For years, I've sworn that I'll do my own makeup for my wedding. I've never particularly liked the way anyone else has done my makeup, and given the fact I've been doing it myself since middle school, I feel confident in my skills. Not to mention I also know which products and shades do and don't work for me, the latter of which is usually the root of the issue when a third party gives it a shot.
However, the makeup of celebrities (like, ahem, the Kardashians) on the red carpet always looks flawless—not a pore in sight. Perhaps I just need to find my own Mario Dedivanovic or Charlotte Tillbury to make my wedding photo the kind you set as your profile picture for every social network you're a member of (you know what I'm talking about).
I figured in the spirit of wedding season (and my pending nuptials), I'd give three different artists the same instructions to see if their visions and my vision would differ. (Spoiler: They were all very different.) Keep scrolling to see how it all went down.
My first stop was Sephora, where I had a lovely makeup artist from Clinique tackle my vision of "natural makeup with a healthy dose of glam." I kept the instructions quite simple, because honestly, that's the exact "look" I'd like at my wedding. I wouldn't want anything too overdone or intense—just naturally glam. Mostly, I just want to avoid caked-on makeup, ultra-heavy contouring, and a super-dark eye—something my poor cousin fell victim to at her wedding.
"Do you think it looks a little too Halloween-y?" she nervously asked me after getting her bridal makeup done.
"No! Not at all," I cowardly replied. (Side note: If ever the word weeny were said while describing my wedding makeup, I'd probably keel over. Bless her heart.)
The makeup artist took out a hefty stash of products and shade-matched everything to perfection. It was then that she asked me what type of bridal bouquet I imagined myself having. I saw where she was going with this and told her I picture something off the beaten path, like peonies, ranunculus, and succulents. She nodded and started shuffling through the products as if that description were all she needed in order to execute my look. It's a pretty genius question, if you ask me.
She then started the entire routine off with skincare (Clinique Pep-Start Hydroblur Moisturizer, $30; Clarifying Lotion 3, $16; and Pep-Start Eye Cream, $27, to be exact), which I appreciated, especially since my skin was going a little bonkers that morning. Then came the foundation and powder. I noticed that she was being very quiet and brushing everything on gently and lightly, so I worried she was taking my "natural" cue a little too seriously. It was at this point I said to her, "It's okay if you get a little Kardashian with my look." Her response?
A sigh of relief and a big thank-you. I couldn't help but laugh.
Although I planned to give each makeup artist the same initial instructions, I also wanted to throw in some cues here and there as each process wore on. I couldn't allow them to reach for a dark lip liner and go to town, you know? Getting your makeup done should be like riding in an Uber—you've got to let them know where you're headed and hope they take the best route. But if you see that they're headed into Times Square during rush hour, it's time to divert.
Cut to about an hour and 15 minutes later, and the look was done. I hadn't looked in the mirror the entire time, but when my makeup artist had finished, she squealed and said I looked "snatch." I had no idea how to react, but I guessed by her excitement that snatch is a good thing. I've got to get up on my lingo.
She passed me the mirror, and sadly, I had to put on my phony Christmas gift face—you know, the one where you're really not into the gift, but the person who gave it to you is right there so you pretend that it's wonderful while nonchalantly rummaging for the gift receipt. It wasn't awful by any means, but I had some serious Instagram brows going on. My contour and eye makeup were also way too heavy for my liking. She certainly took the "Kardashian" instructions and ran with them. It was as if I had traded in my ranunculus and succulents for a giant wall of white roses.
As a huge fan of her line, I was really excited to get a bridal makeover with Bobbi Brown's products. As another plus, her whole shtick is natural beauty—she's even famously denounced contouring, so you can bet none of that was going to happen during my visit with the makeup artist at Macy's Bobbi Brown counter in Herald Square.
But I was also excited that my makeup artist was male. I'd never had a man do my makeup before, but looking at the work of Mario Dedivanovic, Ariel Tejeda, Patrick Ta, Dick Page, and Vincent Oquendo, I couldn't wait to see what his version of "naturally glam" would look like.
The makeup artist first applied the Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base ($60), which he explained is a moisturizer and primer in one; it doesn't hurt that it also smells like a dream. He also applied the Hydrating Eye Cream ($54). Afterward, he brushed on a thick (and I mean thick) layer of under-eye corrector and concealer followed by the Skin Foundation Stick ($46). He had me check myself out in the mirror after each product, which was nice. He really cared about everything looking right and wanted to make sure I approved.
Following the foundation, I noticed that my face was very dewy and a little pale, but I let him continue thinking he'd correct it with powder and bronzer. However, he used the Nude Finish Illuminating Powder ($53) to set the foundation, which he explained is usually for dry skin, so I was surprised he chose it even after explaining that I have combination skin that steers toward oily. The bronzer also wasn't quite dark enough for my liking.
My eye makeup was light and a bit shimmery, which was nice, but I actually would've preferred a bit more depth. He also only put a little bit of mascara on my lashes, so I told him to "go ahead and glop it on." (I love lots of mascara.) But even after acknowledging my instructions, he still only used a little bit more mascara. It took everything in me not to grab the mascara wand and do it myself.
When I took a look at the final result, I thought it was… meh. I felt super, super pale (my skin, in all fairness, is very light, but I was hoping for more bronzer or… something.)
Okay. My girl at the Urban Decay Counter at Macy's in Herald Square slayed. This picture actually doesn't do it justice. I couldn't believe how happy I was with the overall look, especially having been underwhelmed at the two previous counters. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's rewind to the actual consultation.
This makeup artist was the only one who really focused on the fact that this makeup needed to last throughout an actual (albeit fictitious) wedding. She used both an eye shadow primer and a brightening primer, first explaining that "the key to wedding makeup is making it last." Amen—especially since my skin is a total oil slick.
She then did my eye makeup first—something you read about often (to clean up any fallout first instead of having eye shadow crumble onto your foundation) but not anything I've ever actually tried or had someone do to me. I've got to say it worked out great. She was able to create a sharp line where the eye shadow met the start of my temple with concealer, which actually looked really clean and not too Instagrammy. (Ed. note: ’Grammy trumps weeny so long as ’grammy isn't in reference to a grandma.)
Again, I told her to really go heavy on the mascara, which she did a nice job of—with a lash primer, no less. She followed up with a perfect nude lipstick, bronzer, highlighter, and faint blush. The only thing I didn't like was that she was using the same brush to dip into the bronzer, blush, and highlighter. She had a whole belt of brushes, so I'm not sure why she was doing this, but it resulted in a bit of a tan under-eye, which really showed up in the picture. I also wish she'd touched up my brows and filled them in a tad bit more (this was hard to see in the bright lighting of the makeup mirror).
Alas, my otherwise perfect Uber ride had veered a bit into Times Square.
After a mist of All-Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray ($32)—another smart step no other artist employed—I was off. I was really feelin' myself as I walked around afterward, and despite a warm NYC summer day, I loved that my foundation (Naked Skin Weightless Ultra Definition Liquid Makeup, $40) held up for hours without so much as a drop of oil or sheen on my face.
This experiment taught me that I actually can trust other people to do my makeup and that they'll do a good job. However, despite the fact that I absolutely loved what the Urban Decay makeup artist did despite a few hiccups, I'd still rather avoid any hiccups on my big day by doing it myself. I know what I like—what can I say?
What are your wedding makeup plans? Would you ever do your own? Tell us below!