Wedding Preparation Tips, More than skincare.

Wedding prep, its more than skincare…

I know I go on don’t I? Skincare, skincare, skincare, it’s true, I’m slightly obsessive but honestly, its your best weapon to assisting me in delivering a killer makeup for you! And I do want to encourage you to jump on the skincare wagon but this blog covers other things that you might not consider leading up to the wedding day.  But can’t you just cover stuff up, I hear you say? Well yes, I can, I can camouflage and conceal, it’s a fundamental in makeup, but I cannot hide texture. Imagine you’re painting your home; you need to prep the surface first, you sand back the rough spots, fill in any gaps (hmm, let me expand on that one in a minute) and you get the surfaces looking smooth and even and ready for the paintwork to go on. If you just slap the paint over the surface without that vital prep work, the paint looks terrible doesn’t it? It soon starts to flake and crack, it just looks like a coat of paint over an unkempt base…so, you begin to understand that skin and makeup need similar treatment.

But what can I do to help my skin leading up to my wedding day? Firstly, just start. You can refer back to my simple skin routine in my previous blog here to get some tips and ideas on what to do and what products you might like to try. The one thing I don’t want you to do is leave it until the 59th second and then start facials a week or two before your wedding. Facials are great, indulgent and luxurious and people do tend to save things like this as a treat before the wedding day however, if your skin isn’t accustomed to treatments, it could backfire! Your skin might decide to purge, have a big breakout or you might have an adverse reaction that actually requires medical intervention! (And yes, I have seen all of these situations in my career.)

To get your skin looking fit as for your wedding day it needs, hydration and exfoliation, minimum. If you want to really amp it up, increase your water intake (yes, boring I know but it works), decrease your alcohol intake (boo, I know) but, you will notice less redness in your face if you reduce alcohol trust me, eat more whole foods, less sugar and less things in packaging – the less inflammation your body has to deal with the more energy your body can help out with rejuvenation of the skin, you might even like to look into beauty supplements (but of course check with your doctor first if you have any health conditions).

Beautiful bride Jahnie and her maids, captured by Daisy & the Duke

The other things I talk to my brides about are their additional beauty preparation that might be in the wings prior to the wedding day. I’m talking facials of course, but also things like waxing, threading, lash extensions, lash tinting, tanning, hair extensions, what to expect, what might happen and timing of these services.

Waxing for example should not be within the week of the wedding. Why? Because it can remove that top layer of skin (and hair), particularly on the upper eyelids where the skin is incredibly thin. It can create too much slip and the eyeshadow has nothing to grab onto, the area above the eyebrow too or on top of the lip can be troublesome when trying to get foundation to stick here if its freshly waxed. Similarly, threading can cause irritation and breakouts, especially if you’re just adding this to your beauty routine now.

Tan for your trial. Tanning should be done for both your wedding day AND your trial. Now, any makeup artist worth their salt can colour match you, but your chosen makeup can look completely different with a darker toned skin and “saving” your tanned look for just the wedding day may leave you feel less than happy with your makeup. Don’t roadtest your tan on the wedding day, be certain you love the colour on your skin, it’s not patchy or orange, that you don’t have a reaction to that particular tan brand and it looks beautiful with your hair and makeup. Or, break the mold, be your best self and go tan free!

Savannah Lee captured by GG Photography

Lash extensions are very popular but choosing to add these too close to your wedding date can be an absolute disaster! Case en point, my very own client, did just that, the day before her wedding….emergency phone calls and messages, her eyes so swollen she could not open them, antihistamines, trip to the doctor, and finally found a new lash technician who was open (it was a public holiday) and willing to remove them and was still incredibly swollen the day of the wedding, her eyes were (understandably) incredibly sensitive and she could barely stand eyeshadow and mascara! So choose a reputable lash tech, please don’t choose on price, have your lashes done a few times, not the week before your wedding, I even suggest having them applied 4 weeks out and then having a refill the week before, that way, should the worst happen, you have a buffer. But, also be aware than reactions can occur suddenly and at any time to even seasoned lash extension lovers.

Hair extensions are another popular addition for the wedding day; who wouldn’t want to look like they have amazing hair for days? Aside from ethical questions (not all extensions are created equally and many are sourced from stolen hair!), extensions should be a quality product – definitely real hair, not synthetic, good ones can last years and years with proper care and management. Decide your extension style to suit your needs, inform your hairstylist you wish to use them and, use them at the trial to achieve your desired style, and of course matched to your hair colour. While its not as common, extension application can cause irritation from tape glue, or bead application, the weight of the additional hair itself and even wearing clip-in extensions can be less than comfortable. Please don’t rock up on the wedding day with a bag of extensions (brand new, dirty or otherwise) and inform your stylist you’ll be using these too; the reaction you get may be less than pleasant. The styling and application of hair with extensions can require different hair prep than you have been advised and will definitely add additional time to your day that you and your wedding stylist has not planned for. This can create a domino effect for other wedding day providers and leave everyone with a bad taste in their mouth.

Beautiful Tiarna photograhed by Keira McCall Photography for BecomingOne Bridal Magazine

Now, back to skin and that “gap filler” I hinted at…truthfully, there’s no gap-filler for skin, at least not one that’s not semi-permanent or surgical. And tbh, you’re human, you’re skin has texture; it has pores, its normal, its natural, even with intervention, its STILL going to have texture. However, choosing to dedicate yourself to a decent skin routine will really help. It will even out tone and texture, plump up those fine lines. And, if you do that, and I bring my makeup A-game (which of course I do!) then you’ll have a beautiful look, radiant and amazing with makeup that lights up your face (no crazy space highlights though, I promise) and will have everyone ooohing and aahing over how gorgeous you’re looking and not just the precision of my eyeliner or bold lip.

Thanks for reading, Carly xx

What’s In My Kit

This is a common question, clients often ooh and ahh over the contents of my kit (mind the drool ppl!) and I do get plenty of questions over my favourite brands and products. To be honest, I like a good mix of products. I don’t feel that any one brand nails absolutely everything and I base my recommendations and purchases on performance, not just luxe packaging (though it does draw me in for sure) YouTube videos (in fact I rarely take these as gospel as they’re usually paid and therefore cannot be unbiased) or popularity. 

Image thanks to Aqua Angel Productions

Back in the day, in Australia at least, you were either a Napoleon or a MAC artist and if you didn’t fit in or adhere to those two camps of makeup, were you even a makeup artist? Clearly, no, I did not fit in (hah- story of my life!) but I didn’t want to either. It is absolutely true that I do use and prefer vegan friendly and cruelty-free products and while this may seem daunting and is often misunderstood, I always base all my kit product selection on performance, so do not fear, I do not use hippy-dirt makeup, cheap brands or ineffective products and your makeup will definitely last and perform. 

Behind the scenes from Leah Desborough Photographer for the Sebel Hotel Margate

Some of my kit favourites are:

Hourglass Cosmetics – their ambient lighting powders are beautiful and so finely milled, can be used to add colour or luminosity to your skin, I love the Ambient Lighting Edit palette (sorry limited edition) and Dim Light, see below - luxe packaging styling, high end makeup available at Mecca Maxima – cruelty-free and committed to becoming 100% vegan by 2020.

ModelCo Lash Xtend Mascara – Tubing mascara – adds volume and length to lashes, water/humidity/tear resistant, cruelty-free, available from various resellers online or ModelCo, or Woolworths, great price point – I use this on almost everybody, even my brides!

Model In a Bottle Setting Spray – Matte Finish – For humid conditions, or to save your makeup from those tear tracks, this product is your friend and mine! A sensitive formula also available for dry skin or sensitive skin types, cruelty-free - tested only on humans.

Mecca Max – Australian yay, great price point, quality products, 100% cruelty free and vegan, available online or instore, a few of my favourites are Mecca Max Liquid Light in Gold use under makeup on the highpoints of your face like top of cheekbones to create that lit from within look or dab and blend onto base for a brighter highlight, Mecca Max Wet Look All Over Gloss – great for a wet look (you don’t say) or use a highlight, and Mecca Max Gloss Boss Lip Gloss in Just Peachy – its nourishing with just a hint of sheer peach.

Fave new toy - Nabla eyeshadow single (I’m really into brands that sell single shadow pans, it means I can build the palettes according to my needs and replace shadows that are used up more quickly than others - save $$ and save the planet - YES!) in Absinthe, duochrome deliciousness, its like a warm pink sliced with sea green-blue, pair it with a black smoked out liner or wear sheer just on the lid, please request this one more just so I can admire its duoey-dynamiteyness – Cruelty-free and vegan, available from Beauty Bay or Nabla Cosmetics

See a close up of Nabla’s Absinthe at work here on Madi.

And, I could go on and on but I don’t want to bore you or encourage overspending. Remember more is less, and less with more…. thanks for reading.

Carly xx

New Year, new you!

Happy 2019!! 

It’s really here, already, I can hardly believe it. I’m sure it was maybe September, I blinked and then WHOOSH…here we are, January 2019 (I know, I know we’re like 3 weeks in, but it’s taken me a while to disengage from holiday mode).


Now is the time when you’re getting busy, getting back to work or trying to get the kids into a routine(-ish) before school starts, you’re drinking coffee (too much – hello me) because you’re staying up late and relishing some downtime. You’ve maybe eaten an extra kilo or three of sugar in the past 6 weeks; puddings, pies, fresh buns and chips and dips, possibly an extra wine (bottle) or cider, and now you’re looking like crap. 

So you’ve set your resolutions and intentions and while we all tend to focus on fat loss or detoxing from our holiday habits, no one talks about a new skin routine do they? Our skin is our largest organ and it absolutely reflects what is happening on the inside of your body as well as responding to outside conditions and stimuli. It’s very clever; it does a bunch of regulating and protecting without any direction from us. Now if your skin is looking a bit haggard or congested or reactive, it’s almost guaranteed it’s something you’re putting in your mouth. But if you’re already checking off your healthy living goals, how can you help your skin get into tiptop shape for 2019? 

 Here are a few tips to get you started… 


I am floored (*mouth falls open to catch flies) when people say they don’t cleanse…umm, sorry what? Cleansing removes the sebum (your skins own moisture), pollution, makeup, sweat, and the general grime from just living. Cleansing your skin is a MUST. Find a cleanser style or type that works for you and your skin type. Cleanse morning AND night, yes, both, each day. I like to use a cream or oil cleanse in the evening (oil? You say, yup, even for combination skin like mine, it’s the bomb for an effective yet soothing cleanse), massage gently onto dry skin over the entire face, neck and décolletage, add water to lather and then gently remove with a warm, wet washer or muslin cloth. You may need/like to cleanse twice. I use a facial soap with cool water in the morning to wake me up and warm in the evening to relax my skin. Find the right cleanser for your skin type, and budget. 

Josie Maran is a beautiful oil cleanser, it does create a little heat in the face when you’re activating so you might like to use it at night to help you relax and it will feel a little “stiff” to begin with but massage will loosen the formula, not to mention feel good.  

Josie Maran Argan Cleansing Oil


 A lot of people skip this stage, I have to admit, and I did for years too. When I was growing up Toners were all the rage and I can remember using something that barely differed from fragrant water and it never did a thing for my skin and then graduating (or should that be escalating) to an extremely astringent toner to DRY the hell out of my skin because oil equalled bad. Toners help to complete the cleansing routine and balance your skin’s PH, they’re not just to dry you out; it’s the first next step in your skincare routine. Choose one that’s right for your skin type; dry, combination or oily and consider added benefits your skin might enjoy like hydration, antioxidants, inflammation reduction, calming, and brightening and avoid ingredients like alcohol. I like a toning mist to spritz all over my face and I then go straight in with my next product, a damp skin absorbs products more readily – it’s like the fast lane for your skincare! 

This is my current favourite, from Truly Organic, no nasties and I love the
generous size. I spritz before serums or moisturiser and during the day to
reactivate moisturizing factors.

Volcanic Rosewater Body Mist


Ok, now I know you guys can feel paranoid about oil, I get it. I had very oily, congested skin for many years. But, oil and hydration are two entirely separate things. You see, your skin is very clever, it has its own watering and protection system, but, if we’re not cleansing adequately or at all, then we can create congestion, bleck. Hydration is different, and everyone NEEDS hydrated skin! The biggest hurdle I face as a makeup artist is texture. I can create any look, sculpt cheeks, create that glow, reconstruct a brow, colour correct blemishes and brighten dark circles but the one thing that I cannot change is your skin’s texture. Most people have dehydrated skin, caused by inadequate cleansing and not hydrating. The thing is (lean in closer, this might blow your mind) if you choose NOT to hydrate, your skin will continue its own watering – aka sebum – the stuff that can start to clog your pores. So get out that moisturiser, and slap it on! Choosing a type to suit your skin can be tricky I know, but aim for hydration to suit you; opt for oil-free if you have oily or combination skin, ingredients like hyaluronic acid and shea butter are oil-free (yep – shea butter is oil-free!), even simple ingredients like rosehip and jojoba oils are great for most skin types, rarely cause skin irritations and are easily recognised by your own skin unlike coconut oil which can lead to congestion. 

Try one from The Ordinary, Trilogy or Sukin for budget friendly but effective hydration and nourishment for your skin.


 The sun is ageing you (and making the sebum in your pores from that time(s) when you didn’t cleanse, oxidise and turn black). Wear sunscreen. Everyday! 

 I like this one, from Mecca. 

Mecca Cosmetica To Save Face Superscreen SPF 50+

Thanks for reading, I hope that helps you kickstart your skincare routine in the right direction. Remember, your best makeup happens when you spend more effort on your skin.

Carly xx

*I receive no commission for featuring or mentioning any products in my blog, these are a few of my personal favourites. 

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