I interviewed Melinda after reading her beauty tips for brides in the Summer 1999 issue of Los Angeles Wedding Pages Magazine. Working exclusively with brides in the San Gabriel Valley, Melinda is highly experienced in the field of bridal makeup and hair design. Her work has been featured in Latina Bride; the March/April issue of Super Onda Magazine, and in LA Wedding Pages article "Total Beauty". April showers bring May flowers and June brides are among us! Read up on the latest bridal scoop for 1999 with Melinda's expert advice.

What made you decide to work exclusively in the field of bridal hair and makeup?

Every bride is beautiful no matter what they look like. I wanted to be that person who made the star of the day beautiful. I knew in beauty school when they started talking about bridal hair and makeup, that I wanted to do that. As soon as I got my cosmetology license I headed in that direct market. I found out how to get into bridal shows, bridal expos, and contacted photographers.

Where did you attend cosmetology school and how long have you been licensed?

I have been licensed for 3 years. I went to Rosemead Beauty School in Rosemead, CA. I apprenticed for one year at 2 different salons. At the third salon I moved over to Monrovia and had no clients at all. I stuck it out, passed out cards and fliers for free haircuts, and built up my clientele. I then started to get into the bridal end of makeup and hair. I am currently at Unique Beautique in Monrovia and currently have over 200 clients.

How long has your business been geared to brides exclusively?

About two years now. I did on average thirty brides last year not including members of the wedding party.

What did you do prior to becoming a cosmetologist and makeup artist?

I was a floral designer for 3 years, a cashier at Ralph's grocery store for 5 years, a waitress in the Nordstrom's café for 13 years. I gained a lot of experience with customer service. The customer is always right and I learned a great deal. I have done a little bit of everything.

What made you decide to become a cosmetologist?

I had always had an interest in becoming a cosmetologist as far back as high school. I had an opportunity to move back home and my father asked what I wanted to do. I had always wanted to go to beauty school, 3 days later I was enrolled, and 13 months later I was a licensed cosmetologist.

What other certifications do you have that entices brides to your expertise?

I go to classes constantly, I am always educating myself. I work exclusively with Aveda products. I attend all their educational training seminars. I am also an educator for Schwarzkopf hair color. I teach new salons how to use the hair color. As far as bridal work it is just a matter of classes, there is no certification. The more you do it the better you get.

: Take the Makeup Mania readers through an initial phone call contact with you, with the intention that we are a potential client.

When you call, I always congratulate you and ask when the wedding day is. I do this right off so I don't go through an entire interview to discover I am booked. I ask the location and if I am driving to it. If the wedding is in the local vicinity the first 10 miles are free. Otherwise I charge $1/per mile, one way. I then start my prices, $45 for hair and $35 for makeup. I require a trial run for a bride. I do not go in blindfolded. They come into the salon for the trial run and bring their headpiece. The wedding day is their choice as to coming to the salon or me going to their location. 99% of the time I travel to the location.

What happens when a bride books a trial run with you in the salon?

I usually have brides bring photos of any hair or makeup ideas they have so I can get a general idea of their interests. We talk about the dress style and color, flowers, general colors throughout the wedding and environment (indoors or outdoors). This gives me a chance to evaluate what I am working with. I start by setting the hair and then begin applying the makeup. I start light with my makeup application and build to the intensity that the bride wants. I focus on eye, skin and hair color for natural guidelines for makeup choice. Most brides want to look natural like they are wearing no makeup. I try to harmonize dress, flower, eye, skin, and hair color together for an overall completed look. After we work through the makeup application I begin to style the hair. I try to compliment the face shape when working with the hair and style it appropriately with the headpiece.

Do you use Aveda products exclusively?

Yes. The makeup is all natural, the display is nice and it sells its name. Brides have the option to buy products from me, they can customize their color palette and have everything right there on their wedding day.

Outside of cosmetology school, have you had any other makeup training?

I did take a theatrical makeup class through Pasadena City College. John Hanna was my instructor; he trained at the Joe Blasco Makeup Center in Hollywood, CA.

What has been the most challenging wedding you have done?

The most challenging wedding I had was July 4th last year. I had two weddings. The first one was out in Malibu at 7am. There were 2 girls there. At 9am, I had to be in the Malibu Canyon area to do 8 girls. I ended up staying until 3pm. The first bride was still asleep when I arrived and that threw me off. The second wedding was a push!

What is your top 3 beauty tips for brides?

Develop a skincare regimen, be faithful about it. Cleanse, tone and moisturize. Drink plenty of water if you have dark circles. Get plenty of rest. Have your lip and eyebrows waxed. Wear sunscreen!!!

What is your top 3 hair tips for brides?

I suggest you color and/or weave highlights 2 to 4 weeks before your wedding. Don't condition your hair the night before, it will shine with all the products on it. It is also harder to tease and work with. Get a trim on the ends of your hair 2 weeks prior to the big day. If your wearing curls the ends will look fresh and healthy.

What are the latest 1999 wedding trends for bridal hair and makeup?

More pastel colors on eyes and lips. Lots of soft shimmer looks. The renaissance tiaras are in for hair, not too many veils. If they do have a veil it has no gathering in the back and it is just plain. The bride should keep in mind that they can detach their headpieces at anytime, and realize they are not stuck with their veil all day.

How do you keep cool under all the pressure of a bride's wedding day?

I try to keep the bride calm and cool. I ask to be alone with the bride so I can work efficiently. I am very laid back in my approach and that helps ease the worries of the bride. I know exactly how long it takes me to complete my job, so I rarely ask, "how much time do we have?" I am always on track with what needs to be done and how long I have.

Why would I want to book with you for my bridal hair and makeup? What sets you apart from your competition?

The atmosphere of the salon I work at is very casual. We welcome you as family and it is not intimidating. I am not a high strung person. I am honest and upfront in my makeup and hair approach. I run my business like a business. Melinda's work can be seen in Latina Bride, Spring and Summer '98 issues, the March/April cover issue of Super Onda Magazine, and beauty tips in Los Angeles Wedding Pages Summer '99 issue, "Total Beauty" article. She also attends local bridal shows and expos. She is located at Unique Beautique, 106 East Colorado, Monrovia, CA 91016. She is available by appointment only, (626) 303-8786 or toll free (888) 493-9666, or at Hairrzr@earthlink.net. Look her up for all your hair and makeup bridal needs!