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As a child, Mum’s make-up kit was the stuff of dreams. Lavishly applied red lipstick, huge swathes of blush, and the most garish nail polish imaginable all made it into our arsenal of dress-up delights: even from a young age, it seems, we were all too aware of the transformative effects of make-up. Beautifully applied make-up is always a delight: at the hands of an accomplished make-up artist it enhances, delineates, creates style icons. But wedding make-up is an entirely different beast altogether, and requires an expert understanding of light and dark, soft tones, and gentle highlights. Gold Coast-based Sarah Crawford has for years been doing stunning things with a make-up brush, and we were so impressed with both the breadth and quality of her work that we decided to catch up with her for a chat.


Style and substance

Sarah’s background is quite impressive, with her experience extending from fashion shoots through to swimsuit calendars. It’s a life-long love, she tells us, and one that’s showing no sign of ebbing. “From a young age I just loved make-up,” she says. “I even loved the smell of it!” This passion saw her move into the industry at an early age, with Sarah taking a job behind a make-up counter at just fourteen years of age. Since then she’s gradually developed her own personal style, which has evolved into one that focuses on vintage looks. “It’s timeless and so sophisticated,” she says.

In fact, it’s a look that she loves so much that she couldn’t pass it up for her own wedding: “I had a vintage wedding, and was in heaven planning every minute of it!” But Sarah’s wedding-related skills weren’t just in the planning side of things. After trialling two other make-up artists for her own wedding, Sarah took matters into her own hands and did not only her own make-up, but the make-up for her entire bridal party. So it’s certainly fair to say that when it comes to wedding make-up, she speaks from experience.

In fact, Sarah lives and breathes all things make-up and style, and is always honing her skills. Keeping on top of current trends and finding new sources of inspiration and ideas is key to her ongoing professional development. “Fashion magazines are a must for me,” she says. “And the internet–it’s a valuable source for anything and everything fashion-related. The information is never-ending.”

Sarah’s combination of passion and experience no doubt plays a key role in her success as a make-up artist. But not all make-up artists are of the same calibre. Given this, we wonder whether she has any tips for choosing a make-up artist for that all-important wedding make-up. “Look for experience, definitely,” she says. “Anyone can pick up a brush and say that they’re a make-up artist, so it’s essential that you look for recommendations from past clients. Take the time to find out which products they use, and look at their past work, even if this means brazenly asking for photos.” This isn’t advice to take lightly: Sarah’s heard horror stories of eyes having been glued together with lash glue, and notes that foundation mishaps are all too common. “Your wedding day is one day that can’t be replayed,” she says, “so you want to ensure that you look the best you possibly can!”

All made up

Speaking of looking good, we can’t help but wonder whether Sarah has any tips for ensuring that a bride’s wedding make-up shines–in a good way. Sarah is careful to note that wedding make-up should be restrained and elegant. “Don’t go to the catwalk to get ideas for your bridal make-up,” she says. “Bridal magazines are a much better idea. Bridal make-up should never be bright and colourful, as you don’t want to use colours that might date and look old-fashioned in a few year’s time. Never try anything new on your wedding day–this is not the time to experiment!” Put down that blue eyeshadow, brides!

Sarah also has some valuable tricks up her sleeve for ensuring that even the least photogenic of brides looks fabulous–regardless of the lighting. The only time that make-up won’t “work” in different conditions is when it hasn’t been applied properly, she tell us. “It shouldn’t be a problem at all if you’ve done it professionally. The colour of your foundation must be perfect, and must be well-powdered to ensure that there are no issues with shine, or with being washed out by a camera flash.”

Goodness. There’s more to this than we thought. Given the complexity of bridal make-up, how does Sarah go about getting everything just right? “A trial is a must,” she says. “That way there’s no time wasted on discussing what’s wanted on the actual day.” Sarah also does quite a bit of preparation beforehand. “I take time to learn about all of plans for the wedding beforehand. For example, I find out about the style of the dress and any jewellery, as well as any colours or tones. Depending on the colours used, I may need to adjust the tones used in the eyeshadow–for example, from gold to silver.”

Sarah also ensures that any bridesmaids are styled differently from the bride. “Similar tones are fine, but the bride should always stand out,” she says. This thorough trial ensures that Sarah faces no surprises come the day of the wedding. “After the trial I have a set plan in place for the wedding day, allowing me to ensure that my part plays out as smoothly and efficiently as possible.”


Trial (without error)

But it’s not just the make-up that needs a trial run. Sarah points out how invaluable it is for brides to test out their entire look prior to their wedding just in case disaster strikes. “Schedule your trial run for your hen’s night,” she tells us. “After all, there’s no point being all dressed up with nowhere to go!” A full dress rehearsal, Sarah says, is a great way to test the staying power of your make-up, while also helping you to “ensure that your lashes have not fallen off or irritated you all night, that your tan looks good–not orange–that your hairstyle has remained in place, and that all of those pins haven’t given you a headache.”

Sarah certainly has all of her bases covered. In fact, she tells us that it’s out of the question for her to leave home without a case brimming with all of the essentials: mascara, lip gloss, and tinted moisturiser, which she says are “quick and easy to apply when in a rush.” They’re also key to creating a fresh look, which Sarah emphasises as a key component of wedding make-up.  ”A bride should look stunning but still naturally beautiful,” she says. “Once I’ve done my work, they should have both a fresh glow, and a smile from ear to ear!” It seems, as my gran would say, “less is more.”

Now that we know what a bride should look like, does Sarah have any tips for looks to avoid?  ”Avoid thick foundation,” she says. “A bride still wants to look like herself, not someone off The Bold and the Beautiful!”


A blushing bride

What about those brides who want to DIY their make-up? Good quality products are a must, Sarah tells us. “I’d recommend Mac foundation, as it’s long-lasting and easy to apply,.” she says. “In terms of eyeshadow, opt for a champagne colour brushed over the whole eye, and then a medium brown or bronze smudged into the lash line on the top and bottom lids. Those who are confident in their application skills could also look at applying this across the eye crease for added definition.” When it comes to blush and lipstick, Sarah recommends a light touch. “Opt for a soft peach or pink blush,” she says, “and a nude lip liner and lipstick with a gloss that is either clear or soft in colour.” For an extra boost in the photogenic stakes, Sarah recommends an eyebrow wax and tint and an eyelash tint a few days before the wedding date. “Then it’s simply a matter of mascara, and you’re done!”

Of course, make-up looks best when it’s applied to healthy-looking skin. To keep your skin looking fresh and blemish free, Sarah recommends going hard on the water, easy on the potions and lotions, and exercising restraint when it comes to those alcoholic libations. Sleep is key, too. If you follow these recommendations, all that will be needed is a quick re-application of lip gloss every now and then, she tells us.

But will make-up stand up against the onslaught of those wedding day tears? It should, but an emergency kit packed with cotton tips, lipstick, powder, tissues, and mascara is always a good idea, Sarah tells us. “A bad cryer may also want to carry some eye drops, too!”


Bright eyes

Speaking of sob-worthy moments, does Sarah have any wise words that she’d like to share with us? “Enjoy every single second of your wedding,” she says. “It’s all over before you know it, so make sure that enjoy all the planning! And do take time out on your wedding day just to stand with your new partner just looking around and savouring the moment. You won’t forget that day for as long as you live, so ensure that there are no regrets, and that you don’t rush it,” she says. “Make it everything you have every dreamed of–within reason of course!” In Sarah’s mind, a wedding “should be magical!”. We agree!


Get in touch with Sarah

To get in touch with Sarah, or to view more of her work, visit her Facebook page–and don’t forget to say that we sent you!


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