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Bridesmaid Makeup

Bridesmaid Dilemma! What Makeup Should I Wear?

Dear Bella,
I am the maid of honor in my friend's wedding and our dresses are chocolate brown. I am very fair with blond hair and green eyes. Brown has never been a good color for me so I have no idea what sort of colors to use on my eyes, etc. Please help! — Sarah

Dear Sarah,

First off, I can understand your dilemma — as I've been in several weddings myself. From burnt sienna to periwinkle, I've worn it all. Look at it this way. The bride's picked a color that's definitely doable. Hello yellow or orange? Now, that could be more of an issue.

The best advice I can give is to keep your colors light, natural, and modern (but not too trendy). In general, while your bridesmaid's dress should complement your makeup — always match your makeup to you, and not the dress. Although your tones are cool, all of us have some elements of peach, pink, and gold to our skin. Using these hues for your makeup will give you a radiant glow, and accentuate your fair coloring nicely. Also, put the focus on your best feature — your pretty green eyes are going to knock'em out! (Without taking any attention away from the bride, of course.)

For some color suggestions and application techniques for the big day,


  • Face — For wedding parties, avoid foundation that is too shiny — it doesn't always photograph all that well. Try a semi-matte formulation like Make Up For Ever Mat Velvet + Matifying Foundation ($34).
  • Cheeks — Use a light bronzer and a peachy-pink blush for the perfect combination. A slightly shimmery faint brown for your bronzer should do the trick. Lightly apply to the apples of your cheeks and anywhere the sun would hit (hairline, nose, jawline, down into your décolleté). Next, for dimension and a natural flush, lightly apply a peachy-pink blush over the bronzer, focusing mostly on the apples of your cheeks. I like Nars Blush/Bronzer Duo in Orgasm/Laguna ($37).
  • Eyeliner — Choose a rich brown liner such as Maybelline Expertwear Brow & Eyeliner in Dark Brown ($5.80) and line the inner and outer rims of both your top and bottom lashlines.
  • Eyeshadow — Apply a trio of shadows for your base, lid, and contour. Try Smashbox Eye Shadow Trio in Head Shot ($28), which includes a dusty pink, a soft ivory, and a soft brown. First apply soft ivory as a base color from lashline to brow. This will help your eyeshadow last throughout the day. Next, apply the dusty pink shadow on your lids. (PS — pink makes green eyes pop.) Finally, add the soft brown in the crease area of your eyes, focusing on the outer corners for drama and depth. For a nice touch, tap and blend this color over your liner to set.
  • Lipliner — For lasting color, first pick a lipliner in a color that's just a shade darker than your natural pigment. Try Lorac Lip Pencil ($14).
  • Lipstick — Apply a rosy peach lip color for the final touch bareMinerals 100% Natural Lipcolor in Amaretto ($15).


Join The Conversation
Cera311 Cera311 8 years
I followed your advice and everyone complimented me on my makeup! I even think mine looked as good as the girls who spent $60 to get theirs professionally done! Thanks!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 8 years
I'd use the brown as liner that way it really pops with your dress. Just don't use mineral makeup because it is horrible in photos.
georgie2 georgie2 8 years
The "hello yellow or orange" line caught my eye, because my friend is doing exactly that to me... burnt orange. Maybe she'll change her mind when she sees how bad we all look in it?!?!
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
you and i have the same coloring so i feel your pain. i've started to incorporate brown into my color palate more and more since i've learned that it can be a great color if you do it right. just remember that your eyes will pop more - the green will be really bright against the dress - so if you choose bronzer and something with a peachy-pink tone i think you'll do just fine.
Kirei-Makeup Kirei-Makeup 8 years
you shouldn't try to match your makeup with your dress. If you're worried about it, stick to classic color for eyeshadow (tip: mixing grey and copper - this color combination look good in everyone!), peach blush and coral lips. Jilly Frosh Owner/Makeup artist
anon321 anon321 8 years
I'm in the same situation myself...fair, blonde hair, green eyes and in a wedding next summer where I have to wear a chocolate brown dress...I will definitely take this advice.
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