Michelle of Mae You Be is not only passionate about helping brides look gorgeous from the outside with flawless makeup, but also from the inside. With a view to understanding how to look our best starting from the inside out, Michelle is studying nutritional medicine. As well as offering some great tips for flawless makeup, she offers some insights into diet and lifestyle, that will be a great help not only for the bride, but the rest of the bridal party as well – including stressed mothers of the bride! Here’s Michelle’s story.
Your experience in the hair and beauty field is extensive. Can you give a snapshot of your career in the last 15 years?
To say it’s been a rewarding experience would be an understatement. I have always believed it possible to work and do something you love. Working in London for the majority of my career led me to many exciting opportunities such as freelancing in television and film, and becoming a makeup manager for a busy photographic studio in Central London. It was a challenge, but one I was willing to take on at a young age. Every day I was working with different women and learning about how to help beautify and enhance all face shapes and hair types of many ethnicities and ages. The best part of my job has always been about making people feel good. I always get satisfaction from watching the transformation of a self-conscious young girl or woman who starts out too shy to even look at herself in the mirror. Then bit by bit, with every subtle techniques of makeup application she begins to see herself as beautiful, leaving the makeup chair confident and content. That has always been my goal; the simple satisfaction of helping people feel and look the best they can be. Weddings allow me to do this in the biggest way, helping women feel their best on one of the most important days of their lives is such an honour.
Do you have a personal belief and passion about individual beauty?
We are all unique in our individual beauty, and can never aim to look like anyone else. While its fun to play and create different looks, I believe makeup should be applied to enhance our natural beauty and never to create a mask. We all have features that we would prefer to hide or bring out, I see it as my job to do just that.
Image by Monika Branley
You have recently studied towards a qualification in nutritional medicine. How are you using this to enhance your clients health?
Inner beauty is outer beauty. Our skin is our largest organ and it’s a clear way to see our internal health. In my experience all brides glow on their wedding day from their excitement and happiness. By understanding nutrition, I can help brides feel and look good by taking care of inner health so they will be glowing before, during and a long time after their wedding day.
We all want to look glowing on our wedding day. Do you recommend a detox program to revive tired stressed skin and bodies?
Everything we eat eventually becomes our skin. By adhering to healthy eating changes, you can help ensure your skin will be clear and radiant. Additional side effects of a healthy diet include elevated moods, increased energy, and anti-aging. There are many reasons to embark on a detox – which I consider just healthy eating. Our bodies are truly amazing at removing unwanted toxins and they work tirelessly for us 24/7. If we can help support our bodies by removing the unnecessary stress from harmful foods that we eat, energy can be freed up to help us feel and look great. There are many reasons for starting on a nutritional program – fatigue, skin conditions, headaches, weight loss, poor digestion and sleep.
Image by Dig It Photography
How should we safely go about detoxing? And how far out from the wedding day should we start this?
Firstly I think it necessary to understand if you truly need a detox and what your individual and health needs are. Talking to a professional and having a full health appraisal will help decide which nutritional program is best for you. In general, detox aims include eliminating inflammatory, mucus and acid forming foods, which include wheat, gluten, dairy, sugar, preservatives, red meat, alcohol and caffeine. For some, removing all these foods at once would be drastic, and detoxing can create initial unwanted reactions. When rapidly detoxing, toxins can overwhelm the liver’s ability to cleanse, creating temporary and unwelcome reactions. Symptoms might include fatigue, nausea, mood changes, and skin blemishes. Perhaps start gently by working with one or two reactive foods to avoid – mine is most certainly sugar! Planning a wedding can bring its own stresses, so choose a time that is convenient. Avoid busy work and social commitments, and if possible begin detoxing anywhere between 3-6 months prior to your wedding day.
After detoxing what do you recommend in the way of health giving supportive foods to maintain the effects of the detox?
Continually thinking about all the foods we should avoid can create an obsessive approach to food, which is in itself a stress. I personally prefer to switch my focus to foods that will help nourish my body first. By understanding which nutrients our bodies need we can help the liver do its job at detoxifying. Now for the science; liver detoxification is dependent on many vitamins and enzymes to safely eliminate the build up of toxins, such as Vitamin A, C, E, Betacarotene, glutathione, Co Q10, B Vitamins (B2, B3, B6, B12) Amino Acids, folate. By including a variety of brightly coloured fresh fruits and vegetables you can provide your body with important sources of antioxidants and fibre. Protein is also important for all stages of liver detoxification and helps stabilise blood sugars, keeping us more satiated for longer. Choose lean protein sources, organic and free range where possible for eggs, chicken, turkey, grilled or steamed fish, legumes, chick peas, lentils and beans.
What other lifestyle tips could you give brides to maintain or achieve that glow?
Sleep – Getting enough adequate sleep can alone be one of the best things we can do for our health and skin. This is the time when our bodies are resting and doing most of their repair. A quality 7-8 hours restful sleep is plenty.
Exercise – improves circulation and blood flow to the skin, helping to flush toxins through the skin when working up a sweat.
Sun protection – Sun exposure can be detrimental to the quality of our skin. Harmful UV rays break down collagen in our skin, causing lose in elasticity. Wear a hat and sunglasses whenever exposed to sun. Vitamin D is synthesized through our skin when exposed to sunlight. Getting at least 10 minutes direct sunlight a day increases our Vitamin D levels. Choose to be in the sun early morning or late afternoon when UV rays are less damaging.
Relaxation techniques – stress creating a rise in the hormone cortisol can cause collagen to break down. Also avoid frowning, this will only make those worried lines deeper.
During your wedding there can be a lot of extra stress in all the organizing. Commit to making time for yourself and enjoy activities that are relaxing. Book a massage, take nature walks, meditate, practice yoga and spend quality time with your partner and friends.
Image by T – One Images
What vitamins and minerals are important for improving the quality of the skin?
The skin is constantly repairing itself and under constant exposure to the damaging elements of the environment. Antioxidants will help combat free radical exposure, including Vitamin A, C, E, Resveratrol and Co Q10. More specifically, Vitamin A is important in skin cell renewal which improves the texture of your skin. Vitamin C is required for collagen production also enhancing wound and skin healing. Vitamin E is a potent fat soluble antioxidant having a protective effect on free radicals.
What steps should a bride take if she has problem skin?
There are many skin conditions that may show a direct link to what is happening within your body. Skin problems can be triggered by allergies to certain foods, environmental irritants or products used on our skin. When trying to combat Acne, it can be a trial and error process in understanding the cause, and if hormonal it can be a long road to completely clear skin. That said, common nutritional treatment for Acne is to avoid in particular, dairy and sugar. I have seen huge improvements in the quality of my clients’ skin by removing inflammatory foods. There are also creams which have proved helpful, I know in myself suffering from breakouts for many years, products containing Vitamin A helped significantly.
Image by Luminous Still Photography
A lot is being written about the adverse effects of sugar on our bodies. Does excess sugar intake also affect our skin? Can we eat any sugar at all?
Younger looking skin can be achieved by avoiding sugar. Research has shown that glucose attaches to collagen forming ‘advanced glycation end products’ or appropriately known as AGE’s, promoting skin changes such as acne and premature wrinkles – speeding up the aging process. While aging is a natural part of life, eating foods that are age enhancing is certainly something we can do without. AGE’s are molecules that play a major part in skin aging, sugars such as glucose crosslink to proteins in collagen forming AGE’s – stiffening collagen and elastin. However sugar is an important source of fuel for our brain and energy levels, so complete avoidance of all carbohydrates isn’t recommended. Although certainly processed and refined carbohydrates can be eliminated from our diet – such as white flour, cakes, biscuits, sweets, soft drinks, and dare I say chocolate. Choose other sources of slow release carbs such as rolled oats, spelt, quinoa, sweet potato and other root vegetables.
Now we have achieved gorgeous skin, how do you help the bride enhance that look on her wedding day with makeup?
Meeting with clients at the trial we discuss together what styles of makeup and hair they like and don’t like, this gives me an understanding of their personal style so I can adapt the look to suit the individual and personality. Makeup really can transform, taking years off our faces, highlighting and contouring with the right shades and products improves facial symmetry – creating higher cheekbones, defining jawbones, fuller lips, slimming noses and enhancing eyeshapes in a natural or more dramatic way.
Image by Image Couture
Is there a wedding makeup ‘style’, that always works?
Most brides I see want to feel like themselves, the best version of themselves. A popular look that always works well is using natural tones and shades with a soft smoky eye, applying a few individual lashes is a great way to appear natural yet sill add a bit of drama to your eyes. I like skin to look fresh, dewy and bright. There is a balance to making sure your makeup looks good on camera although not a heavy handed application that your groom and guests will be wondering where you are hiding under all that makeup!
Do you suggest a hair and makeup trial before the wedding day? Why?
Having a trial allows you to be comfortable on your wedding day with how you are going to look, also meeting with your makeup and hair artist you can be sure that your personalities fit together, the morning of your wedding can be an emotional time for some, having already established a relationship with your artist will mean you can trust in knowing you will look fabulous and just enjoy the process. Having said that, I have done many weddings without a trial, this might be reasons about budget, or the bride lives overseas and doesn’t have time for a trial. In this situation I ask for lots of images of styles they like and also a picture of themselves, this allows me to be extra prepared, and has always worked out just fine.
Do you have any makeup tips that will give us a flawless look each and every time?
There are many considerations when applying makeup, the technique I would say is most important is to blend, foundation, eyeshadow and blush. Not too heavy so there is no harsh and obvious lines. If not confident applying makeup less is best. Having a selection of brushes and also the right products is essential to correct makeup application.
Primer – used to smooth over any lines or crevices before applying foundation will help create a more youthful complexion.
Foundation – I prefer to use liquid foundations, avoiding matte finishes that are going to settle into any lines or pores, using a brush will help blend the product so it feels and looks like second skin.
Concealer – a lightweight concealer is great for highlighting under your eyes, minimizing the appearance of dark circles that the foundation couldn’t quite tackle. Use concealer sparingly so as to not settle into fine lines around the eyes
Eyeshadow – for a basic day to day eyeshadow, keep it simple, choosing two colours is ample for softly contouring your eyes, a lighter colour to use all over the lid, and a deeper shade to sweep across your lash line for a more smoky effect, finish with curling your lashes and a good coat of mascara to open up the eyes.
Blush – cheek powders, creams or stains are fantastic for giving you a more radiant complexion. Apply to the apples of the cheeks and sweep towards the hair line, making sure the blush is evenly blended.
Lipstick – for perfect lips, apply a little foundation to your mouth to have a smooth canvas for applying the lipstick, this will also help reduce any bleeding of the lipstick into lines around the mouth. Use a lip pencil the same tone as your lipstick lining your lips to the desired shape, then using a lipbrush apply your lipstick or gloss of choice.
Image by Love Liz Photography
What are the makeup and hair products you can’t live without?
I use products across many different brands, I’m always trialing and searching for that perfect product. Brands I use include Christian Dior, YSL, MAC, Nars, Stilla, Makeup for Ever, Makeup Store, and other professional use makeup products. Some favs are Stilla cream blush – great and giving a dewy natural cheek. Nars bronzer in Laguna, this is one of Nar’s best selling products, this colour matches almost all skin types. Dior mascara – Dior show, creates beautiful full lashes. YSL Radiant Touch, a light concealer perfect for highlighting under the eyes and doesn’t settle into lines. MAC eyeshadows the pigment and colour range is incredible, their eyeshadows blend well and easy to build up for more dramatic eyes.
Thank you Michelle for sharing your thoughts and all those great health tips. To find out more about Michelle and Mae You Be visit the website.
Headshot courtesy of Michelle at Mae You Be.