Bridal make-up is arguably the marmite of the beauty world. Where it should be timeless, radiant and elegant, enhancing the natural beauty of the wearer beneath a soft focus veil, so often it is overly done, tacky or even a little ‘prom-esque’. I am frequently approached by bridal clients who are anxious to avoid looking like they have just buzzed in from 2003 on their wedding day. Thankfully, there are a plethora of bridal beauty products and tricks which I utilize to ensure you feel confident in your wedding make-up look.
1. Bridal skincare really is everything
To borrow a metaphor from the realm of DIY, you can’t create a flawlessly painted room from a cracked wall! Invest in good skincare in the months leading up to your wedding day to nourish and prepare your skin to wear make-up for a long period. This might include an indulgent cleanser for morning and night, such as the Eve Lom Cleanser, which conditions, exfoliates and tones. Why not create your own at home bridal facial? Add a more indulgent moisturiser night and day to plump up fine lines like the Elemis Pro Collagen Marine Cream, as well as an effective eye cream which depuffs and combats dark circles, such as All About Eyes by Clinique.
2. Understand Foundation, its purpose and different finishes
Bridal clients often approach me saying they liked that they “could still see the person” beneath my bridal make-up. A good make-up artist should understand that Foundation is a perfecting tool, not a wiping out tool. Instagram make up trends have encouraged a mass of young girls and women alike to think they need to use foundation and concealing products in vast quantities, completely masking and then redrawing their features. Much less product is needed; think instead of a well primed and cared for face, which only needs foundation to perfect and enhance.
Good quality foundations such as Laura Mercier’s Candle-Glow Soft Luminous Foundation or Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation both create radiance and are comfortable to wear all day. Applied to well primed skin, these are perfect wedding day foundations that wear well and can be built up to a desired coverage level. Remember, everyday make up is not wedding make up; you will need a little more than you ordinarily would wear to ensure it photographs well, but still should feel like you. It is a myth that SPF causes flashback with flash photography; the real culprits for this are the ingredients zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which are not found in higher quality SPF formulas, or the make up products a good make-up artist would select for a bridal look.
3. Concealer under eyes: approach with caution!
Instagram make up tutorials often show concealer being applied beneath the eyes like a generous serving of jam being spread on toast. (Helpfully, the wearer is often a fifteen year old with not a jot to conceal anyway.) This is not only a waste of product, but will also crease if the wearer has any fine lines or likes to smile – which on your wedding day – you will! Instead, approach concealer as the perfecting tool it is; most formulas are highly pigmented anyway, so a little goes a long way. Concealer should be applied under the eyes on the inner corners with gently dabbing and tapping in, never on the eyelid where it will slip. An eye lid primer should be used here instead to ensure shadow remains throughout the day. Good under-eye concealers for a bridal make up look include Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage, and Clinique’s Airbrush Concealer. The illusion of high points can still be created by your make up artist with just the deftest touch of concealer on cheekbones. Slathers of paint-like concealer should be avoided.
4. Finishing Powder is the key to great photographs
Don’t be afraid of setting powder, for it isn’t the skin drying nemesis of yonder. In fact it will set and bring together a make up look, enhancing skin finish for photography and ensuring make up stays perfect all day. The best finishing powders for a bridal make-up look include the fantastic Primed and Poreless Pressed Powder by Too Faced or Laura Mercier’s Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Both are softly blurring, as opposed to shimmery or overly matte. They will absorb any excess oil and soften, not flatten, features.
5. Highlight believably!
Again, instagram has done much to create confusion around the idea of highlighting. Whilst on a heavily filtered, hazy iPhone video of a teenage model it seems desirable to apply daubs of liquid highlighter with a brush to the face as a finishing touch, in reality over the course of a wedding day the wearer would be left looking shiny and larger than they are, particularly in flash photography. Remember, instagram glow make up looks are created as click-bait; they are not best practice for make-up outside the studio. I avoid excessively shimmery finishing powders or creams for the entire face on my bridal make up clients. It is more flattering to apply highlighting powders, such as Bobbi Brown’s cult classic Shimmer Brick, sparingly to the areas of the face that you would like to bring forward, as if they are naturally being hit by the light.
6. Stick to matte eyeshadows
Shimmery eyeshadow in wedding photography can in fact make your eyes appear smaller, having the opposite effect of that intended. Instead, a matte smokey eye in natural taupe and soft brown shades blended into the socket will create depth and the illusion of a doe eye. A dab of shimmer on the inner corners and centre of the eyelid is all that is needed to create a pop, not all over shimmery shades.
7. The best mascara for your wedding day?…
Whilst some brides will feel most comfortable in false lashes, consider instead getting an eyelash tint in the lead up to your wedding day. This will ensure each of your top and bottom eyelashes (you often have more than you think!) are enhanced and visible, without the worry of wearing often uncomfortable and obvious falsies. Eyelash curlers are used to help open up the eye, and combined with a good lengthening mascara such as Hypnôse Waterproof Mascara, your lashes will be dressed for the occasion, and any tears.
8. Pay attention to your eyebrows…
Whilst a thick, carved out Kylie Jenner brow is an instagram trend now, it is not the most flattering or timeless make up technique for a bridal make-up look. Years from now, you want to look back at your wedding photos and still appreciate the make up look you wore. So, like skincare, invest in a good eyebrow threading regime from 6 months before your wedding day to ensure you have a beautifully lifted arch and believably thick brow. SO ME Beauty and Wellness offer some of the best eyebrow threading salons in London, or alternatively consider Shavata for a more pricey eyebrow threading experience. Any teenage over-plucking (I too am guilty of this) can be combated by your make up artist with the right products. I prefer eyebrow powders as opposed to pencils, which create a less harsh line and are easier to build up within your own brow hairs, filling in any gaps and creating a believable bigger brow.
9. Reconsider cream lip formulas for your wedding day
The lipstick market is currently full of highly pigmented liquid matte formulas, which can be drying and unforgiving. On surgically enhanced plumped pouts, liquid matte formulas help create a stronger lip line, which can often be lost with lip fillers. For a bridal make up look, however, these kind of products can look cartoonish and harsh. Consider creamy formulas applied with a lip brush, as well as a lip liner, such as Revlon’s Colorburst Balm Stain in Honey. This is a perfect bridal lip colour – a flattering neutral rose, which adds a finishing kick of beautiful, soft pink colour, suitable for all skin tones. Creamy lip formulas are more comfortable to wear and can look better in photography than a statement matte lip. A good make-up artist will blot the product and apply it again anyway to create a longer lasting coverage. They will also encourage you to purchase the lip product used in your trial, as this and the odd dab of face powder, should be the only parts of your bridal make up look which need reapplying during your wedding day.
10. Blusher as opposed to heavy contour
Blusher completes and ties together the different elements of a make up look, from lips to eyes, which is why it is often applied last. Applied correctly to the apples of the cheeks, blusher creates depth, adds a rosy youthful glow, and gives life back to a made up face. The Nars Orgasm blusher or Clinique’s Sculptionary Cheek Contouring Palette in Defining Roses are the best blushers for believable, soft focus pops of colour.