Photo: Erich McVey
Even the biggest makeup buff might be intimidated by the prospect of doing her own wedding-day makeup. But have no fear: We've rounded up all the tips you'll need to apply your makeup like a pro, from the pros.
1. Practice, practice, practice.
No matter how makeup-savvy you may be, you don't want to wait to apply your wedding-day look for the first time on your wedding day. "Practice, practice, practice until you have the look that you want," says Liz Fuller, owner of Boston-area Makeup Artistry Inc.. "Then document what you used so that on the wedding day you can refer to your notes to remind you what products you used and how you used them."
2. Splurge on facials.
Perfect skin is the best possible canvas for your makeup. And great skin for your wedding day is all in the preparation, says makeup artist Hillary Kline. "If the budget allows, start getting monthly facials — aim for at least three or four — before the big day," she says. "Those will help firm and illuminate your complexion."
3. Set up a serene space.
Not only do you need time to apply your makeup, but you'll need a calm environment in which to do it, says makeup artist Béke Beau. "Getting ready rooms can be quite hectic sometimes and well-meaning bridal party members may distract you, so it's important to have some privacy to relax and put on your makeup," she says.
4. Use a primer.
After you've moisturized your skin, you'll want to apply a thin layer of primer, says Jo Levy, makeup expert and artist for Jo Levy Makeup. "A primer will serve as a temporary corrector, filling in enlarged pores as well as smoothing fine lines and some deeper set lines," she says. "The different textures of primer will also help to prepare skin. For example, a mattifying primer will help to immediately diminish excess shine while an illuminating primer will give the skin an instant, radiant base for makeup."
5. Use an eye primer, too.
You need a separate primer for your eyelids than what you've used on the rest of your face. "For eyes, I recommend using an eye primer or cream eye shadow that is neutral in tone," says Levy. "A bone or nude shade works well to help even out discoloration on lids and allows for a smoother eye shadow application if you plan to layer additional powder of cream shadows right over it."
6. Pick the perfect foundation.
Get matched with expert help with a foundation that is right for your skin type and creates a natural look, says Kline. "Powder foundation helps in setting your makeup and also helps prevent your face from looking greasy in photos," she says. "But, if you add too much powder, you run the risk of making your skin look dry and old. The phrase 'less is more' applies to this."
7. Avoid makeup with SPF.
While sunscreen is very good for your skin, it can be very bad for your wedding photos. "The zinc and titanium oxides that are found in SPF formulas can cause a white cast on the face in flash photography," warns Fuller. If you must slather on sunscreen for your outdoor wedding, make sure it's in your moisturizer and not your foundation.
8. Don't use white finishing powder.
Sunscreen isn't the only thing that will give you a ghostly glow. White finishing powders, too, can cast your face in unflattering ways, says Rachael Rubin, owner and founder of Beauty PaRLR. "When a flash hits the powder on your face, it will give the appearance of clown white skin," she warns.
9. Invest in a creamy formula based concealer.
Says Kline, "Let's face it: The bride is going to be busy running around finishing last-minute tasks, staying up late, attending a rehearsal dinner, and more. What about those unwanted dark circles or a sudden blemish? Make sure you put foundation on first and then lightly dab with your fingertip on areas that look dark."
10. Define your brows.
You don't have to be born with bushy brows to make a statement on your wedding day. Says Beau, "Brows are the defining feature on your face, so if you aren't gifted with full, perfectly shaped brows, get out a long-lasting brow product and define what you have, always working with your natural shape."
11. Avoid sparkly products.
Much like SPF and white powders, things that sparkle don't shine — pun intended — in photos. "That means any eye shadows, face powders, highlighters with sparkles — they look absolutely terrible in flash photography," says Kline. "Stick with neutral, subtle tones, and more matte eye shadows."
12. Embrace waterproof mascara.
Not only do you want your mascara to stay in place through any stray tears, but waterproof formulas should withstand the heat, too. "For summer brides, heat can cause heavier mascara to droop and melt — and that's no good," says Rubin.
13. Layer your lip colors.
Layering on your lips will ensure a long-lasting finish, Levy says. "Begin by conditioning lips with a lip balm to help prep and soften and follow by applying a light layer of lipstick in a satin or cream formula," she says, then swipe your lipstick on a second time to build its color. "Optionally, if you prefer to add the appearance of volume and definition, draw lip liner along or just outside the natural lip line and then feather in the color onto the lipstick. Press lips together to set. Also totally optional: Finish with a light layer of gloss for a multi-dimensional look."
14. Wear more makeup than you would on any ol' day.
Says Rubin, "doing makeup to be photographed is a different ball game than a casual look. While you may be hesitant, in the case for photography, more is more." Rubin says adding color to your lips will keep you from looking washed out, while Fuller advocates for more blush then you might be used to.
15. Splurge on a spraying a setting spray.
Long-wear makeup be damned. The key to really making your makeup last, says Fuller, is using a setting spray. "Some formulas last 16 to 18 hours," she says. "They prevent makeup from wearing away, and they're sweat-proof and waterproof — although you still can't jump in a pool!"
16. Bring blotting sheets.
While you may be tempted to pack a pressed powder in your purse, you should never reapply powder, Fuller says. Instead, she suggests using blotting sheets.
"Always use a blotting sheet to absorb oil," she says. "Blotting sheets won't disturb the makeup — they just lift away the oil for a shine-free finish."
17. Don't follow trends.
Says Fuller, "If you don't wear a lot of makeup in your everyday life, then you shouldn't have a cat eye for your wedding day." Instead, she recommends sticking to colors that will brighten your eye area without going overboard. And, "if you have a stronger eye, then you should go for a more neutral lip color," she says. "If your eyes are less made up, you can do a bolder lip color."