Every now and then someone comes into the store, clutching a freshly printed batch of business cards, and asks me to recommend their bridal makeup service to my clients. [Pretty much on the strength of how their own makeup looks that day, and "taking their word for it" about how awesome they are.] Over the years, I’ve learned that fancy business cards, pretty websites, and even a massive kit-full of makeup are no indicator of the skill of the artist. The proof is always in the results, which is why Karyn Stratford of Artistic Beauty Nelson was my first pick for this project.
The original plan was simply to do another before and after series, and let the results speak for themselves. The problem is that when you have a great photographer, even without stooping to any “grumpy-faced, poorly lit before photo” tricks, and being REALLY careful to keep the lighting and pose the same,[I THOUGHT I was smiling both times] tiny changes mean the before and after images are close, but still different.
I’m so glad we did it that way. I honestly would not have believed the difference subtle shading, contouring and use of colour makes.
If all I’d had was a finished face to compare with what I know I usually look like, I’d have been incredibly impressed, but for a really good example of what I’d have missed, take a look at the eyebrows.
The subtle, subtle contouring of the eyebrow on the right frames my face – and on a whole face, I’d not have noticed anything specifically different. There were so many little subtleties that quietly contributed to the overall gorgeousness, and it’s that kind of attention to detail that makes such a difference.
And, and, take a look at those lashes! We had quite a discussion about the pros and cons of false lashes [anytime you get a celebrant, a makeup artist, and a wedding photographer in the room, the disaster stories are always going to be interesting!] Good false lashes are glamorous and gorgeous, but, just like false nails, they need special care and attention, and sometimes the removal can be problematic.
These aren’t false lashes – but it did take more than just a bottle of lash plumping mascara to get that kind of volume.
Without resorting to any over-the-top, obvious effects, Karyn’s made my eyes look bigger and clearer. Zooming out, as part of the overall look, this eye makeup is balanced and pretty subtle. I’m kind of wondering what would have happened if we’d gone for a dramatic eye effect!
Moving right along…
Karyn made my well-worn skin look so good, I’m in awe. To get that kind of coverage in my own bathroom takes a lot of faffing about with concealer, foundation and powder, and ends in a distinctly ‘made-up’ look. This, by contrast, was incredibly light and smooth – from the inside, it felt like I’d brushed on a bit of bronzer, and that was all. The mineral makeup also works as a UV block, so there’s no greasy sunblock shine on the day and no zinc reflecting back the flash for the photos.
A few second’s attention to my neck and decolletage quietly smoothed out my irregular tan, and softened the blotchy redness. Again, it’s so subtle you probably don’t notice it on its own, but it made such a difference. It’s worth considering a quick brush-over for the guys, too – without leaving them ‘made-up’ you can balance out any redness etc – after all, he’s going to be in as many close-up shots as you are! [more about that another day!]
As an aside, I thought Karyn was joking when she said she’d have a lippy testing mark on the back of her hand all day, but that lipstain lasted through several cups of coffee, lunch, dinner, and much cheek kissing, to be still visibly on my lips at bedtime!
Finally, contouring. Subtle use of colours to bring out my cheekbones [Yes, I have some!] and to hide my double chins [Yeah, I have some of those too!]. The process of colour matching was so effortless [on my part, at least]. I wasn’t aware of any agonising over which colours would match my skin tones – which is, perhaps where experience plays the biggest role – although Karyn has never made up my face before, there was no time when I was aware of her having to second guess or re-do any of the colours. And yet, they’re perfectly matched – no tidelines, no frantic blending, nothing.
The overall finished look:
I’ve already burbled on quite a bit, so just a few final things:
I went from the makeup chair out into my day: a couple of gown fittings, a bit of shopping, I washed the dog, chatted and cheek kissed my way through a cocktail get together, spent some time on a boat, out in the wind and sun, changed my clothes several times, and found myself in front of the bathroom mirror, pleasantly surprised to be STILL looking this good. No mascara flakes, no eyeliner smears, lipstain still hanging in there. And even more pleasantly, a simple warm flannel took it all off without any bother at all.
Good makeup: Goes on easily, looks gorgeous in person and on camera, stays on all day, comes off just as easily.
And now you know where to find it!
Huge thanks to Karyn for her time and expertise, and to Sandra, for documenting it for us!