Should the Bride and Groom Wear Matching Sunglasses?

It's beginning to be a mini-trend here in Israel, Friday morning/afternoon weddings for religious couples. I won’t get involved in the never-ending list of reasons why you should never hold a wedding on a Friday: need to schedule makeup and hair for something like five in the morning (I am only slightly exaggerating), a very short set up time until the chuppah and oh so much more. My favorite pet peeve is the fact that your guests need to get there and get home within a strict time period, no matter how long the day is, Shabbat comes in the latest at around 7:30 in the evening. A Friday wedding needs to start on time, because you can be sure that folks will be leaving by two or three in the afternoon, especially if they live far from the simcha site.

Let me talk directly to the happy couple. If you are still committed to standing under the chuppah on a Friday, it's time to tackle one very important issue: the photography. Long after everyone has forgotten the food, your dress and how loud the music was played; the stills and video will be around to remind everyone of the big day.

I warmly recommend that, if you do not have a wedding planner on hand for the entire event, you should appoint someone who will ensure that the photographer captures all the moments you want to cherish. Of course, this particular recommendation is valid no matter when you hold your wedding. Your discussions with the photographer before the event are NOT enough. You need someone who will follow the photographer around making sure he/she photographs Grandma Esther kissing you; your two great-aunts, who haven't spoken in twenty years, sitting at the same table; all your friends from the army/sherut leumi/medrasha and all the cute nephews and nieces dancing together. [By the way, the same recommendation is valid when dealing with the band: no matter what song list you prepared before the event, you need someone to ensure that they're doing their job. The simcha hall representative is available only to ensure that the event keeps moving on schedule, they're not there to ensure your satisfaction with the other venders.]

Back to wedding photography on a Friday. Summer outdoor weddings in the heat of day are killers. The sun is relentless. Remember you can cook an egg on the sidewalk, now think of what that same sun is doing to your face, your makeup and not to mention the overall happiness of guests. Your makeup will fade if not altogether melt in the cruel noon heat. The makeup of nearly every other lady at the wedding will share an even crueler fate, as their makeup is usually not applied as fastidiously.

With all this in mind, I warmly recommend:

• Indoor photos: Make sure that at least half the posed photographs are taken indoors. Trust me, too many of the outside photographs will be over-exposed, will reveal cruel extreme light/dark shadows on the faces of your loved ones and squinting facial expressions due to the sun hitting you square between the eyes (not a pretty sight on film).

• Sunglasses: Ah, the beautiful sight of a bride in a crystal white gown, full length veil with hand-sewn pearls, full makeup and intricate hair styling and sunglasses. Get used to it. Make sure that you and the groom are suitably outfitted in sunglasses and have an extra pair hidden somewhere.

• Parasols: I never liked the 'parasol' bridal party look; young women parading around like a very poor version of antebellum southern belles, but a parasol could be a pleasing solution to the burning sun. Think about providing parasols in white or gentle pastel shades, for yourself, the mothers and grandmothers as they walk down the aisle and stand near the chuppah. Make sure there is someone to collect the parasols from everyone once the chuppah is over and folks go indoors for the meal and dancing. Be kind and allow everyone to eat and dance in an air conditioned hall.

• A good sunscreen: As nearly every good makeup/foundation contains a good sunscreen, you and usually the mothers are protected to some extent. Make sure the men of the wedding apply sun screen as well.

• Prepare the bridal party: Make sure your parents, grandparents and anyone you truly love is suitably protected with sunglasses, sunscreen, parasol and whatnot.

• Water: This goes without saying. Bottles of water should be at hand for all. Once again bottled water should be on the wedding planner's TO-DO list. We don't need grandma and grandpa fainting from heat prostration, not to mention your two pregnant cousins who will surely faint dead away before the ceremony is over.

Have any ideas of your own? Share your wedding experiences with us. Share your wedding pictures as well.

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How to Apply Foundation and Concealer

Here is the first in a series of Makeup How Tos:
Applying Foundation and Concealer
Makeup from the skin up
Clean your skin thoroughly, pat dry and then apply a thin layer of moisturizer or a light facial cream. Wait about twenty minutes to allow the moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin. If you don’t have twenty minutes to wait for the moisturizer to absorb into your skin, try to wash and moisturize the moment you get up, before you get dressed. This way, once you are dressed, the moisturizer has done its job and you are ready to apply makeup. Still don’t have enough time? Apply a very thin layer of moisturizer and then gently pat dry any wet areas before applying foundation.

How your skin reacts to the makeup
It's important to keep in mind, that any and all products you apply to your skin will be absorbed into the skin, to a greater or lesser extent, within the first 20-30 minutes. This means that some of the color you apply to your face with be absorbed within the first half-an-hour and then will continue to fade throughout the time you wear it. Which is the reason why you look great the moment you step away from your makeup mirror, but by the end of the day, you look worn and washed out, as if you never put on makeup that morning.

This also means that you should always apply some kind of facial cream and then foundation to give your face the base on which the eye makeup, blush and lipstick can stick and stay on longer.

The final color of your skin can only be gauged a half an hour after application. It is important to keep this in mind, especially if you are about to be photographed. For wedding or simcha photography your makeup should be about half a tone darker than normal to allow the skin to absorb the makeup, so by the time the event takes place, your makeup is the 'correct shade' and not too light.

A good investment
You don’t need to invest a lot of money in an expensive facial cream, but you should invest in a good foundation (and concealer, if you choose to buy one). A good foundation is characterized as being 'from a good family' (well-known company), having a creamy consistency and keeping its color and consistency throughout its shelf-life. What is the shelf-life of a good foundation? It depends on how often you use it. If you apply makeup on a regular, daily basis, your foundation should last 3-6 months, once you learn to apply the optimal amount with the least amount of waste.

A few words about hypo-allergenic cosmetics: each company sets its own standards in order to call itself hypo-allergenic. There are no hard and fast rules, some companies test their cosmetics on thousands of women and some on hundreds. So long as the cosmetic meets the standards set by the company: little irritation or inflammation in the smallest number of participants in the study, the company can use the label "hypo-allergenic". The hypo-allergenic label may only be important if you have skin contact allergies, if not, there is no reason to 'pay extra' for this label.

Foundation color match
Want to know how to ensure a perfect match (for any everyday look) between your skin tone and the foundation color? Try a liquid foundation shade on your cheek area and a solid foundation shade on your chest just under your collar bone. Apply a bit of foundation to the area and gently pat in, if the foundation is almost indistinguishable from your skin tone, you've found the perfect shade.

A liquid foundation is perfect for older skin, as it is kind to the wrinkles and will not build up or crack around these problem areas. In general, young skin can 'take' either liquid or solid foundation, as the skin is elastic and usually wrinkle-free, so the foundation glides over the skin effortlessly and once it begins to absorb into the skin it does so evenly, without 'dropping in' or 'building up' in the wrinkles.

In general, solid foundation is used for all weddings and simchas, as these are important photo opportunities, where we need makeup that can stand up to the heat of the lights, the environment and the hours of dancing and kissing, without running, melting or disappearing from the skin entirely.

How to Apply Foundation
As with everything else, there are many schools of thought as to how to apply foundation. Some women apply it lightly with their fingers, putting a touch on their forehead, checks and chin and then blending it in. Some use a brush, usually a real hair makeup brush. I prefer to use a triangle-shaped sponge. Wet the sponge thoroughly under cool tap water and then wring it out completely, so that it is moist to the touch, and not dripping with water.

I apply a few dabs of liquid or solid foundation to my left hand just below my thumb (I'm a righty) and then pat a corner of the sponge in the foundation. You can also apply the foundation directly to the sponge, but, as with anything porous, it will be absorbed into the sponge and you'll waste the foundation. (You are right, the skin of my hand is also porous, but I work quickly). At the beginning you will 'waste' a little of the foundation, as you may pour out more than you will apply to your face. With time, you will know how much to pour out and apply.

I dab the foundation-soaked corner of the sponge on to my face. I begin with the eye area; first the upper and then the lower lids and then work on the cheeks, chin and then forehead. I always work in tandem: first the left eye and then the right eye, gently smooth or pat the eye area once you have applied the foundation, then apply to the left cheek and then the right cheek. The order of right or left makes no difference, what is important here is to ensure symmetry and uniformity by working each small area one after the other and not working one half the face and then the other. This work method of symmetry and uniformity is especially critical when working on the eye area.

You can apply either foundation or concealer to your entire eye area. Concealer is usually more oily and creamier and is not recommended for oily skin or older skin. I recommend using foundation around the entire eye area.

Concealer, as its name suggests, is a cream used to conceal something, in most cases it is used to conceal the upper lid and under eye area, or more importantly, the unattractive parts of the eye area. Concealer should either match the exact shade as the skin around the eyes or half a shade lighter.

Dark circles / red patches under the eyes
There is an 'even tone' cream that can cosmetically (NOT permanently) lighten or neutralize the dark circles under the eye, but these creams should be used by a professional makeup artist, as you need to learn how to apply and then mix and blend this cream with regular concealer or foundation. The basic rules of thumb are:

• dark brown circles under the eyes can be lightened by a pink or red shade. The darker the circle under the eye, the darker the red shade needed to neutralize it

• a pinkish pigmentation is neutralized by green color

• a yellowish pigmentation is neutralized by purple color

• a bluish pigmentation is neutralized by a peach/yellow color

Ruddiness on the checks or any other facial area
Just like the eye area, ruddiness on the checks or any other facial area can neutralized using the rules of thumb listed above. I recommend that you leave the use of these colors to a professional makeup artist (like myself) and mix your foundation with a lighter foundation shade to slightly neutralize these areas and leave the true 'magic' for photo opportunities.

Once you have applied foundation to your whole face, don't forget to apply foundation to the area under your chin and slightly down your neck, so there is no obvious demarcation mark between your face and neck areas.

Once you have finished applying foundation on your whole face, and before you apply eye makeup, smooth or pat the eye area again. Reapply a drop more of foundation if needed and then begin to work on your eye makeup.

Taking care of your sponges
A good sponge can be reused, for one person only, quite a number of times. After use, rinse out your sponge and hang it to dry. Do not store your sponge closed in your makeup bag, box or kit. Keep it on your makeup table or hang it up. Every few applications, wash the sponge in light soapy (hand or facial soap) luke-warm water, rinse it out well and then hang it out in the open air to dry. Once the sponge no longer cleans well, it's time to throw it out and use a new one.

Powering your skin
I recommend powdering only wrinkle-free skin, as once again the powder, like the solid foundation will cake, dry and crack around wrinkles. For photo opportunities, you can lightly powder the naturally oily areas of the skin: the 'T' from above your brows and down your nose. You can also lightly powder your chin and the tops of the apples of your cheeks.

Powdering tips
If you do not have face powder, you can apply a thin layer of baby talc (unscented, white).

If you have over-blushed/rouged your checks, you can apply a thin layer of white powder or white talc to tone down some of the blush.

Great Hint: Use baby wipes without alcohol to clean any mistakes/smudges on your face, as well as to clean your hands and surfaces when you are finished applying makeup. Make sure the wipes are packaged as alcohol-free, as the alcohol tends to dry out your skin. Even if you have oily skin, this product is not recommended for use.

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Does your Chasan (groom) match your wedding dress?

A white wedding confection of layers and layers of lace and taffeta may be tempting (to some), but does it match your chasan? What I really mean to say is does your wedding dress match your wedding style? Let me illustrate. When we were planning my daughter's wedding (two years plus one granddaughter ago – I am proud to say), she had her heart set on a dress similar to the one I wore at my wedding in 1978 (suddenly that sounds soooo long ago). It's scary, no terrifying, to think that my gown is now sold on ebay under the description: "vintage". In any case, my daughter had her heart set on this 'vintage' style – you know: long simple gown with lace at the wrists and a lace heart insert on the bust area. We found a very similar dress on ebay and bought it for less than a hundred dollars.

We figured that even if she decided not to wear it, we would 'only be out' less than a hundred bucks and in the midst of a wedding production, what's a hundred bucks?

We received the dress and she loved it. We had it dry-cleaned. And then she had an epiphany. The dress did not match her chasan. A lovely Morrocan boy from the south (of Israel, not Georgia or Texas, or the South Bronx, for that matter). The dress did not match the style of the wedding. The wedding was the usual mixture of Ashkenazi, Sepharadi, Israeli, American, European (ok, even a few Canadians), religious and non-religious.

While it is true that a wedding dress can 'stand alone' in its fashion statement. It can be way, way out there in style, while the rest of the wedding and the wedding guests are fairly 'traditional'. It's done every day in Israel. But, as in many other areas of life, because people do it, it doesn’t necessarily mean it's a good thing.

Moral of this story: I recommend you think about your overall wedding style, your lifestyles and venue; before you go for the 'country look' at a super formal venue, three-inch stilettos at a beach front venue and a 'wedding cake' dress that can barely fit through the doors of a small, intimate venue.

I would not use the "c" word (that's "comfort" for the innocent) while discussing wedding apparel. But I would suggest bringing a pair of flats to change into after the chuppah. Or you may end up going barefoot, like I did throughout my own wedding and come to think of it, my daughter's wedding.
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Makeup Secrets Made Easy!

How many times have you wanted to improve your makeup routine or just get a better understanding of the art of applying makeup? 

The following tips and secrets can help you on your way. 

Foundation, Powdering and Eyes

Foundation color match: Want to know how to ensure a perfect match between your skin tone and the foundation color? Try a liquid foundation shade on your cheek area and a solid foundation shade on your chest just under your collar bone. Apply a bit of foundation to the area and gently rub in, if the foundation is indistinguishable from your skin tone, you've found the perfect color.

Powdering tip: If you do not have face powder, apply a thin layer of baby talc (unscented, white).

Your Eyes: Eye makeup is the most important and dominant part of the art of making up your face. Confused about where to put "it" all? First 'divide' your eye into three sections measuring from the top of your nostril to the top of your brow with a makeup brush. Section 1 is from your nostril straight up to the beginning of your brow and until the beginning of the iris. Section 2 is from your nostril across from the beginning of your iris to the end of your iris, including the highest point of your brow. Section 3 is from your nostril, past the end of your iris and through the corner tip of your eye and to very end of your brow. These section divisions are also excellent guide lines to determine how to shapes your brows .

Most eye shadows will be placed in sections 2 and 3. Eyeliner will be placed along the top of whole eye, but under the eye you can place eyeliner or eye pencil under just section 3. Start with eye shadow, either a light shade on the eyelid and a darker shade along the crease or the darker shade on the eyelid and a lighter shade along the crease. Brush your brows with a brush comb. Curl your eyelashes and add two coats of mascara and you're set.

A liquid foundation or concealer is perfect for older skin. Apply foundation or concealer around your entire eye area. Lightly powder and then apply eye makeup, blush and lipstick. If you have wrinkles under your eyes – do not powder this area. Before powdering your eye lids, lightly smooth the area with your finger and then powder.

Your Cheeks and Lips

How to apply blush: A pinky shade of blush can be used on almost any skin color and facial shape. On facial skin that tends to redden or a round facial shape use a peach or orange shade of blush. How to apply blush? Use a blush brush and dip it into the blush and tap off the excess. Smile and lightly apply on the apples of your cheeks and brush lightly and gently towards the middle of your ear. Brush gently backwards (towards your ear) and forwards (towards your nose). Always use very little blush and add as needed (it's easier to add than to remove!).

Your lips: Not sure what lipstick color suits you? Before you invest in expensive lipsticks you will never wear – do the following. First look at your wardrobe. What color clothes do you wear? Dark shades? Light shades? Maybe even a combination of the two depending on the season? Buy an inexpensive palette of lip colors (five or six different shades and tones). Try on each of the shades wearing different color clothes. Now you can take the shades you find attractive and purchase more expensive lipsticks in these shades. Do you have a lipstick color you like, but the color is too dark? Apply a coat of lipstick on your lips and then blot it with a tissue for a second. Now apply a coat of sheer lip gloss over it. The base color remains, but is more muted.

Try wearing different summer and winter shades of lipstick: warmer, darker shades in the winter to match (usually) darker winter clothes and softer, lighter shades in the summer to match (usually) lighter, pastel clothes.

Your skin care

Best kept beauty secret: Cold water! Wash your face daily in cold water. The old idea that hot water was the best for your face as it opened the pores, was a bad idea. Cold water closes your pores and keep your skin clean.

Second best kept secret: Keep your eye cream in the fridge. Now every time you apply the cream you’ll feel refreshed!

Makeup from the skin up Clean your skin thoroughly, pat dry and then apply a thin layer of moisturizer. Wait about twenty minutes to allow the moisturizer to fully absorb into your skin. No time to wait for your moisturizer to absorb in the mornings? The first thing to do in the morning is wash your face and moisturize before you get dressed. This way, once you are dressed, the moisturizer has done its job and you are ready to apply makeup.

No time for makeup, but you still want to look your best? Cleanse your skin, moisturize and then put on a light foundation (or foundation/powder combination). Put on blush and lipstick and you are ready to go. Don’t forget to have a lipstick and mirror in your bag for touchups during the day.

Celebrating a Simcha? Your face deserves to celebrate as well! It's time to think about your face and makeup at the same time you plan your simcha. Make an appointment with a cosmetologist to clean your skin and start a regimen that will give you softer and younger skin by your simcha date. Then call me.

On the day of the simcha clean and moisturize your skin at least two hours before you plan to apply makeup.

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