7 DIY Wedding Makeup Hacks to Ensure You Look Flawless on Your Big Day
So, you're engaged to the love of your life. Congratulations! Many will say that you've already done the hardest part (finding your spouse), but anyone who's attempted to plan a wedding knows that's not quite true. After all, falling down the Pinterest rabbit hole can be utterly exhausting. In particular, we find the makeup ideas to be overwhelming, often completely unrealistic to DIY, and far more dramatic than most brides would attempt for the most photographed day in their lives.
Makeup artist Tedrick LaMar of Butterfly Studio Salon, who works frequently with brides, agreed that wedding-day makeup can be tricky for many.
"Bridal [beauty] should always be the best version of yourself," he said. "Don't go oversculpting, leave that for the night out at the club. Your makeup should be classic and clean."
He noted that the mood of the wedding and your gown's design could (and should!) inspire your beauty style for the big day. For example, you might want a more ethereal look with an A-line gown, but someone wearing a fitted style might be after more chiseled features and high-drama eye makeup. But overall, "you should look polished and not exaggerated."
Hey, if your goal is to look like the best version of yourself, you can always try DIYing your wedding makeup. It may not be the route for everyone, but some brides will not only find the makeup application process soothing on this potentially stressful day, but also enjoy having 100-percent control.
Whether you're hiring a professional makeup artist or doing your own glam, makeup trials are key. LaMar advises that brides-to-be do a few test runs around three months before the main event so they can decide on the final look. Don't be afraid to experiment so you can get a sense of what you love, whether that's a red lip or lots of lashes.
Now that you're feeling empowered to be your own wedding makeup artist, read on! We worked with LaMar to come up with seven genius bridal beauty hacks. While a few of these tips are time-honored tricks (like making your eyes look bigger with a pale liner), others are total insider secrets (ever heard of "strategic mattifying?" We hadn't!). Ahead, you'll find some supercrafty hacks that will guarantee you look positively flawless as you float down the aisle.
Use loose powder as an alternative to false lashes.
Those on a quest for a fringe plush enough to rival to Kim Kardashian's should opt for lash extensions for the big day. But if you just want to bump up what you already have without struggling with faux strips and glue, dusting some loose powder on before applying mascara is a simple and effective alternative.
"If you're looking for really thick, full lashes, a couple of coats [of powder] is best because loose powder is buildable," LaMar told us.
Using a latex sponge or shadow brush, apply favorite loose powder — we like Smashbox Halo Hydrating Perfecting Powder ($49) to lashes, pulling the powder from root to tip. "
Because it's loose powder, it won't mess up the rest of the face," said LaMar. "If anything, it will mattify the under-eye area!"
Then, apply your mascara on top of your powder application. Be sure to wiggle the brush at the base of your lashes to separate them for a more even (and voluminous!) distribution of the formula. You should use waterproof mascara for this step in case of any errant tears. Try Too Faced Better Than Sex Waterproof Mascara ($23) for extradense, fluttery lashes.
Ta-da! Thick, glamorous lashes that won't fall off or slide down your face halfway through the evening.
Make your eye masks multitask.
Under-eye masks are an essential skin care ritual to perform before any big event. They soothe, depuff, brighten, and smooth this delicate area of the face, making it look more flawless even before you apply makeup on top. However, their unobtrusive size and crescent shape means you can use them in two additional ways.
As you can see here, our model is using her Klorane Smoothing and Relaxing Patches with Soothing Cornflower ($24 for seven pairs) as a shadow guard. As she applies her daytime smoky eye, pigment will fall onto the mask — not her clean face! — making for easy cleanup.
Then, she can use it as a template for her cat eye. Trust us; this is simple to DIY! Ensuring that the patches are aligned closely with your bottom lashline and the corner of your eye, trace your upper lashline from the center of your lid out to halfway towards your brow with your favorite liner. You should be using the eye patch as your guide throughout this process, relying on it for a sharp line even if your hand gets wobbly.
Pro tip: do this first with a pencil, then layer a liquid liner on top for a more dimensional and durable wing. (Plus, you'll get a practice run with the pencil.) We like Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero ($24) topped with Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in Black ($22). Both formulas are waterproof, so you don't have to worry about smudging or smearing.
When you peel away the eye mask, you'll see a crisply defined wing. (If you cautiously lined up the patches, excess product will be left behind on them and not your skin.)
Layer your blush for a flawless flush.
The most natural flush comes courtesy of cream blush. "If you like dewiness, using creams allows you to get color and dewiness," explained LaMar. However, these formulas can lack in staying power, and of course, you want your enhanced newlywed glow to last from the ceremony through the afterparty. "Layering powder on top will set the color," he advised. "It will last much longer, even if you forget primer or setting spray."
Here, the bride is applying Kevyn Aucoin Cream Blush in Pravella ($26) with her fingertips to the apples of her cheeks, blending towards the hairline.
Wait until your skin has soaked up the cream blush, but is still lightly tacky to the touch (around a minute or two), then lightly buff on a coordinating powder formula. Try Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in Pink Explosion ($45).
A highlighter can do more than brighten skin.
Don't underestimate the power of highlighter! While you might not want to go for a full strobe on your big day (avoiding trends will result in timeless wedding photos), you should definitely incorporate some subtle illuminator into your bridal beauty routine. LaMar used MAC Cosmetics Strobe Cream in Pinklite ($33) on not only the model's complexion, but also on her lips.
Here's why: MAC's formula has a blue-pink sheen. It makes skin look more radiant, but that same glow also creates a whitening effect on teeth. It's basic color theory; blue and yellow are opposites on the color wheel, and cancel each other out. Just like green color corrector negates red blemish, pout colors with blue undertones will transform a dingy grin into the white smile of a celebrity.
Don't just go applying highlighter directly to your lips, though. Here, the Strobe Cream was mixed in equal part with Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Ex-Girlfriend ($17).
You can see how the highlighter not only adds to the sultry balminess of the lip's texture, but makes her teeth look seriously bright.
Create an eye-opening illusion.
Anyone who's done an amateur theater performance or dressed up as a Disney princess for Halloween has likely sketched pale liner on the inner "V" of their eyes, but it's also a valuable trick to use in real life, especially on your wedding day. This simple technique "makes eyes look bigger, brighter . . . very doll-like," said LaMar. Simply create a soft "V" shape by connecting lines from the inner fifth of the eye on both upper and lower lashlines, then blend so there are no harsh edges.
The key to looking naturally beautiful and not theatrical is all in the shade of pencil you use. Here, LaMar used Nars Cosmetics Larger Than Life in Rue Bonaparte ($26), a pale almond hue. [Those with darker complexions should search for a gold-tinged shade like Nars's Las Ramblas ($26).]
It's up to you on whether you use a formula with a shimmery or matte finish — both will achieve the same eye-opening results. However, if fine lines are a concern of yours, LaMar suggests you use a matte pencil, as shimmer could sit in wrinkles and make them more noticeable.
Lock down your lipstick.
Instead of resigning yourself to an uncomfortable longwear lipstick formula, try this classic pout-setting method. Take a two-ply facial tissue and separate the sections so that you have two, single-ply pieces. After applying a coat of lipstick, press one of the tissue sections firmly against your pout — and hold it still for a moment.
Usually, at this point in the process, you'd take a brush to dust on a coat of setting powder, which would permeate the tissue and leave a light film on top of your pucker. However, depending on the formula you use, this could slightly alter the color of your lipstick. We recommend taking a bit of powder blush in the same color and dabbing it on top, which will function in the same way but leave no white cast behind.
Finish by peeling away the tissue and applying one more coat of lipstick. This will ensure you get the finish and look of a fresh coat, but you'll have locked down the pigment with the previous steps.
Strategic mattifying will make a bride look glowy, not greasy.
This may look like the ultrapopular "baking" method, but this technique is easier and more serviceable. For brides embracing the dewy look, LaMar advises placing setting powder [his favorite is Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder ($38)] on specific areas that can also be prone to oiliness. This includes the sides of the nose, temples, jawline, and along the hairline.
Radiance (which could even be bare, moisturized skin) can read as greasy, especially in photographs. Using this strategic mattifying technique creates a balance the effect of shimmery shadows and highlighting formulas.
You can see here that anywhere the powder technique was used, the model's complexion was completely mattified, while other areas look more naturally dewy or intentionally luminous (where highlighter was applied). The overall effect is more "ethereal bride" than "Instagram makeup artist."