Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

The Skin | This portion of our series on wedding makeup features perfecting the skin from a makeup standpoint. Please make sure you check out our general tips for brides-to-be!

The Tools

  • Concealer Brush
  • Stippling/Buffer Brush (if you choose liquid foundation)
  • Loose Powder Brush
  • Blush Powder Brush
  • Buffer Brush

Liquid or Powder? I find that liquid foundation lasts longer and looks better overall. There are certain powder formulations, including mineral makeup, that can still give skin an airbrushed look. Generally speaking, liquid is also easier to apply and have it look good than powder–but you should opt for what you’re more comfortable with, especially if you’re an everyday powder girl and already look fabulous that way!

Choosing the Finish: Do you have dry, oily, or combination skin? If you have oily skin, definitely choose a matte or semi-matte finish, and you’ll probably want to avoid anything that says “dewy” in it. If you have drier skin, semi-matte as well as dewier finishes work well for your skin type; matte finishes may end up emphasizing your dry skin, especially if you have dry patches. Overall, dewy finishes work well for less people because it can often make you look like you actually have oily skin, even if you don’t, which is the last thing you want to see in photos!

Application: Flawless, Airbrushed Skin

Step 1: Start with well cleansed, moisturized skin. You should exfoliate the night before (I like Prescriptives’ Instant Gratificationicon as my all-time favorite exfoliant) so that your skin has plenty of time to calm down (fairer skins notice more redness post-exfoliation, which is normal and goes away within hours). Cleanse your face in the morning as per usual (light cleanser is just fine, since you don’t accumulate much dirt while sleeping…). Moisturize your skin with your choice of moisturizer, but you should have chosen one that is appropriate for your skin type. No heavy moisturizers if your skin is oily–it will only emphasize and work against you! A light layer of moisturizer is best, especially for outdoor weddings, because too much can just make it easier for everything to slide off.

Step 2: Prep your skin with a face primer. You can choose your favorite, or you can check out popular favorites like MAC Prep + Prime Skinicon or Smashbox’s Photo Finishicon ($38.00).

Step 3: Conceal any areas that you feel require color correction or general concealer (e.g. under eyes, eye lids, pimples, zits, scars, etc.). Remember, green counteracts red, yellow counteracts blue, and pink brightens skin, so use appropriate products where they may need to be. If you have fine lines or wrinkles, I suggest using a product that is designed to “fill in” wrinkles like Clinique Line-Smoothing Concealericon ($14.00). Some brands sell concealing kits, like Benefit’s Realness of Concealness ($30.00), which can offer you more bang for your buck. Use a concealer brush or small sponge to gently blend concealer into the areas, but go softly and you don’t need to fully blend.

Step 4a: If you chose liquid foundation, apply dabs of the foundation on the planes of your face (like a dab on each cheek, chin, nose, forehead) using a small foundation or concealer brush. Using a buffer brush, gently mist it with water (or MAC’s Fix+) and then buff the liquid foundation into your skin by moving the brush is soft, circular motions. Buff the initial dab of foundation outwards and keep buffing in larger and wider circles until the area is well-blended. If you need heavier coverage, apply dabs of foundation where needed, and then repeat the buffing process. Let your foundation settle for a minute or two, and then

Step 4b: If you chose powder foundation, apply directly to face using a buffer brush and blend the product into your skin with small, circular motions. Start in a small area and then make wider circles to cover the entire area. Apply more powder as needed.

Step 5 (Optional): If you want to contour your face (cheeks, nose, chin, jawline), this is the time you should do so. Using an angled fluffy brush (like MAC’s 168), apply your contour color along areas that you want to further define. You do not want to go too heavy on your contouring, because while it may show up nicely in photographs, you will come off looking overdone in person (and it is important to look as good in person as you do in photos!). When choosing a contour color or product, be advised that you can simply use foundation in a darker color (try 1-2 shades deeper) or a powder blush/pressed powder that is, again, a shade or two darker than your actual skintone. I like MAC’s Sculpt & Shape line, which is always available at PRO locations. I also like using darker foundation in a pinch, because you can usually just get a sample of a darker foundation and that’ll be enough to contour with for your wedding. To define cheeks, lightly shade the upper hollow of your cheeks (make a fish face, you’ll notice them). To thin down a nose, softly shade the sides, just below the bridge but above the nostril. For the jawline, lightly darken the edge of the lower jawline (this is also how you can define the chin).

Step 6: Apply your choice in blush (cream, stain, or powder) using a powder blush brush for powder blushes, applicator of your stain, or a stippling brush for cream blushes. You’ll want to put a light dusting of the color the apples of your cheeks, which you can find by smiling really wide and big. It is important to choose a color that complements the rest of your makeup, skintone, and the feel of your look. Optimally, I advocate using something that’s natural and only flushes the skin without being heavy handed with the color. Low-level shimmer/frosts should be used for blush choices, because shimmer can often reflect too much in photos causing you to look oily. If the blush looks splotchy or too heavy, simply use you buffer brush and buff the color to both blend it and weaken its pigmentation. Make sure if you are using a stain that you are familiar with the product and how quickly it dries!

Step 7: Apply a loose powder (like MAC’s Loose Blot Powder) with your buffer brush, using the same circular motions as before, to set the foundation. This will help it last longer and allow oil to be better absorbed and make it less likely that your foundation will slip off your face mid-ceremony. By sandwiching the blush between a layer of foundation and the setting powder, it will help it last longer, as well.

Step 8: If you’ve gotten your hands on a sealing spray like Kryolan’s Dermacolor Fixing Spray, be sure to spritz that now to help lock in your makeup for the day. Keep blotting papers on hand for mid-event fix-ups and touch-ups. Also, keep a powder compact for more critical touch-ups (because who wants to carry around liquid foundation, setting powder, and the brushes?).

Step 9: With a critical eye, try to see if you missed any spots (like not blending into your neck to avoid lines!) or need to go back and conceal dark bags a little more.

Step 10: Breathe easy, your face is looking flawless!

Coming up in our Wedding 2008 series, the eyes, lips, body, and nails!

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10 thoughts on “Bridal Makeup: All About the Skin — Choosing the right foundation, flawless skin, makeup for photographs!

  1. Excellent post! I’ve always believed that once the foundation is perfected, the other make-up steps get done in a trice. Every bride-to-be should read this :)

  2. Theresa

    This post made me wanna get married all over again…(to the same person of coz!)

  3. springhappy

    Hi, Christine!
    Excellent post! Since you mention using a buffer to buff in liquid foundation, do you have any suggestions? Is MAC 182 good for this purpose? Thanks so much!!

  4. Tanya M

    What about shimmery eyeshadow? Does that tend to photograph strangely?

    • It can! I would go with a low-level shimmer shadow and keep it mostly on the lid. Be sure to use a matte color in the crease because it really adds a lot of depth!