Featured in Vogue Italia

If you've been following my social media over the last month, you may have seen some hubbub about some editorial images I was involved in that got featured in Vogue Italia.  Well, it's true!  Since editorial isn't a huge part of my portfolio at the moment, I wanted to provide the backstory to this awesome experience!


Sometime in the beginning of February, my friend Kristin Robbins of Tyger Alexis reached out to me in search of a makeup artist for a fun editorial shoot later that week.  I jumped at the chance to stretch my creative, artsy muscles (which is definitely my home as a super creative person!) and to work with people I love and admire so much.  Kristin, the stylist for the shoot, and I go way back as we both grew up in Raleigh in similar circles of friends, and I always remembered her as a girl with a golden personality - warm, inviting, and radiant!  Katie Manselle, the hair stylist, I know from church and have totally celeb-style admired for a while!  She owns her own salon and is a top creator for Oribe, frequenting NYC for fashion weeks and photo shoots.

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So of course I said a resounding YES, felt a little nervous, and then just went with it.  We shot at Katie's hair studio (Culture Hair Studio) in Durham and I brought my paints knowing that the makeup looks were going to be super editorial.  I met Jennifer Cole, who is the kind genius behind the photography and submitted the shots to Vogue Italia (which I didn't know!) and Cayce Tucker, the sweetest model represented by 3 BBM.  We giggled and chatted while doing crazy makeup and had the quickest changeovers imaginable.  It definitely put things into perspective about how much time I allot for bridal work!  It's so different, and so great because of that!

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We did three looks for the day: the pear with pink rectangle eyes, the blue jumpsuit with a 3-toned shadow on one eye, and the moot-inspired jumpsuit with the one white stripe.  Jennifer had the basic inspiration for makeup - I just had fun working within those visions with what I had and what I felt would be fun!

It was a quick shoot, but out of that came two features on Vogue Italia's Best Of Photovogue!  Here is the link to the images on their website.  

Katie and I (along with some of her girls in the studio, Ali and Meg) talked about the importance of just playing.  Especially as a creative earning money from creative work, it's so so valuable to take time to just create for fun, to go so outside the boundaries of what you normally do, and enjoy the freedom of it.  It totally benefits what you do for your day job, too!

Thank you Jennifer, Katie, Kristin, and Cayce for allowing me to play and enjoy the afternoon with you!

Here's to much more fun in what I love to do!


Sam's Beauty Gift Guide

Whether it's for you or for your loved ones, I've curated a list of my top beauty picks to put in the stocking or under the tree!

I tried to keep as many of these products as clean and non-toxic as possible, at varying price points.  Some I have tried, and some I have my eyes on for myself! 


1. Flawless in Five Makeup Set - This is a great start if you're looking to makeover your makeup kit!  These are the basics for a solid 5 minute face, using products that don't have any harmful ingredients.  It includes a foundation, concealer, brow pencil, mascara, blush duo, and lip gloss, and you can customize the shades to your liking!

2. Beauty counter No.3 Balancing Spa Set - A holiday set from Beautycounter - the mask is one of my favorites I have ever used, and I use the oil every morning and evening, as a first step before moisturizer and makeup.  The mist is a nice bonus for a mid-day pick me up, especially after workouts.  Great for oily/acne prone skin - but they also have a Brightening and Plumping set if one of those are more appropriate for your skin.

3. Hynt Beauty DUET Perfecting Concealer - This has been one of my favorite finds of the year.  It's vegan AND does an amazing job covering dark circles, scars, and blemishes.  It's creamy but not cakey, and doesn't turn patchy as the day goes on, as so many concealers do.

4. 100% Pure Green Tea Fiber Brow Builder - Also one of my favorite finds, comparable to the Glossier Boy Brow, but without any questionable ingredients.

5. Little Barn Apothecary Facial Cleansing Oil Blue Yarrow + Geranium - I use this cleansing oil for days that my skin needs a gentler, more moisturizing clean.  You rub it on, it takes of makeup and clings to impurities, and then you rub it off with a warm washcloth.  I rinse my face with water a bit more for good measure.



1. My Daughter Perfumes Bloom 23 - a fragrance completely free of parabens and phthalates that smells amazing!  I received a sample in my Petit Vour box and am working through my current fragrance to upgrade to this.

2. The Takesumi Detox Deodorant in Cold Pressed Rose - I have been on the search for the best all-natural deodorant, and though I haven't tried this personally, I am intrigued by the detoxing qualities and scent of this one.

3. Sugar Body Scrub in Lemongrass - I've tried this, but don't currently own - I'm hoping Santa will bring me some!  It's one of the more luxurious body scrubs I've used, leaving behind a saturating moisture that smells a-maze-ing.  I'd likely keep it in my shower and use a few times a week, especially on my legs in the winter.

4. Body Butter in Citrus Mimosa - Another one I've tried but don't own yet!  My skin gets super duper dry in the winter, especially my hands, middle, and legs, and I'm constantly using body lotion to keep things in check.  This is a super saturated body butter that doesn't feel greasy but still feels substantial.

5. Lauren B. Beauty Nail Polish in Rodeo Drive - The perfect holiday red, without harmful chemicals!  I've used Lauren B. for about a year and it lasts about the same as OPI or Essie (5-7 days for me)

6. French Girl Sea Soak bath salts - I am all about the winter bath, since I'm perpetually cold and baths are the only true warming solution!  I prefer bath salts to bubbles since they absorb into the skin, and they look pretty sitting in my bathroom : )



1. Repair & Nourish Collection - My hair also gets super dry in the winter, so I've got my eye on this repairing and nourishing shampoo, conditioner, and split end serum from BC.  The packaging is lovely and I like knowing there are no sulfates, paragons, or wonky fragrances in there.

2. MANGO Gold Hair Ties Pack - A quick way to polish a regular pony!

3. MINU Hair Mask - for when your hair needs an extra amount of moisture, especially for those of us with color-treated hair (it'll help your color last longer!)

 4. R+Co Death Valley Travel Sized Dry Shampoo - I've used Death Valley on my clients and I love the scent and the feel - it's not overpowering.  Plus this little travel size is perfect to keep in your purse for a little pick-me-up as needed!

I hope these suggestions help provide some good ideas for yourself & others this holiday season!  If you have any questions or thoughts, don't hesitate to message or comment!



Why I Chose To Sell Beautycounter

Before I get into the details, I want to clarify that the purpose of this post is not to get anyone to buy anything, nor am I trying to get anyone to sell anything.  The purpose is for me to share the reasons why I chose to sell Beautycounter, so it's out in the open!  I have always enjoyed a no-smoke-and-mirrors approach to my business, to makeup, and to hair. Honesty, vulnerability, and natural fits have always felt best for me in my work and art.


For many years, I made it part of my business practice to specifically not sell any products that I used on my clients.  I wanted to be a safe place where women could get their makeup and hair done, not feel pressured to purchase anything extra or listen to a sales pitch, and get real opinions about different products and lines.  I didn't want to make anyone uncomfortable if they felt like I was trying to push a product (because I have been in that position, and I don't like it!)

People would ask me, "Why don't you sell ____ so when people ask you what to buy for themselves, you can get a little kickback!"  And though I knew that made sense financially, I just didn't want that personal temptation to make certain products sound better than they actually were just because I knew I could get a small commission off of them.  


As I have grown in my business, I have learned a balance between maintaining that safety and honesty for my clients, and also generating income that fits naturally and organically from what I am already doing.  If I am pointing people in a certain direction because I really love a product/it fits what they're looking for, I am generating sales to those brands.  I've made Benefit, NARS, Stila, and Urban Decay so much money from using their products on hundreds of clients, and those clients loving those products and purchasing them for themselves!  I am a connector, knowledgable about products, and honest about my opinions.  If I could make commission from those natural, organic sales based on meeting peoples' needs and honesty, that works for me, my client, and the brand.

Like most women, I don't buy my skincare or makeup all from one brand.  I cherry pick, because different brands do certain things better than others, and rarely is every single product the best of its category all from one line.  That's still true for me personally and professionally!  I won't be all Beautycounter all the time, but I really do believe that they fulfill a need that few other lines have been able to successfully fill.


In my personal life, I was searching for makeup that would be better for my skin and body.  I kept reading these facts and statistics about the regulations for personal care products in the US, how they hadn't been updated in decades (since 1938), and how the US has chemicals in their products that other countries have banned because of how dangerous they are.  I read that the skin is the body's most absorbent organ, and that the average women puts on 515 synthetic chemicals per day, exposure to which could be linked to cancer, reproductive harm (something close to my heart) and neurotoxicity.


In the world of bridal hair and makeup, performance is everything.  It has to work, stay put, and have enough pigment to not require a ton of swipes during application (for time's sake).  I know for a fact that there are toxic chemicals required for that kind of staying power.


So I set out on a quest to find clean, non-toxic makeup (and skincare) that would actually perform well.  I've tried a ton of "natural" makeup from various sources, and though I feel good about their general healthiness, overwhelmingly they don't work very well!  It would run, or not show up, or show up for the first hour and then dissipate into nothingness.  Along the way, I have found a few individual products that perform well, but no more than 1 or 2 great products per "clean" line, if any.


I remember first hearing about Beautycounter about two years ago.  They had just hit the scene, and from their mission, the Never List (a list of all the chemicals and ingredients they don't allow into their products), the design of their brand and packaging, and the extensive amount/types of products they offered, I knew that they were doing something really right.  I looked into buying into the business, but it was just too expensive on the back end.


Over time, friends of mine starting offering the products and buying into the business became more affordable.  I bought my first BC products and gave them a try.  I loved knowing that what I was putting on my skin was safe, looked beautiful, and stayed put.  For full disclosure, I am allergic to a certain oil that is present in the Tint Skin (their main foundation) to the tune of hives, so though it's not the best for me personally, it's one of my main recommendations for others looking to upgrade their makeup routine.  (As with any personal care product, it's best to track reactions after any application to decipher the root of the reaction so it won't happen again, and to choose the very best products for you!)


As many of you know, I lessened my workload with LULA this year to regain some health, clarity, and love for my work.  This gave me space to follow natural loves and interests, and honestly, Beautycounter was one of those.  I wanted it for myself and for my business.  In 2018, I am attempting to stock my kit with as much non-toxic, clean, luxurious cosmetics as possible so my clients get the best possible experience for what they are paying, with BC at the helm (and other clean-green favorites as well!)

So it just made sense.  I stand with their mission, their products, and their flexibility in how I choose to sell (which I hope will be as not annoying as possible!)  They are clean beauty advocates, and are standing before US legislation RIGHT NOW to get our government to improve regulations for self-care products.  I don't love GMO foods, I don't eat McDonalds, I try to choose ethically sourced clothing, and I don't want a bunch of harmful chemicals getting absorbed into my body every day from my cosmetics and body products.

If you have any questions, thoughts, whatever, you know my inbox is always open!  Email me at sam (at) lulahairandmakeup (dot) com!

Thank you for your continued support, cheering on, and love kindred friends!

All my love,