Thursday, July 21, 2016

Choosing Wedding Vendors - Why Going Cheap is a Mistake

Will you do Anything for a Bargain?  Can't remember the last time you paid full price?  It's true....we all love a good deal, but when it comes to your wedding, choosing your vendors based on the cheapest option will often lead to disaster. Super low prices might be ok if you're picking up a fridge on Craigslist, but this is your WEDDING....bargain based thinking could cause you stress, or you could choose the wrong vendors and spend even more in the long run. Interested to find out more?  Read on....

Last year, one of my blog posts really created a buzz....much more so than any other.  It's been read and shared thousands of times, and I've been asked about it by countless wedding vendors and potential brides over the past several months.  What post caused all that fuss? It's called  "Why Choosing a Cheap Makeup Artist is a Mistake", and it's a pretty long post delving into what it really means when beauty providers offer super cheap prices.  ( ain't good.) Clearly, it's a conversation that isn't in the mainstream and it's a message that brides really need, and want to hear!  From Instagram to YouTube and bridal magazines, brides are barraged with messages of "How to Save on Your Wedding!", "Budget Bride tips!" and on and on.  I've heard seriously crazy tips of ways to save and I can tell you as a wedding vendor, tips like that could truly ruin your wedding.
Just ask anyone who's planned a wedding or been in a wedding, and you'll hear real-life stories of couples who went cheap and regretted it, like:

The couple who chose a photographer who quoted $900 when everyone else quoted $4K,  They never got a single photo.... and it's been two years.
- The couple who hired the cheapest DJ they could find, and he literally showed up with two speakers and his Ipod.
- The bride who had to scramble and hire another makeup artist last minute because the girl she hired at half price rates called her 3 weeks out and said "she forgot she was going to be on vacation", or the bride who hired a random and cheap "friend of a friend" to do makeup and she showed up an hour late...with no makeup!  She actually asked the mother of the bride to run down to CVS and pick up makeup.  (This one gives me heart palpitations!!)

So...let's talk about cold, hard cash!  I want to give you the insider scoop on what "cheap" really means, and why it's NOT the way to go.... 

Quick note about my credentials on this topic? I've been specializing in bridal beauty for 20 years, have worked with nearly 1000 brides, I sit on the board of a local wedding vendor organization....and I spend a LOT of time with brides and other wedding vendors. I live and breathe the world of weddings, and hear it all...including the horror stories of the non-legit vendors that have infiltrated our industry. (Insert frustrated eye-roll here)

Here are 4 tips that will help you avoid mistakes:

1. HIRE A PLANNER!  An experienced planner not only make the wedding planning process easier, but more importantly, they can actually save you money.  Planners have extensive lists of local vendors that they trust 100%, people they actually know and have worked with time and time again. They know what appropriate pricing is in your area, and they can help find reputable vendors that are perfect for you. They can help you choose elements of your wedding designed to help you stay within your budget and give you advice to get more bang for your buck! They have many options with different levels of assistance...all the way from full service to just assisting the month of your wedding, and it's less expensive than you think.  A great planner will become your new BFF, trust me!

2. ONLY USE LEGIT VENDORS WHO ACTUALLY DO WEDDINGS.  As tempting as it may be to save money by using Gina's cousin who's "pretty good at makeup" or use your friend's neighbor who does "flowers on the side" or Bob's friend who just graduated college and "has a nice video camera".... this route is almost always a mistake. Regardless of their natural talent, weddings are a hard-core experience that not everyone can handle.  Timelines are tight, stress levels are high, and vendors have to be able to consistently produce fabulous results each and every weekend.  In addition, there are a million little things that experienced vendors know....things like where and how to load in each venue, how to schedule services efficiently, and how to troubleshoot common issues.  Watch out for amateurs with little to no experience, hobbyists, or vendors no one has ever heard of....they will be in over their heads with no clue what to do. And for Pete's sake, don't let them use your wedding as a practice run! If you don't know where to start looking, refer to your planner, photographer or venue....all will have lists of  vendors in your price range who they trust and have worked with previously.  Reputable vendors will be able to deliver the flawless and beautiful services you want and need, and but also know how to manage the high stress and "no room for error" factor unique to weddings as well. #Crucial  

3. REMEMBER THAT CHEAP IS A RED FLAG.  When considering which wedding vendors to hire, good isn't cheap and cheap isn't good. Why?  Let's break it down.....
Think about what you get paid to do what YOU do for a nurse, accountant, customer service rep, whatever.  You're paid that salary based on many factors....your experience, your talent in your field, the time you spend working each week and what your particular profession pays.  Why doesn't your boss just pay you half of that? Because companies know that in order to get talented people who are good at what they do, they must pay them fair rates appropriate for the job and that person's particular skill level.  Rates set by wedding professionals (who are business owners, by the way) are set based on the same factors....experience, level of talent and expertise, time spend doing what they do, and the current market rate for their particular set of goods or services....but also add the cost of doing business as an owner (materials, insurance, marketing, overhead, etc.).  Just like you wouldn't work for half of what you're worth, a legit vendor who runs their business seriously isn't able to either.  Why would they?
So when vendors quote extra low pricing well below the current industry standards, it often means they have no experience, offer lower quality products or services, don't actually do weddings for a living, or they might really suck at what they do and as a result are desperate for business...any business, at any price. Or another possible reason....they are jerks who are trying to undercut their competitors. (Cheap AND shady, for sure.) None of those scenarios are great for you as the client!  Hire legit, established, professional and caring won't regret it. If you want stunning invitations, the most gorgeous flowers, a photographer who captures every special moment, and on and on.....if you want expert vendors who will really take care of you....they are going to charge appropriate rates. You get what you pay for!

4. CHOOSE BASED ON WHAT MATTERS. Instead of choosing on price alone, narrow down your choices to 2-3 reputable options in each category, and then choose based on customer service, portfolio, style/aesthetic, how well you connect and vibe with the vendor, great reviews, personal referrals, and recommendations from other vendors.  Choosing based on these factors will ensure that you love each and every vendor, and you'll be thrilled with all of the services that they provide!
HMU - Lip Service Makeup
Image: Tyler and Lindsey

Being a wedding vendor is really fun, I wouldn't trade it for anything! I honestly LOVE working with brides and their families, and I know my peers do too...there's something really special about being a part of each couple's new life together. We love to help you plan, create, celebrate, laugh and even wipe away a happy tear if needed.  If you're engaged or might be in the future, I hope this insider perspective is enlightening and helpful in approaching your wedding planning!  Why not avoid mistakes if you can?  Choose wisely and assemble a team that you'll love having around you on your big day.

BONUS:   Check out this super helpful calculator, courtesy of Wedding Paper Divas!  Plug in your overall budget and then review the suggested amounts for each category.  It's a great place to start to ensure that you're starting with a realistic budget!

Questions?  Comments?  Post below and join the conversation!

Copyright Jennifer Trotter - Lip Service Makeup - 2016

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Number One Mistake Brown-Eyed girls Make When Choosing Eye Shadow.....(SheFinds Feature)

Brown-eyed girl....if you've got deep, chocolate hued eyes, you should LOVE them.  I mean, after all, there's a hit song written about you!  And, you're in luck...almost (ALMOST) any color eye shadow works against your eye shade.  But so often, I meet brown-eyed girls who are making a big mistake with their eye makeup and they don't even realize it....

So what is it?

Don't Wear a Matte, Brown Eye shadow that Matches your eyes!!!

Seriously, it's the only color that really does nothing for you. Let's dig into that, and look at a few quick tips for brown-eyed girls:

Choose Neutrals other than Basic Brown - Brown is literally one of the only shades that doesn't
work for you! Often, brown-eyed girls think that brown will look the most natural, but on brown eyes, matching shadow looks flat and dull. Experiment with other neutral choices, such as bronze or taupe (brown eyed girls with lighter skin), or gold, champagne or silver (brown eyed girls with deep skin tones). If you like a natural look, you can also try soft, matte shadows in gray, blush or warm ginger tones...they all look awesome on brown eyes!
Pick Shadows with Subtle Shimmer - Subtle shimmer (not glitter!) in shades of silver, champagne, bronze and taupe all contrast against the depth of your eye color....and really light it up!  Shimmery shadows are easy to blend and help you keep it can use one color blended well and presto, you're done. Play with it to find the most flattering formula for you....don't just always reach for safe, matte shades.

Try a Pop of Color - If you have brown eyes and want a pop of color, try a deep forest green, a rich plum or
even a deep cobalt or navy....all look incredible on brown eyes!  If you have brown hair and brown eyes, you can really pull off bold color...don't be afraid of it!

Don't Always go for Black Liner -  Black can look blah on you, especially if your eyes are really consider liner in shades besides black. Start with a deep charcoal or navy instead, your eyes will really glow!  If you have darker skin, work with contrast of dark eyes and dark skin...use lighter shades of silver and gold to light up your eyes.

Warm Up Your Skin - One of the biggest mistake brown-eyed girls make? Keeping your lip/cheek colors in the beige/brown family....not the most flattering on you, especially if you're pale!  If you're a brown-eyed brunette with lighter skin, don't forget rosy or peachy tones for cheeks and lips or you'll risk looking really washed out. If you're a Brunette or Blonde with brown eyes and deep, golden skin tones? You can play with warm caramel tones and golds...the bronze goddess look works well on on this combo.  Brown-eyed Blonde?  Experiment...a variety of color palettes can work on you depending on your skin tone.

Glossy Black Mascara Always works - Plenty of mascara, lash extensions or false lashes definitely work on'll create balance with the deep tones in your eye shade.

Are you a brown-eyed girl?  What shadows do YOU love to play up your eyes?  

Be sure to click here to read more...some of the tips and tricks in this article were feature recently on popular beauty blog SheFinds!

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Brows 101.....A Step by Step Guide to Filling in Your Brows (Lip Service featured on SheFinds.....)

When Lisa Fogarty from SheFinds reached out and asked me for the lowdown on brows....heck yeah, I was happy to contribute!  My clients constantly tell me that they have NO IDEA how to fill in their brows, and they get even more confused by Instagram and YouTube gurus who draw on some MAJOR brows that can be well....scary. So how do you enhance them....naturally?  Here's my step by step guide as featured in this article on SheFinds......
Photo credit: Maxtree
Can we all agree, once and for all, that drawn-on eyebrows are not a good look? Achieving gorgeous brows takes commitment and patience, not whatever makeup pencil you happen to have handy. In addition to letting eyebrows grow, brow-savvy beauties know just how to fill in their arches with makeup so that they look natural, not fake. Need a few pro pointers? Makeup artist and beauty expert Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup is here with the only step-by-step guide to filling in our eyebrows you’ll ever need so they always look seriously stunning–not severe.
1. Assess your shape. There is no one universal paradigm for how to fill in your brows. The tools you choose and how you use them all depend on your brow type and the specific issue you want to address. Here are the general rules for different eyebrow types:
– If you have fairly full brows with a well defined shape, you’ll want to fill in the few bare spots for a bit of polish. “Use brow powder–it’s the most natural approach and it’s easy to use. Just apply the brow powder that matches your shade using a small, dense, angled brush and mimic hair-like strokes,” Trotter says.
– If you have full brows with hairs that stand away from your skin, use pencil or powder and experiment first to see which works best, Trotter says. Then follow the same steps as you would for full brows. For added drama, Trotter suggests using a bit of pencil with powder on top.
– If you have very thin brows that need to be filled in and your eyebrow hair is dense and close to your skin, use pomade. “This is the trickiest of all the options, but works well with this brow type,” Trotter says. “Choose a waterproof pomade, apply with a dense, angled brow brush using short and careful strokes. Don’t draw it in a line! Use a concealer brush with a tiny bit of concealer on it to clean up and soften edges.”
– If you have very thin brows with longer brow hairs that stand away from your skin, use a pencil to create hair-like strokes, then a bit of powder on top. “The pencil is needed to create the brow structure and fill in missing spots. Using a thin brow pencil in a shade that matches, draw short hair-like strokes. Once you have the shape in place, apply a bit of brow powder using a small angled brow brush. The powder will cling to the hairs that are there and make it look more natural,” Trotter explains.
2. Perfect your technique. Mimic short, hair-like strokes when applying any brow product.
Makeup: Jennifer Trotter, Photo Credit: Charla Storey
3. Pick the right product. Choose a brow product that matches the shade of your brows or one shade darker. Additionally, you should choose products made specifically for brows. Eye pencils and eyeshadows can often have the wrong formulation–they’re too creamy or too dry. Products made specifically for brows have more staying power and the control you need.
4. Go slow. Take your time and don’t rush through your brow makeup application. Bad brows will ruin your whole look, so it’s best to go slow instead of piling on product.
5. Use the right tools. Use a brow brush that is small and angled with densely packed bristles for the most control and best results.
6. Prep your brows.  Brush your brows up and into place before applying any brow products, and again after you’ve applied them for the most natural look.
7. Correct mistakes. Use a concealer brush with a tiny bit of concealer as an “erasing” tool–it can clean up lines you’ve messed up, soften a line that’s too harsh, and can be used lightly on your entire brow to soften a look that’s too dark.
8. Don’t forget to cleanse! Always remove your brow products when you cleanse your face, and don’t forget to scrub your brows. Pencil, powder and pomade can build up in your brows and create dead skin and a messy look.
Of course, no guide would be complete without a list of no-no’s, so here are 3 things Trotter says you should never do when filling in your eyebrows:
1. Never drastically alter the shape of your natural brows. Just like you shouldn’t over-tweeze a naturally full brow, you don’t want to overdraw naturally thin ones. If they’re naturally thin, it’s okay to fill them in a bit, but don’t overdo it.
2. Never use brow products the way you would a pen or pencil. Don’t draw a line. It’ll never look natural and it’ll look really bad if your line is uneven.
3. Don’t choose brow products in a color different than your own.  If your brows are a light brown, a dark chocolate brown brow will look harsh and throw off the balance of your face.  The most goof-proof shade is a medium taupe that can work on almost anyone.
And....bonus! Here a few of my favorite brow products:
Photo credit:

Pencils - MAC brow pencils (Fling is great for blondes, Stud is awesome for brunettes)
               IT Cosmetics Brow Power - a neutral taupe pencil that works on nearly everyone

Powder - Senna Brow Book (My kit staple! Find your perfect shade in this long-lasting powder)
                Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Powder Duo - two shades in each compact to mix for your perfect match

Pomade - Anastasia Beverly Hills Dip Brow  - Chocolate is a great shade for warm brunettes

Brow Brush - Makeup Forever Angled Brow Brush
                       MAC Cosmetics #208 Brow Brush
                       (Look for a brush with an angled tip and short, dense bristles)

Thanks so much to Lisa Fogarty and SheFinds for featuring my tips!!  Check out SheFinds daily for all the beauty lowdown you need to look and feel fabulous.....

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

5 Quick Tips for "Spring Cleaning" your Makeup Bag

We've all done some spring cleaning, right?  You finally sweep the dust bunnies from under furniture, you scrub baseboards and Febreeze EVERYTHING that doesn't move...and even some things that do.  AH....done.  Or not quite?

What about your makeup bag?
If it's been a while and your makeup bag is looking like this one (eek!), it's time to spring clean that too!  So, here are...

Dump the one that's covered in crumbled eyeshadow and has a broken deserve better!  In fact, this was one of my fave tips that I contributed to this article for the Today show on ways to break out of your beauty rut.  You'll be surprised at how a brand-new, fabulous makeup case will revive your beauty routine and make it fun to get started in the morning!  Choose one in a fun color or pattern that  you love, and one that's big enough for what you need so items don't get squished.....

Broken eyeshadows, anything that you haven't used in 6 months or more, shades that don't work on you, worn out brushes, makeup with too much glitter, and empty lipglosses. For mascaras, glosses and lipsticks....if they smell weird or are dry and clumpy, it's time to toss.  I get that this part is hard for a lot of us, because makeup is expensive and you want to get the most of what you purchased.  But remember this...if it's past the expiration date and doesn't look good, smell good or make you FEEL good to use it, then in the words of Elsa....LET IT GO!


It's really important to keep your makeup and tools clean to keep germs at bay, but also for optimal performance....especially brushes. Wash brushes using a solid brush cleanser like Blender under warm water (pointing down, always), swirl bristles into cleanser and gently manipulate to remove build up, then rinse, squeeze with a paper towel, reshape and dry. (Click here to see more about cleaning and storage of your Beauty Blenders!) To dry, lay brushes on a towel with bristles hanging off the end for maximum air circulation, and keep clean between washes with a spray brush cleaner. Don't forget to sanitize any metal tools with alcohol, wipe all palettes and compacts with a makeup remover wipe.

The fun part!  Replace the stuff you tossed...get new eyeshadows and blushes to replace the broken crumbles, and pick up that fun new lipstick you've had your eye on as well as a bright blush perfect for spring.  Pick up new know you need one!  Need to up your brow game?  Now's the time to pick up a new eyebrow pencil or pomade and add that step to your routine. Get a new bottle of foundation and quit using drops left in the cap!  (Yes, I'm talking to you...) If your brushes and sponges have seen better days, replace those with new versions too.  With spring coming, be sure you have the right color foundation, and a few glosses to switch out from your heavier, winter lipsticks. There are great options at every price point, and many ways to save....even on higher end brands!  For drugstore cosmetics, check out CVS's Extra Care Beauty club for buy one, get one 1/2 off sales, and cash back points on beauty purchases.  For higher end brands, take advantage of racking up reward points with Sephora's Beauty Insider Program and Ultamate Rewards from Ulta.  

Whether your routine is concealer, mascara and lip balm or involves 16 steps and just as many brushes, having the right products that are easy to use, clean and in good shape will make it more fun to get ready in the morning. Why not make putting on your face enjoyable?  And BONUS...when you have everything you need and ready to go, it's also least enough for one snooze cycle on your alarm.  Make a resolution to keep it up too! You don't have to wait until next spring to revamp your bag, just repeat these steps anytime your beauty gear starts to look a little cruddy.

Want to learn more?  Spring is a great time to book a lesson!!!  Revamp your makeup bag, your brushes and tools....even your entire look.  If you live in Dallas/Fort Worth and have always wanted a personalized makeup lesson, now is the time!

Click here, email me at or call 972-345-0655 and you'll be on your way to learning everything you ever wanted to know about makeup! And check back, I'll be posting more about lessons and classes soon.....

Happy Spring!

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Over 40? These makeup tips are tailor-made for you! (SheFinds Feature)'re over you really need to do your  makeup differently?  The answer is...yes! Many of the same looks that worked when you were younger may not be the most flattering now, so at the minimum, you'll want to make a few adjustments.  I'm in my forties too, so when fab beauty/lifestyle blog She Finds asked me for tips to share, I had plenty...working with my clients AND from personal experience!

Read on to find out what YOU could be doing wrong, as well as some great tips to help you choose the best products for your gorgeous, over 40 self....

(PS, thanks for the feature SheFinds!!)

9 Makeup Tips Women In Their Forties Should Commit To Memory

Large Editorial Image

It’s really no secret that women in their twenties do not face the same skincare challenges as women in their forties. That’s the beauty of aging, right? So just as your style and sensibilities evolve as you get older, so should your daily makeup routine. When you’re 20, you can put just about anything on your face and get away with it, but that’s probably not that case once you hit 40. Luckily, Jennifer Trotter of Lip Service Makeup, pro makeup artist and beauty expert, and Kate O’Brien, founder of Alima Pure, are here to share their best tried and true makeup tips for women 40 and over.

1. Look for highly pigmented products. “You can use less product and still get color payoff,” Trotter says. “The older we get, we don’t want to pack on makeup, so this tip is important.”
2. Be careful with color choice. “Avoid dull or overly vivid colors,” Trotter says. “Right in the middle is where you want to be. Rosy/peachy/plum shades for lips and cheeks always look young and fresh.”
3. Less is more. While coverage is good, more is not always better, O’Brien says. “Moisturize well, and let it absorb thoroughly before applying foundation. Then apply with a light hand, going back over spots that need a little extra coverage without over-applying.”
4. Prime your lids. “Matte and (surprise!) shimmer eyeshadows often work better for eyes over-40 than pearly eyeshadows which can emphasize lines,” O’Brien says. “A touch of primer or BB cream on the lid before shadow application can help shadows stay in place.”
5. Skip trends. “Trends, for the most part, have the reverse effect and can make you look older,” Trotter says. “Giant drugstore brands quickly jump onto trends to capture their audience, but be wary–often, these products are not geared towards those over 30 and should be skipped. Examples include super vivid colors, the spiky lash trend and glitter. Subtle shimmer is fine at any age, but glitter where you can actually see the particles… NO. Watch out for this in shadows, blushes, highlighters and lipsticks,” Trotter says.
6. Choose emollient products. “Seek out products that plump and moisturize and avoid anything that is too dry,” Trotter says. “A too matte lipstick is aging, a too dry eye pencil will drag and pull on your eye, and a too dry foundation won’t give you that seamless glow.”
7. Focus on brows. “This is a great time for strong brows,” O’Brien says. “A well defined brow can help a face of any age look bright and awake. Choose a color somewhat lighter than natural brow hair and work soft strokes in through the natural brow line.”
8. Beware of cheap eyeshadow. “Across the board, watch out for drugstore brand shadows–they just don’t cut it.,” Trotter says. “The reason is because the ratio of filler to pigment is too high, which results in not enough color, not enough staying power and a dry, chalky look, which is aging.”
9. Shop smart. Smashbox, Lorac and Laura Mercier are all great brands for women in their forties because they offer colors with plenty of boldness, but not too many over the top choices, Trotter says. “Their lipsticks and shadows are highly pigmented, which is really what you want at any age.”
Mineral makeup brands like Alima Pure are also great for women in their forties because the colors reflect those occur in nature and all of the products are made without harsh chemicals like sulfates and parabens.
Lastly, IT Cosmetics is actually geared towards women 30 and up, Trotter says. “My favorite products include No. 50 Anti-Aging Primer because it plumps up and hydrates mature skin, Bye Bye Redness Correcting Creme for covering blotchiness, Brow Power Universal Eye Brow Pencil to build up sparse brows and Your Skin but Better CC Cream, which is an emollient tinted moisturizer that is fabulous on dry skin, plus it has SPF 50 to protect you from the sun. Even better, all of the skin products are formulated with good-for-you ingredients, which is a definite must for beauty shoppers over 40!”
(Written by Lisa Fogarty for SheFinds)