13 Steps to Perfect Wedding Make-Up

1. Picking the perfect make-up artist

If you know someone who looked fabulous on their wedding day – ask them who their make-up artist was! Personal recommendations are always the best. Very often your wedding venue will have a list of mua’s that they recommend or you can search online. If you love natural pretty make-up, avoid a mua that has a portfolio full of dark smokey eyes and bright lips. If you find someone who is available, arrange a trial and make sure you take lots of images of looks that you love from magazines and online.

13 steps to perfect wedding make-up, by Sarah Brock
2. DIY wedding make-up

If you are confident in applying your own make-up (and you know wedding day nerves won’t get the better of you), you can opt to apply your wedding day make-up. Remember though, wedding make-up is different to applying regular make-up – it has to last all day and look photographically perfect in daylight as well as indoors. Book a lesson with a pro mua or you can always book a tutorial on a make-up counter – I recommend using a store such as Space NK, as they sell different brands and you can cherry pick the best of each brand, rather than buying it all from one cosmetics counter.

3. Choosing your make-up look

If your wedding dress is soft, romantic and pretty, a heavy smoky sexy make-up is not going to compliment your dress. Even if you LOVE this style of make-up, you will need to soften it slightly so that it works with the gown. Again, the same applies to your hair – if you choose a soft, boho, loose hair design, you will need to keep the make-up pretty and dewy, so that everything works ‘together’ rather than clashing. Look through bridal magazines (Brides Magazine is the best) and online for inspiration – you can get great ideas not only from bridal magazines, but also from red carpet images – the hair and make-up on the red carpet is always stunning!

4. It’s not just about the make-up, begin with the right skincare

Don’t think you can apply just ‘any old’ moisturiser before your make-up – if it is too thick and greasy, your make-up will ‘slide off’ within hours. Unless your skin is very, very dry, opt for a light, oil free moisturiser that will keep your skin hydrated and will create the perfect base for your make-up. A small amount of eye cream is fine if needed, along with lip balm too.

13 steps to perfect wedding make-up, by Sarah Brock

5. Primer is a must

If you think primers are just an extra product to get you to part with your £s – think again. The right primer will not only help your make-up look perfect for longer, it will also help smooth over fine lines and wrinkles and open pores. There are many to choose from though – as with your skincare, look for one that is suited to your own skin type. Apply all over your face (a small amount is sufficient) after skincare, before foundation.

6. Your foundation the most important part of your wedding make-up

The main reason brides-to-be say they book me for their wedding day is because they love the way I make the skin look so natural. It’s all down to the correct foundation and how you apply it. Get it right and everything else will look amazing – get it wrong and it is the biggest mistake you will make. Invest in a good foundation (you do get what you pay for) and remember, it’s not just about getting the right colour, it is also about getting the right formulation. Get samples from counters, take them home and wear them in daylight, all day (until evening) until you find the one for you. And my top tip – apply in THIN layers, starting from the middle of the face and blend outwards using a foundation brush.

7. Apply concealer AFTER foundation, not before

Concealers are naturally thicker in consistency than foundations (as they are designed to cover imperfections, whereas foundation is just to even the skin tone/ complexion), so to keep your skin looking as natural as possible, you want to use as little concealer as possible. If you apply your concealer first, you will rub most of it away anyway when you apply your foundation, whereas if you even out your skin tone first with foundation, you will then need less concealer. And remember, you may need to buy 2 concealers as the concealer you would buy to cover blemishes will be too dry to use under the eyes, so make sure the concealer you have is suited to the areas you need to cover.

8. Go easy on the powder

Yes, you need to use powder to set your make-up and make sure that your skin doesn’t look greasy in your photos. However, if you are too heavy handed with powder, your skin will look drier, older and cakey. Avoid using a massive powder brush – opt for more of a blusher sized brush and lightly dust your t-zone, your eyelids (to avoid eyeshadow creasing) and with the tiny amount left on the brush, dust over the rest of your face.

9. Avoid ‘sparkly’ products

Stay clear of any eyeshadows/ face powders/ highlighters with a lot of sparkle as they will ‘bounce’ off flash photography. You can opt for products with a little shimmer – this looks more sophisticated and just apply these products in small amounts, using your fingers and blend well.

13 steps to perfect wedding make-up, by Sarah Brock

10. Go for the bridal glow

Get the cover girl glow I create for my brides by using cream blushers – applied to the apple of the cheeks and blended upwards and outwards towards the hairline, it creates the most flattering modern look on the cheeks compared to powder blushers which can sometimes look flat. If you have oily skin, don’t think you have to miss out on this gorgeous look on your wedding day – there are amazing silicone based waterproof liquid cheek stains which will give you the same effect.

11. Gorgeous eyes which can withstand wedding day tears

Don’t think that waterproof mascara is the only waterproof option for your eye make-up – there are waterproof eyeliners (pencil/ liquid/ gel), specific eyeshadow primers, eyeshadow paints/ sticks/ bases which all help towards creating an eye make-up look that once applied, won’t budge! My top tip – keep your eyeshadow colours simple, light and fresh (that way, even if your eyes look sore /tired by the end of the day they won’t look dark and heavy) and add any ‘va va voom’ with your eyeliner. This also looks more modern than lots of heavy ’80’s style contouring’! Keep under the eye area eyeliner free if you know you are going to cry a lot and make sure you curl your eyelashes before applying black (which looks best on everyone), waterproof mascara.

12. Picking the perfect lip colour

Just like your foundation, you need to shop around and try lots of different colours/ tones, as a lipstick can look totally different on the lips as to how it does in the bullet. As a guide, opt for a shade which compliments your blush – so if your blush is more of a coral tone, go for a more coral lipstick and the same applies for pink tones. If you love a strong lip colour, just remember that against a light coloured wedding dress, it will look brighter and more obvious and if you love a statement lip, so try to keep the eyes softer and more natural, to avoid looking like a ‘bridal doll’. Formulation wise, long lasting lipsticks are great for a wedding day, but make sure that they don’t make the lips look/ feel too dry. Also be wary of lip colours/ tones that make teeth look yellow (not a good look with a white wedding dress)!

13. How to touch up during the day

If you apply your make-up correctly, the products you need for touch-ups on the day are:
Pressed powder – to make sure you do not have an oily t-zone for your photographs. Gently pat the t-zone with the powder to remove un-wanted shine.
Cotton buds – have a few to hand to tidy up around the eye area if needed if you cry (and don’t forget the tissues too)!
Lipstick and gloss – after eating, kissing and before any photos, keep your lip products to hand to re-touch if required.
For the evening reception, I advise my brides to also have a blusher (you will be in a darker light for the party so you can apply more if you want too) and also, to maybe make your eye make-up a little more ‘smoky’, you can simply run an eyeliner pencil on the inner rim of the eye and add a little more mascara if you want too.

All tips by award winning bridal make-up artist Sarah Brock. All images are of Sarah’s make-up work. Find out more about Sarah Brock’s work at www.sarahbmakeup.co.uk.

Originally published by GLAMOUR on Thursday, 29 May 2014