Wedding Day Makeup – A Photographer’s Take
There are Definite Do’s and Don’ts to Get you Picture Perfect
I’ve been a wedding photographer since 2011, and during this time I’ve learned a thing or two about wedding day beauty. There are often misconceptions about what your wedding day makeup should be. And often these misconceptions come from makeup artists themselves! And I always cringe a little bit when that’s the case.
There are many really great makeup pros out there. If you’re taking that route, make sure you hire a person who has experience with wedding makeup specifically. And whether you’re doing you own or not, you’ll find something helpful in this post for you.
I used to be polite and keep quiet when I’d see a supposed makeup “professional” making a mess of a bride. Mostly because I didn’t want to put brides on edge or create insecurity during their getting ready. But as I’ve seen more and more brides have issues through the day or look less than perfect in their pictures and be disappointed in how they look after so much effort, I’ve learned to politely and tactfully speak up.
So read on, because because being forewarned is being forearmed. You’re only doing it once! And you will never, ever again put the same amount of effort into looking beautiful as on your wedding day. It’s got to be right. So let’s make sure you are on fleek with your wedding day makeup – both in person and in pictures!
How to Get Your Wedding Day Makeup on Fleek!
1. Start a Beauty Regimen Early
Because the better your skin is, the easier your wedding day makeup will be! So prepare your skin for your wedding day.
When I say early, I don’t mean the week before your wedding. I’m not going to tell you that you need to make an appointment with a dermatologist or go to any enormous expense or invest huge amounts of time. But there are basic things you can do to get your skin looking great for your big day.
You already know the very basics. Feel free to roll your eyes, but I’m going to tell you anyway. Eat well, drink plenty of water, regular exercise, wear sunscreen, put down that third glass of <insert favourite alcoholic beverage here> and get to bed at a decent hour. Yes, you’ve heard it before and if you’re not already in the habit of doing these things it can seem an enormous amount of stress to add to all the other preparations.
Just keep it simple!
Make skin healthy choices. Do things like adding one extra fruit and one extra veggie a day. If you’re having a sweet craving, opt for bananas and honey or something of the sort instead of brownies. Little changes. Besides, it’s good for your overall health, not just your skin. And sleep more. If you think you don’t have enough time to get enough sleep, then for one day pay attention to how much time you spend on social media, playing Candy Crush, or “decompressing” in front of some sort of electronic device. You may find you have more time than you think. It’s all too easy to misspend our precious hours doing a lot of nothing really.
Next on Your Regimen: When’s the last time you Exfoliated?
Now that you’ve got those basics under control(ish), when’s the last time you exfoliated? Start doing it 2-3 times a week if you don’t already. And did you know that includes around your eyes? Yes, they’re delicate so don’t use apricot scrub. I’m a fan of making my own scrubs. For around the eyes, I use a homemade paste made with a little rosehip oil and baking soda. Just be gentle, and rinse well. You don’t have to exfoliate around your eyes often, but do so when you notice your eyes look dull and tired and more crinkled than usual. Oh yes, don’t forget your neck, your decolletage and your upper arms!
What’s on Your Face?
Do you use skin care products? I used to spend so much money on expensive products. Until one engagement session that changed my life. This girl had outstandingly gorgeous skin so of course I had to ask her secret. She turned me on to the Ordinary. Thanks Kirsten! I’ll never forget you! If you’ve never heard of the Ordinary, your life is about to change. Seriously, if you want a low cost, I mean, LOW COST, effective, I mean EFFECTIVE, and simple routine, you can’t go wrong.
I have replaced all of my hundreds of dollars of skin care products with Ordinary products, and I’ll never look back. I’ve turned so many women onto this amazing brand, that they should pay me commission. I have a friend who’s worked in the dermatology industry for some 20 years and she has even made the leap.
…wash your face. Every night. I have the most problematic skin on planet earth. Well maybe not the most, but it’s problematic. My dermatologist told me 2 things that have proven to make a big difference to me. Only wash your face once a day, at night. A quick splash in the morning before your daytime products will do. And secondly, give your face 2 days a week of rest. No scrubbing, no products. Just a light cleanse and moisturize.
And my secret little skin care tip…
Rose hip oil (angels singing here to announce the amazingness of this oil). Not rosebud or rose oil. Rose hip oil (angels singing again, because it’s that great). You always hear about coconut oil and all these other oils, but rose hip oil beats them all in my opinion. I started using it when a friend who had some scars that wouldn’t fade showed me her scars one day. And guess what? There were none! And it was all due to this rose hip oil stuff.
Well, let me tell you! It works. It’s evened out my skin tone. It absorbs so well and is super light. I can even use it in the morning under my makeup. I’ve noticed it tighten my skin and it’s the best natural product I’ve ever used. I use it daily. As with any products however, use with caution and be aware that everyone’s skin is unique! It works for me, it works for several of my friends. It may not work for you.
Finally… UGH Work out, you say? What’s that got to do with wedding day makeup?
Beautiful skin is your starting point. That’s what. And working out is SO good for your skin. That said, I feel you. I hate working out. Let me choose between gnawing off my own arm and working out, and it’s a tough decision for me. But even just 10-15 minutes of light exercise a day does the trick. I do quick 10 or 15 yoga routines or pilates daily. Sometimes when I’m feeling really adventurous I might do a 20 minute HIIT workout. Just type in 10, 15, 20 minute yoga/pilates/whatever you feel like workouts, and you’ll have plenty of choices.
Keep it short, keep it long. Whatever. Just keep it regular.
This is your canvas and the most important step in making sure your makeup stays put all day.
First, the prep. Wash your face and make sure it’s clean. That means using a good cleanser or toner to make sure all residue and dead skin is removed. Then hydrate with an oil free moisturizer. Make sure you moisturize under your eyes too with a good eye serum or light eye cream.
Now that you’re fresh faced and hydrated, start priming. There are pore minimizing primers, and anti-shine primers for those hot spots. If you’re going to use highlighter, avoid illuminating primers. Don’t forget to prime your eyes. We all love us an adorable panda, but you’re not a panda.
3. The Foundation
Now that you’re primed and your skin is all oooohhh and ahhhhh and glowy because you crushed that regimen, the most important makeup tip I can give you is avoid mineral based foundation.
Say it with me ladies… No mineral based foundation.
Why, you ask? Mineral based foundation reflects light in a way the camera does not like. It will make you look pale and ghostly in your pictures and it’s not something that Photoshop can effectively fix – especially in hundreds of pictures. So while a good mineral based foundation is great for day to day, it’s a definite no no for your wedding day.
If you’re looking to hire a professional makeup artist, make sure to test them on this. If they don’t know that you shouldn’t be using a mineral based anything for this big day, move on and find someone else. And if you’re doing your own wedding day makeup, do a little research and get good quality products that will last the day.
Is it Waterproof?
You may cry, sweat, and maybe have a tendency to get oily. So in order to look fresh and be fuss free all day, make sure your foundation is waterproof. Talk your makeup artist about this or if you’re doing your own wedding day makeup, take to the internet where tutorials abound.
Along the Same Vein, No Sunscreen. Sunscreen Bad.
Ok, sunscreen good, but not on your wedding day. Two reasons. First, similar to mineral foundation, it will cause a white cast on your face in any flash or artificially lit pictures. Second, it’s not a good base for your makeup. So just for this one day, avoid it along with any makeup that has SPF.
Finally, don’t forget to set it. Now it should last you all day so you can focus on enjoying your day while looking gorgeous and smudge free.
4. No, It Doesn’t Have to be That Dark for Your Pictures
You’re getting married, not starring on Broadway. I’m not sure where this misconception comes from. There’s no need for your rosy cheeks to shine all the way to back of the auditorium so you don’t look pale under the spotlights on your wedding day. While we’re talking about over-doing it, easy on the highlighter there, shiny.
One of the things brides spend the most time deciding is how they want their wedding day makeup. You’ll do searches, tutorials and trial runs. So do just that, without thought to the camera. Your wedding day makeup will already be more dramatic. You’ll have that natural beauty glow that comes from strong emotion and being in love. And you’ll look and feel amazing without the 2 inch lashes. Leave the photography to the photographer, and just worry about feeling your most beautiful self for the day.
5. The Lashes
I’m not a fan of falsies. In my experience, about a quarter of brides who get falsies end up struggling with them at some point during the day. There’s nothing like an eyelash mishap to put a damper on your festivities. So if you’re not one to chance it, there are some great mascaras out there. But always choose a waterproof formula.
Now this topic is personal for me. I have a camera to my face all day, and it’s murder on the eye makeup. Even professional waterproof mascara wouldn’t cut it for the entire day, so I went looking for a solution. And what I found was Clarins Double Fix Mascara (the link takes you to Shoppers, because get your points!) It’s a clear top coat, and my mascara stays put all day. No raccoon eyes, panda eyes or heroin chic look for me. That’s nothing short of a small miracle for a girl wedding photographer.
So there you have it. My best wedding day makeup tips after 8 years of photographing beautiful brides. You’re going to look spectacular!
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