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  • Emma Smeaton

How to do your own wedding make-up

Updated: Aug 9

Weddings have been a little different over the last year - limited guest numbers, social distancing, virtual ceremonies and no glam squad!! If you're considering doing your own make-up for your wedding day, here's some dos and don'ts to help you create a flawless bridal look that will last all day.


It's all about that base

Skin prep is the most important step for longwearing make-up. Always apply a moisturiser tailored to your skin type about 30 mins before make-up application. Bobbi Brown Vitamin Enriched Face Base is a moisturising primer that I use on almost every bride. It leaves your skin glowing but it's not at all greasy. It's oil-free formula creates a super-smooth canvas for foundation, plus it smells amazing!


Add a mattifying primer if you need to which will target any problem areas, such as enlarged pores or an oily T-Zone. Nyx Pore Filler Primer is brilliant! An illuminating primer will help create a radiant base. Becca Backlight Priming Filter is a great product to use beneath a matte foundation for a gorgeous bridal glow on oily skin-types.


Remember the eyes too - apply a small amount of eye cream under the eye and an eye primer to the lid for ultimate eye-shadow staying power. The Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer is a staple in my professional kit!


How to choose your foundation

There's a few key things to consider when choosing your wedding day foundation, from coverage and shade selection to a dewy or matte finish.


Nars Sheer Glow is a firm favourite of mine. Bobbi Brown Foundation stick is also a really versatile foundation which is really buildable and photographs really beautifully.


Your wedding day is the one day it's okay to not wear SPF, this is because the zinc and titanium oxides in SPFs can cause a white cast on the face in flash photography - no one wants a white face in their wedding pics! Unfortunately Estee Lauder Double Wear causes flashback, but one alternative you could use if you like to wear a full coverage foundation is Mac Pro Longwear Waterproof Foundation - I love it!


For a lighter coverage you may like Nars Radiant Longwear Foundation or Bobbi Brown skin foundation.


The formula of your foundation will depend on your skin type, so I'd advise getting a tester and wearing it for a whole day to see how you get on before investing in a new foundation.


It’s important to make sure you get the right foundation shade for your skin tone - swipe on the jaw line and forehead to swatch three colours and the shade that disappears into your skin is the one for you!


Bronzers can be used to add warmth and should be applied where the sun would naturally hit your face on the forehead, cheekbones and nose.


Create a timeless look

Remember the 90s when we had really thin eyebrows? 🙈 - Trends change, especially eye brows. I always encourage my clients to go for a classic, timeless look for their wedding. Enhance your best features so you look the most beautiful version of you.


Choose either a statement eye or a statement lip to keep it classic and apply a little more blush than usual so it gets picked up by the professional cameras. I love to use Bobbi Brown Shimmer Brick in Rose as one of the finishing touches on my clients for the ultimate bridal glow.

Lipstick application

The one product you will need throughout the day is your lipstick (and some face blotting papers to rid any shine). For the first lipstick application use your lip liner, not only to line your lips but all over to create a base for your lip stick to cling onto you. Use a lip brush for precision when applying your lipstick, blot and then repeat. Remember to check you don't have any lippy on your teeth before you leave the bridal suite!


My go-to bridal lip combo is Mac Dervish Lip Liner with Mac lipstick in Angel or Peach Blossom.

What if I get a spot?

Do not pick it! I know it's tempting and if you really must, go follow Caroline Hirons guide on how to pop a spot (I'm not joking!) so it heals quickly but don't do it the night before your wedding.


I promise you, spots are so much easier to conceal when they are a pimple and not a scab. Use a concealer that provides good coverage and is the same shade as your foundation. A lighter shade of concealer that you may have used for your under eye area will only highlight a spot and draw more attention to it.


Setting your make-up in place

Set your make-up in place with a powder where needed, for example the T-Zone area, sides of the nose and centre of the forehead. Applying powder too heavily will really mattify the look, so only use what is needed. I typically opt for a finely-milled loose powder like Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder.


Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray is the finishing touch to keep everything locked in place for your wedding day - a must have for summer or abroad weddings!


Still nervous? I'll teach you...

I offer 121 make-up lessons for brides or a masterclass for your whole bridal party. I will help you find the perfect bridal look for you, give you a step by step guide to follow on the day and provide you with a product list. Please get in touch to book a virtual lesson or masterclass using my contact form.

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