Styled "New Years Eve" Shoot

by Yisell Santos

I had the pleasure of working with one of the amazing photographers in my area for a New Years Eve styled Bridal Shoot.  It was everything I hoped it would be.  Gorgeous model, amazing decor (who doesn't love gold and white?) and the icing on the cake -- pictures under the beautiful lights in Downtown Culpeper.  Enjoy!

Photography: Lieb Photographic
Hair + Makeup: Yisell Santos (me)
Dress: Blush Bridal
Floral: Good Earth Flowers
Location: Downtown Culpeper
Decor: Lieb Photographic - Main Street WeddingsMy Secret Stash

Congratulations Traci & Jeff

by Yisell Santos

DC weddings never fail to make me swoon.  Being a city girl myself, anytime there's a city wedding, I feel all warm and fuzzy inside because it reminds me of home (NYC).  I love seeing all the beautiful landmarks in the photos.  The Washington Monument, The Lincoln Memorial and The U.S. Capitol are my favorite.

Traci and Jeff's wedding photos have all the things I love about D.C. and more.  Seriously, how beautiful is she?  I can't express how much I loved being a part of your day. xo!

Photography: Holly D Photography & Design
Hair + Makeup: Yisell Santos (me)
Ceremony/Reception: The Hill Center

Senior Portraits...Who Knew?!

by Yisell Santos

Senior portraits...where do I begin?  I started doing hair and makeup for senior portraits when I moved to Northern Virginia.  Before then, I wasn't aware they were even a thing!  Back in my day (yup I just said that!) you just took a photo at school with whatever photographer showed up where they put you in awkward poses and wrapped you in a fluffy shoulder wrap and/or cap and gown.  Weird smile -- click -- on to the next student.  Needless to say, my senior pictures are not exactly something I go around showing people.  I did my own hair and makeup.  I had crazy roots I never had time to touch up and I'm pretty sure I wore my [very clearly fake] blue contacts haha!

Fast forward to now and senior portraits are a completely different thing!  While schools still require you to do the usual cap and gown, 2 poses thing for the year book, when it comes to ordering prints most parents and teens opt for a second sitting. You can hire a separate photographer, get hair & makeup professionally done and pick out your own wardrobe.  You can even pose with your dog!  Needless to say, the photos are absolutely gorgeous and unique to the Teen's style.

I love doing them!  I've met some amazing teens.  We laugh about random things, rant about college applications and talk about their future plans.  I leave the session feeling a little bit like a teen myself haha!

Here are some of the beautiful teenagers I've had the extreme pleasure of doing hair and makeup for.

Photography by Roosh Photography

Photography by Roosh Photography

Photography by Roosh Photography

Photography by Roosh Photography

Photography by Roosh Photography

Photography by Roosh Photography

Photography by Roosh Photography

Photography by Roosh Photography

If you're looking to get senior portraits done, reach out to Roosh of Roosh Photography.  She's absolutely amazing!

Simple Makeup Isn't Simple

by Yisell Santos

Every year when I receive bridal inquiries, I'm asked for "simple makeup".  What that usually means is that they are looking for makeup that looks natural, not over done, and doesn't look/feel cakey.  Here's a little secret...Natural makeup is NOT simple.  If it were simple, anyone would be able to do it.  In fact, doing the "no makeup, makeup" look takes about the same amount of time and work as any other makeup application. 

Creating a natural look that will last hours through kisses, hugs, dancing AND comes through in photos beautifully is no easy feat.  The makeup look below gets a lot of comments and I'm often asked to re-create this look or something like it.  Most comments consist of:

"Her skin looks so flawless"
"She looks so natural with a little pop in the eyes, I want that"
"I love that her lips are natural yet have color at the same time"

Below her photo I will share with you all the products I used to create this look.  The only things I wont share is tools and techniques but I will tell you this, her natural look took about 45 minutes to create.

Skin Prep:
Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentrate
Urban Decay B6 Prep Spray
Kiehl's Creamy Eye Treatment with Avocado
Laura Mercier Foundation Primer - Radiance
Fortunate Face Minerals IntensifEYE eyeshadow primer
FACEatelier Lip Putty

FACEatelier Ultra Pro Foundation
Make Up For Ever Camo Concealer

Tarte Cosmetics Clay Pot Waterproof Liner
Yaby Cosmetics Eyeshadow in Eggplant
FACEatelier Eyeshadow in Metallic Taupe
Smashbox Eyeshadow in Fizz
FACEatelier Cry Baby Waterproof Mascara
Tarte Amazonian Clay Waterproof Brow Pencil
Tarte Colored Clay Tinted Brow Gel
Ardell Strip Lash

Cheeks & Lips:
FACEatelier Ultra Blush in Peach Glaze
NARS Bronzer in Laguna
Kevyn Aucoin The Celestial Powder in Candlelight
YSL Lipstick in Rosewood

Setting & Finishing:
FACEatelier Lip Lock
Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray
Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder
Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder

Not so "simple" after all, huh?  Here's a little tip when contacting a makeup artist, don't say you want simple makeup.  Perhaps try communicating that you want your makeup to look natural.  Be honest, if you wear little to no makeup, tell them.  If you're contacting someone who has been doing this for a long time and knows what they're doing, they'll know exactly what you mean, will able to work with you and do the exact look that you want.

Congratulations Val + Ari!

by Yisell Santos

I've had the pleasure and honor of joining these two on their beautiful journey pretty much from the beginning.  From their Engagement Photos to the Rehearsal Dinner and their gorgeous wedding day at Rixey Manor.  These two started off as clients and wound up as amazing friends.  Thank you for letting me be a part of your big day.

Had the pleasure to do makeup for her bridesmaids as well.  These ladies (as well as the groomsmen) were so much fun!

The incredible Rixey Manor.  I love this venue so much.  I hope to see more of you next year!

Planner | Venue:  Isadora - Rixey Manor (
Photographer: Sarah Houson Photography (
Flowers: Bride DIY
Catering: Taste of Elegance (
DJ: Nate Clancy (
Hair + Makeup: Me

Updo's For Thin Fine Hair

by Yisell Santos

There are no rules on how your hair should be styled on your wedding day.  I've done all sorts of styles. Up, down, braids, twists, straight, waves etc. on all sorts of hair types. It's all in what YOU like and what YOU feel comfortable in.  With that said, I want to speak to the brides who have fine thin hair.  I feel your pain.  I was dealt with the thin hair card and let me tell you that the struggle is real.  If you're a bride that has thin hair, here are a few things to consider:

  1. Easy and Low Maintenance
    Anything that's easy to maintain is always key.  Going around worrying about your hair is the last thing you want.
  2. Hair Accessories
    Adding hair accessories such as hair combs and headbands to your style can hide and distract away from any areas that may not have as much hair and/or fullness.
  3. Make It An Updo
    That's right!  You can still put your hair up if you have good enough length but revert back to tip #1.  Keep it low maintenance.  Updo's with texture near the crown area always give the illusion that there's more hair than there really is.
  4. Add Hair Pieces and/or Fillers
    - Hair Pieces: Think about adding some extensions to give your hair more volume (and even length!) If you have some areas where your scalp is exposed, perhaps you can go with a hair topper.  Hair toppers are pretty amazing. I've had a bride wear one for her wedding day and no one except myself and her bridesmaids knew she was wearing one.  She even had it cut and dyed to match her hair!

    - Fillers: If you'd like to do an Updo, discuss with your hair stylist in advance about adding fillers to your hair.  There's these awesome things called "hair rats."  I'm aware that it sounds a little creepy but I promise you it's not.  Check them out here.

If you're a simple girl like me and prefer not to add any "fluff" to your hair for your wedding, that's perfectly fine.  I didn't.  Here are few simple updo's for thin hair I love that are low maintenance and beautiful.