These days, many brides – including Kate Middleton for the royal wedding – are ditching the professional make-up artist and doing their own make-up on their big day. The motivation is two-fold. Firstly, it cuts out the risk factor of hating the result and wiping it all off in a panic half an hour before you’re due at the altar.
Secondly, and possibly even more importantly, many brides want to ensure they look like the best version of themselves on their wedding day. Not Dolly Parton debuting a hot-pink fuchsia lip and a caked-on contour for the first time. Grooms love this approach too – he adores what you look like already (or he wouldn’t be marrying you, right?) and that’s what he wants to see walking down the aisle towards him.
This is not to say that DIYing it means you have to sacrifice perfection. Oh no, the trick is to steal the make-up artists secrets for yourself, and with a little bit of preparation and practice you can ensure a gorgeous and glowing yet natural result. (Which in turn equals one happy and relaxed bride – win win).
So then, which – of all the ten zillion lipsticks out there – is the one that make-up artists reach for when they’re doing a wedding lip? How do you make your foundation look airbrushed in your photos? How can you avoid smudging and smearing and ensure your make-up lasts until the lights go up? Can you make your lashes grow longer before the big day? We could go on.
These age-old questions are the fabulous little secrets that make-up artists, beauty experts, bloggers, buyers and editors hold the closely-guarded answers to. Luckily for you, we’ve picked their brains to compile this comprehensive guide to the very best wedding beauty wonders.
1. Dior Addict Lip Glow, £24, Selfridges
Despite appearances, this is far from your ordinary garden lipstick. Pigmented with only the lightest touch of pink, Dior’s silky, moisturising balm actually changes the colour of the wearer’s lips – turning anything from light peony pink to rosebud red depending on your body chemistry (so test it out at the counter first to check that you like the colour). An essential for brides who want the natural look, it also has a subtle (and very yummy) minty scent. No smudges or smears – your lips, only better!
2. Beauty Blender Classic Make-Up Sponge, £13.95, Amazon
Ok, so £10+ for a make-up sponge initially seems a little steep. But trust us, one use of the Beauty Blender and you won’t ever go back. (Kim K’s make-up artist Mario Dedivanovic recently proclaimed it his Holy Grail product, saying ‘I literally can’t work without it.’) Run it under cold water and give it a couple of squeezes until it gets larger in size. Then ‘bounce’ your foundation, concealer and highlighter over your face for a flawlessly airbrushed and hydrated complexion that will look perfect in wedding photographs, even under natural light. More good news for the lazy among us; you can chuck this hardy little sponge in the washing machine and it’ll come out good as new.
3. Mac Pro Longwear Concealer, £17, Selfridges
Finding the perfect concealer sometimes feels like an impossible task. If the coverage is good enough the formula is usually too heavy and leaves the dreaded ‘concealer crease’ by settling in eyelids and under eye areas. Not what you want in those close-up shots. Let us tip you off about Mac’s Pro Longwear. This is a full-coverage concealer so it’s ideal for when you know you’re going to be photographed. And once it’s on, it isn’t going anywhere, lasting for more than 12-hours. A note about colours: NW shades are for skins with warm undertones (neutral warm), while NC are for cooler tones (neutral cool). To figure out which you are, take a look at the underside of your wrist. If your veins look blue you’re NW, if they look green you’re NC.
4. Clarisonic White Mia 2, £125, Space NK
It doesn’t matter how expertly you apply your make-up if the skin underneath isn’t in great condition – perfect skin starts with a smooth complexion. Step forward the Clarisonic. Beloved of all beauty buyers and editors, this bad boy uses sonic vibration technology to clean your skin six, yes six, times better than your usual cleanser. The Mia 2 features a pulsing timer to give your face a sixty-second cleanse burst, removing impurities, oil and make-up even from deep down in your pores. Start using it a few months before the big day and you’ll see a gorgeous new glow and a drastic reduction in dry or oily patches, that could otherwise only be achieved with regular spa facials.
5. Urban Decay All Nighter Make-Up Setting Spray, £21, Feel Unique
What’s the point of spending time artfully perfecting your dream wedding make-up, if only two hours (or three glasses of champagne) later all your hard work has unravelled? Urban Decay’s make-up setting spray is the solution (literally). Once all your make-up is complete, spritz this wonder product over your face four times, then leave it to dry for twenty seconds or so (try not to blink or your mascara may transfer to the eyelids). Once it’s dry, your make-up will not budge and will stay looking perfect all day and all night long. If you have oily skin use the de-slick version and keep a packet of blotting wipes handy.
6. Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation, £36.50, Selfridges
If we had a pound for every time someone had told us how amazing this award-winning foundation is/that it’s their favourite/that they couldn’t live without it. Let’s just say we’d be very rich. Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation does what it says on the tin. It makes you absolutely luminous (but don’t worry if you’re prone to shine, it’s oil free), almost as if you’re glowing from within. What more could you want on your wedding day? To amp it up even further, try mixing a small amount of liquid highlighter into this foundation on the back of your hand – Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfector pump in Opal works wonderfully.
7. Anastasia Beverly Hills Dipbrow Pomade, £15, Cult Beauty
It is incredible what a difference perfectly sculpted brows can make to your face. And to get them there’s only one product that any woman needs, the Dipbrow Pomade from eyebrow guru Anastasia. (Well, this and the brand’s no.12 eyebrow brush). Dip the brush into the pomade and tap off any excess product into the lid (you only need a tiny bit). Then, starting at the ends of your brows, outline and then fill them in. Only once there is just a teeny bit of product left on your brush work on the inner corners of your brows – you want these to look much lighter than the ends for a natural effect. Once you’re done, use the spool on the other end of the no.12 brush to comb through. It can take a bit of practice to get them exactly right, but boy is it worth it.
8. Mario Badescu Drying Lotion, £12.50,
If you’re prone to spots you need this fabulous little bottle of potion in your beauty cabinet in case of wedding-eve blemish emergencies. Dip a cotton bud into the bottle, making sure it is coated in the pink layer at the bottom. Then, before bedtime, dot it on any pimples or spots. It’s strong stuff so you only need a tiny bit. When you wake up your blemishes will be dried up and gone (or significantly diminished). Poof! Like magic!
9. Revitalash Supersized Advanced Eyelash Conditioner 3.5ml, £90, QVC
An eyelash conditioner that actually makes your eyelashes grow longer and thicker. Our first thoughts? That sounds like a big ol’ gimmick. Then we started to see the results and… just wow. Apply this serum along the lash line every night before bed for three months before the wedding and you’ll have lashes that would make a giraffe jealous. Seriously. Forget unnatural, falling-off falsies and time-consuming (not to mention prohibitively expensive) eyelash extensions. Get this.
10. Mac 217 blending brush, £19, Selfridges
If you only have one brush in your wedding-day arsenal, it has to be Mac’s 217. Fingers simply cannot compete. Unrivalled for shading and blending powder or cream eye shadows, this brush has fine, densely packed fibres arranged in an oval shape. Blend, blend, blend is the secret when it comes to perfect wedding eye make-up and we’re telling you – this baby does all the work for you. Yes, it’s a little pricey, but Mac brushes are hand-sculpted and assembled. This wood-handled design will last you for years.
11. Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte’s Magic Cream 50ml, £70, Selfridges
Charlotte Tilbury has over twenty years of professional experience as make-up artist to the stars – including Kate Moss and Amal Clooney – and launched her eponymous line in 2013. This lauded collection of little miracles has fast become any discerning beauty insider’s secret weapon. The star of the show is the best selling Magic Cream moisturiser, a secret mix of patented anti-ageing ingredients, hyaluronic acid and floral extracts that lift and transform the skin. Charlotte herself says, ‘It literally floods the skin with moisture and is the magic dew of youth and luminosity.’ Simply put, this little pot of wonder will ensure you’re always ready for your close up.
12. Urban Decay Naked Palette, £38, Feel Unique
Whether you’re an eyeshadow connoisseur or purchasing your very first palette, Urban Decay’s iconic (and hugely popular) Naked Palette is one for you. The shadows are highly pigmented and creamy, with a generous amount in each pan. Best of all, no matter what bridal style you’re going for, the colours are all you need to create everything from the ultimate smoky eye to a melting rich metallic look or a natural, romantic effect. This palette really does have it all. If you only buy one palette in your life, let it be this one.
13. Delilah Under Wear Primer, £34, Delilah
Many people skip the primer step, but here’s why you shouldn’t. The right primer is transformative. It’s like treating a canvas before creating a work of art. Or wearing just the right underwear to create a beautiful silhouette under your favourite outfit. It prepares a smooth, plump base with minimised imperfections onto which your wedding make-up will glide beautifully and last all day. The Under Wear Primer by British brand Delilah has caused a huge buzz amongst beauty connoisseurs because of its serum formulation, which feels like nothing short of liquid silk on the skin. You have to experience it to believe it. Trust us!
14. Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Eyeliner, £7.99, Boots
This is one product where it doesn’t pay to purchase a high-end brand. Maybelline’s Eye Studio gel liner is just as good, if not better than anything else on the market. It comes with an eyeliner brush which works a treat for creating a sexy cat’s eye. You can smoke out the line with a blending brush and best of all, it can even be used on your waterline and tightline unlike many other gel liners. This one has serious staying power. Use the ‘Blackest Black’ shade for the ultimate sultry effect.
15. Anastasia Beverly Hills Lash Genius, £8.50, Cult Beauty
Waterproof mascara is a no-brainer on any wedding day. However, we don’t know about you, but we’ve got a favourite mascara and waterproof it is not. So how do you wear your number one on your wedding day and avoid a serious case of the panda eyes? Look no further than Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Lash Genius. Like a waterproof overcoat, this make-up bag wonder also conditions and separates your lashes if they need freshening up during the day.