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, often it is overly done, and 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 an array of bridal beauty products and tricks I utilize to ensure you feel confident in your wedding make-up look.

1. Bridal skincare really is everything

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!

You do not want to overload the skin with product. Instagram make up tutorials often show concealer being applied beneath the eyes like a generous serving of jam being spread on toast. This is not only a waste of product, but will 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 be created by your make up artist with just the deftest touch of concealer on cheekbones.

4. Finishing Powder is the key to great photographs

Don’t be afraid of setting powder, for it isn’t the skin drying nemesis you might remember. 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. Instagram glow make up looks are often created as click-bait; they are not best practice for make-up outside the studio. It is more flattering to apply highlighting powders, such as Becca’s or Bobbi Brown’s cult classic Shimmer Brick, sparingly to the areas of the face that you would like to bring forward. These include the cheekbones, brow bone, and cupid’s bow, 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 gorgeous depth and the illusion of bigger eyes. A dab of shimmer on the inner corners and centre of the eyelid can then create a pop, as opposed to all over shimmery shades.

7. The best mascara for your wedding day?…

Whilst some brides will feel more comfortable with extensions, consider 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. 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…

A thick, carved out brow is a trend now, but it may not be 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 love the make up 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 over-plucking 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, fuller brow.

9. Reconsider cream lip formulas for your wedding day

The lipstick market is full of highly pigmented liquid matte formulas. 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 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 matte lip. A good make-up artist will blot the product and apply it again to ensure the coverage is long lasting. 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, and brought up softly onto the temples, 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 my favourite blushers for soft focus pops of colour.
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“Winter is coming”, so said House Stark.  Alas – the impending winter cold can be just as forboding for us mortals outside Westeros. The winter reeks havoc on our skin, roused unaware from its summertime slumber by a dangerous combination of sudden cold weather and harsh central heating. Add to this the hot showers many of us have in the colder months and you’ve created a perfect storm for irritated, sensitive winter skin.

So what beauty products can help combat dry winter skin? The key to maintaining your skin’s condition throughout the cold holiday season are two factors which are equally important; hydration and protection. If if one isn’t done properly, the skin will become unbalanced and suffer. Winter skin must be kept well moisturised to combat dehydration and flakiness, with a richer moisturiser at night, and an oil and face mask added to the weekly routine as well. Skin must be protected during the day with a moisturiser that creates a ‘barrier’ from the raw air and the stripping nature of central heating. Veil like products and protective ingredients become your skin saviours in winter.

SPF also comes into this protective category; sunscreen is equally important in the winter months as it is in summer. Forget what your sunshine loving friend (or mother from the 60s) tells you; it is still not safe to forgo wearing SPF in winter. The sun sits lower in the sky, meaning that its potential for damage is in fact even greater.

Add Face Masks to your winter skin care (if they are not already a part of it) and you have a seasonally appropriate regime which will keep your skin well bundled up until the spring emerges. Remember, harmony and balance are your beacons in winter. Forget stripping your skin with harsh cleansers or make up removers, alcohol based toners or exfoliating acids. Also remember, beauty comes from within, so stay hydrated and up your Vitamin D and Omega 3 intake in the darker months of the year. Below are some skin saviours for winter which will see you through the season. Be Merry and skin happy!

Best Mask for Winter Skin

Rodial 2- in 1 Stem Cell Cleanser – £32.00 (200ml)

Expensive, but this 200ml thick dream mask and cream cleanser will last you many months and also doubles as an indulgent face mask. Massaging a small amount onto dry skin morning and evening, rinse of with warm water or the muslin cloth for an extra, still gentle, exfoliation. Beautifully thick and creamy, it protects the skin with vitamins and fatty acids such as Rose Hip Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, Rose Wax and Cocoa Butter and naturally promotes elasticity and firmness. It’s lovely to apply as a thick mask before an event when you are getting ready. After twenty minutes, when most has absorbed, rinse your face with warm water. Skin is left completely rejuvenated.

Best Toner for Winter Skin

Splash your face with cold water after your cleanser. (PRICELESS)

I’m not kidding. Scrap the astringent toners and faddy herbal sprays cum window cleaners, this is the only thing your skin needs and reacts to as a toner. The central part of your Cleansing, Toning and Moisturising Regime is in fact free, and was pioneered by the Romans. Long term, cold water contact after cleansing helps maintain skin firmness and keep those pores tight.

Best Cleanser for Winter Skin

Una Brennan Super Facialist Rose Hydrate Cream Cleanser (150ml)

Rose is incredibly gentle, brightening and calming on raw winter skin. This cream cleanser by the affordable skincare range Facialist by Una Brennan totally brightens and moisturises whilst you cleanse, leaving your skin feeling like you’ve had a facial after two minutes. It also smells divine and is a pleasure to use, making your morning and evening cleansing ritual beautiful as opposed to a chore.

Best Rich Night Moisturiser for Winter Skin

Sukin Restoring Night Cream £16.28 (120ml)

Deliciously rich and decadent, it is the perfect moisturiser for stressed out and thirsty winter skin. Go to sleep with it on and wake up with calmed, moisturised and more even skin. The natural ingredients Rosehip Oil, Avocado Oil, Borage Oil, Vitamin E are uplifting fragrances for your senses and feel good to use. Skincare and wellbeing meet in perfect harmony.

Best Facial Oil for Winter

The Ordinary 100% Plant Derived Squalane £9.87 (30ml)

Clients often ask me for an effective, affordable skincare line with potent ingredients in formulations that actually work – I always recommend The Ordinary. Affordable and straightforward to use, you will find many reviews of The Ordinary online which mention the company’s dubious, Instagram happy CEO; concentrate instead on its fantastic prices and range of effective serums.

Skin myth unpacked; most people apply facial oil before moisturiser, whereas it is most effective applied after your water based treatments. Squalane is a saturated and stable hydrocarbon that is found naturally in the skin. It is an exceptional hydrator and can prevent ongoing loss of hydration that impairs your skins suppleness. Use this potent oil a few nights a week or at times when your skin feels extra dry; you’ll wake up with any trace of dryness gone. It is incredibly effective, so you won’t need to use it everyday.

Best Protective Barrier Moisturiser

The Ordinary Natural Moisturising Factors + HA (100ml) £13.90

When I talk about protective barrier skincare for winter, this is it. I don’t mean impractical, sticky and difficult to wear balms which can be irritating due to their high number of natural actives (I’m looking at you – Eight Hour Cream). This is a protective, easy to wear moisturising cream suitable for all skin types; it forms a ‘second skin’ on your face, veiling it in hydration and protecting it from the cold. Offering immediate and lasting hydration, it’s non-greasy formula delivers a thirst quenching hit of amino acids, fatty acids, hyaluronic acid and other compounds that protect the outer layer of the skin. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Best Facial Sunscreen for Winter

LA ROCHE POSAY Anthelios XL Gel Dry Touch Cream with SPF50 (50 ml) £16.25

This Anti Shine Sunscreen is the opposite of drying. Quite simply the best high factor face sun screen on the market, it protects against UVA/UVB and doesn’t leave a white cast. This is a great sunblock for skiing or outdoor activities in the snow, a little goes a long way. Suitable for Sensitive, oily and combination skins, it doesn’t irritate or cause spots (non comedogenic, in skin care talk). The essential protective finishing layer to your skin care in Winter. Go forth and (don’t shine!)


Image © The Cecil Beaton Studio Archive at Sotheby’s