These are the ultimate bridal beauty must-haves

Bridal beauty, bride
Gilly Ferguson,-Contributing Editor

To have and to hold – what you need in your wedding kit, according to a top makeup artist

You’ve found the dress, secured your perfect venue, tablescaped like a pro and sourced the centrepiece of all centrepieces… But how do you dress your face for the big day? 

Wedding makeup is notoriously tricky, in an ideal world you want it to look picture perfect yet be resilient enough to handle a real-life hug. It has to translate as well in daylight as it does under a glitter ball, while also having the staying power to withstand sweat, tears and the occasional downpour. Tricky, right? That’s why we’ve enlisted top makeup artist Lee Pycroft to help.

The I dos (and don’ts)

When it comes to wedding makeup there is often a fine line between matrimonial makeup bliss and looking too ‘bridal’. The answer, according to Lee, lies in applying a few basic rules.

‘It’s about not going overboard and simply enhancing your features,’ Lee says. ‘Think of it as accessorising your face with elements that you may not necessarily play up day-to-day –give it a bit of definition and highlight the features you like best.’ 

According to Lee, preparation is key. Your skin is going to serve as the canvas for your makeup, so make sure it’s as fresh and flawless as possible by investing in some radiance-boosting skincare and a few prenuptial facials. Once that’s done, really look at the features on your face and learn to work with them.

‘What works for one person isn’t necessarily going to work for someone else,’ Lee says. ‘In general, though, enhancing your eyeline and adding some individual lashes to the corners to give an upward tilt is universally flattering. It can help make you look really wide awake.

‘Use matt eyeshadows to contour your sockets while using beautiful colours with a hint of sheen to bounce the light on your eyelids,’ she adds. In short, nothing too structured or deliberate-looking – simply contour where you need to but with a very light hand.

Find your perfect match

‘Your wedding day is the one time that your skin may need a little extra help even if you don’t wear foundation normally,’ Lee says. ‘This doesn’t mean you need to opt for blanket coverage – it’s all about fine-tuning so that your skin looks its best, especially under the scrutiny of a lens.’ 

According to Lee, finding the right formula for your skin type and the finish that you’re after is key. Foundation shirkers should opt for something super-lightweight and sheer like a BB cream with a touch of concealer where needed. ‘Use a synthetic brush with some flexibility to pinpoint conceal any blemishes or pigmentation,’ Lee says. ‘Just be sure to really buff it in to keep the application looking light.’

When it comes to colour, Lee recommends avoiding anything too bright or garish (unless you purposefully want a very individual look, in which case, go for it). ‘Opt for tones that occur naturally within your skin,’ she says. ‘For example if you’re very pale, then beige, peachy pinks, cool stone or taupe colours work well for you. The trick is to determine your undertone and take it from there.’

As for eye makeup, Lee suggests choosing shades that are opposite to your eye colour on the colour wheel in order to make them ‘pop’.

In it for the long haul

Cry-proof, rain-resistant and impervious to throwing shapes on the dancefloor – the best wedding makeup needs to be able to go the distance. So how do you ensure it stays put without looking as though you’ve applied layers of complexion scaffolding?

‘Primers will help your makeup stay in place while giving foundation some grip,’ Lee says. ‘Opt for longwear formulas that can be applied strategically. For example, if you have combination skin, apply your longwear foundation down the centre of the face to combat shine while opting for a serum-based formula on your cheeks.’ 

For the eyes, start with a base of eyeshadow primer, choosing cream-to-powder formulations when adding colour, with that all-important waterproof mascara to finish.

‘As long as your skin is looking lustrous and has been well cared for before the day, you can get away with wearing longwear products,‘ Lee says. ‘They really help keep makeup looking pristine throughout the day.’

How to look good in pictures

This is the one day when being camera shy isn’t an option. Keep your wedding photo album free from regret by sticking to makeup that feels authentic to you. 

In terms of practical tips, Lee suggests keeping the centre of your face more matt with your oil-free, longwear foundation to avoid looking greasy, while keeping the rest of your skin radiant by using reflective products.

‘Make sure any shine products are strategically placed to bounce the light, while matt products are used to create shape and definition,’ she says. ‘If you have hooded eyes, don’t be tempted to put anything shiny on the brow bones as this will further recede them. And always make sure you brighten the undereye area.’

Lee’s most camera-friendly trick? Expertly applied eyeliner. ‘The key is to make sure you have a tight line on the eye so that it doesn’t really look like you’ve got a lot of makeup on,’ she says. ‘Apply eyeliner under rather than on top of your lashes, taking it right into the roots to add definition. This will make your lashes look thicker without taking up too much space – unless of course you’re going for that big black liner look, which is cool too.’

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