Put your best face forward

Go to an expert like Lenora if you’re unsure

Wedding-day beauty isn’t as complicated as its made out to be, and yet I’ve found lists of tips and tricks that are hundreds of items long! I had it easy — a family friend just happens to be an award-winning stylist. He attended my wedding and was there with a lip gloss wand every time I turned around. Not everyone has it so good, but that doesn’t mean bridal makeup has to be complicated and overwhelming.

Start with a clean canvas
You’ll see a lot of bridal checklists that advise setting up a regular months-long regimen of facials and detox sessions, but there’s no reason to go absolutely nucking futz if you have pretty good skin. If you’re skin ain’t all that, I’d suggest going to a proper dermatologist rather than your local aesthetician. Don’t have anything radical done in the month and a half before your nuptials, as skin needs time to heal after harsh treatments like chemical peels. Drink lots and lots of water, exfoliate gently, moisturize, and wear sunscreen…before and after your wedding. In fact, never stop!

Stay true to yourself
Those stylish chicks who never, ever leave the house without mascara probably already have a good idea of the type of makeup that suits them best. You may be perfectly happy going about barefaced 90% of the time, and thus not quite as familiar with the cosmetics that are out there today. Don’t assume that you must put yourself at the mercy of an overzealous makeup artist! If you really want to go without cosmetics, walk down the aisle without them. If you usually look like an extra from Wigstock, don’t feel compelled to tone it down. A good stylist will do all she or he can to make you look how you want to look…not how she thinks you should look. Mine asked me what sort of makeup I usually wore and what celebrity styles I particularly likes, and we went from there.

Choose wisely
Should you decide to apply your own makeup, be practical about it. Tears of joy are incredibly common, so make sure your mascara is waterproof. You’ll probably be doing a lot of kissing — not to mention eating and drinking — so test run a few long-lasting lip colors before settling on the one that will be least likely to require eight zillion reapplications. Silicone-based rimers help makeup stick, ensuring that you’ll look as good when the DJ spins Last Dance as you did when the organist played the Bridal Chorus. Glittery, dewy powders and creams look great…below the neck. Too much facial “glow” comes out greasy in photographs. Do as many trial runs as you need to before the wedding so you feel comfortable applying your own cosmetics on the day of.

Your favorite makeup is no doubt your favorite for a reason. While your makeup artist probably has some wonderful things in that kit she lugs around, you can ask her to use your preferred cosmetics and your application tools. This is a good option for those with particularly sensitive skin and those who are allergic to certain ingredients commonly found in makeup. If you like this option (because it’s sanitary and you get to keep everything after watching an expert apply it) but don’t know where to start, check out these kits from Bare Escentuals:

Learn the basicsThe eyes have it!This is where the magic comes into play

Don’t forget that makeup shouldn’t be stressful, anxiety inducing, or a horrid chore. If you’re not having fun with it, something is obviously wrong. Choose a stylist you get along with, or play around with your own cosmetics until you’re satisfied with your look. There are plenty of cool video tutorial all over the Internet, so you can see exactly how the pros do it. The key word here is of course “play” — beauty is best when it’s amusing and engaging! And if your makeup isn’t utterly and entirely perfect, you’ll still look wonderful because, hey, it’s you’re wedding day!

I’d love to hear from gals who applied their own wedding day makeup. Why did you go that route? And how did it turn out in your photos?

7 Responses to “Put your best face forward”

  1. sterlingspider says:

    Another important point: not doing anything radical for a month before also includes not trying on a bajillion different types of makeup in a short time period. Test out your makeup *well* ahead of time and make sure you live in it a little. The foundation or eyeliner that looks great when you first apply it may be flaking or melting off (or even worse making YOU flake or melt) after three hours. Besides that even if you get away with it for the day who wants to be breaking out for their whole honeymoon?

    Also, choose your financial battles. Makeup can get VERY expensive but in a lot of cases you really do get what you pay for. Eyeliners that stay put, lipsticks that stay on without dessicating your mouth, and foundations that actually really match are worth investing a bit into, but if you have a dimestore blush or shadow that’s always done right by you don’t mess with a good thing.

    Make sure you understand what the makeup is supposed to do and use it to its best advantage. There are brands which actually started for performance use (most notably M.A.C., but Ben Nye and Mehron are big names too) which are great for when you need very tenacious high pigment products, but if you have skin texture problems aim for lower pigment low shimmer lines as heavy pigments are more likely to pool in skin imperfections and shimmery products will often actually highlight what you might want to cover.

  2. Never teh Bride says:

    Thanks for the tips, sterlingspider. I know I hate dessicating lipsticks, but some people don’t seem to find them bothersome. On the other hand, the one lipstick I do have that really dries out my lips is also the one that really, really, really sticks, all freaking day…ugh, I hate compromise.

  3. Dianasaur says:

    I did my own makeup. Although i don’t wear a lot of makeup every day, I did years of ballet, theater, and modeling, so really knew what looks good on me in different lighting, pictures, etc.

    I did some research on different brands and budgeted some wedding money for makeup (partly because I was excited just to be able to have $ for some nicer makeup). I got some things at Sephora, and some at Walgreens. My two big $ purchases that I absolutely am thankful I got were Model in a Bottle and Smashbox Photo Finish Primer. My makeup stayed on and looked great forever.

    The most important thing I did was doing two run throughs during the month before the wedding. I did them on days I had showers. That way I knew how long it would take, saw what didn’t work, and saw how it lasted throughout the day. (the bridal showers were perfect because people took pictures so I could look at those too)

  4. Never teh Bride says:

    I’m envious, Dianasaur! I never even thought to include makeup in my budget so I could get a bit of an upgrade.

  5. lazydaisydays says:

    i did my own, and it was fine. i don’t usually wear much makeup, though, so what for me felt “done up” was probably everyday workwear for most other people. 🙂 i was getting married in the middle of nowhere, so i really didn’t have any other choice but to apply it all myself in my FMIL’s bathroom. worked out great, and it was kind of fun to make the big splash emerging from the bathroom into the kitchen where everyone was hanging out!

    practice was KEY. especially because i’m not usually a makeup gal. but more than that, i cannot say this enough — TEST YOUR PRODUCTS. especially if they’re a new brand for you. i tried to go the whole bare minerals route, and i loved the way it looked…but it made my face ITCH. badly. want-to-scratch-your-face-off itchy. (i didn’t expect it because it’s supposed to be so gentle, but apparently some people are sensitive to one particular ingredient, the name of which i’m forgetting at the moment.) anyway, if i hadn’t done a few run-throughs, i would have been utterly miserable on my day….

  6. La BellaDonna says:

    I used my own makeup, and it worked out fine. What do I wear in my everyday life? For foundation, I wear stage makeup. A very soft cream in the winter, and if I need staying power in the summer heat, pancake.

    Stage makeup is formulated so it’s as kind as possible to as many different skin types as possible. It comes in an unbelievable range of shades, and is very affordable. It’s also designed to last as long as possible. I’m used to having to put on a glamour makeup (i.e., ordinary corrective makeup) that may have to last from four in the morning until midnight, and, for the most part, it does. (Yes, the lipstick does need touching up!)

    NtB, don’t forget to use the specially-formulated “gloss” that’s supposed to be worn with stay-all-day lipsticks! They really do make a difference.

  7. Never teh Bride says:

    La BellaDonna: I didn’t know that about stage makeup but as someone with sensitive skin (and staying-put issues) it sounds like just what I need! Thanks for a great tip!