Makeup Tips for the Do-It-Yourself Bride

This request came from bride-to-be Kelly and she asks, “Do you have any plans to add bridal tips to your blog (longevity, showing up in photos, etc)?”


I actually hadn’t thought about it until Kelly mentioned it, but what a great idea! See, this is why I enjoy receiving mail from you, ladies! You inspire me too!

I’ve received a number of questions about the eyeshadow look on the bride that was featured in the ‘Coming Soon’ tab (photo above). For that look, you’re welcome to click here for pictures of how to recreate it.



Tip #1 – Use primers

Okay, so we’re not literally taking wall primer and painting it on your face, but primers are your best friend, especially for weddings. Just as you would prime a wall before painting it, makeup primers act the same way. The last thing you want is to look down and have your makeup in your lap halfway through the big day!

The eye primer I use and swear by is Too Faced Eyeshadow Insurance. Not only does this keep your eyeshadow from creasing, (I have worn eyeshadow for 18 hours before without ONE crease with this stuff!) it will also make the eyeshadow application vibrant and you’ll get the full effect of the color.

The face primer I highly recommend (and I’ve tried a few!) is Mary Kay’s Oil Mattifier. This dries quickly on the face and will not break out even the most oily/combination skin. I always apply this to brides before the foundation application and it helps to give a matte face for upwards of 10 hours (more oily complexions may need to blot every few hours, but that’s with any primer).



Tip #2 – Use a translucent powder fit for stage performers

If ever you’re looking for the best makeup products, check your local (or online) theater makeup supply store. With hot lights and crazy antics, stage performers generally need to have the best products that STAY PUT. The BEST translucent powder I have found is Ben Nye’s Neutral Set Translucent Powder. This seals the foundation and helps to keep the face matte; I have worn this before for 12 hours and at the end of that time only had a small amount of sheen – not much, but a little. It is a product brides constantly ask me about after their wedding is all said and done.



Tip #3 – Exaggerate what you want seen

Okay, so don’t go nuts here or anything, but it’s generally a good rule of thumb to overemphasize your best features or perhaps the features you best want seen.

If you want the emphasis to be on your eyes, go with false eyelashes. For added prominence, line the lower lashline (not the waterline – it’ll make your eyes look smaller), preferably with an eyeshadow for a soft look. You could also add a nice highlight to the inner corner of the eyes with a shimmery eyeshadow like Nylon, Vellum or Shroom. Be careful with how much shimmer you use on the eyes, as it doesn’t always photograph as well as it looks in person (this applies for the face as well – it can leave you looking oily).

If you want the emphasis to be on your face, focus a lot of your efforts on contouring and adding highlight to your cheeks, followed with a blush that adds the right amount of color to your face. Remember! No shimmer here, as it can make you look oily in photographs.

The idea here is to have the right amount so it shows in your wedding images, but it’s not so over the top that you look like a circus performer in person.



Tip #4 – Invest in an eyebrow shaping session and find the right filler

Your eyebrows can truly make or break your look as they really do frame your face. It’s best to have them professionally shaped preferably a week before the big day. You’ll also want to find the best filler for making them stand out, but still match your skintone/hair color. I personally recommend Revlon’s Brow Fantasy; I find them to provide the best match and have the greatest longevity.



Tip #5 – Waterproof it all the way!

I know, you say you’re not going to cry, but you just might! Be prepared with waterproof mascara, eyeliner, foundation, etc. The last thing you want to worry about are rivers of makeup running down your face. :)



Tip #6 – Face forward

The dress is fabulous, the hall is gorgeous, but a majority of the attention will be on your face! Don’t use a moisturizer with SPF in the formula for the main event as this can create a ghostly effect when flash photography is used.

Mineral makeup is generally not a good idea for your big day as it doesn’t provide complete coverage and it can make you look oily in photographs. Be sure to get a professional consultation to find your right foundation match (preferably in liquid form) and always apply with a brush for an airbrushed finish. If you don’t have access to a professional to find your perfect color, test foundation in natural daylight on the jawline; it should blend perfectly and disappear.



Tip #7 – Practice run!

It’s ALWAYS a good idea to practice your look before the big day. Not only will this give you more confidence, but your mind will be at greater ease knowing you don’t have to worry about your makeup.

It’s also a good idea to practice with pictures – with flash and without – to see how your face is coming across on camera.



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Comments & Responses

7 Responses so far.

  1. Kelly says:

    Thank you ever so much Zabrena, this is absolutely perfect! Going straight out to get me a foundation brush, face primer, and theatrical powder and have a practice! Feeling much more confident about tackling my own make-up application on the big day! Now, the only problem is, which of your amazing combos to go for…? :D x

  2. Claudia says:

    I’m going to a wedding this weekend (as a guest!) so I found this very helpful. Especially the theater makeup tip!

  3. Found my answer!! LOL :) I love your blog. Keep up the good work, Z!

  4. Roxi says:

    Hello! I was wondering if you could do tutorial with bridal look from the first picture :D ? I just love it!

    • Zabrena says:

      Hi Roxi!
      Thanks for asking! :)
      Did you venture over to the Star Violet post mentioned under the photo? I have pictures and some instruction there for the time being, if that helps. I will definitely keep your request in mind for the future! :)

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