Last year I went freelance full time and kicked off the adventure by writing an article for InStyle – the Dos and Don’ts of bridal make up and here is what I had to say:
DO… have a facial the week before the wedding – your foundation will only ever look as good as the skin underneath it. Make sure you exfoliate so your face looks bright and radiant, I love Elemental Herbology Facial Glow, it’s packed with vitamins, enzymes and brightening botanicals, or try a good face mask to make your skin look fresh and hydrated. For congested skin I like Eve Lom’s Rescue Mask, for dehydrated skin Origins Drink Up mask gets my vote.
DO… think about the rest of your skin on show, including your hands. Polish off those dead skin cells with Jo Malone’s Vitamin E body scrub (AKA luxury in a tub!) to reveal silky smooth limbs. A light fake tan is a great way to even out your skin tone but do be cautious; avoid applying this the night before the wedding and be careful not to go too dark. A good hand cream (I love Jo Malone’s Vitamin E hand treatment) and manicure will make all the difference to your hands.
DON’T… think you can get away with using a pot of old moisturiser that’s been lingering in your bathroom cabinet at home for goodness knows how long. It’s vital to choose the correct formula that suits your skin type as this will create the base for your make-up. Ideally use a hydrating serum packed with hyaluronic acid such as Quench by Kate Sommerville, followed by a light gel moisturiser like Darphin’s Hydraskin Light. If your skin is very dry, you will need a richer moisturiser. Don’t forget to use a lip balm to keep your lips soft and supple, I love Creme de la Mer’s The Lip Balm.
DO… invest in a primer. Think of it a bit like a velcro for your make-up – it helps to keep the foundation in place, plus it can smooth over fine lines and open pores. You wouldn’t paint a wall or canvas without a primer, the same is true of your base. The Laura Mercier primer is a firm favourite in my kit, her range offers a few different options so as with your skincare choose the right one for your skin type. It’s a colourless gel so apply a small amount (about the size of a five pence piece) all over your face, avoiding your eye area, after your skincare and before your foundation.
DON’T… use one primer for everything! The skin is different on your eyelids and your lips to the rest of your face, so you need different primers in these areas. I love the Laura Mercier eye basics – it is essentially a skin-toned cream eyeshadow which allows the eyeshadow that follows to stay put, as well making the colours come out brighter. Well worth it!
DO… bear in mind that the perfect foundation won’t just match your skin tone; it will be the right formula for you – whether that’s a gel, liquid, powder (loose or pressed), mineral, BB cream, CC cream or tinted moisturiser. My advice to you is to go and try as many as you can: try various textures and levels of coverage from different brands. If you’re struggling to identify the right product for you, don’t be afraid to ask for advice. Wear the foundation in daylight as this is the most unforgiving light. It’s also handy to see how the foundation wears on your skin and what it looks like in other lights, which is why it’s best to wear it for the whole day. If you get your foundation right, everything else will fall into place. For a natural glowing base I love MAC’s Face & Body foundation as it looks like your skin with the added benefits of being water resistant and longwearing.
DON’T… forget concealer. Many brides ask me: ‘why can’t I just use foundation instead of concealer?’ The answer is: foundation and concealer are not the same thing. They are two separate products with different purposes. Concealer is highly pigmented and designed to provide additional coverage and mask imperfections including blemishes, whereas foundation will give you a veil of coverage and help to even out your skintone. Apply your concealer after your foundation to create a flawless base and brighten your under-eye area.
DON’T… forget powder either. It’s an essential ingredient to set the make-up, though less is more if you want to avoid looking cakey, or ‘dusty’ – as one of my previous bride’s fiancé called it! If you have applied too much powder and now look like you work in a baker shop, don’t panic! Spritz your skin lightly with MAC’s Fix + which will have you back to normal in no time. It’s a spring water spray enriched with vitamins and minerals which puts the hydration back into your skin.
DO… apply your eye make-up before your foundation so that if you have any fall out from your eyeshadow, you can clean up the mess and your skin will be flawless for your foundation. This saves time and energy!
DO… embrace waterproof formulas! There is a whole plethora of waterproof options (eyeliners, eyeshadow primers and eyeshadows) not just mascara. These are really useful, especially if you think there will be a few ‘happy tears’ on your special day.
DO… use an eyelash curler to open your eyes, before applying black (which is universally the most flattering, as it provides the greatest contrast with the whites of your eyes) waterproof mascara. If you’re toying with the idea of false eyelashes but don’t want them to look too dramatic then individual or corner lashes are a good option for a more understated look. To create a natural fluttery look, use differing length lashes so they look more realistic. My top tip for false lash application is to apply them whilst looking down into a mirror, wait until your glue is tacky and place them right in-between your own eyelashes. Easy peasy.
DON’T… go for any make-up look or style that may date too quickly. You don’t want to look back on your photos and regret that you were so on-trend, which then may translate to mildly ridiculous in the future. In the eighties they thought blue eyeshadow up to the browbone was a good idea! Think about the overall theme of your look, if you have an ethereal floaty dress then reflect that in the make-up. Alternatively, if you are wearing a vintage gown then take make-up inspiration from that era.
DO… lightly fill in your brows. Ideally they should look softly groomed rather than drawn on. You can use powder to fill them in with an angled brush, I often use a cool toned, matte eyeshadow or alternatively a pencil such as MAC eyebrows; the key is to match the colour of the product to the brow hair.
DON’T… pluck your brows on your wedding morning. Instead get them shaped a week or a few days before the wedding so you still look groomed whilst avoiding that red puffy look!
DO… think about what colour you naturally go when blushing. You want to choose a shade that will imitate your natural flush. I love using cream blusher as it gives a sheer wash of colour and looks so pretty. Consider your skintone when choosing your blusher so if you’re really fair then don’t choose a colour that’s much, much deeper than your colouring.
DON’T… apply your blusher too soon. Unorthodox as it may seem, I tend to complete the whole face of make-up and apply blusher last so you can see how much colour you need to put back into the skin. This way you don’t overdo your blusher and look like a doll!
DO… wear at least something on your lips. If you don’t, it can look like you simply forgot, or left the house in a rush. It looks incomplete.
DO… use primer and then lip-liner before using your lipstick. Fill in the whole lip with your liner as it will form the base for the lipstick and prolong the wear. The lip-liner and lipstick need to be a similar, if not the same, colour.
DON’T… be afraid to go for a statement lip, if that’s what you feel comfortable with. If your lip is going to be your focus feature, then you need to ensure you have a clean, well-defined lipline so it looks spot on and that the rest of the make-up is softer and takes a back seat otherwise it can all be too much – think boobs or legs, not both!
I hope you found this post handy!