There’s no denying that Kate Middleton’s big-day look made a lasting impression on the world of weddings. Her elegant Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen wedding dress put long sleeves back on the map and her barely-there makeup style set the standard for natural glam. In fact, many agree that the Princess of Wales—with her glowing complexion, a gray smokey eye, rosy cheeks, and pale pink lips—put the “you but better” bridal makeup trend on the map. “It was what we call ‘elevated natural,’” makeup artist Michelle Schultz, founder of Willow House Beauty, explains. “She looks special but still like herself. She enhanced her features rather than covered them up. Her skin looks perfect without being overdone. Her cheeks look naturally flushed with a pop of pink. Her eyebrows are defined—as well as her eyes—which make this natural look stand out.”
Meet the Expert
Michelle Schultz is a makeup artist with 16 years of experience and the owner of Willow House Beauty.
What really set Kate’s look apart was that she took matters into her hands by reportedly doing her very own makeup. Ahead of her nuptials, the princess is said to have taken several private lessons with Bobbi Brown makeup artist Hannah Martin; the goal was for her to be able to expertly apply her desired look on the big day. Lucky for you, since Kate took a DIY approach to her glam, reproducing her fresh-faced complexion is very attainable, and that’s true whether you do your own makeup or hire a professional. Although the royal bride is said to have used all Bobbi Brown products for her special day, you can tap any of your favorite brands to replicate her no-makeup makeup look.
If you’re obsessed with Kate’s timeless, understated glam and want to achieve a similar look on your own wedding day, we talked to a professional makeup artist to learn how to do just that. Ahead, the expert reveals a step-by-step process that’s easy to follow.
Step 1: Start With a Glowing Complexion
The secret to Kate’s effortless look is beginning with a flawless base. Schultz suggests using a medium-coverage foundation with a natural finish, such as Makeup by Mario SurrealSkin Foundation, to conceal imperfections without looking caked on. Then, she recommends applying a light concealer under the eyes to even out the skin tone and correct discoloration. According to the makeup artist, Tarte Shape Tape Concealer will accomplish this.
Step 2: Add Color to Your Cheeks
The Princess of Wales’ pink tint on her cheeks was the focal point of her soft glam. To duplicate the royal bride’s rosy look, Schultz advises adding a pink blush, like Dior Backstage Rosy Glow Blush, to the apples of your cheeks for a healthy, vibrant touch. Wondering how to find this spot on your face? Smile. The front parts that pop up are the apples.
Step 3: Define Your Eyebrows
Eyebrows are one feature you don’t want to overlook for your day-of glam. On Kate’s wedding day, her brows were full, groomed, and pronounced. To produce the same definition and fill in sparse areas, Schultz says to use an eyebrow pencil, such as MAC Cosmetics Eye Brows Styler.
Step 4: Create a Smokey Eye
Kate went with a gray smokey eye on her big day, which added a dramatic flair to her subdued look. According to Schultz, applying a bone-colored eyeshadow across your lid and up to the browline will create a bright base. Then, take a gray shade (or a medium-brown hue for a more subtle look) and swipe it across your crease. The end result? You’ll contour and define the eye shape, the makeup artist notes.
Step 5: Line the Eyes
“Eyeliner is a big feature for this look, so don’t be afraid to go bold!” Schultz remarks. Choose a liner in a dark tone, whether it’s brown, navy, or black, and line the upper lid and lower lid beneath your eyelashes with the product. For this step, the makeup artist suggests Make Up For Ever Aqua Resist Color Pencil. To make your eyes look bigger and brighter, she recommends using a white eyeliner, like NYX Cosmetics Jumbo Eye Pencil, along the waterline. Don’t forget to finish off the look with a waterproof mascara for fluttery, voluminous lashes.
Step 6: Apply a Faint Lipstick
The final step of Kate’s look is elevating the lips with a pink color featuring a satin finish. To mirror the bride’s pretty tint, Schultz loves NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in “Sex Machine.” Before you apply the shade, consider locking in moisture with a hydrating lip balm. Once you’ve finished applying all of your cosmetics, spritz on a setting spray, so your look lasts all night.