Doing Your Own Wedding-Day Makeup? You Need to Read This

Updated 07/11/18
how to do your wedding makeup: bride applying makeup
Getty/ Slaven Vlasic /Contributor

Not every bride wants a makeup artist to paint their face on her wedding day. No one knows more about your contours, your skin texture or how makeup tends to settle on your face like you do. That being said, it's not absurd that you want to take control of how you look on your big day.

As with anything wedding-related, doing your own makeup just takes careful planning and a little practice to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible on the big day. We called on Bobbi Brown's editorial makeup artist, Cassandra Garcia (she created the runway looks for Marchesa and Jenny Packham at the recent Bridal Fashion Week in New York) and asked for her top tips on doing your own wedding makeup. Keep scrolling for everything you need to know about DIY bridal beauty, in the words of a pro.

how to do your wedding makeup: bride on her wedding day
Getty/ Thomas Concordia /Stringer

Getting your complexion perfect takes some trial and error. On the day of the event, choose lightweight, hydrating and illuminating skincare products that will create the perfect canvas but won’t be too slippery that your makeup won’t stay put. Follow with Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm (£45) just on the cheeks and temples for a lit-from-within glow. Avoid adding shine to the T-zone, centre of the forehead and cheeks, as this will look too shiny under a camera flash.

how to do your wedding makeup: Bobbi Brown Extra illuminating Moisture Balm
Bobbi Brown Extra Illuminating Moisture Balm $45
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SPF can affect the photographs, but if you’re getting married in the height of summer or on the beach, it will be a must. Use a sunscreen that is no higher than SPF 15; this will help to limit that ghostly look in flash photography that you can get from the white zinc and titanium oxide particles that physically reflect the sun.

how to do your wedding makeup: Olay Total Effects 7in1 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF15
Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Ageing Moisturiser SPF15 $15
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Ed. Note: When shopping for foundation, get the shade colour matched and applied in the store. Before you buy, take a photograph of yourself in different lighting (inside, outside, etc.) so that you can see how the foundation adapts and looks on camera in different settings.

how to do your wedding makeup: La Mer The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation
La Mer The Soft Fluid Long Wear Foundation $90
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Blend your bronzer really well and make sure your face matches your neck and shoulders. If you’re going to wear a spray tan on the day, be sure to have tried the spray tan before, and use a foundation that matches the colour of your tanned skin.

how to do your wedding makeup: Bride with eyeliner flick
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The secret to finding the perfect blush shade is to find one that matches the tone of your natural lip colour. Apply more blusher than you think you need—it tends to get washed out in photos. Get your photographer to take pictures as you’re having your makeup done in the morning to check if you need more added. Bobbi is always checking makeup on the monitor at shoots. In fact, during your makeup trial, try to take photos in different lights (indoors and outdoors) and also with and without flash to give you an idea of how much makeup you need to apply.

It’s all in the details. You should neutralise any uneven colour on the eyelids. Use a colour corrector or concealer that’s a little lighter to brighten. Your eye base should double as a primer and make your eye shadow waterproof and longer-lasting. Use a white shade for pale skins, a bone hue for medium complexions and a banana or taupe for dark skin tones. It’s trial and error, but the idea is to brighten and neutralise your eyelids.

The secret to finding the perfect blush shade is to find one that matches the tone of your natural lip colour. Apply more blusher than you think you need—it tends to get washed out in photos. Get your photographer to take pictures as you’re having your makeup done in the morning to check if you need more added. Bobbi is always checking makeup on the monitor at shoots. In fact, during your makeup trial, try to take photos in different lights (indoors and outdoors) and also with and without flash to give you an idea of how much makeup you need to apply.



It’s all in the details. You should neutralise any uneven colour on the eyelids. Use a colour corrector or concealer that’s a little lighter to brighten. Your eye base should double as a primer and make your eye shadow waterproof and longer-lasting. Use a white shade for pale skins, a bone hue for medium complexions and a banana or taupe for dark skin tones. It’s trial and error, but the idea is to brighten and neutralise your eyelids.

how to do your wedding makeup: Bride with English rose makeup look
Getty/ Thomas Concordia /Contributor

Shiny or creamy lipsticks will transfer onto your other half and your champagne flute. Take a red lipstick and use your finger to tap and buff the colour into your lips for a longer-wearing stain. It also looks less done than a full-on lip. To set your lipstick in place, dust a little Bobbi Brown Retouching Powder (£30) over the top of your lips.

If you really want to go for a more glossy lipstick, split a two-ply tissue and use one thin layer to blot. Just remember gloss won’t be kiss-proof…

how to do your wedding makeup: Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour
Chanel Rouge Allure Luminous Intense Lip Colour $28
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how to do your wedding makeup: Model puckering up
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At Bobbi Brown, we recommend using either gel or pencil to fill in your brows—it really comes down to preference. A tinted gel will help to shape and groom, while a pencil can add depth and shading for a more groomed brow look. The BrowHow service at Selfridges is a beginner workshop that helps you learn to master shaping and filling in your brows. Bobbi Brown uses the tinted brow gels as root retouchers!

how to do your wedding makeup: Model with a flawless complexion
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Use the shape of your brow arch as your guide when applying eye shadow, especially a smoky or bolder shade. Taupe eye shadow suits everyone and is a great everyday shade. For brides who find liner to be too much on your wedding day, use the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick (£23) in Taupe under your lower lash line instead. It will add a hint of depth without the full-on look of liner. A mahogany or brown liner pressed into your lash line will also define your eyes but won’t be as heavy as black.

how to do your wedding makeup: Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick
Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Cream Shadow Stick $23
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Always use an eyelash curler before applying your mascara. If you need more bend once your lashes are coated, then use your thumb to gently push your lashes back and coax more of a bend. For standout lashes, you should layer a cream (non-waterproof) mascara, which will give fullness and thicken the lashes. Do both lashes, and before that first layer has set, apply a gel-based (waterproof) mascara over the top to help them last.

Test out wearing fake lashes on a night out, perhaps your hen party, if you have not worn them before but are tempted to wear them on your big day. Once you know the mascara or false lashes you want to wear, I recommend you watch a sad movie and assess the damage.

Tip when crying: Wipe or dab your tears away and upwards; otherwise you’ll get a tear line, which will travel down through your blusher and foundation, which is harder to blend away.

When applying eye makeup, hold the mirror in front of your chin so you are looking down into it. Keep your eyes open so you can apply your eye shadow and mascara onto an open eye and see exactly how it will look as you go. 

Always apply a smoky eye first. Then use a big brush to buff away any shadow that could have dropped before applying your corrector and concealer under your eyes.

I’m not a fan of using a nude or white eyeliner in the waterline to brighten the eyes, as it can look quite artificial. Instead, I recommend using eye-brightening drops. If you want your eyes to look bigger, line outside the waterline, and use shimmer on the outer corners to brighten the eye area.

how to do your wedding makeup: wedding planner book
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Your plan of action:

Practice your wedding day look a few times, wear it on a night out (your hen party is a good place), and take lots of pictures inside and outside with flash and no flash.

On the day, the bride should be the last person to finish her makeup. If you need to be in your dress by, say, noon, then aim to have your makeup done by 11:30 a.m.

Cleanse, tone and moisturise as you normally would, and then let your skin sit to allow the cream to fully sink in.

Start with your eye makeup, and then move onto your complexion, followed by your lips at the end.

Some people enjoy doing their own makeup; others find it stressful. Think about clearing the room so it’s relatively calm, and just having one person on hand, like your maid of honour.

how to do your wedding makeup: bride and friend
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In your wedding-day makeup bag:

Take a foundation stick in your clutch bag; it is perfect for touch-ups around the nose or if there are tears on the day. Pack blotting papers into your clutch bag as well to take down any excess shine. Then pop your lipstick and blusher in there, too.

how to do your wedding makeup: Forever New Embellished Clutch Bag
Forever New Embellished Clutch Bag $38
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Now all that's left is to say "I do."

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