Author Archives: Sarah McSharry

Life in Lockdown

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Covid-19….. social distancing….. lockdown….. self-isolation….. key-workers. These are all words and phrases that we never, or very rarely used just a few months ago. But they’re now very much part of our everyday vocabulary.

Covid-19 is affecting us all in many different ways, so I really don’t think it would be right to go all the way through lockdown without writing about it in my blog!

Family standing beside pond

Enjoying a family walk during lockdown

This time last year, I was gearing up for another busy wedding season and pretty much going about business as usual. My days were taken up meeting brides for trials, dealing with a stream of enquiries, and travelling to the many lovely wedding venues that Scotland has to offer, to beautify my excited bridal parties.

If someone had said to me then, I would spend at least 3 or 4 (or potentially more!) of my busiest months of 2020 with no bookings, I would have laughed in their face. But back in March that scenario became reality. As social distancing measures were put in place, and then eventually lockdown, I panicked about what would happen to my business and could only watch in horror as every booking I had was wiped from my diary. Not only that, but I then had to deal with a mountain of admin as devastated brides were forced to rearrange weddings they’d spent months and years planning for. It was just awful for everyone involved.

Now I certainly don’t want to take away from the devastation Covid-19 has caused throughout the world, including the massive loss of life, front-line workers scared to go to work, people being separated from family and friends and businesses being forced to close. It’s something we’ve never experienced before, and hopefully never will again.

Girl standing in kitchen

Just back from an early morning run (excuse the red face!)

But what I do want to do is try and focus on some positives that have come out of this situation. First and foremost is I’m loving spending more time together with my family. Before this I was always rushing about, juggling work, running about after my kids and quite often my husband and I were like ships that passed in the night. Now we’re all home together, we all eat together at mealtimes, and we’re enjoying a bit more of a relaxed pace of life. Don’t get me wrong, we’ve all had our patience tested at times over the past few weeks, but we’re actually coping OK with our new normal.

Another massive positive is the fact I’ve really got to know some of the other lovely hair and makeup artists in the Scottish wedding industry. Over the years, I’ve found myself working alongside many other hair and makeup artists, and we would often have a chat, but now we’ve all got a bit closer. With so many weddings having to be rescheduled it was inevitable that at some point we were going to be booked on a bride’s new date. So we’ve all pulled together and are helping one another out to make sure no bride will have to go without a hair or makeup artist on her big day.  Not only that, we’ve all been keeping one another’s spirits up and have also jumped on the #passthechallenge bandwagon where we’ve created a video to showcase our hair/makeup work, passing combs/makeup brushes between us. Who knew it was so difficult to catch a comb?!

Girl standing to side with hand up

My hairstyle for #passthechallenge (just passed the comb to the next person!)

So, what does the future hold for weddings in Scotland? There’s been lots of speculation lately…. there’ll be no more weddings this year, weddings will re-start again in September, the only weddings this year will be with a very limited number of people.  Every day I read something new, and as much as we can second guess, no-one has the answer to this question yet. No-one knows exactly when weddings will be running again as normal, or what that normal might be!

But what I do know, is the last couple of months have taught me that I actually CAN cope with a nightmare work scenario being thrown at me, and there will be positives in every bad situation. This won’t last forever, but until then I’ll keep focusing on those positives and look forward to the day that weddings resume, and we can all get back to work.

An interview with…..

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For my latest blog post, I thought it was about time I featured another of my weddings….. and then I decided it would be nice to do it a bit differently this time! So rather than me telling the story, I’ve left it to my bride to tell her story in the form of an interview. I was thrilled to be part of Arielle’s wedding in July last year…. read on for the story…

So Arielle, tell us about how you met your fiancé…

bride with arms around groom

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

I met Craig at Ardgowan Hospice in Greenock where we both volunteered as kitchen assistants. It turned out we both attended the same high school, which had merged only a few months earlier! It wasn’t until we went to Strathclyde University and took the same bus together on the way there and back – often on purpose, even if that meant we had to wait a half hour or hour for the other person – that we became friends and finally boyfriend and girlfriend, as many of our family assumed we were already!

Where did you get married and who was in your wedding party?

We got married at the Gleddoch House Hotel in Langbank. As the vast majority of our guests come from Inverclyde, where we’re both from, it made the most sense to go somewhere local. Although we actually ended up loving the Gleddoch so much that if we had the chance to do it again, we’d happily choose this venue! We’ve been living in the Falkirk area for the last two years, so we did a lot of running back and forth between Inverclyde and Falkirk most weekends leading up to the wedding!!

bride fixing her earring

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

Sarah had her hands full with my wedding troop – along with my hair and makeup, Sarah did my aunt’s and bridesmaid’s hair, and hair and makeup for my two “honorary bridesmaids”, as I liked to refer to them! With the small army of people coming and going from the room, happening to coincide with when I was getting my hair and makeup done, Sarah didn’t falter and managed to get everybody looking fantastic in time for the ceremony!

How did you go about choosing your wedding hair and makeup artist?

A friend at work recommend Sarah so I had a look at her Facebook page and website and immediately saw a hairstyle that I loved. I also thought all of her hairstyles/makeup styles were really on point. I don’t wear much makeup on a daily basis but others in the wedding party do and I felt there were a great range of styles that would suit us all.

Tell us about your trial, and why you picked the hair and makeup styles that you did? 

Back of bride showing braided hairstyle

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

I had never had my hair or makeup professionally done before so I was a bit nervous. However, Sarah put me at ease with her friendly professional manner. I knew which hairstyle I wanted having looked on the gallery. However, I didn’t have the foggiest idea what I wanted for makeup apart from it being subtle and still looking like me. I asked Sarah to do what she thought was best and I think she absolutely nailed it!

Were you nervous on your wedding morning and during the bridal prep?

On the morning of the wedding I didn’t have enough time to be nervous as there was a whole host of people coming and going out of the room – videographer, photographer, florist, events coordinator and humanist to name but a few! Sarah was excellent the whole morning, even staying longer than necessary to adjust my veil and put fake eyelashes on for my bridesmaid.

Once my hair and makeup was done I hardly remember what happened next as I began getting nervous about the thought of walking down the aisle with lots of people looking at me – I’ve never been a fan of public speaking and it was daunting thinking of saying my vows in front of over 70 people! I don’t even remember or know if I managed to say bye to Sarah and thank her! (Don’t worry Arielle, you did :-))

Bride sitting in chair getting makeup done

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

And lastly, tell us about your favourite memory from your wedding day…. 

Apart from the obvious, I think one of my favourite memories was taking a moment sitting at the top table to look around at my family and friends sharing our special day. Another favourite moment was the surprise wedding singers I had organised. I had managed to keep it a secret from all wedding guests – even my husband! – and the surprise on their faces was worth a year of keeping it hush!

 

Thanks so much Arielle for letting me interview you. It was a pleasure to be part of your big day and I had a lovely morning getting you all ready. Hopefully I’ll see you again soon for the next special occasion!

My skincare routine….

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One thing I’m always banging on about to my clients is the importance of a good skincare routine. Never underestimate how much your skin will benefit from being properly looked after and taken care of.  So I thought it was about time I dedicated a blog to this particular subject!

Woman Washing Her Face With WaterA bit of an obvious point to make, but I want to begin by pointing out that everyone’s skin is different! Some people have dry skin, some have oily skin, some combination ….. and your skin will also change as you get older and even in response to your hormones, so there really is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to skincare products.  You are the best person to decide which particular products and ranges work best for your skin, and it may take a bit of trial and error. But once you find a range you like, there’s really no excuse not to look after your skin.

By sharing my own skincare routine and some of the high street products that I love and work great for me, I hope you’ll be able to see how easy it is to get into a good routine.  I’ve really noticed a change in my skin since I hit the big 4-0 a couple of years ago. I used to find my skin to be quite oily, however I’ve definitely noticed it’s a bit drier now, especially in the colder weather when I can feel it screaming to be moisturised sometimes. Anti-ageing products have definitely been on my radar recently!

Cleanse, tone and moisturise

As a minimum, we should be doing this at least once a day (at night-time) to wash away the dirt and impurities that have built up on your face (not to mention removing your makeup). If your skin is really oily, you may also wish to do this in the morning too, but if you have very dry skin then just stick with evening only.

I cleanse my face morning and night with Simple moisturising facial wash. It doesn’t make my skin feel dry afterwards but doesn’t make my skin oily either which is just what I need. I don’t wear too much make-up day to day so I don’t normally use a separate eye-makeup remover, but when I do, my favourite high-street brand would be the Garnier 2 in 1 eyemakeup remover as it literally gets rid of everything! It’s a bit oily, but that disappears after cleansing.

Natural Ingredients for SkincareOne of my favourite high street brands for toner is the Clinique Clarifying Lotion. While it’s a bit more expensive than other brands I love how it’s gentle on your skin and they also have different formulas to suit different skin types.

To moisturise, I have recently come across the Body Shop Drops of Youth range, which I really like. As I mentioned before, being over 40 I’ve found my skin to be more in need of moisture. What I really love about this product is how it feels so light yet still moisturises my skin well without leaving it feeling oily. The eye cream is great too!

Exfoliate

If you don’t exfoliate your skin, it will lead to a build up of dead skin cells, resulting in a dull/uneven skin tone and clogged pores. As with everything else, how often you exfoliate will depend on your own skin type, but as a rule, you should aim for once or twice a week. Any more and you risk stripping the skin of its natural oils. I regularly use the Body Shop Drops of Youth Liquid Peel to exfoliate. My skin feels so soft afterwards.

Face Mask

Who doesn’t love relaxing with a face mask, but how often do we get the time? Regular face masks help with hydrating the skin, deep cleansing and also improving the appearance of pores. There’s so many different face masks to choose from these days, from one off sachets to recipes for making your own! I really like the Olay Clay Stick Mask. It looks almost like a stick of deodorant which you just roll on to your face, leave to set and then rinse off.

And not forgetting….

Lastly, two things that I cannot stress enough how important they are for good skin:

Clear Glass Pitcher Pouring Water on Clear Drinking GlassSunscreen; using sunscreen will almost certainly help protect your skin against premature ageing. Many moisturisers, BB creams and foundations contain a certain amount of SPF (check the labels for full info), but if you’re going to be in the sun for prolonged periods it’s really important to wear a sunscreen of at least SPF 50. We all want to keep those wrinkles at bay for as long as we can, but more importantly this will help protect against skin cancer.

Drink water; we all know that drinking at least 2 litres of water a day has many benefits for your body. But not everyone knows of the benefits it has for skin. It helps flush out toxins, which in turn will improve complexion and give you a healthy glowing skin.

The benefits of a good skincare routine really can’t be denied, so why not get started today!?

What about the bridesmaids?

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Every bride knows just how important bridesmaids are. From planning the hen celebrations, to helping source suppliers, or even just a shoulder to cry on if wedding stresses are getting a bit too much, we all need a bridesmaid or two on hand while we prepare to say ‘I do’ to the love of our life.

bridesmaids with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

But when it comes to the all important hair and makeup for your bridesmaids, how on earth do you choose? Whether you have 1, 2 or 10 bridesmaids, the chances are you will have to decide upon styles to suit not only your bridesmaids, but possibly your colour scheme and theme too…. and the wedding morning is definitely not the time to be doing that!

A bride will usually have a trial before the big day so will know exactly how she’s having her hair and makeup. However when it comes to bridesmaids, they don’t always have a trial so it’s important to be prepared and plan in advance.

Bridesmaids can be dotted all over the country (or world!), so logistically it may be difficult to get everyone together for trials beforehand. Cost is another very important factor when it comes to trials. I would always recommend a bride factors in a hair and makeup trial for herself in her budget, but with the average UK wedding costing in the region of £25,000, bridesmaid hair and makeup trials are understandably not always possible.

Bride and bridesmaids hugging

Hair by Sarah-Lou

If you don’t plan to have trials for your bridesmaids, it’s definitely a good idea to get everyone together before the big day to discuss likes and dislikes, even if it’s on the phone or in a group message chat. That way you all have a good idea of what the bride’s expectations are when it comes to hair and makeup, what will work with colour schemes and themes, and what everyone else likes or doesn’t like.

The more bridesmaids you have, the harder it’s likely to be to have everyone with the same hair and makeup style. Hair lengths, thicknesses and types vary greatly, as do skin types and tones and face shapes, and what suits one person may not necessarily suit another. But don’t worry if you have your heart set on a uniform look for all of your bridesmaids, as it’s not impossible to achieve a consistent style.

Bridesmaids hairstyles

Hair by Sarah-Lou

Sometimes it just takes a small tweak to make a particular hairstyle work for someone, or you could incorporate something like a braid or a certain hair clip or comb across different styles to tie everything in together. For makeup, similar colours can often be used, but perhaps slightly heavier or lighter, depending on how each of your bridesmaids usually wears their own makeup. Or go with a certain style to tie in with your theme, but vary it slightly to suit each bridesmaid.

It’s often also the case that a bride is happy for her bridesmaids to choose their own hair and makeup, and this too looks lovely so there really is no right or wrong when it comes to choosing bridesmaid hair and makeup. A lot of it is down to personal preference.

Bridesmaids hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

The best advice I can give though, is to plan in advance, whether you’re having trials or not! Talk to one another and choose styles that everyone is happy with (especially the bride!), and feel free to ask your hair and makeup artist as many questions as you like before the big day, as an expert opinion is always good to have.  A bit of preparation before the wedding morning means happy bridesmaids, and most importantly a happy bride!

2019…. over in a flash!

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It’s been another busy and very quick year in the life of Sarah-Lou Beauty. 2019 has brought many more weddings, prom bookings, occasion hair and makeup, as well as my regular beauty clients and a nomination for Best Makeup Artist in the VOWS Awards.  So I thought it would be a nice idea to look back on some of my wedding bookings throughout the year.

Bride with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Annmarie – February 2019
One of my first weddings of the year was gorgeous bride Annmarie. I first met Annmarie a couple of years ago when I did her hair and makeup as a bridesmaid, so was delighted when she booked me for her own wedding. Annmarie opted for a gorgeous updo and natural makeup.

Bride with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Claire – March 2019
Claire got married at The Busby Hotel. It was an early start to do hair and makeup for Claire, her 3 bridesmaids and mum.  Claire looked gorgeous with her hair in a half up/half down style and subtle yet glam makeup.

Marie-Alix – May 2019
I think this was probably the furthest I travelled for a wedding this year, but it was worth it! Marie-Alix got married at the stunning Crear Weddings and I had a lovely morning getting her and her bridesmaids ready. Marie-Alix chose a simple yet elegant updo and very subtle makeup.

Kate – June 2019
Kate literally sailed in on a cruise ship to get married at the amazing Cromlix Hotel back in June! Kate lives in Alaska and had travelled here with close family members for her wedding. They were in the middle of a cruise and chose Cromlix for the wedding. I love the braided hair style that Kate chose.

Bride getting hair and makeup done

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Phil Gorry Photography

Arielle – July 2019
Arielle got married at the Gleddoch House Hotel and I spent the morning with her and her bridal party beautifying them for the big day. Arielle also chose a braided hair style which looked amazing with her choice of tiara.

Hanlen – August 2019
I was thrilled to be asked to do Hanlen’s hair and makeup. My family were guests at the wedding at the Tontine Hotel in Greenock, so it was extra special to involved in the preparations as well. It was an amazing day and the bride and bridesmaids looked absolutely stunning.

Bride with hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Naomi – October 2019
I first met Naomi earlier this year after she contacted me to enquire about bridal hair and makeup. Naomi suffers from very sensitive skin, so we had a couple of trials before the big day to make sure she wasn’t going to react in any way. Fortunately her skin cooperated and Naomi looked gorgeous in the soft updo and makeup she chose.

Ashley – November 2019
One of my last weddings of the year was gorgeous bride Ashley. An extremely early start, as the wedding was at 1pm and there were 5 hair and makeups to do! By the time we had finished no-one looked as though they’d been up from 6am. All the girls looked gorgeous!

I’ve met many more lovely brides during 2019 and have loved every minute of my work throughout the year. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2020 brings, and looking at my diary, it’s already shaping up to be another busy year….. Bring on the 2020 brides!

Time to Party!

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I think I promised this blog last year but didn’t ever get round to writing it, so with the Christmas party season just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to share my party make-up and product rundown with you.

Rather than creating this look on myself, I decided to enlist the help of my eldest daughter, who being 13 years old, jumped at the chance to be my party makeup model!

Makeup by Sarah-Lou

let her choose the colours we used, and as I could have guessed, she went for the Urban Decay Naked Cherry palette.  I built the rest of the look around that.

First up, as every girl knows, a good makeup look always starts with a primer.  This will ensure the perfect base for your makeup and give it the staying power you need when you’re partying the night away. For this look I’ve used Too Faced Hangover Primer. I also mixed in a small amount of NARS Copacabana Illuminator, just to give a bit of shimmer to the skin. Well it is party makeup after all!

As you already know, for the eyes I’ve used Urban Decay’s Naked Cherry palette. I love the colours in this.  I used a mix of the following colours, both on the lid and below the eye too – Caution, Feelz, Juicy, Bing and Devilish. To get the shimmer on the lids I used Mac Pigment in ‘Kitschmas’. I then smudged some matt black eyeshadow under the eyes to give it a bit more of a smokey look.

Party makeup

Makeup by Sarah-Lou

The eyeliner I used was Mac Fluidline in ‘Blacktrack’ on the top, and on the waterline I used Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye Kajal Liner.

For the lashes, I used Mac’s In Extreme Dimension 3D Black Lash Mascara, and finished off with some Ardell Baby Demi strip lashes. Eyebrows were filled in using Mac’s Fluidline Brow Gelcreme in ‘True Brunette’.

Once I’d finished the eyes, I moved on to foundation, which was Mac’s Full Coverage Foundation, in colour NC15. This was then set using Mac’s Mineralize Skin Finish in ‘Light Plus’.

I then added Mac bronzing powder to give a slightly contoured look, and finished off with some blush (Mac ‘Sincere’), and highlighter (Mac Minerlize Skinfinish in ‘Soft and Gentle’).

Party makeup

Makeup by Sarah-Lou

Finally, for the lips I used Mac ‘Whirl’ lip pencil, filled in with Mac ‘Lovelorn and some clear lip gloss over the top.

The whole look was then set using Urban Decay All Nighter makeup setting spray.

And there you have it….. a complete rundown of my party makeup look. I hope you have lots of fun recreating this as well as experimenting with your own colours and products!

A summer wedding….

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It’s time for another blog post, and this time I thought it would be nice to feature one of my weddings from this summer, since I’ve not done one of these posts for a while.

I’ve been running Sarah-Lou Beauty now since 2012, and these days I often find a lot of my new clients are recommended to me from previous brides. This is exactly what happened with Gemma; I did bridal hair and makeup for one of her bridesmaids a couple of years back and she recommended me.

Bridal hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou Beauty
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

Gemma was a super organised bride and booked me to do her bridal hair and makeup a year and a half before her wedding! This was definitely a good idea as it’s not unusual for my diary to fill up well in advance, especially for weekend dates in the summer months.

I first met Gemma later that year, when she booked me to do her hair and makeup for a family wedding. It was great to meet her and get to know her and her hair and makeup likes and dislikes before the main trial. On this occasion she went for a simple but elegant updo and some gorgeous glam makeup.

Bride and mother of the bride hair and makeup

Bride and mother of the bride hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou Beauty
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

Fast forward another 6+ months and I did hair and makeup trials for Gemma and her mum, Michelle. Gemma wasn’t sure if she wanted her hair up or down for the wedding, so we tried a couple of styles. Gemma was fortunate enough to already have her dress home at this stage, so she was able to try it on with each hairstyle and take some pics to look back on and make the final decision!

On the wedding morning, I went to the venue to get Gemma and her girls ready; the fabulous Waterside Hotel in West Kilbride. Such a lovely location right on the beach, and an amazing honeymoon suite!

Bride and bridesmaids hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou Beauty
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

It was an early start, and the weather wasn’t the best (even though it was July!) but that definitely didn’t dampen anyone’s spirits. It was great to have a giggle with the girls while I got everyone ready. It was also great catching up with Gemma’s bridesmaid Laura, who I did bridal hair and makeup for a couple of years earlier, and meeting Gemma’s other bridesmaid Rebecca, for the first time.

On the day, Gemma decided to have her hair up, and went for a gorgeous, soft and relaxed updo with lots of loose strands. Makeup was nice and natural with some shimmer and strip lashes – just perfect!

Bridal hair and makeup

Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Cara Frew Photography

The bridesmaids chose their own hair and makeup styles, with Laura opting to have her hair down with some soft curls and Rebecca choosing loose waves pinned round to one side. Both girls went for a natural makeup look to complement the bride. Mother of the bride went for a lovely soft updo with subtle makeup. All four girls looked stunning!

Gemma’s photographer, Cara Frew Photography, captured some fantastic getting ready shots! It was the first time I’d actually met Cara, but strangely enough we were both working at the same wedding the following day.

What an amazing morning getting Gemma and her girls ready and I’m so happy to have been a part of it! 

A bit about me…..

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While I was thinking about a topic for my latest blog post, it suddenly occurred to me, that until you actually meet me, you probably don’t know much at all about me and why I chose to be a hair and makeup artist.

A part of my job I really enjoy is getting to know all my clients. I love taking time to chat with you and hearing all about your lives. So it’s only fair you should know about me too….. so here goes…..!

Sarah-Lou Beauty

I’m 42 years old and live with my husband, Kevin and our two daughters, Millie and Mia. I love travelling, sport and spending time with my family. I haven’t always been a hair and makeup artist, although I have always been interested in hair and beauty.

When I was at school I seriously considered a career in beauty, and even got to the stage where I had narrowed down a few different college courses. But something changed my mind and I chose to study admin instead.

Fast forward a few years and my job led me into marketing, where I gained further qualifications and had quite a successful career as a marketing executive in the software industry (I know…. poles apart from what I do now!).

Girl with bridal hair and makeup
Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Although I did enjoy my job, I never felt like it was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and was always on the look out for something new. After having my first daughter in 2006, I went back to work full-time and found my priorities and attitude to work had changed.  After a couple of years I was made redundant, and this became the catalyst for my change in career.

I was pregnant with my second daughter and realised this was my opportunity to choose a career that I was passionate about and would fit around my family. So I decided to take some time out and re-train in beauty, makeup and hairstyling. And from there, Sarah-Lou Beauty was born.

Girl with bridesmaid hair and makeup
Hair and makeup by Sarah-Lou

Starting my own business has been the best ever move for my career, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to do this.  Do I regret not choosing a career in hair and beauty straight from school? Absolutely not! My business and marketing experience has been a fantastic foundation for Sarah-Lou Beauty.

I love meeting new clients every week and having the opportunity to be a part of your special day. Nothing compares to seeing the end result of my hard work, and most importantly, having happy clients!

Getting the most from your hair and makeup trial

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I feel as if these days I always start my blog by commenting how long it’s been since I last posted. And this one is no exception! The months have flown by and once again my blog has been way down on my to do list.

So without further ado, I’ll get onto the topic in question this time; getting the most from your hair and makeup trial.

Many brides I speak with say they don’t know what to expect at their hair and makeup trial and often have loads of questions, so I thought it would be a good idea to focus my latest blog post on this very subject. Your wedding hair and makeup is such an important part of your overall look, and for this reason alone, I always recommend having a trial, even if you’re pretty certain on what you want. The last thing you need is to get to your wedding morning and find you don’t like the look you had your heart set upon.

The right time
Brides will often ask me when I would recommend they have their trial, but to be honest, there’s really no set rules. Some people will have theirs months in advance, whereas others will wait until just a couple of weeks before the wedding. Whatever you decide is absolutely fine.  One thing I would say, is if you’re unsure of what you want, then it may be best to have your trial sooner rather than later, so you have plenty of time to find the right style for you.

Some brides like to arrange their hair and makeup trial for the same day as their dress fitting, and this is a really good idea to help you see exactly how everything will look together on the day. If you can’t manage this, then it might be a good idea to wear something white to your trial, so you can see how make-up colourings etc will work.

Another option is to book your trial to coincide with a night out, such as your hen do. A lot of brides like to do this so they can make the most of getting their hair and makeup done. Although this will depend on whether you’re happy for people to see how you’re having your hair and makeup on the wedding day.

Preparing for the trial
It’s a good idea to think ahead and try to replicate exactly how you’re hair and skin will be on the day. So if you’re planning on getting your hair trimmed or coloured just before the wedding, then do the same before the trial, or if you’re having a spray tan for the wedding, then get one done before the trial as well.

In terms of preparing your hair and skin, it’s always best to wash your hair at least the day before the trial, as ‘day old’ hair is much easier to work with. That said, if you do usually wash your hair every day and are concerned it may look greasy if you don’t, then no problem at all to wash your hair the morning of the trial, just go easy on the conditioner so it’s not too soft!

For your makeup trial, you should have a makeup free face with no product at all.

It’s important to keep a good skincare routine in the run up to the wedding (and all the time!). You should cleanse, tone and moisturise morning and night. You can also exfoliate 1-2 times a week and most importantly, drink plenty of water! If you have time, and budget allows, try and fit in a couple of facials as well, but not too close to the wedding day as they can sometimes cause your skin to break out.

During the trial
There’s no set amount of time that the trial will last; Basically, I’m there until you’re happy. But as a guide, a typical hair and makeup trial would last between 1 ½ to 2 hours. At the start of the trial I’ll spend time chatting with you about styles you like and dislike, and how you would normally wear your hair and makeup, both day-to-day and also when you go out.

It’s helpful if you can collect pictures beforehand of some of your favourite hair and makeup styles, but it’s also important to remember that everyone is different, and styles won’t always look the same on everyone.

One thing I can’t emphasise enough is please don’t be afraid to say if you don’t like something! This is exactly why we do a trial, and I would much rather you said you weren’t happy with a particular style so we can work together to change it. Sometimes it just takes a very small tweak to turn your hair and makeup from something you’re not sure about to something you absolutely love.

Final tweaks
I’ll take pictures from the trial and make detailed notes of all products used, so we know exactly what we’re doing on the day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make changes. Sometimes you just need to take a step back and have a re-think and there’s nothing wrong with that at all. And if it happens that you decide after the trial that you want to change something, that’s no problem either. We don’t always see things until we’re looking back at photos afterwards, which is another very good reason why it’s important to have a trial! Things can be tweaked on the wedding day without any problem.

Having a hair and makeup trial before the big day will help give you peace of mind for the wedding morning.  Hopefully these tips will help you get the most from your hair and makeup trial, and also help to make it the enjoyable experience that it should be!

The ‘no makeup’ makeup look

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OK, I know…. Just before Christmas I promised to share with you my Christmas party makeup and a rundown of the products I used. Unfortunately December proved to be a very busy month and time just ran away with me.

Since Christmas is now well and truly over with, I’ve decided to leave my party makeup blog until a bit later, and instead I’m going to share with you my tips for achieving that fabulous glowing ‘no makeup’ look.

I’m sure we’d all love to jump out of bed in the morning and leave for work with our skin looking effortlessly flawless. But in reality, that very rarely happens. The ‘no makeup’ makeup look seems to be very popular at the moment, especially among celebrities, and I think it’s a great way to differentiate your daytime makeup from your nighttime party makeup.

The main thing to remember with a no makeup look is ‘less is definitely more’. Always use a light touch and apply products sparingly. That way you’ll avoid looking too ‘made up’.

A good skincare routine
A good skincare routine will undoubtedly help you achieve a fabulous no makeup look. As a very minimum, you should be cleansing, toning and moisturising every day, morning and night, to make sure your skin is free of dirt, oil and makeup. Once a week you can exfoliate and use a face mask for a deep cleanse. You also need to know your own skin type, whether it’s dry, oily, normal or combination, so you can use products that are appropriate. And don’t forget, your skin type can change depending on a number of factors including the time of year, hormones and age.

Primer
Using a primer will help even out your skin tone, so it’s the perfect base for your no makeup look and also helps your makeup stay in place. My favourite, and the one I have used in this picture, is Mac’s Prep and Prime Natural Radiance. It’s even got a bit of shimmer in it to help with a natural dewy look.

Base
Rather than using the full coverage foundation you would use for a night out, opt for something a bit more minimal for your no makeup base. Tinted moisturiser or BB cream is ideal, or if you want something just a bit heavier then go for a light to medium coverage foundation. The one I have used here is Mac Face and Body Foundation, which I just love. Then add a touch of your favourite concealer under your eyes if you wish. I’ve used NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.

Bronzer and Highlighter
Because this is a no makeup look we aren’t going full on contour, but there’s definitely still a place for some bronzer and highlighter. Use a light sweep of cream bronzer, as it will absorb into the skin more than a powder and give a much more natural look. A touch of cream highlighter will also help with that dewy look. I’ve used my Clinique Chubby Stick in ‘Hefty Highlight’ as a highlighter for this look, and Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel for my bronzer.

Blush
Again, using a cream blush will help give a more natural look than a powder. Add a little to the cheeks for that natural flushed look. One of my favourite cream blushes is Mac Cream Colour Base, which is what I’ve used in this picture.

Brows
Your brows frame the face, but avoid doing quite as much with them as you would for a night out. In this picture I’ve used my Benefit ‘Gimmie Brow’ to brush my brows into shape and give them a nice subtle tint.

Lashes
Go easy on the mascara for your no makeup look. Go for more of a lengthening look than volumising. Eyelash curlers are also great for achieving a longer lash. In this picture I’ve used Smashbox’s eyelash primer, followed by Mac’s Extended Play mascara and have also curled my lashes.

Lips
A nice natural lip gloss or tint will help give your lips a lovely natural sheen, without going overboard and will finish off your no makeup look. In this picture I’ve used Clinique Glosswear in ‘Juicy Apple’.

Before and After….. makeup by Sarah-Lou

And there you have it…… my ‘no makeup’ makeup look!