Advice for Big Bridal Parties

I've been doing this for a while; over ten years now, & as a makeup & hair artist I've worked for hundreds & hundreds of wedding parties & the one thing I can say with absolute certainty is this; your bridal party is a key component in making sure that your wedding day goes on schedule & remains stress-free. I've seen in recent years, a trend toward larger & larger wedding parties, which is a wonderful thing! It's more love & memories to share, & more support for one of the most beautiful moments in life.

Real Wedding shot by Beth Wells in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Real Wedding shot by Beth Wells in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Meanwhile, larger group size adds to the wedding morning to-do list, & if you're unprepared, it can really turn chaotic if this goes unmanaged. Think of it this way - as the number of people in your wedding party grows, the number of details to remember & keep track of grows exponentially as well. For example, if you have five bridesmaids, you'll have five additional dresses to steam, five pairs of shoes to keep track of, five hungry tummies, five individual preferences for hair & makeup, five bouquets to keep track of, five people to get to the church on time, & so on. As someone who has personally experienced the full frenzy of hundreds of busy wedding day mornings, allow me to share some of  my tips for keeping the stress levels low, & the schedule on-time & the bride happy.

The first thing I recommend, whenever possible, is that the group is all nearby & on-deck for hair & makeup. Hair & makeup is an art & although your artist should be able to give you a clear timeframe, some services run fast, while others run slow (depending on any number of factors from how thick someone's hair is to unexpected delays like a broken eyeliner pencil - seriously, every minute counts). When a service runs a little fast, it is best to have the next person available immediately - running ahead of schedule is infinitely better than running behind &, if you do get ahead of schedule, it allows more time for your artist to dote on the most important person... the bride! Trust me, as your hair & makeup artist, I feel the stress of a pinched schedule as much if not more than you do & although this is something we professionals are used to, working while stressed is less than ideal, particularly when providing an artistic service. 

Next, I suggest keeping the hair & makeup separate from the morning festivities. On your wedding day morning, most bridal parties get the mimosas flowing, the music bopping, & hopefully big smiles, silly stories, & smiles all around. This is awesome & so fun to see! I hope all my brides are feeling amazing with their girl friends as the hours tick down to the big moment. When it comes to hair & makeup though, the person in the chair kinda needs to be all "business" just for those 30 minutes. There's really nothing harder than trying to apply makeup to a moving target who is sipping a beverage, eating breakfast or lunch, talking, laughing, dancing, giggling, turning to engage in the group conversation, etc... It's just in our human natural to want to be a part of the fun, & it's hard to be still when everyone around us is cutting up. So, I suggest that you move the hair & makeup to a separate area whenever possible. Allow your hair & makeup artist to worry about the schedule for you & get the bridesmaids' hair & makeup done quickly so they can get right back to the fun.

Consistency is crucial. I always recommend that, for the bridal party, one consistent look is selected (by the bride) & then simply customized for each member of the group to suit her skin-tone, eye color etc... rather than a special makeup look for each girl. This eliminates time spent searching for products; meaning, when I have a pre-designated look in mind, I will pull out all the products I'll need for the day when I start & therefore really be able to streamline the process, saving precious time. When I am providing a completely unique makeup look for each person, I spend time going in & out of the makeup kit for each look & maybe that would only require 4 or 5 minutes per person, that adds up to 20 - 30 minutes for a group of five, really cutting in to time that could be used for touch up services or perfecting the bride's look. Furthermore, some of the most stunning photos of large groups are those that the bride stands out as the focal point. When her bridesmaids' makeup mirrors hers, it draws the eye directly to the bride. This gives a feeling of cohesion & makes the bride the shining star in her photos. 

As a side note; hair can easily be all different for each girl since the products & tools will almost always be the same no matter what & this will have little to no impact on schedule & timing. It is nice stylistically, however that even if each style is different they have some sense of cohesion as well. For example, one style may be up & another half up, or down as long as both are bohemian, or formal, or soft & romantic. Mixing styles within an overall aesthetic is really beautiful & modern & fresh.

Finally, I encourage the bride & her bridesmaids to just relax & have fun. Enjoy the day & try to maintain & healthy perspective. As a bridesmaid, remember that your role is to love & support your bride as she embarks on her new marriage. This day is a celebration (a party - so have fun!) of love & commitment between two best friends as they become partners for life! A lipstick shade or matte vs shimmery eyeshadow for a bridesmaid is the least important thing your bride has to worry about that day; trust that she chose your makeup look with good intentions & that your makeup artist wants to you to look amazing & feel great, & you will if you relax & enjoy the process. Keep your eye on the goal which is a happy, joyful, stress-free bride walking down the aisle toward her best friend & enjoying every minute of her loveliest day. 

Real wedding, shot by Blue Rose Photography at El Dorado Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Real wedding, shot by Blue Rose Photography at El Dorado Hotel, Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Excited For Fall!

I know I wont be the only one to feel this way but... I'm so excited for fall! It's the time of year when I feel like my style really hits a sweet spot. I mean, who doesn't feel cute in off the should sweaters, leggings, boots, & scarves. The clothing options this time of year are endless & there's no more pressure to be tan. Yay for embracing fair skin - If you're like me & can't get a tan to save your tush, you'll know what a relief this is! & let's talk makeup: we ALL know the traditional fall trends; maroon lips; golds, creams, & taupe on the eyes, less color in the face & more on the lips... what's not to love? It's just so universally flattering! Oh boy, I just can't wait. So for the next few weeks, don't mind me... I'll just be over here sipping my pumpkin spice chai, with my autumn scented candle warmers as I look forward to these trends to getting back in to full swing.

The Key to Enjoying Your Wedding Day

Ok, let's start off with a hard truth: your wedding day has the potential to be either the most wonderful & exciting or one of the most stressful days of your entire life & your wedding vendors are a huge part of that. You deserve to have a carefree, beautiful, naturally fun wedding. From a vendor who has worked hundreds of weddings over the past 10 years, allow me to share my thoughts on how to have it. To keep things light & enjoyable I strongly believe that the energy between you & your vendors should be just right. You can't do it all yourself & there are no "do-overs" on your big day, therefore you will be trusting some of the most beautiful moments of your life to your wedding vendors. It is SO important that they "get" you, share your vision, & are fully able to understand & support your dream. Knowing that you can count on your vendors is, in my opinion, the most critical element to fully enjoying the dream wedding you've been pouring all your time & energy in to planning.

In my time & experience, I am lucky to say that I have had hundreds of brides who I genuinely adore & enjoy spending time with. I cannot even describe how this simple detail makes the work I do immeasurably better! OF COURSE I want to blow you away & knock your socks off if I feel like we're gonna continue on to be friends after your wedding day. Trust me, you want your vendors to share your excitement for your wedding day instead of solely relying on professionalism to get the job done.

So, at the end of the day, my advice to you is this: Follow your instincts. Get to know your vendors beyond their portfolio or past reviews. Talk to them & imagine how you'll feel spending a whole day in their presence (particularly a day when emotions & stakes are high). Can you imagine this person hanging out with your family for a whole day? Show your vendors who you are & let them get to know you so that we can embrace your style help you achieve your dreams. If it doesn't feel natural or effortless, consider finding another vendor, one who you vibe with & who gets excited about the same things you do. At the end of the day, your experience of your wedding day is the most important thing - find vendors who will get the job done & make you feel good as well.

Oh what a stylish wedding!!

Amanda has to be one of the most stylish brides we have ever had the pleasure of working with. Her gown had us in awe & the hair we did couldn't have been more complimentary to her chic style; it was just right for showing off her stunning earrings. She was such a lovely bride, what an addition to our portfolio!

Blue Rose Photography - the incredible talent behind the camera, making these amazing photos possible.

Hair & Makeup for Rocky Mountain Bride V2 New Mexico

Not Your Mama's Maternity Session: Dark & Sultry Makeup

If I'm honest, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the concept for this styled shoot because I have become so accustomed to descriptions like "light", "airy", "soft", "pretty", & "romantic" when being briefed on the look & feel for 99.9999% of all maternity sessions. So while I was excited to do something new, Breanna (Blooming Images) had to really coax me along; "A little darker lipstick, Christy... come on... daaaaarker". & boy, am I thrilled with the results! I love it & I love that it is different than what I've always done for maternity photos. As for hair, I wanted to showcase the makeup, the florals by Stephanie Yardman, & Cameron's gorgeous face, so I decided to put her hair up high & leave it sort of casual & effortless.

Photos by Blooming Images

Florals by Stephanie Yardman Floral Design

Makeup & Hair by C. Johnson Makeup

Thank you to this beautiful mama; Cameron Storie

Located in Northern New Mexico

Makeup Addicts Annonymous

Girls- let’s face it. We are OBSESSED. And if we are honest- it’s not going to stop. There’s so many techniques and different ways to do it. It's ALWAYS on our mind. There are so many places to get it. And when it's good, it's REALLY good... mua_551-matte

If you too are suffering from a makeup addiction, then…. Come sit by us! In fact, if you are currently spending hours with your girlfriends watching YouTube makeup tutorials, consider doing a private small group tutorial with C.Johnson Makeup!


Having a makeup artist demonstrate techniques in front of you might be just what you and your girlfriends need to help breath some new life into your current beauty regimen.

If you are curious about learning how to achieve a certain look, or how to use a specific product, or want to know what all those different brush options are for, the beauty team at C.Johnson Makeup can DEFINITELY help you with that!


E-mail us anytime at to inquire about setting up a private tutorial.


Why Professional Hair and Makeup Sessions are the Best Gifts of All Time

There are several momentous occasions throughout life. Looking back, how grateful would you have been to go through a few of them with a professional beauty team in your corner?

Awkward high school years would have been a walk in the park.


Well keep this in mind the next time you or someone you love is celebrating life’s accolades- and consider giving the gift of professional hair and makeup.

Graduates will feel like the world is their oyster.

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Brides will take everyone’s breath away.

Future mama’s will glow for maternity photos.


Business owners will look like a million bucks.


The thing we love the most about our client’s reactions to styling, is how it makes them FEEL. Looking well put together, on a big day can put that extra pep in your step that you didn’t even know you needed. Stepping out of a makeup chair feeling beautiful is a guaranteed start to a great day.   Confidence is beautiful. It gives us great pride to see so many of our clients leaving with that special glow.

Jenna Boudoir-0007.jpg

SO- next time there is a special occasion and you are stumped for what gift to buy, consider a professional hair and makeup session. It really is a beautiful gift.

Polished, sophisticated, and feminine. Perfect hair and makeup for the Hyatt Regency in downtown Albuquerque.

If you are a sophisticate bride with a love for contemporary style then you will probably be a huge fan of the sleek and modern, minimalistic remodel of the Hyatt Regency’s Downtown property. With a venue like this, hair and makeup become very important accentuations to the wedding look. For this styled shoot we wanted the hair to be sophisticated, but also light and feminine to match the feeling of the lace top on the brides two piece wedding dress. To accessorize the hair further, we paired a gold leaf headband with loose but clean curly tendrils which we weaved into a perfect bridal bun. The makeup is an enhancement to her natural beauty with a pop of a bolder shadow on her lids. This unique chapel is the perfect background for a modern bride who loves a polished look and really wants to shine on her wedding day.

Photo By: Blue Rose Photography

2016 in Review & 2017 Goal Setting

At C. Johnson Makeup our goal is to consistently improve our skills, services, packages, & overall customer service in order to stay at the peak of our industry. At the end of each year we evaluate our strengths & weaknesses in order to take steps to improve & grow for the following year. To reach our goals for 2017 we have made the following additions & improvements. OUR NEW STAFF MEMBER

We have learned through client feedback & reviews that the biggest area of opportunity for C. Johnson Makeup in 2016 had been our communication & responsiveness via email & telephone. To remedy this, we hired office manager Krissy Bencomo in September. Krissy is professional, upbeat, & and loves to help. She has over 10 years of experience in customer services, events, & marketing. Since adding her to the team we have reached our goal of responding to client inquiries within 24 hours (or sooner) 100% of the time! Now, when you book with C. Johnson Makeup, you can not only count on Christy to provide an excellent beauty experience, you can rest assured that Krissy has your back for all your inquiries, booking, & scheduling needs.


One of our strongest assets has always been our attention to detail when it comes to schedule & timing. We take our client's time very seriously & we hold a very high standard for punctuality & efficiency. To keep on top of our game in this regard, we experimented with wedding day getting ready timing & have decided to include extra time for touch-up services. Now, every bridal makeup schedule includes an additional 15 minutes at the end of the process, for final makeup & hair touch ups for the entire party. We have seen that this small adjustment adds a huge boost of confidence & reassurance that your entire group's makeup & hair will be on point as you walk down the aisle.


We now carry Aveda's stress relief aromatherapy oil blend to use for aromatherapy, hand massage, or shoulder massage as part of our new Elite Bridal Experience Package.


In 2016, we also implemented a new dress code. Stylists and artists now arrive in matching attire & custom name badges for every appointment, making our team easily recognizable & more professional in appearance. We know you’ll be dressed to the nines on your wedding day; we should be too!


We now offer a bigger range of full size makeup products as options to be added to the Bridal Touch Up Kits. Previously, we only carried full size lipsticks & lip liners; we now have full size waterproof mascara, concealer, & oil blotting powder (in addition to all the mini's we've always offered).


Throughout 2016, we noticed that a majority of our brides who booked the large group package were still adding one additional makeup & hair style as an a la carte service. To streamline the booking process & make things easier for our clients we have added one hair & makeup service to this package.


As benchmarks of our success, we love to look back on all the amazing projects we were able to be a part of & the accolades , media, & awards we received from those projects.

This year we were once again honored as winner of The Couple's Choice Award by WeddingWire clients. Our work was featured on television, blogs, & print throughout 2016. Some of the more notable publications are; Femme Rebelle Magazine (print & online)an alternative fashion magazine based in the UK. We also made it in to print in magazines such as the New Mexico Wedding & Event Planner Magazine, Albuquerque the Magazine, The Perfect Wedding Guide, The Knot, & Rocky Mountain Bride, among others.


Just a girl and her motorcycle: Riding thousands of miles for thousands of women.

C. Johnson Makeup had the great pleasure of doing hair and makeup for a very courageous traveler Lauren Trantham before her interview with KOB 4 and for this special shoot with the talented Lyndsey Garber.


Lauren is 6 weeks into a nearly 9 week ride that will take her 10,000 miles accross the country. Her journey is to spread awareness and raise money to support survivors of sex trafficking in the US through the Rebecca Bendor initiative. We think Lauren is a exceptional role model who inspires strength and empowerment for women everywhere. As a company that is owned and operated by women, we give a huge nod to Lauren and her cause.

We love following her story and we encourage you to do the same. So far she has helped to raise $41k but still has two more weeks on her trek left. She will continue to photograph survivors, create awareness and host events throug the end of this 10k mile journey. If you'd like to donate to this worthy cause and learn more about the beauty behind the bike please go to You can find more info on her project and follow her journey through all social media outlets via this handle: Ride My Road.

KOB 4 Interview:…

Photo Credit: Lyndsey Garber Photography Hair and Makeup: C. Johnson Makeup Model: Lauren Trantham

5 Easy Tips To Prep For Wedding Day Hair an Makeup

Every bride has high expectations for their wedding day, as they should. There is a ton of effort and money that goes into the planning and execution of a party on this grand scale. Here are a few tips from the pro's at C. Johnson Makeup to make sure your styling goes smoothly the day of the wedding:
  1. Prep Yourself- Arrive with clean, moisturized skin. Please put on Chapstick beforehand if needed. Hair should be clean & dry. Never arrive with wet hair unless your stylist has instructed you to do so. Also make sure brows are groomed. Timelines the day of the wedding typically do not allow for these tedious details to be tended to. So be prepared in advance.
  2. Allergies- It's very important to alert your artist of any potential skin or scalp sensitivities or allergies BEFORE the wedding day. This will allow your stylist the opportunity bring products to accommodate sensitive skin and allergies. If you have a product you use strictly, bring it for your application.
  3. Style Selections-  Each bridal party member should come prepared with one pre-selected hairstyle (photos are helpful). Makeup doesn’t have to be the same for each person, but it is ideal that it be in the same family of colors/styles. Keeping in mind the Bride gets final approval.
  4. The Basics- Please brush your teeth, use the restroom, & have breakfast or lunch prior to your makeup service. Eating in a makeup artists chair can cause major delays. Delegate tasks to others while getting your glam on for this special occasion. Trust us, your experience will be much more enjoyable if you take time to do the basics. No one wants to deal with a hangry wedding party.
  5. Timing- Make sure you and our wedding party stay on track with the schedule. For large wedding parties this is especially important. You don't want to be the bridesmaid who throws a wrench in finely tuned wedding day timeline.

If you and your crew abide by these five easy tips, EVERYONE involved will live happily ever after.

Using Nature As Your Backdrop

Bosque2.jpgEngagement photos are one of the highlights of your wedding journey so make sure your location is as on point as your makeup.  One of the most incredible, and typically free, options for bridal backgrounds is right under your feet. Literally! Don't neglect your natural surroundings as a contender for location. Go on hikes with your sweetheart and scout photo ops together. It's a great way to bond over wedding planning while you get in some exercise. Photographers love to shoot in natural light so while you are scouting take photos of the potential location so you can review your options later and don't forget to note the time of day to help decipher the ideal time for lighting. The day of the shoot,  take shoes to wear that will make your location accessible and then change on site as needed.  To create a custom stylized effect, add props that will embellish your photos to make them truly unique and personalized. This is a great way to showcase the beauty of your locality. For those  friends and family who will attend your event from out of state, they will enjoy seeing you in your natural surroundings. Thank you for this gorgeous photo from Blue Rose Photography.

Real Wedding

With a background in dancing & pageantry, our gorgeous bride, Carin looked incredible wearing a sophisticated makeup look, emphasizing her natural beauty. I took extra care to keep her makeup very clean & precise, & our team was especially excited to show off her beautiful hair by giving her a sexy, loose curl (which paired perfectly with the elegant neckline of her dress). Carin is undeniably beautiful & her bridal party was one of the most fun groups we've had the pleasure of doing makeup for! Leave it to wedding planner, Maria Socha from Sealed With A Kiss to coordinate a stunning wedding featuring bold red bridesmaids gowns & elegant white flowers amidst the gorgeous backdrop of Hotel Albuquerque. & thank goodness for the immeasurably talented Tony Gambino for capturing it all!

Chic & Stunning Hair & Makeup

Here are some of our favorite images from the Anniversary photo session we did at the end of August. Take a peek inside the beautiful new chapel at Hyatt Regency Albuquerque Downtown. Photos by Blue Rose Photography. Flowers by Albuquerque Florist, Inc.. Styling by Lauren, owner of Just Lovely Weddings. Makeup & Hair by us - C. Johnson Makeup. Groom's attire by Suits Unlimited Models: Emilia and Konrad.049bluerosephotography

Grecian Inspired Fantasy Hair & Makeup

Really there's no way to describe this hair & makeup; you just have to see it. I'm so proud of these images because it's the first photo shoot that I conceptualized. I have to send a HUGE, HUGE , HUGE, heartfelt "thank you" to Kristina at Blue Rose Photography for supporting, drawing out, & filling in the gaps on my vision. I could not have done anything even close to something as lovely as this without you!! Feast your eyes ladies & gents... Thanks to Sophia for having the best hair in the world for this braid & for knowing how to work a flowy dress like a boss!

Location: Hotel Parq Central


Engagement Photo Session: Hair & Makeup

This was one of our first brides & I can't believe we never posted a blog about her! She was so sweet & we absolutely loved working with this naturally beautiful bride. In preparation for her wedding day, we provided her with a hair & makeup trial on the day of her engagement photo shoot. Any good photographer will tell you that a professional makeup application is critical for excellent photos, even if the desired look is very natural. A good photo-ready makeup application should obscure any dark shadows, highlight the cheekbones, and emphasize the eyes. We always lightly fill in the eyebrows & add some color to the cheeks because bright lighting & camera flash can cause the natural color in our faces to become washed out. We wanted this gorgeous girl's natural beauty to shine through & we made sure to highlight all of her best features (Hello BOMBSHELL EYELASHES!). ImageImageImageImage

Ultra-Elegant Bridal Hair & Makeup

For this photo shoot I paired bold, elegant makeup with classic, romantic hair. I wanted to make sure that Emily's makeup was noticeable enough to stand up to the beauty of the landscape & the bright, outdoor lighting. Then, I selected the hairstyle with her gorgeous hair in mind. I wanted to simultaneously emphasize the beauty of Emily's hair while allowing it to flow softly in the gentle breezes of our lovely New Mexico landscape. I hope you all enjoy these photos as much as I do & maybe this hair & makeup will give you a little inspiration for your own wedding day or photo session. :) Hair & Makeup: C. Johnson Makeup

Venue: Paa-ko Ridge Golf Course & Event Center

Photography: Emily Joanne Weddings

Flowers: Floriography Flowers

Model: Emily Tafoya

90's Inspired Boho Hair & Makeup

We had the crazy fun opportunity to do something we absolutely love - our take on 90's hair  & makeup (I'll never not feel like the 90's were only a few years ago </3 ). Photos by the always amazing Alicia Lucia Photography

Hair & Makeup by C. Johnson Makeup & Hair

Model: Kelcie Diglio