FEATURE - Southern Weddings Magazine - V7!

SWV7 Feature Last spring, I had the incredible honor to provide hair and makeup styling for Southern Weddings Magazine!  When the gals emailed me with their inspiration, I knew I had to be a part.  The Dogwood-inspired shoot, "A New Beginning," was everything we hoped it would be - sunny, breezy, whimsical, and surrounded by dogwood trees in full, southern bloom.  We tried to emanate elegance, simplicity, and whimsy that is so evocative of spring in the south. The full-length bridesmaids gowns from BHLDN were a flowy spectrum of light mint and blue, so we kept the makeup very fresh in peachy pinks and browns. We styled the bridesmaids hair mostly down, loose, and lightly curled, and featured a braided, loose updo on the stunning bride (who is seen in this Monique Lhuillier gown - so gorgeous).  We even got to do a little hair and makeup primping on the three adorable flower girls!

See the full posts here and here on the Southern Weddings website, and of course, the full feature is in Southern Weddings Magazine!  Volume 7 of Southern Weddings is available now at major newsstands and bookstores around the country!

We had to wait a bit to share, but like most of the best things in life, it was worth the wait!









Life Stage Films was also a part of the day, and captured the beautiful moments of preparation and shooting in film.  We make a few cameos throughout!  So beautiful!

[vimeo 107257026 w=500 h=281]

And here are a few behind-the-scene shots from this fun day in sunny NC!

Screen Shot 2014-12-28 at 8.41.07 PM

Thank you, Southern Weddings, for this delightful opportunity to do what I love with you!

And thank you, Landon and Jordan of Landon Jacob Photography, for capturing these beautiful images!

Spring Look Four + MEET SAMANTHA


It's the last Monday in March, and I wanted to provide a little something special for the last look of the Spring Styled Series! (Click here for Look One, Look Two, & Look Three!)

First - I chopped my hair a couple of weeks ago (!!!) and wanted to give a few tips on textured, beachy waves - which I am LOVING on my fresh, long-angled bob - and I wanted to give a bit more of a face behind LULA Hair & Makeup.

My name is Samantha Ray, and LULA was born out of my love for helping women find, appreciate, and rock their natural beauty, and helping them feel confident in their own skin.  I love threading the link between something as simple as hair & makeup into a larger aesthetic - the weather, the season, the occasion, the outfit, and most importantly, the woman living it all - her natural inner and outer beauty.  Read on to get to know the girl behind LULA, or skip down to the bottom for textured beach wave tips!


Getting to know the gal behind LULA - Samantha Ray

the basics:

  • born & raised in Raleigh, NC
  • married to husband of 2 years, John Bennett Ray (who loves UFC & has longer hair than most - like Braveheart, but better)
  • 3 older sisters - lots of makeup & hair things to play with from the start
  • has many passions, one of which is hair & makeup styling, and getting to know many wonderful women along the way...
  • the others of which include (but are not limited to):  making music, travel, baking, writing the great american novel/poetry anthology, loving God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength, and aspiring to love others as myself.

the favorites:

hair & makeup background:

  • loved all things creative from an early age (writing plays, building teepees in the woods, learning to "harmony" while listening to Spice Girls, & of course, playing with hair and makeup)
  • went to school for music, creative anthropology, and creative writing (why should I have to pick just one??) & continued to freelance with hair and makeup styling along the way
  • steadily built up a portfolio from client work, including prom looks, weddings, styled shoots, photography workshop shoots, & personal styling consultation
  • decided to give my work a name inspired by my beautiful grandmother, Lula Saphonia Whitfield Crowder
  • kept receiving inquiries from more and more beautiful women to help with their hair & makeup - kept saying YES!
  • eventually, the work became too much to juggle with my other day jobs, so I studied the trade more intensively, continued saying yes to as many opportunities as possible, and then took the leap into full-time hair & makeup styling.

my hair & makeup philosophy is:

  • less really is more
  • find, affirm, and rock your naturally stunning assets (yes, YOU have them!)
  • femininity is not a weakness
  • be an encourager, not a critic
  • imperfections and oddities are beautiful.  they hold stories, show of battles won and strengths acquired along the way.

the looks I love to create are:

  • fresh
  • organic
  • in tune with the larger aesthetic - season, weather, occasion, decor, person
  • fun!
  • soft
  • radiant
  • real-life achievable

A Beautiful Thing...

Textured Beach Waves


Looking forward to sharing more how-to series with you all!

With sunshine & a tall glass of iced water,

With love, Samantha

Spring Styled Series - Look Three

LULA Hair & Makeup Spring Style

Good morning ladies!  Grab a cup of coffee or tea, get comfy, and enjoy our third look in the Spring Styled Series!  (Click here for Look One & Look Two!)  I love this subtle, soft, & undoubtedly gorgeous look for spring.  The fact that the curls are super-voluminous but un-coiffed, paired with the light smokey eye and nude-pink lip, make this look super versatile.  It could compliment a beautiful dress for a special event, or played down with jeans and simple tee for a trip to the farmer's market.  It all hints at a sweet sexiness without being overtly va-va-voom.


Quick tips for Bombshell curls

  • Bigger is better!  These are a lot like the "fussless" curls from Look One.  You will want to curl your hair with a bit of a thicker barreled curling iron (3/4"-1").  Pull up your top layers of hair and curl one layer at a time from the bottom up, in 1-2" sections of hair.  Bigger barrel + bigger sections of hair = bigger curls.  Just like the fussless curls, we will clip up the curls to your head with clips or roller pins, and leave them to set for 15 minutes (or more!)
  • Don't pick sides while setting the top. Once you get to the top-most layer of hair, which should be the crown and top of your head, you will curl right down the middle section of hair, regardless of your part.  Tease those curls lightly with a basic rat-tail comb (or regular comb) at the scalp, and pin them away to set.
  • Curl away from the face.  Especially on those sections of hair on the sides of your head, closer to your face (just underneath the topmost layer of hair).  This really flatters the face and gives the curls a natural look.
  • Comb out with your fingers.  After you take your curls out, set with a light spray (we love Rusk W8less, which you can find at Target) and wait for 5 minutes.  Then comb through your hair with your fingers for that natural, tousled look!

Quick tips for a springtime smokey eye

  • Use earthy neutrals instead of blacks, bold colors, or grays.  Smokey eyes don't have to be night-eyes. So, we're thinking golds, champagnes, pinks, lavenders, and shades of brown.  These tones are a bit softer and more appropriate for springtime.  You can find warmer or cooler shades of each that can go well with your particular skin tone.  The Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette has great shades for this look!
  • Darker in the crease, lighter on the lid.   Take the lighter of the shades, like white, cream or champagne, and sweep all over your lid, crease, brow bone, underneath the lower lash line, and into the inner corner of the eye (where things tend to get shadowy.)  Take the middle shade and sweep all over the lid.  Save the darkest color for your crease, and wing a little bit up onto the hood of your eye (mostly towards the outer corner) and outward from there ever-so-gently.
  • Take the color onto the hood and underneath your lower lash.  This is the icing on the cake that really makes it happen.  Take some of that mid or dark shade, and sweep it lightly into and beneath your lower lash line, connecting it into the outer wing of color.  Then extend that same color lightly onto the hood of your eye (that part that is above your crease but not quite your brow bone.)
  • Assess your progress by making your normal face in the mirror - not your "I'm-putting-on-mascara-and-my-eyebrows-are-REALLY-far-up" face.  We all need that face for getting the color in there nicely, but you will want to assess your normal face every so often, and how that changes the shape of your smokey eye.  You are probably not walking around making your mascara-face at people, so make the smokey eye something that will stand true as you are walking about, chatting with friends.

Quick tips for the subtle pink lip

  • Don't be afraid to pick a lipstick shade slightly lighter than your lip tone.  Your natural lip tone is still going to show through, so the mix turns out to be really nice and natural looking.  This is also true for a light nude color.
  • Contrast with concealer.  Take concealer and very lightly outline your mouth (particularly the corners) with it, mixing it in with the tip of your ring finger.  This will help make the light pink still pop.
  • Glossy glossy!  If you go with a lipstick as the base, top it off with a light pink or peach gloss, or use the gloss alone.  We love Mac Tinted LIPGLASS in Razzledazzler

Any tips you want to know more about?  Questions about your particular hair type or skin type in achieving parts of this look?  Let us know!

With sunshine & lipgloss,