Say “I do” to these wedding makeup tips
Tradition says you need something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue on your wedding day.
To that, we would add something glam. It doesn’t have to be much: think a swipe of rosy lipstick, false lashes to frame your eyes, or a touch of highlighter to enhance your day-of glow.
“You want to look at your wedding pictures in a frame and see your authentic self reflected back at you,” makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown says. “The goal is not to look like a ‘classic bride’ but to look like classic you as a bride.”
This doesn’t mean you have to stay in neutral territory with your wedding makeup look — but now is not the time to try a trend. “Sometimes [brides] make a departure from their usual look on their wedding day because they want to achieve something extra special and dramatic, but it’s worth remembering that your fiancé fell in love with you for who you are, so you don’t have to change a thing,” advises makeup artist Lisa Eldridge.
1. Create a mood board to establish a clear vision
If you haven’t become well acquainted with Pinterest, now is the time to get familiar. The platform features countless images of makeup inspiration you can compile together digitally.
“Visuals help inspire and hone in on the details of what and how you want to look on your big day,” says makeup artist Daniel Martin.
And if you’re working with a professional makeup artist, it’s also helpful for them. “Having a reference can better articulate what you have in mind,” makeup artist Gucci Westman tells.
2. Take photos during your trial run
If you plan to partner with a professional makeup artist, it’s important to find someone who understands your style. Consult a few different makeup artists early on and book at least six months in advance.
“Spend plenty of time exploring and perfecting your process, as well as working out which products work for you will save you a lot of stress on your wedding morning,” says Eldridge.
It’s always best to have a trial (or two) ahead of time and check that all your products don’t have a flashback.
“Take photos prior so you get an idea of what it’s going to look like in photos and in person as well,” makeup artist Charlie Riddle shares.
3. Pamper your skin for the best base possible
“Your wedding day is all about prepping the skin, focusing on making sure the skin is hydrated and glowing before applying makeup,” says aesthetician Shani Darden. If you haven’t been diligent about your skincare routine, now’s the time to begin.
Healthy, glowing skin makes the perfect canvas for luminous makeup. Regular facials help to prep skin, but try to avoid having any invasive type of facial too close to the big day, says makeup artist Misha Shandaz.
4. Primer is key for making your makeup last
Your wedding day is a marathon — not a sprint — and you’ll want your makeup to hold up through every last photo, dance, and toast. That makes primer essential. “My hands-down never fail go-to product for weddings is the Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Primer,” says Martin. “It locks down base makeup for hours of wear, does not alter your foundation pigment, and works with both water-based or cream foundation.”
Two other favourites among Allure editors: Shiseido Synchro Skin Soft Blurring Primer (for oily skin) and Make Up For Ever Step 1 Hydra Booster Primer (for a luminous finish), both Best of Beauty winners.
5. Consider multiple factors when it’s time to choose your foundation
“Understand your skin type to choose the best complexion products to use for long wear,” says Martin. “This simple task will make your makeup last so much longer to eliminate constant touch-ups on your big day,” he says.
Also, consider the environment where you are getting married. “Lasting effects are more difficult in humidity,” says Westman. She suggests powdering skin as a final step if balmy temperatures are in your forecast. To control shine, dust translucent powder across the forehead, sides of the nose, and on the chin with a powder puff.
6. Let your skin shine through your makeup
Use a light hand when applying base makeup. Start with a little bit of product, keeping in mind you can always add more coverage. “I always advise people to not add too many layers like concealer, powder, or contouring because I think your skin needs to breathe in order to look radiant,” says makeup artist Violette.
And be strategic when layering products and formulas with different textures. “Build with small amounts so the makeup lasts longer. For example, apply cream blush first, followed by a layer of powder blush for a flush that has double the wear,” says Dedivanovic.
7. Turn your own natural beauty up to “medium”
One look that never fails: radiant skin, rosy cheeks, flushed lips, and some definition on the eyes. “I call it ‘medium makeup’ because it’s not too light, strong, or hard on one feature and soft on another,” says makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic. He suggests avoiding dark colors on the eyes. “Use brown eyeliner instead of black, and add false lashes for the perfect amount of definition,” says Dedivanovic.
For an all-over ethereal look, stick to a soft peachy palette. “I like to play up the eyelashes with polished glowing skin using soft hues such as peach, pinks, and taupes,” says makeup artist Jillian Dempsey.
Ultimately, you want to look like yourself. If that means you are called to a bold choice — like a swipe of crimson lipstick — go for it. “I love that brides are stepping out of ‘traditional’ bridal makeup and opting for smoky eyes and bold lips,” makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran says. For lipstick with staying power, “apply one layer of color then blot lips with rice paper and apply the lip color again,” says Brown.
8. Concealer is key for fixing the unexpected — and the inevitable
Did your rehearsal dinner last until dawn? This is the beauty of concealer. To hide under eye circles, dot a creamy formula below the inner corners of your eyes with a brush and work it outward. Use your fingertip to gently press (not rub) the formula onto the skin where it seems darker.
To camouflage a zit, “use a concealer a bit darker than you would use under eyes, so it does not brighten the zit,” makeup artist Nam Vo once shared. After applying the concealer, Vo tops it with a foundation powder for additional coverage. “I tap not only the zit, but I tap the area around the zit so everything matches.”
By the time the ceremony happens, there is a good chance there will be tears of joy. “You don’t want to have raccoon eyes, runny concealer, or smeared lipstick,” says makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff, “so use waterproof everything!”
9. Tame your veil to prevent smudges
If you have an outdoor wedding where the wind could be a factor, try Brown’s tip to weigh down your veil so it doesn’t stick to your lips: “I’ve seen many brides have their veil smudge a bold lip of gloss when it catches on the mouth. Put a clip-on earring on the bottom of your veil to prevent this — and add a touch of sparkle at the same time.”
10. Don’t just save your setting spray for the end
When you have on your dream makeup, “nothing beats the mental and actual security of a setting spray that locks makeup in. The key with these is to use it throughout the application and after the makeup process,” says Jaikaran.
Try Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Set + Refresh Spray for an alcohol-free hybrid that hydrates and locks on makeup. “I tested this while in Aruba, and it holds up even in the Caribbean heat,” says Jaikaran. If you prefer a glowy finish, she suggests Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray.
11. Pack a touch-up kit
There will be smiles, kisses, champagne toasts… and even the most well-applied makeup is bound to fade. “Ask a bridesmaid or your nearest and dearest to keep a few essentials for you to make sure your makeup looks fresh from the day into the night,” says Eldridge.
She suggests including your chosen lipstick, a small powder compact and powder brush (or blotting papers), a brow brush, and a concealer.
12. Cushion time is mandatory
Today is your day! Save yourself from any last-minute rushing or breaking a sweat and tack on a few extra minutes to your prep time. “However long you think your makeup will take, add 30 minutes,” makeup artist Landy Dean says. “The fear is that you’ll be sitting ready, but that rarely happens.”