Who is Amber? and What is she about?

I thought I should write a wee blog post on who I am and what am I about.

Often its hard to make a decision to use someone for the biggest day of your life, based on a website and not really knowing the person who is going to be spending most of your wedding day with.

My name is Amber McIver, I was born in Wellington and grew up in Auckland.  I went to Baradene college in Remuera, and I grew up on a farm in Drury (South Auckland).

I always knew from a young age I wanted to be a hairdresser, I often would cut off my barbie dolls hair and mum always brought me hair styling books as I was growing up.  So when I finished school, and headed off to hairdressing school.  Despite hating high school, I loved hair dressing school and was one of the top students, boasting 100% attendance over the 2 years.

I finished up at hair dressing school and found a job working in a tiny salon in Papakura.  Sadly, my boss at the time, was the most horrible person and I was wrongfully dismissed.  I took her to court and won my case, but it put me off working in the industry.

So I left the beauty industry, and got into the good old corporate world.  Working my way up the "food chain", till I was the Financial Accountant then Operations Analyst for Coca Cola.  I always felt I was wasted sitting behind a computer, and I didn't want to end up like the grumpy old man that sat next to me, who had been there 30 + years.  So I left and sought to get back into the industry I love.

In 2010 I had the opportunity to purchase the shell of my business (Verdo Nails), it was a very run down business, and all I was buying was the chalets.  I had to start from scratch, and it was tough, as there was no clients coming in my salon, but being pretty stubborn, I continued, with the plan that one day I would have something special.

About 18 months into business, I decided to start using my hair dressing skill (to which I paid 10k to learn by the way).  I enrolled in a bridal hair and makeup course, which was full time.  From there I found I loved getting people ready for their wedding day.

I still continued to grow my salon, and decided to link the two businesses together.

Why do I love what I do?

I love working with people, I am totally a relationship builder, and love hearing other peoples stories.  I am lucky that I get the opportunity to hang out with women I normally wouldn't get to meet.

I love making women feel good about themselves.  We often are rushing around and putting ourselves down so often, that taking some time out to look after ourselves, and do something that makes us feel good about ourselves is a must in life.  Especially if you are a busy mum.

Also, getting to spend the day with women on the happiest day of their lives is pretty cool.  Its so much fun to be around a bridal party when they are at their happiest.

I am lucky to have a job that I love, even 6 years into it.  

Amber xxx

Top Tips for Getting Ready for Your Wedding.

Today, I wanted to talk about some of my top tips for getting ready for your big day.

Drink more water - you hear this all the time, but this is a must for all up coming brides.  It helps flush out all the toxins, and helps keeps your skin hydrated.

Eat well - Most brides tend to go on what I call the "Bridal Diet" which is usually very restricted.  However, I suggest have a balance diet, lots of fresh, unprocessed foods.  Also, make sure your eating your good fats.  This will help keep your skin and hair nice and healthy for your big day.

Relax - Its easier said than done, especially when it comes to your wedding planning.  However, this stressful time will have some harmful effects on your body (including skin and hair).  Take time out to go for a walk, do something you love doing that will make you happy and relaxed.

Repair - Nows a great time to focus on the things you wanted to spend some time and money on.  Look at your skin, go get some professional advice, start using good products.  The same with your hair, invest in going to the hairdresser a little more, do weekly hair masks to help keep the hydration in your hair. 

All these things will help get you ready for the biggest day of your life.  Its an exciting time and there is a lot going on.  Make sure you take some time out for yourself.

10 Make-Up Tricks Every Woman Should know.

  1. Struggling to find where to start your blusher.  Smile at yourself in the mirror and start in the middle of the apple of your cheek.  This is the fleshy part of your cheek and is the high point of that fleshy part.

  2. Have you broken your favorite pressed power compact??  Don't need to throw it out.  Break up the balance of the powder, add a couple of drops of Isopropyl alcohol (you can get this at your local chemist) and then pat it all back down.  Allow time to dry and it will be as good as new.

  3. Always check your makeup application in different lights.  Its easy to over apply your makeup in the morning under bathroom lighting.  So always check it before you leave the house.

  4. If you have a mascara brush you love as it gives you that perfectly perfect lash.  Clean it off, I would use makeup remover, and you can reuse with a new mascara.

  5. Want to make your lipstick last longer?  After your application, take a tissue and place it over your lips, then dust translucent powder over the top.  This will set the lipstick and make it last twice as long as it used to.

  6. Are you tried of lipstick on your teeth?  Put your finger in your mouth and close your mouth.  Pull your finger out and this cleans the inside of your lips and you won't get any lippy on your teeth.

  7. If your skin colour changes a lot through summer and winter, then don't fret about having 2 different foundations.  Take your darker foundation, and add a little moisturizer to it, this will dilute the colour a fraction, and will still match the tone of your skin.

  8. When using bright colours on your eyelids, put white pencil down underneath.  This makes the colour pop on your eyelids.

  9. You can turn your pencil liner into a gel liner.  Hold the pencil tip over a flame for 1 second.  Let it cool down for 15 seconds and apply.  This will give you that gel liner look.

  10. If your lips are a bit dry and flaky, use a tooth brush to gently exfoliate off the dry skin and then apply your lippy.

Hope these little tricks helps, its always good to get a hair and makeup artists little beauty hacks.

Amber xx

Hair Extensions for your Wedding Day

Are you struggling with the question: "To have hair extensions or not for your wedding day?"

Here is my advice for hair extensions for your big day.

I am finding that this wedding season, more brides are looking are deciding to wear their hair up.  The issue with this, is no matter how long your hair is, more often than not, their hair isn't enough to create the look they are after.

So you have two options:

Permanent attached hair extensions.  

Apart from them being insanely expensive to have put in (I had mine done a few years back and it cost me $1400) they also take about 6-8 hours to put in.  Not ideal when you are time poor.  Often, you can also see the attachments when your hair is pulled off your face, this can make tightly pulled back hair styles hard to get perfect.  Once the wedding is finished, then you are left with them in, great if you are wanting long hair for your honeymoon.  You would have to get them professionally removed as well.

Clip in hair extensions.

This is the option I highly suggest.  You can purchase human hair, which feels like your own hair, and you can colour these to match, if you have a hair colour slightly outside the normal.  I find with clip in Hair, I can put these in certain areas (ie if you are having a messy low bun, I will put the extenstions in the area where the bun is going), you can remove these and use them over and over again ( you will just need to learn how to put these in, which you can find on Youtube easily enough), they won't damage your hair and I find that they are a lot cheaper (I think they can be between 150-200 for a set).

If you are lacking volume or want that beautifully big low messy bun for your wedding day, then I would highly recommend getting some hair extenstions.  Talk with your Hair and Makeup Artist and they would point you in the right direction.

Amber xx

Wedding Season Hair and Makeup Trends 2016/2017

Being in the hair and makeup industry (or beauty industry) for some years now, I defiantly see trends come and go, and this is the same with brides hair and makeup.

I am finding in the 2016 and into the 2017 wedding season we are going to be seeing more hair up rather than hair down.  Brides and bridesmaids are finding in the hot weather we have been having, getting your hair up off your neck really is helping keeping you cool.  

Braids are still very much in season, however, I am finding now its pulled out braids and a little more rustic and messy looking.  Low or off to the side messy buns are still in fashion, with the emphasis on casual.  Nothing is pulled back off the face, its soft and beautiful.  

Veils are still on trend, with more brides deciding to use beautiful clips alongside a veil as well.  Also, bridesmaids are tending to have clips for their hair as well.  Sometimes the same clips as the brides.

As for makeup, I am finding more and more brides are wanting soft, natural looks.  Neutral tones, mixed with nude or soft rose pink lipsticks.  Glowing skin is a big must for all brides, along with beautiful rosy cheeks.  Contouring is soft and subtle, and works with the glowing skin.

Brows are strong this wedding season, well groomed fuller, darker brows are on trend this wedding season.  

Brides are still wearing faux lashes, but are choosing to have 3/4 strip lashes rather than full lashes.

Always remember though, work with your amazing features to make sure they glow on your big day.


Amber xx

School Ball Season is Upon Us

School Ball season is here.  This means dresses, shoes, hair and makeup, nails, tanning and lots more primping and priming for their big evening.  I often refer to school balls as mini weddings, especially with how much things can cost.

So I thought I would put together a few tips that will help you with your hair, skin and nails, so they look the best, without having to spend a fortune on it.

Healthy Skin

Keeping your skin blemish free, would be most teenage girls first requirements.  Heres a few tips to help with your skin:

  • Reduce Sugar
  • Stop touching your face, this spreads oils etc
  • Drink lots of water
  • Exfoliate every week
  • Keep your skin Clean
  • Reduce the amount of makeup you wear

Using a good skin care is always going to do good things for your skin.  So I always recommend using a good skin care and sunscreen from a young age.

Healthy Hair

Having shiny hair is something most of us want, but very hard to achieve.  Coconut oil is amazing for all things for your body, but about once a week I use that as a treatment.  Apply on dry hair, tie it in a bun, pop a towel on your pillow and head off to the land of nod.  When you wake, shampoo and condition as per usual (you may need to do an extra shampoo to get the oil out completely).  

Regular hair treatments, over time will help restore the condition of your hair.  Also, reducing the usage of heating tools will help restore the condition of your hair.

Healthy Nails

Healthy nails comes down to one thing, cuticle oil.  This simply is the best thing you can do for your nails.  It promotes strength and flexibility, which means your nails will bend rather than snapping.  I suggest using this twice a day for healthy nails.

Keeping your nails tidy and one length will help keep your nails from having a wee break.  

Push back your cuticles a few times a week, after you have had a hot shower.

We have you covered for your School ball hair and makeup, your nails and tanning requirements for your school ball.  This is located in my salon Verdo Parnell at 245 Parnell Road Parnell Auckland.

Amber xx

What to expect on your wedding day

Your wedding day is here, and your a mix of nerves, excitement and emotions.  Often I get asked what to expect on your wedding day, since I have been to a lot of brides wedding day.  So I thought I would put together a few things I tell my brides on their big day.

 

The night before can be exciting, and overwhelming.  All your friends and family are around, all your bridesmaids are in the same room (especially if they have come from overseas).  It’s often when you want to stay up late chatting, and drinking wine.  Here are my suggestions for the night before:

* Tell friends that you need some time with your bridesmaids (or alone if your that way inclined), so that your not bombarded with visitors, when all you need to do is relax.

* Don’t drink too much, you have a super long day ahead, and having a hang over isn’t going to make you feel any better.

* Have something of substance to eat.  You may not feel like eating, but do.  Your nerves will be all over the place, and your appetite is usually the first thing that will leave, but again, you have a long day ahead tomorrow and you need food.

* TRY and have an early night, even if you are just relaxing in bed, its better than nothing.

* Nows not the time to try any new facial treatment etc with your skin.  Also, your hair and makeup artist should have given you instructions for your hair and skin for the next day, if not ask.

On the day.

* Make sure you have breakfast, and even though you may want to, I suggest do start drinking till at least midday.  Alcohol and nerves don’t mix well, and I have had a case where the bride nearly toppled off my makeup chair due to drinking too much.

* Make sure you eat lunch, and have snacks and non alcoholic beverages around.

* Make sure you know what time your hair and makeup artist is coming, and have the space ready for them so they can get started.  Also, make sure that the people who are up first are with you, so the artist can get started asap.

* Its a good idea to keep the amount of people in your room at a minimum, having lots of people in there is distracting and can make you feel overwhelmed.  I usually suggest just having the morning with you and your bridesmaids.

* Its potentially going to get emotional, so make sure you have plenty of tissues around.