Beauty School: Expert Advice for A+ Hair, Makeup & Nails

Two Portland beauty pros share their top tips for brides to be, from what's trending in bridal hair and makeup to why shellac is a bride's best friend.

BRI ELLIS
Owner, Portland Make-up & Hair

“I have a passion for making brides feel elegant, classy, fashionable, and very much themselves,” says Bri Ellis, who also has a knack for making clients smile and relax. Launched in 2012, Portland Makeup and Hair now boasts a crew of stylists/artists who are just as talented, professional, and sweet.

Q | How should a bride-to-be begin the search for her beauty pros?

Referrals from people you trust really are the best. If you loved your friend’s wedding hair and makeup, ask her who did it. You could also ask your planner or photographer for leads. Wedding websites with reviews, like WeddingWire or The Knot, are another great resource. Be sure to look at lots of photos of any prospective vendor’s work. When booking with us, you can request a specific artist based on her portfolio, or you can fill out a “style” survey that asks for a ton of specifics, like your hair length, what your daily makeup routine is, if you want a bold lip or soft, etc. Your answers help me place you with the artist who is the perfect fit.

Q | What’s the 411 on trial runs?

Most brides book us about 12–18 months out, and then schedule the trial for 3–4 months prior to the wedding. We ask that brides come with clean, moisturized skin and clean, dry hair. Try to wear a white shirt similar to your wedding dress color and bring any relevant accessories (veil, earrings) if you have them. Also bring or email us photos of looks you love, ideally on women with similar hair and skin, as well as looks you don’t like. Trials usually take about two-and-a-half hours and you’re welcome to bring your mom or a pal for feedback!

Q | What’s trending these days?

With makeup, it’s eyes that pop (think smoky eyes with warm, neutral tones and lots of lashes) and a soft lip. Skin is glowy with hints of highlighter on the cheek bones, corner of the inner eye, and just below the brows. For hair, it’s romantic and “perfectly messy.” Portland brides want to look glamorous but in a softer, sexy way: wispy updos with volume; big, flowy braids; and long, loose, touchable curls. That said, we also have brides who prefer a high-fashion full bun or a sleek, side-parted vintage style. There’s really no right or wrong—you just want a look that reflects your wedding’s vibe and to feel like a gorgeous version of yourself.

BEATRICE VAN
Nail Coach, Dosha Salon Spa

Ms. Van is busy. In addition to her nail coach work, she’s a makeup artist with Dosha’s traveling Bridal Elite team, an instructor at the Aveda Institute Portland, and an education ambassador for CND (Creative Nail Design).

Q | What bridal nail trends are local ladies loving?

Classic French manicures and soft, neutral hues (pale pink, ivory, and nudes) remain popular and always look great, but we’ve found that Portland brides also love to have fun with their nails. Maybe it’s a chic but unexpected color (dusky purple or slate gray), a subtle pattern or design, or elegant lace stampings, tiny crystals, or glitter on just the ring finger. I recently got hitched myself (check out her Real Wedding feature!) and went with flirty Star Wars-inspired nails (white, glittery silver, and decals) to match our theme. Your pedicure is the place to play with brighter colors or a sexy red, as the honeymoon is when it’s more likely to see the light of day.

Q | Why is shellac polish a bride’s best friend?

The product Dosha uses, CND Shellac, provides a truly chip-resistant crystal shine that lasts 14-plus days. It goes on just like a regular polish but with no dry time, and can be removed in five minutes without damaging nails (pits, cracks, peeling) like some gel polishes can.

Q | Any tips for prepping nails?

We advise getting mani/pedis at least three times in the months beforehand to ensureyou’ve got the perfect canvas for your wedding day. It’s also a great way to test-run colors! You could even take a polish break while still getting the nail-and-cuticle maintenance benefits of an appointment. Ideally, schedule your bridal mani-pedi for a day or two before the event. But if you’re really time-crunched, a shellac mani up to five days prior should still look fresh and pretty. Don’t forget to moisturize, too. You don’t want dry hands in all those bouquet and ring photos.

Q | What other helpful services can a bride find at Dosha?

We offer hair and makeup appointments at all six of our Portland-area locations, or you can have our Bridal Elite team come to you. We also do waxing, facials, and massage—everything you’ll need to look and feel your very best on the big day