Every Tuesday for the next 5 weeks, I’ll write an article which will be hosted on The Pretty Blog.  I’ve started with an introduction to makeup and beauty and then we’ll move onto specific looks for a bride’s big day (as well as a feature on makeup for mature skin).

Another great aspect of this series is that you can ask questions on The Pretty Blog (comment on any one of my articles), their Facebook page or Twitter profile and each week I will answer one of the questions.

Each article will “premiere” on The Pretty Blog and a couple of days later, I’ll post it here. So, if you want all the tips and tricks asap, get your cyber butt over to The Pretty Blog!

Here it is….

“Hi everyone and thank you for such a warm welcome! I am beyond thrilled to be a part of this team and I hope that over the next few weeks, I can help answer some of your beauty and makeup questions…and give you a little insight into the makeup world so that your wedding day runs as smoothly as possible.

I’m going to use this first post as a little introduction and hopefully clear up some basic issues with beauty and makeup. My approach to makeup is simple and non-fussy…let’s make it as easy as possible because I don’t believe anyone truly has the time or inclination to spend hours on their face every day. I also believe in multi-purpose makeup…saving us time and money!

Let’s start at the very beginning…basic skincare. As much as I’d love to give you a list of fail-proof beauty products, it’s just not possible…you need to find the right combination of products to suit your individual skin type. There are, however, three basics guidelines I can offer:

* Always wear sunscreen ~ Most foundations and moisturizers have a “built-in” SPF and this should be fine if you only drive to/from work and you work in an office all day. If your job entails a lot of driving or working outside, you need to use a separate, high SPF sunscreen over your moisturizer. I know some people will worry about shine and oil build-up, but there really are some fantastic sunscreens out there which are specially formulated for the face.

* Exfoliate once a week ~ Don’t be too harsh on your skin and exfoliate every day. Most skin types only need exfoliation once a week with a gentle product (I mix a little Bicarb with my face wash) and remember don’t’ scrub.

* Balanced lifestyle ~ Nothing is better for your skin than regular exercise, eating balanced meals and drinking up to 8 glasses of water a day. There is no skin product in the world that can match the positive aspect of a balanced lifestyle.

Each week I will discuss a different, yet popular type of bridal makeup. I’ll include tips and short-cuts on how to recreate each look for everyday wear. However, before we move onto this part of the series, I would like to offer some advice and guidelines on how to choose your makeup artist for your wedding and what to expect.  There is a lot to plan and arrange for a wedding, your makeup should be the relaxing and pampering part of your day!

* If you’re not sure where to start looking for a makeup artist, try your local model agency or salon. Get as many names as possible and do what any woman would do starting off a new relationship….google them!

* Once you have some details, contact each artist and request the following information: Bridal rate, trial cost, the price per additional face, the cost for hairstyling, travel fee and portfolio details (website or images they can email to you to show their experience). You will also need to give the following information: date of the wedding, date of trial, number of additional faces and wedding venue.

* When looking at the makeup artists’ work check for any obvious signs of photoshop (smooth skin where you can’t make out the pores of the skin) and don’t mistake this retouching as makeup. Also beware of any “bad shine” (on the side of the nose, under the eyes or on the chin and forehead) and also watch out for that over powdered look (which can be ageing and make the makeup appear cakey and thick). The blush and eye shadow should be well blended with no noticeable lines on the face. Most MUA’s will show you their wedding looks but ask if you can see their beauty work too…this might include some fashion-type images but it will give you a good idea of the standard of their work and their experience level.

* Rates vary according to area and experience but don’t assume that the most expensive is the best. Choose someone you have a connection with, who fits into your budget and whose work you like. Remember, this person is going to be a part of one of the happiest days of your life, you need to like them and trust them.

* It is always helpful to send your MUA some references of makeup looks you like so that they can be prepared for the trial. If you can’t send the references beforehand, bring them to your trial and discuss the look and any concerns you might have before the MUA starts your makeup. Also, be sure to mention any allergies or reactions you might have to certain products to avoid an uncomfortable and awkward situation. If anything feels uncomfortable or painful on your skin, say something immediately. The trial should be a collaborative process between you and the MUA so that you can give direction and make changes as you go. If you don’t like it, don’t feel bad, just say something…this is all about what you want and feel comfortable with. Bring a camera to your trial just in case your MUA doesn’t offer to take pictures for you and in the most natural light you can, take 2 pictures ~ one with the flash and one without. I do this for my brides to ensure that the makeup photographs correctly because sometimes there are things we can’t see and the flash will pick it up. I also create a face chart listing all the products I used, just in case the bride needs a shopping list 🙂

* On the day, I would recommend 45 minutes per additional face and a full hour for the bride’s makeup. It may seem like a lot of time and I normally finish well within it, but it allows for any unforeseen circumstances. Your MUA will need a high chair and an area with as much natural light as possible. I tell my brides to do their beauty routine as normal and wear a dressing gown or top that can unzip or unbutton. Comfort is key and this should really be your time to relax (as much as possible) and get a little pampered before the final moments. If you’re planning on any kind of tan, please bring it up at the trial as this can change your makeup look completely…remember your face needs to match your body and although this can easily be done with makeup, it can look a little unnatural and might take some extra time. I plan to finish the bride’s makeup 30 minutes before she needs to leave…this allows the makeup to be fresh and it also gives time for touch-ups once the dress is on.

Bridal makeup is all about enhancing the natural beauty that is already there. You need makeup which will last heat, sweat and tears but doesn’t make you feel clown-ish and suffocated. The idea is to look like a more beautiful, polished version of yourself.

I know this seems like an odyssey of a read and I promise my other posts will be more concise and offer more actual makeup tips but I do believe it is very important to get the basics right and a part of this is understanding the process and making planning your big day as simple as possible. As a reward for making it through this lengthy first post, I guarantee pictures and videos and more lovely treats next week when I talk about Classic & Natural Bridal makeup and how you can do it!”