All photos by Lydia Hudgens 

Yes, I want to look radiant and beautiful on my wedding day. I want my makeup to cover blemishes so perfect it’s like they never happened. (#flawless) I want my skin to glow like I’m an angel descending from heaven. I want any under eye circles resulting from the welcome drinks running late the night before to vanish. You know what? I might even want to try out some of that contouring magic.

But my daily makeup routine is fairly simple and light: tinted SPF moisturizer, a quick cat eye, mascara, and – if I’m feeling fancy – lipstick. All this contouring business scares the crap out of me, for the basic reason that I don’t want to look like I stepped out of a YouTube makeup tutorial from a suburban, New Jersey-based 22-year-old.

Even scarier? Wearing a thick layer of conventional makeup for 12 hours. I’ve heard some horror stories from friends about wedding makeup, and if I ended up in a situation where I was trying to keep myself from clawing the makeup off my itchy skin, that would be a fail.

Luckily, when I started thinking about my wedding makeup, I found myself at a couple of different events with Rebecca Casciano, a non-toxic makeup artist. As far as we know, she’s the only reputable nontoxic makeup artist living in New York City. And obviously, she’s the only choice for me.

Rebecca Casciano has been a makeup artist for 16 years , working mostly in fashion, entertainment, and bridal makeup, and is a bridal makeup instructor for the Academy of Freelance Makeup. In other words, she’s a professional. But she wasn’t always into clean beauty.

“I suffered from chronic cystic acne for many years, and that inspired me to change my diet and lifestyle to one that was more positive and healthy,” she told me. “So I started changing over my food and products around 1999, 2000. But my makeup was the last to go because, let’s face it, I needed it to work, for my career and for my personal use. I couldn’t find the right products at the time that were clean and plant-based, but that were also effective. All the lipsticks were shades of mauve and brown and I was a red lipstick kind of girl. So I kind of set it aside for a while until about 2008-2009, when I decided to go to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a health coach. And that’s when I made the commitment to change my makeup kit over to all natural and organic options. I realized I couldn’t talk to women about wellness without looking at what we’re putting on our skin, right? So that’s when I opened that Pandora’s box and started really researching ingredients and side effects and what products were available. So I was super excited to find there were so many great options.”

So many options indeed! For my wedding makeup test, we met up at Follain in Soho, a new clean beauty store that has an amazing, well-lit space in the back for makeup application. Almost everything we used was from the store, except for one thing, which I’ll tell you about below.

“The products that I’m using are all products that I’ve found not only to be clean, but also effective,” she told me before we got started with my makeup test. “They’re products that wear really well, that have beautiful pigment, that make the skin look really pretty, but are also free and clear of toxic ingredients.”

“I’ve heard from brides and even my own mom that when you’re getting your makeup done for an event or for pictures or something, all that makeup can start feeling really itchy and uncomfortable,” I asked. “Are you less likely to get that with natural makeup or is that just a function of the weight of the products?

“I think you’re much less likely to get it with natural products because they’re just healthier for the skin,” she said. “Often times makeup artists tend to use heavier foundations, some of the commercial brands, that can definitely feel more like a mask – especially for people who aren’t used to wearing a lot of makeup, which happens a lot on wedding days. Sometimes the bride isn’t a foundation person or a makeup person, so having that heavier look will definitely tend to be more irritating, but products that are made with natural ingredients tend to be just really gentle on the skin and they just feel better. Most of my clients tell me, ‘I don’t even feel like I’m wearing anything,’ which is a really nice alternative to the airbrushed makeup look or the very heavy silicone-based foundation that many people tend to go for bridal makeup looks.”

That’s exactly what I was looking for. She smoothed out my skin with a lightweight foundation, contoured my cheeks, drew in a cat eye (my favorite look), and mixed a gorgeous, rich shade of dark purple for my lips. She was totally open to my feedback and suggestions. The whole process went beautifully. And I loved the result, don’t you?

I’m also having Rebecca do my bridesmaids. She said that how much control I have over the look is entirely up to me, of course. “There are times where the bride says ‘I want everyone to have this color lip,’ but typically I kind of customize the look based on the person. So it really just depends on what we’re going for,” she said. “Sometimes it can be difficult to just choose one thing that looks good on everyone. I want everyone to feel comfortable in their makeup look.”

Though, “Usually it’s a little bit of a shorter session with each person just in the sake of time. We can always do touch-ups before everybody goes out. But it’s definitely all about the bride so I always want to make sure she’s getting the most time and the most pampering and her look is absolutely flawless.”

With this advice, I decided to give my bridesmaids a color palette of possible lip colors that they can choose from. “I love that,” Rebecca agreed. “So that way, if you have people with different skin tones they don’t feel like they all have to choose the same look.”

Rebecca offers makeup applications, one-on-one makeup lessons and group programs. To learn more about Rebecca and her services, visit www.rebeccacasciano.com.”

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