Tag Archives: bridal hair and makeup

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!

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!

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!