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Oceanside, CA

(760) 716-5425

essica Varela is a San Diego based makeup artist with more than 11 years experience creating looks for weddings, special occasions, print, the runway, and television. 


​Jessica Varela's blog is a lot about makeup and a little about more!

Filtering by Category: Bridal Makeup

All the Answers to Your Bridal Beauty Questions

Jessica Varela



You’re getting married (congratulations BTW 🎉) and one of the most important things on your to do list is your makeup, of course! But, as with most wedding to do’s, you probably have a lot of questions about the process. It is only one of THE MOST IMPORTANT and MOST PHOTOGRAPHED days of your life…you want to make sure you are picture perfect. Well, so do I!!

Here are some of the most common questions I get about getting makeup done on the bid day…

Should I schedule a trial?

I believe every bride is different and therefore, I don’t think every bride HAS to do a trial. That being said, I highly recommend scheduling a trial and here’s why - a trial will give you and I the opportunity to design and edit a look before the pressures of the big day. Just think, you’ll have complete peace of mind on your wedding day (at least about your makeup anyhow 😆).

Going back and forth about a lip color? Not sure if false lashes are for you? Think you want a bronzed goddess look but don’t normally wear much makeup? If you’re on the fence about what look you want, you most definitely will want to book a trial!

P.S. Expect your trial to take about 2 hours.

When should I schedule a trial?

I recommend scheduling a trial at least one month prior to your wedding. I’ve learned from experience, the closer you get to the date, the harder it will be to take time for yourself. If you have an engagement photo session in the books or a bridal shower coming up, this would be a great time to schedule your trial.

Do I need to bring anything to the trial? What about the day of?

No! You won’t need to bring a thing to your trial but your pretty self! I will provide everything, including luxury brand products, lashes, skincare, and professional lighting! If you have certain products you absolutely can’t live without, feel free to bring them along and I’ll be more than happy to use them.

Same goes for your wedding day, you won’t need to worry about bringing anything! 🙌🏼

Will I need to touch up my makeup?

Although I use products designed to last, you may need to touch up your makeup just a little. Your skin type, the weather, how much you cry (lol!), and time between makeup and ceremony all affect makeup longevity.

There’s no need to worry, though! Before I leave, I’ll do a final touch up on you and your bridesmaids to make sure everyone is picture perfect. I’ll leave you with any instructions you may need to touch up and a touch up kit if your package includes one. If you’d rather not have to worry about touching yourself up, I offer touch-up and day rates. 

Should I do makeup or hair first?

I may be the lone wolf when it comes to choosing whether hair or makeup comes first, but really, you can do whatever you want! 💯 I can do makeup before or after your hair is done – it’s totally up to you!

How long will it take to do makeup on me and my bridesmaids?

To make sure the day runs stress-free, I always allow 45 minutes for each bridesmaid and 1 hour for the bride (if a trial has been done). If we haven’t done a trial, I allow 1 hour and 15 minutes for the bride.

And, just so you don’t have to worry about a thing, I’ll send you a timeline before your wedding so you can get a clear picture of what the day will look like for makeup.

Do I or my bridesmaids need to do anything to prepare for makeup on the day of?

Yes! I provide all of my brides a wedding day skin prep guide. 👰🏻 At the trial, we’ll go over it in depth and discuss exactly what you may or may not need to do to get wedding day ready. I’ll also let you know how your bridesmaids (or anyone else in your bridal party getting makeup done) can prepare.

Will you come to me on my wedding day?

Yes! I will come to you on your wedding day no matter where you are getting ready. 😄

*Please note: travel fees may apply.

Can you cover tattoos, tan lines, and scars?

Yes! I can cover tattoos, tan lines, and scars. If you’d like to have a tattoo or scar covered, please let me know in advance so we can discuss this at your trial. I know tan lines can be a whoopsie, so as soon as you know, let me know too and we’ll talk about the extent of coverage you need.

*Please note: an additional fee may apply depending on the size and level of coverage you need.

Do you offer body makeup application?

Yes! I do offer body makeup application for you or anyone in your bridal party. If you’re interested in having body makeup applied, let me know at the trial and we’ll talk about the process and fee.

How soon do you need to know the total number of people in my wedding party?

It’s best I have the total number of people in your party at the time of the contract signing, but I also know weddings don’t always work that way! I’ll always do my best to accommodate your party, however I can’t guarantee availability or amend a contract if changes to the total number of clients is made less than one month prior to your wedding date. 

What products do you use?

My kit is a smorgasbord of luxury brand products like Nars, Laura Mercier, Makeup For Ever, Anastasia Beverly Hills, MAC, Tatcha, Smashbox, and many others! If you’d like to know specifics about what products I use, feel free to shoot me an email. 💗

Do you airbrush?

I don’t airbrush for weddings and here’s why: in my experience, I’ve found traditional foundation gives me and you more options in texture, coverage, and delivery (i.e.liquid, powder, cream). Traditional foundation allows you to be choosy about how you want your skin to look – dewy, matte or satin – and feel.  

Should I wear false eyelashes on my wedding day?

Should you wear false eyelashes on your wedding day? The good news is, there’s no right or wrong answer to this question! The decision to wear false lashes is a personal one and every bride feels differently. 😃

I must say, however, about 99% of my brides do wear them and I do recommend them! I’ve found that natural lashes get “washed out” in photos and just don’t look the same as they do in person. Also, you have to remember…there is an almost limitless variety of lashes available to choose from! I always have a variety of lashes on hand – wispy, full, piecy (a word that only exists in the lash world ha, ha), etc. – to create almost any look you want.

How many people in my bridal party can you accommodate?

As many as you want! Ok, so I personally wouldn’t be able to do every person in your party if there are more than 6 people. For parties larger than 6, I’ll bring an assistant (or two) to make sure every person in your party is pampered properly.

If there is a day of time constraint, it may be necessary for me to bring an assistant to get your party (of 6 or less) ready. But, there’s no reason to think about details you don’t have to, right? We’ll talk about how many bridesmaids you have at your trial so I can plan out a timeline for you and discuss whether or not you’ll need another artist.

How do I book you?

Once we’ve decided to work together 🙌🏼, I’ll send you a contract outlining my business and cancelation policies. To secure your wedding date, all you need to do is send me a signed and dated contract and a $100 deposit (non-refundable).

What forms of payment do you take?

I take payments via cash, check, credit card (+3%transaction fee), and Venmo.

Wedding Day Beauty Prep - Eyebrows

Jessica Varela

We can't all have Poppy and Cara Delevingne's perfect brows, but we can sure try.  Photo - Telegraph UK

We can't all have Poppy and Cara Delevingne's perfect brows, but we can sure try.

Photo - Telegraph UK

One of my colleagues used to say, “If the eyes are the window to the soul, then the eyebrows are the frame.” She was right. Brows frame your face and “support” the structure of your face. If shaped correctly and groomed regularly, you can literally change the structure of your face…and look put together (with or without makeup)!

As you can see, eyebrows are an important component of your makeup routine and if they are this important every day, they should definitely not be neglected for THE most important day of your life – your wedding day! As you’re putting together your bridal beauty to-do-list, don’t forget to pencil in a brow appointment. And, don’t put it too far down on the list. You may need a few months (or more) to get your eyebrows picture perfect.

 To help you get your brows in tip-top shape, here are a few key eyebrow shaping tips I talk about in my Brow Counseling class: 


 If you need hair growth, no touchy, touchy! I know how hard it is to fight the urge to tweeze, but do whatever you have to do to resist grabbing those tweezers! Have your maid of honor hide your tweezers, throw them away or cover them in peanut butter… just don’t pluck!

Your eyebrows are hair and should be treated like your hair. Massage a little conditioner in them when you’re in the shower and comb them regularly with a brow brush. I like MAC’s 204 Lash Brush.

Sometimes you need help, so when the going gets tough, try a brow growth serum like nueBROW or Rapidlash. 


 WHO is shaping them? Listen carefully…just because someone waxes/threads/tweezes brows does not mean they know how to shape them! Shaping is an art and in my opinion, only a few are true artists. Best bet: Find someone who has a shape you like and ask them for a referral.

WHAT are they using? Are they using wax, threads or tweezers to remove hair? A good eyebrow guru will do what’s best for your brows at the time of your appointment (hint, it may not always be a waxing).

WHERE are they removing hair? You and your eyebrow guru should come to an agreement of what shape is best suited to your face and where hair may or may not need to be removed before any hair is removed.


What’s your brow goal? Lusting after the bigger, bushier brows of the moment or are you crazy about Jean Harlow’s razor sharp arch? Let your goal determine what and how much eyebrow maintenance you need.

With the right help and minimal effort, you and your brows will be more than ready for your wedding day! 

If you'd like to have some brow counseling yourself, shoot me an email or sign up for one of my Brow Counseling classes - it's free!

Bridal Makeup – Most Frequently Asked Questions

Jessica Varela



It’s the most important and most photographed day of your life. You want to make sure you and your bridal party are picture perfect. So do I. 

 I know you’ve got probably got a million questions about getting your makeup done and please, ask away! To get you started, I’ve compiled the questions I get asked most frequently about wedding makeup.

 Q. When should I schedule a trial?

 A. You can schedule a trial whenever it is most convenient for you! If you have an engagement photo session in the books or a bridal shower coming up, you can schedule your trial the same day and take advantage of the session. If you can, I always recommend scheduling a trial at least a month before your wedding. Keep in mind, the sooner you book a makeup trial the sooner you can secure your wedding date.  

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Q. I’m interested in airbrushing. Do you airbrush?

 A. I don’t use airbrush for bridal makeup. Airbrushing is great for certain makeup applications, but in my experience, weddings aren’t one of them. Traditional foundation gives brides more options in texture, formula, and coverage. For example, some brides may prefer (or need) a full coverage foundation or a bride with a drier skin type may need a creamier formula than a bride with an oily skin type.

 Q. Do I need to bring my own product?

 A. No! I provide everything. I have it all, including moisturizers and false eyelashes. However, if you have a product you cannot live without and must use it on your wedding day, I will be more than happy to apply it.

 Q. On the day of, should I do hair or makeup first?

 A. It’s your day and you can do anything you want! I can do your makeup before or after your hair is done. It’s up to you!

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Makeup: Jessica Varela

Q. Will I need to touch up my makeup?

A. I use products that are designed to last, but you may need to touch up your makeup. The weather, skin type, how much you cry (ha, ha – but really), and time between makeup and ceremony are all factors that can have an effect on makeup longevity. Don’t worry, though. You shouldn’t have to apply any more color or blend your eye shadow. What you might need to do, however, is blot your skin and freshen up your lipstick. I will give you a list of products I recommend you purchase to touch up with and I will also provide you with a touch up kit. If you would rather not have to worry at all about touching yourself up, I do offer touch up rates!

Q. How long does each makeup application take?

 A. I usually allow 45 minutes for bridesmaids and other members of the bridal party. If a trial has been done beforehand, I allow an hour for the bride.

 Q. I’ve never worn false eyelashes. Should I wear them for my wedding?

 A. I recommend to all of my brides that false eyelashes be worn on their wedding day, but it is by no means a requirement. The reason I do recommend brides wear lashes is because the natural lash tends to get “washed out” in photographs. I carry a large variety of lashes – natural, wispy, chunky, etc. – for brides to choose from so any look can be achieved.

 Just remember, you must feel comfortable on your special day and if that means not wearing false eyelashes, then so be it! There are several techniques we can use to “thicken” the lash line and give the appearance of a fuller lash. 

If you have any other questions about bridal makeup, please do not hesitate to contact me by email or phone – 760.716.5425. Can’t wait to hear from you! 

Bridal Makeup Trends for 2013

Jessica Varela

 "Barely there" makeup. Makeup by me. 

 "Barely there" makeup. Makeup by me. 

Can’t believe it’s that time again – wedding season...and what better time to discuss bridal makeup then in the height of wedding season. Many brides opt for traditional bridal makeup (satiny champagne eye, and pink cheeks and lips), but the most popular bridal makeup trends for 2013 offer options to brides who are looking for something a little less traditional.

According to Elle magazine, the no makeup makeup look continues to be a favorite among brides. At Vera Wang Bride, models sported fuller brows and matte skin, with little to no color on any feature of the face. Flawless skin, contoured cheekbones, and lots of mascara are hallmarks of the “barely there” look. 

No makeup makeup look at Vera Wang Bride. 

No makeup makeup look at Vera Wang Bride. 

Colored eyeliner is another popular bridal makeup trend for 2013. Eyeliner applied to the upper lashes in a color (e.g. turquoise, purple) is a creative, yet wearable way to make a classic look unique. For brides who want to try this trend, but want (or need) definition along the lash line, apply colored eyeliner along the edge of black or brown eyeliner.

Turquoise eyeliner. Makeup by Emily Cheng.

Turquoise eyeliner. Makeup by Emily Cheng.

Neon red lips at Amsale. 

Neon red lips at Amsale. 

Red lips on brides is not a new trend, but many brides are opting for brighter or deeper, almost burgundy reds. At Amsale, models walked the runway with neon red lips and last year’s trend of opaque, deep berry colored lips is becoming more popular with brides this year.

However, no matter what trends exist, it’s important to remember that trends are just that – a general direction in which something is developing or changing. Let the current trends inspire you, but ultimately, choose a makeup look that makes you feel both comfortable and beautiful on your special day.

For bridal makeup inspiration and to see more photos of my work, please visit If you would like to contact me, please click here.