The Ultimate Guide to Wedding Makeup

So, you found the dress of your dreams, booked the perfect venue and those save-the-dates are in the mail! Now, it’s time to tackle another wedding day must-have: bridal makeup. Like every other part of your Big Day, planning your beauty routine and day-of makeup deserves the utmost attention and care. After all, your wedding day is one of the few times in your life where you can truly glam it up like a supermodel. So, you might as well take advantage of it! If you’re a makeup novice, you might be stressing over just where to begin. To help you answer all of your burning questions, we’ve put together this ultimate guide to wedding day beauty!

Let’s Start With the Basics.

Your makeup journey starts with finding inspiration. This all-important first step helps you get a better idea of what’s out there and what appeals to you. Are you going for a dramatic and smoky look? Or maybe more fresh-faced and natural with just a pop of color? The possibilities are endless! Luckily there are many resources out there to get your creative juices flowing. Think about your other wedding decisions. Before you begin your search, take stock of the things you’ve already planned. Consider your dress, color scheme, bouquet and any other relevant parts of your wedding. Why did you choose these things? Probably because they spoke to essential parts of your personality and you liked how they all work together. Your makeup should fit into the mix just as seamlessly.

Now, that is not to say your makeup can’t make a bold statement. Quite the opposite! In fact, a daring look might just make the perfect accent or contrast to the rest of your ensemble. After all, you wouldn’t want the color of your lipstick or eyeshadow to clash with your flowers or bridesmaids’ dresses. Find a delicate balance between your makeup and your wedding’s aesthetic that ties everything together effortlessly.

Inspiration is Everywhere.

Of course, Pinterest is a tried and true source of inspiration. But you can also look to other social media platforms as well as keep a close eye on some of your favorite celebrities, influencers, and beauty gurus. You might even take inspiration from online ads or billboards for things like perfume and other beauty products. Magazines (like the one you’re holding!) are also incredible resources.

Stay organized.

As you find looks you like, save them all in one place so they can be found and referenced easily. And remember, at this point, nothing is set in stone! This early stage is your chance to let your imagination run wild and collect any and all looks that call to you. With that being said, you will probably want to end up with a look that’s less trendy and more classic. Why? Because your makeup will be forever showcased in your wedding photographs, so it is usually better to go with a look that can stand the test of time. But that doesn’t mean statement looks can’t work! It all depends on your unique style. Later, your makeup artist will help you refine your ideas and find what works best for you.

Now, Let’s Find You the Perfect Artist.

Next comes the hard part: finding an artist who can execute the runway-worthy looks you’ve been dreaming about. Now, this step can be a bit tricky and requires some legwork, but in the end, it will all be worth it – trust us! Now, let’s review some of the ways you can find your makeup artist soulmate.

Nothing beats word-of-mouth.

Getting a recommendation from someone you trust is one of the best ways to go. Were you recently a guest at a wedding and just couldn’t take your eyes off the bride’s makeup? Reach out and ask to be put in contact with the artist! Also, never underestimate the power of social media. Consider putting out a call to ask your friends and family if they have any connections or recommendations. You never know, that high school classmate you haven’t spoken to in years just might be BFFs with Beyoncé’s personal makeup artist. (We kid, but still…what if?). All jokes aside, however, you might be surprised by what your social network can find for you.

But a word of caution: just because an artist’s style worked for one person, does not necessarily mean they will work for you. So, even if you get an amazing recommendation, it’s probably not a good idea to just hire them blindly. You will still want to do your research before making any final decisions.

Check out the websites of local artists.

If you find an artist you like, carefully review their website and portfolio. Do they have looks that prove they can pull off the style you’re going for? Does their website have a clean and professional appearance? If you’re impressed by what you see, then it might be time to take the next step: setting up a consultation.

Schedule a trial run.

Before you make final hiring decisions, arrange to do a trial makeup run with the artist you’re vying for. Trial runs allow the makeup artist to show you what they’ve got. It’s a time in which they can play around with different colors, foundations and styles to help you finalize a perfected look. Trials are also an opportunity to get a sense of what you can expect on your Big Day. So, when the wedding arrives, there are no major surprises. You can feel confident that your artist knows what they are doing and will make you look your absolute best.

But remember, talent isn’t everything! While a trial run gives the artist a chance to show off their skills, it also helps you get a sense of who they are as a person. Sure, you want an artist who does amazing work, but you also want someone with a personality that jives well with your own. Professionalism and a good attitude are non-negotiables. After all, weddings can be high-stress. So, you need an experienced artist who works well under pressure and still manages to make you feel like a superstar!

Stick to a Consistent Skincare Regimen.

When it comes to looking your best on your wedding day, makeup can only do so much. Taking proper care of your skin and body is equally important. This means drinking plenty of water, eating nutritious foods, and putting a little extra thought into your skincare regimen.

During your consultation, your makeup artist will have many recommendations for ways to improve the quality of your skin. For example, they might suggest regular facials to give your complexion a little pick-me-up. Or they might advise using a soothing exfoliator twice weekly to slough off dead skin cells. This leaves your face feeling baby-soft and gives your makeup artist a smooth, clean canvas to work with.

But the importance of consistently practicing a good face-wash routine cannot be overstated. If you have ultra-sensitive skin, then keeping it simple is probably the best way to go! Use a gentle soap to cleanse your face twice daily, followed by an oil-free moisturizer for hydration. You might also consider adding a toner for an even skin tone. Just remember, don’t add any new products in your regime the day or so before your wedding if you don’t know how your skin will react.

Focus on Foundation.

Now we turn our attention to one of the most important products in your makeup artist’s arsenal: foundation. While it might not sound as exciting as, say, eyeshadow or lipstick, foundation literally lays the groundwork for the fun stuff. After all, without a solid base, the rest of your look will fall apart. So, choosing the right foundation is essential. While you and your makeup artist will talk about the specifics and the best option for you, here is a general overview of the different foundation types available.

Tinted Moisturizer

If you are blessed with blemish-free skin and are looking for a foundation that’s super light and breathable, then a tinted moisturizer might be perfect for you! As the name implies, tinted moisturizers hydrate your skin while providing just a smidge of color for sheer coverage. Because of their rejuvenating quality, they work well for brides with dryer skin. They are meant to enhance your skin’s natural beauty without layering on unnecessary product. With that being said, extra coverage will be needed to cover blemishes, dark circles or an uneven skin tone.


Typically, powder foundations are very versatile. They are easy to blend, rarely leaving discoloration or blotchy lines (think the dreaded makeup mask!). Usually, they have a lovely satin finish that leaves your face with a delicate glow. Plus, the absorptive quality of powder foundations keeps shininess down and works especially well for oily or acne-prone skin.

But powder can also be quite finicky. It’s difficult to set, so it tends to wear off after only a couple of hours. Also, they are often light-weight, making it challenging to build coverage. Often, the more powder used, the cakier your skin tends to look. So, powders are usually best suited for brides who need minimal coverage.


By far the most popular choice for bridal makeup, liquid foundations provide a wide range of coverages and finishes. They’re long-lasting and make great bases for the rest of your makeup. Like tinted moisturizers, liquid foundations also help to add a bit of hydration to your skin. So, they work well for dry or combination skin types.

Whether you have only a few blemishes you wish to cover up or more troublesome skin problems, your makeup artist can help you find a liquid foundation best suited to your needs. But keep in mind that these foundations tend to be a bit heavier, so you will want to keep your skin’s sensitivity in mind. During the consultation with your makeup artist, let them know if you’re prone to breakouts or if your skin is easily irritated.


This technique, which has been popular with models and film stars for years, is gaining traction among brides. And it’s easy to see why! When done correctly, airbrushing gives your skin a flawless look not easily achieved with more traditional foundations. Plus, it needs less product than a liquid foundation for full coverage, giving airbrush a similar lightweight feel to powder foundation. Better yet, most airbrush makeup is silicone-based, which means it lasts longer and is more water-resistant (so you can bring on the tears!) Once the airbrush foundation is set, it doesn’t move easily. But this can also be one of its downsides. For example, if airbrushed makeup does flake or streak throughout the day, it can be more difficult to blend out than other foundations. But if it dries properly, then it shouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Cruelty-Free Products

It’s a harsh reality to face that many makeup brands test on animals. But if you’re a more socially-conscious bride, you might be wondering if there are any ethical options out there. Luckily, they aren’t as hard to find as you might think! In fact, there are many big-name brands out there that are 100% cruelty-free. You just have to do a little digging. Ask your makeup artist about the products they use. If you’d prefer to use a cruelty-free brand, let your artist know and they will most likely be happy to accommodate.

Let’s Talk Day-Of Maintenance.

In most cases, after the initial makeup application is complete, your artist most likely won’t be on-hand for touch-ups throughout the day. So, you’ll probably have to take your makeup maintenance into your own hands. That means anticipating and planning for anything that might mess up your flawless look. Talk with your makeup artist on the best ways to keep fresh-faced all night long. The best way to fight against fading makeup is to pack a touch-up kit with all the essentials – blush, translucent powder, cotton swabs, blotting paper, etc. – to stash in either the bridal suite or a clutch.

Don’t be afraid to check in with your bridesmaids or family when you don’t have enough time to run to the powder room. They will want to help you on your Big Day as much as possible, that’s what friends are for.

Relax and Enjoy the Experience.

Your wedding day is a chance to look as good as you feel. That means enhancing your natural beauty with healthy habits and products that are best suited for your skin. The right makeup artist will help bring out the gorgeous glow of happiness that’s inside you to create a timeless, and perfect makeup look that’s personalized just for you. Plus, it’s not every day you get fully immersed in the supermodel experience. So, sit back and enjoy the extra pampering, you deserve it after all your hard work and planning!

Written by Micaela Fischer