Wedding Day Makeup Tips & The Products I’d Recommend

…because at last wedding season is upon us.

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After a long ol’ hiatus it feels like wedding season is upon us and isn’t that lovely? There is nothing better than seeing your friend or family member literally fizz with happiness – WILL SOMEONE PASS ME THE TISSUES PLEASE?! Although I’ve spoken about beauty on my little corner of the internet for over 10 years now I am in no way a makeup professional, although my lovely friends seem to think I am up to the job of wedding MUA, which is extremely flattering but in no way the truth. MUAs – we bow down! However if it’s a glowy base and a bronze eye that you’re after, then I can just about stretch to it (as long as you put on your own mascara, lol). I’ve clocked up the grand total of four brides now over the years, and five if you include myself – which a professional could probably crack out in one weekend! – however I feel like there are a few tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way. Feel free to add your recommendations down below in the comments too!


You do you, boo! This would be my biggest piece of advice – don’t cave into the pressure of feeling like you have to wear false eyelashes if that’s something you don’t feel comfortable with, or to wear a foundation when actually you find it horrid to wear, or wear a bold lip because your mate is telling you to – wear whatever you feel great in makeup-wise. The big day is not the day to crack out something new or trend-lead that you haven’t done before (unless of course you want to!). You’re going to want to look back and feel like you looked like ‘you‘ and one of the best ways to do that is to take the makeup that you’d usually wear, polish it up a bit and make it super long-lasting. Easy peasy.

Look at your budget. How you approach the makeup aspect of your wedding is going to depend on budget and also how you want your day to shape up. To hire a professional MUA you’re looking at spending well into triple figures – although bear in mind that to beef up your own makeup collection with a few high-end additions would cost the same! – and it’s a good way to take a load off stress-wise. Plus, you will have the professionals touch and look FLIPPIN’ AMAZING. I’d recommend trying to find a personal recommendation from friends and family and doing a trial before so everyone’s on the same page. You might have a mate who’s pretty nifty with a makeup brush who would love to spruce you up – again a trial before is always a good idea. Or maybe you’d like to do it yourself? For some inspiration I’d recommend checking out these videos from Lisa Eldridge, Charlotte Tilbury and Monika Blunder. Have a look around and take all your favourite bits from videos and tutorials you find. The great benefit of this is that it’s free – you might just have to pick up a handful of additional products – and you can test out and tweak your look until you’re happy with it and can do it with your eyes closed on the day.

It takes time. Of course it depends the level of glam you’re going for, but even a natural no makeup-makeup vibe can take upwards of 30 minutes to an hour to apply. Once you add in all the chatting, Mimosa-drinking and pointing people in the right direction that you’ll be trying to do at the same time, it can take a bit longer than you might expect. My advice would be to factor in plenty of time for hair and makeup. Better to be chilling with everything done and having a nice time with your nearest and dearest, rather than racing out the door with no time to even grab a photo.


Be well moisturised. The chances are that you’ll be wearing at least a tad more makeup on your wedding day than you would usually, so it’s important to give yourself a nice and juicy base for everything to layer on top of. It’s going to depend on your skin type, but if you’re more on the oilier side I’d recommend the La Roche Posay Effaclar H Hydrating Moisturiser*, for skin that’s pretty balanced I like the Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream*, then for those that need something richer the Glossier Priming Moisturiser Rich* or Allies of Skin Peptides & Antioxidants Firming Daily Treatment* are good bets. Don’t skip it, your base will be so much harder to blend without it.

A tried & tested base. A few things to keep in mind here. Go for a foundation/concealer combo that’s tried and tested – whether it’s been worn as part of a trial or it’s something that you wear more often. If you are planning on having a bit of a faux glow on the day then test out your shade match prior. And try not to go too light with your concealer – a formula that’s a shade or two lighter than your foundation is all you need. You might find it best to work with two concealers, perhaps even in two different formulas? A slightly lighter, creamier formula for under the eyes and a shade that matches your foundation in a stiffer finish that works well for covering any blemishes that might crop up. I always love the Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation* – it’s what I wore on my wedding day! But last weekend I used the bride’s shade of the Fenty Eaze Drops* and it worked beautifully just to even things out and stayed looking fresh. For under the eyes I’m really into the KOSAS Revealer Concealer* – it’s so creamy, but covering at the same time, then for the face you can’t beat the NARS Soft Matte Complete Concealer*.

Have a think about powder. You lot know that I’m not the biggest powder fan in the world. Back in the day I would completely cake it on, using it much like a foundation, but these days I can count the amount of times I wear it per year on one hand. I wore it last weekend and it turns out that actually – powder is kind of fab. My makeup still looked spot-on after 16 hours. MADNESS. There’s just one condition – use it sparingly. I’ve always loved the MAC Mineralise Skinfinish Natural*, but if you’re after a loose clear powder I always go back to the Laura Mercier Transparent Loose Setting Powder* and the By Terry Hyaluronic Setting Powder* – both work across all skin tones and set in the most natural way. I’d recommend pairing it with a setting spray at the end of your routine too for ultimate setting power – nothing beats the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray* for me.

Cheeks are personal taste. Don’t feel like you have to do the classic contour, bronzer, blush and highlight combo on the cheeks. My friend whose makeup I did back in May loved blush and bronzer, but wasn’t a classic contour wearer so we skipped it all together. My mate whose makeup I did last weekend hates bronzer, so we ditched that step and loaded up on blush and highlight, which is what she feels best in. Basically do whatever makes you feel fab and if someone else is doing your makeup – let them in on your preferences. I do have recommendations for each step though. For contour I love the Kevin Aucoin The Sculpting Powder*. For bronzer I’m really into the new Victoria Beckham Matte Bronzing Brick shades; plus points for the fact they are shimmer free so you can dial it up or down with highlight, speaking of which I used the CHANEL Baume Essentiel in Sculpting* (ad – gifted), on both brides and it’s just stunning. They both looked gloriously glowy still by the end of the night. And finally for blush I do love a cream. They are just nice and sheer and buildable and don’t look too ‘done’ – I love the Beauty Pie Supercheek Cream Blush* formula, or the Fenty Cheeks Out Freestyle Cream Blusher*.


Add *some* definition. You might not be an everyday eyeshadow wearer, but a little tiny bit of definition around the eyes is a nice addition to bridal makeup if you fancy it. A quick and easy option is to use your bronzer as an all-over lid colour and then just smudge a slightly deeper shade across your lashline for a soft eyeliner look. In fact I love a smudged out upper lashline instead of a liquid liner and most of my friend’s whose makeup I’ve done feel the same way – it look glam without looking too much, you know? For my most recent bride we used the Victoria Beckham Smokey Eye Brick in Silk* and built a golden shimmery look which looked amazing with her blue eyes, but I’d say the Vieve Essentials Eye Palette* is a good point at which to start from and has some mattes and shimmers to get you started. I use the Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Amber Gold* on my wedding day and I’d still use it today – such a gorgeous shade.

To false lash, or not to false lash? If there’s one thing I would change now about my wedding makeup, it’s that I probably wouldn’t have gone for lash extensions. It’s goes again the whole ‘you do you, boo‘ philosophy and I’m not sure that it looks the most natural. However I did cry loads and it meant I didn’t need to worry about my mascara smudging, so I don’t know. Personally I’d avoid a strip lash for the big day, only because that’s something that I haven’t worn for years and again they can come off looking a bit heavy. The Sweed x Nikki Wolf No Lash Lash* might be a good option if you need want to amp up your lashline a bit (check out Allana’s video for how best to apply them), but still want your lashes to look fluttery. But if it’s a waterproof mascara formula you’re after then can I point you in the direction of the Lancome Moniseur Big Waterproof Mascara* if it’s volume that you’re after, or the Giorgio Armani Eyes To Kill Wet Waterproof Mascara* if you like something a bit more natural.

A long-lasting lip. Whenever I’ve done a friends makeup I’ve alway used one of their favourite lip colours. It’s such a personal thing – some people love a matte, or a gloss, or a balm, something cooler, something warm and bright – you have to love it. Which is why I always ask what their favourite product is and we just use that. If you’re a bit stumped I have a few pointers. Something that’s balmy is lovely and comfortable, but might just a bit smooshed with all that kissing. A good compromise is to prep your lips with a balm and then go over the top with a creamy lip pencil – that way you get something that feels soft on your lips, but has a bit of staying power to it. The Charlotte Tilbury Lip Liners* do a really good job of this.


Photos by Amy O’Boyle