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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 Tag: san diego bridal makeup artist

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! 

How Eye Shape and Eye Shadow Relate

Jessica Varela


When I tell people I’m a makeup artist, more often than not, they point to their eyes and ask, “How should I be doing my eyes?” There is not one right answer to that question - many women can wear shadow many ways.

That said, knowing what your eye shape is will help you create a look that best complements your peepers. Think of your eye shape as your map - a guide to getting you to your destination: flattering, flirty eyes.

Eyes come in many different shapes and sizes, but the most common shapes are: deep set eyes, prominent eyes, shallow eyes, hooded eyes, and almond eyes.

Deep set eyes sit further back into the face, which places a lot of emphasis on the brow bone. To “bring forward” deep set eyes, dust a light colored shadow like MAC's Shroom over the entire lid. Next, wash a medium toned shadow just above the crease towards the brow. Stay away from dark colored shadow in the crease. You don't want to darken natural shadows.

Prominent eyes have lots of lid space and an almost bulging appearance. To downplay a prominent eye, brush a dark shadow like NARS Bali all over the lid and blend into the crease. Dark tones recede space and size, so don’t be afraid to apply eyeliner generously along the lash line.



Shallow eyes have almost no crease, which makes the brow bone less prominent. To give a shallow eye more definition, apply a dark shadow along the lash line and blend up onto lid. Using a medium skin toned color like MAC's Charcoal Brown, brush over edge of darker eye shadow and blend up towards the brow. Highlight brow bone with a light colored pencil or shadow.


Hooded eyes have a layer of skin “falling” over the lids, which can make the lids seem smaller than they really are. To lift the eye visually, line eyes with a kohl pencil and diffuse edges with a smudge brush. Add a medium colored shadow over pencil and then blend outwards towards the outer corner of the eye. Avoid dark shadows in and above the crease.


Almond eyes are slightly upturned at the outer corners, but are otherwise symmetrical. Almond eyes are one of the most coveted eye shapes and rightly so, those blessed with this shape look good no matter how eye shadow is applied. To achieve one of the most classical eye looks, swipe a light colored shadow over the entire lid and under brow bone. Next, wash a medium skin toned shadow like MAC's Soba into the crease. Finally, apply a dark shadow in the outer corner of the eye in the shape of a “c.” Blend dark shadow well into crease and lid color.


Keep in mind, no matter how you apply your eye shadow, every eye shape can benefit greatly from a little brown or black eyeliner placed in the roots of the lash (a technique commonly referred to as tight line) and a couple of coats of mascara.

Having trouble deciding what eye shape you are? Don't hesitate to email me, call me or comment me with your eye shape questions! I will get back to you as soon as I can.


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.


Going to the Chapel - Carly's Engagement Photo Makeup

Jessica Varela


I was so excited to be able to do my sister-in-law’s makeup for her recent engagement photo session with the talented Chris Nelson. Because of time constraints, Carly applied her foundation before I arrived and I just did color (eyes, lips, and cheeks). Here’s a breakdown of what I used to get her camera ready:

On Carly’s eyes, I applied a sheer layer of Smashbox Cosmetic’s Limitless 15 Hour Wear Cream Shadow in Topaz from lash line to brow and brushed Gleam Lustre Shadow onto the lid and inner corner of her eye. I then applied a touch of Electric Eel shadow in the center of her lid and blended it towards the outer corner of her eye. Print shadow was added to the very outer corner of Carly’s eye to create depth and finally, black gel-eyeliner was applied to her upper and lower lash line. (Unless otherwise noted, all shadows listed are by MAC).

I brightened Carly’s cheeks with Nectar blush by Bobbi Brown and added just a touch of bronzer to contour her face. After lining her lips with a neutral lip liner, I gave her lips a generous dose of MAC Pervette lipstick (her favorite!), and topped it off with a sheer candy pink gloss.  

So excited for Carly and her hubbie to be, Danny! Can't wait for the wedding guys!

If you would like to know what brushes I used to achieve Carly’s engagement photo look or have any other questions about her makeup, please don’t hesitate to contact me using the form located on my contact page!