The Best of Our 2014 Wedding Season

A big part of my business, Allison Barbera Beauty, is wedding hair and makeup. My crazy talented team of artists and stylists and I did 60+ weddings this year, as well as many engagement shoots and rehearsal day hair and makeup services. We love love love doing weddings and are thrilled that 2015 is booking up so quickly.

2014 was a busy year for us. We did our first wedding of the year in February and our last one in late November. Lindsay, Olivia and Kerri joined the team as hair stylists and Shaley joined as makeup artist. As a company, we did around 500 hair and makeup services. We got to go to tons of beautiful homes, hotels and venues, we worked with several talented photographers and most importantly, we met so many fun and interesting people. As stylists/artists, we get to spend 30-60 minutes (more with our brides) having one-on-one conversations with each client . There are not many jobs that I can think of that allow you to meet so many people and get to talk to them for more than five minutes. We get to interact with new people while doing what we love. That’s a win-win.

Here are a few highlights of our 2014 season:

1) The Gorgeous Venues. OceanCliff. Castle Hill Inn. The Ocean House. Bristol Harbor Inn. The Chanler at Cliffwalk. 41 North. The Island House at Belle Mer. Hotel Viking. Glen Manor. Mount Hope Farm. The Attwater. Tower House B&B. Several beach homes and private mansions. Whether the bride was getting married there or just getting ready there, we got to set up shop in so many beautiful places. As a former real estate agent who chose that profession mainly to see inside different homes (admittedly not the best reason), I love this perk of my job as a freelance makeup artist.

2) The Stunning Wedding Gowns. From bombshell mermaid cuts to cap-sleeved vintage perfection to classic, romantic princess styles, we saw some absolutely breathtaking gowns this year. One bride had a Vera Wang gown with a Grace Kelly feel and another wore a blush gown while her bridesmaids wore ivory (love that idea!). Sometimes hair and makeup is done in one location and the bride changes into her dress at another, so I’m always psyched when I get to see the photos after, with the bride in her dress. Check out some of our glowing brides here:

3) The Beautiful Bridesmaids Dresses. Navy and blush were the most popular colors that we saw, and for good reason–they were flattering on everyone! Some bridal parties all had the same dress, while others wore the same color in different styles. A few bridal parties wore different shades and styles from the same color palette, which stands out beautifully in photos. And oh, the Indian weddings! They make me want to wear a sari every day. We also saw a ton of cute getting-ready robes–a trend that I think is here to stay. Take a look at some of these beauties here:

4) The Hugs. I’m pretty sure my whole team is with me on this one–there is nothing better than getting a hug from a client because she loves her hair or makeup so much. These hugs are often followed by “My hair/makeup has never looked this good!,” “Can you come to my house and do this every day?” or “I can’t stop checking myself out!” Knowing that we have made people that much happier and more confident on such an important day really means a lot.

5) The Amazing Reviews, Thank You Cards and Emails. I’ll admit it–kind words from a happy client make me tear up. Even after six plus years of doing this, it never gets old. We work so hard to make our brides and their parties happy, so when they take the time to tell us that we did, it really makes my day. If you are interested in our reviews, click here:

6) The Bright Lip Trend. Alexis, Jennifer, Shaley and I loved how so many brides, bridesmaids and mothers requested bright or intense lipcolors this year. When done right–the only way we do things!–a lipcolor that pops really makes the whole look. We are hoping this trend continues in 2015!

7) The Crazy Amount of Referrals. Past brides, bridesmaids and just people who know me sent us a ton of work in 2014. We have an Allison Barbera Beauty Referral Rewards Program where I send people a $25 Sephora giftcard (or somewhere else, if they prefer) for referring any bride who books, and I sent out more this year than I ever have. So thank you, referrers!

8) The Optimistic Rainy Day Brides. Mother Nature does whatever the hell she wants and sometimes that means a couple gets a rainy wedding day. I understand how this could upset a bride, but all of our 2014 rainy day brides were troopers. Even if they were a little bummed out, they didn’t cry or scream or take it out on anyone. In fact, they all said a variation of the same thing: “I’m just happy to be getting married to ___.” Really sweet and, I think, very admirable.

9) The Family and Friend Weddings. I got to do several weddings for family and friends (or friends/family of close friends) this year, which I loved. It’s so nice to be there with them as they get ready for their wedding, and I am always honored when they ask me to do their makeup. I have a few already lined up for 2015, and I hope that list continues to grow.

10) The Conversations. As I mentioned, I love meeting and talking to new people. I don’t want to get too preachy here, but I believe that human interactions are kind of the point of life. I’m so interested in what other people do, where they are from and what their lives are like. I feel like I made a great connection with dozens of people this wedding season, and that is something I’m really grateful for.

Thank you again to all of our brides, the people who referred us and of course, my rockstar team. I appreciate the business, the conversations and the mimosa offers (which we sadly can’t accept because, you know, professionalism!) The 2014 wedding season was absolutely wonderful and I am full of gratitude for that.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

The Ultimate Beauty Trick

I have to tell you about this awesome beauty trick. You’re going to love it. It’s ancient and hasn’t changed at all since the beginning of time. It solves a plethora of beauty problems, anyone can get it and it is free. Are you ready to find out what it is?

It’s called SLEEP.

Yes, that elusive full night’s slumber can make a world of difference in how your face looks. Your body requires sleep, so when you skimp on it, your skin tells the world. Now, I know we don’t all have enough time to get a good, solid shut-eye session. I recently spent three weeks working on a film, averaging about six hours of sleep per night. And I know many new parents who would consider six hours of sleep to be a vacation! My personal full night’s sleep meter is set at eight hours (which I find to be necessary for my 12-14 hour work days), so when I dip much below that for more than three or four nights, I feel it–and my face shows it.

If you can’t get enough sleep because of a baby or a job or schoolwork, the best I can do is hope that things change for you soon! Sleep deprivation is no joke. But if you are just staying up watching Netflix, partying until dawn or re-arranging your bedroom at 1:00am (I have been guilty of all of those things at some point), then maybe reconsider your choices.

Here are some things I’ve noticed on myself and clients who haven’t slept enough.

1) Puffy Eyelids. I’m not talking puffy undereye bags, I mean the actual eyelid. This makes some eyeshadows look weird and can make it hard to apply even eyeliner at the top lashline. Solution: Avoid logging onto Pinterest at 11:00pm. You know no one can pin for just a few minutes.

2) Fine Lines. Fine lines on the forehead and around the mouth and eyes become more pronounced when you haven’t slept enough. Makeup loves to get up into those fine lines and  chill there, which immediately makes you look older. Solution: Put that page turner away. Chapters 5 through 25 can wait.

3) Undereye Circles. Ah, everyone’s favorite–dark circles. When you skimp on sleep, your body produces more cortisol, which enlarges the blood vessels under your eyes. Those blood vessels can be seen through the thin undereye skin, which is the darkness that we see as “circles”. Solution: Turn off the Real Housewives marathon. I can tell you what happens–there is a giant fight at a dinner party/vacation/baptism. People get crazy eyes, hair extensions get tangled and ridiculous insults are thrown. By the end of the episode, you feel like you may have gone down a few IQ points.

4) Dull Skin. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your skin cells are robbed of their prime regenerating time, which makes your skin look dull. You may even look pale or sallow. Especially if you only have the average 10 minutes to do your makeup, you’re not going to be able to look healthy and fresh-faced like you would if you slept. Solution: Don’t be the last one to leave the bar or party. Your skin (and possibly your liver) will thank you for it in the morning.

I have no doubt that a normal, consistent sleep routine plays a major part in how your skin looks. If you can’t always do it (I know I certainly can’t!) I have found that even a 20 minute power nap can work wonders. So try to get it in when you can and you will absolutely notice a difference.

Have a beautiful day 🙂

Eyeshadow Love

People love eyeliner and mascara, but I feel like eyeshadow gets no love. I suspect some people may find all of the color and texture choices, ways to apply and/or which brushes to use intimidating. Don’t be skirred! There are some simple eyeshadow techniques I do for almost every look and all they require is an angled brush.

I use eyeshadow as a soft focus eyeliner, as a way to map out where a defined gel liner will go, as a guard to keep pencil liner from smudging and as a way to smoke out or intensify an eyeliner. Let me break it down for you.

1) Eyeshadow as Eyeliner. A defined eyeliner look can be great, but it can also appear dated or harsh if done incorrectly (especially if you use black). Using an eyeshadow to line the top and bottom (or just top) lashline gives a more soft focus, modern effect. It’s easier than doing a defined line using a gel or liquid liner and it’s more forgiving of mistakes. It’s simple to build up shadow intensity–just go over the area with more shadow. Using just a shadow as a liner will define your eyes, but in a natural-looking way.

2) Mapping Out a Defined Line. Remember how in kindergarten, your teacher would have you draw a line with a pencil before tracing over it with a crayon or marker? Same deal with the liner mapping. When I have a defined line to draw, I often use a shadow in the same color as the liner to draw the liner shape first. Then I go over it with a liner (usually a gel liner). Mapping it out allows me to more easily correct the shape if I slip up, and since the gel liner goes over it, no one will ever know.

3) Eyeshadow as a Liner Guard. When I use a pencil or gel eyeliner, I typically trace over it with an eyeshadow in the same color. This locks the liner in place, keeping it from transferring to the lid or crease. The powder quality of an eyeshadow acts as a barrier against oils from the skin, which can interact with eyeliner ingredients, causing unwanted smudging and transfer.

4) Smudging Out/Intensifying an Eyeliner. I use this eyeshadow technique a lot to give dimension and texture to the eyeliner. Especially when I use a pencil liner, I like to trace over and slightly above the line with an eyeshadow. To intensify it, I use a shadow in the same color. To smoke it out, I use a slightly lighter eyeshadow, which gives the illusion of a shadow under (at the lower lashline) or above (at the upper lashline) the pencil eyeliner. I very rarely use a pencil eyeliner without doing this, because I think the eyeliner looks so much more modern with the shadow counterpart.

All that is required to do any of these looks is an angled eyeliner brush and some eyeshadow. I most often use browns, blacks and grays to do these techniques, but a brightly colored shadow at the lower lashline can be pretty awesome too.

Give it a try. Your eyeshadows deserve to be appreciated!

Have a beautiful day 🙂

All The Small Things

Stuck in a makeup rut? Need a quick change from work makeup into happy hour makeup? Want to try something new but only have 5 minutes? Don’t panic, girlfriend. Makeup isn’t always a time-consuming, detailed process. There are some small makeup changes that you can do that will make a big impact.

Try one out!

1) Eyeliner Magic. Want to make your eyes look bigger or more awake? Apply on off-white eyeliner or concealer pencil to your lower waterline (I like MAC Chromagraphic Pencil in NC15/NW20). An instant day-to-night eyeliner trick is to apply a black pencil eyeliner, like Topshop Kohl Pencil in Coal, on your lower waterline. Instant sexy eyes. What’s up now, Megan Fox?

2) Lipstick Love. Changing your normal lip color and/or texture can brighten up your face, make your outfit work or pull your makeup together. If you normally wear a fresh pink lipstick, try a berry lip stain. If you’re a matte red lip girl, try a creamy nude. A 30 second lip change can bring your look from innocent to vamp, retro to modern, polished to playful, etc. There is more than one lip color that works on each person, so play around!

3) You’re Blushing. If you don’t normally wear blush, you’ll be amazed by what a small amount of cheek color can do. And if you do wear blush, try something new. Switch from a powder to a cream or vice versa, or swap your normal petal pink for a pretty peach.

4) Contour Time. Try using a contour powder to shape your face. Once you know what you are doing, you are looking at about a two minute change. There are a shitload of contouring how to’s on YouTube, so check them out. (Pixiwoos, Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury are my favorites for all makeup tutorials.)

5) Bat Those Lashes. But first, apply another coat of mascara to top and bottom. I prefer an inky black mascara, like Dior Diorshow Extase, when applying on already-coated lashes.

A little change can amp up and refresh your look. None of these take more than two minutes, so no excuses. I know you have two minutes–your Facebook Newsfeed can wait.

Have a beautiful day 🙂