Jenna West is a hugely talented Brighton based make-up artist, who handles over a 100 weddings a year. We understand how stressful it can be to find the perfect makeup artist for your big day, so here are some top tips from Jenna herself. Hopefully, this can be one more thing to tick off your list! 

How Did You Get Into The Beauty Industry?

I started out as an actress and I always loved hair and makeup. That was my favourite thing when I was acting, getting my hair and makeup done. So, I started out as an actress and then I trained as a makeup artist and gradually got more work as a makeup artist. I studied in London specifically for bridal makeup at the Jemma Kidd Makeup School. I went on to do airbrushing and specific bridal hair and I worked on the Jemma Kidd Pro Team. Then I started my own business in Brighton three years ago.

How Many Weddings Have You Done?

I don't know how many weddings I've done, but I average a 100 per year, so that's quite a lot! So I'd say 600+, because you get midweek weddings now as well. Generally, I will attend 90-100 weddings per year.

Do You Work With Just Brides Or The Whole Bridal Party?

I do both, so you can book me just for the bride or the whole bridal party, mother of the bride, mother of the groom, bridesmaids, flower girls, everyone!

Who Or What Are Your Inspirations?

I really like Hollywood Glamour. I love Elizabeth Taylor, I think that often in Hollywood Glamour they still look like themselves, it's still natural. You can get a red lip in there if that's something the bride would like, but generally it's that radiant, healthy-looking glow which makes brides feel special and I really do take inspiration from the Hollywood Glamour.

Do You Offer Trial Runs Before Weddings?

I'd definitely recommend a trial. There aren't many weddings I've done where I haven't done one. The only exception is emergencies where someone has been let down, because it is really important that we get together and that the bride feels comfortable with me. This way I know exactly what she wants and to test how the makeup wears. If the bride lets that by seven she felt her face getting oily, then there are things I can do as a make-up artist to ensure that doesn't happen, for example, changing a primer. There are so many different products available for different skin types, so it is really important we do the trial and then go from there.

How Long Before the Wedding Should I Have a Trial?

I recommend that a trial takes place six-eight weeks before the wedding. Some brides like to have their trial at the same time as their hen parties, so you could get your hair and make-up done before you go out for your Birmingham hen party.

Are You Willing to Travel to a Client’s House On Their Wedding Day?

Definitely willing to travel! A lot of people get married in hotels, so they get ready there or in venues or in their own homes or their parent’s homes – that’s a luxury thing and what I do is a luxury service. I’ve never done a bride’s make-up in my own house on their wedding day.

Which Brands Do You Use? 

The brands that I use are all brands that I particularly love, so I really like Laura Mercier.. I like using products from MAC, some YSL, Bobbi Brown and the airbrushes air based make up, I love NARS. 

Do You Recommend False Eyelashes? 

There’s different types of false eyelashes. You can get the permanent ones but I’d recommend a trial with those ones as they can irritate the eye and it’s also quite a big thing to have the eyelashes in permanently. I offer individual lashes, but they’re not permanent, so they will only last a day, but they can look really beautiful and subtle and not overdone.

Are the Products That You Use Long-Lasting? 

The products that I use are definitely long-lasting, they’re all really high end, good quality brands that I trust and that I’ve used in the past. Mostly, I use waterproof products for the eyes which is essential as there are usually tears at a wedding.

What Can a Bride Do to Keep Their Make-Up Fresh Looking on Their Wedding Day?

I always recommend having a top-up of lipstick and I always provide one for the bride. I would say maybe some blotting powder; they can always purchase some blusher or top up with some mascara if that’s what they want. Or if they’ve got a look that has eyeliner in the waterline, that may have to be topped up once or twice. 

What Do You Do to Create a Natural Look? 

A natural look is where you look really enhanced but totally natural. This often requires a lot more products than people think because it’s just very subtle. So I use under eye concealer, and maybe a colour corrector for under eye circles. To create that fresh and glowing look I use a good primer, a radiance and a strobe cream. The colours are all natural, earthy tones. 

I love cheek cream blushers. They look great if you blend them in as they provide a natural flush rather than anything too powerdery, along with a nice tinted moisturiser.

Can You Duplicate a Look if a Client Were to Bring a Picture? 

Yes, I get a lot of brides show me pictures on Pinterest, magazines, or, images of themselves from a few years ago on holiday where they said “Oh that was the best I ever looked, can you make me look like that again?”. It’s good for me to see what style they like and sometimes they could show me a picture that looks amazing on that person, but may not be perfect for them. Then we can talk about ways to make it work for them. 

How Do You Apply Make-Up to A Client With Acne or Scarring? 

When clients have acne or scarring, I think airbrushing is a good choice and I do offer airbrushing, because it’s applied using an airbrush gun, so you don’t have to touch the face and it gives a really good coverage for that. With acne and scarring you’ve got to be quite careful and the skin can get very irritated and also it can look worse sometimes if you put too much product on. It just depends on the particular case of acne, but I do recommend using the airbrush for problem skin.

What Should I Take Into Consideration When Chosing a Make-Up Artist For my Wedding? 

This is really important, don’t just go by price (I know everyone has a budget) but go by experience. How long have they been doing it? How many weddings have they done? What products do they use? Maybe have a phone consultation to get an idea of the type of person they are, because this person is going to be with you on your wedding morning. You need to be comfortable and it needs to be somebody that you feel you can bond with at the trial.  Maybe even ask her a few questions about her, I really recommend that. I do get people that come to me and haven’t been happy previously, so just be sure and do as much research as you can.

Should The Bride Wash Her Hair Before You Arrive? 

I recommend you wash your hair if you’re having your hair down, for example if you’re going to have a bouncy blow dry and some curls. But don’t wash your hair on the morning of the wedding if you’re having a style that’s up. Generally, the hair will style better and stay up if it’s slightly greasy – I can always put dry shampoo in it to make it look like it’s still fresh.

What Else Can the Bride Do to Prepare Her Skin or Hair? 

I think that always drinking a lot of water (and not drinking too much alcohol is a good thing). If you are dehydrated, your skin is the first thing to show. If you drink a lot of water, immediately you will see you skin pump up. Always try and look after yourself leading up to the wedding. Exfoliating is really good a few days before.

Don’t do waxing or do a facial the day before, as that can actually bring spots out, so I say if you’re going to have a facial, do it at least a week or two weeks before the wedding – just make sure that it’s nice and moisturised!

Can You Style With Hair Extensions? 

Yes, I can style hair with extensions, that’s no problem at all. Lots of brides want thicker, fuller hair and that’s something that I work with a lot.

Can You Calm Frizziness and Make the Hair Look Thicker and Fuller?

Yes, there’s lots of things to do to make hair look thicker and fuller, there’s lots of techniques; there’s backcombing and dust that you can put in the hair – it’s like a thickening dust which is really good and then you can backcomb the hair which makes it look thicker. Just things you can do with the hair as well, there’s ways to work with it to create more volume.

There’s a lot of products on the market; mousses and sea salt sprays – they’re amazing if you’re going for a messy bun. It makes your hair look really full. And also if you’ve got frizzy hair, there’s lots of serums and obviously we could straighten it or curl it – it depends what style you’re going for if you want that sleek look. I do find that a lot of brides like the soft romantic look, a bit fly-away, that’s really popular too!

Do You Bring an Assistant? 

I will always bring an assistant if there’s more than four people. It also depends what time you’re getting married. So if it’s a very early wedding and everyone needs to be ready by 11/11:30 and I’ve got more than two people to do, I’ll bring in an assistant because I like to take my time and I don’t like to rush. And it’s just nice for everyone to get ready together, people not to be sitting around for really long periods of time having had their make-up done and they’re not going for another four hours. I do bring an assistant if it’s a large bridal party.

Do You Require a Deposit? 

Yes, I require a deposit after a successful trial. I pencil you in a date in my diary and we’ll have a trial about eight weeks before the wedding – that’s when I think it’s comfortable for me and I think it’s quite a good time frame for the bride as well, so she’ll have her dress by then and she’ll know a lot more about the wedding. If there’s certain colours she’s got, that we can work with it, then we can incorporate it into the style that we do. I’ll take a deposit after the trial and that secures the day. Then I’ll take the deposit off the final balance during the day.

How Much Do You Charge for Hair and Make-Up Packages? 

I offer different packages for brides depending on the size of the bridal party, whether it is just make-up or just hair. I do have a minimum in the summer which is £250, so that you could have a couple of people or more for that and also off peak and peak prices – if it’s a winter wedding in the middle of the week, I’ll sometimes offer a discount depending on the circumstances. Generally, I’d say make-up and hair ranges from £150-£200 on the wedding day.

How In Advance Should A Client Book? 

I’d recommend booking asap! I have bookings a year in advance – my diary for next year is 70% full at the moment. I do get a lot of enquiries and I’m starting to train more and more people up so that weddings I’m not available for, they can do themselves in my style.