Happily Ever After

Bridal Beauty Trends and Tips From Two Area Experts

Bleu Salon, Just Braggin' Help Brides Look Their Best
Feb 23, 2018
Photo by: Jack Reynolds

No bride’s wedding day look is complete without the perfect hair and makeup to complement the dress. The goal is to feel gorgeous and comfortable (and most like yourself) while you celebrate your forever love. We interviewed two top-notch local salons, Beach Haven’s Bleu Salon and Manahawkin’s Just Braggin’, to give you an all-inclusive trend forecast of the latest and greatest beauty tips for 2018.

Bleu Salon owner Pamela Bernardino purchased the shop in April 2016 and officially opened it under the new name Bleu Salon in May of the same year. She was a client at the salon under prior ownership. She has a summer home on Long Beach Island, and was looking to invest in her beloved community.

“I changed the name to make it more appealing to everybody and wanted to tie it to the beach and the ocean, using the word blue, but spelling it the French way so it was different,” Bernardino said.

Bleu Salon’s team of cosmetologists is led by manager and senior stylist Kate Page, who has often been referred to as a “hair magician” because of her flawless and beautiful hairstyling technique. Her specialty is up-dos.

“I get excited when brides want an up-do because I love doing them,” Page said. “I create it as I go along, and that’s when it gets fun. You just build on the bride’s idea, and, from my experience, I just create designs in the hair. You also learn as you go which styles work better with certain types of hair. You really can do anything with hair.”

Just Braggin’ Salon, located in the Manahawkin Plaza, is owned and operated by veteran hair designer Rick Bragg, who has nearly 40 years of styling experience. The salon is cleverly named after Bragg’s eldest son, Justin Bragg, and, with its large staff of 22, you’ll be sure to earn your bragging rights with your new ’do.

“My father owns a barber shop in town called Larry’s Barber Shop, and he’s been around for over 53 years now, and he and my stepfather were both barbers, so I was inspired by both of them. My father was more into styling, and when I came to visit, I found myself watching him. At 18, I decided to give it a shot,” Bragg said.

In the early ’90s, Bragg was a platform artist for the Nexxus corporation, a former leading supplier of haircare products and dyes. Just Braggin’ was featured in InStyle Magazine in its list of the top 10 salons in the nation in terms of the volume of colors offered, a noteworthy achievement that “put little Manahawkin on the map.”

Just Braggin’ functions with the help of the rest of the family. Makeup artist and skincare specialist Rebecca Bragg, who has 20 years of experience in her field, met the man of her dreams when she moved to Manahawkin after spending years working in New York as a freelance makeup artist for renowned companies such as Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Bobbi Brown and Lancome.

“I met Rick and he owned a salon, and I had a lot of know-how, and it worked out perfectly,” she said.

Courtney Bragg Rachinsky, daughter of Rick and Rebecca, is the salon and wedding coordinator, and she handles all of the scheduling to ensure customers have a pleasant and memorable experience. Makeup artist Melissa Bula attended the Artist Makeup Academy in Hoboken for her training, and works side by side with Rebecca Bragg for makeup requests and parties.

Here’s an inside scoop from our experts on what’s trending in the world of beauty for brides-to-be. You’ll be sure to fall in love with these ideas! 

Hair With Flair

Hot Mess. Contrary to popular belief, up-dos are still common requests, but the style is much softer than it had been in the past. Gone are the days of super-tight curls and plastering hair in place with hairspray. 

“Brides are going for a more organic feel,” Page said. “The hair looking a little unkempt adds more romance to their look.” We’ll be seeing lots of up-dos with strands, or “tendrils,” coming down to give a less formal and more carefree vibe. 

Beautiful Braids. Carrying over from 2017, braids are popping up in all bridal hairstyles. “There will be a lot of braiding, layers of braids and different types put together in one style,” Page said. Go for braids if you’re someone who prefers having your hair out of the way. Plus, everyone will see more of your pretty face!

“Soft, smaller braids are being used to pull hair back and are not always placed in the typical spots. Dutch, waterfall and fishtail braids are still very in,” Rebecca said. Similar to relaxed up-dos, this year braids will also mimic the messy-chic look. Try pulling the braid apart (without unweaving it) to achieve this. 

Bun and Done. Low buns are all the rage this season. Your chignon can be messy or clean; it’s totally up to you. Start off with a sleek ponytail, twist the hair into a bun and secure with a hair tie or pins. Voila, it’s that simple. Doughnut buns, also known as ballerina buns, are making a comeback, and it’s sweet. Chic and sophisticated, this style rests higher on the head and is ideal for brides with a lot of hair.  

Knot to Miss. You’re already tying the knot, but have you heard of knotted hairstyles? Normally, knotty hair can be considered a bad thing, but not this time. These hairdos can look similar to buns or braids, depending on the placement, but they are more versatile and can be worn casually, too. Half-up, half-down designs with topknots are highly coveted for beach weddings.    

Flower Power. Sure, there will be bouquets and floral arrangements, but that does not mean you can’t add flowers to your hairstyle. Fresh flowers can take an ordinary hairstyle and make it extraordinary. Page suggests weaving them into elegant braids as accent pieces. Let love blossom all around you! 

Make It Reign. On your big day, you deserve to look and feel like royalty. Bring your fairytale wedding to life with a flower crown. Traditional veils are beautiful, but flower crowns are a stunning substitute. Choose your favorite flowers to go with the theme of your wedding. Bold and bright blooms are perfect for a summer celebration, while small and simple flowers (think baby’s breath) can be used any time of the year. A bud of advice? “Many brides like the idea of the crowns, but they tend to be too ornate when they get them, so opt for something daintier from the start, like a garland with small flowers,” Page said.  

Get Twiggy with It. Gems, barrettes, bows and flowers are all typical hair accessories, but it’s time to branch out (literally) and try something new. Perhaps add a touch of nature?

“Little branches or ‘sprigs’ can be incorporated into the hairstyle, and it will have a feral look to it,” Bernardino said. “It’s breathtaking for the proper atmosphere.” 

Go to Great Lengths. Want long locks for your wedding? Add some length with clip-in or permanent extensions. It is recommended that you buy the strands in a shade that is closest to your hair color. If that proves to be difficult, you can always get them professionally dyed. Bleu Salon and Just Braggin’ can help you style them any way you want. 

Keep It Short and Sweet. Women with short hair, rejoice. There are plenty of ways to wear your hair and look glamorous.

“The overarching trend is to keep the hair out of the face … finger waves are in, and so is the cap look. It’s very dressy, and many women celebrities are trying it out,” Page said.

Want to add drama to your hairstyle? Feel free to embellish a little. In this case, it’s OK to be extra. “You can actually make shorter hair look like an up-do by clipping certain pieces up and styling with bobby pins or hair accessories,” Rick Bragg said.

Basic Blowout. It’s the timeless trend that will be sure to blow them away. “A nice, sleek blowout is always a classic look. It’s very attractive and people love it, so it works for all ages,” Page said. “Mothers of the bride typically prefer wearing their hair blown out and natural.”

Make Waves. It’s not a beach wedding without some beachy curls to match. “Formal styling is transitioning into whimsical, flowy looks … undone, but done hair,” Rebecca said. To achieve these loose waves, her favorite product is dry texture spray by Moroccanoil, which has been featured in many lead bridal magazines. 

“This spray gives the hair some texture and supports looser styles. Before it came out, it was very difficult to get curls to stay in place. It’s not like a traditional hairspray, not crunchy or hard-holding, which many people appreciate. It gives the hair some body, for women who are looking to pump up the volume,” she said. 

Smooth as Silk. “As a new trend for 2018, brides are now incorporating silk ribbons into their hair – woven through a braid, worn as a headband, or even just a simple bow,” Rebecca said. This is an easy way to make a statement without spending a fortune. Bridesmaids can rock some ribbons, too! 

Unveil Your Beauty. You’re gorgeous, so why cover up?

“I find that not as many brides are wearing veils here at the shore. They want an ornament in their hair instead, something that won’t blow around too much on the beach,” Page said. To each her own, so we’ll let you decide on this one. 

Face Value

You Glow, Girl. Everyone wants flawless skin, but how exactly do you get it? 

“By washing, exfoliating and moisturizing,” Rebecca said. “Exfoliation, getting rid of that dead skin, is what really makes the skin healthy and hydrated.”

If you follow these easy steps on a regular basis, you’ll have naturally dewy skin in no time. So get glowing! 

“In the past, we’ve seen a lot of highlighter on the cheeks to give them that soft, shimmery look, and we’ll still see a lot of that,” she said. “We use a tattoo airbrush gun, which has something called Radiance in it, to give the skin a particular type of glow, in addition to the natural skin.”

Act Natural. The “no-makeup makeup” look is as effortless as it appears to be. Essentially, apply minimal makeup to maximize your natural beauty. For everyday makeup, most women want that barely-there look and feel, so it’s no different for their big day. Instead of heavier foundation, try using a BB or CC cream for lighter coverage. 

“You still have to even out the skin tone and add that healthy blush color on the cheeks,” Rebecca said. 

Less is more when it comes to eye makeup, as well. Try neutral eye shadows and avoid dramatic eyeliner. Pick a soft hue to enhance the natural color of your lips, and you’re all set.

Light As Air. Say goodbye to caky skin for good. The only cake you’ll need on your wedding day will be served during dessert hour. Airbrushed makeup has increased in popularity over the years, and it’s easy to see why. 

“It’s very natural and sheer and lasts a long time, plus it looks great in photos. It appears soft and covers any flaws in the skin without beading up. You can get different accents, too … highlight or contour specific areas to your liking,” Page said. Airbrushing is also ideal for bridal parties because it takes less time than applying regular makeup.   

Go Bold. Make those lips pop. Try a spicy red, hot pink or even deep purple. After all, you want that kiss to be something special. Pucker up! 

Caution: “If you’re not comfortable in red lips, then your wedding day is not the day to try it,” Rebecca said. Pick another day to experiment and see what you like best with your skin tone and facial features. 

Lip Gloss Like a Boss. Believe it or not, lip gloss is reemerging on the beauty scene. Anyone else having flashbacks of seventh grade? 

“Subtle, shiny pinkish hues make the lips look healthy and pouty, but still natural,” Rebecca said. 

Lash Out. Faux real, eyelash extensions are in high demand for special occasions.

“Lashes are really in right now. You can have a natural dewy face, but you better believe those eyelashes are going to want to look very luscious,” Rebecca said. 

Just Braggin’ uses strip eyelashes for its clients who want them only for the day, and individual lashes by Bella Lash or Minky’s for more long-term wear. Bleu Salon sends its clients home with thorough instructions for the best possible care.

“Be gentle with them. Don’t pull on them. Use a non-oil based makeup remover. Brush your lashes with a dry mascara wand to keep them in-shape,” Bernardino said. “One set of natural lashes (about 40 lashes per eye) can last three to four weeks with proper care, so a bride can have them for her wedding, honeymoon and a couple of weeks beyond that to maintain her look.” 

To go along with those voluminous lashes, many brides also want to emphasize their brows. Make sure your brow game is strong, ladies. 

Remain Neutral. Natural browns and bronzes on the eyes are sultry and sexy. With this particular makeup, all eye colors will look warm and inviting. It’s also a safer choice, rather than experimenting with a smoky eye or vibrant eye shadows.

“I use a lot of Smashbox eye shadow. I find that the texture is very nice, and they have a lot of brown shades that work well with all skin tones,” Rebecca said. 

Shine On. Glitter eyeliner is back. (it’s about time!) It has a reflection to it and draws attention to the eyes in a magical way that’s not too over the top. Water-based liners dry quickly and stay put for hours, making this a perfect choice for your day of glitz and glamour. No one can dull your sparkle.

Pamper Yourself. Both salons encourage brides-to-be and their bridal parties to book other special services for bonding time and relaxation. In addition to hair and makeup services, Just Braggin’ offers top-of-the-line skincare treatments, including microdermabrasion facials to fight the effects of aging, reduce acne and improve your complexion. Clients can go to Bleu Salon for all of their pampering ahead of the big day. The spa offers full-body massages – standard, hot stone, deep tissue or reflexology sessions – skincare treatments, manicures and pedicures. To create a stress-free and fun atmosphere, both salons welcome food and beverages (mimosas required) during preparations. 

“The women are typically stressed out with the wedding planning and trying to pull everything together, so this is exactly what they need,” Bernardino said. 

As an overall tip, stylists recommend arriving to your appointment with your hair fresh, clean and dry. It makes the process a lot easier and faster. The same rule applies for your skin. Do not wear makeup to your appointment.

Meet the talented staff of Just Braggin’ Salon at the 10th annual LBI Wedding Road Show on April 22 at the Sea Shell Resort and Beach Club in Beach Haven. 

“It’s an all-day event, and we will be there to show off photographs of our work and answer any and all questions,” Rick Bragg said. 

Visit bleusalonlbi.com and justbragginsalon.net for more information on the stellar services offered by these shops. Book your appointments soon, as spots for spring and summer weddings are filling up quickly.

— Sandra Weyant

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