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!
- 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 Gratification 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 Skin or Smashbox’s Photo Finish ($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 Concealer ($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!
Most products mentioned are available at Nordstrom.com and Sephora.com.
Are there any colors of makeup that you stay far, far away from? What colors? Will you not wear that color at all, or just not on a certain area (like your lips or eyes)?
For me, yellow is my least compatible color–like Chrome Yellow and I just do not get along. It makes me look sallow!
Common Beauty Fixes for Bridal Disasters
It is important to know what you are trying to counteract; if you opt for something too light, you may get a gray cast to those dark circles you’re trying to conceal. I often find that color correctors are an absolute necessity to really counteracting any discoloration, including dark circles, especially as a prepping stem. Concealer should be a shade or half a shade lighter than your natural color foundation, and it is important that you be patient while applying concealer and do a thorough job. If you have noticeable wrinkling or lines around the eye, I suggest finding a primer that helps minimize noticeable lines by “filling” them in before you apply concealer. My favorite concealer is Kanebo’s Brush-On Concealer–it’s a little pricey, but it does the job well. Other cult favorites are YSL Touche Eclat (also pricey) and Dior Skinflash Radiance Booster (pricey again–see a trend?), but MAC Select Cover Up is a less pricey favorite, too.
Some brands make eye and lip sealers, which help to minimize the effects that water (aka your tears) will have on your makeup. Mascara is the easiest, as so many come in waterproof formulas these days–some, like Kanebo, have kinds that will only come off with water at a certain temperature (like lukewarm water that you’d wash your face with) and others like Clinique’s Lash Power last 24 hours (btw, take the Lash Power Challenge & score a free tube of Lash Power). Liner is tougher, but it can be done, especially if you opt for liquid (Liquidlast by MAC will save your life!). Eyeshadows, blush, and foundation will be the most susceptible to sliding around with too much tearing. Kryolan has a makeup sealer that you can spritz on your face to minimize the effects that works decently. Benefit’s She Laq and Make Up For Ever Eye & Lip Seal can both be effective as well. I do prefer Kryolan, because it holds up better, though, but it is harder to track down.
The most important thing you can do is to layer your makeup, including prepping and priming each area, regardless of whether you routinely do this in your everyday makeup.
Go back to your basic skin routine, and be sure you are absolutely removing all of your makeup each night. It is important that you are getting the right intake of water on a daily basis as well as trying to get at least eight hours of sleep at night–and solid sleep, not constantly waking up. Wedding planning stress keeping you up? Try keeping a notebook by your bedside so you can jot down any last minute ideas or concerns before dropping off to sleep–this way you can deal with those in the morning. Also, reading a fun book may also help relax you (e.g. cheesy romance novels!) and get your mind on something else.
Invest in either Zeno Pro Acne Clearing Device or Thermaclear Heat Enabled Acne Treatment to really banish those nasty zits pretty much overnight. Considering how much the average wedding costs, the cost of either gadget will be well worth it when you see your wedding photos (and much clearer skin). I’ve just found nothing that is more consistent and effective in really reducing and even eradicating that bothersome pimple that decided to pop up right on the tip of your nose two days before the big day. If you can, going to the dermatologist for a cortisone injection is also an option to consider.
Plump Up That Pout
Lining your lips helps to give an appearance that they’re fuller, as well as putting a touch of high shine gloss to the center of your bottom lip. Defining your lips (including accentuating your cupid’s bow) will also help to give an illusion that your lips are bigger than they normally are. Many brands also offer a whole slew of lip plumping products which basically increase the blood circulation of your lips, which then give a bee-stung pout effect. I prefer FusionBeauty LipFusion as my plumper of choice, though it is pricey. I found that it plumped well, held it for a few hours, and it didn’t burn like DuWop’s Lip Venom does (I couldn’t take the sting on that one!).
One of the most important pieces of your bridal makeup choice is how it will reflect in photos. These are mementos you will be looking at for the rest of your life, and it is only natural to want to look your best. Part of this is recognizing that certain makeup and products photograph better than others.
As important as SPF is, note that SPF often reflects light in photographs, which will make your face appear lighter than the rest of you (or wash you out). I always advise you to skip the SPF for this one occasion if it’s possible. If you burn easily and have an outdoor wedding, makeup artist Tosha suggests using MAC’s Prep + Prime SPF50, because it is a primer so it’ll be layered with foundation and powder without SPF that it shouldn’t reflect light, especially since outdoor weddings do not utilize flash as often (and having to wear SPF is usually a concern for those having an outdoor wedding).
Less shimmer means better photography. Flash just interferes with everything, doesn’t it? Shimmer may look fab in person, but it can often reflect too much in photos, causing you to have white spots or look washed out/too bright. It may accentuate wrinkles or problem areas, too. Opt for “adult shimmer” if you must, which is mostly ultra fine shimmer that goes on evenly and subtly.
Test, Test, & Test Again
This is your big day, and there is no reason to decide on makeup the night before. Practice the look you want, especially if you’re doing it yoruself, but more importantly, to test to see how it will hold up under reality. Mist yourself with water to see what happens if you sprung tears all over the place! Wear it for hours and see what it looks like–did your foundation slide around? Wear it out in hot conditions if you’re having an outdoor wedding! Eat a meal and check to see how much re-applying you have to do. Also, if you take take test shots of your makeup either with your own camera or the hired photographer’s–do it! This is totally going to help you determine how you’ll appear in photographs, especially candid shots. If you take these measures, you will be able to fine-tune and create a dream makeup routine that you know will work for your big day.
Most products are available at Nordstrom.com and Sephora.com. Stay tuned for bridal makeup tips for your skin, eyes, lips, body, and even nails!
What brushes do you use for doing your eyes? Brand? Type?
How much do you believe of a product’s claims? Do you go in believing what the packaging says about the product? Are you immediately skeptical? Does it depend on the brand or the claim?
This is your chance to ask any questions you may have that you want me to answer! I will try to answer whatever you may ask, and if I don’t have an answer, I’ll at least do my best to point you in the right direction. I’d love to answer your beauty-related questions, but I will take non-beauty questions, too. As always, if you have a question you’d like to ask that’s private, just drop me an email!
So, not sure whether you should get Rollickin’ paint pot when you already have Aquadisiac eyeshadow? Need to know where to buy a product? Ask anything, and ask away! (And feel free to chime in with answers to other readers’ questions–the more the merrier!)
(I will periodically do posts like these where I will take as many questions as I get to answer.)