“I got into modelling when I was in Transition Year (Year 9) in school. My work experience was in Rebecca Morgan’s model agency and on my last day working they organised a big surprise, did my hair and make-up and got photos done by photographer Susan Kennedy.
Afterwards they asked me then to stay on which was great because it was not the kind of thing I would have had the nerve to do. So I was modelling from 15 but I was only allowed to do jobs during the holidays. I used to rock up in my school uniform – I was so green. Two years after school I won the Ford modelling competition and it took off.
Modelling was very good to me and I got to travel the world. But the funny thing is, all along my favourite part of any job was the make-up. I loved the creative side of it and I felt it was the most real part of the job.
You get your photographs taken and your photos are played around with. I’ve seen myself reduced from a size 12 to a size 10, muffin top and bits here and there pared down. I was starting to find the whole industry very fake and negative. But my favourite part of any job was always the make-up. It was a time you could have a little chat and it always turned into a mini pampering session.
Before I got pregnant with Caraleigh (her first daughter), I was double jobbing for about five years, modelling and working in RTE. I was just too afraid to leave. But deep down I had always wanted to do make-up and decided to re-train.
I mainly do bridal make-up – it’s just the best job you could ever have. It’s such a privilege to be part of someone’s big day. For the trial, I would always say to the bride organise it for a day you are going out for dinner with your fiance or on your hen party where you can get honest opinions on the look. I’d say to them to pull pictures from magazines, look online for inspiration or a film where the style of make-up is attractive. The Great Gatsby is popular at the moment as it has that great vintage look.
On the morning of the big day, I work back from the time the bride is leaving. Usually I would arrive at about half eight in the morning at the hotel or the bride’s home. If there are four people to be made up, I’d do the bride second last so her make-up is one of the freshest and the make-up is on when the photographer arrives or when family members invariably call in to wish her good luck.
I remember my own wedding day – it was one of the hottest days of the year. By the time I got to the church my make-up was practically melted off me and I had a heat rash. As a result of that, now when the bridal party are in their dresses, I would make-up their bodies. It’s just so important especially for a bride who is wearing a backless dress. Everyone is sitting in the church looking at their back so if there are any spots I would cover that, highlight their back bones or disguise upper arm redness.
I use something like Sally Hansen. It’s perfect for pale brides as pale skin will always show up any imperfections. But I only apply it if they are willing to do it because some brides wouldn’t want that especially if the dress cost a fortune and they don’t want to get anything on it. I just make sure everything is perfect and their make-up and tan is all blended in.
I also use Aero Minerale foundation – it’s amazing. It’s a HD spray that’s great for the chest. Then I would go ahead with the bride to the church and wait for them outside – that’s coming back again to my own wedding. I’ve seen someone kissing them on the cheek and leaving a mark, or brides getting heat rashes. Again I just make sure when they are walking down the aisle they are perfect. I usually end up fixing the dress and veil aswell as the bridesmaids have gone on ahead down the aisle and there is nobody to fix the train!
For my typical bridal make-up, ideally I would use MAC Face and Body but the problem with that is it doesn’t have great staying power. To make it stay, you would probably have to use the MAC Studio Fix Powder which negates the whole translucency of it. Then apart from that I’d use the Studio Fix Foundation – anything that has good staying power. I get my brides to send me photos of them at two in the morning just to be sure that everything is still on and perfect as they party away.
I use Lancome 24-hour Foundation, YSL has a new, beautiful 24-hour foundation out at the moment. It literally feels like silk going on. I use a lot of Armani or Kohl Cosmetics Foundation for mixing different skintones. I love MAC of course and BareMinerals, which is a mineral-powder foundation that gives a lovely glow.
In terms of concealer, I use the MAC Select Cover Concealer. Contouring is really popular at the moment thanks to Kim Kardashian and the like. Inglot have a really good contour palette I like to use. Then I use Fuschia blushers or BareMinerals Pure Radiance - this literally creates a glow without too much colour as I find most brides are naturally flush on the day. Would you believe my blusher brush is a H&M one? It’s perfect for the apple of your cheeks as it’s so soft. All my other brushes are MAC or Blank Canvas cosmetics as they do amazing brushes but my H&M blusher brush is my guilty purchase I have to say.
When it comes to my own skincare, I have a very, very simple routine. I use Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser. I have quite combination skin – my skin would get quite dehydrated very easily and I find the Ponds is quite thick. I’d use that to cleanse, then I’d use some La Roche Posay eye make-up remover. And then I’d moisturise with whatever I’d have at the time – La Roche-Posay again. They have a beautiful hydrating mask that I would wear morning and night. It soaks straight into the skin, doesn’t leave any residue or doesn’t flake or peel off. I love that. Again I also love Olay Total Effects.
I would also wear a La Roche-Posay CC creme or Rimmel BB cream which is a lovely pale one that suits me. I’d always wear something with a sunscreen in it too. I’d never leave the house without a little bit of make-up on to protect my skin.
I have a lot of hair but it’s very dry. I tend to stick to Keratase as I find it brilliant. I would use a Keratase mask too, leave it for five minutes then wash it out. If I don’t then my hair gets really, really dry. Unless I’m working, I never blow dry my hair. After the years and years of trauma on my hair, I wash it and go. As I said, I’ve a very, very simple routine!”
- As told to TBI