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How To Do Your Own Wedding Makeup

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If the thought of a full hair and make-up team hovering around you whilst you wait to begin the best/most stressful day of your life is enough to tip you over the edge, then doing your own wedding make-up could be the solution.

The pros? Lose the entourage and embrace a more chilled behind-the-scenes vibe where you can take control of creating a make-up look you feel comfortable in.

The cons? It’s easy to get the whole thing a bit wrong. And when those wedding photos last forever (no pressure), you want to look your most beautiful, and that means good make-up.

Matteo Scarpellini

Read on for how to do your own wedding make-up according to three pro make-up artists who reveal the tips, tricks and definitely-don’t-dos for how to look like a bridal goddess (and save a couple of bucks in the process)…

How To Do Your Own Wedding Make-Up: The Guidelines

1.Keep weather, location, and colour schemes in mind

    But also consider your style and the look you like to achieve regularly. On the day you should still feel like yourself but pump it up because it’s a special day and there will be a lot of photos taken.

    2. A personalised tutorial will help

    You can learn almost anything from Youtube, but a one-on-one tutorial with a professional make-up artist is a worthy investment for your wedding, especially if you’re new to make-up.

    ‘A session with a pro-artist is customised just for you only,’ says Joy Adenuga, who’s blessed countless brides with the gift of glowing skin. ‘Plus, the lessons and tips picked up can be applied even after the wedding.’

    She recommends booking in at least six weeks to three months in advance. ‘I used to advice six months but discovered brides may have a change of mind, so I prefer doing it closer to the wedding when a lot of decisions have been finalised.’

    how to do your own wedding makeup

    Astrid Stawiarz

    3. Don’t stray too much from your usual make-up routine

    ‘You don’t have to buy all new make-up for your wedding, in fact using what you already own or practicing a few times with new make-up can be a much better way to feel confident and familiar with the look you’re achieving,’ says pro make-up artist and bridal make-up expert, Hannah Martin. ‘If you’re happy with the make-up you use already, why not invest in a new set of brushes to elevate your make-up to a more professional finish.’

    A-list make-up artist Florrie White agrees. ‘Stick to being your true self, just enhance your natural beauty with soft touches and define your features so that they stand up to the camera while also making you glow,’ advices White, who’s a big fan of using Sisley’s Stylo Lumiere to perk up the eyes.

    Hannah Martin’s Top Tip: Pack a separate smaller make-up bag that contains just the products you need for your wedding make-up look. That way you won’t be tempted to use anything you don’t actually need.

    how to do your own makeup

    Vincenzo Grillo/Imaxtree

    4. A subtle smokey eye can be great for a bride

    Stay away from black shadows and anything that can look too heavy in photos. Also consider your wedding location – a more natural make-up look might suit a beach wedding better. Focus on brightening and opening up your eyes, sculpting your face with highlighters and go for rose or nude lips. ‘Pairing a smokey eye with a nude lip can look old fashioned and wash you out, instead opt for a lipstick with a blue-toned pink to lift the whole look,’ advises Martin.

    Hannah Martin’s Top Tip: Bring a decent sized mirror with you – the room you get ready in might not provide one and there’s nothing worse than peering into a tiny mirror giving yourself neck ache.

    5. Practice, practice, practice!

    Especially for brides that don’t usually wear a lot of make-up. This is the best way to figure out what you want and to avoid stress on the big day. ‘There’s so much going on on the actual day that it’s easy to lose track of time and get distracted and end up using that liquid liner you haven’t touched in years,’ advises Martin.

    Do the trial at least a month before the wedding and take lots of photos in different light so you can review them later and decide if you want to make any changes.

    Caroline Barnes’ Top Tip: Wear a white dressing gown or t-shirt for your make-up trial to mimic the colouring of your dress on the day (if you’re wearing white, that is!).

    how to do your own wedding makeup

    Filippo Fortis/Imaxtree

    If you’re having an outdoor wedding be sure to take photos outside so you can see how the natural light affects your make-up application.

    6. Set aside an hour and a half for make-up on the day

    The best way to avoid getting flustered is to take your time. If you’re doing your make-up yourself, practice the look a few times before your wedding day.

    Trish McEvoy’s Top Tip: I always start my make-up applications with eyes first so if there’s any mistakes or eyeshadow fall out, it’s easy to correct without disturbing the rest of your make-up.

    how to do your own wedding makeup

    Filippo Fortis/

    7. Do your make-up before you get dressed to avoid spilling anything on it

    Do your hair first so it can set while you apply your make-up. Remember, when you’re putting on your beautiful wedding dress, cover your face carefully so as not to stain the dress!

    8. Blend! Blend! Blend!

    The most common pitfall for brides doing their own wedding make-up is not blending enough! When you think you’ve blended, blend some more!

    Hair, Head, Hairstyle, Eyelash, Style, Youth, Brown hair, Hair coloring, Blond, Makeover,

    Getty Images

    How To Do Your Own Wedding Make-Up: Step By Step

    Step 1 -Primer

    To avoid layering too many products on your skin, which can make your make-up slip off, use a lightweight moisturiser with a primer built in. Give your skincare a minute to absorb before applying your make-up.

    ‘The secret to making your make-up last all day isn’t necessarily a magic primer but if your skin does tend towards oily, then an oil-controlling primer can help,’ explains Martin. ‘But don’t use this if your skin tends to be dry or dehydrated because it’ll feel tight. Either way, you want to avoid a silicone-based primer as it’ll create a barrier between your skin and your make-up and you want your make-up to blend into your skin, not sit on top of it.’

    Step 2 – Foundation

    When selecting a foundation it’s important to work with your skin type instead of against it.

    If you have oily skin – Avoid foundations boasting an illuminating finish. Go for a satin or demi-matte instead.

    If you have dry skin – Avoid an overly matte formula. A silky matte finish will hold up all day and photograph beautifully.

    ‘It’s a myth that wedding make-up has to mean full coverage heavy matte foundation,’ says Martin. ‘If a bride has good skin and doesn’t need much coverage, I won’t use it. I like to prep skin with a sheer foundation and then use a higher coverage foundation on top, only on the areas that need it.’

    Try to use a foundation without an SPF as any camera flashes will reflect off the SPF creating a chalky look in photos. This is not a myth!

    If you plan on spray tanning for your big day, go a few days ahead of time and get your foundation matched a day after to avoid your face looking paler than your body.

    how to do your own wedding makeup


    Step 3 – Powder

    Powder is always a good idea, but approach with a light hand. Use a finely milled translucent formula, it will help set the make-up and blur the look of fine lines and pores without adding any weight.

    ‘You need to be really careful with setting sprays because, depending on the formulation, a lot of them are hydrators, which is not what we want,’ says Martin. ‘In fact, it’s going to do the opposite to setting your make-up – it’ll add glow and refresh skin that’s looking too matte but it won’t help your make-up stay in place. You’re better off with a loose powder on a small to medium brush pressed into your skin where you need it – around the nose, top of eyebrows etc – to lock in your base.’

    If you’re on the drier side, blotting papers are a great idea, according to Adenuga. It’ll take away the shine without making the skin appear cakey.

    Caroline Barnes’ Top Tip: Use a powder puff to apply a light veil of powder and really push it in.

    Step 4 – Blusher

    You get the most natural finish with a cream blusher and can always layer with a powder for deeper pigment and the longest wear, but the right blusher also depends on your skin type.

    If you have dry skin – You definitely want a cream.

    If you have oily skin – Opt for powder.

    Blusher should always be placed on the high apple of the cheek (the fullest part when you smile) and never too close to the nose to avoid looking flushed.

    Step 5 – Contouring

    ‘99.9% of the time these days I’ll use a cream highlighter for bridal make-up,’ says Martin. ‘Powders can look very metallic and they’re easy to overdo – once it’s on, there’s not much coming back, with cream you have a bit more control.

    ‘Warm it up on the back of your hand or on your fingers and then lightly pat on the tops of your cheekbones – you’ll get the most beautiful lit from within look.

    Florrie White’s Top Contour Tip: Follow the natural architecture of your face. Suck in your cheeks to see where you need to apply more of a shadow for a sculpted result. Follow the hollow from your mouth to your hairline when blend only using upwards sweeping movements instead of swishing back and forth. Then apply on the outer edges of the forehead and under the jawline.

    how to do your own wedding makeup

    Matteo Scarpellini

    Step 6 – Eyebrows

    Your eyebrows should look naturally full and well-shaped. Use a precision pencil to fill in areas of sparseness with small, hair-like strokes. Finish them with a brow gel to fix them in place and create the look of a flattering full brow.

    ‘The secret is to not overdo it,’ advises Martin. ‘Step back and make sure you pencil them in while using a larger mirror, rather than a small close up one. It’s much easier to sense the balance of your make-up when you can see your whole face. Brush up your brows so you can see their natural shape and lightly fill in using a colour that isn’t too intense.’

    Step 7 – Eyes

    ‘Again, don’t overdo it, you want people to see your actual eyes,’ advises Martin. ‘Go for a slightly warmer eyeshadow shade than your natural skin tone and apply in the crease of your eyes to help define.’

    Use a gel eye liner and tubing mascara so that your eye make-up is totally tear proof.

    ‘When it comes to lashes, I love an infill but it can go wrong if you’re not used to having them done. Sweed do amazing natural looking false lashes that are ideal if you want something less permanent.’

    Step 8 – Lips

    Trish McEvoy’s Top Tip: I also love liquid lipsticks – they last all the way from the ‘I do’s to the champagne toasts!

    Nude, rose and pink toned lips look great on brides, although if you’re a fan of bolder hues, there’s no reason to shy away from them on your wedding. A long wear lip liner will keep everything in place during the big kiss.

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