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Hair and Makeup Tips with NYC’s Top Vendors

One of my favorite silver linings about smaller, intimate minimonies is the savings. Brides and grooms have the ability to spend their wedding budget on things that are more important to them. For many brides, this means they can splurge on hair and makeup! I reached out to some of NYC’s best hair and makeup artists to hear all about their tips and tricks, as well as their go-to brands. 

When did you get into professional hair and/or makeup? Were you always interested in bridal looks?

Bespoke Bridal: We started as friends, working on editorial shoots together after we discovered we were in the same industry. We evolved into bridal after deciding to go into business together.  Annie Reynor has been doing salon and bridal hair as a freelance artist since training in a corporate salon 20 years ago. Erin Mayhugh also has 20 years of makeup experience. She has extensive on-set experience and is proficient in literally any makeup look. We both agree that bridal hair and makeup is an integral part of the wedding day. We love being a big part of that intimacy, we are happy when you feel beautiful. Our freelance staff of artists is a diverse group of people with a passion for our business and energy. Our motto is: “You, only better than you can ever imagine.”

Cari Duprey doing makeup on a bride for her wedding

Cari Duprey: I began my career while I was attending beauty school in NYC back in 2008. A friend of a friend recommended me to one of her coworkers for her wedding day hair and makeup. After that, I began working on fashion photoshoots with friends who would ask me to help them or referred me. I connected with a few artists that worked primarily in bridal and my wedding business began to grow through referrals. I have loved being a part of such a special day since my very first bridal client! My general style and aesthetic on clients is “less is more.” I want them to say “YOU look beautiful!” For me, it’s about making my clients look and feel as much like themselves as possible, just a little enhanced.

Erica Does Makeup: I was always good at makeup. I don’t know if people asked me to do their makeup in college because I was good at it or because I just had the most of it! After graduating and working in finance (omg what), I decided I just wasn’t interested in working in an office setting and sitting behind a desk. I became a full-time makeup artist in 2005 and moved into specifically bridal work in 2012! 

Bridal is still my favorite type of makeup work because you’re actually a part of something. A wedding day could be one of the biggest days in someone’s life and they chose you to be a part of it. Every time they look back at their photos and video, you are right there front and center.

LRN Beauty: My name is Lauren Paglionico and I am the founder of LRN Beauty. I have worked in the beauty industry for 23 years. My first job opportunity was in a hair salon when I was 14 years old. Although I no longer perform bridal styling services, I have assembled an expert lineup of the most in-demand hair and makeup specialists who provide the ultimate bridal beauty experience.

Lauren Paglionico, the founder of LRN Beauty smiling
Photo by Madison White

Do you think there are classic makeup and hair looks for brides? Why or why not?

The overall answer here was that classic means something different to everyone! You are still an individual with your own sense of style, you just happen to be getting married. There isn’t a need for people to fit into some “bridal mold.” Each makeup artist I spoke to agreed it’s most important YOU feel comfortable with the makeup and hair. If you love it and feel amazing, it shouldn’t matter if your hair isn’t styled the way someone else thinks it should be. 

“We feel like every bride should feel like herself. If that ends up being pink hair and a smoky eye, we are onboard. There is a fine line between too much and just right, we play up one beautiful part of you. We work extensively from inspiration pictures to understand what drew each bride to her inspiration. Then we make it hers, always playing up what is beautiful about each woman.” – Bespoke Bridal

What are your go-to hair and makeup products to ensure a bride looks flawless all day?

Brides of every diversity have their own skincare and hair care needs often based on skin tone and hair type. While each makeup artist has their own go-to’s each of these vendors agreed that it’s important to take care of your skin months before the wedding. The number one thing to remember is arriving with clean, exfoliated, moisturized skin, as well as properly colored, trimmed, and conditioned hair. 

“Prep products are a MUST for the skin and mousse for hair! My favorite primer for normal to dry skin is the Cover FX Anti-Aging Primer. I have used it since I began building my kit many years ago! The Fenty Pro Filt’r is a must for oily skin. And my FAVORITE mousse for when I blow dry or even curl hair sometimes is the Paul Mitchell Sculpting Foam. It has incredible memory to keep waves/curls in hair that is harder to curl and doesn’t have that sticky feel.” – Cari Duprey

Ben Nye Final Seal setting spray! It has a minty scent, just warning you, but it leaves makeup smudge-proof and water-resistant. Fenty Invisimatte Blotting Papers for absorbing oil but not depositing makeup or moving it. MAC Brow Set in clear – it’s waterproof mascara for your eyebrows!” – Erica Does Makeup

“The Milbon Creative Style Dry Texture Spray is the perfect marriage of dry shampoo and hairspray ensuring your style will last all day and night. Color WOW Dream Coat is a heat-activated spray that works for all hair types. It is especially a great product for summer weddings because it will leave hair sleek and frizz-free.

For makeup, I personally use the Westman Atelier Vital Skin Foundation Stick and I recommend this to everyone. This foundation combats redness and evens out complexion in the most natural way. I can honestly say everyone on my team loves Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow. This bronzer contours and sculpts your cheekbones and leaves your skin looking smooth and sun-kissed.” – Lauren of LRN Beauty

Makeup by Cari Duprey, photo by Nicki Fietzer
Makeup by Cari Duprey, photo by Nicki Fietzer

What piece of advice would you like to leave all brides with?

All in all, the advice from everyone was to enjoy your day, relax and soak it all in, and be authentically you! Choose what makes you happy and don’t let anyone else influence you otherwise. Don’t choose hair and makeup looks because you think you HAVE to. Your wedding is one of the most-photographed and memorable days of your life. You want to look back at those photos and say, “I felt so beautiful that day because I looked like myself.”

“Stop tanning and take care of your skin. Start seeing a dermatologist and/or an esthetician at least six months before the wedding. DON’T STOP GETTING YOUR HAIR TRIMMED. Everyone wants long hair for their wedding but nothing is worse than long, straggly hair. But really, do whatever the hell you want to do it’s your wedding. Don’t listen to what your mom wants, don’t listen to what society says. If you want to wear a red dress then wear a red dress.” – Erica Does Makeup