If the Royal wedding taught us anything about make up, it’s that enhancing your natural beauty is timeless and elegant.
Take a good look at Meghan Markle’s complexion and you will see skin. You’ll even see freckles! How often do people let their freckles shine through these days? More often than not, and with the whole Instagram make up craze still ongoing among many, freckles are completely masked behind a full coverage base. As though they are something to erase.
Don’t get me wrong, I was one of those people who felt the need to hide under an inch of foundation, and 5 days out of 7 I still prefer something with a slightly fuller coverage but the more “trends” are pushed on me, the more counter assistants at certain cosmetic companies churn out the same look over and over again, the more I’m likely to move away from them.
I don’t and won’t wear a cut crease. I like a glow of highlight, but I won’t want to blind anyone with it. I don’t want to wear glitter on my eyelids, regardless of my age. I don’t want a harsh contour or to be so chiselled that my entire face structure looks wrong for my face shape.
I have spoken on a number of occasions about the move away from make up that enhances natural beauty. All the above trends, that are ongoing and growing, do just that. They suggest that what you were born with isn’t good enough. That you need to use your make up to reinvent yourself.
Meghan Markle…pardon me, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Sussex, did not conform to any trends in the beauty industry when she walked down the aisle, watched by millions. When the first image of her appeared on my television screen I was waiting to see the dress. In actual fact, the first thing I noticed, was her face. She was the picture of a radiant bride. Just as a bride should be. Looking exactly like herself, with the odd touch up to enhance the beauty she already possesses. I loved that. She played up her skin and her eyes, but in a subtle way. Just enough to make her features stand out but not so much that we couldn’t see her.
My little brother got married this week, and his bride did exactly the same thing. Her make up was enhancing, not masking and was barely detectable but she was flawless in every single photograph. We looked at her and saw Zoe, not make up.
It got me thinking about bridal make up and, if I was giving anyone any advice on that subject, what I would say.
If I think back to my own wedding make up, of course there are changes I would now make.
I’m a little more confident in my skin, not quite as awkward having my picture taken and I now know better as to what make up actually suits me.
Prior to my wedding, my skin was in a terrible state and skin care was really just about trying to rid my complexion of cystic acne. By the time the big day rolled around I had it fairly well under control and I wasn’t as completely mortified to be stared at all day, as I could have been. But years of acne clearing washes and ointments meant my skin was so unbalanced it didn’t know how to behave! Leading me nicely into tip #1.
#1 GET YOUR SKIN IN ORDER
There’s only so much you or a make up artist can do to enhance your skin, if you don’t start with good skin care. A good base (and in this case I don’t mean foundation) is vital for that glow from within. Diet and plenty of hydration naturally play their part here too but the sooner you get your skincare in order, the better. This includes cleansers, toners and moisturisers but also consider suitable masks and definitely get into the habit of exfoliating. You’ll have to do some research into what products work best for your skin type but find something that works and stick to it religiously in the months leading up to the big day. It will make all the difference in the world.
I advise priming on a daily basis, but on the biggest day of your life, with cameras constantly flashing and eyes continuously staring, you’re gonna want that make up to stay in place. A well chosen primer will not only act as a barrier between your skincare and your foundation (ensuring the two won’t mix) but it will keep your make up looking as fresh and flawless as possible, for as long as possible. Whether it’s a primer that mattifies, corrects redness, smooths pores and fine lines or illuminates, there’s one for every skin type and one for every look you’re going for.
#3 KEEP YOUR LAYERS LIGHT
If you, or a make up artist, decide a more “natural” base isn’t for you, that’s completely fine. It’s your day and you do it your way, but don’t cake it on. It might look good for an hour but it won’t last, even with a primer, will break down faster and will look dreadful in your photos. Buildable coverage foundations are so called because, well, you build up the coverage. It’s not a case of more product in one application will do the same job as several thin layers. Layering makes make up last and it will allow you to have complete control of the coverage you want. Light applications will not only look more flattering on the skin but will last the day as well.
#4 MAKE SURE YOU SEE YOUR FOUNDATION IN DIFFERENT LIGHTS
Make up artists will of course know how to colour match, but just in case, have a trial. Once the foundation has been applied, take a photo with and without a flash and then head outside to take a good gander in natural light. As many of us will know, light changes the colour of a base so making sure you have the perfect match is vital! On that note, if you plan to fake tan for your wedding, fake tan before your make up trial, just so you’re covered.
#5 DON’T GO ALL IN
What do I mean by this? Pick a feature and play it up, not them all. If you have a great eye shape, play that up. If your lashes are amazing, make them the focus. If you have good lips and a lovely smile, pay more attention to the lipstick. Think what you would want someone’s eye to be drawn to and ask your make up artist to focus colour there. That will never date.
#6 PICK SHADES CAREFULLY
This applies to eye shadow, blush, lipstick…anything that will bring life and colour to the face. Personally, I would stick to classics such as a soft (not overdone) smokey eye and a nude lip, or a very simple eye and red lip if you’re that way inclined. Your wedding day is not the time to try a wacky eye look or introduce glitters. It’s a day for you to look the best version of yourself but in a stylish, timeless way. A cut crease will not stick around forever. Harsh contouring will not always be the fad. Keeping things simple and elegant will ensure you can look back on your photos and not ask yourself “What on earth was I thinking?”
A primer and good foundation are only part of a trio of steps that you need to follow for a long lasting, fresh as possible make up look. Setting key areas with a translucent, finely milled powder will add to wear time. I would also highly recommend a setting spray to lock your entire look into place and you can always use it again throughout the day just to revive and freshen your look. Again, find a spray that suits your skin’s needs or that works in harmony with the look you’re going for. Urban Decay’s De-Slick is great for oily skin, NYX have a spray for a dewy finish if you prefer that look and of course, the ever faithful, Mac Fix+ is a winner for removing that powdery finish if, like me, you need a little more setting to prevent melting!
#8 TOUCH UPS
If you have had a trial with a professional MUA they will have discussed your skin type and have selected products that should last all day, or as long as possible. However, having key items on hand for touch ups will prevent any worry. We had a fabulous day of 20+° weather at my brother’s wedding and the oil slick began to appear on my neb a little sooner than I would have liked. Thankfully I was prepared and was able to fix the problem in seconds. Consider purchasing items that your MUA has used, such as foundation, powder and lipstick. That way, if you look into the mirror come speech time and aren’t happy with what you see, you can do something about it there and then.
So there you have it. I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, a professional but I hope my tips might be useful to someone, some day.
Thanks for stopping by!