How to Work with a Makeup Artist

Noel McKinnon, winner of the 2015 Best of Boston award for best wedding makeup artist, gives tips to help you look your best.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

When Noel McKinnon, winner of the 2015 Best of Boston award for best wedding makeup artist, sits down with her brides, magic happens. Lashes are lengthened, skin tone is evened to a radiant glow, and eyes become the prize.

We asked this local expert for tips on how a woman should work with her makeup artist to create a special look for her special day. Here’s what she had to say.

How important is communication?
It’s key! At times, my client will say they don’t know what they want.  So I ask them, “What don’t you want?” This question seems to open the flood gates, and we are on our way to their perfect look.

How important is having a trial?
Having a trial is important for many reasons. First, the bride gets to know the stylist and see if their personalities are a match. Second, the bride won’t be as stressed on her special day. They get to talk to each other, discuss makeup application step by step as it’s being applied, and make any changes the bride might want.

How do you help a bride decide on her look?
I help a bride decide on her look by asking for pictures of what she usually wears when she’s at a special occasion. I take her personal look and I add in other aspects I think will look good on her. In the end, it’s totally what makes her feel beautiful.

Should she bring her veil and accessories to a trial?
Bringing her veil and accessories isn’t necessary unless her hair already is done in her wedding style. But if she wants me to see something on the them (perhaps a detail or two that she wants me to play off of, or a style she wants to have played out in her makeup), then of course she can.

Do Instagram or magazine photos help inspire you?
Yes, definitely. I have a bride email me inspiration pictures before we ever even meet. This way I get a sense of what she likes.

How should a bride feel when working with a makeup artist?
She should feel confident in her choice and trust me. Also, every bride wants to know she’s being heard. To let her know that I’m all ears, I’m not chewing gum, texting, and going rogue by putting blue eyeshadow and red lipstick on her. She should feel special because this is a day she’s dreamed about for a very long time. 

What’s the importance of speaking up when a bride doesn’t like a look?
I always tell my brides, “This isn’t my day. I won’t get my feelings hurt. These will be the pictures you have for the rest of your life.” As soon as I say that, I can tell they feel at ease. Make it fun. Everything should be light and geared toward making it her day.


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