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The Definitive Guide to Wedding Make Up

Whether you have decided to book a make-up artist for your wedding day or you are looking for a guide on how to get the best from your bridal make-up yourself, you have come to the right place this is your definitive guide to wedding make up!


Beauty and Make-up Editor, Tracey Woodhouse

Where to start

Firstly, congratulations!! 

It is a great idea to start collecting images of what make-up styles and looks you do like, its important to keep pictures of those styles and looks that you don’t like, this will help you or your make-up artist select the right products for you and is a great guide to getting the look that suits you. Magazines covering Wedding and Hair Styles are a great source for finding images and style ideas you like so pick up your scissors and glue and get scrapbooking! Don’t forget to look out for what products or company the picture is advertising if there is a certain shade of lipstick or eye shadow you like be sure to take the image to your nearest make-up counter and ask them to show you how to apply.  

Wedding_Make_Up.jpgDaytime wedding makeup should be more natural as too much make-up would appear very jarring and harsh. For the evening your bridal makeup can extend to formal and darker colors. Warm browns and bronze shades.  

I recommend you do not opt for the current makeup style just to keep with the trend instead opt for a bridal make-up style which is more timeless and classic. Your pictures last a lifetime! 

 It is important to have a trial with your make-up artist 3 to 9 months before your wedding or if you are doing your own make-up when ever and how many times you like. Experimenting with the products you have chosen will ensure you and your make-up artist know exactly what you want from your wedding make-up. After you have created your look you can try a few test shots with your camera to ensure you have full coverage and are going to be happy with the look that is being created.

Prep your skin

It is a great idea to get your face and skin into a daily routine of a simple cleanse, tone and moisturise, you can do this before bed and after add a little night cream. It is always best to remove your make-up before going to sleep as this will prevent eye infection and skin blemishes. 

I highly recommend Dermalogica special cleansing gel, followed by the multi active toner and finished with either Dermalogica Night Bright or Moisturise and refine duo. If you are already hapy with your daily routine why not look at some night time treatments to give your skin that extra boost. 

Don’t forget to use a soft toothbursh to exfoliate your lips and make sure you apply some vaseline for a softening night time treat! 

You should consider having a few facials to get your skin in tip top condition before your big day but don’t leave it until a few weeks beforehand just in case of a break out. 

Keep an eye out for our Definitive Guide to Beauty for further information on prepping your skin and your body! 


Depending on your skin type you will need to choose your primer wisely.

For those of you with oily and shinier skin I recommend MAC Oil Control Primer. This will ensure your skin is left feeling soft yet matte allowing your foundation to stay put all day long.

 If you have dry or combination skin try Laura Mercier Hydrating Primer it is instantly absorbed into the skin leaving your skin feeling velvety soft, creating a flawless finish for your foundation.


If you are doing your own make-up foundation samples from your nearest make-up counter are a must! Remember to go outside and check you are happy with the shade in natural day light before purchasing your new foundation as some foundations can oxidize causing them to set a lot darker to when they are first applied to the skin.  

I highly recommend Chanel Matt Lumiere or Vita Lumiere. The Matt Lumiere is great if you have oily skin, where as the Vita Lumiere is great on dryer skin yet easily absorbed and blended well into the skin both give a flawless coverage.

Bobbi Brown offer fantastic liquid foundations and creamy concealers as does MAC and the select cover-up concealers are very good for concealing those dark circles and blemish’s. Avoid Yves Saint Laurent Touche Eclat under the eyes, you are best to avoid any light reflecting or mineral make-up as the pigments and particles contained within the product will cause flash photography images of you to look shiny and will reflect light causing a white ring to appear around the eyes.

 Don’t Forget: If you are having your hair up you will need to add a touch of foundation to your ear lobes, as the ears can go red when flustered or cold. If you are easily embarrassed you may want to take the foundation onto the neck as this is also a common area to go red and blotchy, I recommend MAC Face and Body foundation this is ideal and is less transferable than most common foundations, but do be careful when stepping into your dress!  

Glowing skin

All brides I make over want to enhance their natural glow this is very easy to achieve by giving the cheek bone a hint of warmth and contour. This can be created by brushing a warmer colour to your natural shade down your cheek bone alternatively Estee Lauder Goddess Bronze Duo or Chanel Bronze Universal are my favourite bronzers and really add just enough warmth and glow to the face creating that sun kissed look.

To add that extra pop of colour on the cheeks a baby pink or light peach shade always look stunning. One of my favorite blushers is by Illamasqua and is called ‘Nymph’ this is such a cute pink apply a touch to the apples of your cheeks and blend with a large blusher brush, blusher is one of the first piece of applied make-up to fade away, for a blusher which is going to stay put all day you need to layer your blusher by applying and blending, applying and blending. 

It is a wise idea to buy a blot powder, this is usually a pale or translucent powder which can come as pressed or loose powder, I find that the Benefit blot powder in shade 02 a nice way to lightly buff over the ‘T-Zone’ and corner creases of the nose, this will prevent excess oil and shine so you look flawless in your photos. 

Eye Make-up

A classic bridal eye consists of a cream or vanilla eye shadow base all over the eye lid and then a warmer brown or ashy grey through the socket bone and outer corner of the eyelid. You can then add a charcoal black eye shadow along the top of the lash line blending upwards or if you prefer eyeliner create an Audrey Hepburn style flick starting from the inner of the eye lid as close to the lash line as possible some people find it easier to create the flicks at the outer corner of the eyes to get them level and then create the line.  

Bobbi Brown Basics Eye Shadow palette has 4 complementary shades for creating the perfect bridal eyeshadow , one of which is perfect for defining the eyebrows. Its always a good idea to use waterproof eye make-up when choosing your eyeliner try either Bobbi Brown or MACs gel liners which are waterproof and come in a range of colours from traditional black or why not try a dark brown for a less harsh liner. When it comes to mascaras there are hundreds on the market if you have a favorite why not stick with it but if you are a crier ensure you are wearing waterproof, Chanel and MAC have an excellent range of waterproof mascaras to choose from. 


Last but not least lips I recommend all brides stay away from long lasting lip colour I find that the lips can look dried out, cakey and you are left with a ring of colour around the outside of the lips especially if you are sipping glasses of champaigne. Its much nicer to apply a simple shade of lipstick depending on your skin tone and boquet. Its nice to use a soft brown such as ‘Hug Me’ or ‘Please Me’ a more pink lipstick, both available from MAC, to finish your look apply a sweep of gloss, remember to give this to your bridesmaid as this can be touched up thought the day. Why not try a warmer shade for the evening this is a great way to transform your look from day time to evening with minimal effort MAC tinted lipglass are available in a wide range of colours.

 And now you are ready for your big day! 

With thanks to Jonathan Ryan of www.WeddingsByRyan.com for the photograph

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