Real or Fake? What’s The Difference?

“You get what you pay for”… it’s true in many cases, and we all know it.  If you have your heart set on designer gown, buying a knock-off will never be the same. Not only the designer tag, some key elements may be missing. The same goes with jewelry, shoes, and just about everything else. Here are the facts  surrounding the  real vs. fake argument.

Gown– Buying a  copy of a designer gown is never a good idea. Can you spot the fake in this picture?

Headpiece– The same headpiece for less money (made poorly)  is usually a disaster. Once your hair is done, having a headpiece that is poorly made can fall apart and will most likely destroy your hairstyle.

Eyelashes – Applied by a professional individually or even in strips is fine. Doing it yourself is probably a bad idea unless you have tons of practice. Otherwise, they will look like caterpillars stuck to your eyelids. Three words: Professional makeup artist.

Hair – Even the best hair extensions can ruin your hair for a period of time. The good news it is rarely permanent damage, bad news is that it escalates permanent hair loss if you are already prone. Bad hair extensions look like hair plugs and can fall out in clumps at any time for no reason. If you decide on hair extensions for your wedding, make sure it is done professionally and short term only.

 

Tan – Over exposure to the sun in tanning beds and in real life has a negative affect on your skin. Self spray tans have a distinct odor and can streak or come off on your clothes plus they usually come out looking orange. The best idea if you must tan before your wedding is a professional spray tan  no less than 5 days before the wedding. Even if your tan is just perfect – don’t forget to exfoliate the day before your wedding to avoid discoloration of the gown.

A good spray tan should look like this:

Not this:

Nails – Artificial nails, either gel or acrylic can look very natural so if you break a nail shortly before your wedding, this is an excellent option. Having extra long nails when you aren’t used to them makes things difficult to maneuver but, having extra long nails applied too long before the wedding runs the risk of  breaking one or more shortly before ( or during) the wedding.

This is a suitable manicure:

As opposed to this:

Shoes – Knock off designer shoes are the absolute biggest mistake you can ever make. Your shoes should be comfortable, well-fitting and made of natural materials. Buying a copy of designer shoes in pleather is a mistake. Find the shoe that feels and fits the best on your foot without worrying about the label and you will never regret it.

Makeup – A lot of research and testing goes into cosmetics. Well, not all cosmetics. Although it may  possible to find less expensive makeup that does the same thing as a really great (probably expensive) foundation or Bare Minerals, the chances are you won’t.

At the end of the day what really matters is how you feel. If you are so bedazzled and bogged down with tips, extensions, weaves and spray tans that you are hardly recognizable or if you are so worried about designer names that the quality has become an after thought, it might be time to re-think your priorities. When it is all said and done spending a little more money for quality products may sometimes be the only option to avoid becoming a knock -off of yourself.

After all , you get what you pay for.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

 

Short Lashes? No Problem!

Not so long ago women had very few choices if they wanted their eyelashes to look thicker and longer. You went to the store, bought a set of false eyelashes and eyelash glue and went home to stick them onto your lids for whatever special occasion you decide you needed them.  Most of us hate the way they feel, even when they are applied by a professional,  and after a few hours cannot wait to get them off.

Now, there are other choices. There are , temporary, short term  and long term solutions.  Yes, you can now have longer lashes if you are willing to spend a little money and make some concessions.

First of all, the life cycle of a single eyelash is 90 days (give or take) They grow just like other hair but only to a certain length and about halfway through the cycle have stopped growing and are already preparing to fall out. Any damage done to your eyelashes today will last about three months.

Temporary :

Professional application of individual artificial lashes can take up to one  hour and costs around $90 but it is far more comfortable than the lash strips. Unfortunately,  they will only last one application. Try them out and see how they feel. If you are only interested in having long lashes for this one day and they feel fine, this might be the solution.

Short Term: 

Lash Dipping – Invented by two Chicago aestheticians who decided that lashes should be easy and carefree, not applying mascara every day, two or more times. It is about a two hour process, costs up to $200 and lasts about 6 weeks. But during that six weeks  your lashes will look like you are wearing mascara the whole time and will be noticeably fuller as well! You will need to schedule touch ups every two weeks.

Lash Extensions – take about two hours but can cost anywhere from $200 -$600 not to mention the $90 touch-ups every two weeks. They last about 6-8 weeks but can last up to 3 months. They will fall out just like your other lashes, so look for them on your washcloth! There is no damage to the lash itself as they are placed on lashes that are about 1/2 way through their life cycle. There are several types of lash hair available and the cost is based on the actual material and amount of lashes. This is the choice of many celebrities- so, don’t believe it when they say the lashes are theirs, nobody has lashes this long on the lower lid, not even Elizabeth Taylor who had two full sets of eyelashes on top and bottom.

Long Term:

Latisse – Brought to you by the manufacturer of Botox, the cost of this product is relatively low considering it’s proven effects. For about $120 you will get a 16 week supply and you are almost certain to see results. First used to treat Glaucoma patients, physicians and patients noted a 25% increase in length and fullness in addition to an 18% increase in darkness of their lashes after a 16 week treatment.  The effects are temporary and you will see the decrease when you discontinue use.  There are few side effects and the percentage of users who experience discomfort is marginal.

THE BUZZKILL? If you do not go to a properly trained eyelash technician or do not apply the Latisse according to directions, you risk mild to serious eye damage. Cysts, irritation, blocked tear ducts and more. Make sure the area is clean, all tools are clean and as always, this is not something you  try the day before your wedding.

PLAN AHEAD. If you are planning any lash treatment, start about 6 months before your wedding and this will give your lashes time to grow and re-grow in case you have some kind of reaction to any one of these methods.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Going White For Your Wedding?

Are you one of the many brides and grooms considering teeth whitening? Consider this: your smile is the first thing that people notice about you and the last thing you want to overlook on your big day!

Both bride and groom should schedule a dental checkup about  six months before your wedding day. This allows time to handle any pesky problems and to see if teeth-whitening is something for you to consider. Remember, you will be photographed more on this day than in any other time in your life.

There are several types of teeth whitening, none of which are terribly expensive and can make a huge difference in your appearance and confidence level for the day. 

Laser Whitening–  Done in the dentist’s office, allow 3 hours and approximately $400. It is not a painful proces and will leave you with Movie Star teeth after one visit.

 Trays – The dentist makes a mold of your teeth which takes about a half hour and then you can do the whitening at home. Expect to spend roughly $20o for the tray and initial whitening solution. The bonus is you can keep getting refills of the solution and keep your teeth white forever!

Strips  – Many over-the-counter strips boast dentist office results. Yes, they do work and the price varies. With these strips, it may seem like you are saving money but, over the course of time you will spend nearly as much as if you had visited the dentist. The bonus is that it can be done at your convenience, some can even be done while you are sleeping.

It is extremely  important for  brides and grooms-to-be to do a little research, talk with your dental professional and come up with a solution that works for you.

Make sure to check our Wedding Directory links to find a smile professional in your area.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Modern Manicures

 Gone are the days when every bride has to have clear or french manicure, gone are the days when the only right thing to do is the same thing everyone else does. When it comes to manicures, everything has changed and the only thing that works, is what works for you!

Here are some of my favorite manicures; from classic to fun, from sexy to funky, from sassy to chic!

Tiffany Manicure –  Just the right color with a touch of bling!!

Pinned Image

Reverse French Manicure – Comes in two varieties; the tips are color instead of white or the nails and tips are different shades of the same color.

Half  Moon Manicure –  Done in any combination of color or clear, this manicure can be flashy or subdued depending upon your color choice!

Louboutin Manicure –  The underside of the nail is painted red…. very clever! You don’t have to use black as the top color, either. Grammy winner Adele used silver when she graced the red carpet last year to pick up her golden statues.

Bling Manicures – Nothing like a little sparkle to make you feel like a million bucks on your big day. Whether it is a little or a lot, ladies are loving the nail glitter and crystals.

Caviar manicure – This very specific nail laquer comes in a variety of colors, the most popular for brides looks tiny little pearls on your fingernails.

Remember, whatever you decide, always hire a professional to have a ‘polished’ look.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Avoid Makeup Mishaps!

Whether you have decided to go full out glam or opt for a natural look, there is nothing that can spoil your wedding photos quicker than poorly applied or ill-conceived makeup. Countless wedding horror stories plague the internet  and makeup is ALWAYS  at the top of the list.

Most women agree that makeup is an essential part of getting dressed in the morning. But everyday makeup will not last for an event as exhausting as your wedding. In order to have a flawless look you will need to start planning early.

Hire a professional.  The best way to find a professional that you like is to see some of their work. If you really want a smoky eye and there is not one example of this in their portfolio, you may have to keep searching. Make sure your makeup professional can handle your skin color as well. Have they ever worked on African American or Middle Eastern skin tones? If not, keep searching. Just because your favorite cousin went to beauty school does not mean she can handle your wedding makeup. Find someone you are comfortable with who does the kind of work you like.

Schedule a trail makeup session to make sure you don’t leave the chair looking like a circus clown. Take an objective friend and a camera with you so you can see how you look on film, not just in person. Sometimes makeup that looks severe in person shows up fantastic on camera and vice verse.

Always have a backup plan for the day of your event in case of a serious emergency. What if…… your makeup artist has a personal emergency (ruptured appendix or worse) and cannot fulfill their obligations? How would you handle it? Make sure you have all of the products used in your makeup trial. Ask if they have a back up person who you could call in case something unfortunate happens. Make sure at least one of your attendants can be trusted with a makeup brush.

And last but not least, keep some products in your purse for touch ups. Your lipstick will be almost gone after dinner, you will robably have to re-touch your mascara so it is imperative that you keep those items close by.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

What Your Manicure Style Says About You

If the eyes are the window to your soul, your nails are the magnifying glass to your style. A manicure  improves the texture and health of both the nails and the skin of your hands, as well as leaving them looking polished and perfect. However, the type of manicure you choose can speak volumes about you, your lifestyle, your style preferences and how you see yourself.

Long, Long, Long – Whether they are your own growth or a gel/acrylic creation, keeping your nails super long tells people you require a certain amount of maintenance and are happy to sacrifice the time and money allowed to keep your nails in this condition.

Fancy Airbrush Designs – Deep down you are an artist. Maybe you work in an office and this is the only time you can express your creativity but, nail art is the way you express your inner Da Vinci.

Short Square Nails – You use your hands a lot. You need to be able to grab things, you need to be able to use your hands and anything longer than 1/4″ will just get in the way. Keeping them neat and polished but short says you care about your appearance are also practical.

 Polish- Free Nails – You don’t take good enough care of yourself. You need to pamper yourself a little or at the very least apply a coat of clear at home while doing the dishes to protect your  nails from becoming an eyesore.

Short, Bitten, Ragged – Its time to stop biting and start living. Nail biting is usually a sign of bigger problems and it is a terrible habit. The germs hidden under your nails are worse than on the platform of the El track. Start with a professional manicure and (for women) avoid nail tips of any kind until you have completely kicked the habit.

Whether you prefer color, clear, French or fancy styles embedded with jewels and 3 dimensional objects, your nails are a window to your physical and mental health. Remember – your hands will  be photographed multiple times on your wedding day and you will want to be able to look at the photos without cringing. Taking care of your nails is taking care of your mind, body and soul.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

Out of Bridal Shower Ideas? How About Henna?

Not just for Indian women, Henna tattoos are fast becoming one of the hottest fashion statements and forms of personal expression. If you don’t already know; Henna hand, foot and body tattoos have been around for centuries. Now, the people of India and that region of the world have brought their unique Henna tattoo art into the 21st century by combining it with mani/pedi spa parties for brides-to-be to create one of the most innovative ideas for a bridal shower!

Before you ask, it is not of any religious significance whatsoever, it is a cultural practice. There’s nothing strictly sacred or spiritual about it, but the Henna tattoos are considered beneficial and lucky, and always regarded as beautiful and blessed. The Henna tattoos are widely regarded as the most auspicious ornamentation a woman can wear.

 Today as an alternative to permanent tattoos, Henna tattoos are as hot as many of the celebrities seen sporting this painless art of body painting. Actress Demi Moore, and ‘No Doubt’ crooner Gwen Stefani were among the first to sport this look.

Conside these tips:

If you are going to have  Henna Party – book it far enough in advance that the tattoos will fade before your wedding day (if you don’t want them visible on your wedding day).

If you do want them to be visible, less than one week before your wedding is advised. 

They can be as little or as much as you like.

Try to avoid the black henna – according to research  it can be toxic and cause skin problems.

The best colors are the deep rich RED hues.

If you have  very dark skin, henna tattoos are going to be barely visible.

Henna Parties are popping up all over, especially during the summer months when your feet and ankles are visible in sandals. They are painless, harmless, one step up from a mani/pedi and the perfect time to have some good luck bestowed upon you and the members of your wedding party.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

You Get What You Pay For

Its true and we all know it. If you have your heart set on designer gown, buying a knock-off may seem the same but, it’s not. Not only the designer tag, some key elements may be missing. The same goes with jewelry, shoes, and just about everything else. Here is a look at  the pro’s and cons of the  real vs. fake argument.

Gown– Buying a less expensive copy of a designer gown is only a good idea if it is made well, made of quality fabric and has all the same elements that made you fall in love with the gown in the first place.

Headpiece– The same headpiece for less money made poorly is usually a disaster. Once your hair is done, having a headpiece that is poorly made can fall apart and will most likely destroy your hairstyle.

Eyelashes – Applied by a professional individually or even in strips is fine. Doing it yourself is probably a bad idea unless you have tons of practice. Otherwise, they will look like caterpillars stuck to your eyelids.

Hair – Even the best hair extensions can ruin your hair for a period of time. The good news it is rarely permanent damage but it does escalate permanent hair loss if you are already prone. Bad hair extensions look like hair plugs and can fall out in clumps at any time for no reason. If you decide on hair extensions for your wedding, make sure it is done professionally and short term only. 

Tan – Over exposure to the sun in tanning beds and in real life has a negative affect on your skin. Self spray tans have a distinct odor and can streak or come off on your clothes plus they usually come out looking orange. The best idea if you must tan before your wedding is a professional spray tan  no less than 5 days before the wedding. Exfoliate the day before your wedding to avoid discoloration of the gown.

Nails – Artificial nails, either gel or acrylic can look very natural so if you break a nail shortly before your wedding, this is an excellent option. Having extra long nails when you aren’t used to them makes things difficult to maneuver but, having extra long nails applied too long before the wedding runs the risk of  breaking one or more shortly before ( or during) the wedding.

Shoes – Knock off designer shoes are the absolute biggest mistake you can ever make. Your shoes should be comfortable, well-fitting and made of natural materials. Buying a copy of designer shoes in pleather is a mistake. Find the shoe that feels and fits the best on your foot without worrying about the label and you will never regret it.

Makeup – A lot of research and testing goes into cosmetics. Well, not all cosmetics. Although it may  possible to find less expensive makeup that does the same thing as a really great (probably expensive) foundation or Bare Minerals, the chances are you won’t.

At the end of the day what really matters is how you feel. If you are so bedazzled and bogged down with tips, extensions, weaves and spray tans that you are hardly recognizable or if you are so worried about designer names that the quality has become an after thought, it might be time to re-think your priorities. When it is all said and done spending a little more money for quality products may sometimes be the only option to avoid becoming a knock -off of yourself.

After all , you get what you pay for.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

 

 

Bridal Hairdo’s … And Don’ts.

The way you wear you hair on your wedding day is dictated by two things: Your headpiece and your personal preference. Now that I have completely narrowed it down, here are the highs and lows of up and down hairdo’s:

#1) Wearing your hair completely different (even for one day) is not as easy as it sounds. If you are used to wearing your hair down, make sure you like the way you look with your hair up before you decide this is the way to go.

#2) Wearing your hair down sounds easy but it still involves a great style and the right product. The last thing you want is for all of your curls to flatten out after the ceremony. The same goes for straightening curly hair. Also beware of changes in weather. Speaking from experience a misty rain will turn a loose curl into Tina Turner’s wig in about 15 minutes.

#3) Practice, practice, practice – Make sure you have a trial hairdo with your stylist and the headpiece as soon as possible. If you don’t like the results, try again. Keep trying until you have the hairdresser, product, and end result you feel comfortable with.

#4) Don’t experiment too close to the wedding. No one should be severely changing their hair color or style a week before their wedding.

#5) Be realistic. Not everyone is the same – so the style you imagined may not look as good on you as you thought it would.

#6) Only use trusted professionals. Because your friend or neighbor says they can do hair doesn’t mean they should.

#7) If you can’t decide if you want your hair up or down, why not try two different hairstyles, one for the wedding and one for the reception?

Most importantly, you want your look to be timeless. The last thing you want when you look back at your wedding photos is to be reminded of a popular hairstyle that didn’t transition well into the next decade. Today’s brides want soft, loose, natural looking hairstyles.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago