Can you give us a brief overview of your background/qualifications and what attracted you to the beauty industry?
I started off in the industry as a commercial model and I always felt so much more confident when my makeup had been done that I often thought how nice it would be to do the same for other women. You really don’t need a lot of makeup to make a huge difference, not only aesthetically, but also to a woman’s confidence. It was making this small difference to someone’s day that I found appealing, so I acquired a VTCT Level 3 in Makeup Artistry and the rest, as they say, is history
What is it that you enjoy in particular about bridal beauty and do you have a signature style or certain style of look that you love to create?
Even though I am trained in all areas of makeup, I specifically love Bridal because you get to play a huge role in the most important day of a woman’s life and see some really precious moments. My signature style has always been ‘less is more’ so an ‘enhanced natural’ or ‘understated glam’ is what excites me rather than full-on glamour.
In addition to bridal what other types of work do you do (i.e. editorial, fashion, etc?) and can you give us some examples of places you have worked/brands/publications you have worked for?
I have worked with various brands over the years and have been lucky enough to travel extensively for work, most recently being Antibes working alongside Nicky Clarke for an exclusive wedding. I am also involved in a lot of commercial shoots for the likes of Sainsbury's, AMEX, and the BBC, and have recently been involved with London Fashion Week.
How do you translate fashion looks from catwalks to brides for the aisle and what would you say are the key fashion looks that are filtering into bridal makeup currently?
I always like to keep up to date with what is hot from the catwalks and would translate this with a gentle nod to what is going on, rather than replicate it directly. I always give my brides exactly what they want and if that happens to be a look hot from the catwalks then that is what she can have, but I do like to remind my brides that timeless and elegant is usually the best way forwards.
You are also a qualified hair stylist specializing in bridal hair – again, do you have a signature style or certain looks that you love to create?
I love to create up styles and find it very therapeutic to do so. I guess my favorite looks are the ‘done but undone’ variety, so not too structured and strict.
What hair trends do you predict being big in bridal for the year ahead?
Trends in wedding hair are really quite broad and tend to come and go, having said that, they are usually dictated by the dress. The ‘less is more’ look is becoming more popular and with less emphasis on structured styles.
In your opinion what should brides look for in a makeup artist/hair stylist for their big day and where should they look for inspiration for their bridal hair and makeup?
In my opinion, it is important to look for someone who not only has great artistry talents, but also someone you gel with on a personal level. MUA’s are spending the most important day of your life with you in a very intimate setting, and there has to be a level of trust and rapport there for you to feel totally comfortable. Pinterest and Instagram are my main resources for any bridal inspiration or anything else for that matter!
Are there any key brands that you tend to use and, if so, which are they and why do you favor these?
I love Bobbi Brown as it just does what it says on the tin (so to speak) and I just love the company ethos that goes along with it. Having said that, every brand out there has products that work wonders and that I like for different reasons. For me, the most important thing is that it delivers what is promised and lasts as long as you do!
You also offer makeup lessons for brides and bridesmaids – please could you tell us a little about these – what’s involved, who they would appeal to in particular, where they are held?
The master classes have been designed specifically for women who want to do their own makeup for their wedding, as they might be getting married abroad or want something fun to do as part of a hen party package. Our next master class will be held at The Wedding Gallery on December 12th
To date what would you say is the proudest moment of your career and do you have any further goals that you are keen to achieve?
Providing a team of Makeup Artists for Nicky Clarke in Antibes was a proud moment and I now represent him for weddings as a result, so if you would like to get involved ladies, let me know! One day, I would really like the opportunity to interview Bobbi Brown.
How do you keep abreast of the latest hair and beauty looks – where do you look for inspiration and do you have any role models?
Instagram and Pinterest are where it’s at for inspiration, and attending Bridal Fashion Week in London and Barcelona. In terms of role model Makeup Artists, clearly Bobbi Brown herself, Hannah Martin, and Lisa Eldridge.
What would be your top five makeup/hair beauty tips for brides-to-be:
Pay attention to your skincare at least 3-6 months in advance
Always have a hair and makeup trial, and take a white or ivory top with you
Take reference shots with you and be clear in the look you want to achieve
Be realistic with your chosen hairstyle, taking into consideration your hair type
Don’t even think about hair and makeup until you have your dress!
Can you tell us about your professional makeup courses/academy – why you wanted to offer this? Who is this aimed at? What does it involve? How long is the course and how often do they run? Where are the courses held? What qualification/accreditation do participants achieve?
At The Bridal Makeup Academy, we predominantly work with people who want to start a new career in bridal makeup, who may currently be frustrated and unfulfilled, and want to do something rewarding and lucrative on their own terms. We offer both an online and a fully accredited face-to-face course that gives students everything needed to start a bridal makeup business. What makes us unique is the fact we specialize in bridal, running small groups of no more than 6 people at a time with the added benefit of aftercare and support, and with the option for ongoing portfolio development.
Courses are held at The Wedding Gallery in London with additional locations being launched from March 2020. Dates and availability can be found on the website www.thebridalmakeupacademy.com
Bridal makeup tips for makeup artists
1. Practice. Practice. And then practice some more.
Practice makes perfect no matter which industry you are in and makeup is no exception. If you want to hone your craft, here are some great bridal makeup tips for makeup artists. To be in high demand as a reliable and talented artist, you really can’t practice enough! Watch as many Youtube videos as you can and read up on all things makeup. Your friends and family will always jump at the chance to have their faces painted. Always make sure you document your work with a before and after photo for your files.
Another great way to practice and gain valuable product knowledge is to work on a counter. You will literally be working on all sorts of skin tones and types all day long. It’s the perfect way to hone your craft. You will also be working directly with the public. This is a great opportunity to brush up on your customer service skills which is vital as a Makeup Artist.
2. Research the makeup masters.
Have a good look into the industry and figure out who your favorite Makeup Artists are. Their style may be attractive to you or perhaps how they market themselves. Take a look at the kind of content they are posting on their social media channels, or Google. If they have a book available to buy or a course you could attend. It is always a good idea to get inspiration from those that have been in the industry for some time. That said, it's better for you to look, get inspiration, and adapt your own looks than directly copy another artist's work. Let your imagination run free!
3. Get a Formal Education
If you're serious about becoming a professional Makeup Artist, attending a professional course could be a great option for you. That being said, many artists I have worked with are self-taught, but if you want to work professionally on productions, theatre, film & TV, or be a well-respected bridal specialist, you really should consider attending a course. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a vocational qualification. A professionally accredited course will allow you to gain insurance as an artist and start your new career on a professional level.
4. Get online and market yourself.
If you want to be taken seriously as a professional Makeup Artist, you will need to have an up-to-date web presence. This includes a website and social media channels. The more you expose your work, the more visible you are to others. The most important platform currently, is an Instagram account. I would say 90% of my bookings as a Bridal Specialist comes through my Instagram account. It really pays to post regular, top-quality content to show you are active.
If you like the idea of doing video tutorials, for example, makeup artist tips for mature skin or makeup artist tips for oily skin, you can choose YouTube to showcase your tips and tricks. You can then repost to your Facebook & Instagram accounts. If you are just starting out this will save you money as you can set all of this up for free. Once you start to get paid jobs, you can then invest in a website or if you are feeling really brave, you can build your own! There are so many tutorials available on YouTube on how to get started with your own website. You really can't go wrong with these bridal makeup tips for makeup artists!
Creating your first portfolio as a Bridal Makeup Artist
Your bridal makeup artist portfolio is the key to your success.
Your portfolio is probably the most important part of your armory as a bridal makeup artist. It will be the deciding factor for a bride whether she chooses to initially email you or not. When you are first starting out this can be a hard thing to get off the ground. You have to start somewhere!
Photo shoots with friends and family
When I started out, I organized a mini photo shoot with a local photographer who wanted to do a ‘test’ for his portfolio, I asked my cousin who was keen to get into modeling if she would mind posing as a bride which she was more than happy to do, everyone was a winner! I borrowed a dress from one of my married friends and off we went!
Alternatively, every time you make up a friend, family member, or client, make sure you take a good, high-resolution close-up photograph of the before-after finished makeup look. Future brides always like to see the transformation of previous clients (even if it is your mum or sister). You may also be able to obtain a copy of the professional photographer's image if your client was a bride.
Assisting other bridal makeup artists
Another option for building your bridal makeup artist portfolio is to assist other makeup artists. Many bridal makeup artists need help with large wedding parties. It is a fantastic chance for the newly qualified bridal makeup artist to learn the skills required in coping with the special demands of a nervous bride or emotional mum. To show what you can do, as well as having professional photos at the end of it. Please do bear in mind though, the work would need to be entirely your own. It would not be good practice to put the other makeup artists' work as your own. Explain you are trying to start your portfolio and would she mind if you worked on one of the bridesmaids yourself so you can get a nice photo to use on your website.
It is extremely important to note that if you do assist another artist, and post work from the day on your social media, you must always credit them. They were the ones that got you the job in the first place and you are more likely to be asked again if you follow good practice.
Building social media portfolio of a bridal makeup artist
Initially, these photos can be gathered in a gallery on a Facebook page or on an Instagram profile. These platforms are hugely popular and an absolute must for bridal makeup artists today. Especially when you are starting out, even if some people still prefer to look at a book.
Eventually, you will need to have your portfolio accessible on a professional website. The website will be your showcase and the focal point for your work and your bridal makeup artist business.
Health and safety for makeup artists
When starting up your new business as a makeup artist, the most important aspect is to be aware of the health and safety requirements concerning both you and your client. Health and safety for makeup artists and clients come first at all times.
This is the most important aspect of your work as a bridal makeup artist. You must ask your bride to inform you of any infections such as conjunctivitis, cold sores, impetigo, boils, and stiesor shingles. This will aid you in managing any risk. Some of these conditions are contagious and could therefore contaminate your entire kit and could also mean you could infect others.
Makeup should be avoided if your bride has any of these problems. In case it is a trial, change the date to allow for the bride to recover. If on the day of the wedding your bride is suffering from any of these things, you must ask her to provide her own makeup. If you use only disposable tools, you will avoid any cross-contamination.
Another point to consider is that if you are suffering from any of these conditions yourself, great care must be taken not to use any of your tools or makeup from your kit on yourself. Do not touch your face or the infected area while with your bride and carry and use your hand sanitizer frequently. It is imperative to keep your hands clean and to use clean makeup brushes, disposable mascara wands, cotton pads, etc.
In between every client, you must clean your makeup brushes. Always carry a makeup brush cleanser or use an antibacterial soap & hot water to thoroughly cleanse the brushes.
Eye shadows and blushers can be cleaned by the use of spray-on alcohol that dries quickly to sanitize them.
Lipsticks, eyeliners, and lip liners can be cleaned by using a hot, wet cotton pad and wiping down the lipstick, taking off the first layer of color. You can then sterilize with an anti-bacterial spray.
Pencil tools such as liners for eyes and lips can simply be sharpened (using a pencil sharpener) taking away the first layer and resulting in a clean fresh layer ready for the next client.
The lifespan of Makeup Products
Be vigilant and check the lifespan of your makeup products. Out-of-date makeup can cause skin reactions and will be very obvious to your client by its smell.
All cream-based products will expire eventually although most have a year lifespan. Check your lipsticks, glosses, cream shadows, cream liners, foundations, and concealers regularly. Mascaras however need to be changed every 2 months. Powder-based products such as blushers, powders, and eye shadows can last much longer. They are not liquid based and therefore don’t require preservatives to keep them fresh. Keep them clean with an antibacterial spray as described above.
Be wary of using heated tools!
If you do hair as well as makeup, using heated tools is one of the biggest dangers. It is extremely important to take your time in blow-drying, curling, or straightening hair. Taking it slowly and concentrating can mean avoiding accidents, as you don't want to singe the bride!
It is also important to make sure there are no trailing cables or leads for you or your bride to trip over.
Never touch 'the dress'. It is highly unlikely that you would be asked to iron the wedding dress. You are not employed to do that, but it has been known! If asked – politely decline! If asked to do any touch-ups once the bride is dressed, make sure she and the dress are properly protected from any makeup fallout.
Sometimes you may be asked to help a bride get into her dress. If this is something you feel you would like to assist with, thoroughly wash your hands before you do so. Make sure you have no remnants of products on the back of your hand or arms.
All makeup artists should carry insurance to protect themselves, their kit, and their clients. You can obtain this from various companies such as ABT, BABTAC, and Salon Gold (UK). Insurance plays a major role in the health and safety of makeup artists.
How do I start my bridal makeup business?
Starting up your own bridal makeup business can seem daunting but it is actually quite straightforward. Just remember being your own boss and working for yourself is fantastic. Owning your business allows you more freedom than a conventional 9-5. You can work as hard or as little as you feel. Set your own hours and fees.
Listed below are some considerations that you will need to be aware of when setting up your own business.
Sole Trader or Limited Company
Setting up as a sole trader is relatively straightforward and easy to do. You will need to inform the HMRC that you are trading by completing a self-assessment tax return form every year. You declare your earnings upon which you will pay tax on the profits as well as National Insurance Contributions. A business owner can hire an accountant to do this for you. It is quite easy to do yourself and there are many apps now available that can help you do this. In the United States of America, you would need to inform the IRS.
To begin with, it may be better for you to be a sole trader but if your company expands dramatically, you may well want to become a limited company. Setting up as a limited company is a little more complicated as you’ll need to register your company with Companies House after which, you will receive a Certificate of Incorporation detailing when your company was formed and its number. This can be done online, as can set up as a sole trader. There is in-depth guidance on how to do this on their website.
Keep clear and accurate records of your earnings and expenditure. Meaning that all receipts must be kept for any spending in relation to your business and invoices should be raised for each makeup job that you are employed to do. A bridal makeup business owner can easily find invoice templates online and a simple spreadsheet is useful to record your income and outgoings. You will find it much easier to complete your self-assessment tax returns by being methodical in your record keeping.
Bridal Makeup Business Insurance
As a sole trader, you will need Public Liability Insurance but this is not too expensive. Public Liability Insurance protects you from claims if a client has an allergic reaction to the makeup you use. The Insurance helps if you damage a bride's dress or someone tripped over a hairdryer cord or your makeup kit and damaged themselves.
It all sounds rather formal but it paves the way for a successful bridal makeup business and thriving career if it’s set up correctly from the start!
Checking out the market for a bridal makeup artist
Bridal makeup artist competition research
Before you set up a business as a bridal makeup artist, make sure there is a market for your services. Carefully check out the competition in your area.This can be done by searching the internet to find other makeup artists in your region (and outside), in particular those specializing in bridal makeup artistry.You can then enquire about their rates, albeit this may be better coming from a friend's email rather than your own, as it will look rather obvious and they may not want to share their info!This is a great way for you to gauge how much you can charge in your area without under or over-pricing yourself.
Look out for wedding planners, dress shops, florists, and wedding photographers/videographers. All can be approached with your company information, business cards, or a polite introduction email. All referencing your work.
Scouting possible business opportunities
It is also a good idea to check on wedding venues in and around your area such as cathedrals, churches, chapels, hotels, manor houses, barns, and historical houses– even some garden centers offer themselves as a wedding venue!You could visit many of these venues personally in order to drop off a flyer or card.Most venues have a preferred suppliers list, you can enquire about this and see if your work would be up to the standard they require to put you forward to potential brides.
Attend as many Wedding Exhibitions and Fairs as possible. Meet and network with other industry professionals and potentially distribute your flyers, business cards, and price lists.It is important to show an interest in their company first however as nobody likes to be sold to when they have paid good money to exhibit at the event, be respectful and ask the right questions before talking about yourself.
Advertising your bridal makeup business
It is also a good idea to list your business in a wedding directory as well as local business directories.These can often be in the form of a blog or website and can be found quite easily via a Google search.
Advertise your services in county magazines and/or local newspapers.Sometimes this can be expensive but if you can submit some editorial about yourself as part of the deal that makes it more worthwhile.
Taking your business online
Ensure when setting up your website, it appears on the first page of Google. This is achieved by using carefully selected keywords. Keywords such as 'bridal makeup' and your area, 'makeup artist' and your area, 'wedding makeup' etc.It can easily be done on your introduction page, i.e. About Me.Try and introduce as many keywords as you can think of bearing in mind what a bride will be searching for.You can use a keyword search tool such as www.keywordtool.io which will help you.
Take advantage of social media
Use social media.Set up a Facebook page for your business.Use Twitter and Instagram as well as Pinterest to promote your business and other services to gain followers.‘Liking’ other wedding suppliers is a great way of gaining interest and likes for your own profile. Make sure your pages are updated on a very regular basis with relevant photos and comments. You can link these to your website to help drive potential clients in your direction.
The Bridal Makeup Academy is a proud proud supporter of the Look Good Feel Better Charity
For those of you who are not already aware, Look Good Feel Betteris an international charity offering free confidence-boosting skincare, makeup workshops, and masterclasses for people undergoing cancer treatment.
Many patients attribute the workshops to making them feel more like themselves and are part of their journey to recovery and getting themselves back
Recovery is about how you feel inside and about what is going on in your mind. The more positive you feel about things the better you can cope.
At the Bridal Makeup Academy we want to help build awareness for this amazing charity and positively encourage students to put their newfound skills to good use and consider volunteering for LGFB.
Please take a moment to watch The Voices Of LGFB below.
I'm Jennifer Jane, International Bridal Makeup Artist and Founder of The BMA. Here, I'll recommend my favorite products, share tips and tricks, and talk more about the Academy, our outlook, and how we work.