February 4, 2020
I first met Shannon at the first wedding that I ever shot by myself. There was something about the way that she interacted with the bride as well as the bride’s closest family members that told me that this girl was a straight up professional, and I admired how she made everyone feel at ease. I feel so honoured to have her on the show today to share her knowledge and advice on what brides should be looking for when it comes to choosing the perfect makeup artist for their wedding day.
To learn more about Shannon and One Fine Beauty, check out her socials!
Tell us a little bit about how One Fine Beauty came to be.
One Fine Beauty is my company, and we’re going in our eighth year. The way that I started the company really happened kind of organically..
I never really intended to have a big bridal beauty team. I’ve been a makeup artist for over 20 years and I did a lot of those years at MAC Cosmetics. I was a trainer for the company for six years, and I worked for them for 10. It was actually when I was on my second maternity leave that I just knew that I needed to do something a little bit different seeing as it was going to be hard to go back to a retail setting. So with some encouragement of a photographer friend of mine, I decided that I wanted to create my own company. My son was two months old and I thought, “You know what? I’m going to do it. I’m gonna quit my job, I’m going to become just a freelance makeup artist.” And it was pretty scary. I mean, I’m not gonna lie, I had two kids under the age of three at that point, and we’d just moved into a new house. My husband was like, “Shannon, are you sure you can make it work?” And I was like, “Sink or swim. I’m just going to jump in with both feet.”
So yeah. So that was in 2012 and then the rest is kind of history from there.
You have quite a large team, right?
So there’s 12 of us, including myself, and we service the Ottawa area and we also have artists that take care of Prince Edward County for us as well as Kingston. We have an artist in Toronto as well, and so we’re kind of spread out amongst Ontario.
What would you say is your favourite part about working in the makeup industry, more specifically in the wedding industry?
Well I think the obvious answer is being a part of someone’s big day. They’ve chosen you, and there’s so many other artists that they can choose. And it’s so rewarding being able to work with, you know, different clienteles and working with the moms and the grandmas and.. it’s such an emotional day, that it just kind of fills your heart that they wanted you to be a part of it.
Would you say that there’s like a specific type of bride that tends to gravitate towards your work?
Absolutely. I think for any style of makeup, there’s always a specific ideal client or ideal bride. Our typical bride usually just wants to look like the most enhanced, most beautiful version of herself. So, you know, sometimes that can be just a little bit more natural on the makeup, or it can be a little bit more dramatic, but it’s not something that’s really gonna take them too far out of their normal element. “Pretty and polished” is what I like to call it. The brides that come to us really do want that pretty, polished, soft, romantic look.
The process for finding a makeup artist can be really overwhelming. Do you have any tips for brides who are just starting to look for their makeup artist?
Well, I think in this day and age we’re really lucky because we can research, research, research. So, you know, go to their social media channels, go to their Instagram, see if they have a Pinterest page. I’m also a huge fan of websites, and I like to go and research somebody’s website. Look at their experience, look at their portfolio. What do think of it? Do you like what you see? Do you see a lot of edited photos? Do you see a lot of filters happening? Be able to pick out what’s important to you and make sure that you’re seeing that in the artist’s portfolio.
Also, check with your vendors that you’ve already booked. The first three or four things that people tend to book are their venue, their photographer or videographer — so check with them to see if they have a preferred artists list, then maybe go from there.
Correspondence is also really important. What’s their response time like? Always listen to your gut. Always go with your gut. How is the person treating you? Are they responding in a timely fashion? Are they flexible?
How far in advance should you book your makeup trial?
I like to suggest that my brides book anywhere from about one to three months prior. At that point, you have most of your wedding items: you have your dress, you probably have your jewelry, your veil, all those things that really come into play with designing your final makeup look.
Now that being said, things have kind of changed. We are seeing more and more brides wanting to do this “try before you buy” thing where they want to test out a few makeup artists, and that’s okay. There are a few considerations to think about, though. Do you know what your overall vision is for your wedding day at that point? If you’re testing out a makeup artist a year in advance, it’s not a bad idea to maybe go out for an event and see how it wears. But you have to make sure that this artist is going to be able to help you achieve what you want on your wedding day. Do you have all of the wedding pieces that will determine your final makeup look? For most brides, the answer is no.
What are some of the most common questions that you get from brides?
A common question I get asked is how to make makeup last throughout the day. I don’t want to say it’s a complex answer, but it all comes down to skin prep. How are we prepping your skin for the day? What’s your skin type or skin texture like? If somebody tells me that they want a really matte look they’re super oily, there is going to be a little bit of touch up products involved for that to make it happen. Or if somebody is super dehydrated and dry but they want a super glowy luminescent look, we can absolutely achieve that, but it might require a little bit of skin prep leading up to the wedding to get their skin in the proper condition.
What does “skin prep” look like?
Skin prep is just making sure that the skin’s in the most optimal condition to receive makeup. I personally don’t work with a lot of primers. I don’t like primers. I think they add, you know, an extra layer or texture to the skin. So I like ingredients and serums and creams that are going to plump up the skin, or fill it with water.
Because let’s face it, your makeup will only look as good as the skin condition underneath it. If you’ve got really flaky, dehydrated skin, that’s okay, but I mean, it’s a makeup brush, not a magic wand. So there’s a little bit of homework that brides need to do on their end leading up to their wedding day. When brides book with us, they do get a password to a secret webpage on our website and it has all these tips and tricks and timelines to tell them what they should be doing at each stage of the wedding planning process to ensure the optimal results for their skin. We’re here to help out our brides and to walk them through the process.
What distinguishes a professional makeup artist from someone who brides might want to stay clear of?
I think a lot of times it comes down to experience. And it’s not to say anything about people just starting out, because everybody starts somewhere. But if I was to hire somebody to do my makeup, I would consider their experience. How many years have they been doing it? What’s their reliability? What can I kind of research? Cleanliness is a big one: have you seen a picture of their kit posted online or on their Instagram or Instagram stories? Do you know what products they will be putting on your face?
Are they insured? That’s one thing in our industry that we never really talk about. The makeup artist that you are hiring should be insured. So I mean, like I said, everybody starts somewhere. But really on, on your wedding day, you can’t afford somebody who’s gonna make mistakes.
I feel like it’s such a high pressure job that you have.
It is high pressure. And the other thing too is that wedding days are raw emotion. And I mean, if the person is used to wearing makeup, you’ve literally taken away that little shield that they have. So you have to treat it delicately. It’s an intimate interaction that we have with the client, and they trust us with the most important day of their life. So I mean, it can be high stress. It can be high energy, it can be raw emotion, all those things, but we’re used to it now. We’re good with it.
We all have stories of clients that have truly loved our product or service. Do you have any stories like that that you would like to share?
I think there’s quite a few I can think about, and I’m not going to go to any one specific story, but I would say the clients that are a little bit more self conscious. I really enjoy working with people that might not have the best skin, but when I’m able to cover it up and make them feel beautiful, that is really rewarding. That boost of self confidence is exactly what you need on your wedding day when hundreds of people will be watching you. There are so many factors in a wedding that are important, but when it comes down to it, hair and makeup are so important. Everybody is looking at the bride, and their face is going to be in every photo, so it’s important that the bride feels comfortable in their own skin.