Photo by Katie Courson Photography

So here’s the scoop: I’m having a destination wedding. And when it comes to makeup, this puts in me a bit of a precarious situation for choosing a makeup artist for my wedding day.

Almost everyone I talk to recommends meeting your makeup artist before the big day and doing a trial, which makes a lot of sense. After all, you want to be sure that you’re comfortable with the artist, her style and the products she uses. There’s always a risk when trying something for the first time, so it’s probably best not to leave it to chance. What if my skin reacts adversely to a product or the makeup artist isn’t prepared for my skin tone (this has actually happened to me before). Or, what if I simply don’t like how it turns out? Am I willing to take these risks? Maybe, but not if I can easily avoid it.

I was talking to my girlfriend about this and she suggested that I just do my own makeup. She sent me a link to the now famous story about Kate Middleton doing her own wedding makeup with just a little help from makeup lessons. It inspired me to give it a try. After all, there’s no harm in testing your skills before the big day. And if you fail to achieve the look you want, you can always go back to square one and hire a makeup artist.

Online are countless resources for learning how to do your makeup. From YouTube tutorials to articles to private lessons to blogs to workshops, it’s tough to know where to start. So, how do you choose?

For me, I decided to check out Denise Elliott since she has been a winner in the Best Makeup Artist catergory at the BC Wedding Awards. Denise has been doing makeup since 2005 and she offers a number of different services, including makeup lessons from her salon and mobile services all over the lower mainland. I decided to give lessons a try and then decide from there whether or not to do my own makeup for the big day.



Cam Lee, Denise Elliott makeup

Photo by Katie Courson Photography

My session with Denise was at her North Vancouver studio. She suggested I bring my own products and brushes and while this surprised me, it makes so much sense. The best way to learn how to do your makeup is to use your own gear and products, since you already have it. And I love this because it means I don’t have to break the bank on new products.

In addition to teaching me how to apply my products effectively, Denise also gave me some recommendations for additional products that would help keep my makeup looking fresh for the whole day (see my next article for some detailed product advice).

Afterwards, Denise wrote out all the steps and products she used on my face. This was super helpful since I often forget half the things I learn once I get home, especially if I don’t get a chance to write everything down or practice all the techniques. I found this detail so thoughtful.

Here’s what she used to achieve my look:

Cam Lee makeup lesson with Denise Elliott

Primer: Stila One Step Correct // Corrector/Concealer: Stila Aqua Glow in Medium // Foundation: Stila Stay All Day Foundation in Deep mixed with Tinted Moisturizer // Powder: Paul & Joe Pressed Face Powder in #6 // Bronzer/Blush: Tarte Color Wheel Amazonian Clay in Culture and Surreal // Eyebrows: Anastasia // Eyeshadow base: Paul & Joe Primer in #2 Base // Eyeshadow lower lid: Glo-mineral Cream Stay Shadow Stick in Keepsake // Eyeshadow lid: Mac Honeylust // Eyeshadow crease: Mac Eye Shadow in Charcoal // Eyeshadow highlight: Tarte Palette // Eyeliner: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner // Mascara: Fusion Beauty Waterproof //  Lips: Stila Stay All Day Liquid Lipstick in Patina and Paul & Joe Lipstick in #104 




Overall, I loved learning how to do my own makeup. For someone like me that enjoys taking the plunge and learning new skills, this was especially satisfying because in addition to feeling confident about doing my makeup for the wedding (which I never envisioned myself thinking), now I know I’ll be able to do my own makeup for future events. This will seriously come in handy for my engagement photos and rehearsal dinner, as well as when I’m a bridesmaid later this year!

Next, I’ll be practicing my techniques and seeing if the makeup can last a full day of tears, smiles, hugs and dancing. Wish me luck!


Cam // @camillia_lee


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