The past few days I’ve been scouring the Internet, trying to gather as many tips as I can about wedding day makeup. I’m not getting married (!) but my cousin is and I am one of her bridesmaids. I’ve never been completely satisfied in the past when I’ve had my makeup done professionally, so doing it on my own is only logical. That said, I want to make sure I get it just right!
I’ve compiled a list of tips to keep in mind if you’re doing makeup for a special occasion.
Face primer: If your makeup is going to last you throughout the day (and night!) you need to use a primer. You need to cleanse your face, apply moisturizer, and prime, prime, prime. A good primer will act as an adhesive as well as a barrier between your skin and the foundation. If you have oily skin, this can be a complete lifesaver. Personally, if I don’t prime, half way through the day it feels like my foundation is slipping off my face. My favorite is the L’Oreal Studio Secrets smoothing & resurfacing primer. Another product you might want to invest in is a setting spray. I suggest Urban Decay All-Nighter Spray (or Urban Decay DeSlick if you have oilier skin). You just spray it before & after applying all your makeup; it will help smooth it out and last longer.
Eyeshadow primer: You’ll also need to use an eyeshadow primer, which will help your eye makeup stand out, and will prevent it from creasing. Try NARS Pro-Prime Smudge Proof eyeshadow base—your eyeshadow will seriously not budge. A cream shadow base like the Benefit Creaseless Cream Shadows works equally well.
Oil control: Don’t forget to powder your skin! Even if your skin doesn’t get oily, it’s an important step for an all-day/all-night kind of event. Another tip is to buy a cheap pack of blotting papers like the Clean & Clear one. This will help control oil, and they slip perfectly into your handbag. Just don’t rub too hard and use it too often, otherwise it’ll mess up your makeup and dry out your skin.
Comfort: Use the makeup you’ve tested and know works well on you. If you have a bronzer that compliments with your skin tone—great, stick with it. If there’s a particular foundation that you love and have been using all your life, you’re golden. You wouldn’t want to use anything you’re uncomfortable with, because you might have an allergic reaction (you never know!) or when you’re looking back on photos it might not look as nice as you thought.
Photo-proof: A big part of any occasion is looking nice for photos and flash-photography, so you need to make sure your makeup is photo proof. Flash photography tends to blow out the face, so it’s a good idea to make sure your makeup is more intense than usual—darker eyeshadow, deeper contour, etc. A simple coat of mascara might not cut it, so false eyelashes will really make your eyes pop in photos. Also, smudging some eyeliner along your lashline will make your eyelashes look even thicker and more present.
Another thing you want to be careful of is using any makeup with too much sparkle. Glitter and shimmer reflect light, so you need to use it deliberately. You don’t want to look like a discoball in flash photography, so make sure your foundation or face primer doesn’t have shimmer. Stay away from liquid face products that are “illuminating”. I would also steer clear of all-over glittery eye looks. Instead, focus the shimmer on spots you want to attract light. A bit of champagne shimmer on the inner-corners of your eyes will help open them up and make you look wide-awake. A very light sweep of highlighter on your cheekbones and on the bridge of your nose will go a long way—just don’t be heavy-handed!
Another tip is to blend your foundation and powders past your jaw and onto your neck. Flash photography will really emphasize any harsh contrasts between your face makeup and your neck, so you need to make sure everything is seamless.
Finally, don’t forget the brows! Even if you have the thickest of eyebrow hairs, it’s important to fill in your eyebrows with powder or a brow pencil (see Anastasia products – they specialize in eyebrows!). The flash will reveal any hidden gaps in your eyebrows, but not if you fill them in. Also, run a clear mascara or brow gel over them when you’re done so that they stay put throughout the day. Keep in mind that super drawn-on brows are never cute, so take your time, use a light hand, and keep it natural.
Lips: My tip for lips is to also pick something you already know suits you. For example, I could never say to myself, “Yes, let me go out and buy a nude lipstick” because I know from experience that nude lipstick doesn’t really suit me. Instead I would opt for a blush pink shade.
Another tip is to make the most out of your lip color by prolonging its wear. The first thing you need to do is scrub your lips – use a lip scrub (my personal favorite is Lush’s Bubblegum scrub), or run your toothbrush over them. This will remove all the dry skin and will ensure that your lip product doesn’t flake. Next you need to moisturize—apply that chapstick! While you’re waiting for the lip balm to sink in, move on to the rest of your makeup. After that, a good tip would be to stain your lips with a product like the Maybelline Superstay 10HR Stain Gloss (my personal fave). Even if your lipstick comes off throughout the day, your lips will maintain at least some sort of color since you stained them. Then, use a lip liner to line your lips with a shade similar to your lipstick. Make sure to not only line the outside, but to color in the center of your lips as well. This will act as an adhesive for your lipstick and will make it last longer. And finally, lipstick. Use a brush for precision. Top with lipgloss if you’re into it, and you’re good to go.
Plan for mistakes: Start with your eyeshadow—the portion of your makeup that is most likely to go wrong. That way, if you need to bust out the makeup remover, you won’t ruin any work you did with foundation/face makeup. You’re also likely to use darker shadows than usual, so beware of fallout! To minimize mistakes, look up makeup tutorials on YouTube. Check out this one by Claire Ashley for something simple. Lisa Eldrige and PixiWoo also have really good, in-depth tutorials for you to follow.
Waterproof: Last but not least, prepare to be emotional. Waterproof mascara is key (check out Tarte “Lights, Camera, Splashes” mascara). Also, pack a few essentials in your handbag—tissues, concealer, powder, and a pocket mirror—so that you can touch up if need-be. Better to be safe than sorry!