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Bridal Make-Up Tips

Whether you’re a beauty novice or a dab hand with a bronzing brush, wedding make-up can be a daunting prospect, whichever end of the spectrum you occupy. The benefits of doing your own make-up on your wedding day, however, are multiple; from fitting make-up into your morning schedule at a time that suits you to having total control over your look, read on for expert tips to guide you through the process.

Plan your make-up look well in advance and, if you are doing it yourself, stick to what you know. You want to look like the best version of yourself and, as Clinique’s UK Colour Pro Artist Florrie White notes, “you don’t want to surprise your husband to be, nor do you want your photos to date because of your current trend look.”

Before the big day, gather all of the make-up you will be using in a separate pouch and ensure you have everything you need before you get started – as well as make-up and an arsenal of brushes, don’t forget a stash of cotton buds for any make-up mishaps. Once you’ve decided on your look, schedule a couple of practice runs so you feel completely confident. Set aside at least double the time you would usually spend on your make-up; this is one time in your life that you don’t want to rush.

A perfect base will carry your wedding make-up from the ceremony right through to the end of the night. For a long-wearing base, Bobbi Brown PRO make-up artist Hannah Martin says: “avoid oil-rich products as this can cause make-up to slide. Cleanse your skin thoroughly, then apply a primer - try the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base with a little Skin Smoothing Pore Perfector through the T-zone to mattify the area.” For an added boost of radiance, Guerlain’s Météorites collection brings a special finishing touch to wedding make-up;  providing coverage and luminosity, Brand Ambassador Richard Hawkins recommends blending a few drops of Baby Glow into your foundation to brighten up your base. Once primed, choose a colour-matched foundation and apply with fingers or a brush to get an even finish: Marc Jacobs Beauty’s Re(Marc)Able foundation is making waves in the beauty industry for its flattering oil-free formula and super staying power.

In a perfect world, your skincare regime leading up to the big day will prevent any breakouts, but "if you get a blemish before your wedding, do not squeeze!” says Hannah; “this will only aggravate and irritate the blemish and it is much easier to conceal a bump than it is to conceal a scab. Apply your foundation as normal and then criss-cross the blemish and the area around it with concealer. Finally, stipple a loose translucent powder to set it in place for the day.”

For a photo-ready finish, Hannah recommends the brand’s iconic Shimmer Brick “to give skin that alluring bridal glow across the tops of the cheekbones, brow bones and the cupid’s bow.” Brioni Irwin, Urban Retreat’s Expert Make-Up Artist, swears by Chantecaille’s photo finish collection; the HI Definition Perfect Powder, specially formulated with high definition cameras in mind, “will leave any skin tone flawless and photo-ready.” 

Smudged mascara is every bride’s nightmare and with a few tears to be expected, this is one aspect you want to get right. “Eyelash extensions instantly give the illusion of a made-up eye without applying any other make-up,” says Brioni Irwin, plus, properly applied, they should last through your honeymoon. Urban Retreat’s Flutter Lash service offers instant impact without the need for mascara, and our expert lash technicians will tailor lash length and volume to you. If you can’t part with your mascara, plump for a high-quality waterproof mascara or seek out a ‘tubing’ mascara - the innovative formula coats the lash with a flexible ‘tube’ that sets and stays in place, resisting the skin’s natural oils, which can dissolve even waterproof formulas; Bobbi Brown and Clinique both offer tried-and-tested, budge-proof options.

For subtle drama, try a soft smoky eye, a signature look from the experts at Bobbi Brown; “My favourite colours to achieve this look are soft greys and minks,” Hannah Martin tells us. “I sweep Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick in Sand Dollar all over the lid with Cement Eye Shadow in the crease. Then I buff Black Ink Gel Eyeliner along the lash line and soften with some Smokey Eye Shadow.”

Your lipstick can define your wedding make-up look; do you want to go bright and bold with a vintage-inspired red, or keep things neutral with a taupe or rose pink hue? To find your perfect daytime pink, Chantecaille has a whole host of shades, from dusky vintage tints to more peachy pinks. To guarantee a long-wearing lip colour, fill the entire lip with lip liner to define the shape and create a base for lipstick to adhere to, or opt for a lip colour with a budge-proof stain effect, like Marc Jacobs’ Kiss Pop sticks. Steer clear of glossy finishes, though, Clinique’s Florrie White warns: “you don’t want to leave any unwanted stains on your husband after the first kiss.” The quickest way to take your look from afternoon ceremony to after-dinner dancing is with a swipe of red; Charlotte Tilbury is our favourite for all-out glamour.

Even pro-applied make-up requires a few touch-ups throughout the day. For smudged mascara, Hannah recommends “dabbing under the eyes with a cotton handkerchief, as a sweeping motion will shift your make-up and tissues can leave residue on the skin. Also carry some cotton buds to dab directly under the lower lashes.”

“If your skin starts to get tired throughout the day,” Hannah continues, “refresh your make-up with the Bobbi Brown Face Mist to instantly refresh and rehydrate. Also, a bit of a blush does wonders for reviving a tired-looking complexion. Finally, if you’re looking to reduce shine, carry some blotting papers to absorb any excess oil on the skin before re-powdering” to stop make-up caking and flaking, or “apply Laura Mercier’s Secret Finish Mattifying Cream,” suggests Brioni, “to keep oils at bay.”

At the end of the night, it’s far too tempting to go to sleep with your make-up on, but as you are likely to be wearing more make-up than usual, removing it is just as important a step as putting it on. For a gentle yet effective cleanser that cuts through layers of make-up, look to Clinique’s Take The Day Off range; the cleansing oil enjoys cult status for a reason.

Countdown to the big day with our Wedding Beauty Timeline.

Shop our wedding make-up edit below.

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