For our latest Expert Interview, we sit down to discuss bridal beauty tips, trends and more with makeup artist Christina Chen of Makeup by Quis. Christina is a San Francisco-based makeup artist with a diverse and impressive portfolio which includes work for Miss California Pageant and Universal Studios.
She frequently works with brides, helping them select the perfect beauty look for their big day – and has picked up plenty of trade tricks and secrets for those preparing to walk down the aisle and wanting to perfect their beauty prep. She has kindly agreed to share her insider knowledge with us and all brides-to-be too.
JOVANI: Tell us a little bit about how you first got into makeup, and about your journey to where you are today.
CHRISTINA: I’ve always loved drawing/painting growing up, especially portraiture. My love affair with the beauty industry started when my aunt, who is also a makeup artist, would come over and show us her Mary Kay skincare and makeup. After highschool, I enrolled into my first official makeup and hair course in Taiwan, and from there I assisted and worked on my own until I graduated college. I attended another makeup school in Hollywood for special f/x, and got my esthetician’s license as well. I’ve been working as a full time makeup artist since then. It’s been 12 years since I officially started doing makeup and I strongly believe in continued education, so I choose different artists to learn from every year to keep my skills up to date.
JOVANI: What is your specialty in the hair and makeup world / your niche?
CHRISTINA: I like to think I’m well versed in different aspects of makeup, but I would say natural/enhancing beauty makeup is my specialty. Asian beauty is my niche clientele.
JOVANI: What are the top three requested hair looks from brides to be?
1) Side low bun
2) half up, half down
3) down to the side
JOVANI: What are the top four requested makeup looks from brides to be?
CHRISTINA: To be honest, 90% of my brides ask for a ‘myself but better’ makeup look. They want to look natural, but still have enough makeup so it photographs nicely. Otherwise, they want ‘soft glamour’ which is a bit more dramatic than natural, but not overwhelming. This look is great since it reads well both in the morning and evening. Then, occasionally, brides will ask for the Kim Kardashian glamorous look, but it’s rare.
JOVANI: Can you name some of the biggest trends you are seeing right now in the hair and makeup world? Are any of them here to stay, or are they just fleeting trends?
CHRISTINA: We have been moving towards a more natural/organic look for a few years now, which is great! Sometimes, the looks that are presented on the runway shows aren’t necessarily wedding day friendly (e.g. wet/glossy skin which looks great only on perfect skin for a short amount of time). Other trends such as glitter can be used in moderation if suited for your clothing/event, but they’re definitely more ‘trendy’ than timeless.
Natural waves which are popular will always be flattering, but the slick/wet hair look that is very trendy now will probably be just a fleeting trend.
JOVANI: What is your favorite tip/trick you can give to our readers to achieve beautiful, glowing skin for a big event?
CHRISTINA: Hydrating face masks! My personal favourites are the masks from Timeless Truth Cosmetics and inn
isfree 2nd skin moisture mask. Use these daily, for at least a week leading up to the event to have naturally glowing skin!
JOVANI: Do you give your brides any home-care makeup and hair routines to follow? If so, what are they?
CHRISTINA: I always tell brides to keep a regular skincare routine complete with hydrating face masks if possible. This will help boost the skin’s hydration level to give them a natural glow. Makeup will also adhere much better. Light exfoliation is also recommended to ensure that the dead skin is appropriately removed before applying foundation.
I would not suggest doing any aggressive chemical peels nor extractions prior to the wedding day, as they might leave irritated peeling skin and scars.
For hair, I would suggest coloring closer to the wedding day so your roots won’t be showing. Try to avoid any shampoos with silicone and conditioners so your hair will hold, and wash your hair the night before.
JOVANI: Do you recommend that brides pair their hair and makeup looks with their chosen wedding dress? What hairstyle do you think looks best for a mermaid sweetheart style wedding dress? What hairstyle do you think looks best for a high neck dress? What hairstyle do you think is ideal for a bateau neckline?
CHRISTINA: Most definitely. Sweetheart styles don’t have as many restrictions. It just depends on whether you’re planning on wearing a necklace or big earrings. Many girls with sweetheart necklines like to break up the chest area with jewellery or hair so it doesn’t appear too bare. This can mean choosing a hairstyle which is (partially) down or having strands to frame the face.
High neck dresses look best with updos, or even an elegant ponytail. This will allow people to see the beautiful neckline design.
I would say the same goes for a bateau neckline. However, it can look nice with hair down to the side as well if you don’t feel comfortable having all of your hair up.
JOVANI: What advice do you have for brides who are looking for a great hair and makeup artist? How should they go about finding someone that will do an amazing job?
CHRISTINA: Firstly, you should review their portfolio to see whether their aesthetics aligns with yours. Most artists have their own preferred style, and while I’m able to do very natural to very dramatic makeup, I personally like a more natural look for the wedding day. This is probably why my clients choose me as opposed to another artist. It’s because we share the same vision.
Secondly, you can check their reviews online to see what other brides felt about working with them. Email or call to see whether you like their personality. Are they responsive? This is very important as your makeup artist is probably the first person to see you on the wedding day. Beyond doing great makeup and hair, they should make you feel relaxed and comfortable. You want your experience with them to set a great tone for the rest of your big day.
JOVANI: What advice do you have for brides that cannot afford a professional hair and makeup artist on their wedding day? What would you recommend for them so they can still look their best?
CHRISTINA: I’ve had brides come in to take a makeup lesson to try to do their own makeup (for destination weddings). This is much more affordable than the day of services. Otherwise, you can go to a salon which is typically less costly than on-location freelance artists.
Thank you Christina for sharing your expertise with us! Keep up to date with her work by following her on Facebook and Instagram.
Don’t miss the rest of our Influencer & Expert series including styling tips from Melanie Kruger of The Confident Closet and natural skincare secrets from Dr. Neda.