Advice from a Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist – Sandra Michelle Artistry Interview

If you’re freaking out over hiring your wedding hair and makeup team, read what one super talented Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist has to say!

One huge hurdle when planning my wedding was figuring out the hair and makeup situation. You could say that I had never had a *great* experience with hair and makeup growing up… (yeah I was the emo girl with terrible eyeshadow and discolored hair)… and when I went for my first make-up trial pre-wedding, I came out looking like I was headed straight for a circus act. The result? I did my own makeup and scheduled a last minute hair appointment with my mom’s hair stylist, which made me totally unhappy with my wedding-day look. Take my advice and listen up to my sweet friend spill a few beans on what you need to know about hiring a hair and makeup team for your wedding day!

Meet Michelle of Sandra Michelle Artistry. I look up to this lady and how she runs her business while balancing family life. She’s one of the most talented hair and makeup artists I’ve ever worked with and has this sense of calm to keep you cool and collected on the day of your wedding. It was an honor to interview and photograph HER (rather than just her work, yaaa know). Read up!!!

Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist

Alex — I’ve always loved your work and have had the awesome opportunity to work with you on a few weddings + shoots! I’d love to hear more about you! Tell us a bit about how you got into hair + makeup for weddings and a little bit about what the Sandra Michelle Artistry experience looks + feels like. 

Michelle — I’ve always loved doing hair and makeup! I can remember being really little and pretend doing my moms hair and makeup. I even did my first haircut at 5 years old! (Man I got in trouble for that!) After High School, I tried my hand at college and after a few semesters, I realized that it wasn’t what I really wanted to do, so I enrolled in cosmetology school. I put myself through school by working at Starbucks (LOVE ME SOME COFFEE), MAC and Merle Norman, then went on to do hair in a salon for around 7 years before moving out to Murrieta.

When I moved out here, I had to build a new clientele, but wanted to focus on bridal styling. I decided to start my own business which has allowed me to work with so many amazing brides while also allowing me to enjoy being a mom and wife.

Sandra Michelle Artistry for me is more than just pretty hair and makeup. Although, yes, we make brides look great, its about creating connections with other women and being a part of something huge in their lives. I love to follow my past brides on social media and am always rooting them on in their lives even after their wedding day.

Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist

Alex — An absolute hurdle for me when planning my wedding was having an expectation of what I wanted my hair and makeup to look like, but not being able to accomplish it. I shared my crazy story about how ALL my inspiration was of beautiful women with darker complexions and thick hair (I have neither). My expectations were super unrealistic! What advice would you offer brides when they are looking for hair and makeup inspiration?

Michelle —When looking for inspiration photos, be realistic. Look for photos of women with similar hair color, texture and thickness, skin tone, & eye color to you. I mean obviously they won’t look exactly like you, but it will help you get a feel for what it might look like on you. Also, this isn’t the day to try something totally different than your norm. If you’ve never worn a bold lip color then don’t try it for your wedding. Same with a super dramatic eye look with bold liner and huge false lashes. You definitely want to feel beautiful on your wedding day and step it up, but you don’t want to look in the mirror and see someone else!

Finally, the biggest thing I would say is to find an artist whose style is similar to yours, and then trust your artist. I promise that we aren’t going to give you advice unless we know it will look good on you! We definitely want your feedback — (It is your day) — but be kind when giving criticism. Ee’re human too and have feelings. We’re here because we want you to feel beautiful and ultimately our goal is to make you happy!

Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist

Alex — Let’s talk hair trials… why are they important and how should brides prepare for them?

Michelle — Trials for me are a MUST! Imagine buying your wedding gown without ever trying it on because it looked good on someone in a magazine or website. You’d NEVER do that right? Why? Because as women we know that sometimes a style that looks great on someone else may not look so great on our body.

The same goes for your hair and makeup! Just because it looks good on the girl on Instagram or Pinterest, doesn’t mean that you’ll love it on you. You’re beautiful, but your eyes, lips, or face may be shaped differently. Also, we love inspiration photos, but like I mentioned before, try to look for styles on women who’s features are similar to yours and remember that they are just for inspiration. We want to see what looks you’re drawn to and then customize it to your features!

Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist

Alex — What key things do brides + bridesmaids need to know about timing for hair and makeup?  Tell us… how can they best prepare themselves for the wedding morning?

Michelle — The best way to prepare is to arrive early! It’s better to be early and hang out with your best gals, than it is to push the entire day back and stress everyone out. We want the day to be amazing for everyone and we want the entire bridal party to have a blast while getting ready! If you’re scheduled at 2pm please arrive at 1:30pm. It will allow you to unload, come in, say hi, use the restroom, have a glass of champagne… and not feel rushed.

For the bridal party we typically need 45 minutes for each service. For the bride, anywhere from an hour to an hour and 15 minutes. We know how long we need and create our timelines accordingly. Hair and makeup seems to get blamed A LOT for being behind, but I can’t tell you how many bridal parties I have had arrive 30min, 45min even an hour late. It isn’t fair to expect us to make the time up. We can only move so fast and we want to make sure you all look amazing! But more importantly, it’s not fair to the bride. She is the one who gets less time for a first look, less time for photos, and she doesn’t want to be stressed that the entire day is getting pushed back.

Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist
Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist

Alex — Two parter:
What is the BIGGEST piece of hair/makeup advice you’d like to offer?
What is one piece of advice you would give to couples currently planning their wedding?

Michelle — Honestly, my biggest piece of hair and makeup advice would be to find an artist and team you feel really comfortable with. They are your first point of contact on your wedding day, they are literally in your face for hours, and they set the tone for the day, so be sure you connect with their work and with their personality. You want them to fit in with your besties and make you gorgeous at the same time.

One piece of advice for couples is… don’t lose sight of what the day is about. It’s not about the details, it’s about marrying your best friend and life partner. There may be a few hiccups during the planning process or even the day of the wedding, but if you stay focused on the real reason you’re there, it keeps it all in perspective and makes it easier to handle in a more positive way.

Southern California Luxury Hair and Makeup Artist

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