The Eyes | The eyes can be the window to the soul, so help your peepers shine on your big day with some of these tips and advice! Remember, you can do your own makeup or hire an artist–it’s all in what you want and what works best for your event. When hiring a makeup artist, make sure you know what they will provide you in a touch-up kit so that you can reapply as you need throughout the event. It is also a good idea to be able to do a test run with the artist. These are all things to look for in a good, knowledgeable artist! Oh, and don’t be shy–if you have a look you want to do or an idea in your head, don’t be afraid to tell your makeup artist what you have in mind.
Start With a Base! It is important that no matter what look you go for, if you are planning to wear eyeshadow, wear a base. Layering shadows on top of a product designed to help increase the lasting power of your eyeshadow is imperative. You don’t want to find that your eye makeup has moved all over the place or creased throughout the reception! I adore Soft Ochre paint pot by MAC as my base of choice, but cult favorite Urban Decay Primer Potion is a good choice, too.
Color? It is really important that you think about what your usual makeup style is and what exactly you want to reflect in your wedding photographs. Even though I personally wear colors from bright blue to yellow on my eyes, I know that I would want to opt for less color and something more natural/neutral. I also think that part of deciding colors is thinking about coordinating with both your dress, bouquet, and overall theme/feel of the wedding. Is your wedding a traditional church affair? If so, going for soft beiges and taupes makes a lot of sense. Going to Vegas with Elvis as your preacher? You just may want to have some fun and go for fun, glittery falsies!
Shimmer? Frost? Matte? I think light or low-level sheen/shimmer can be good to accent the lid and also the brow bone as a highlight, but nothing high in frost. If it’s too frosty, it can reflect badly in photos–especially on the brow bone (as the lid is not usually as visible when your eyes are open). One tip I can definitely offer is that using a matte color in the crease helps add dimension to your look and depth to your eye area.
To Line or Not to Line? If you’re going to line, choose something that is going to withstand tearing, both for upper lash lining and lower lash lining. One of my favorite products that I know will not budge are MAC Liquid Last Liners. These will not move a single inch without a good oil-based makeup remover–seriously, when they first came out, I tested their lasting power and swatched it on my skin, and it didn’t start to fade until 48 hours later. If you are opting for a more natural look, I do suggest thinking about using a brown liner over black, for something subtle and less bold (but I also love black liner, and I think it is quite suiting for natural looks, too!).
Tearproof Mascara! Waterproof, smudgeproof, and tearproof! One of my favorite mascaras that really holds up is Clinique Lash Power (and right now, if you test-drive it, you can get a free Lash Power Mascara to try!), which is designed to take on humidity, tears, sweat, you name it and come out on top. I’ve tried it (and put it to the test!), and I can tell you it is Temptalia approved! One quick and easy tip to minimize smudging is to avoid applying mascara to bottom lashes, because tears flow downwards more often than not and can easily make a mess of lower lashes with mascara (but again, I recommend a waterproof/smudgeproof mascara, and then you won’t have to worry at all!).
The Brows Have It! Many believe that one of the key pieces to looking polished and put together are well-groomed and shaped brows. If you have never touched your lashes (bless you!), get yourself to a professional salon/brow guru and have them find the optimal shape for you. I wish I didn’t tweeze (or have my friend tweeze) mine so thin when I was a teen, now I don’t have much to work with! For those ladies like me, I totally recommend Anastasia’s “Tweezers Anonymous” brow kit, which includes stencils, brow filler, and gel to help brows grow back.
Regardless, if you do not have naturally thick brows, filling sparse areas with product is an excellent idea. I prefer using something simple like a powder eyeshadow (love MAC Espresso and Brun) or brow kits like Benefit’s BrowZings or Urban Decay’s Brow Box (I prefer this because it has clear wax, rather than colored, for a brow kit!). If using a powder, try using an angled brush like MAC’s 266. It’s great for perfecting brows (and lining!). For those who prefer brow pencils, forge on, but I definitely recommend taking a clean, disposable mascara wand and brushing it through your brows. This helps to groom them, but it also makes sure that your brows do not look harsh from the pencil! I also like MAC’s Clear Brow Set for keeping those well-groomed and shaped brows in place.
Most products are available at Nordstrom.com and Sephora.com.
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.
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!