Planning a wedding takes a lot of work (not to mention, money). It's basically a universal truth. From booking the venue, catering food, and sending out all those RSVPs, the time leading up to the big day can be a bit of a blur. But, to save some extra cash (and cut out excess stress), you've decided to do your own wedding-day makeup. It could be a little nerve-wracking to create your own beauty look because this isn't just any day; it's your big day. In addition to making sure your makeup holds up, you want it to look damn good in photos.
Have no fear: We've rounded up all the tips you'll need to apply your makeup like a pro, from the pros. Read on for 17 expert-recommended tips and tricks to nailing that wedding-day beauty look, all by yourself.
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, Boston-based professional makeup artist. "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 the 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 or cream shadows right over it."
6. Pick the Perfect Foundation
Get matched with expert help to find 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 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
"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," says Kline. "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."
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 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 multidimensional look."
14. Wear More Makeup Than You Would on Any Day
"Doing makeup to be photographed is a different ball game than a casual look," says Rubin. "While you may be hesitant, in the case of photography, more is more." Rubin says adding color to your lips will keep you from looking washed out while Fuller advocates for more blush than you might be used to.
15. Splurge on a Setting Spray
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
"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," says Fuller. Instead, she recommends sticking to colors that will brighten your eye area without going overboard. "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."