The Cosmetics Connoisseur: Beauty Guru Rachael Rubin

A hint of blush, a little lipstick, and a huge dose of confidence—beauty guru Rachael Rubin knows how to get brides glowing.

Photographs by Tony Luong

On a winter’s day in upstate New York, budding makeup artist and shutterbug Rachael Rubin convinced a couple of college friends to let her doll them up for an impromptu photo shoot in the snow. Fast-forward eight years, and the Massachusetts native is still up to her old tricks, this time working with upward of 150 brides per year at her Framingham-based salon and portrait studio, Beauty Parlr and RLR Studio, where she and her team excel in pre-celebration beauty prep and day-of makeovers. “My favorite part is seeing someone break into a new level of confidence from the services I’ve provided to them,” Rubin says. “When you can feel good on the inside and the outside, that’s when you’re ready to give yourself away to another person through marriage.”

What beauty services do you offer?

Basically, every part of the company is catered to the bride. We do makeup and hair on the day of the wedding, but also provide services to prep you before. For example, we do spray tans; we do hair extensions and color. We’ll get you on a skin-care regimen. We also offer our brides a beauty/photography service called the “Mrs. Book,” where we do a very intimate but classic boudoir photo shoot and create a book to give to the groom the day of the wedding.

You’re a photographer as well as a makeup artist. What kind of advantage does that give you?

Makeup for photography is a totally different application than for a girls’ night out. The flashes and strobes will bring out a lot of contrast. A few examples: You should avoid white setting powder and foundation with SPF, and your highlight and contour will need adjustment as well. Simply put, it’s my job to understand the face of a woman—how to make her face look amazing with makeup and how to capture that on camera. That knowledge definitely sets Beauty Parlr apart.

Has your interest in skin care, makeup, and beauty been with you a long time?

Forever. I was doing makeup and hair for prom when I was just 13. I love the art of transformation.

What are the benefits to doing a makeup trial?

Sometimes we get pushback on the trial, which is interesting to me. The trial, in my eyes, is one of the most important things you can do. You can have the most incredibly talented makeup artists in the world, but that doesn’t mean that they’re mind readers. You really need that moment to connect and communicate about how you would like to look on your wedding day.

Do clients typically know what they want when they come in?

I’d say 60 percent of people don’t know what they want. The one thing that every single person does say when they sit in the chair is “Make me the perfect version of myself,” which is our slogan. That resonates with a lot of brides. They want to look like themselves, just enhanced, and that’s really what we try to do.

How do you work with them to achieve that look?

My employees and I have a list of questions that we always ask the bride before the trial. Some are as detailed as “On a daily basis, do you wear brown or black eyeliner?” To me, that’s an important question to ask. So we fill out a questionnaire and go from there. After the trial’s completed, we take photos and create a file for the bride that we can refer back to if any changes need to be made.

Have you noticed any trends or common requests from your clients, aside from wanting to look like themselves?

One common trend is bringing in photos of Kim Kardashian [laughs]. A lot of people think they want more makeup than they actually do. Overall, I believe bridal makeup should always be relatively neutral. I don’t think you should have heavy black eye shadow on the day of your wedding. If you’re going for a smoky eye at a Bruno Mars concert, sure. But not on the day of your wedding.

Are there specific products you recommend to bridal clients?

I love Charlotte Tilbury. It’s one of my favorite lines for brides. I also really like Becca and MAC. When you’re a makeup artist, it’s not incredibly cost-effective to stock your kit with expensive lines, but there is something to be said for having them. They’re higher quality and the color payoff is more intense.

What about lash extensions?

I like them because they’re natural. They provide that perfect version of you. They’re based on what you naturally have, so they’re not going to look overwhelming face-on. Also, if you’re going on an immediate honeymoon, they last three weeks. So not only is that helpful for you the day of the wedding, but you’ll still feel beautiful when you’re in the ocean in Hawaii.

One Watson Place, Framingham, 508-309-6484,


Rachael Rubin shares four dos and don’ts of bridal makeup.

Do prep your skin. Your makeup is not going to sit well if your skin isn’t in the best condition it can be. I recommend a facial every four to six weeks, depending on your skin concerns.

Don’t be afraid of lip color. When you’re wearing all white, light from cameras will reflect on your face and body and wash you out. I’m not saying you have to wear a dark-red lip, but some sort of lip color is a must.

Do carry supplies. Make sure you have setting powder for when you sweat, a little bit of blush for when you reset your powder, and lipstick for touchups.

Don’t use waterproof mascara. Hear me out on this. Even the toughest waterproof mascara in the world will run a little if you’re really crying. Non-waterproof mascara is more flexible because it’s easier to wipe off.

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