There’s a lot of talk about and emphasis on bridal makeup (and understandably so), but the mother of the bride certainly deserves to feel just as gorgeous on the big day, too. And here’s a little secret: Bridal and MOB makeup looks really aren’t that different. In both cases, it’s all about beautifully enhancing your features and looking soft and pretty, says makeup artist Jenny Patinkin.
Stick with classic and natural tones and colors: “Nothing too trendy or you’ll look back at photos and wonder why you chose purple lipstick,” she adds. Still, it is worth mentioning that the mother of the bride and the bride obviously have different types of skin, and as such the particular formulas you pick matter more for the mother of the bride. The golden rule: Stick with creamy products, which are more hydrating for drier, more mature skin and will blend in seamlessly, along with ones that help to brighten even out the skin tone, combatting discoloration and dullness, Patinkin points out.
Read on for the best makeup products for the mother of the bride.
Dermalogica Skinperfect Primer
Prepping skin with a primer is one of the best and easiest ways to ensure that your makeup stays put all day (and all night). This one in particular is choice for more mature skin; it contains hydrating hyaluronic acid and smooths the look of fine lines, not to mention that it also contains your daily dose of SPF 30, particularly important if you’re having an outdoor wedding.
Price at time of publish: $58+
Size: .75 oz. | Shades: N/A | Active Ingredients: Hyaluronic acid
Westman Atelier Vital Skincare Dewy Foundation Drops
Patinkin says this foundation has a beautifully radiant finish, perfect for evening out any discoloration and also imparting skin with a gorgeously youthful glow. The coverage is light to medium, it melts into your complexion flawlessly, and, best of all, is packed with good-for-your-skin ingredients. Namely, it boasts antioxidant-rich ginseng and pomegranate extract to combat damaging free radicals and hydrating and firming tsubaki oil. Translation: It makes your skin look better both instantly and overtime.
Price at time of publish: $68+
Size: 1 oz. | Shades: 20 | Active Ingredients: Ginseng extract, pomegranate extract, tsubaki oil
Best Color Corrector
EXA High Fidelity Balancing Color Corrector
Hot tip alert: If you start with a color corrector, you may actually need to use less concealer in the long run. Rather than covering up discoloration, color correctors work to balance it out and counteract it. Patinkin says this one is especially good at camouflaging dark circles under the eyes; try the red, deep peach, or peach shades, depending on your skin tone. Bonus points for the fact that this formula is squeaky clean and free of a litany of questionable chemicals
Price at time of publish: $27+
Size: .25 oz. | Shades: 6 | Active Ingredients: N/A
Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer
Here’s one example where the name really does say it all. It’s another top pick for Patinkin, who says it layers beautifully over the aforementioned Exa color corrector, helping to completely hide dark circles and leave the eye area looking light and bright. Still, it works well used elsewhere on the face too, and because it is so creamy, never settles into fine lines and wrinkles or looks cakey. And we’d be remiss not to mention that it comes in a whopping range of 28 shades, too.
Price at time of publish: $30+
Size: .2 oz. | Shades: 28 | Active Ingredients: Caffeine, hyaluronic acid, peptides, arnica extract
Jamie Makeup Blighlighter
A cream blush will melt more seamlessly into skin than a powder version; Patinkin says this one, created by celebrity makeup artist Jamie Greenberg, does exactly that, and also blends beautifully. As the name suggests, it pulls double duty as a highlighter as well, imparting just the right amount of subtle radiance and glow, without ever looking glittery or garish. Also nice: It can easily be layered and built-up if you want a more pigmented punch of color.
Price at time of publish: $34+
Size: .15 oz. | Shades: 5 | Active Ingredients: N/A
Tower 28 Bronzino Illuminating Cream Bronzer
The same rule applies for bronzer as it does for blush—go for creams over powders. This pick adds instant warmth (and just a touch of shimmer) to skin, and has a delightfully rich and creamy texture, thanks to the addition of mango seed butter and castor oil. It’s also non-comedogenic and fragrance-free, a great pick for anyone with sensitive skin.
Price at time of publish $20+
Size: .158 oz. | Shades: 5 | Active Ingredients: Mango seed butter, castor oil, green tea extract
Haus Labs by Lady Gaga Optic Intensity Eco Gel Eyeliner Pencil
Add definition and make eyes pop with this eyeliner. The gel-based formula is loaded with vitamin E and argan oil that ensure it’s nice and creamy so that it glides smoothly (and never tugs) on the delicate skin around your eyes. Plus, it comes in a wide array of 18 colors in both matte and shimmer finishes, making it easy to find an option for any and every type of eye look. Most importantly? It’s totally waterproof, an absolute non-negotiable when it comes to weddings.
Price at time of publish: $22+
Size: .04 oz. | Shades: 18 | Active Ingredients: Vitamin E, argan oil
Best Eye Shadow
Burt’s Bees Color Nurture Cream Eye Shadow
Here’s yet another instance where it’s a good move to pick cream over powder. This drugstore buy is perfect for adding color and dimension to lids, without ever caking or creasing. Even though it only comes in three shades, they’re all beautifully natural, wearable, and versatile—and can even double as a highlighter shade when dabbed on the inner corners of your eyes or on your cheekbones.
Price at time of publish: $10+
Size: .04 oz. | Shades: 3 | Active Ingredients: Vitamin E
Best Brow Product
Kimiko The Super Fine Eyebrow Pencil
“Our brows thin out and lose color as we age. This pencil is great for filling in sparse areas and getting a soft hold,” says Patinkin of another one of her picks. The extra-fine, twist-up tip makes precision application a breeze—and means you don’t have to worry about having a sharpener. And the formula is super long-wearing, too, made to withstand heat and humidity, always a good thing.
Price at time of publish: $31+
Size: .003 oz. | Shades: 3 | Active Ingredients: Vitamin E
Maybelline New York Full 'N Soft Waterproof Mascara
Opting for a waterproof mascara for wedding makeup—be it for the bride or MOB—is an obvious no-brainer. The only issue? Many formulas can be drying and harsh on lashes, particularly if you’re older and they’re a little more brittle to begin with. Happily, that’s not the case here. This pick has nourishing vitamin E that softens and nourishes lashes, but still boasts some serious staying power. Not to mention that it’s also ophthalmologist-tested and hypoallergenic.
Price at time of publish: $10+
Size: .28 oz. | Shades: 1 | Active Ingredients: Vitamin E
Best Lip Liner
Colourpop BFF Lippie Pencil
These come in an incredible range of nude tones that are great for recreating volume and defining the shape of the lip, says Patinkin. And, at this price point, you can easily afford to grab a few different shades and experiment with what works best for you, she adds. They’re also long-wearing and glide on easily, and don’t feather or bleed.
Price at time of publish: $7+
Size: .035 oz. | Shades: 8 | Active Ingredients: Vitamin E
Hourglass Cosmetics Unlocked Satin Creme Lipstick
A lipstick with a satin finish is ideal for a mother-of-the-bride: It’s neither so matte that it can end up looking dry and chalky, nor so shiny that it can come across as too young. Enter this option, which strikes that perfect, in-between, satin texture. It’s also crazy hydrating (loaded with a variety of natural butters and oils), and delivers the perfect amount of colors in just one coat. The hardest part? Choosing your favorite of the 20 hues.
Price at time of publish: $38+
Size: 14 oz. | Shades: 20 | Active Ingredients: Mango seed butter, avocado oil, argan oil
What to Look for in Makeup Products for the Mother of the Bride
“Cream products meld into the skin seamlessly and look more dimensional and glowy than powder products,” says Patinkin. Even in the case of something like an eye or lip liner, it’s still a good move to opt for formulas that are creamier and will glide on more smoothly, rather than drier ones that can pull or tug on sensitive skin.
Neutral, natural hues are the way to go. Make sure the product you’re choosing comes in a nice array of shades so that you can find the one that’s most flattering for you; this is especially important when it comes to foundation and concealer, as you want to ensure you find the exact right match for the most natural effect.
Additional Hydrating Ingredients
As a general rule of thumb, our skin tends to get innately drier as we age, which is why it’s such a good idea to look for hydrating and moisturizing ingredients in makeup products for the mother of the bride. Hyaluronic acid, natural oils and butters, and vitamin E are all good examples.
Should the mother of the bride get her makeup done with the bride and bridal party?
This is totally up to the bride and her mom to decide together. Think about the type of relationship you have. If you’re super close and she knows the bridesmaids well, it can be fun to have her be one of the girls and all get your makeup done together. Or, consider making it more of a private moment, where the bride and her mom can get her makeup done by themselves, and the bride can spend time with her bridal party after the fact.
What are things to consider with makeup for older skin?
“More lived-in skin has different textures and shapes than younger skin, so makeup can look a bit different on it,” Patinkin explains. Rather than trying to completely hide fine lines and wrinkles (which, let’s be real, really isn’t possible), she suggests focusing on products that create a smoothness, evenness, and brightness to the skin, combatting the dullness and discoloration that can end up making you look older than you are.
Meet the Expert
Jenny Patinkin is a makeup artist and the founder of Jenny Patinkin Eco-Luxe Beauty Tools.
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has nearly 15 years of journalism experience covering the beauty and lifestyle space for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s also a recent newlywed.