“A bride should look beautiful and feel confident on her special day. It’s also essential she should look like herself – only better. I believe the best way to do this is by applying makeup to enhance natural beauty rather than using it to create a new face.”
These are the words of Melonie Santos whose heart and passion lies in helping brides on their wedding day. With her collaborative approach, Melonie is able to guide you through a makeup trial, encouraging you to ask lots of questions, onto a finished look that will dazzle you. On the wedding day, Melonie is there to calm your nerves as she skilfully applies makeup to your face, using it as a blank canvas as an artist would. Such understanding is borne of years of experience and a love of her craft. In such good hands you can’t help but feel like a princess on your wedding day!
What was the light bulb moment when you decided you wanted to be a makeup artist?
I have always been creative and decided to do a short course in basic makeup for myself in 2003. My teacher remarked at the time that I have an exceptional eye for detail and, feeling encouraged, I followed this up with a second short course specializing in Bridal Makeup. I loved doing the course and given the strong positive feedback I decided to take the plunge in 2005 and quit my job to put myself through a full time Diploma of Entertainment makeup at Victoria University. I have never looked back.
What experiences have shaped the way you approach your job?
I was fortunate enough to assist some leading makeup artists at the start of my career and feel that this helped immensely in crafting my own distinctive style.
Working on advertising campaigns, fashion shoots and particularly television (which can be unforgiving in this high definition age) has helped me to develop a very subtle and nuanced approach to applying makeup.
Where does your work take you?
All over Melbourne, typically anywhere between the Yarra Valley, to the Mornington Peninsular to the Macedon Ranges. I have also been fortunate enough to travel interstate with my work.
What should brides look for in a makeup artist?
- It’s essential you select a makeup artist capable of making you look true to yourself (only better;-) by enhancing rather than attempting to create a new face.
- The makeup artist needs to cater to your individual style and personality in preference to celebrities you may admire. For example, if you don’t wear a lot of makeup then don’t request a Kim Kardashian ‘Smokey Eyes’ look.
- Your makeup should look flawless, projecting a ‘prettier you’, and natural in person while standing out for the camera.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions and don’t be rushed. Your makeup artist is there to help you and help make your day as stress-free and smooth as possible.
How important is a makeup trial for the bride?
I think it is very important to avoid any disappointment or stress. Ideally book a makeup trial so you know exactly what you are getting on the day. The process of developing a look you love builds trust and confidence in your makeup artist. If you are unhappy with the results be sure to speak up before concluding the trial. Book early enough so that if the makeup artist doesn’t quite ‘get it’, you have time to find one who does.
What questions should a bride ask during the trial?
Enquire as to their years of experience and extra services such as provision of a wedding schedule (to ensure you don’t run behind on the day) and a face chart (so you have a record of the products and correct colours for future reference).
Look for a makeup artist who is a perfectionist and has an immaculately clean kit. Ask how often they clean their brushes and whether they use disposable ones (e.g. mascara wands). Also check to see that they use good quality brands so that your makeup will last all day and night.
What influences the makeup look for the wedding day?
Many things come into consideration when it comes to makeup on your wedding day. E.g. How much makeup does the Bride tend to wear on an everyday basis? What kind of theme are you going for on the Big Day? What style dress is the bride/bridesmaids going to wear? Even hairstyles and flowers can influence the creation of a flawless look.
Image by Peter Soulis
How do you achieve a flawless look for skin, with makeup? And what products do you recommend to achieve this?
- It’s vital that the face is clean and devoid of any makeup.
- Applying a primer.
- Blending, blending, blending.
- Concealing areas that need to be concealed without caking on foundation.
- Using illuminisers (strobing).
- Having a touch up Blot Powder and lipgloss/lipstick is essential.
Do you have some tips for applying false eyelashes so that they look more natural?
To create a more natural look I tend to use individual false lashes.
Image by Brown Paper Parcel
If a bride is set on a certain celebrity look, how do you translate this into makeup that will be wedding day perfect?
Celebrity looks can be helpful in working towards an ideal, however, generally I also tend to offer a professional’s view to help tailor expectations given the many factors which can influence the final look. By working together as a team during the trial we aim to create the perfect wedding makeup.
Having been involved in many ‘getting ready hours’ with brides, their bridesmaids and mums, can you offer us some tips for a calm and stress free time?
I know first-hand that weddings can be very stressful and having a wedding schedule on the day which allows for the right amount of time without rushing is crucial to promote a stress free and calm atmosphere. Clear communication with the photographer and hair stylist is essential.
What is in your makeup and skincare kit?
I am very natural and very selective of my product range – I swear by Bio Oil and Clarins Beauty Flash, MAC Face & Body foundation, Bobbi Brown concealer and corrector, Stilla convertible lip and cheek colour, Bobbi Brown Bronzer, Maybelline mascara and eyebrow shadow to fill in my eyebrows. The two makeup brushes I use most in my personal kit are an angle brush and bronzer brush.
I wouldn’t leave the house without…..
My eyebrows filled in (unfortunately when I was younger I over plucked) and my mobile phone… (damn Instagram;-)
My favourite activity in my free time is…..
Spending time with my husband and three kids at the beach. Walking, cooking and eating out.
Thank you Melonie for sharing your story. To find out more about Melonie’s services visit the website.
All makeup in these images by Melonie Santos Makeup Artist