The world of cosmetics called to Jenny McKinney at a young age. “It’s always been a part of who I am,” says the Kelowna-based makeup artist. “In my studio I have a picture of my fifth birthday party. All the kids are around the table—their goofy grins, their pointy birthday hats on—except me. I’m looking in a mirror, putting on some kind of lip product.”

As she grew up, makeup became less of a toy and more of a passion. She became interested in the artistry of makeup—the way products could change a person’s look—but she also loved the way makeup could change the way women felt about themselves.

Many women use makeup to help put their best face forward; to help them present themselves the way they want the world to see them. Jenny provides this service, but also adds more to each client’s experience with her unique gifts of communication and encouragement.

“It’s a pretty intimate thing that happens when you have makeup done. You’re up in someone’s business. It’s very close,” she explains. “You share each other’s energy, so that’s something I’ve always been very cognizant of – just bringing the right energy.”

That energy can manifest in many different ways: offering a receptive ear if a client needs to talk, or just making time to brighten a client’s day. Recently, Jenny made time in her schedule to squeeze in a last-minute client, a woman who was going through a rough time and wanted to have her makeup done as a small pick-me-up.

“When she was putting on her jacket to leave, she said, ‘You know what Jenny? You make me feel beautiful even before you put my makeup on,’” Jenny recalls.

It’s part of Jenny’s practice to use the beauty that shines from the inside out, rather than masking a woman’s features under layers of colour—an approach that perfectly suits wedding makeup. Whether a bride is adventurous and daring with her look, or whether she wants a more natural glow, Jenny can make sure she walks down the aisle looking beautiful, radiant—and most importantly, like herself.

“The last thing I would ever want is for a bride to not feel like herself,” she says. “An au naturale bride is a pretty common request. I give her some luminosity and definition… I just enhance what’s already there. My clients are often surprised at the detail that goes into ‘no-makeup makeup.”

To ensure the bride gets the look she’s after, a lot of communication takes place before the wedding day. A bridal package includes an optional trial, and Jenny likes to see photos of the dress, and a headshot of the bride. She also likes to see any pictures of makeup styles that that the bride finds appealing. All these images work together to help Jenny develop a look that perfectly suits the bride and her wedding.

Jenny feels the role of makeup in a wedding day is actually bigger than most brides realize, even if the makeup takes a back seat to the dress, the venue, and other elements that make up the wedding day. Most brides spend a lot of time selecting the dress and hairstyle and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on photography to capture the day. With that kind of investment at stake, why take a risk with your makeup?

“When you have professional makeup done, it’s like your insurance. You just feel so prepared,” Jenny says. “Your shoulders are taller, your heart’s fuller – you just feel so happy when you feel beautiful.”

It’s Jenny’s business to make you look beautiful. But when you are still smiling and confident even after the product is washed off—that’s her true mark of success.

Visit Jenny’s website to connect or explore her work: www.jennymckinney.com