By Rebecca Padgett Frett
Within minutes of talking to Shanae Thomas, she has made me feel like we had been friends for years. I imagine this altruism, relatability and general ease she evokes is what has led many clients to her makeup chair.
The owner of Bella’s Faces Makeup Artistry, Thomas has always admired the magic of makeup and began her love affair with it by giving the gift of glam to friends and family for special occasions. A fun way to brighten a loved one’s day evolved into true skill and passion.
She officially launched her own makeup artistry business in 2015 in Miami, where she primarily focused on celebrity makeup. Her work was worn on the faces of celebrities on BET, Bravo and VH1. During this time, she also began taking wedding clients, which she discovered was her niche.
“Celebrities are in out of the makeup chair every week, but brides, they will never forget how you made them feel on their special day,” said Thomas.
Where her weekends are spent travelling to doll up wedding parties, during the week she is the director of special needs group homes. It is this aspect of her career that brought her to Tallahassee. It was this move that truly launched her business as she was able to establish herself first as a trusted makeup artist in the Panhandle, then expand to national and international clients.
Thomas said the best part of doing bridal makeup has been the ability to travel and meet a variety of personalities, races and wedding styles. She’s an obvious people person, and this genuine nature presents itself in her business model
“Even if it’s the first time I meet a bride, I need to learn her personality so I can give her the exact look she envisions,” said Thomas. “I like to start out by asking, ‘Are you a simple bride or a Barbie bride?’ This tells me what I need to know and always breaks the ice.”
Thomas has the skill level to cater to whatever look the bride wants, whether that’s the woman who barely wears makeup or a full-on glamour gal. She ensures her craft is top-notch by never being too cakey and always creating a luminous effect without the help of a photo filter.
Recently, Thomas turned her passion for makeup into a science by creating her own beauty cosmetic line. After years in the industry, she had a toolbox of favorite products and thought to herself, “Why not take all the aspects of the products I love and make my own.”
She identified problem areas in makeup and perfected them, such as a secure lash adhesive that dries quickly, is easily removed and latex free. Another valuable item, she uses lip stains instead of lip sticks to avoid unwanted smudges.
Thomas’ insight and awareness of the industry is paired with a kindness that extends past makeup alone. For each bride, she creates a short video with clips she has taken throughout the day and arranges them to the song the bride walks down the aisle to. She leaves each bride with a bridal glam bag complete with blotting sheets, setting spray and a lipstick kit so they can refresh to feel and look luminous all evening.
Where it is true that Thomas goes above and beyond for her deserving clients, she does have overarching suggestions that she thinks brides should want in a makeup artist. Thomas urges brides to seek a professional who specializes in weddings; they will understand the timelines and moving parts of a wedding day.
She also cautions brides to be careful booking off of social media alone. The artist needs a website, an email and a phone number, which they can easily be reached through. Lastly, she says to contact your desired makeup artist as soon as you know your date because the good ones go fast.
No matter what, Thomas stresses that your makeup artist should put you first. This care is seen in the tattoos Thomas has airbrushed and the scars she has covered, all in an effort to give each woman the confidence, worthiness and beauty they deserve to feel.
“Brides have spent so much time creating the perfect day, and I get to be the icing on the cake, the ending line to their happily ever after,” said Thomas. “My reward is getting to see them go from my chair to their wedding dress.”
Thomas will open a spa in Tallahassee on Aug. 1, 2021. To learn more about Bella’s Faces Makeup Artistry, visit BellasFaces.com.