21 Wedding Makeup Essentials That Should Be in Your Big Day Beauty Bag

Wedding day makeup

@laura_makeup_and_hair / Design by Zackary Angeline

Your wedding day is going to be the most photographed day of your life, and those photos will last a lifetime. Achieving a flawless bridal beauty look is all about what's in your makeup bag. In an effort to put your best face forward, we suggest upgrading your bridal makeup kit well before the big day. To help you find the best cosmetics for your wedding-day look and beyond, we came up with an editor-approved list of essential products.

Keep scrolling for our list of wedding makeup essentials for the bridal beauty look you've been dreaming of.

Essential Wedding Makeup Products
Michela Buttignol/Brides 
01 of 21


Bride having makeup done

Photo by Bokeh Photography; Makeup by Mooi Studio

Much as its name implies, foundation lays down the base for your bridal makeup and creates a perfected canvas for the rest of the look. Your foundation will depend on your skin type and whether you prefer a sheer or more full-coverage formula. However, most brides tend to purchase a liquid foundation, as they're easily blended and give the most "natural" of finishes.

02 of 21


Bride getting ready

Photo by Lauren Baker

Think of concealer as your little multitasking BFF. When applied, it can brighten target areas, hide a pimple or dark spot, and even out your complexion. But when it comes to your wedding day, you may want a more heavy-duty one, meaning it will stay put from your first look to your evening reception. Whether you need this baby to cover dark circles or just hide a pesky pimple, you'll be happy you had this little lifesaver in your bridal makeup kit.

To ensure that you have your makeup routine down pat, be sure to pencil in a wedding makeup trial a month or two ahead of your wedding day. Doing so will allow you to refine your makeup look and make any necessary product swaps.

03 of 21

Blush and Bronzer

Bride getting blush put on

Photo by To The Moon

Look alive, it's your big day! A quick flush of rose or soft pink can bring life back to your face while soft bronzes can warm up a complexion and add definition. When choosing a bronzer, aim for one that's at most two shades darker than your skin color. Anything above two shades, and you run the risk of looking a little artificial.

04 of 21


Bride getting ready

Photo by Sara Lobla 

You'll want your makeup to stay in place from ceremony to reception, so it's absolutely necessary to have a primer in your bridal beauty stash. If your skin is on the dry side, look for products with hydrating formulas or moisturizing ingredients. A little bit of discoloration? Primers with pink, green, or yellow undertones can diffuse any blotchiness.

05 of 21

Makeup Sponge

Bride getting ready

Photo by Pat Furey

Simply put, these guys are a game-changer. When used right (never use your sponge dry), your skin will look just like those flawless Snapchat filters. Bonus: There's minimal product waste when applying with a sponge.

06 of 21

Setting Powder

Bride getting ready

Photo by Laura Gordon 

Lock in your concealer and foundation with a pressed or loose setting powder. Look for multitasking formulas that can blur and reduce shine with one swipe of a brush, absorbing excess oils to give a visibly flawless finish.

07 of 21


Bride getting mascara put on

Photo by JFK Imagen; Makeup by Lorena Carbajal

Whether you're looking for length or a bit of volume, mascara is an absolute necessity in your bridal makeup kit. Add a few swipes of your go-to before applying false lashes (if you plan to), and softly darken your lower lashes for an extra hit of definition.

To avoid any smudging or flaking in between photos, be sure to invest in a good waterproof mascara.

08 of 21


Bride getting ready

Photo by Juan Trijillo 

Extra eye definition will ensure those gorgeous peepers pop in every wedding photo. Define your eyes with a waterproof yet blendable liner. Try to stay away from black (unless your eye look demands different), as it can appear a bit harsh around the eye area. Opt for brown instead.

09 of 21


Brunette bride in white robe having eye shadow applied by makeup artist

Photo by David Bastianoni Studio; Hair & Makeup by BeautyLivery

Whatever eye look you're going for, chances are you're going to use an eyeshadow or two—perhaps even a full-blown palette. Typically, brides aim for a natural eye look, combining shimmery champagnes and soft pinks with matte browns. If that's what you're going for, the right palette will contain a range of rich matte browns and shimmery pinks that blend seamlessly for the perfect nude eye. Stash it in your bridal makeup kit for any touch-ups or smearing (hello, tears!) throughout the day.

10 of 21


Bride putting on lipstick

Photo by Katie Ruther

Your lipstick serves as the finishing touch to your makeup look, so this is a staple in your bridal beauty stash. We recommend keeping a tube on hand throughout the events for quick post-meal or champagne reapplications. Unfortunately, given that there are so many formulas to choose from—matte, satin, gloss, etc.—it can be difficult to choose just one. We're here to help with that, too. 

11 of 21


Bride getting ready

Photo by Addison Jones 

There's absolutely nothing like a good highlighter to give you that lit-from-within glow. Seriously. It's all about choosing the formula that's right for you, whether it be a powder, balm, or liquid. Dust this wedding makeup essential onto the brow bones, dab onto cheekbones, and buff onto the décolletage for an absolutely beaming display.

12 of 21

Blotting Paper

Bride getting ready

Photo by Madeline Broderick Photography

Blotting papers are a must-have for touch-ups throughout the day. Small enough to keep in your purse, a quick pat will lift away shine without smudging your makeup. This will ensure your glow is pure radiance without shine, sweat, or grease stealing the show.

13 of 21

Hair Spray

Brunette bride with long curly hair and center part in white silk robe with lace sleeves having hairspray put in by hairstylist

Photo by Natura Collective; Hair by Sheek Studio

Hair spray is the holy grail of locking in your bridal 'do. Whether rocking a ponytail, braids, updo, or flowing tresses, a spritz of this will ensure everything stays in place throughout the day. Secure your style by lightly spraying from a decent distance to keep the strands from feeling too sticky or tacky.

14 of 21

Hair Oil

Smiling brunette bride in silk robe rubbing hair oil on ends of curly hair

Photo by Kelly Giarrocco

Hair oil is another essential with a multitasking repertoire that merits a spot in your bridal makeup kit. Melt a drop or two into your hands and work into the hair to tame flyaways, seal frayed ends, or elicit a smooth and glossy finish. Massage whatever is left on your hands into the shoulders and arms for a sexy sheen that also keeps the skin soft and supple.

15 of 21

Hot Tools

Bride with long hair in towel having hair wrapped in curling iron while drinking from a mug

Photo by Ana Hinojosa; Hair & Makeup by Georges Pauline Don

Just about every bridal hairstyle necessitates a hot tool. Whether it's a curling iron for romantic waves, a flat iron for sleek styles, or a blow-dryer for a bombshell finish, this gadget is one you definitely won't want to be caught without. You can even tuck a mini version into your wedding survival kit to fix any pieces of hair that fall out of line as the day progresses. (Some can even be plugged into a car or computer.)

16 of 21

Emergency Spot Treatment

Brunette bride with short hair and spot treatment on face

Cherrydeck / Unsplash

Any product with the word "emergency" in its name should probably have a place in your bridal makeup kit. We all know the panic an unexpected blemish can induce. So don't be caught off guard and pack your favorite spot treatment just in case. You'll be happy you did if you wake up with a wedding crasher on your skin.

17 of 21

Lip Liner

Bride with locs having red lip liner put on by makeup artist

Photo by Emily Melissa Photo; Event Planning by DeYandré Thaxton; Makeup by Sandy Thinnes

The secret to a long-wearing lip actually has very little to do with lipstick. It's all about the liner. Applying lip liner will keep lipstick from feather or smudging and, when layered underneath lipstick, can deliver a kiss-proof pout. We can't think of anything more essential for a bridal makeup kit than that.

18 of 21

Lip Balm

Brunette bride with towel wrapped around head applying lip balm in mirror

kevin laminto / Unsplash

A perfect pout starts with healthy, hydrated lips. Not even the very best lipsticks can contend with dry, flaky lips. Set your pout up for success by exfoliating beforehand and religiously laying on the lip balm. Wear a thin layer under your bridal lippy for a juicy pout that's oh so kissable.

19 of 21

Eye Primer

Brunette bride having eye makeup done by makeup artist

Photo by Laura Memory Photography & Videography

A good eye primer is like the glue that holds your bridal makeup look together. It secures even the most elaborate eye compositions by gripping the shadow and locking it in place so it won't crease, smudge, or budge as the wedding wanes on. It's also a great neutral base to ensure the best color quality and saturation of eyeshadow.

20 of 21

Makeup Remover

Bride with red hair in white robe

Photo by Moni & Adri Photography

No matter how much you love your wedding makeup, nothing beats that fresh-faced feeling after a long night. Tuck your favorite makeup remover into your bridal makeup kit to help dissolve the products quickly and gently. It's also a good staple for any goofs made while putting on makeup. Dab a Q-tip in the makeup remover and carefully swipe to get rid of any eyeliner mishaps, eyeshadow fallout, or mascara transfers without having to completely start from scratch.

21 of 21

Makeup Brushes

Brunette bride with glossy high ponytail in white silk robe having glam makeup done by makeup artist

Photo by Rachel Rodgers Photography; Makeup by D’Amelio Cosmetics; Hair by Senada K. Ceka; Hairpiece by Christie Lauren

Makeup brushes are needed to apply makeup, this we know. But the right makeup brushes can make even the most complex beauty looks easy to achieve. Make sure your bridal makeup kit is stocked with all the essential brushes for applying powder, blush, foundation, bronzer, concealer, eyeshadow, highlighter, and a stippling brush to blend. Don't forget a brow brush for those arches!

  • How do you find makeup for a wedding-day beauty look?

    If you're stumped on makeup recommendations, a professional makeup artist specializing in weddings will be able to point you in the right direction. Beyond finding products that are a match for your skin type, they will also be able to assist with application tips.

  • What are some factors to consider when selecting makeup products for a bridal look?

    When determining your wedding makeup look, take into consideration your wedding dress, personal style, and how much makeup you typically like to wear. Let your everyday product favorites guide you in terms of formulas and skin needs. Be sure to check the weather as humidity or rain may require a switch to waterproof products.

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