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Bridal Makeup 101: A step-by-step guide on how to get the perfect look for your big day!

Ah weddings. One of the most exciting, yet most stressful times a gal will ever experience in her life. There are places to book, invitations to send, vendors to contact, and the list goes on. While I can’t help you choose a venue or decide which in-laws to invite, I can help alleviate the stress of looking your BEST. Below you’ll find an easy step-by step guide that will get you through “How-to” and closer to the “I-do”.


Let’s start at the very beginning of your bridal makeup: the week before the wedding. The week prior, you should be hydrating your skin like a madwoman! I am talking both inside and outside your body. You should be drinking a gallon of water a day and applying moisturizer to your skin, both morning and night. This does not mean to go out and buy a new moisturizer- you DO NOT want to introduce new skincare at this point. You never know how your skin will react to new products and we are trying to get that GLOW, not an unwanted breakout. So continue to apply your routine moisturizer and drink your water!

Alright, now that we have properly hydrated our skin, lets fast forward to the day of the wedding! The morning of, you will want to start your day off with you ritual skincare routine- cleanse your face and then apply moisturizer. Now this part is important. For those who have SPF included in their daily skincare routine (as you should), SKIP IT!. SPF can create a white sheen across your skin in photographs, so it is best to leave the SPF out on this one.

Now let’s begin with the actual makeup application process. Your first item of business is to APPLY PRIMER. How many of you are guilty of skipping the primer? Yeah, yeah I know there’s a lot of you….BUT if you read only one thing on this blog post let it be this: DO NOT SKIP THE PRIMER! Priming your skin is going to help keep your makeup in place, smooth your skins appearance, and present an even platform for applying foundation. Primer is the key component to any airbrush finished look!

*I recommend using Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Hydrating Primer for those with dry skin and the Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Blurring Primer for those with oily skin. If you have combo, side with the hydrating.


You thought I was going to say foundation, didn’t you? No ma’am. Brows are next up on your makeup to-do list. The reason why is because whenever you conceal and shape your brows it is harder to blend the concealer on top of the foundation, rather than to simply put it underneath. Ladies… work smarter, not harder. Just take my word for it that you will be better off doing your brows before foundation.

While I will save the basics of brow application for a separate blog post, I will say this. Ensure that you have both clear and tinted brow gel (Anastasia Beverly Hills has cute brow packages that includes both)! The tinted brow gel will help define and give a more natural likeness to your brows. Then finish those babies off with some clear brow gel to keep those hairs in place.


Now we are going to apply our foundation, concealer, bronzer, contour, blush, and highlight. Step 3 includes a lot of little baby steps, but they all are equally important in making your skin not only glow but look naturally radiant and seamlessly beautiful.

- Foundation: For foundation I recommend using a long-wear foundation formula such as Estee Lauder’s Double Wear Stay in Place Foundation. This particular foundation is sweat, humidity, and heat resistant, which is why it earned such as high rating among brides. Another thing that makes this foundation so attractive is that it is 24-hour wear! This means no touch ups are needed. If you wonder what foundation I am using at my wedding, it is this one right here.

- Concealer: Yesss. This is the best part. We get to hide all our dark spots and areas we do not really wish to attract attention. HOWEVER, did you know concealer is a fabulous tool for bringing attention to areas of the face as well? It is the do-it all product. For weddings though, what’s important with concealer is to find a healthy balance between enough product to make our complexions look better, but not so much that it looks like we have makeup on. I recommend actually using a small dot directly below the inner corners of your eyes and a small sweep of product at the outer corner of your eye to give the appearance of your eyes being uplifted (this is the technique Hollywood stars use before walking the runway). Lastly, put a small dab on the center on the eyelid and blend out with a beauty sponge. For my brides, I normally use the NARS Creamy Radiant Concealer.

- Bronzer/Contour: When it comes to bronzer and contouring your face, I ONLY recommend Smashbox. I know the makeup gurus will say the best bronzers are KOSAS and Charlotte Tilbury, but honestly, I fell in love with the Smashbox contouring sets which include a bronzour, contour, and highlight shade. The shades blend beautifully with the foundation, giving a naturally radiant look that also photographs well! What more could you ask for?

- Blush/Highight: Finally, we made it to the end of step 3! Out of all the steps this one has to be the most satisfying! The blush brings a romantic color to the face and the highlight brings the heavenly glow- truly a match made in heaven. For the blush, I recommend using Anastasia Beverly Hills Blush Palette! This palette comes with four shades of pink and come in different shades to accommodate different skin tones! Not only does it blend beautifully against the skin, but also it creates a warmth that romanticizes the entire look. For the highlight, look no further than HUDA Beauty’s 3D Highlighter. The highlighters in this palette are soo dewy and radiant and don’t have loose sparkles in them! This means that where you place the colors, is where you will get your glow. It is as simple as that!


Out of all the steps listed so far, four is going to be the most challenging! Depending on the time of year your wedding is, what color your eyes and skin tone are, and what type of look you’re going for, finding the right eyeshadow is just as important as finding your dress! So, to kick off step 4 we are going to pick our shadows!

When I do bridal makeup, I normally grab for one of three palettes: Modern Renaissance by Anastasia Beverly Hills, Naked 3 by Urban Decay, and Smoke Screen by Sigma Beauty. I have found that each of these palettes encompass shadows that are sure to compliment any bride during any time of year. Although Natasha Denona recently released a new palette called the ‘Glam Palette’ that looks like it would be absolutely PERFECT for bridal makeup. I was kind of slacking on the release, so I just ordered it, but I will let you all know if I will be adding this to my bridal go-to palettes!

Now that we have our palettes picked out, the next step is choosing which direction you want to go with your look! For my lovely brides that do not have a ton of experience with eyeshadow, I want you to pick out three colors: a transition shade (a light to medium neutral-toned color that will help blend your darker colors), a crease shade (darker color that shares the same warmth or coolness of your transition shade), and a highlight shade (a very light color used to brighten the lid space). Once you have these shades picked out, then apply them, moving from the darkest shade on the outer corner of your eye, to the highlight on the inner corner.

Oh, and don’t forget about the lower lash line! Follow the same pattern you did with the upper lid and blend that baby out!


Alright ladies, we’ve made it to the final sprint. Adding liner and lashes is the finishing touch that brings the entire look together! For the liner, you already know what I am going to say: The Too Faced ‘Better Than Sex Eyeliner’ is your girl. The thin tip applicator, ultra-black appearance, and water-proof formula is what gave this liner its spot of the Allure Best of Beauty Awards. Therefore, I highly recommend using this liner on your wedding day!

With regards to lashes, it really is all about whatever look you are trying to convey. Personally, I love Lilly Lashes and since I have slightly hooded eyes, I like to have a lash that gradually gets bigger towards the outer corners, which gives the appearance of me having larger, more open eyes. On the other hand, for someone with more lid space, a dramatic full lash would be incredibly flattering. It really is all up to you and how you want your eyes to look.


And we are finished! The final order of business is to SET that pretty face with some setting spray. This is so that your makeup stays in place throughout the entire night, with little to no touchups necessary. The Urban Decay ‘All Nighter Setting Spray’ is my favorite to use for any night where I am going to need my makeup to stay put. That is why I also use it on my brides, that way they can continue on with their day or night, knowing they look just as good as they did at the start of the day.

Wedding makeup can be super intimidating and a huge stressor for brides, but hopefully with this step-by step guide, you can more easily maneuver where and what you need to do to get that FABULOUS glam.

Til' death do us part,

Stay Beautiful.


Alaina Katherine

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