Make-up Tips for Brides for the Big Day

If you’re a bride, chances are that your wedding make-up is one of the most important aspects on your mind. Of course, you want to look flawless, but not like you’ve used a ton of heavy foundation and concealer. That’s why we have put together some tips for getting natural-looking skin with just a few products.

Every bride wants to look her best on their wedding day. One of the most important parts of a bride’s makeup is choosing the right skin tone and eye colour shades. Wedding make-up can be tricky, so we’ve put together some tips!

The key to finding the perfect shade is testing it out before buying, but don’t forget to bring pictures! You’ll also want to make sure that your make-up lasts all day long. This means setting with powder, using an oil-free foundation, and using matte loose powders in addition to cream products (unless you’re going for a dewy look).

So whether you’re looking for full coverage or want something light that will last through happy tears – these are some helpful tips from our

Wedding season is in full swing, and most brides are looking for ways to get their make-up done quickly and easily so they can enjoy their day without worrying about it as much. One way to do this is by using eyeshadow instead of or in addition to eyeliner for lining around the eyes because it will last all day long even if you cry.

1. Stay hydrated

Make-up is a magical thing, but it can only do so much. Therefore, you’re going to need to put in some work in the run-up to the big day to make sure your skin is looking its very best.

For this, bridal make-up specialists Pamela and Andrea recommend upping your water intake.

“You’ve probably heard this over and over again, but it really works,” the duo tells.

“Drink three litres of water a day for at least two weeks before your wedding, and you will notice a vast improvement. Skin will glow from within, and you will also see a big difference to the appearance of fine lines and pores.”

“There is a huge difference in how make-up sits, lasts and looks on well-cared-for skin versus skin that is a little less loved,” Aidan says. Water is the single easiest thing you can do to improve the look of your skin, he explains.

“No one drinks nearly enough water, including myself! So I’m a huge believer in 2 to 3 litres of water a day.”

2. Start early with skincare

Before you even start to think about make-up, you need to get a good skincare regime in place.

Rachael Cole, a senior make-up artist at Nars, recommends investing in a toner that will “break down the dead and dull layers of the skin and reduce breakouts”, followed by a luxurious moisturiser.

“Most women in the UK are dehydrated or have dry skin, so a good moisturiser is key,” she says.

“I love the Nars skin Luminous Moisture Cream, and I also recommend an oil and heavier night cream if you’re very dry.”

3. Ace your base with a primer


A primer might sound like another unnecessary step to add to your routine, but it can work wonders when it comes to making your finished look last.

“Primers in your skincare not only guarantee your make-up lasts longer throughout the day but ensures it looks bright and radiant from the ceremony to the dance-off,” Amy Conway, senior pro artist at Bobbie Brown, tells.

These days there are plenty of options to choose from depending on what you’re looking for, from those that smooth pores to ones that give your skin a radiant glow.

Shining moments, not shining skin

The number one must-have for your wedding day handbag is not lipstick—it’s blotting powder. Make sure you periodically take a minute to touch up your skin.

Like in the Forevermore Compact, Blotting powder will calm down a happy, over-excited complexion without a trace. In other words, flawless can be pretty easy.

We all know that the weather can have a huge effect on your skin, so make sure that your make-up artist is briefed on your actual wedding date.

“Using the right powder like MAC blot powder is a great way to manage shine on a super warm day, and in the wintertime, using a hydrating mist to help re-energise the skin can be very helpful.”

4. Don’t forget SPF

Rumour has it that wearing an SPF under your make-up will cause flashback in your wedding photographs, but that isn’t the case in the experience of many professional photographers.

“This isn’t something I’ve experienced on a wedding day,” Chloe Lee, a wedding photographer, tells.

“You usually only experience flashback when photographed with a direct flash fairly close to the face, which isn’t something I personally do at a wedding, but it is definitely something to think about when you look at your photographer’s work.

“If you have any questions on this, just ask them if they will be using a lot of direct flash in their photography style.”

Wedding photographer Rebecca Douglas agrees, adding: “I know some people say that SPF in make-up can cause flashback, but I have never noticed this and to be honest don’t want to advise against it as we are having some really hot summers and brides and guests are out in that sun all day.

“I think it would be a health risk to omit SPF when I don’t see any issues in the images I capture.”

Daily sunscreen use not only protects you from harmful UV exposure, but it can also improve the tone and texture of the skin! So don’t wait until summer – it is recommended that you wear it every day, even in cold climates.

5. Blend, blend, blend

The type of foundation you choose will depend on your skin type and the overall finish you’re hoping to achieve.

“Most brides want a full coverage foundation, so look for a satin or glowy finish if you’re combination to dry,” says Rachael Cole of skincare company Nars.

“The glowier the foundation, the more you can tend to wear without it looking ‘cakey’. Super oily skins will be fine with a matte finish as it will mix with your own oils to create a more natural finish. If you’re dry and oily, I will stick to a satin.”

And, when it comes to your photographs, Chloe Lee says a well-blended base is absolutely vital.

“The last thing you want is a patchy base because this will show up in photos. So, if you’re hiring a professional, ensure you have a consultation first and make sure your make-up artist picks a foundation that is going to match your skin tone and sit perfectly on your skin,” she says.

“It also seems like an obvious one but makes sure they blend it down onto your collarbone too. Unfortunately, I have seen wedding photos where the bride’s collarbone area has been a completely different shade to her face, and there has been a clear make-up line.”

6. Invest in the right tools

If you’re the kind of person that likes to apply their make-up with their fingers, it might be time to invest in some tools because, according to Bobbi Brown’s Amy Conway, a brush will give you the most flawless finish.

“Brush down the face because that’s the way the hair lies; I love the Skin Long-Wear Weightless Foundation SPF 15 for the most airbrushed look,” she says.

“Then layer a sheer finish pressed powder on top for that full coverage finish that lasts all day.”


Purchase key items

Your wedding make-up needs to last for around 12 to 18 hours, so there will be multiple top-ups throughout the day! Therefore, it’s best to buy a few products after your trial, once you and your make-up artist have decided on the final look.

“Your lip products, a powder and a concealer are always handy!” Aidan says. “Sometimes it’s good to have a darker pencil eyeliner so you can amp up your eyes in the evening time.”

7. Apply your make-up in natural light

Whether you’re doing it yourself or hiring a professional, applying your make-up in the right environment is crucial.

“Ideally, you should be sitting facing a large window, so you have a great source of natural light,” insists photographer Chloe Lee.

“This is not only good for make-up artists but is perfect for photos too as natural light is super flattering on all skin tones and generally provides an even source of light, meaning you avoid harsh shadows that artificial lights can cause.”

Bright idea: simple highlighting

Nervous perspiration and camera flashes do not like shimmer—at all. So, to highlight your features, sparingly use foundation or concealer in a shade just slightly lighter than your skin tone.

Dab it on the arch of your brow bone only (not all the way across) and on the inner corners of your eyes, then blend, blend, blend. You can also draw a downward-pointing triangle beneath your eyes to brighten up that area.

Don’t stray too far from your everyday make-up

While nothing is out of bounds on your wedding day, your make-up must reflect your everyday style, whether that’s wild and experimental, or natural and minimal (or a mixture of both!).

“Your wedding day isn’t the time to try something new,” Aidan says. “You should feel and look like the most beautiful version of yourself. If you don’t usually wear a dramatic eye or lip, you could feel uncomfortable looking back at photos. You might not recognise yourself!”

8. Avoid heavy contouring

Thanks to the Kardashians and YouTube influence vloggers contouring has grown in popularity in recent years. But, according to photographer Chloe Lee, you should give it a miss on your wedding day.

“With top tips also come things I would avoid, and number one for me is heavy contouring,” she says.

“It seems to be a bit of a trend at the moment, and you will probably read elsewhere online that make-up being photographed looks best applied slightly heavier.

“In fashion photography, this definitely works, but on your wedding day, you don’t want to be rocking a few stripes on either side of your cheekbones.

“It’s important to remember that guests will be looking at you and probably taking photos with smartphones which won’t be forgiving to heavy contouring and powders.”

For bronzer and subtle contouring, matte does more

Using a sheer cream foundation, stick in one shade deeper than your skin tone to add a natural-looking, photogenic definition. (Chubby in the Nude in Curviest Clove is universally flattering, thanks to its red—not orangey—undertones.) The Chubby Stick Sculpting Contour is also a great option.

The lack of shimmer is key. Buff the foundation on with a bronzing brush—just a touch underneath your cheekbones, along the centre of your forehead, the bridge of your nose, and under your chin.

9. Opt for a waterproof mascara

Weddings are emotional events and, even if you’re not the crying type, it’s best to be prepared with waterproof mascara.

“A waterproof mascara is a must on your wedding day, but apply a mascara that isn’t as a base first because these give all the fullness, volume, length and curl that a waterproof can’t,” says Bobbi Brown’s Amy Conway.

“Then layer your waterproof mascara on top to act as a raincoat to your mascara and have the best of both worlds.”

Prepare for tears!

It’s safe to assume that your wedding day will be an emotional one, but your make-up shouldn’t have to suffer! “Consider getting your lashes tinted and some semi-permanent lashes on; that way, you might not even have to use mascara,” Aidan suggests.

“Definitely use waterproof products for everything; that would be my norm for all my brides. Layering all of your products lightly will help them last also. Tears are all part of the experience, though! The emotions on a wedding day are all-natural and should be enjoyed, nerves and all!”


10. Consider false lashes

While false lashes aren’t a necessity, photographer Chloe Lee says they can help to accentuate a bride’s eyes.

“This doesn’t mean you need to wear incredibly long false eyelashes if that’s not your style, I find most brides I work with definitely go for a more natural approach, but I would highly recommend a natural-looking false eyelash,” she says.

“As photographers, we focus first and foremost on a bride’s eyes in photos, so having a slightly longer or fuller lash will accentuate your look.”

More top eyeliner!

A sleek, dark line along your upper lashes is a super-easy way to add sophistication, draw attention to your eyes, lift your entire face, distract from under-eye shadows, and make lashes look lush. Line with eyeliner pencil first, and then trace the line with liquid liner.

And then re-trace. Pretty Easy Liquid Eyelining Pen has intense colour and excellent staying power.

11. Embrace colour

It can be tempting to play it safe with a neutral palette of rosy pinks and dusky browns on your wedding day, but fans of colour shouldn’t be afraid to pack a little more punch into their bridal look.

“Against a white or ivory dress, add a touch more blush than normal to avoid looking washed out in photos,” says Bobbi Brown’s Amy Conway.

“I love to use blue-ish pink tones in the cheek to instantly brighten the skin and give that gorgeous blush bride look.”

Photographer Chloe Lee agrees, adding: “Make sure you pick a great lip colour.

“As with eyes, lips are another feature that should be highlighted to stand out in your photos. Personally, I favour a bold red lip which I think looks amazing in bridal portraits; but a rose pink, or deeper red, if you’re a bit more daring, look great photographed.”

However, Lee does recommend avoiding gloss as it can often look too shiny, especially in flash photography.

“Choosing a lip colour can be one of the most difficult bridal make-up decisions,” Aidan says. “It’s a great idea to try a few, even by yourself coming up to and after your trial. A good lip colour should be one that instantly adds a vibrancy to your skin; if it’s a nude, it should lift your skin tone.

If it’s more of a statement colour, the undertone should complement your skin tone. The texture is important, too; you’ll want one that can last all day. Tom Ford has the perfect long-lasting lipsticks, a little pricier, but they are like jewellery for your wedding!”

Pick a colour family, and stick to it

In-person and in wedding photos, a peachy blush with berry lipstick, for example, can come across as scattered because it subtly disrupts the balance of your face.

A consistent colour story doesn’t need to be monochromatic, but your eye, cheek, and lip colours should have the same undertones.

12. Aim to look yourself

Bridal make-up specialists Pamela and Andrea insist that the most important thing is for a bride to feel comfortable and confident on her wedding day.

However, they do suggest avoiding incorporating any trends into your final look.

“We tend to advise against trends: you run the risk of it appearing dated when looking back at your photos in years to come,” the duo tells.

“So unless you’re a real fashionista and looking to capture a trend at the time of your wedding, we would suggest steering clear.”

Nars’ Rachael Cole agrees, adding that your make-up should be a reflection of your personal style.

“My aim when getting a bride ready is to make her still feel like herself, but the most beautiful she’s felt,” Cole says.

“There’s no point in doing a full smokey eye or a flick liner and a red lip if you’re a nudes kind of girl. Your wedding day isn’t the time to take risks.”

13. Pack a touch-up kit

Bobbi Brown’s Amy Conway says she always recommends that brides pack a few touch-up products on their wedding day.

“Whether you give them to your bridesmaids or leave them in your room at your venue, these essentials ensure your make-up looks fresh all day long,” she says.

In addition to a foundation stick, pressed powder and lipstick, Pamela and Andrea suggest packing some cotton buds and blotting papers.

“Cotton buds are perfect for catching tears and won’t smudge your make-up like a tissue while blotting papers are a quick and easy way to take off any excess shine and keep your make-up looking perfect for longer,” they say.

14. Learn from the pros

To do it yourself? Or book an artist? That is arguably the most pressing wedding make-up question of them all.

“To put it simply, a make-up artist can take away that added bit of stress that you don’t need on your big day,” Pamela and Andrea tell.

“We often find when our brides are having their make-up applied, it is a peaceful timeout for them and can be a welcome dose of calm. Your make-up artist will be experienced in making you look great and feel confident on and off camera and will also be using tried and tested, long-lasting waterproof products.

“We are not only the bride’s personal make-up artists but a helping hand on the day (and sometimes a shoulder to cry on!).”

Lip colour can photograph unpredictably (crazy-glossy, disappears, etc.). So to avoid seeing yourself years from now with the make-up equivalent of shoulder pads, think timeless.


Moisturising, long-wearing lipstick with a subtle sheen is a no-fail option that won’t stick to your veil—or your betrothed. Four really pretty options are Long Last Lipstick in Will You, I Do, Honeymoon, and Just Married.

Nar’s Rachael Cole agrees, adding that make-up novices might feel less pressure by hiring a professional.

However, an alternative option she suggests is booking in for a few lessons before the big day so you can work on your skill and get to learn more about the products.

Remember that your make-up artist is a seasoned pro and that their advice on the technical aspects of beauty, from product formulations to eyeliner shapes – is really valuable.

“Bridal make-up is a collaborative experience,” Aidan says. “It’s a mix of professional advice from your make-up artist and the bride’s idea of how she would like to look.”

There are no hard and fast rules for bridal make-up! If you want to wear electric blue eyeliner or strip it right back to nude eyeshadow, you should, so long as you’ve thought through your look and road-tested it in your trial.

“Good advice is always that, just advice!” Aidan says. “I’ll always offer my professional advice on what I think is the most beautiful option for my brides, but ultimately, it’s your wedding day, and whatever decision you make is the right decision for you.”

15. Schedule a trial run

Professional make-up artist or not, Pamela and Andrea say that a trial run is an absolute must as it “gives you the opportunity to try out different looks and refine one you like until it’s perfect”.

“We always ask brides to wear a similar coloured top to their wedding dress for the make-up trial run,” the duo tells.

“If you are wearing a dark top for the trial but not on the day, this can really change the overall look.

“We also suggest taking plenty of pictures during the trial, so you can see that the works both off and on camera. Also, don’t forget to ask your family and friends for a second opinion.”

Arrive at your first make-up consultation armed with magazine tear sheets (or a Pinterest board!) of your dream bridal beauty look. But also be open to suggestions. A pro can help you look like the best version of yourself…with more objectivity than you could possibly have.

And don’t forget to tell him/her everything about your big day: outdoors or inside? A lot of candlelight? Black & white photography, colour, or both?

Coordinate hair and make-up

Lots of brides organise their hair and make-up trial for the same day, but if that’s not possible, you should aim to meet your hairdresser first or at least decide on the style you want to go for.

That way, you know whether to wear your hair up or down on the day of your trial, and this will really help you visualise the overall look!

Wear white (or whatever colour you’re wearing on your wedding day!)

The make-up artist must know how the colour you’re wearing will affect your skin tone. For example, if white makes your skin look a little pale, they can adjust the products to add warmth to your skin tone. “A white shirt would be perfect,” Aidan says.

Test all of your beauty treatments at once

If you’re having a tan, semi-permanent lashes or any other beauty treatments, it’s smart to test them around the time of your make-up trial.

“A good make-up artist can always match you up on the day to a tan, but sometimes blusher colours can look completely different on a paler skin versus a warmer skin tone.”

Bring photos

If you’re not used to having your make-up done, you might find that describing your dream beauty look is quite tricky! “If you have some inspirational photos, show them to your make-up artist,” Aidan says.

“Everyone is always going to have a different version of a smoky eye.” So it’s a good idea to have pictures of your dress and wedding venue handy too. “I also like to know if there are any specific bridal photos they’d like on the day,” Aidan says.

“One of my brides wanted to have some of her photos on a beach beside the Atlantic Ocean, which impacted on the foundation choice!”

Stay out all night long!

This is the best way to test the durability of your make-up look and troubleshoot any issues, which you can then report back to your make-up artist.

“It’s a good idea also to photograph your trial make-up both indoors and outside to ensure you’re happy with how it looks in all settings,” Aidan adds. Get that smartphone out!

16. Timing is everything

When it comes to the big day, minimise the stress by giving yourself—and your bridal party—adequate prep time.

Here’s a guideline: The make-up artist should spend no more than 1½ hours on you, half of that (45 minutes) on the Mother of the Bride, and half of that (approximately 20 minutes) on each bridesmaid.

Have your bridesmaids arrive complexion-ready—the make-up artist will add the eye, cheek, and lip colour.

Plan your make-up schedule wisely

Every make-up artist will have their preferred way of working, but Aidan’s system, which sees him working on Mums first and the bride last, works well for most bridal parties.

“Mums on wedding morning are always the busiest people, worried about everyone and making sure all the windows are locked, cousins looked after and pets fed!

If left last, they might not be able to watch their daughter get dressed and could be too busy to enjoy the experience themselves. So I like to make up the bride last or second last.

This gives me more time and frees up the bridesmaids to do last-minute jobs. It’s great to have a few bridesmaids dressed too before the bride as they can then help the bride herself get dressed.”

Allow extra time for LOLs

You want your wedding morning to be full of hugs, laughs and glasses of bubbly, so make sure to allocate time for this! “I like to give brides an hour for make-up,” Aidan says.

“Generally, 45 minutes is enough for the bridesmaids, and it’s always nice to have too much time on a wedding morning! Of course, there’s always photos or surprise visits from a neighbour or relative that slow the morning down.”

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