Bridal makeup was my bread-and-butter business for over fifteen years -- (shriek) I mean I was, like, twelve, of course when I started. I powdered, primped and plucked hundreds, if not thousands, of brides in my career, and mastered the art of looking fresh and flawless all day long. So, whether you're a bride seeking pro tips, or a wedding guest wanting to turn a few heads, these are my must-do makeup tips are for you!
Tip 1: Be the over-blushing bride -- you'll thank me later.
Most of my brides completely trusted me with their makeup, but when it came to blushing, they were always little hesitant about my over zealous application of blush. Blush needs to be noticeable, like you can see it from fifty yards away noticeable, and layered more than you would wear normally for two reasons: a) because it fades quickly and b) because lights and camera flashes really wash you out. So, unless you want to look like a zombie bride in photographs for an eternity, don't be bashful with the blush and bronzer.
Tip 2: Don't gloss over the lipstick.
Convincing brides they should wear lipstick instead of lipgloss, or their coveted lip balm, on their wedding day was like asking them to give up their first born child to me -- they refused both! Lipstick completes a wedding day look and is the final piece to the perfectly polished puzzle. Whenever a bride opts out of lipstick, she looks underwhelming in person and loses her lips in photographs, literally they don't show up at all. A fully pigmented matte lipstick is the absolute best choice, as it adds body and definition to the lips, thus keeping them from disappearing under photography lights and any camera flashes. As gloss can add a little color initially, the reflective texture causes the lips to become 'whited out' in photographs, which doesn't look good on anyone, I promise. I always used a long-wear matte lipstick like Dollup Beauty's Lip Spreads, which only needs to be touched-up a few times throughout the whole day. Also, a good rule a thumb is to wear a lip color one-to-two shades darker than your natural lip color.
Tip 3: Fake it.
Fake eyelashes are a must, if not for your wedding day, when else are you going to where them? Lashes bring just the right amount of drama and 'pop' to theeye, while still being incredibly feminine and flirty. My favorite falsies are the tab lashes that you can adhere into your lash line, between each one of your natural lashes. Practice, practice, practice before your wedding day or hire apro. Besure to add a coat of mascara to the top-side of your lashes, too, not just the bottom, so you don't get a close-up of eyeshadow particles or glue in tight camera shots.
Tip 4: Orange is not the new black.
I'm a huge fan of 'fake' tanning, but you must follow a sunless tanning algorithm to avoid some of its pitfalls. First, start practicing with your at-home products or salon services months in advance, to understand your sunless tan life cycle -- most of the time, your tan peeks on the second or third day. The first day is when your bronzer develops, so you may end up looking like an oompa loompa by the end of the first day. But, no worries, because this all washes down the drain when you bathe. The second and third day, generally, you have a nice even golden hue resembling your glorious days at the beach. It's different for everyone, but around the fourth day your tan can start to fade, sometimes in patches, which can leave you looking really blotchy that is hard to cover with makeup. Also, be sure to master hands, feet, knees and elbows well before the wedding day -- these are areas that usually grab too much product.
Tip 5: You don't want what you think you want.
The picture of Jennifer Lopez on the red carpet that you would like to emulate is not considered a 'natural' look, seriously. I always got a good laugh when ladies showed me a picture of their favorite glammed-up celebrity and would say, 'I want my makeup to look...natural...like hers.' Natural -- natural is when they get caught by the paparazzi looking like they just rolled out of bed. Realistically, celebs are frosted with more makeup than your birthday cake, were in the makeup chair for over an hour and are probably wearing two sets of fake lashes. No one wants to end up looking like a vegas show girl, I get it, but you gotta look like you're wearing makeup to look good in photos.
Tip 6: Color Theory
Do your makeup trials approximately two-weeks out from the wedding -- when your skin and hair color will most closely resemble your wedding day. Choose colors for your makeup that compliment your eyes, hair color, skin and wedding dress.
Don't do warm colors on your eyes and then a cool color on your lips -- you'll look unbalanced (e.g. if you use golden hues on your eyes, choose lips and blush that have warm tones in them).
A bride spends months, even years, planning for her one special day and —God forbid! — it gets derailed by an unforeseen last minute problem. As a bridal beauty guru, whose witnessed hundreds of weddings, here's everything you need in your makeup kit to plan for the worst, but hope for the best!
Powder: It’s not uncommon for a bride to need a quick powder touch-up right after the ceremony due to perspiring, natural oil production or rubbing off her makeup from the insane amount of hugging she's doing! Also, dabbing a bit of powder on the groom — if he’s up for it— will significantly decrease forehead shine for photographs!
Eyelash glue: Just in case the falsies decide to jump ship right before the bride waltzes down the aisle.
Makeup corrector q-tips: A really quick and simple way to touch-up smudged makeup under the eyes.
Lipstick — To keep the bride's pout looking perfectly polished all day long.
Concealer: Every bride cries — it’s just a fact— and in the process of wiping away tears, she’ll be wiping away all the makeup from under her eyes. Having concealer handy will camouflage any signs of tears or sleep deprivation.
Blush: Chances are, the bride’s blush will begin fading half-way through the day, especially if her makeup application went on as the sun was rising.
Powder brush: To use for powder, bronzer, blush or for dusting off pretty much anything.
Eyeliner: For when the waterproof eyeliner couldn't stand up to the waterfall of tears.
The Dollup Case: Holds the bride's secret weapons for looking perfectly glam all day.
Other non-beauty items to consider when building a wedding day survival kit: Pepto Bismal (a must), stain remover pen, safety pins, bobby pins, sewing kit, bandaids, nail Smudge Fix, white chalk, black socks (for the guys), breath mints (no gum), deodorant, tampons, wardrobe tape, cash, cell phone charger, snack, tissues, allergy meds, migraine meds, extra jewelry (one bridesmaid always forgets) and earring backs, a snack, hair spray, wrinkle release, toothbrush and toothpaste, razor, straws, extra set of car keys, house keys, eye drops, lotion, tweezers and scissors.