While most brides enlist a professional makeup artist to help them look and feel their best on their wedding days, doing your own glam is a worthwhile alternative to consider. For one, going the DIY route gives you full control over your look, says makeup artist Reina Kim. “It ensures there’s no room for disappointment on your wedding day,” Kim notes. Plus, being in charge of your own beauty look will save you money and time: By choosing not to hire a vendor, you won’t have to pay for someone else’s services, coordinate with an artist, or go out of your way to attend trials. “This means you’ll have more time and resources to focus on other essential aspects of wedding planning,” Kim says.
That being said, if you’re a novice who doesn’t know how or where to start, doing your own makeup can potentially create more pressure and stress. And for those who have their daily makeup routine down to a science, you still might be unsure how to prep your skin to properly soak up your products or lock in your look to make sure it lasts all evening. To help you take matters into your own hands, we talked to three professionals, who shared must-know tips to simplify the process and maximize the results.
Meet the Expert
- Reina Kim is a makeup artist and hairstylist who specializes in the wedding and fashion spaces.
- Beck Wainner is a celebrity makeup artist and hairstylist based in Nashville, Tennessee, and the owner of Made by Beck.
- Lynnette Cole is a licensed esthetician and the global education director of PÜR Cosmetics.
Read on for 20 easy tips to do your own wedding day makeup.
Do Your Research
The internet is loaded with beauty inspiration for your wedding day. If you aren’t sure what kind of look you’re going for, start doing research. For instance, look up your favorite celebrity’s latest red carpet looks in a search engine or head to a professional makeup artist’s Instagram page to browse photos of her clients.
You can even consult TikTok or YouTube for full tutorials that you can replicate. Kim advises finding someone with similar facial features for a more tailored guide. “Following makeup trends that don’t suit your face can [result in an] awkward appearance,” she explains. She also warns against copying a look that you see online just because it’s trending. Instead, make sure that you actually like it.
Consider Your Theme
Your overall aesthetic will largely influence your final look. Before doing your makeup, you’ll want to determine whether old-Hollywood glam, a natural, sun-kissed glow, or a combination of both suits you and your event best. Kim recommends paying attention to your color scheme, your floral decorations, your venue, and the ambiance. “Coordinating your makeup with the overall theme enhances the harmonious and elegant atmosphere of your wedding day,” she says.
Determine the Right Shades
For a more seamless end result, you’ll want to figure out which colors will complement your skin tone best, whether it’s warm bronze hues or cool blue tones. “Finding the right shade for your skin is crucial,” Kim shares. “You can even mix different shades to create your perfect match.” Instead of leaving it up to guesswork, you can also ask a professional to identify a color that best suits your complexion.
Stay Out of the Sun
It might be tempting to spend a little longer in the sun to achieve a natural tan before you trade vows. However, prolonged sun exposure can lead to sunburn, uneven skin pigmentation, and dryness. This trifecta can make applying makeup even more complicated, and you might even have to buy a new shade of foundation to match your new skin tone, according to Kim. If you’re heading on vacation before your big day or your pre-wedding schedule is packed with outdoor gatherings, make sure to apply and reapply sunscreen every two hours.
Winging your makeup on the morning of your wedding day will make mistakes and feelings of disappointment much more likely to ensue—almost inevitable. To achieve a flawless look by the time you walk down the aisle, celebrity makeup artist Beck Wainner stresses the importance of practicing a few weeks up to a few months before you tie the knot. That way, you’ll be able to identify what works and what you’ll need to adjust. “Did this makeup application last all day or not?” she encourages brides to ask themselves. “What did I do differently this time that makes me like this look more? It will help you narrow down what look you want to go for and choose products that you know will last throughout the day.” Not to mention, having a few rehearsals will give you the confidence you need to create your look on the day of.
Book a Virtual Appointment
If you’ve tried doing your own makeup, but you aren’t completely satisfied with the result, try booking an online consultation with one of your favorite makeup brands. AN expert will teach you important tips that you can apply to your final look, which will build confidence in your abilities.
Prep Your Skin
To optimize the effectiveness of your cosmetics, you’ll need to prep your skin properly. “Not only will this ensure that your makeup stays on all day, but it will also set the tone for how your makeup applies,” Wainner explains. Preparation should actually start months before the big day. According to Kim, you’ll want to pay a visit to your dermatologist (if it fits your budget), establish a consistent at-home skincare routine with hydrating products, maintain a healthy diet, manage stress, and get enough shuteye at least a month before your wedding day.
On the morning of your nuptials, prepping your skin becomes increasingly more important. Licensed esthetician Lynnette Cole suggests using a lightweight, hydrating moisturizer for a plump glow and an eye cream to correct dark circles and depuff before applying your makeup.
Stick to Familiar Products
Since your wedding day is such a life-changing event, purchasing a whole new set of cosmetics may seem enticing, but Kim says revamping your lineup too close to the wedding may contribute to allergic reactions or unwanted breakouts. To eliminate any surprises, stick with the products that you already have. If you really want to upgrade one of your items, make sure you do so months before your affair and thoroughly assess the impact it has on your skin.
Invest in New Beauty Tools
Although doing an overhaul of your makeup products isn’t the wisest decision, Kim does recommend splurging on quality makeup brushes for a photo-worthy finish. “Makeup is a delicate art, and small differences can easily affect the result,” she states. To maximize the outcome, make sure you familiarize yourself with the tools ahead of the event. Before you tie the knot, remember to clean your brushes, so you avoid transferring any leftover product onto your skin.
Choose Your SPF Wisely
Once your wedding day has arrived, sunscreen will be the first step in the makeup application process if you’ll be spending a portion (or all) of your wedding day outside—especially in the spring and summer when the sun is strongest. However, SPF can cause a white cast in your photos and potentially oxidize throughout the day. To avoid these negative effects, test out a few different sunscreens in the weeks leading up to your big day.
Layer on Primer
If you want your glam to last from the ceremony through the after-party, don’t overlook primer. “Primer helps smooth the skin’s appearance and helps the makeup wear longer,” Cole states. She recommends using her company’s 4-in-1 Correcting Primer, which has added benefits of moisturizing and reenergizing the skin.
Select the Best Foundation
Your base is arguably the most important part of your look. You’ll want your foundation to be strong enough that it shows up in photos but light enough that it won’t look noticeable in person. To test your coverage, Cole advises checking that the product looks natural up close and from a distance.
Blend It Thoroughly
For an airbrushed, professional-level look, you’ll want to thoroughly blend your foundation, bronzer, blush, and any other product you apply to your face. When you follow this step, you’ll eliminate harsh lines and produce a seamless finish that looks flawless in photos and in person.
Set It With Powder
After you’ve added all of your products to your face, you’ll want to seal it with a light dusting of setting powder. Cole notes that including a layer of powder will keep your makeup looking natural and fresh. Additionally, this cosmetic item will prevent unwanted creases, according to Wainner.
Accentuate Your Lashes
Eyes are the window to the soul, and elongated eyelashes will make your face pop. Wainner loves adding false lashes for thicker, longer strands. “You’ll want to stand out in pictures and look like yourself but elevated,” she mentions. Since applying falsies can be difficult, especially if you aren’t used to wearing them, Kim encourages you to practice putting them on.
Opt for Waterproof Eye Products
If false eyelashes aren’t in the cards, consider using a waterproof mascara. Whether it’s during your first look or while exchanging vows, you’re bound to shed a few tears, and the last thing you want is for your mascara to run. If you’re defining your eyes with eyeliner, Kim and Cole both suggest using a waterproof version as well.
Don’t Forget Body Makeup
Makeup isn’t just reserved for the face. In addition to accentuating your complexion, eyes, and lips, make sure to add the product to your body—particularly exposed areas. For instance, if you’re wearing a wedding dress with a plunging neckline or one with a backless design, remember to cover up blemishes on those areas. “Body makeup ensures a consistent and polished appearance from head to toe,” Kim shares. To start, blend the foundation you used on your face with a moisturizer, and use a fluffy brush to apply a thin layer to the exposed spot on your body, Kim instructs. She also loves adding highlighter to your collarbone and shoulders for a hint of shimmer.
Spritz on Setting Spray
Once you’ve completed your makeup look, finish it off with setting spray. This essential product will make your look last longer, avoid any caked-on effect, and prevent your makeup from transferring onto your gown or your partner’s outfit.
Bring Blotting Paper
Your skin will naturally produce shine throughout the day, but for oily skin types, blotting paper is a must. No one wants their face to look slick and shiny, whether it’s on the dance floor or in photos. Having these thin slips on hand at your function will quickly absorb oil without affecting your foundation, blush, bronzer, or highlighter.
Stock Up on Travel-Size Versions
Since weddings last multiple hours, even the best makeup application will naturally wear off. Wainner advises grabbing mini products—especially lipstick or lip gloss and powder—that are easy for you to throw in your clutch or handbag. You can even ask your maid of honor to carry these items for you.