Friendor Feature: Bianca Sansosti, Makeup Artist

Welcome back! This Friday feature idea has really caught on, and I'm so happy to showcase not only the terrific talent available locally here in the Chicago area, but also the women behind the work.

As a twenty-something, I love the infinite scroll of Instagram as much as the next girl. Finding and following other creatives who are producing inspiring work is a passion.

However, we don't always get to know the person behind the work through social media- and the PERSON can make or break your experience, no matter how fabulous her portfolio. This is especially true in the beautiful and personal world of makeup. 

Bianca Sansosti lives for art but is one of the kindest people you'll ever meet. She's intellectual without being snobby, dedicated but empathetic and gives the warmest, most genuine hugs in the industry. In other words- exactly the kind of person you would want to see you without any makeup on at 7am on the Big Day.

For this feature, Bianca created a bridal look on me. While I was in her chair, she didn't just chat with me- she connected with me. I appreciated her earnestness and the care she took with perfecting every element of the look she created. With a client list that includes TIME and MSNBC as well as a BFA, Bianca is a triple threat of professionalism, talent, and an easygoing personality.

Find our conversation and the before/after photos below! If you're interested in booking Bianca for your own event, find her website here: Bianca Sansosti Artistry

How did your love of art and makeup turn into a career?

My love affair with makeup began at four years old, when I would sit at my mother's and aunt's vanities playing for hours with the powder brushes, blushes and lipsticks. It seemed like magic how this "stuff" could transform the way you look. I started taking art classes at the same time, learning about color, shapes and shading.

After doing my friends' makeup for years, I started freelancing while I was in business school at DePaul. I found so much personal happiness and fulfillment as a professional makeup artist that I went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree, studying classics, color theory and design. 

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What little things that you do set you apart from the pack?

My fine art education is rare among professional makeup artists. I use techniques based in design principles and color theory to tailor looks to truly enhance and flatter each unique individual.

I take care to be selective with luxury products, using only the best available that I have tested myself.

Customer satisfaction is a priority. I'm not a diva- my goals is to provide the best possible experience for each client.

You have said your "chair-side manner" is an integral part of the wedding day makeup experience. How have brides described you?

More often than not, when a bride sits in my chair, it's the first time she's had time to sit down and take in the magnitude of the day. It can be an overwhelming moment! I make easy conversation, reminding a bride how beautifully everything will come together and how perfect the day will be.

I realize I'm not there just to do makeup but to be a support system. When a client trusts you, they believe you. My team and I set the tone for the whole day- we're aware that we're the first wedding vendors a bride sees in the morning and the last ones before she heads into the whirlwind of the day. We strive to create a delightful, luxurious experience for the whole bridal party.

What's your current makeup trend crush?

Beautiful skin! That is my eternal makeup trend crush. It's a total oxymoron, but it's true. I focus on good skin prep, because I want your skin to look like skin- not like there's tons of foundation spackled on. 

What kind of client will be happiest with your style?

A bride who values classic, timeless looks. My beauty philosophy, every day and especially on your wedding day, is that you should look like you, just an enhanced version of you. Your guests shouldn't remark on how different you look but on how wonderful you look.

Whether want a bohemian, fresh-faced look or a classic, glamorous look, it has to be YOU. Just as everything you choose for your wedding is an extension of your style and personality, makeup is no different. The happiest clients are the ones who work with me to create a look that is true to her and makes her feel comfortable and confident.

How should a bride change her beauty/skincare routine to prepare for her wedding?

I find that most brides don't have a formal skincare routine, so that's something we go over. Based on their current skin, I give suggestions for products and care tailored to their skin type. Sometimes I'll also refer clients to estheticians. I send all of my clients prep sheets in advance of the wedding day to share with their bridal party so they can be prepared too!

Having a background in fine art, which artist do you find most inspiring?

My favorite styles of art are Baroque and Renaissance. I draw inspiration from this period of art; the artists of the time are known for layering techniques, shading and details. These are truly the same qualities I apply to all of my clients when I'm doing makeup. The most minute details often make the biggest difference, in both their work and mine. Doing makeup is really the same as painting, but instead of canvases, you work with faces.

Caravaggio is one of my favorites. His intense use of chiaroscuro (dramatic contrast of light and dark), attention to detail (even fingernails!) and realism of composition is inspiring.

I visited the Caravaggio exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago a few years back, and it was so exciting for me. I had a total art nerd moment. The paintings are so grand and evoke such feeling and emotion- they're truly breathtaking.  

How do your clients (photographers & brides) describe your wedding makeup style? 

Clean, pretty, defined & enhanced.

BEFORE

BEFORE

AFTER

AFTER

If a bride really wants you to be her wedding day makeup artist, how far in advance should she plan to get in touch to book you?

The majority of my clients book 7-9 months in advance, but for popular or holiday dates (Memorial Day weekend, NYE, September & October Saturdays), I recommend a year in advance to ensure availability.