So many brides these days opt to do their own makeup, and we totally understand why. It’s your big day, and you want to look like, well, you.
Hiring a pro, while seemingly the safest choice, actually packs its own set of risks.
A professional makeup artist will definitely have their techniques down, but their idea of how you should look may be different than your idea of how you want to look. After all, a professional is interpreting your face, and what makes your face uniquely beautiful. And sometimes, this means they may see you differently than you see yourself. They may be influenced by current trends you don’t really care about, or use products that feel different than those you're accustomed to on your skin.
In the hands of a professional, while you are certain to look beautiful, you may not look the way you feel most comfortable, and that difference can have a major impact on how relaxed you feel on your big day.
When you do your own makeup, you don’t have to worry about how it’s going to turn out, because you are completely in control of your own look. That doesn’t mean, though, that you should use the same products you do for every day. Bridal makeup has its own demands. It needs to look great in photos, and it shouldn’t sweat or cry off.
Don’t let these extra demands scare you, though. With a little planning and practice, you can perfect your bridal look, and, since you’ll own the products, you can recreate it all honeymoon long.
Here’s our top tricks and tips for creating your own amazing bridal look:
If you are going to spray-tan or self-tan, start weeks, not days, before your wedding.
We recommend beginning two months before your big day. This way you’ll have time to figure out what phase of the tanning process is most flattering for your skin tone. Some people experience orangey results on days 1 and 2, but by day three or four their skin has a perfect subtle glow. You’ll want to know exactly what tone your skin will be so that you can plan makeup hues that melt right into glowing complexion.
Avoid camera flashback.
You can’t control whether or not your photographer is going to use their flash, so it’s best to wear makeup that can handle that extreme burst of light. The best way to avoid ghostly white flashback in your photos is to use products formulated without silica powder or zinc oxide. Check your SPF, as often sunscreen is the culprit of flashback.
Physical sunscreens are designed to reflect light back off your face. Unfortunately, this means they can also reflect a camera’s flash in startlingly unnatural, unflattering ways. If you are having an outdoor wedding, consider a chemical sunscreen rather than a physical sunscreen. Just be sure to test the product well in advance as some chemical sunscreens cause breakouts. If your wedding is indoors or at night, consider, just this once, skipping the SPF all together.
Go for natural, rather than trendy.
The pictures of you on your wedding day are going to last a lifetime. They are going to become the heirloom images of you that your grandchildren admire one day. Therefore, you’ll want your makeup to be timeless, too. The best way to get a timeless makeup look is to look like yourself, only more flawless and radiant. This means avoiding extreme color trends. Skip the blue eyeshadow. Forego the holographic highlighter.
Stick instead to these basics:
A foundation with a natural to radiant finish. You want to look glowy; not wet, pasty or cakey. Avoid very thick or very powdery formulas. This layer should even out your skin, not change its color or texture, so go with a formula designed to have a skin-like finish.
Use a primer underneath. This will just make sure that everything else goes on evenly, and stays on throughout the day. A primer will grab the makeup, so that you don’t end up with a patchy look where some areas have been rubbed, kissed, cried, or sweated away.
Choose bronzer/blush/highlighter formulations without glitter. Slight shimmer is fine, but reflective glitter is almost certain to sabotage some of your photos. Again, the key on your wedding day is to look naturally gorgeous. No one’s skin is naturally glittered.
Choose eyeshadows and lip colors in natural hues. Shades from champagne to cocoa are all perfect for bridal makeup. Bronze and peach bring just enough dazzle to your eyelids to make your eyes sparkle, without looking as though you’ve just motor-boated this month’s trendiest color palette. For lips, think pink, subtle coral, warmer nudes and smudgy reds. These shades all enhance your natural lip color, which means you won’t have to obsessively reapply before each photo.
Define your features, including your brows. A defined brow draws attention to your eyes. It can also take years off your face. The trick is to make your brows look naturally full, by choosing a color the same as your actual eyebrows. Avoid the harsh, too-dark eye brow trend as this can be distracting and even stern looking in photos. A great eyebrow is like a great picture frame… it won’t distract from the real work of art (your face). It simply frames the artwork to give it that subtle, refined look.
Use eyeliner. Just use it sparingly. Your wedding probably isn’t the time you should first experiment with cat eyes or massive wings. Instead, use a technique such as tightlining, to give your eyes definition and your lashes a full look, without looking like you’re wearing a face full of makeup.
Only use concealer where absolutely necessary. If you’re having a good skin day, don’t be afraid to skip it completely. Thicker formulas, like those found in concealer, can begin to look dry and patchy as the day wears on. They can also settle into fine lines, actually aging your overall appearance.
Practice your wedding makeup leading up to your wedding. Even if you are someone who doesn't wear makeup on a daily basis, it's important you try any and all of your products many times over before the big day. If that feels like too much to you, just remember, your wedding is around the corner. No one will think it odd that you seem to be glowing.
Opt for waterproof formulas whenever possible. You will cry, if not at the altar, then at the toasts.
At some point, tears will become inevitable, so just plan for them. Waterproof mascara is a definite, but waterproof liner is just as important. Bring tissue or blotting papers to deal with any stray tears that are threatening to slide down your cheeks.
Have fun, and be you. Some people think your wedding day is the single most beautiful day of your life. We think it’s the beginning of all the most beautiful days still ahead. So don’t stress or overthink it. There’s no one “right” way to look. Don’t set yourself up for failure by putting that kind of pressure on yourself.
Remember, this day is a celebration of you, the woman your husband already finds to be the most beautiful in the world, so truly, don’t be afraid to look like yourself. Don’t worry that your makeup is somehow not extreme or different enough from every day. Really, it shouldn’t be!
Your wedding is not the time to completely re-imagine your face. It is the time to feel comfortable and beautiful and to let your makeup be an extension of the radiant, glowing joy that’s already buzzing within. So smile a lot. And trust in your own beauty. You’ve got this.