Doing your own makeup for your wedding is a great idea because (1) it’s cheaper and (2) no-one knows your features better than you. With that said, being responsible for your own makeup on one of the most photographed days of your life can be intimidating. Pro makeup artists Matin Maulawizada, Joanna Schlip, and Colleen O’Neill know a thing or two about getting brides camera-ready for the big day. Here, all three share their secrets for making your makeup last and look flawless all day (and night) long.
1. You don’t need to buy all new makeup. If you’ve already found products that offer up the perfect finish and match your skin tone exactly, don’t switch anything up for your wedding, says Maulawizada. Stick with the products you’re positive will work for you.
2. Make sure you do a makeup trial and be sure to take photos of yourself. No matter what, you need a practice round or two before your big day. Try out your makeup look a few months before your wedding, and then again the week before around the same time of day as your wedding. Schlip suggests taking photos under different kinds of lighting (fluorescent, natural, candlelit, etc).
3. Look for products labelled ‘long-wear’, ‘long-lasting’ and ‘waterproof’. Brides typically start getting ready early in the morning and need to look camera-ready until the very end of the day. Schlip says the key to keeping the majority of your makeup in place through the sweat, tears and hugs is to use products that are designed to last.
4. Don’t reach for products that are high-definition, anti-ageing or contain SPF, which will give your face a white cast in photos. HD powders and anti-ageing concealers are great when used minimally but if you use even the slightest bit too much, the particles in the products will act as mirrors and reflect the camera’s flash, leaving you with a ghostly pale face.
If your wedding is outside, it’s a good idea to use products with SPF, but be careful that it doesn’t leave behind an ashy or bluish tone on your skin. If you can, Maulawizada recommends skipping foundation with SPF altogether just for your wedding to prevent the possibility of a face that’s too light for your body.
5. Allow yourself plenty of time to do your makeup on your big day. The last thing you want is to be rushed, so Maulawizada suggests that you allow yourself much more time than usual. If you finish early, you can chill out and drink mimosas with your bridesmaids, and if your eyeliner takes you longer than planned (it always does), you won’t feel rushed to get everything else ready before photos.
6. Moisturise your skin before applying any makeup to help mask the appearance of wrinkles. If you think skipping moisturiser will prevent your face from being shiny in photos, you’re wrong! Makeup artists can’t stress enough how important it is to have properly moisturised skin for the day of your wedding. If your skin is dry, it will absorb the products and the makeup will settle into your fine lines and wrinkles, making them appear worse. Use an oil-free moisturiser all over your face and a thicker cream around your eyes.
7. Primer is a must for keeping your foundation in place. After you’ve moisturised your skin, the next step for long-lasting makeup is to evenly apply a makeup primer all over your face. Maulawizada recommends only using primers that are silicone-free since silicone-based primers are too slick and will cause makeup to slide right off your face.
8. Use an eye-shadow primer too. Your eyelids can get oily just like the rest of your face, so regular eye shadow won’t be strong enough to stay on your eyelids by itself. O’Neill says if you don’t apply an eye-shadow base, primer or concealer over your lids (all give the shadow grip), the product will slip off and settle into the eyelid’s creases instead. Try Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer, R200 at Redsquare.co.za.
9. Use a damp sponge when applying your foundation for a soft, non-cakey finish. The purpose of foundation is to even out the skin tone, not hide blemishes, so there’s no need to load it on. Maulawizada suggests using the same foundation you use every day and a damp sponge to thin out the product for a sheer finish. Start by applying the product in the middle of your face and blend it out around the edges so you don’t have any harsh lines that make it look like you’re wearing a mask. If you have blemishes or spots to camouflage, tackle them with concealer afterwards – the foundation will work to cover some of the redness, and then you can fully cancel out any pink tones with cover-up.
10. Blend, blend, blend! One of the biggest mistakes women make is not blending in their foundation past their jawlines and down onto their necks and chests, Schlip says. If your face is five shades lighter than your body, it will ruin your photos. Also, make sure there aren’t any harsh lines from foundation or contouring, or you’ll look overdone instead of ethereal.
11. Use a concealer that matches your skin tone, and set it with a yellow-tinted powder. Contrary to what you’ve heard, do not use a concealer that is lighter than your skin tone under your eyes on your wedding day, says O’Neill. In photos, this will give you obvious white circles rather than even, flawless skin. Use a concealer that matches your skin, and then set it with a yellowish powder. The yellow powder will warm the area under your eyes and brighten your skin tone.
12. Amp up your eye shadow but don’t try a completely new look. Now is not the time to try out smoky eyes. The goal is to look like the best version of yourself, not a completely different person, Maulawizada says. If you normally wear nude shadows, bump it up with a shimmery nude shadow, but lay off the darker shades if that’s not what you’re used to.
13. Keep most of your makeup natural — except for your lashes. All three makeup artists suggest using individual false lashes to accentuate your eyes. Strip lashes can look obvious in person and in photos but individuals lash clusters allow you to choose the areas you want to accentuate, like the outer corners. Make sure to use black glue, such as Catrice Lash Couture Singles (R69,95 at Redsquare.co.za), and camouflage the glue with a black liner after you’ve applied the lashes to your lash line for a seamless finish.
14. Go easy on the contouring for a more natural look. Contouring, if it’s done wrong, can be too harsh and noticeable for video and real life. If you choose to contour, Schlip and Maulawizada suggest using a powder palette so you can subtly build on the depth (contouring with foundation is too tricky and often too obvious). Click through for a step-by-step tutorial.
15. For the perfect wedding glow, use highlighter. To avoid a shiny face, choose a matte formula for most of your makeup (foundation, primer, concealer, bronzer, powder). Then, to give yourself that angelic red-carpet glow, take a shimmery cream highlighter, and apply it with a fan brush across the tops of your cheekbones, down the middle of your nose, above your Cupid’s bow, in the middle of your chin, and over your brow bone. O’Neill notes that you should only apply the shimmer highlighter to the areas on your face that naturally catch the light. Also, avoid highlighting areas with break-outs because the product will, well, highlight your blemish.
16. The key to preventing a shiny face is to use a translucent powder on your T-zone. Once your makeup is finished, use a fluffy brush and lightly tap your face with a sheer, matte powder, such as MAC Julia Petit Prep + Prime Transparent Finishing Powder (R350 at Maccosmetics.co.za). O’Neill recommends bringing this powder with you in your purse so you can touch up your face if it gets sweaty and shiny throughout the day and night.
17. Don’t use a super-glossy lip product. Use a lip stain or liner to tint your lips, then top with a lipstick in a satin or matte finish. These formulas won’t kiss off on your guy’s lips and will stay on yours, Maulawizada says.
18. Don’t forget body makeup. When applying makeup for a wedding, keep in mind that the makeup shouldn’t stop at your face. If you want a glowy, dewy makeup look, Schlip says you should make sure the glow extends to your chest, shoulders, and arms for an even all-over Victoria’s Secret model glow. A tinted body shimmer lotion will brighten your skin and won’t transfer onto your white dress.
19. Finish with a setting spray to keep your makeup in place. Spritz your face with a makeup setting spray once you’re completely finished, O’Neill says — your makeup won’t budge.
This post originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.com