Archive for Nikki Strachan

Winter Weather Wedding Beauty Tips

Fashion & Beauty

2015 wedding trends - style - ear cuffs

Photo by Alvaro Goveia.

Heading into the cold wintery weather conditions means it’s time to amp up skin hydration and protection, especially if you are a winter bride.  With the cold and frigid temperatures, skin becomes more sensitized and reactive and requires a little extra TLC to ensure you look just as glowy and gorgeous as a summer day.  Here are some of my favourite beauty and skin hacks to try when the temperatures dip and you need your skin to be in top form.

Use Products That Protect & Heal
Skin chaffing, and chapping is a major concern in the colder months and a problem for many of us. This is when it’s time to stock up on potions that offer hydration and protection to delicate skin to ensure it stays hydrate. For the lips, apply a protective lip mask for overnight (I love Laniege Lip Sleeping Mask). Apply just before bed and while you are sleeping it soothes and smooths lips and replenishes lost moisture.

Mask At Night
When it’s cold outside, it’s time to cozy down inside and masking is not only a great way to relax but boost up your skin. I love using Korres Hydra-Biome probiotic super dose face mask twice a week to relieve my skin of daily environmental stressors. It will protect your skin over time, so you won’t have to deal with any redness or dryness flare ups due to winter weather.

Don’t Skip Your SPF
Though the summer sun has set, that doesn’t mean your use of SPF should too. There are so many bright, frigid days where the sun shines brightly and that is of course damaging to our skin. Keep applying your sunscreen every morning as you do in the warmer months—mix it with your foundation or look for tinted moisturizer formulas containing SPF.

Reach For Cream Products
These not only look like velvet on skin but are incredibly moisturizing and perfect for creating a gorgeous winter wedding look. Cream blush will not look overly highlighted but will still give you that boost of radiance we all need when the dull cold winter skin kicks in! Bonus: it’s also hydrating for the skin, so it won’t ever look dry or cakey. Reach for creamy concealers, mousse textured foundations (Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Foundation is a fave) and a lip conditioner to wear underneath your lipstick (try Charlotte Tilbury Hot Lips 2 in Enigmatic Edward). These will all give skin a pretty, hydrated and plumped appearance which is exactly what you want on your wedding day.

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks.

The Prettiest Autumn Wedding Makeup

Fashion & Beauty

how to get a wedding-day beauty look that fits your style - Dark Princess

Photography by Carlyle Routh. Product photography by Geoffrey Ross. Editor and creative producer Alison McGill. Styling by Tara Williams. Hair by Tony Masciangelo, Alcorn Hair/P1M.ca. Makeup by Cia Mandarello, P1M.ca

Fall is a most glorious season because it is ripe and rich with colour. If you are an autumn bride, why not take a cue from nature’s palette and let it inspire your wedding-day makeup? For fall 2019, beauty looks are full of interesting finishes—metallic, matte, gloss, sparkle. Here are some ideas on how to incorporate these seasonal trends into your bridal vibe and still create a classic, timeless and gorgeous bridal look.

Play with Texture
There are many to choose from, just be sure to experiment and find the best one for you. Play with eye shadow finishes for a subtle way to add some trendiness to your look (matte versus shimmer). When you are considering what finish you want for your skin don’t forget to factor in your own skin texture and any issues. More mature skin doesn’t wear sparkles or glitter well as it can emphasize the appearance of fine lines. Play with rosy matte hues on the face (lids, cheeks and lips) to create a modern glow. I also love the idea of creating a custom texture for the skin by mixing a silky, hydrating foundation with matte touches where a little more shine control is needed.

Liner Love
We are seeing a lot of velvety winged liner this season which is perfect for fall. Sometimes it can be hard to achieve the perfect cat eye with certain eye shapes, so working with a makeup artist to achieve your perfect look is key with this trend. For a softer winged look, your makeup artist can use gel liner topped with eye shadow for a subtle finish. For a very graphic, polished long-lasting winged liner your artist can use liquid liner pen that delivers a bold, sleek finish without too much shine or gloss.

Luxe Lips
One of my favourite looks this fall is a vampy lip. I understand it may be a little out of some comfort zones and not the first thing you would think of for a bridal look, but consider it as an option to transition your look from day to night. You don’t have to have a big, bold lip but instead can play with colour as a stain so it’s still impactful but not overpowering. There are many sheer lipsticks and all day liquid lip stains out now that are perfect for creating this beautiful hit of colour.

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks.

7 Tips For DIY-ing Your Wedding Makeup

Fashion & Beauty

Romantic Bridal Makeup Ideas - Rosy Bridal Makeup

Photography by Chris Nicholls. Styling by Tara Williams. Hair by Justin German for Pantene/P1M.ca. Makeup by Michelle Rosen, judyinc.com. Nails by Rita Remark, lead nail artist for Essie Canada. As seen in this story.

With all the hustle and bustle of the wedding planning and things to do, sitting still for a makeup trial and having it professionally done the day-of may just not be on your list. DIY-ing your wedding makeup is absolutely an option (Kate Middleton famously did her own for her 2011 royal wedding) and easy to master with a few insider tips—here’s seven of my best beauty tricks to get wedding-day gorgeous.

1. Give Your Skin ALL The Love! Never neglect the basics of great skincare because this is what will create wedding day radiance and glow. Keep your skin hydrated. Treat yourself to some intensive detoxifying facials to draw out impurities and tighten pores. Adopt a solid daily skin regime to put your skin in tip-top condition.

2. Become A Brow Master. Your eyebrows are the most important feature when it comes to shaping your face and creating symmetry. If you have been considering growing them out (and need to!) now is the time to do it. Find a great brow groomer to help keep the grow out on track and also steer you towards the right brow products to perfect yours (ie. pencils, powders, gels).

3. Consider A CC Cream Instead of Foundation. I always tell my destination brides or brides who will be doing their own to consider a CC cream because they literally make your skin flawless and are so easy to use. Lightweight and hydrating a CC cream corrects and covers any skin sins (ie. redness, hyperpigmentation, acne scarring)‘. They are light in texture and have incredible coverage. Once you start using one you won’t be without it ever again!

4. Learn To Love Facial Powders. This is the trick to an everlasting beauty look and it’s all about knowing how to use powder to do it. I love loose powders and mineral powders for setting. Use a lightweight, fluffy eye shadow brush for setting under your eyes and a medium powder brush to set the rest of your face. Loose powders are my favourite thing along with mineral powders! Its easy to apply (*Use a light fluffy shadow brush for under the eyes and a medium face powder to set the rest) The final look will have you looking smooth and silky for your day! (make sure your not using white finishing powder!!)

5. Invest in Cream Eyeshadows. These are amazing because they can act as a primer and an eyeshadow. Smooth across your lids for a wash of colour and if you want to intensify it apply poweder shadow over top. It will help keep powder in place and crease-free.

6. Consider Lip Stains. You want a hydrated, lip look that lasts and I love lip stains because they deliver both of these things. Use a lip mask to moisten lips then fill in with a lip pencil to create the perfect stained look. Top with a lip balm or gloss and you have a perfect (highly kissable!) finish.

7. Spritz It Up. Another key for great looking makeup are sprays. Use a facial mist to hydrate pre-application, then lock in your look with a setting spray.

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks.

Try These Beauty-Pro-Approved Hacks To Achieve Wedding-Perfect Skin

Fashion & Beauty

Photography by Chris Nicholls as seen in this Weddingbells story.

Great makeup starts with good skin, it’s that simple. I am a big fan of a solid skincare regime to put your skin in top shape for your wedding day (and all those pre-wedding events!) and ensure your natural radiance is dialed up to the max. This means knowing what products to use as well as a few pro-star tips because you don’t always have time to go to the spa and keeping things streamlined and simple is how it’s done in our very time-pressed days. Here are a few of my favourite products and beauty hacks to make your skin picture-perfect.

Hydrate. Hydration truly is the number one factor that contributes to amazing skin. Drink ALL the water, but also hydrate your skin with a warm cloth compress every night a few weeks prior to the wedding. This helps to draw out any debris and bacteria then follow with a good scrub up to three times a week with a gentle exfoliator. I recently started doing this and I have not had a break out in months.

Ice up. Another beauty hack I often share with my brides: starting a few days before your wedding, wrap three ice cubes in a face cloth and press into skin to cool and tighten. Follow this by patting skin with soft motions for up to 10 minutes. Do this trick after cleansing and you will notice skin has a rosy glow and your pores will be minimized giving your skin a smooth-as-glass finish.

Magical masks. We girls love our home mask routines and recently I’ve been very into the Pure Hyaluronic Acid Biocellulose Mask by Neostrata. This sheet mask not only cools your skin, but tightens and plumps—you can see the effects for days after using—and it’s perfect for sensitive skin which all brides have in the days leading up to their wedding! Another mask I love is YOUTHMUD Glow Stimulating & Exfoliating Treatment Mask by Glamglow. This one works wonders in just 10 minutes and will leave your skin looking positively lit.

Proceed with caution. This is my most important tip and it’s the easiest one too—be gentle with your skin and treat it with extra TLC. Don’t test new products in the days before your wedding. Don’t pick or traumatize your skin. Stay calm and don’t stress to avoid breakouts, dehydration and inflammation.

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks. 

How To Work With Your Makeup Artist To Create Your Dream Wedding Look

Fashion & Beauty

Photo by Rebecca Amber Photography. Makeup by Nikki Strachan. Dress from Sash and Bustle.

Working with your makeup artist on your wedding day is a team effort, which means both of you need to come to the table with ideas about what you want and envision for your wedding-day look. A makeup pro’s job is to understand and recognize what best suits certain facial features, facial shapes and skin tone of their client’s face. With this in mind, it can sometimes be difficult for us to execute what we think works best, as it might not be the look you see for yourself. This is where communication is key between client and artist! It’s integral for creating a look you want and one your artist knows will look amazing on you.

The first step towards getting on the same page is finding inspiration you love and bringing all those pics with you to your makeup trial. As you go through these with your makeup artist, you can both discuss what you love and why it may or may not work to best highlight your features. I have had the experience many times as an artist of a client showing me a look they love which is not at all a fit with their skin tone, best features or even their style vibe. Things like lip colour, eye shadows and liner types are easy to accommodate, but when you get into skin base, contour, blush or brows, this is where things get tricky!

Work with your artist to find a look perfect for you—a pro will look at your face in a different way than you do. They will see a beautiful blank canvas and be excited to create something gorgeous on it. Typically, your look should be inspired by your everyday you, but amplified and glammed up! An important thing for you both to discuss when it comes to creating the perfect wedding look is what you don’t like. Tell you artist what to steer clear of—that encompasses anything from eye shadow textures to liner placement, skin finish, foundation type, and so on. This will help your artist understand what you love, what you are looking for with your wedding makeup and ensure you both work together seamlessly to create a beautiful, bridalized you!

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks. 

Trendy Makeup Looks Perfect For Brides

Fashion & Beauty

Photography by Riley Stewart. Styling, by Tara Williams. Hair by Tony Masciangelo for Alcorn Hair/PIM. Makeup by Nikki Strachan. First published in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Weddingbells.

Being a bridal makeup artist for over a decade now, I have to say most brides stick to a safe bridal look which is completely normal because we want to look like the best version of ourselves on such an important day! Having said this, I also think there is room to play when it comes to your wedding day look and think outside of a classic bridal beauty vibe and have your artist create a bespoke, creative look to suit your style and personality. Summer is my favourite season to experiment with bridal looks and I wanted to share a few I’ve been playing with.

Bright colour washes on eyes are hot this season, and for weddings I love the look because it creates such a dreamy, watercolour effect. Colours like soft purples and soft pinks (I love DIOR Trioblique Palette in Rosy Canvas) and even soft emerald greens (try Charlotte Tilbury The Icon Palette) look amazing! Because colours are soft, it still allows you to wear a natural look. Just add lashes and a flawless base and you’re ready for the chapel!

Another look I’m loving and we’re seeing on models and celebs is the glassy, glittery eyes—I find it adds a glam boho and ethereal vibe to your wedding day beauty. To transition this into your bridal beauty routine is brilliant! I love using a highlighting palette (Stila Little White Lies Heavenly Highlighting Palette is my current fave) to create this look and works best when applied with fingers. You can use it on top of any eye shadow colour to add glimmer or to top your nude lip shade.

When it comes to lips, pretty neutral shades are so often the choice but if these tones are not your go to, don’t force the subject and stick with a brighter, bolder colour! I love rich jewel tones, and silky wine colours for brides—they look elevated and luxe. The key to rocking a statement shade lies in the lip prep and application. Lips need to be conditioned before you apply (try Drunk Elephant Lippe Balm), then I line lips with a long wear lip pencil, apply a thin layer of lipstick, then top with end with a long wear liquid matte lipstick like MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Lipstick. Colour will be locked and loaded for the day and totally smooch proof!

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks. 

Planning Your Wedding Day Beauty Schedule

Fashion & Beauty

Photo by Alex Lee. Makeup by Nikki Strachan.

The process of planning a wedding can be exhilarating, exciting and very much overwhelming. There is a key list of tasks you need to schedule leading up to on the day; one thing you may not have factored into your planning calendar is the day-of glam schedule for you, your bridal party and key family members. This is something you definitely need to flag with your wedding planner if it has not been tabled so you can figure out the best way to tackle getting everyone looking gorgeous and to getting them to your ceremony on time!

I am definitely a lover of a printed schedule for your wedding day so everyone knows where they are to be and at what time. You need to make sure to ask your hair and makeup artist how long she or he may take with each person and then start calibrating the timeline from there. Keep in mind a natural lit, bright set up is ideal for most artists so you want to create the schedule based on the best daylight hours.

Another tip on the day of is to appoint someone to be in charge of the beauty schedule—it most certainly should not be you, there’s enough going on for the bride! It’s important to keep things running on time and smoothly. Find your most organized friend and ask if she/he will do this for you. It will absolutely make your life on wedding day so much easier! I always think the best way to start wedding day beauty sessions is with the mothers of the bride and groom; move to bridesmaids, prioritizing those who may have children or expecting; MOH is next followed by you! Putting yourself at the end of the line guarantees your makeup will be super-fresh and fabulous for your walk down the aisle.

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks. 

How To Create Your Perfect Wedding Makeup Look

Fashion & Beauty

Photography, Riley Stewart. Styling, Tara Williams. Hair, Tony Masciangelo for Alcorn Hair/PIM. Makeup, Nikki Strachan. Editor and creative producer, Alison McGill. First published in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Weddingbells.

Just like finding your perfect dress is a journey, so too is creating your perfect bridal makeup. The key to nailing it down is building a relationship with your wedding makeup artist. Getting to know his or her makeup vibe and their thoughts on what works for you and your personal style are things which are all integral to planning your bridal look. I personally have worked with many brides, so I know having a great relationship with my client is essential and there are definitely some key conversations and questions that need to happen.

First and foremost, you need to discuss skincare and any treatments and procedures (waxing, facials, prejuvenation, etc.) you may be having. You need to know when to book these in advance of your wedding—you want to look flawless and eliminate the risk of any skin irritation. I advise booking services at least a week prior to the wedding day to ensure you don’t have any type of redness or reaction.

When it comes to your actual makeup look, you need to communicate what you love to your artist. Discuss how you look everyday, what elements you love about that look and how you would like to amp it up for your wedding day. Do you want a romantic vibe? Glam vibe? No-makeup-makeup vibe? From there you can start isolating key areas of the face and build out the look.

While skin finish, cheek colour and lip shade and texture are all important things to discuss, I think the feature you will spend the most time deciding how to highlight is your eyes. You want them standing out as the star of the show, looking bright and beautiful which means spending extra time on choosing the perfect shadow and liner combo. I always ask my clients to choose a shadow palette containing shades you love (ones with pearly bronze and silky finishes are best) then we will create a total beauty look using this as inspo. For eyeliner, you need to decide if you want a polished line, a smoky smudgy finish, a kitten flick? Your artist will be able to guide you on what looks best on your eye and pick the perfect style for you!

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your MorningThe Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients’ beauty looks. 

How To DIY Beautiful Destination Wedding Makeup

Fashion & Beauty

Photography by Laura Kelly Photography as seen in this real wedding.

Heading off to an tropical destination for your celebration? Lucky you! Having an exotic locale as your wedding backdrop is an incredible experience and makes for an unforgettable party.

Planning at a distance can actually surprisingly be less stressful as you will have people on the ground in your selected locale to look after all the details. One thing you definitely will have to put some thought behind and organize at home though is your beauty needs. Not everyone can fly their glam squad in for party makeup prep which means incorporating a little bridal beauty DIY into your wedding to do list! As a pro makeup artist, here’s where I can offer advice on how to put your best face forward.

The good news about creating a beautiful look for a destination wedding is probably one of the easiest going. The key is having the right products to combat heat and humidity and not making your look to complicated. There are key parts of the face to focus on. For your skin, keep it simple, fresh and always consider the weather conditions. With heat and perspiration, it’s important to choose a multi-purpose base. Remember to look for an SPF component and a waterproof component to make your application process seamless. Buff it into your skin with a dense foundation brush to create a long-lasting base. My pick: Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation.

When it comes to your eyes, a favourite and unfussy option is to use shadow sticks (I love these by NARS). They are creamy, easy to apply (use your fingers or a brush), create a great base for power shadows and are buildable which means you can layer up for greater intensity. Finish your look with lashes which you definitely will need to practice how to apply before you jet. Pro tip: use a compact mirror and look down towards it for lash placement. Doing this gives you a clear angle of where to place lashes rather than looking at yourself straight on.

For the finishing touch to your destination wedding makeup, create a perfect pout in a pretty nude pink tone using a creamy long-wear lip liner. Fill in your lips with the liner to create a beautiful, kiss-proof stain, then top with a cream or matte lipstick to bump up your shade intensity (try Charlotte Tilbury K.I.S.S.I.N.G Lipstick in Nude Kate). Steer clear of anything glossy as it does not mix well with a tropical clime. If you want a bit of shine and moisture top your lip colour with a dab of lip balm in the centre of your lips.

Nikki Strachan has been working at a professional makeup artist for over 14 years and is currently the key makeup artist for Your Morning, The Social and an instructor at Toronto’s George Brown College with a focus on bridal makeup. She has beautified numerous celebrities and brides and loves to bring a trend-focused eye to all her clients beauty looks. 

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