Once upon a time, not so long ago, ‘wedding makeup’ meant something entirely different than it does today. Nowadays, bridal beauty isn’t about looking unrecognizable in tons of products that you normally wouldn’t wear. 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 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. 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, we've researched the best options out there. We even consulted New York City makeup artist and beauty expert Neil Scibelli for his professional insight.
Meet the Expert
Neil Scibelli is a New York City-based celebrity makeup artist and beauty expert. His work has been featured on national television, in print and online magazines, on the red carpet, and across major runways during New York Fashion Week.
If you're looking for something that will hold your makeup in place from the ceremony to the reception, we love the Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation and the Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray. Want a little extra oomph for the big day? Opt for the Ardell Lash Faux Mink Individuals.
Read on for the best wedding makeup products.
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.
Price at time of publish: $18
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 boasts up to eight hours of wear, and despite its matte finish, it doesn't looks flat or feel 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.
Price at time of publish: $11
Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation
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, 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.
Price at time of publish: $48
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.
Price at time of publish: $7
L'Oréal 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, smudge-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.
Price at time of publish: $13
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.
Price at time of publish: $33
Giorgio Armani Beauty 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. The addition of vitamin E and glycerin keep the formula nice and moisturizing—no caking or creasing here—and it also contains caffeine, which is said to be a great ingredient for counteracting dark circles.
Price at time of publish: $38
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 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.
Price at time of publish: $225
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.
Price at time of publish: $9
What To Look for in Wedding Makeup Products
The most important to thing to consider when searching for your wedding makeup is how long it will last. While it will be one of the happiest days of your life, it will also be one of the longest. From getting ready first thing in the morning to dancing the night away at the reception and after-party, you'll need makeup products that can stand up to sweat and happy tears. That's why we love the L'Oréal Voluminous Lash Paradise Waterproof Mascara.
Pigment and Shades
From the venue lights to endless photos, the wedding calls for richer pigments and makeup products that will stand out, without washing you out. It's also important to opt for a foundation that comes available in a wide range of shades, as you'll want to find something that perfectly suits your skin tone (if you're getting a pre-wedding spray tan, make sure to keep the color difference in mind!). Our favorite option is the Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation, as it comes in a whopping 56 shades.
Is it okay to do my own makeup on my wedding day?
If you feel confident in your makeup abilities, then go for it! However, it's always nice to be pampered and have a professional make you feel beautiful on your special day. If there are specific makeup products you'd like them to use, request them ahead of time or bring them yourself.
What should I do if my makeup gets smeared on my wedding day?
First things first, don't panic! There are several ways to combat any makeup mishaps. Be prepared by bringing any necessary products in your bridal clutch or wedding emergency kit—eyelash glue, Q-Tips, extra lashes, lipstick, etc. This way, you'll have everything you need for touch-ups throughout the day.
Why Trust Brides
Brides contributor Melanie Rud has over a decade of experience in the beauty industry, writing for some of the biggest magazines and websites out there. She’s also a recent newlywed!
Keen M, Hassan I. Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J. 2016;7(4):311.