Summer is in full swing and that means so is wedding season.
New York-based makeup artist Nick Scalzo is a favorite of brides for engagement shoots and weddings alike. Nick cares deeply about using makeup to bring out the true and authentic beauty in every bride. He also has a knack for putting even the most stressed out almost-married at ease.
As Nick’s longtime client Leslie Flesner planned her engagement photo shoot, she and Nick invited us to join them for her makeup application. Read on for more from Nick on how he used Cover FX products to create Leslie’s look, Plus, get his beauty tips for brides.
Let’s start at the beginning! How did you prep Leslie’s skin before you even began to apply makeup?
Makeup is only as good as the skin underneath it! Moisturizer, eye cream, and lip balm must be applied before primer and foundation. Leslie’s skin gets oily throughout the day—especially when it’s warm and humid. Knowing this, my must-have oil controlling primer is the Mattifying Primer with Anti-Acne Treatment. It is water-resistant and also keeps the skin matte by controlling oil and minimizing the appearance of fine lines and pores.
Which foundation did you choose and why?
If there is a foundation out there that is ideal for bridal photos, it is Power Play Foundation. The weightless formula is sweat-proof, shine-proof, and transfer-proof for all-day wear.
We loved how you used Shimmer Veil for a high-impact effect around Leslie’s eyes.
Yes! To pop Leslie’s eyes, I used Shimmer Veil in Soleil for a bright shimmer and in Moonstone for a deeper topaz haze in the outer corners.
What about highlighting and contouring?
The Custom Enhancer Drops work perfectly into the Power Play Foundation for a seamless blend. I used them in Moonlight to highlight her cheekbones and Cupid’s bow, and also in Rose Gold as an illuminating blush on her cheeks.
Leslie wanted you to contour her for the engagement photos. What was that process like?
Contouring the cheekbones and low-planes is a modern and effective technique for beautifully shaping and adding dimension to the face, especially for photos. I used the powder Bronzer in Suntan to sculpt under the cheekbones, on the contour of the hairline, and on the bridge of the nose.
And how did you set the look?
I wanted to perfectly blend and diffuse everything together for a super-flawless finish, so I used the Perfect Setting Powder softly across the center of Leslie’s face and on her cheekbones and her jawbone. Perfect Setting Powder is a talc-free loose powder made from ultra-fine particles that softly blur the finish of the makeup for a diffused, airbrushed finish.
Where was the engagement shoot? How did the location influence the makeup you used?
The shoot was in Fort Tyron Park, an under-appreciated yet iconic setting in Manhattan. The park overlooks the breathtaking vistas of the Hudson River. I needed the makeup to withstand the elements and hold up for the duration of the photo shoot, so I finished off with the High Performance Setting Spray for a 24-hour hold. I also added a light mist of the Dewy Setting Spray on the high planes of the cheekbones for a natural glow that would last!
Typically, what’s the difference between makeup for an engagement photo shoot vs. for a wedding?
Makeup for an engagement photo shoot is done expressly for photography. Dimension and contrast (which means bone structure, color tones, and facial features) tend to get diminished in photos, so you shouldn’t be afraid to define your features by popping the eyes and cheeks with some highlight and contouring the brow bone, cheekbone, and hairline with color and bronzer for a defined structure. The key is to blend and set so that the camera captures a flawless finish.
Wedding day makeup can be softer and subtler. You want to create an ethereal glow that only enhances the bride’s natural beauty without being distracting in-person and in closer-detailed photos.
Beyond clearly communicating her desired makeup look to her makeup artist, how should a bride prepare for her photo shoot?
You want to make sure that you have been staying hydrated leading up to your photoshoot and wedding day! It helps protect your skin’s health and enhances your ability to wear makeup. Also, moisturize! I recommend that you exfoliate the skin the night before the photoshoot, so that the skin is clean, refreshed, and free of surface dead cells and texture that might disturb the wear of the makeup. Don’t forget to hydrate, moisturize, and prime the skin properly before the makeup!
Favorite tunes to listen to while doing a bride’s makeup?
I love upbeat classics! I always think fun, funky dance tunes set a really fun mood! King Floyd, Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind & Fire, The Four Seasons—even Michael Jackson!
What trends are you seeing now in bridal makeup?
Ethereal glow and natural glam.
“Ethereal glow” is about softly perfecting any textural or pigmentation concerns while focusing on brightening the center of the face to highlight a fresh and youthful appearance. It’s that that coveted “no-makeup makeup” look that avoids bright or dramatic colors.
“Natural glam” is a reinvention of classic beauty makeup—popping the eyes with some definition to open them up and highlighting the tear-duct, eyelid, cheekbone, and Cupid’s bow with champagne or gold shimmer. It’s about keeping the skin natural but perfected and adding some natural pinks to the cheeks and lips.
Any wedding-related DON’TS you want to highlight?
Go easy on black eye makeup. You don’t need black eyeshadow or thick black eyeliner in order to enhance your eyes for your engagement photos or wedding. On the contrary, excessive black eye makeup can be very distracting and take away from your own feminine beauty. Also, take care of your brows by grooming them upwards to add a little feathery volume. But don’t draw them on dark if at all possible. It’s unflattering and distracting.