLENT for dry, ultra-sensitive skin and the spirnonolactone was for helping balance out my hormones. It blocks the androgens that love to give ladies lots of really fun acne. This fun combination finally cleared up my skin, but it took a long time and I’m not sure how your insurance would cover it. BUT, it was the only thing that worked. Sometimes acne is deeper than just what a drugstore can fix and it’s worth jumping through all the hoops to fix it. If you’re interested in the antibiotics route, I’d start sooner rather than later because it takes awhile for them to get working! Good luck!

    • Kitty

      I’d recommend hoping over to nomoredirtylooks.com and I would echo one of the commentors suggesting dietary changes. The website is a blog extension of a book by the same name. It talks about clean and natural beauty products in general but also gives beauty routines by a range of people, many of whom had had skin issues. Using clean products really worked for me (also realizing that it is often “recommended” that you wash your face a whole lot more than you need to).

    • Jane

      This is going to sound crazy, but it worked in the months leading up to my wedding: I rubbed Milk of Magnesia on my face every night after washing my face. Once dried it leaves a white chalky residue, and depending how thick it is applied it can even look like a white mask. I do not know why, but it worked. My skin stopped getting oily, and if I did get a pimple 90% of inflammation was gone by the next morning. I stopped doing it after the wedding because I didn’t like looking like a ghost, but it worked wonders :)

  • http://irvingplace.net Kayjayoh

    I have, while not exactly a unibrow, quite a bit of dark hair that grow in between my brows. (and on my chin. THANKS, GENETICS!) So while I don’t pluck and shape the main parts of my brows and rather like their natural look, you can have my tweezers when you pry them out of my cold dead hands. :)

    • Stephanie

      If the hair on my head grew as quickly as my chin hairs do, I would have hair down to my ass in a month. Chin hair is supernatural.

      • Kayjayoh

        Argh. Accidentally reported while trying to “exactly.”

  • Mads

    I had an eyebrow disaster right before my wedding. I’d had my brows waxed before, so I didn’t think much of it. About a week before my wedding I went to a nice salon instead of the pedicure place where I usually do it. I ended up having some sort of reaction that caused a large breakout on my forehead above my brows and nose. Not only that, my brows were uneven…as in one eyebrow was much closer to my nose than the other. I was horrified. I took pictures and sent them and an email to the salon owner. They “fixed” it, by over-plucking the other brow to the same distance. But it did not look good. During the wax I had even told her that I like my brows to be more on the full side, but she still took way too much off.

    Lesson: NEVER go to a new stylist/esthetician right before your wedding.

  • D

    Hi Rachel, love your open thread! I have been a sucker for beauty ever since I worked in a perfume/beauty shop while in college.
    If you need a top coat that definitely stays on, I would say get the Mavala “color-fix”. I’m not sure if it is available in US but it is in Europe (yeah, great tip I hear you thinking…) It takes some time to fully dry on the nails, but once it’s set it really really lasts.

    And for quick eyebrow make-up: comb your eyebrows downwards, outline them with eyebrowpencil but only on the top, and comb the hairs back upwards. Gives a sort-of-polished effect but very subtle.

    Now, i have been trying to find hairstyle tutorials for hair that looks well-kept but still nonchalant like it was no effort (and also I don’t want to put a lot of effort in it..) Any tips?

  • Lizzie

    I’m so glad to hear about other rad ladies who did their own makeup and/or hair for their weddings! I did a makeup tutorial at a salon, and the aesthetician made me feel like a nut for wanting to do my own makeup for the day of. She warned me that the tools and cosmetics I’d need to buy would cost more than another appointment with a pro. She was right…except I didn’t buy everything she listed and no one was the wiser. I brushed up with YouTube and practiced a lot, and it went fine. I also loved having pre-ceremony photos of myself putting on bitchin’ wingtip gel eyeliner LIKE A BOSS.

    I had a very, very talented friend do my hair, and even though I know she was stressed over it and was so diligent that it made me late for photos, it was one of my favorite parts of the day.

    (Confession: my hubs and I eloped before our “wedding,” on a weeknight, and I think my entire pre-legal-ceremony beauty routine consisted of two bobby pins, foundation, blush, and eyeshadow in the locker room at work before our officiant picked me up. It just felt so ME.)

  • Helen

    Hot weather foundation suggestions? I’m getting married in hot, humid tropical climate and scared I’ll look like I’ve just been dancing for six hours from the moment I step outside. I’m not looking for anything heavy duty, just something that’ll even me out a little and will stay on.

    Help!

    • Alison O

      I wrote about Erth minerals up above and have had good experiences with it in very hot and humid weather… good luck!

    • http://www.lulamaespecialevents.com Meigh McPants

      Urban Decay’s All Nighter spray is pretty awesome for keeping your makeup where you put it. I’ve read that if you put it on under your makeup it’ll keep you from sweating at all, but apparently my face sweat cannot be contained by mortal products, so YMMV.

    • Emmy

      I used a mattifying foundation primer before I put my foundation on, and then topped it all with a mattifying powder. I made sure to reapply the powder after the ceremony, and I had blotting powder too just in case. And yes, I used the Urban Decay setting spray too.

  • nikki

    I’m terrible with hair and makeup, and as much as I would love to experiment or take a class, I don’t have the time right now with school. But I found a pretty low-cost solution that I’m excited about, getting my hair and make-up done at an Aveda training salon. It’s priced extremely reasonable (under $75 and you’re not allowed to tip) and they even offer a trial appointment at no extra cost. I’m pretty excited about this option because it’s so reasonable, and honestly, the students there work to impress you and their teachers (who okay everything the student does) so there’s probably less concern about them messing it up than a regular salon who’s trying to move onto different clients.

    Just wanted to share this option with other budge-conscious brides!

  • Rachel

    I did my own makeup and had a professional do my hair. But honestly, on the day of it doesn’t matter. Whether your hair is the best its ever looked, or in the top ten, or in the top 100, everyone will tell you you look beautiful. You will look beautiful and you will feel beautiful. I have never felt so radiant or beautiful as I did on my wedding day. And I don’t think its because my hair and makeup rocked (although they were good). Its because the event itself is so amazing, and everyone is so happy to look at you, and your husband is so happy to look at you, and everyone will keep repeating over and over how beautiful you are (because you are the f’ing bride), and you will be beautiful.

    That being said, I had a heck of a lot of fun experimenting with makeup the few months before. I also allowed myself a sephora binge that was really enjoyable.

  • ZoeEllen

    I did my own make-up. I got some advice from Lisa Eldridge’s blog/website – she has some very useful videos:
    http://lisaeldridge.com/

    My top tips would be: 1) Blusher – it really makes a difference if you are wearing white or a pale colour. 2) Have some kind of soothing eye lotion (I used Liz Earle) for the morning of your wedding – essential if (like me) you have barely slept (!)

    I also did my own hair – but ran out of time before the ceremony so I ended up changing my hair several times during the day, which kept the guests entertained!

  • Cassy

    As one commenter pointed out before, beauty certainly isn’t just about makeup and doing your hair! I don’t wear makeup normally; the social (and advertising) pressures to wear makeup all the time to be viewed as a “normal” and “beautiful” woman really bother me. Just wanted to put in a plug for a more inclusive discussion before sharing what I did for my wedding.

    I just got married a couple of months ago in Maine, so we had beautiful, just warm enough and dry weather. My now husband is also rather leery of makeup and has a serious aversion to lipstick, which I rarely wore anyway, so I decided to go with my usual Burt’s bees grapefruit lip balm (it smells the best!), a tiny amount of gold glittery eyeshadow (glitter!), and concealer for those troublesome spots that refused to go away due to stress before the wedding. I’m really glad to learn that dairy is a big acne trigger, I might try decreasing my dairy intake to see if that helps with the persistent low-level acne I’ve had since hitting my teen years. I also recently decided to stop shaving my legs and underarms, and was totally happy with that for the wedding. Not to mention, as a Californian, I’m happy to be wasting less water and time in the shower! We were all so happy on the day of the wedding that most of the focus was on celebrating and spending time together, not commenting on what I did or didn’t do to get ready. Whatever you want to do for your wedding, whether it’s wearing a white dress and getting your hair and makeup done professionally or wearing a green Renaissance dress and lip balm like I did, your family and friends will (hopefully!) remember how happy you were and will focus on the celebration, not the “beauty” routine.

    • Paranoid Libra

      I don’t know how you ladies are able to say screw you to shaving the underarms. I notice I am a tad more stinkier in the pit area if i get lazy for too long and I try to minimize the use of deoderant for various reasons. Mad fist bumps to you ladies!

      Granted I only shave my legs like once a month in shorts weather and tend to just maybe do it twice during the winter. The hair grows in so slow when you do that.

  • Rachelle

    I went back and forth over what to do for my hair and makeup so many times. I was just going to do everything myself, but then got worried about stressing over my hair, so I decided to get pro hair and do my own makeup. My MOH ended up getting her esthetician to come and do our makeup, so I didn’t have to worry about me and I got to do all my bridesmaid’s and my mom’s hair/makeup! I’ve been doing theirs forever, so it was a great way to feel like it was a normal day and keep me from going crazy that morning!

    They even inspired me to finally take the plunge and start doing hair/makeup styling on the side to see if I can turn it into a small business! If anyone in the Denver area needs natural looking, but still more special than everyday makeup and/or hair let me know!!! I would love to help out some APW brides and build my portfolio.

    Okay, last thought: Married 12 days!!!!! YAYYAYAYAYA!

  • ART

    Heh, this post really stressed me out until I realized that of course it will be OK if all I do is ask a friend to do something (anything) pretty to my hair an hour before the ceremony and “invest” in a new thing of eyeshadow from Walgreens. I’m sure my mom will want me to get all made up, but I just want to look like myself when I get up there and start vowing things to my love and clearly others have done the same and lived to tell the tale :) Interesting to read about everyone’s routines – I do sometimes feel like I could do more, but I am super lazy and wouldn’t know where to start (I am the white girl that didn’t know what a blowout was until today – and still isn’t really sure why you’d go somewhere for a shampoo…sounds kind of nice though!)

  • Casey

    I had my hair done, but did my own makeup. I’m kindof a hippy and wanted to use more natural products than most makeup artists do. Plus I have freckles, which I LOVE, but every makeup artist I’ve worked with in the past (I was a teen model) always wanted to cover them up. Boooo!
    I did a makeup trial on rehearsal day and checked with my groom. “Too much makeup” he said. So I lightened it up for wedding day and it was great! So happy I did it myself!

  • Sarah

    I had no choice but to do my own hair and make-up on the big day as we got married in the middle of nowhere and as luck would have it, all my people have either short or already curly hair and never use curling irons. After trying and trying I finally found the answer on, where else, APW that you should wrap your hair AROUND the wand. Brilliant. That and I had to upgrade my hairspray which I never use.

    The piece de resistance was my sister-in-law coming through with corkscrew bobby pins. If you have long hair and haven’t used them you should! Amazing.

    My make up was easier for me. The only thing I needed to do was resist the urge do something really different from what I normally do. On the day I looked done up but very much like myself.

    Also, I chose to use a veil, simply because it took the pressure off what my hair looked like. It didn’t need to be fancy or particularly bridal because the veil did that. I do wish I’d had some pictures taken without the veil just for variety.

  • Kirstin

    Hmm. Still debating on this one.

    Hair – I have a pixie cut. Not much to do with it, and no updo needed. However, it would be nice if it looks a little more styled than the average day, but still like me. But is it worth paying someone for basically a wash/blow dry/put a little gunk in on the day of? And will it matter at all once I have a veil on? I am more worried about whether I will be able to get my little birdcage veil to stay in and am thinking I might have a bridesmaid get trained in this. But if I don’t get my hair done, and my bridesmaids want to, do I still need to help them figure out appointments?

    Makeup – I am leaning towards a professional appointment. My only challenge will be finding someone who is available on a Sunday. The place I’ve gone to before will be closed, and I’d likely have to pay a lot to get one of their staff to come do my makeup on site. Just not sure if it’s worth it. But while I like makeup, I’m pretty clueless and don’t want to have to worry about doing my own.

    My main beauty concern:

    To wear my glasses, or not to wear my glasses? I wear them everyday and my face looks weird to me without them. But everyone is saying that I will regret having them on in the pictures. And they mess with the veil a bit.

    • yet another Meg

      I don’t see why you would regret wearing them in pictures if you like the way you look in glasses.

  • mpc

    Although I’ve been reading APW every day for the past 6 months while I planned my elopement I’ve always been to shy to comment on anything before. It feels weird *not* to comment on this thread though. I am a wedding makeup artist and hair stylist. I’m the kind of wedding makeup artist that I couldn’t afford for my own wedding… and if I had that much extra money laying around I certainly wouldn’t spend all of it on my hair and makeup (food, I would spend it on food). But a lot of people do have lot’s and lot’s of money to spend on things like that, which is great because it pays my rent.
    No one can tell you if you should get your hair and makeup done for your wedding day, it’s a decision you have to come to on your own. Your going to look beautiful on your wedding day because you are going to be happy, and I can not over state how good that makes you look. The main reason you should hire someone to do your makeup/hair is so that you have one less thing to worry about while you are getting ready. I just did my own hair and makeup for my elopement and it super stressed me out… and I do this professionally. You shouldn’t hire a makeup artist if you don’t want to look all that different from your every day. You would be shocked at how far tinted moisturizer, mascara, blush and filling in your brows can go. The most important thing to remember if you are doing your own makeup is to be conscience of what you are doing. Never just go through steps or motions. Constantly ask yourself these questions, “What am I trying to achieve?” (hide blemishes, make eyes bigger, lashes longer, create glow, etc.) “How am I going to achieve this?” “Does this look better?” If something doesn’t look better or it didn’t do what you wanted it to (“why do my under eye bags look worse!?”) then simply don’t do it! Stay in your comfort zone and practice. I feel like there is this expectation that women are “supposed to” know how to do makeup simply because they are women. This isn’t true! It’s like anything else that takes practice, research and a steady hand. If you want to look different (in a good way!) form your every day self, consider going with a professional.
    If you do decided to go the professional route my main money saving tip is to splurge on yourself and let your bridesmaids fend for themselves. It sounds harsh, but all eyes will be on your anyway. Better to go with the best professional you can/willing to afford then someone with less experience (less expensive) who can do everyone for less. Also, it helps to be friendly in initial contact emails and phone calls. I’ve given deals to brides simply because I thought they seemed nice and like their wedding would be fun. State your budget right away, it’s better than asking for a discount later. While I am not the most expensive makeup artist/hair stylist I do feel like I charge what I am worth, just like any respectable self-employed person would. The reason someone who specializes in weddings might be more expensive is the guarantee that they won’t mess up. We will show up on time, make everyone look and feel awesome and get you out the door looking exactly like or better then our trial. Other benefit’s to hiring someone who has done a million weddings include (but are not limited to) dealing with your mom who doesn’t know it’s not her own wedding, telling you poop jokes when you are so nervous you can’t stop crying and macguyvering your jacked up bouquet.

    Ok I’m just going to stop because I’m actually really embarrassed about how long this has gotten, and I could go on forever. All I really wanted to say was, Rachel, your brows look awesome.

  • april

    Splurging on hair and makeup for my wedding was the the absolute best decision EVER. I would’ve been too nervous to put on mascara and stabbed myself in the face, and as for hair – probably would’ve burnt my head with a curling iron. It’s good to know what your nerves can handle under stress.

    I told my longtime hair stylist (who also did my makeup most brilliantly), that “I want to look like the hottest version of myself.” She worked with my natural curls to give me a soft updo that held through our coastal venue and changing temps both indoors and out, and my makeup didn’t look as though I’d fallen down face first into the MAC counter.

    7+ hours into your wedding day, makeup fades, hair frizzes or falls out / down and looks tired. That’s life. The smiles and crushing joy? It’ll hold up all day and then some. Don’t sweat it… Some of the most loved photos are the ones where we are sweaty, wilted and dancing our asses off!

  • JSwen

    I am WAY late to this party but I’m just looking into finding a stylist and I have a question: Why do Bridal UpDos start at $70 when UpDos/SpecialOccasions/AnythingWIthoutTheWordBridal can be as low as $35? Follow up question… can I lie to my stylist and say that I’m not a bride?

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  • Sewassbe

    I have long hair of a texture that it is often difficult for hairdressers to comprehend – I have four different colors of individual hairs with four different textures (coarse wavy, medium curly, very fine straight, and medium straight). My hair will hold a curl very well, but in order to no be super frizzy, especially at the top, I have to pull it back wet and let it air dry. I have to take a shower and wash my hair every morning as I tend to sweat a fair amount at night, plus I work out in the mornings.

    SO – I’ve been experimenting with hairstyles on my own and I think I’ve found a good one. I may have to tweak it slightly, but I’ll have my little sister to help (she’s great with hair). I strongly recommend all-day hair trials if you’re doing your own (wear it to work! No one will care or they will compliment you), so you can see how well it holds up. Mine I put up wet without hairspray and it holds up really well, but the bobby pins and hair ends that are tucked up against my neck start to itch by the end of the day, so that’s something I need to address before the “big day.”

    Also – I never wear makeup. I’ll put on some eyeshadow and mascara if we’re going out or getting fancied up. But everyday? Bare face, bare eyes, Burt’s Bees classic on the lips. And that’s it. I have fairly oily skin – large pores and some blackheads, but no acne to speak of. If I am able to wash my face a couple times a day (just splashed cold water, usually, or hot water and a washcloth), my skin looks great. I’m paranoid about forehead shine in photos (I have a history of this) and I want my skin to feel nice, so I want to be ABLE to wash my face after I put on whatever minimal makeup I use for the wedding (likely just eye makeup). Any suggestions beyond waterproof mascara to ensure my eye makeup doesn’t run if I want to splash water on my face 10 minutes before the ceremony?

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