Maybe it’s because in my former life I was a beauty editor, but this time of year, my bride-to-be friends start developing this strange habit of asking me to do their wedding hair and makeup. It’s not that I have any special training whatsoever or that I’m a particularly talented makeup artist or hair stylist—if I were, then perhaps I would start offering my services professionally—but friends who have never before wielded an eyelash curler feel I have some savvy to bring to the table. Personally, I’m always a bit reticent. After all, it’s a lot of pressure. What if some normally sweet chick freaks the eff out because I messed up and it’s her wedding and stuff? Luckily, that’s never happened, and I think it’s probably because I tend to keep things real nice and simple-like. Here are a few essential less-is-more tips I’ve gleaned over the years that are so easy anyone can do them, even an amateur like me …
Exfoliate and moisturize
The advice you’ll read out there about getting a facial a few days before your wedding is well and good, but I’ve never yet met a bride who was actually able to fit one in. Instead, just prior to makeup application, gently scrub skin with an exfoliating cleanser you’ve used before (to avoid an allergic reaction) to remove dead cells, then moisturize with a formula that’s best for your skin type. If you’re oily, you might want to use a very light mix, and go with a richer serum if you have dry skin. The idea is you want the surface of your skin primed and as smooth as possible.
Concentrate on the skin
When it comes to bridal makeup, the trick is to look as dewy and fresh as a milkmaid, not to have people noticing your fancy green eyeliner. To look your absolute best, you want skin to look flawless, sans that caked-on feel. If you can get away with tinted moisturizer and a touch of concealer, that’s awesome. If you need more coverage, stick to the lightest foundation formula you can get away with, and then use a concealer brush to apply a highly pigmented product like Amazing Concealer to problem spots. That way, your natural skin shines through while any redness or blemishes recede. Don’t move on to any more steps until skin looks as naturally even-toned as possible.
It’s OK to go a bit heavier on the cheek area, so some color will show up in photos. It’s best to apply a cream formula in the color that you blush, as the texture will sink into your skin and look more natural. If you do tend to get oily, try a gel instead, or opt for powder. Apply a tiny bit to the bridge of your nose and across your forehead to look slightly sun-kissed.
But don’t over-embellish them. There are all kinds of pretty yet odd shadow colors that makeup girls at the counter will push your way. Resist! The best thing you can do is stick with a neutral taupe, or other shade that occurs in nature, which will make your eyes sparkle without anyone noticing that you have any makeup on at all. A creamy champagne is nice because the slight shimmer will make your eyes look brighter, but the color won’t be obvious. Skip the eyeliner (if you must, use a restrained helping of brown, which is less harsh than black), and I would go with clear or waterproof mascara if you think you will cry, because you probably will.
Brush and pat powder
Brush a translucent powder over the whole show to set the makeup, but go easy, because you’ve got a long day/night ahead of you and it’s not the last time you’ll be powdering your nose. Keep a powder compact around for touch-ups, and gingerly pat powder around problem areas, like around aforementioned nose or forehead. As long as you go easy, you shouldn’t be too cakey by the end of the reception.
Nix the lipstick
Traditionally, an important part of the ceremony is when you make out with the groom in front of everyone. Getting lipstick all over his face isn’t the classiest way to pull this moment off. Instead of lipstick, invest in a good lip stain that will add some color without rubbing off or leaking. A slight just-bit-into-a-raspberry shade is always pretty. Apply some Chapstick on top to moisturize, not gloss, which will just get stuck in your hair. Speaking of which …
Keep hair streamlined
The most successful ‘do I’ve created for friends is the classic ballerina bun. It looks gorgeous, clean and demure with almost any white gown, you can stick flowers around it to gussy it up, and a bit of hairspray and pins ensure the whole thing stays put away and worry-free. It’s just so much easier, as curls gradually loosen and anything complicated is destined to look messy, frazzled or just plain fussy as time goes on. If you really feel the need to wear your hair down, get a blowout and pin the sides back so hair isn’t in your face, which is what everyone is there to see. Now aren’t you glad you kept it simple?