Tradition says you need something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue on your wedding day. To that, we would add something glam. It doesn't have to be much: a swipe of rosy lipstick, fluttery lashes to frame your eyes, or a touch of highlighter to enhance your day-of glow.
"You want to look at your wedding pictures in a frame and see your authentic self reflected back at you," makeup artist Tasha Reiko Brown tells Allure. "The goal is not to look like a 'classic bride,' but to look like classic you as a bride," says Brown.
This doesn't mean you have to stay in neutral territory with your wedding makeup — but now is not the time to try a trend. "Sometimes, [brides] make a departure from their usual look on their wedding day because they want to achieve something extra special and dramatic, but it's worth remembering that your fiancé fell in love with you for who you are, so you don't have to change a thing," advises makeup artist Lisa Eldridge.
As you prepare for your wedding, say "I do" to these tips from an all-star lineup of some of the best celebrity makeup artists in the business.
- Amrita Mehta is a makeup artist based in New York City.
- Ashunta Sheriff is a makeup artist based in New York City and the founder of Ashunta Sheriff Beauty.
- Charlie Riddle is a makeup artist based in New York City and a spokesperson for Stila Cosmetics.
- Daniel Martin is a makeup artist based in New York City and the global director of artistry and education at Tatcha.
- Gucci Westman is a makeup artist based in New York City and the founder of Westman Atelier.
- Jaleesa Jaikaran is a makeup artist based in New York City and host of The Life of a Makeup Artist.
- Jillian Dempsey is a makeup artist based in Los Angeles and the founder of Jillian Dempsey.
- Holly Gowers is a makeup artist based in New York City.
- Landy Dean is a makeup artist and brow professional based in New York City.
- Lisa Eldridge is a makeup artist based in London, the founder of Lisa Eldridge Makeup, and the creative director of Lancôme.
- Mario Dedivanovic is a makeup artist based in New York City and the founder of Makeup by Mario.
- Misha Shandaz is a makeup artist based in New York City.
- Nam Vo is a makeup artist based in New York City.
- Shani Darden is an aesthetician based in Los Angeles and the founder of Shani Darden Skin Care.
- Tasha Reiko Brown is a makeup artist based in Los Angeles and a spokesperson for Chanel Beauty.
- Violette is a makeup artist based in New York City, the founder of Violette FR, and the creative director of Guerlain.
1. Create a mood board to establish a clear vision.
If you haven't become well-acquainted with Pinterest, now is the time to get familiar. The platform features countless images of makeup inspiration you can compile together digitally. "Visuals help inspire and hone in on the details of what and how you want to look on your big day," says makeup artist Daniel Martin.
And if you're working with a professional makeup artist, it's also helpful for them. "Having a reference can better articulate what you have in mind," makeup artist Gucci Westman tells Allure.
2. Take photos during your trial run.
If you plan to partner with a professional makeup artist, it's important to find someone who understands your style. Consult a few different makeup artists early on and book at least six months in advance. "Spend plenty of time exploring and perfecting your process, as well as working out which products work for you will save you a lot of stress on your wedding morning," says Eldridge.
It's always best to have a trial ahead of time and check that all your products don't have flashback. "Take photos prior so you get an idea of what it's going to look like in photos and in person as well," makeup artist Charlie Riddle tells Allure.
If you plan to do your own makeup, this is just as important. "Practice the look several times before the wedding," says makeup artist Holly Gowers. “Be sure to write down what you used.”
3. Pamper your skin for the best base possible.
"Your wedding day is all about prepping the skin, focusing on making sure the skin is hydrated and glowing before applying makeup," says aesthetician Shani Darden. If you haven't been diligent about your skin-care routine, now's the time to begin.
Healthy, glowing skin makes the perfect canvas for luminous makeup. Regular facials help to prep skin, but try to avoid having any invasive type of facial too close to the big day, says makeup artist Misha Shandaz.
4. Primer is key for making your makeup last.
Your wedding day is a marathon, not a sprint and you'll want your makeup to hold up through every last photo, dance, and toast. That makes primer essential. "My hands-down, never-fail, go-to product for weddings is Tatcha The Liquid Silk Canvas Primer," says Martin. [Editor's note: Martin works with the brand.] "It locks down base makeup for hours of wear, does not alter your foundation pigment, and works with both water-based or cream foundation."
Two other favorites among Allure editors: Shiseido Synchro Skin Soft Blurring Primer (for oily skin) and Make Up For Ever Hydra Booster Step 1 Primer (for a luminous finish), both Best of Beauty Award winners.
5. Consider multiple factors when it's time to choose your foundation.
"Understand your skin type to choose the best complexion products to use for long wear," says Martin. "This simple task will make your makeup last so much longer to eliminate constant touch-ups on your big day," he says.
Also, consider the environment where you are getting married. "Lasting effects are more difficult in humidity," says Westman. She suggests powdering skin as a final step if balmy temperatures are in the forecast. To control shine, dust translucent powder across the forehead, the sides of the nose, and on the chin using a powder puff.
6. Let your skin shine through your makeup.
Use a light hand when applying base makeup. Start with a little bit of product, keeping in mind that you can add more coverage. "I always advise people not to add too many layers like concealer, powder, or contouring because I think your skin needs to breathe in order to look radiant," says makeup artist Violette.
7. Combine textures for a lasting look.
No matter how "long-wearing" a product may claim to be, "makeup moves throughout the day," says makeup artist Amrita Mehta. To minimize fading and smudges, layer liquid and cream products beneath powders. "Apply cream blush first, followed by a powder blush for a flush that has double the wear," says makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic.
The same goes for your eye makeup: "Trace over liquid or gel eyeliner with a bit of eyeshadow in the same shade. If you are wearing cream eye shadow, set it with a powder for the best payoff," says Mehta.
8. Turn your own natural beauty up to "medium."
One look that never fails: radiant skin, rosy cheeks, flushed lips, and some definition on the eyes. "I call it 'medium makeup' because it's not too strong or hard on one feature and soft on another," says Dedivanovic. He suggests avoiding dark colors on the eyes. "Use brown eyeliner instead of black and add false lashes for the perfect amount of definition."
For an allover ethereal look, stick to a soft, peachy palette. "I like to play up the eyelashes with polished, glowing skin using soft hues such as peach, pinks, and taupes," says makeup artist Jillian Dempsey.
9. Brighten up with a touch of color.
Ultimately, you want to look and feel like yourself. If that means making a seemingly bold choice for a wedding — like wearing crimson lipstick — go for it. "I love that brides are stepping out of 'traditional' bridal makeup and opting for smoky eyes and bold lips," makeup artist Jaleesa Jaikaran tells Allure. For lipstick with staying power, "apply one layer of color then blot lips with rice paper and apply the lip color again," says Brown.
And nothing says you have to go easy on the eyes. "I absolutely love a pop of color," says Gowers. “Add a bright eye shadow shade to the inner eye." For a subtle 3D effect, Gowers suggests adding delicate rhinestones to really shine bright.
For a softer approach, "consult the color wheel to see what tones complement your eye color to make them stand out," says Mehta. "Try a purple or navy liner on brown eyes, plum or deep green on hazel eyes, and burgundy on green eyes."
10. Concealer is key for fixing the unexpected — and the inevitable.
Did your rehearsal dinner last until dawn? This is the beauty of concealer. To hide undereye circles, dot a creamy formula below the inner corners of your eyes with a brush and work it outward. Use your fingertip to gently press (not rub) the formula onto the skin where it seems darker.
To camouflage a zit, "use a concealer a bit darker than you would use under your eyes, so it does not brighten the zit," makeup artist Nam Vo previously told Allure. After applying the concealer, Vo tops it with a foundation powder for additional coverage. "I tap not only the zit, but I tap the area around the zit, so everything matches."
By the time the ceremony happens, there is a good chance there will be tears of joy. "You don't want to have raccoon eyes, runny concealer, or smeared lipstick," says makeup artist Ashunta Sheriff, "so use waterproof everything!"
11. Tame your veil to prevent smudges.
If you have an outdoor wedding where the wind could be a factor, try Brown's tip to weigh down your veil so it doesn't stick to your lips: "I've seen many brides have their veil smudge a bold lip of gloss when it catches on the mouth. Put a clip-on earring on the bottom of your veil to prevent this — and add a touch of sparkle at the same time."
12. Have setting spray on standby.
When you have on your dream makeup, "nothing beats the mental and actual security of a setting spray that locks makeup in. The key is to use it throughout the application and after the makeup process," says Jaikaran.
Try Milk Makeup Hydro Grip Set + Refresh Spray for an alcohol-free hybrid that hydrates and locks on makeup. "I tested this in Aruba and it holds up even in the Caribbean heat," says Jaikaran. If you prefer a glowy finish, she suggests Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Setting Spray.
13. Look in the mirror.
Pause for a moment to make a conscious memory and peek in the mirror to see yourself as a bride. At the same time, double-check that everything is even: “Make sure your foundation is blended down to your décolletage to ensure your skin tone looks uniform,” says Mehta. "In the winter months, if you aren't exposed to the sunlight, a light spray tan can help even everything out." A trial is essential.
And don't forget to moisturize your arms and legs, says Mehta. Ashy elbows and knees have no place on the aisle.
14. Pack a touch-up kit.
There will be smiles, kisses, champagne toasts… and even the most well-applied makeup is bound to fade. "Ask a bridesmaid or your nearest and dearest to have a few essentials to make sure your makeup looks fresh from the day into the night," says Eldridge. She suggests including your chosen lipstick, a small powder compact and powder brush (or blotting papers), a brow brush, and concealer.
Gowers adds that premoistened cotton swabs are a must: "They make it so easy to clean up stray eye shadow or lipstick that has traveled."
15. Cushion time is mandatory.
Today is your day! Save yourself from any last-minute rushing or breaking a sweat and tack on a few extra minutes to your prep time. "However long you think your makeup will take, add 30 minutes," makeup artist Landy Dean has told Allure. "The fear is that you'll be sitting ready, but that rarely happens."
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