Having your makeup done feels amazing. Something about having a feather light brush run across your cheeks makes you feel like a princess and like you could fall asleep. But the reality of it is, not everyone can afford a professional makeup artist to come to their wedding and not everywhere has a trained makeup artist available.
With a few tips and tricks, you can be your own MUA. Get your notebooks out girls, here’s a mini bridal masterclass just for you.
First step. You guessed it. Get your skincare under control. The better condition your skin is in, the better your makeup will apply and last.
Go to a counter and get color-matched if they have a foundation you want to try or if you truly have no clue what colour you are. Now get your camera out and take photos – inside, outside, with flash, without flash. If you want to test the durability, go ahead and run around, work up a sweat, rub your hands across your face, get kisses from your pup… rub a white shirt on your face! Do everything you can imagine could happen to you on your wedding day and put that foundation to the ultimate test. If it doesn’t ruin your white tee and your skin still looks great after a mini Zumba workout, it will probably do just fine on your wedding day. MAC Face and Body is a waterproof light-medium buildable coverage and comes in a great selection of shades to choose from. The more you work this into your skin, the thicker the texture gets and the more coverage it gives and it leaves your skin with a natural, healthy finish. As the name says, you can use it on your body to even out legs and arms and not have to ever worry about it transferring to your dress. A great colour correcting concealer for under the eyes is Benefit’s Erase Paste and for a fantastic light reflecting concealer try Clinique’s Airbrush concealer in the inner corners and under your brows. Anywhere you want to brighten, great for dark circles. For blemishes stick to a concealer that perfectly matches your foundation. MAC Studio Finish Concealer with a fluffy blending brush does the trick. With minimal product you can buff any imperfections away.
If you plan on getting your brows waxed before your wedding, make sure to do so in advance. Waxing takes off layers of skin and your foundation will have a hard time sticking to these areas.
Smashbox make a great firm, waxy pencil with a chiseled edge on one side and a soft brow gel on the other for giving your brows definition without looking drawn on. Lightly fill in sparse areas with tiny strokes in the direction your hair grows and extend the ends. Holding a brush or pencil at the outer corner of your nose to the outer corner of your eye will give you a guideline of where to extend to. Brush the gel upwards through your brows to keep them in place. For a softer brow, try using a powder instead of a pencil. Benefit’s Brow Zing sets are perfect for giving shape and texture with a duo of powder and a soft wax and comes with brushes and mini tweezers. You can choose how strong of a brow you wear by layering the products.
Search magazines, google bridal makeup looks, search Pinterest and find the eye makeup you love. Whether its a classic smokey eye or a soft one with lots of lashes. Choose a look that is similar to how you wear your makeup already. For example, if you always wear black liner and suddenly don’t on your wedding day, you will not look yourself. Bridal makeup should enhance what you already look like and your personal style. Now’s not the time to try that new fuchsia lipstick if you normally stick to chapstick.
Start practising. Just as you would have a trial with a professional, give yourself time to play around before the day arrives. If you are terrible at applying gel liner but are desperate for that crisp flick, rest your elbow on a table and look down into a mirror. You will be less likely to blink and your arm won’t be shaky. Try and try again. The more you do it, the more you will get to know the shape of your eyes. If you have hooded eyes (when your eyes are open, you can’t see much of your mobile lid) but really love the classic flick, try running a black eyeshadow along your lashes with an angled brush and literally flick your brush upwards as you get to the outer corner. This will create the illusion of elongated eyes. For a smoky eye on a hooded lid, apply your colour all over the lid and finish your blending with your eyes open and looking directly into a mirror.
That brings me to the #1 trick to a professional looking makeup. Blend! Use a clean ring finger, cotton buds or clean fluffy brushes to blend your makeup after you apply them. The more you work your products into your skin, the longer they will last and the more natural they will look. Blending can bring out the colours of some eyeshadows and can build coverage and longevity of your foundations.
Choosing the perfect lipstick can be easy too. If you want to stay natural find a colour that matches your natural lip tone and doesn’t mask it. L’Oreal’s Colour Riche Wet Shine Stain is the perfect dupe for YSL’s Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain. It gives you the long wear of a lip stain and the finish of a gloss and feels silky smooth on the lips. Clinique’s Chubby Sticks are also a favourite with both sheer and intense shades to choose from. They feel like a lip balm and are easy to touchup throughout the day.
If you want a stronger, longer lasting lip colour such as a classic red, apply lipliner all over your lips. Blend it in with a brush. Apply your first layer of lipstick and blot the excess. Repeat. The more layers, the better. Some of my clients like to leave it here for the event and add a gloss over top of their stain as the night goes on.
Choosing a blush can be a little trickier because the last thing you want is to look like Aunt Sally. Find soft tones with minimal to no shimmer such as bareMinerals Laughter or Beauty loose blush. These are my go-to blushes that suit practically everyone. Laughter is a soft neutral peach that looks great along the cheekbones blended into bronzer and Beauty is a soft neutral pink that enhances the apples of your cheeks with a flirty natural flush. Keep in mind that you need your blush to show in photos so add a layer more than you normally would and take a photo with your cell outside before your big debut to make sure you have enough blush and eyeshadow.
Mascara is all about the brush. If you want defined lashes, choose one with a synthetic brush. For volumized lashes, choose a brush that is nice and thick and has natural bristles. For the best of both, try Benefit’s They’re Real Mascara. It is smudge proof, but if you know you are going to shed more than a few tears, clean the brush off and use it with any waterproof mascara. Again, layer until you get the fullness and separation you want and avoid letting it dry in between each layer to avoid flaking.
If you want to try lashes and have never used them before, try them on for a full day before you decide. Get your tweezers, a good glue such as Duo’s Surgical Adhesive, and look down into a mirror, just like when you are doing your eyeliner. Try to avoid using strip lashes that have a thick band. The ones that have a clear gap in between each bundle of lashes are a lot more comfortable if this is your first time. You may need to trim them if they are too long. Always trim from the outer lashes (where its the fullest) and keep the side with the shorter lashes there, they go in the inner corner to keep the lash length the same way your natural lashes grow. I recommend using short individuals. They’re easier to apply and you don’t have to worry about ruining your makeup if you decide to take them off half way through the ceremony. Just place each lash bundle as close to your lashes as possible. Let them dry completely before putting any mascara on top. I like to start in the middle and work my way to the outside corner, checking the fullness as I go and repeat on the other eye. If you have trouble, ask a bridesmaid to help you with this. You might find after using Benefit’s mascara, you won’t need any fake lashes!
Finish your hard work with a setting spray or finishing powder. BareMinerals Illuminating Mineral Veil is great if you want a bit of shimmer, I concentrate this only on the tops of cheekbones and along arms and décolleté and use the Original Mineral Veil all over and especially under eyes to give an airbrushed look. You will look amazing in photos AND in person. The key to great bridal makeup.
Remember, its just makeup. If you make a mistake you can easily start over. Practice really does make perfect and there’s nothing like the satisfaction of knowing you CAN do it yourself.