Mpls St. Paul Magazine

The Blithe Bride: Bridal Beauty Tips from Renowned Stylist Anna Jackson

Monday March 18, 2013

By: Jen Boyles

As someone who is obsessed with fashion and makeup and has more products in the bathroom than is remotely normal (pseudo apologies to my fiance), it was kind of embarrassing to realize I know absolutely nothing about wedding hair and makeup. I needed to be reeled back from the land of the clueless so I called up bridal stylist and longtime friend Anna Jackson, a Minneapolis native who works in one of the Midwest’s most exclusive salons, Maxine’s.

By day, Anna is a master stylist to tastemakers, celebrities, and the Chicago elite, and on weekends lends her skill to countless wedding parties—”from black tie events with 13 bridesmaids at the Four Seasons in LA to a same sex marriage with no bridal party in Providence!” She let me know in no uncertain terms that bridal beauty (and for that matter beauty in general) is something to be worked on over time, not considered a month before a deadline. Seems obvious, but easy to forget when you’ve got so many other details crammed into an engagement. Here are Anna’s invaluable tips in her own words below.

“Start collecting pictures. Get a three-ring binder and start collecting pictures of hair and makeup and putting them together. Pinterest is another good tool to use for images. I also think finding pictures of things you DONT like is important. If the stylist can see exactly what you don’t like then they won’t do that. Pictures are a much easier language to talk with when it comes to hair and makeup, stylists have our own language and when clients start to try and talk the talk it can get confusing on both ends.

Make a trial appointment with a few stylists. Do your hair and makeup like you normally would so they can see what you like and how far you are willing to take your look. Also if there are some key hair products and makeup that you love and your know work really well, bring them with you to the trial to show the stylist. Make sure to talk to them about how many people are in your bridal party and who wants hair and or makeup done on the day of.

DON’T go spray tanning the day before the wedding. Go a couple times at least a couple months in advance so you can see what level of tan looks best with your dress and then proceed to book a hand airbrush tan accordingly.

The best things you can do for your skin is get a good eye cream, a good exfoliate, and a good moisturizer. I love Burt’s Bees eyecream and the Clairsonic facial cleansing brush. The moisturizer should be tailored to your skin type. If you don’t know, ask a professional. Hydrolaunic acid is a great ingredient to look for in a serum/moisturizer. Getting into a good skin regime before the big day is very important, makeup can cover redness and blotchiness but it can’t cover texture, so if you are overly dry or oily or have large blemishes, it’s going to show.

Invest in a good hair mask. If your hair is very dry but you are trying to keep the length long for an updo/style, then deep condition. Kerastase has the best you can buy, it will transform your hair in 30 days or less. Also make sure you are protecting your hair from heat with an oil or spray shine serum.

Get a lot of sleep and eat your veggies. It sounds obvious but our skin and hair are a direct reflection of what we put in our bodies and if we are abusing them with bad food, no sleep and dehydration, then the outcome won’t be pretty. Hair nail and skin vitamins aren’t a bad idea to start taking about three months in advance. It will make your hair shinier and nails stronger.

Don’t try to look like someone you aren’t. If there is someone in your life who’s opinion matters then bring them with you on your trial appointment because there are so many emotions running high on wedding day, someone can say something about a lipstick or hairpin and it can really make the bride upset or second guess themsleves. When brides are a little insecure with the look they have chosen, then chaos can ensue.

Make sure you love what you are going to do. If you go into the day wishy washy and unorganized, anxiety will ruin everything. You want it to be a seamless and fun, relaxing process. No one wants to be rushed. Make sure you allow PLENTY of time for everything. You don’t want to keep guests waiting because you aren’t ready! I’ve seen so many weddings run late and brides freak out because of a miscommunication about how many people wanted hair and or makeup done, etc etc.

Individual eyelashes extensions are a must. Even if they are just the disposable kind. They open up the eyes and can be tailored to your eyeshape. Avoid heavy strip eyelashes.

Avoid smokey eyes and glitter on your wedding day. It can be a little overpowering and look cheap.

Don’t buy synthetic hair! Go to a stylist who specializes in extensions if you want that fuller look. They will tell you what kind of extension is correct for the style you want. If all you want is a more volume inside your bun/chignon, then you won’t need a lot of fake hair, but if you have very fine hair that doesn’t hold a curl well, you would be a candidate for clip-ins or semi-permanent extensions.

Leave a good three to six months to think about what you want to look like. Hair and makeup choice should come after the dress choice, but should be talked and thought out almost as thoroughly. Do what really fits you; every bride is as different as the wedding they are planning!”