Beauty Blog

Top of the ROCCO!

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It’s now been a couple of weeks since my amazing win at the ROCCOS; The Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce ROCCO Award for Excellence in Customer Service!

I’m absolutely ecstatic with this latest win as it reinforces my commitment to delivering excellent customer service, and to be recognised for this in my local community makes me so proud.

For me this award was a bit different, as it’s not just specific to the wedding industry.  It takes in all kinds of businesses in the Renfrewshire area, some large some small, and all industry types from manufacturing to education, leisure and retail.

First of all, I had to complete an application form, answering questions relating to my business and commitment to customer service. The judges were looking for specific evidence that I have customer satisfaction at the heart of my business, and proof of my continued commitment to exceeding customer expectations.

So my application was completed and submitted in time for the deadline, and a few weeks later I was delighted to receive an email from the organisers saying I’d been shortlisted, along with two other organisations, for the award.

I was particularly delighted with the news because, as a small business, I had been shortlisted alongside two much larger organisations, and for me this is a major achievement.

For the next stage of the judging process I had to prepare a presentation and take part in an interview with the judges.  A bit nerve-wracking, but once I got to work on my presentation I found I had so much to say about my commitment to customer service, and how I can demonstrate this. All of my worries quickly faded, and I actually really enjoyed the process.  Now the hard work had been done, I could look forward to the awards dinner.

On the evening, my award was the first to be announced and I was surprised but thrilled when my name was called out.  My very own business, Sarah-Lou Beauty, chosen as the winner….. WOW! It was a brilliant evening all round, and was a great celebration of some of the fantastic businesses there are in Renfrewshire.

This award is another wonderful accolade for Sarah-Lou Beauty…… thank you everyone for your continued support!

The Wedding of Carly and Andrew

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For my latest blog post, I’ve decided to feature a wedding
I did hair and make-up for back in August; the wedding of Carly and Andrew at New Lanark Mill Hotel.

Carly originally contacted me back in November 2016, which in terms of wedding planning, is later than some to be arranging hair and makeup. Fortunately though, I still had her date free so I provided her with a quote and was delighted to receive an email a few days later saying she’d like to go ahead and book!

In 2017 there’s been a definite trend amongst my brides, in that quite a few of them don’t live in Scotland, but were coming here to get married. And Carly was one of them.

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou  Photography by Paul McGuigan Photography

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Paul McGuigan Photography

To be honest, this doesn’t pose any real problems to me, other than making sure I can fit the bride in for a trial around her schedule of when she’s going to be in the area. Or if she can’t make it here for a trial beforehand, ensuring I have a good idea of her requirements for the day.

First Meeting
I met with Carly in March for her hair and make-up trial, when she was here for the weekend on a wedding planning trip.  We discussed her ideas for hair and make-up and Carly was delighted with the look I created for her.  Even better, she got to show it off that evening as she was catching up with friends for dinner!

At the trial we also discussed hair and make-up styles she would like for the two bridesmaids, as since they both lived down south as well, it wasn’t possible for them to come to Glasgow for the trial.  But with a few email exchanges, some hair and makeup trials in their home town, and a few pictures later, I had a good idea of what the bridesmaids would both like for hair and make-up on the big day.

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou Photography by Paul McGuigan Photography

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Paul McGuigan Photography

The Big Day
It was an early start for me on that Sunday in August, as I had to be at New Lanark Mill Hotel for 8am to make sure I had plenty of time to get everyone ready.

As a mobile hair and make-up artist, I don’t always know exactly where I’m going to be getting a bride ready on her wedding morning, and can often find myself in less than spacious surroundings! But this definitely wasn’t the case at New Lanark.  They have a dedicated room for getting the bridal party ready, which is very aptly named ‘The VIB Suite’.  It most definitely has the WOW factor, and all of the little details have been thought of, such as fairy lights, dressing tables, hooks to hang the dresses, and anything else a bride could possibly need on her wedding morning.

The morning went by in a breeze and I had such fun getting all of the girls ready; Carly and her two bridesmaids, Jennifer and Komal; mother of the bride, Sheila; and mother of the groom, Dawn.

Before we knew it, it was 1:30pm, the girls were all looking gorgeous, and it was time for me to leave. I always love looking back at the transformation from when I arrive first thing in the morning, to the point when I leave and everyone’s excited for the day ahead. Carly and the girls were no exception!

After the Event

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou Photography by Paul McGuigan Photography

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou
Photography by Paul McGuigan Photography

I was delighted to hear from Carly before she went off on honeymoon a week later. I received a lovely email, thanking me again, and also enclosing some pictures from the professional photographer, Paul McGuigan Photography. I just love it when my brides send me on their professional pictures! It’s great seeing the way the photographer has captured the morning.

Thanks again Carly for choosing me to do your hair and make-up for your special day!

A day (or few!) in the life……

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As a bridal hair and make-up artist,
my life is consumed by all things wedding…… I literally eat, sleep and breathe weddings.  Especially at this time of year!

I appreciate this is not the norm for most people, and if you’re just starting to plan your wedding you may not have a clue where to start and what to expect when booking your hair and make-up artist.  So I’d like to take you on a little journey…..

In this blog post, I’m going to take you through a typical wedding booking with Sarah-Lou Beauty, right from the initial enquiry to the big day itself and beyond.

bridal, hair, makeup

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

I’ve got mail
A booking would usually start with a phone call, email enquiry or Facebook message.  I’m a very busy lady but I know you’ll be eagerly awaiting my response, so I do my very best to answer all emails and messages within 24 hours (most of the time a lot quicker)!

I will always respond with my availability on your wedding day, full pricing information and an accurate quote on the services required including any travel charges involved, as well as answering any other specific questions asked.

If I don’t hear back from you after a couple of weeks, I will always send a quick follow up email.  I’m not being pushy, just want to make sure my email was received (and not landed in spam!) and you have all the info you need.

So you want to book?
Once you have confirmed you’re interested in booking, I will send over a copy of my contract for you to review and complete, as well as details for paying the all-important deposit – as soon as I have received both, the date will be reserved in my diary. Exciting!

Arranging the trial
Once your booking has been confirmed, you’ll want to start thinking about arranging your trial.  It’s entirely up to you when (and if!) you have a trial, although as a guide most brides would usually have theirs a couple of months before the wedding.  I do always recommend a trial for the bride, just so we know exactly what’s happening on the day and to make sure your chosen style of hair and make-up is both achievable and exactly what you’re looking for.  I would always advise getting your trial booked in the diary as soon you can, to make sure you can get the date you’re looking for.

bridal, hair, makeup

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

The all-important trial
This is your chance to try out the hair and make-up look you had in mind and to make sure you’re happy with it.  I would encourage you to do a bit of research before the trial and look for styles you particularly like (or dislike).  Don’t worry if you’re still not completely sure when it comes to the trial, as I will chat through all options with you and advise on suitable hair and make-up styles, depending on a number of different factors.  Once you are completely happy with your hair and make-up, I will take pictures and keep notes of all products used so I can refer back to on the wedding day.

Always on hand
After the trial, I generally won’t have any need to contact you until nearer the big day. But that doesn’t mean you can’t contact me!  If you have any questions at all (no matter how daft you think they are), I’m always at the end of the phone, email, Facebook message etc so please just get in touch and I’ll be happy to help!

Run up to the big day
A week or two before your big day I’ll be in touch to re-confirm all details with you including the date, time, number of people for hair and make-up, and final balance due on the day.  This will give us both peace of mind that we know exactly what’s happening and when!

bridal, hair, makeup

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

On the day
A wedding day for me will often involve an early start, and depending on how far I’m travelling, can see me setting off as early as 5am!  Hair and make-up usually starts any time from 7am, but don’t panic if you think that’s very early to have your hair and make-up done! I’m more than happy for you to dictate the order that everyone goes in, but with an early start like that I would usually advise beginning with hair.  That way I can curl and set hairs and start with that side of things, before moving on to make-up later in the morning.  More often than not a bride will want to go last and that’s no problem at all.  I would however advise with large parties that the bride goes second last, just so there’s plenty of time for her to get her dress on once her hair and make-up are finished.

I say this so many times, but I absolutely love being a part of a bride’s wedding morning and I like to think of myself as more of a friend than a supplier on your wedding day! I spend a good few hours with you, and try my best to have a calming effect and help turn your nerves into excitement for the day ahead!

After the big day
Now that your wedding day is a distant memory and you’ve returned from honeymoon, you can expect an email from me to follow up and invite you to take part in my customer feedback survey.  I’ve tried to keep this short and sweet as appreciate you don’t want to spend ages filling in forms!  It’s really just a few questions so I can make sure everything was OK for you, and invite you to make any suggestions on how I might improve the service for future brides!

Hopefully this post has given you an insight into what your hair and make-up booking with Sarah-Lou Beauty will involve and has helped to answer any initial questions you may have before and after you book.  Happy wedding planning!!

Wedding hair and what to consider…..

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What with holidays, prom season and wedding season, my latest blog post has fallen well overdue!

Looking back I see my last couple of posts have been make-up related, so law of averages would dictate that this one should focus on hair!

From conversations I have with my brides, I know a lot of you struggle to choose a hairstyle for your big day, so what better subject for this post than tips for choosing your wedding hair!

I’m sure we’ve all been there before….. you see a picture of a celebrity with a hairstyle you love, and then you try it on your own hair and it’s nothing like it!  There are obviously going to be limitations on what you can and can’t do with your own hair, depending on the type and length of hair you have, but there are also many ways you CAN achieve at least a variation of your dream style. I’ve noted below my tips for this, and what you should consider.

Long hair with extensions, bridal hair

Hair (and makeup) by Sarah-Lou …… extensions added to give more volume and length

First up, take into account your own hair….. if you have really fine hair, or not quite the length you’re looking for then don’t panic as you can still often achieve a lovely updo or have your hair down with lots of volume.  A great way to add inches and volume is with extensions. And you needn’t go out and spend a fortune on a weave or bonds, as clip-in extensions work just as well, can be removed straight away and don’t cost the earth either.  Another way to add a bit of volume to an updo would be to add padding in the form of a donut or other hairpiece. Any good hairdresser will be able to work wonders with these, and the end result is fantastic!

The style of your dress will also play a big part in the hairstyle that you choose.  If it has a high neck or a lot of detailing near the top, then you would probably want to go for an updo rather than having your hair down.  Likewise, if there is a certain theme to your wedding and/or dress (e.g. vintage), then you may also want your hairstyle to follow this theme.

Updo with extensions, bridal hair

Hair by Sarah-Lou ….. extensions added to give appearance of longer hair in updo

Another thing to take into account is the time of year, and location of your wedding too.  If it’s winter time or you’re planning on being outside for a long period, then an updo will almost certainly fare better against the elements than having your hair down. I know we all see celebrities outside on their wedding days with their hair down and looking amazing, but they will no doubt have a team of stylists on hand throughout the day to ensure they look as glam as ever.  Something most brides will not have the budget for!

Hair accessories should also be considered when choosing your hairstyle.  Some of you will choose your style around the hair accessory you have already picked, while others will pick the hair accessory after they’ve chosen the style. My advice would be not to get too hung up on whether or not your chosen hairpiece will work with your hairstyle; it would be very rare that I couldn’t tweak a hairstyle to suit a hair accessory.

Updo with padding, bridal hair

Hair by Sarah-Lou….. updo with padding added to create more volume and the appearance of bigger hair

And once again, I know I always say it, but DON’T BE TEMPTED TO SKIP THE TRIAL! A trial is the only way you will know for sure before the big day whether or not your chosen style will work for you.  Even if you live far away and you can’t get a trial booked with your wedding hairdresser, go to a local hairdresser and get them to do a trial for you.  The last thing you want is to get to your wedding morning and end up stressed because you don’t like the hairstyle that you had your heart set on, or it just won’t work with your hair. Before your trial, it’s a good idea to build up a collection of hairstyles that you really like, or even ones that you particularly dislike too. Pinterest is a great way of doing this and will be really helpful for your hairdresser to see.

I want you to enjoy choosing your bridal (and bridesmaid/wedding party) hairstyles, and I hope these tips will help take the stress out of it all!

Choosing your bridal make-up…..

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As a hair and make-up artist, I’m often asked for advice on the latest trends in bridal make-up, but to be honest, these days it’s really hard to define what ‘standard’ bridal make-up is! With easy access to so many online tutorials and articles, people are becoming more adventurous with their make-up and it can be really difficult for a bride to know what will work for her wedding day. So here’s some of my thoughts and tips on finding that all important bridal look for you!

Natural bridal make-up

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

Keeping it natural…. If you don’t usually wear a lot of make-up, it’s unlikely that you would want to go for anything too bold on your big day, so it’s a good idea to keep a natural fresh-faced look, and neutral colours can be great for this. They can be built up to give varying degrees of subtlety and are an excellent starting point for any bride who is finding the choice of make-up very daunting.

Going for bold…. If you regularly wear a lot of make-up, you may prefer to go for a bolder look on your wedding day. Smokey eyes are great, look fab in photos, and again, can be built up to achieve a look that works for you. Add to that some lash extensions and you have a whole new look! They help to open up the eye, finish off the make-up, and again, look great for your photos.

Bold bridal makeup

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

There are so many different make-up styles and trends, but not all of them will work for everyone. A professional make-up artist will be able to work with you and advise on styles that will be suitable for you, based on many different factors.

And most importantly…. Don’t skip the trial! With wedding budgets spiralling out of control, it can be tempting to try and save pennies by skipping on hair and make-up trials, but I would advise always getting a trial for at least the bride. Taking the time for a trial before your wedding day will give you peace of mind and reassurance that we can not only achieve your desired look, but we can achieve a look that works for you. You want to feel comfortable with your ‘bridal’ look and my aim is to ensure that you look like the best version of you!

What’s your favourite?

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We all have our favourite make-up pieces…. you know one the ones I mean…. those that we use religiously and would have a meltdown if they were ever discontinued…. yep that’s the ones!

As a professional make-up artist I’ve gone through more than my fair share of make-up, so I thought it was about time I shared some of my favourite items from my own kit with you!

Now, bearing in mind my own kit is more than likely ten times the size of the average person’s, I wouldn’t have time to share all of my key pieces with you in just one blog post, but here goes with some of my absolute favourites……

make-up, glam make-up

Make-up by Sarah-Lou Beauty

Smashbox Primer…. I just love this primer as it helps to create a flawless blank canvas to start any make-up look.  What’s more, there are several different formulas of this primer to suit all types of skin.  My favourites are the original oil free photo finish primer, hydrating photo finish primer (great for dry skin!) and colour correcting photo finish primer, which helps for covering up red patches of skin and conditions such as rosacea.

Urban Decay Naked Eye Palettes….. right from when I bought my very first Naked eyeshadow palette (the original one) I have been hooked on these, and have since added Naked 3 and Naked Smokey to my collection.  The colours are fantastic and with these 3 palettes alone I can create so many different make-up looks.

NARS Illuminator in Copacabana….. this is quite a recent addition to my kit, but I absolutely love it!  A little goes a long with with this, and you only need a tiny amount to achieve a natural glow, but you can also build it up to give a more intense look.  It’s really versatile as it can be used under or over foundation, as well as mixed with it (or moisturiser) to create many different looks.

make-up, glam make-up

Make-up by Sarah-Lou Beauty

Mac Lipsticks….. in my opinion, a Mac lipstick is a must have for any girl’s make-up bag.  They come in different textures such as matte, satin and frost, and the colours are so pigmented.  They last really well, especially if you use Mac lip primer before applying.  Three of my favourite colours are ‘Velvet Teddy’, ‘Mehr’ and ‘Russian Red’.

Rimmel Scandal Eyes Volume Mascara….. As well as the high-end make-up brands I’ve recommended, I also wanted to include some of my favourite items from high-street ranges, and here’s one of them.  This mascara is great for adding volume and length to any lashes without looking too clumpy.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush…… This is another one of my favourite high-street brands! Real Techniques brushes are very reasonably priced when you compare them to other similar high-end brushes, yet they do such a fantastic job.  I use my buffing brush for both powder and liquid as it’s so good at getting the product right into the skin for a flawless finish.

Mac Powder Blush….. As you would expect from Mac, the colours are highly pigmented so this blush lasts for ages!  A fantastic range of colours, two of my favourites are ‘Peaches’ and ‘Harmony’ (which is also great for contouring!).

Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray….. this setting spray is the perfect finishing touch to any make-up and helps it to stay in place all day.  Leaves your skin feeling nice and refreshed as well!

make-up collection, award-winning make-up artistThere are so many other fabby make-up pieces that I could mention here, but unfortunately don’t have the space to go into detail about why I love them so much, but here’s just a few more…… NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer (great for under the eyes), Mac Fluidline Brow Gelcreme (for killer brows), Rimmel Brow This Way Eyebrow Gel (for even more killer brows), Anastasia Beverley Hills Cream Contour Kit (fab colours for contouring) and not forgetting Salon System strip lashes to finish the look!

The list could go on even more, but I hope you have enjoyed reading about some of my favourite pieces of make-up….. I’m sure I’ll be adding to this list again!

Do your homework!

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It’s the start of a new year, and for many engaged couples January marks the start of some serious wedding planning! Now that the busy Christmas period is over, it’s full steam ahead as brides and grooms begin researching and booking suppliers for their upcoming wedding. But where on earth do you start?

There are so many suppliers out there when it comes to weddings, not just in the hair and beauty field, but everywhere! From photographers to venues, bands and florists, there are literally thousands upon thousands, so it’s no surprise if you end up feeling a little bit daunted by what’s on offer.

In this blog post I give my expert advice on finding the perfect hair and make-up artist for you and your bridal party.

bridal hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

First up, it’s great to go with recommendations.  Have any of your friends, colleagues or relations been married recently? Ask them who did their hair and make-up, what they thought of them, and do they have any photos they could show you? Or alternatively, have a look at various online wedding directories, such as The Glasgow Girls Wedding Guide/Edinburgh Brides or the Scottish Wedding Directory. You should also have a look on Facebook groups and ask for recommendations there – two groups that are definitely worth a look are Facebay Weddings and Blushing Brides Scotland. These groups are awash with brides-to-be and newly married brides who are more than willing to share tips and advice on suppliers.

Once you’ve drawn up a shortlist of potential hair and make-up artists, you should begin researching their work and looking at their websites and social media pages. It’s amazing the amount of information you can get online these days – from pictures of previous work to pricing information and reviews/testimonials from previous brides (both good and bad) – so this is a great starting point to get a feel for each hair and make-up artist’s style of work and capabilities.

You can then contact each supplier with as much detail as possible, i.e. the date you are getting married, location, and how many there are likely to be for hair and make-up. Giving this information will ensure that your chosen suppliers can get back to you quickly with a realistic quote and further details, providing of course they are free on your date.

Based on the responses you have received, you can now draw up a shortlist of the ones who are available on your date and who fit within your budget, and then look at these ones in more detail to help you find someone that you feel completely comfortable with.

Don’t be afraid to ask as many questions as you want – all good hair and make-up artists will be more than happy to answer your questions (no matter how silly you think they are!), and will happily offer their expert opinions and advice on what is realistic and what can/can’t be achieved.

Now for the finer details; as a very minimum you should expect your supplier to be both qualified and insured, and they should have no hesitation in providing you with further information on this. If in doubt, ask to see insurance certificates etc.

bridal hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

All good suppliers will issue a contract upon booking and receipts for all payments made. A contract can often seem a bit formal and might put some people off, but it’s there to protect you both and will ensure everyone is clear on what is being delivered, who is responsible for what, and when payment is expected (very important for budgeting!). Once again, if you have any questions at all, just speak to your supplier and they will be more than happy to help!

Once you’ve chosen and booked your hair and make-up artist you can then get down to the fun stuff like choosing hair and make-up styles, booking trials and going shopping for hair accessories!

Choosing a hair and make-up artist should be an enjoyable part of your wedding planning. It doesn’t have to be a stressful experience, and if you follow the above as a guide then there’s no reason at all why you can’t find the perfect supplier for you!

VOW! What a night!

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One week on from winning my award for ‘Wedding Make-up Artist of the Year’ at the VOWS 2016, and I can’t tell you how exciting it has been with all of the recognition and congratulations I have received. I’ve had to wait until it actually sunk in to write this, but now I would like to share my journey with you…..

I first became aware of the VOWS Awards when I was planning my own wedding, some 8 years ago. For those of you who don’t know, VOWS stands for ‘Voted Outstanding Wedding Supplier’ and for a number of years now has been dubbed the ‘Oscars’ of the Scottish wedding industry.

VOWS Award, best make-up artistWhen I launched Sarah-Lou Beauty in 2012, right from the get go I knew that I wanted my business to centre around delivering an excellent level of customer service for my clients – after all, a wedding day is such a special day, and I’m honoured to be part of that. So for me to deliver anything less than excellent customer service….. well, it just wouldn’t happen! Four years on, and I pride myself on the level of recommendations and repeat business I receive, based on the quality service that I provide.

So it felt only natural that I should put myself forward for a wedding award that celebrates and promotes excellence in customer service within the wedding industry – the VOWS Awards.

The first couple of years were spent building up my business and gaining a reputation as a quality provider of bridal hair, make-up and beauty packages in Scotland. By late 2014 I thought it was time to have a go at entering. Unfortunately it wasn’t to be that year and I wasn’t shortlisted, but did receive some excellent feedback from the judges, so I wasn’t put off entering again the following year. I was delighted to reach the finals in 2015, but sadly it wasn’t to be that year either.

 

Vows award, best make-up artistOnce again I reached the finals in 2016, and to say that I was shocked when my name was called out as the winner is an understatement! Not because I didn’t think I was a worthy winner, but the level of competition in these awards is so very high. It’s such an achievement even to be a finalist in the VOWS Awards, but for the judges to have picked me from all of the other entrants….. wow, what an amazing feeling!

But it’s important for me to remember one of the very reasons I won this award in the first place, and that’s YOU!! Without the feedback and recommendations from previous brides like you, and without you taking the time to nominate me for awards, then wins like this just wouldn’t happen! I truly am so grateful that you guys take the time to recommend and nominate me ….. you have made me one happy girl and for that I thank you all so much! Here’s to 2017!

Winter Weddings!

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I just love winter weddings! There’s something about the deep and rich shades that brides often pick for their colour schemes in winter that makes everything feel so romantic. Add to that the dark afternoons and evenings, some candlelight, and maybe even a dusting of snow and there you have your perfect winter wedding!

Hair and make-up looks at this time of year often vary from the summer looks – Incorporating the rich colours into make-up can look great, with lovely dark smokey eyes and a deep red lip colour, but that said, if you’re more of a fan of the natural look, that too can work wonderfully for a winter theme – why not consider a subtle shimmer to finish off the look?

Bride and mother of the bride in wedding car

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou, photograph by Gary Davidson Photography

For hair, you may wish to think about an updo, rather than having your hair down and loose. If you’re intending to brave the elements for outdoor photos, or having to travel between locations, an updo will undoubtedly fair better in the wind, rain and blizzards, and will help you to keep that polished look all day long!

Whichever style of hair and make-up you choose for your winter wedding, it’s important to bear in mind your hair and skincare routine in the run up to the wedding!

winter bride holding bouquet

Hair and make-up by Sarah-Lou

The cold and wet weather can wreak havoc on our skin at this time of year, so a good skincare routine is vital. Pay particular attention to moisturising skin and lips to prevent chapping and dry patches, and make sure you don’t neglect your hair either – apply an intense conditioning treatment regularly and avoid over-use of straighteners and tongs.

Whatever your requirements, as a professional hair and make-up artist I’m always on hand to advise you on the perfect style to suit, and will do my utmost to make sure you look and feel like a million dollars for your winter wedding!