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Once upon a time, not so long ago, ‘wedding makeup’ meant something entirely different than it does today. Nowadays, bridal beauty isn’t about using tons of products that you normally wouldn’t wear and ending up looking unrecognizable. Instead, it’s about selectively choosing the right types of products and formulas that will make you look like your most gorgeous self.
Granted, you are going to have to tweak your day-to-day makeup M.O. somewhat; there are different things you have to consider with bridal makeup that you otherwise wouldn’t. There’s the photography factor, of course, which means paying careful attention to the types of finishes you choose. And long-lasting, waterproof makeup is also a must, particularly when it comes to eye and lip products (it’s why primers are so important, too).
From a foundation that will leave your complexion looking flawless to mascara that will stay on no matter how many happy tears you shed, check out our round-up of the best makeup products worth making a part of your bridal beauty game plan.
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup
The name of this Brides Beauty award-winning base says it all. It touts an impressive 24 hours of wear time, negating the likelihood of needing any complexion touch-ups during your special day (and night). The coverage skews towards the medium-full end, though it is easily buildable and has a matte finish and oil-controlling technology that’s especially choice for anyone worried about excess shine.
This foundation is resistant to sweat, heat, and humidity too, which is a major plus for summer brides. Not to mention that it comes in an astonishing array of 56 shades, all with different undertones, that make it easier than ever to find your perfect match.
Saie Dew Balm
Radiant skin is a bridal beauty must, but to achieve the most believable glow, liquid or cream highlighters are the way to go; they look great both in photos and in person, explains New York City makeup artist and beauty expert Neil Scibelli. Unlike powder versions, which sit on top of the skin, these melt into skin, so your complexion looks dewy, not disco ball-esque.
Try this option, which boasts a bouncy and cushiony texture and is also infused with hydrating hyaluronic acid. Plus, unlike many other highlighters, it comes in three different shades, so there’s a flattering choice for any and every skin tone. Clean beauty queens will also appreciate that brand bans a long list of questionable chemicals from all of its products.
Armani Luminous Silk Concealer
This newbie is a spin-off of the brand’s cult-classic Luminous Silk foundation, a bridal staple for Scibelli who lauds it for, “a built-in radiance factor that photographs beautifully but also looks great in person.” This concealer counterpart, which comes in 20 hues, has that same gorgeous finish, plus a medium, buildable coverage to seamlessly hide any complexion imperfections.
It’s also a great option to use under your eyes. Vitamin E and glycerin keep the formula nice and moisturizing—no caking or creasing here—and it also contains caffeine, a great ingredient for counteracting dark circles.
Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray
Here’s a prime example of a product that might not be a part of your daily makeup routine, but should be a wedding day staple. Consider this setting spray the proverbial cherry on top of the sundae; a quick spritz right before you walk down the aisle will work wonders, ensuring your full face of makeup stays put.
Another Brides Beauty Award winner, it keeps smudges and smears at bay for up to 16 hours, thanks to a special technology that actually lowers to the temperature of your makeup to help set it. But don’t worry, it still feels totally weightless and undetectable.
Temptu Air Perfect Canvas Starter Kit
If you’re going for totally flawless skin, completely uniform coverage, and want to feel ultra-confident that your foundation won’t come off, airbrush foundation may be the way to go. With this pick, you get the application tool (small, portable, and cordless, to keep things easy) plus the foundation shade of your choice. Choose from 24 different hues, all infused with good-for-your-skin, anti-aging botanical ingredients.
Granted, it can take a minute to master airbrushing your own complexion, so make sure you take this for a test run before the wedding. And while it is a bit of an investment, it can be a good option to use not only on the big day, but also for all of the events leading up to it, think engagement photos, bridal shower, and bachelorette party.
Surratt Beauty Diaphane Loose Powder Transulcent
Powders pose a tricky conundrum—they can help set makeup and absorb oil, but using too much can create a chalky effect that won’t look pretty in real life or photos. The solution is to both be choosy about the formula you pick and to be targeted with your application.
This particular powder is both translucent and ultra-finely milled, qualities that Scibelli says are a must for any bride who is going to be using powder. As far as application goes, “If you powder the entire face, you lose dimension and radiance, so use a small, eyeshadow brush to spot treat with the powder and dust it only onto oily spots,” he advises.
Rodial Instant Glow Primer
Just like you wouldn’t paint your nails without applying a base coat, you don’t want to apply makeup—wedding day makeup in particular—without using a primer. There’s no shortage of options out there, but we’re partial to this one for several reasons. Along with creating a smooth canvas that makes the products you use afterward go on more smoothly and last longer, it also calms and soothes skin and locks in moisture simultaneously, keeping your complexion looking fresh and dewy.
Further enhancing that effect are itty-bitty, light-reflective microspheres that will give you that lit-from-within wedding glow, even before you add any other makeup.
Maybelline New York Superstay Ink Crayon Lipstick
Go ahead and sip champagne and kiss your new groom as much as you want—this lipstick will stay put through it all. It touts up to eight hours of wear, and despite its matte finish, it never looks flat or feels dry (a common issue with other matte lip products).
A crayon-like tip makes application super easy, and if you do want to keep it on hand for touch-ups (just in case) the slim size will fit perfectly in your clutch. Available in 17 shades ranging from bold and bright to neutral and natural, there’s an option for every bridal look.
Lune & Aster Destination Nudes Eyeshadow Palette
Scibelli often reaches for eyeshadow palettes from this brand to use on his bridal clients, pointing out the universally-flattering tones and iridescent (never glittery, which can read as a garish) finish.
This particular palette has a dozen shades, a range of varying nudes, both in matte and shimmer finishes. Mix and match them to create any type of eye look, be it more minimal and natural or something more smoky and dramatic.
CoverGirl Lid Lock Up Eyeshadow Primer
One quick extra step in your eye makeup routine—namely, swiping a primer onto your lids pre-shadow—can go a long way in helping to ensure that both shadow and eyeliner stay in place.
This one creates a smooth canvas to ward off both creasing and pigment fall out, and also keep the vibrancy of any shadow color you use after. It’s non-sticky, goes on smoothly, and dries quickly. Oh, and we’d be remiss to not mention the wallet-friendly price.
L’Oréal Paris Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara
There may be (happy) tears on your wedding day, but you better believe there won’t be any mascara smears. This waterproof, budge-proof formula—another former Brides Beauty Award winner—stays locked on lashes, leaving your fringe looking extra full and luscious with no risk of ending up with raccoon eyes.
The credit goes to a brush with over 200 bristles to help perfectly coat each and every last lash. Plus, unlike many other waterproof formulas out there, this one glides on smoothly and lashes stay feeling and looking silky, never crunchy or brittle.
Ardell Lash Faux Mink Individuals
If mascara alone isn’t quite cutting it for you, try adding a few falsies into the mix. Even just a couple—strategically placed at the outer corners of your eyes—can make a huge difference, both in photos and IRL.
Opting for single false lashes, rather than a full set, also makes the end result look more natural and is a more customizable way to score the exact lash look you’re trying to achieve. Speaking of customizable, these faux lashes come in three different lengths, and ring in at a budget-friendly price to boot.
Make Up For Ever Aqua XL Eye Pencil Waterproof Eyeliner
No matter whether you’re going for a more subtle tightline or a graphic cat eye, this liner has got you covered. The smooth texture glides on completely smoothly (no pulling or tugging at the sensitive skin around your eyes), all while leaving behind an intense pop of pigment.
All of the 10 shades are completely waterproof and won’t smudge or fade until you decide it’s time for the liner to come off—at which point you will definitely need a dedicated eye makeup remover to do so.
Glossier Brow Flick
Skin, eyes, and lips may get most of the bridal beauty attention but repeat after us: don’t forget your brows. Yes, getting them shaped is great, but that doesn’t mean you won’t still need a little bit of makeup to polish everything off on the big day.
Enter the beauty of this detailing pen. Its brush-like tip delivers pigment in featherlight, precise strokes that mimic natural hairs shockingly well. Whether to help fill in your arches, define their shape, or both, it can’t be beaten. Also worth noting: The long-wearing, smudge-proof color stays exactly where you put it and won’t come off as the night goes on.