Friday, January 6, 2012

Building A Better Bridal Kit

It might come as a surprise to some, but I actually enjoy participating in the wedding industry. It kind of feels like a way for me, as a reluctant romantic, to explore my technique in a way that rounds me out as an artist. Typically, I am the magic fairy godmother that is making people beautiful- listening to their ideas and just giving them an experience that many of my other clients have on a regular basis. These are not jaded teenagers being styled, or actors or musicians- these are just regular people who want to feel fancy and have the anxiety of their appearance eased by having a professional on site.

I'm a well-rounded and good artist, I'm also a single ladybird who is completely self-reliant with a nest, bills and two scruffy dogs that require food and shelter and a lovely black Accord that is finally at that stage where the little expensive things are starting to go wrong. I do not have agency representation and I make my living solely from being a make-up artist- which means, as much as I'd love to only do commercial print, I don't have the regular client base that the major agencies have. I have a wonderful clientele that I love to pieces, but as a freelancer I need to have a financial future that is a stable one- which means I still work with the general public on a regular basis. Don't be fooled by message boards and artist networking sites- I'm giving it to you real and without pontification. Making a living as an artist is a hustle and it's hard work.

My advice for artists dealing with the bridal market:
  • It's a business, treat it that way. Keep track of your money, keep contracts, network, etc. 
  • Study the industry: Read the blogs, get involved, meet vendors, find out trends
  • Charge correctly: please, don't do weddings on the cheap. I'm not saying charge a million dollars or not take a client's situation into account, but you can't make a living doing weddings for $100. 
Anyhow, now that we've got the serious stuff out of the way... onto the fun stuff! For artists that are building a kit or are interested in the bridal market, I recommend investing in products that are tried and true and have a history of success.

As far as foundations go I tend to favor Make Up For Ever Face & Body (Mat Velvet + is slowly becoming a favorite for a fuller coverage) for a hand application and for airbrushing, I'm an Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics girl all the way. Water based airbrush make-up has somehow gotten a bad reputation for not being stable, but the truth is- if the skin is prepped and primed correctly and the product is applied correctly at the right PSI, it's going to last. I prefer the Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics foundation because it gives me longevity and a beautiful finish- I haven't had an unhappy bride yet. If I have a client that insists on a silicone based airbrush foundation, I just thin out my Make Up For Ever with 246 fluid and voila. What I love about Make Up For Ever Face & Body and Mat Velvet + is that they are both waterproof formulas because of the volatile silicone oils that keep them emulsified until applied to the skin. I also use Make Up For Ever Mist & Fix at the end of every application to give a last minute refresh and extra staying power to the entire application.

I am a big fan of loose setting powders- whether I want a dewy finish or a matte one, I will always give a dust of powder. Earlier this past year at a trade show, I worked a press event with Royal & Langnickel brushes and as gratis CoverFX gifted me a generous bag of goodies, one of those goodies was the SettingFX translucent powder. It's a water resistant powder that gives a radiant finish- now be aware it DOES have mica in it, so you need to work with it carefully but in my experience it doesn't "flash" weird.
It's no secret to those who read my blog that I'm obsessed with the Kevyn Aucoin blushes, they are beautiful and worth every stinkin' penny. If you get a chance to catch the Kevyn Aucoin beauty booth at a trade show, you can usually find them for a really good price sans packaging. I'm also in love with MAC Sculpting Powder and Nars Casino Bronzer for definition and contouring. 

 The two biggest concerns that any bride will have are going to be that their lipstick stays on and that their eye make-up doesn't run. I combat these in a simple way- I always use waterproof cream liners and mascaras and long wearing lip color. Typically, most brides will bring their own lip color- in the case that they don't, I like to use long wearing liquid lipsticks. My two favorites are the Sephora Cream Lip Stain and Stila Long Wearing Liquid Lip Color. To seal the eye make-up application, I use a sponge to gently apply Cinema Secrets Liner Sealer. 

I hope these recommendations help you guys create a great kit! As always, please give them a try for yourself and don't just take my word for it- we artists all have different techniques, so what works for me, might not work for you.