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Bridal hair and make up - The big day basics

Summer's here, which means, while some clients are off on their holidays, others are planning for their honeymoon, and of course, their big day! We've spoken to some of our favourite bridal hair experts and two hugely popular Bridal make up artists, to make sure that you have everything under control for that big day.

The hair

Bridal model

"The first and most important thing is not to stress out about it! The hair should complement the bride’s dress, and be the thing that brings the whole look together."
Ken Picton

"Your bride’s hair should look its absolute best on the big day, so encourage your client to keep her hair in the best condition possible. Encourage regular appointments, every six weeks, for trims as well as conditioning treatments to keep hair looking and feeling fresh."
Philip Bell, Ishoka Hair and Beauty

"If your bride is using any hair accessories or a veil, make sure she brings it along to the trial, as it can dramatically change the finished look. Most good bridal shops will allow the bride to borrow a veil and head piece, as long as she’s purchased her dress with them."
Ken Picton

"We recommend brides start their hair programme at least four months in advance, to give plenty of time to get the colour and condition right. When choosing the style, they need to consider their wedding theme – is it vintage, or is there a flower or piece of jewellery she wants to incorporate? You also need to consider the neckline of the dress, and the colour. It might sound peculiar but for example, gold dresses can be too warm for natural blonde hair, while champagne dresses work on cooler blondes but can be too yellow against caramel hues…"
Karine Jackson

"As a general rule, updo's work better with a higher neck line, whereas loose, luscious locks look better with low necklines or strapless dresses. Make sure you discuss the style of the dress with your client during the consultation. It’s so important that you and your bride are communicating along the same lines, so ask your client to bring along a swatch of the dress, a photograph of the dress and pictures of any styles she likes – this will give you a good indication of what the bride wants, which you can then develop together."
Darren Fowler, Clipso

"If your bride is thinking about making a dramatic colour change before the big day, this should be done at least six weeks in advance. This allows the bride, and her future husband, to get used to the new colour, which can then be topped up a few days before the wedding day."
Darren Fowler, Clipso

"On the day of the bride’s trial, once she is happy with her hair, take pictures from every angle, so that everyone knows the exact style. I’d also advise the bride to keep her hair that way for the rest of the day, so she can feel reassured that it will stay in place throughout the wedding day."
Ken Picton

"One of the most common concerns that I come across with my wedding clients is the worry that the style won’t last for the full day. With a good stylist and the right products this shouldn't be a problem, but just to be on the safe side, tell your bride to keep a few spare hair grips and mini hair products in her bridesmaid’s handbag."
Darren Fowler, Clipso

Bridal chignon hair model

Textured chignon how-to

Beth Harris of Francesco Group, Newcastle-Under-Lyme, talks us through one of her favourite bridal looks: the textured chignon.

"Chignons are always a favourite with celebrities on the red carpet, and they’re very versatile."

"Over the past few years bridal hair updos have been worn high on the crown of the head, however this year we've already seen an increase in brides asking for textured hair updos that are worn very low. This style is great as it’s very individual and never looks the same on two different people; as everyone’s hair is different it means that there is no right or wrong way to create it!"

"I like to start by curling the hair, as I think that this makes the hair easier to pin in place. Once you've curled all of the hair, create a small beehive at the top of the head to give you some height. Once the beehive is in place wrap the curls around your finger, keep hold of one strand of hair and push the curl back up on itself, to create a small, textured spiral shape and grip this in place using a bobby pin. Continue to do this with all of the curls until all of the hair is pinned back; making sure you keep the shape of the hair low."

"We love this combination of a beautifully relaxed, undone chignon, a flick of eyeliner and a vibrant red lip."

3 undone bridal 'do's

Mark Woolley, owner at Electric Hair, talks through his three favourite undone bridal styles.

"There’s something very sexy about hair that has a hint of a raw, dishevelled edge about it. It’s a laid back approach, but it isn't about disarray!" says Mark.

  1. Tousled, loose blow-dry. Suitable for mid to long length hair.
    Blow-dry hair to iron out major kinks and add fullness and volume. Add some texture by teasing out strands of hair to add more sensuality. Using non-oily hair paste or wax, pick the hair apart and sculpt a few intentional flyaways – it’s not about perfection.

  2. Halo Plait. Suitable for mid to long length hair.
    Refrain from slicking hair back - instead, use your fingers to push the hair forward so it looks fuller and more voluminous near the front and secure into place with pins. Once you have created the plait around the crown, if it looks too ‘neat’, you can pull a few stray hairs out for an added ‘off-duty’ effortless effect.

  3. Pixi Bride. Perfect for petite brides with short hair.
    Create a cute textured look with a perfect pixie cut and decorate with flowers or a tiara. It’s a fresh and modern look with hardly any effort.
Bridal undone hair dos

The make up

We spoke to two of our fave bridal make up artists, Jules Cardozo-Marsh and Michele Harding-Maher, about making your brides happy on their big day.

Do you always give a bride what she wants when it comes to her make up on her big day?

Absolutely! I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't, would I?

The key for me is to listen to what my client wants and work together to achieve the 'look'. I always encourage my bridal clients to create a mood board, so we can chat about the look before we start. This is the time for me to really get to know what my bride wants and then we can adapt if required.
Jules Cardozo-Marsh

What is the most popular look a bride will ask for?

It has to be the 'smokey eye' look, a personal favourite of mine. It doesn't have to be dark and dramatic, you can soften it by using a combination of soft browns and peach tones and the key is always to blend, blend and blend. I keep everything else natural – a little contouring and a soft lip so the focus is on those beautiful eyes.
Jules Cardozo-Marsh

Natural: creams, pinks, browns and bronzes that emphasise the eyes, and natural shades on the lips.
Michele Harding-Maher

Bridal make up model

How many run-throughs should a bride book in for in the run-up to her big day?

If the consultation’s done right, then it should only take one trial. The bride could have it done whether it’s two years or two days before. The face doesn't change so the outcome will be the same whenever it’s done. It’s a good idea to have the make up trial on the same day as the hair trial so she can see the entire look.
Michele Harding-Maher

How do you approach brides who have never really liked or worn make up before?

It’s all about listening to what your client wants. You will always need to apply a little more make up on the wedding day as the make up has to last but also show up in the photos. It’s about being confident in your job and talking through the look with your bride. I always show them and talk to them while I am doing their make up, so they know exactly what I am applying. Foundations are so light these days and offer great coverage that you don’t need to over apply anyway.
Jules Cardozo-Marsh

What are the essentials that every bridal make up artist should have in their kit?

Make up, lashes, wet wipes, cotton buds, a ‘bridal first aid kit’ consisting of: headache tablets, anti-histamine cream and tablets, a sewing kit, nail glue, white French manicure nail polish and top coat (these bits are good if someone breaks or chips a nail) scissors, Tampax - it will be like you’re the Fairy Godmother who’s come to the rescue!
Michele Harding-Maher

What advice would you give to a make up artist who is getting ready to do her first bride’s big day?

  • When doing timings, give yourself over and above time – things always crop up during the wedding morning and you don’t want to feel under pressure if people aren't ready to sit in the chair and time’s ticking by. Take plenty of contact numbers for the day - just in case your sat nav doesn't find the address easily, or if traffic is bad and you’re running late.

  • Make sure you take a drink and something to eat for afterwards, as you might not even be offered a glass of water.

  • Always touch base with the bride a couple days before the wedding to confirm arrival time and the destination on the day – sometimes the bride changes where she’ll be getting ready on the day but forgets to inform you! This also gives her the chance to ask in advance if you can squeeze in someone else, in which case you need to start earlier.

  • Don't just bring the make up you used for the trial – keep everything together but bring everything else too!
Michele Harding-Maher

First published in the Capital Hair & Beauty magazine.