Boo: The Scary Side of Wedding Makeup

While you may be thinking we’re about to show you a photographic essay of smudged lipstick, mascara-stained cheeks, and a face so bronzed you’d assume the bride was heading to a side gig as a Living Statue after her reception, we actually want to talk about the scary side of wedding makeup that you can’t see.

Did you know that in the US, the FDA has only banned or restricted the use of eleven chemicals in cosmetic products? When you compare this to the over 1,300 chemicals regulated by the EU, it kind of makes your head spin, doesn’t it?

While the state of California recently signed the Toxic-Free Cosmetics Act that banned an additional 24 ingredients in products sold there, at this point in time, it’s pretty much up to us as consumers to make sure what we’re putting on our skin is as safe as possible.

Why the concern? A lot of the EU’s 1,300 banned or restricted chemicals are linked to skin and respiratory allergies, and many of them are known endocrine disruptors and/or carcinogenic. (This means they’re going to mess with your hormones and potentially cause cancer.)

To help you find the safest cosmetics for your wedding day (and always), we’ll go over:

  • What chemicals you should avoid in makeup and why
  • How to know if your wedding makeup is safe
  • Where to find clean wedding makeup on the North Shore

Scroll down to learn more!

What Chemicals Should I Avoid In Makeup And Why?

According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics, you should avoid the following ingredients because they’ve been linked to endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, cancer, developmental and reproductive toxicity and/or skin, eye and respiratory irritation. There are also concerns for bioaccumulation and ecotoxicity.

Ingredients to Avoid in Makeup

  • BHA & BHT
  • Ethanolamine Compounds (MEA, DEA, TEA AND OTHERS)
  • Formaldehyde & Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (such as Quaternium-15)
  • Lead
  • Parabens
  • Petrochemicals
  • Phthalates
  • Sodium Lauryl Sulfate
  • Synthetic fragrances
  • Talc
  • Triclosan

Click here to learn more about all the known chemicals and contaminants to avoid.

How Do I Know If My Wedding Makeup Is Safe?

Unfortunately, sometimes it’s not as easy as reading an ingredient list because toxic chemicals are really good at lurking under confusing names. Furthermore, sometimes the chemical you’re trying to avoid is actually a contaminate from another chemical, so it won’t be listed… Sneaky, we know.

Don’t fret though! Since 1994, the amazingly wonderful Environmental Working Group (EWG) has been working diligently to shine a spotlight on outdated legislation, harmful agricultural practices and industry loopholes that pose a risk to our health and the health of our environment. While their work certainly covers the use of pesticides in food, the presence of forever chemicals in water and toxins in cleaning products, they also have a huge sector dedicated to finding safe cosmetics and personal care products.

In 2004, they actually launched EWG’s Skin Deep® cosmetic database which not only goes into detail on which chemicals you should be avoiding and why, but they also have a super easy to understand danger-rating system for nearly 70,000 products and 9,000 ingredients on the market.

Further to using their website tto learn more about what could be lurking in your makeup and wreaking havoc on your body, EWG also has a EWG VERIFIED™ certification that a product can hold.

What does the EWG VERIFIED™ mark mean?

“The EWG VERIFIED™ mark on a product indicates that the product meets EWG’s strictest standards for transparency and health.

EWG VERIFIED products cannot contain any ingredients on EWG’s “Unacceptable” list, which includes ingredients with health, ecotoxicity and/or contamination concerns.

EWG VERIFIED products must meet EWG’s standards for ingredient disclosure on the label; products with the VERIFIED mark are made by manufacturers that have been fully transparent with EWG about that product’s ingredients, including fragrance ingredients.

EWG VERIFIED product manufacturers must develop and follow current good manufacturing practices to further ensure the safety of their products.”

Click here to learn more about EWG and Skin Deep ratings here.

Where Can I Find Clean Wedding Makeup in the North Shore?

If you’re getting married on the North Shore and want clean hair and makeup services, you’ve come to the right place. At Bryony & Birch, we’re passionate about only using products that are kind to our bodies both outside and in.

When you book your wedding hair and/or wedding makeup with Bryony & Birch, you’ll get to choose from brands like RPM, Sachajuan, Mr. Smith, Color.Me by Kevin Murphy, and Cezanne.

Click here to learn more about the brands Bryony & Birch carries.

How Does a Year of Pre-wedding Bliss Sound?

Pretty good, right?

Planning a wedding is stressful! From trying to pick a venue to having to select a menu that caters to allergies, intolerances and religious practices, it takes up more headspace than you think!
As a collective of hairstylists, makeup artists, photographers and videographers who’ve been in the North Shore wedding game a long time, we’ve actually put our brains together to create the type of wedding prep package we know we’d want and need before our big day.
The Bryony Bridal Experience includes tailored packages with services like:

  • Health and fitness: yoga, personal training, reiki and crystal healing
  • Hair prep: color correction
  • Wedding party hair: bride, bridesmaids and flower girl
  • Makeup services: upon request
  • Customizable photo & video packages: engagement, ceremony and reception

It doesn’t matter if you live in Amesbury, Newburyport, or Boston, you can easily tailor a Bryony Bridal Experience to suit your needs.

Click here to learn more about how we can give you a year of pre-wedding bliss!

Continue reading The Bryony & Birch Times:

Getting Married on the North Shore in 2022? Here’s Inspo For Your New England Wedding

With so many historical homes, rustic woodland hideaways and sun-drenched shorelines, it doesn’t matter if your style is beach, barn or bohemian, the North Shore is the perfect backdrop for your dream wedding.

As an Amesbury, MA-based collective of wedding hairstylists, make-up artists, photographers, videographers, and yoga/fitness instructors, we have had the pleasure of working with hundreds of couples looking for their most meaningful way to say I do.

From photographing intimate North Shore elopements to doing bridal hair and makeup for magazine-worthy destination weddings to helping local lovers celebrate their union with all the elements they’re looking for, we’ve witnessed countless ways to achieve authentic, emotive and unforgettable weddings.

We’ve also witnessed that a bride needs more than just some strong-hold hairspray on their big day, which is why we’ve created The Bryony Bridal Experience. Designed to give you a year of pre-wedding bliss, this customizable package covers everything from your health and fitness to your wedding hair to your wedding photography and videography.

If you’re planning a wedding in New England in 2022, you’ve come to the right place. While we’re based in Amesbury, MA (and highly recommend our little village for your wedding), we travel up and down the North Shore all year round to make wedding dreams come true.

Scroll down to learn more about:

  • Our Favorite North Shore Wedding Venues & Destinations
  • North Shore Wedding Hair & Makeup Looks We Love
  • North Shore Wedding Photography & Videography
  • The Bryony Bridal Experience

Our Favorite North Shore Wedding Venues & Destinations

Below are just a few of the New England wedding venues and destinations we are obsessed with.

The Mansion at the Hellenic Center
Wedding venue in Ipswich, MA
Photo Credit:


Hammond Castle Museum
Wedding venue in Gloucester, MA
Photo Creator and Credit: Scarlet Roots


The Oceanview of Nahant
Wedding venue in Nahant, MA
Photo Credit:


Garrison Inn Boutique Hotel
Wedding venue in Newburyport, MA
Photo Credit:


Emerson Inn
Wedding venue in Rockport, MA
Photo Credit:


Briar Barn Inn
Wedding venue in Rowley, MA
Photo Credit: Alicia Ann Photographie


White Cliffs Country Club
Wedding venue in Plymouth, MA
Photo Credit: Allegro Photography Inc.


Red Lion Inn
Wedding venue in Cohasset, MA
Photo Credit:

North Shore Wedding Hair & Makeup Looks We Love

While it’s important to think about how you want your hair on your wedding day, don’t forget that getting the color you want and healthy hair can be a journey if you don’t have a good baseline! As part of the Bryony & Birch Bridal Experience, our hairdressers can provide color correction, take you on a gradual color change and provide the right treatments to have you looking your absolute best on your wedding day.

Scroll down to see our Bryony Brides!

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

North Shore Wedding Photography & Videography

While your wedding day may only last 12 hours, the photos and videos you capture will last a lifetime. Hands down our go-to North Shore wedding photographer is Kate Donovan! Not only does she offer engagement and wedding photography, but she also does family portraits as well as lifestyle and event photography. Needless to say, she’s the girl you want to capture every special moment in your life and we’re very please that she offers exclusive packages as part of the Bryony Bridal Experience!

Scroll down to see some of our favorite Kate Donovan wedding work.

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography

Photo by Kate Donovan Photography


The Bryony Bridal Experience

Unless you’re someone who is as cool as a cucumber under high-stress situations, it’s likely that you’re stressed about your upcoming wedding. This is completely normal.

From the fear of offending someone with table seating allocation to wet-weather woes, it’s easy for your head to start spinning, your heart to start racing and your ability to enjoy the actual point of your wedding to dissipate.

The Bryony Bridal Experience is a hodgepodge of all the tried and trusted self-care wedding services in the North Shore we’ve had the pleasure of experiencing and delivering over the years.

It doesn’t matter if you live in Amesbury, Newburyport, or Boston, you can easily tailor a Bryony Bridal Experience to suit your needs.

Click here to learn more about how we can give you a year of pre-wedding bliss!

Continue reading The Bryony & Birch Times:

5 Bride Hairstyles That Won’t Date + 3 Bride Hairstyles You’ve Never Seen Before

If you’re looking for bridal hairstyle inspiration as well as a hair salon in Amesbury, MA, you’ve come to the right place!

My name is Katie Cavic and after spending ten years working at the Judy Jetson Salon in Cambridge, Mass, I made the move to Amesbury to open a collective space for beauty, wellness and entrepreneurship called Bryony & Birch, which is also home to my very own salon, The Hair Loft.

While I can often be found teaching yoga at Bryony & Birch, my longest love affair has been with hair and, in particular, wedding hairstyles.

Finding the perfect bridal up-do, down-do or half-up/half-down-do is not a one-size-fits-all deal. You need to take in your hair color and texture, dress design, face shape and weather when deciding what style is going to work best for your wedding day.

You’ll also want to consider what’s going to stand the test of time because let’s be honest: this isn’t a style anyone still feels good about:

Scroll down to see my top five favorite hairstyles that won’t date (plus 3 that you’ve never seen before!)

5 Bride Hairstyles That Won’t Date

#1. The Half-Up, Half-Down

This half-up, half-down look is perfect for brides with long hair, highlights and who want to make sure their hair is out of their face on the day. It also looks particularly great with both a strapless or backless wedding dress.

While this style is ideal for someone who prefers a loose, wavy curl, it can also work well for someone who wants a sleek and straight look.

#2. The Low Loose Bun

I love how a low loose bun can feel classic and relaxed at the same time. This style is perfect for someone who knows they either get hot with their hair down, have texture that won’t hold a curl or who knows they want to showcase the back of their dress (or has a more traditional dress).

Depending on your vibe, you can have a few wispies framing your face or a sleeker, more refined look with your hair pulled fully back. And of course, adding a floral or jewel piece can add that extra touch you’ve been looking for.

#3. The Wrap Around & Down

If you have long thick hair, come at me!! We can do a stunning loose wrap braid that adds just the right amount of whimsy to your bridal down-do.

Even though this pin shows a bride with long hair, I’ve done a similar look with shoulder-length and short hair. The key is throwing in the perfect wave.

#4. The Flower-Braid Combo

It doesn’t matter if you have long or short hair, adding the perfect amount of flowers can bring a pop of color and personality to your bridal look that you won’t regret.

I’m also always a huge fan of a braid because it is a low-maintenance way to add texture and depth to your bridal hairstyle.

#5. The Braided Up-Do

Equal parts boho and classic, a loose braided updo can work with anyone’s wedding aesthetic. I particularly love this look with blondes because it brings out every highlight and provides depth.

Extra love this look for beach brides who know they can’t have their hair blowing in the wind!

3 Bride Hairstyles You’ve Never Seen Before

#1. The Braided Crown

Cloudy with a chance of BRAIDS. How fabulous is this braid crown? Not only will it frame your loose curls, it will provide the perfect side profile for your photographer to capture that first married kiss!

#2. The Whimsical Hair Vine

If you’re trying to find the perfect way to incorporate a vine of jewels or flowers, this loose and full-of-body bridal up do is the style you’ve been searching for.

Easy and breezy, it’s going to keep your hair up and off your back while providing the perfect backdrop for your hair piece.

#3. The Braids For Days

It’s like an up-do and a down-do had a baby and it was a perfect little bundle of braids! I’m obsessed with this look for a number of reasons, but I mostly love how it works with any wedding dress neckline and adds depth and dimension to your hair color.

Book Your Amesbury Wedding Hair Appointment with Me!

When it comes to wedding hair and beauty, Amesbury is one of the go-to spots for weddings in the North Shore because of its historical charm, central location and access to some of the region’s best eateries and bars.

If you’re getting married in the North Shore and are ready to tick ‘wedding hair plan’ off your list, get in touch to book your trial or find out more information.

Click here to book an appointment with Katie Cavic at Bryony & Birch | Hair Loft.