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The following article was posted on April 27th, 2018, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 17, Issue 50 [ Submit a Story ]
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'Do you' on the big day: Skip the crazy lashes and spray tans and aim to look like yourself, only better


Yes, wedding day beauty prep takes a lot longer than your normal Friday date night look. However, it doesn’t need to take a dozen hours, a yard of human hair extensions, and a bucket of self-tanner to look “natural and glowing.”

All you need is the right beauty team and a few sane tips. Thankfully, Jennifer Marie Hix of The Queen’s Bees in San Luis Obispo isn’t afraid to give us the straight talk on how to “do you” while saying, “I do.”

Find the right beauty team

Don’t sweat it. The most beautiful bride is the one who is well fed and well hydrated. Makeup on bride Kara Goldstein by the Queen’s Bees.

Every bride needs a beauty team to make those photos pop, but where to start? Research, research, research. Head to your beauty contenders’ websites and their respective Yelp reviews. Look at their work. Do these the brides in their photo shoots look fresh faced and rosy cheeked or a little too done up?

Check their social media feeds with the gusto of a deranged cyber stalker. Note: Hix reminds brides to always make sure the photo you’re looking at is actually of the artist’s work, not simply an “inspiration” shot, which can be a common mix-up on Instagram.

Another obvious but overlooked tip? Make sure you meet the artist face to face and see if you like their hair and makeup in real life.

“Is their makeup well blended? Did they use a flattering tone? Is their hair and makeup done well? It doesn’t have to be your style, per se, but it should be done well,” Hix says. “Say you’re going to get your eyebrows waxed, but the waxer has horrible eyebrows. Just walk away.” 

Aim to look like yourself, only better

“The best description of this is when a bride told me she wanted to look like herself, but in her fiance’s fantasy,” Hix says. “What that comes down to is correcting what needs to be corrected, while leaving all the amazing features that make you, you.”

Freckles? You might want to hang on to them. Hix says she’s known many a groom devastated by their bride-to-be’s choice to cover up that beauty mole, scar, or birthmark. After all, he married the real you—not a Photoshopped version. For this reason, avoid deep spray tans, which can turn lovely pale skin into an unnatural hue. Orange is not a good look with a white dress.

“When you walk down the aisle, you don’t want your groom to ask, ‘Who’s that?’” Hix says. “It’s about maybe lightening up your under eyes or a little redness around your nose, which most women have. It’s important to use the right products to make sure your skin still looks like your skin.”

DIY with caution

Although Hix recommends hiring a professional team to make sure you look dewey, fresh, and gorgeous, she knows plenty of gals will choose to DIY some part of their beauty for the big day. That’s OK, too—just beware of these pitfalls. One huge disclaimer: Be aware that not all makeup is “photo ready.”

A natural flush and neutral shadow allow your inner beauty to shine through. Makeup by the Queen’s Bees.

“There are certain kinds of makeup that you absolutely cannot wear in photos. These usually have an ingredient called mica, which is light reflective,” Hix says. “You don’t want a two-toned look on your wedding day.”

Smashbox, developed by a photography studio, is always a good choice for the flashbulbs. Avoid Bare Minerals and other mica-filled cosmetics like the plague.

Speaking of avoidance, false lashes bring up quite a bit of resistance in most ladies. Here’s a down-and-dirty primer for anyone who has nightmares about that pesky strip dislodging from your eye at the most inopportune time, i.e., reciting your heartfelt vows.

First: Buy quality lashes (Hix likes Ardell). Next, warm up the lash strips by bending the lashes around your finger. Then, trim from the outer corner to fit the shape of your eye. Apply your eyeliner and mascara first to give it a base to stick to (obviously waterproof formulas are best for brides). After applying lashes, resist the urge to go too heavy on the second coat.

“We want your eyelashes to look fluttery and soft, not spider-like,” Hix says, adding that eyelash extensions—which you can get at local salons like Tiger Lily—are a good option for those who just can’t get the hang of it.

When in doubt, find someone trained in this tricky skill.

“I’ve heard so many women say that false lashes are uncomfortable to wear, but when a professional puts them on, you shouldn’t be able to feel a thing,” Hix says. 

For the makeup phobic

Undone hair a low-key vintage-inspired gown, and a tuft of dusty flowers bring the focus on your beaming smile. Makeup by the Queen’s Bees.

Never wear makeup? Freaked out about whether you’re skin tone is a summer or an autumn? Breathe easy. Hix says a fresh, even skin tone, neutral eyes, and subtle cheeks and lips are flattering on everyone. Tip: Forget about intimidating shades of eye shadow. Instead, swipe on a few different shades of lipstick and see what emerges.

“The right lip color can make the green in your eyes pop,” Hix says.

Another good rule of thumb: Always shape your brows well before the week of the wedding (no one wants to risk redness or burns on their forehead or—God forbid—upper lip when the officiant says, “You may now kiss the bride”).

What’s the one thing every bride should be doing but doesn’t? According to Hix, it’s exactly what your mother, your doctor, and your favorite celebrities have been saying all along. Be sure to drink plenty of water. Hydrated skin is plumped skin, and plumped skin takes makeup like a champ. 

Chill out

Stress is never pretty. Hix says she sees the ravages of sleep deprivation on a regular basis and reminds all brides of this little fact: The night before the wedding, you cannot completely change your reception décor or arrange a thousand flowers. All you can do is get some shut-eye and think about the incredible person you’re marrying.

Get that natural glow
Contact the Queen’s Bees, which features talented hairdressers and makeup artists from around the Central Coast, at or by emailing

Get plenty of sleep the night before your wedding and remember that although it’s totally your choice to do those tequila shots, your skin will not be loving it come morning. A rested, healthy bride is a happy bride, and happiness comes from enjoying this momentous occasion in your life.

Still not convinced you should put a little time and effort into this aspect of your wedding? Remember: Looking your best isn’t necessarily just about you or your vanity. Hix recently stumbled upon her great-grandparents’ wedding photo, and it took her breath away.

“They have been passed for years, and everybody who was at their wedding is long gone. But me, as their great-granddaughter, I can look at that photo and see how happy and wonderful they looked, and that’s really important,” Hix says. “Your wedding photos aren’t just for you. They can be part of a lineage that’s passed on for generations.”

More Stories:
• Beyond the cookie-cutter bride: Taking the plunge over 40
• For Tim Lopez, DJ stands for ‘Dream Job’
• Which comes first: the ceremony or the license?

Hayley Thomas Cain is a fan of looking good every day at

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