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7 Wedding Makeup Do’s and Don’ts From the Pros

A woman wears a shimmering eyeshadow look, another woman wears a pink blush, and a final woman wears golden eyeshadow and mascara.
Huda Beauty/Saie

It’s no secret that weddings drain savings accounts. From dresses and flowers, to food and entertainment, it’s an expensive day. One way some brides try to save some cash is by doing their own makeup. If you’re one of them, we’ve got some tips from pro makeup artists to help you out.

Deciding to do your own wedding makeup might be daunting—after all, most of us have learned everything we know through trial and error. Of course, you’ll want to do test runs prior to the big day, as you’ll likely be using new products.

But to get more specific advice, we tapped Beck Wainner and Jenny Patinkin, professional makeup artists, to give us some do’s and don’ts for wedding day makeup.

Do: Wear Fuller Coverage

A woman uses a pink sponge to apply makeup.

While you might usually be more of a low-coverage, au naturel makeup wearer person, you’ll want to up the coverage on your wedding day. This doesn’t mean you have to use a full-coverage foundation if you don’t want to. Patinkin advised building up light layers one by one using a specific technique.

“Use a damp sponge to pat over the foundation between layers,” Patinkin said. “This will help to lift away any excess product that might crease or slide over the course of the day.”

A damp Beauty Blender is actually the perfect tool for Patinkin’s tip. It will absorb excess product so you don’t end up looking cakey or too overdone. Additionally, if you apply your foundation with a  light patting motion, the porous surface will help you avoid the streaking you might get from a traditional brush.

Don’t: Go Too Matte or Dewy

A bottle of foundation, and four arms with different shades of foundation swatched on them.
Make Up For Ever

In addition to layering your foundation, Patinkin cautioned against formulas that are either too matte and dry or too dewy, which can leave you looking oily.

“I prefer to stay away from matte foundation, which can look dry and flat,” Patinkin said, “and radiant foundation, which can look too shiny in photographs, and opt instead for either a demi-matte or a satin finish product.”

A good option would be a medium, buildable coverage foundation, like Make Up For Ever’s HD Skin Udetectable. The name pretty much says it all. Not only is it buildable, but it’ll last all day, sync with your skin for a perfect match, and maintain a natural finish.

Do: Use a Primer and Setting Spray

A person holds a pressed powder, primer, and setting spray, and multiple bottles of primer are arranged in a row.
Urban Decay

In addition to your regular skin care products, Wainner recommended that you also prep your skin with a makeup primer before applying your foundation and set it afterward with a spray.

Urban Decay’s All Nighter Longwear Primer would be an excellent place to start. It creates a hydrating barrier that’ll keep your skin fresh, but also gives your foundation something to grip onto. This will prevent it from sliding throughout the day, as well as help control the oil that can break through the foundation and cause it to slough off.

Urban Decay All Nighter Longwear Face Primer

Give your foundation a perfect base.

Once your makeup is done, a setting spray “seals” it in place. Different sprays do different things (add a glow, mattify your skin, and so on), so choose one that will make your foundation last as long as possible without changing its finish.

Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray is a cult classic because it does just that. The oil-free mist goes on evenly and melds with your makeup for a smoother complexion. It seals in all of your hard work, makes your foundation last longer, and works for all skin types.

Urban Decay All Nighter Long-Lasting Makeup Setting Spray

Keep your makeup looking fresh all wedding long.

Don’t: Try New Trends or Techniques

A woman wears a shimmering eye makeup look, and another person wears a neutral pink-toned lip.
Huda Beauty/Makeup By Mario

As we mentioned previously, one of the most important days in your life is not the day to try a brand-new product or trendy technique. This includes everything from lip color to eyeshadows.

“If you wouldn’t wear a bright red lip in real life,” Patinkin said, “don’t decide to try it for your wedding.”

A good bet is to stick with a lip shade you use often, or one that enhances your natural lip color. For example, you might choose a light, balm-like lip stain. However, if you’re worried about getting lipstick all over your honey (or that very white dress), a long-wear lipstick is probably the best option.

Patinkin recommended Makeup By Mario’s Lip Cremes and pencils because they come in a large range of natural, but still glamorous, tones.

Three arms have lip colors swatched onto them, and a doe foot applicator has lip color on it.
Makeup by Mario

MAKEUP BY MARIO Ultra SuedeTM️ Cozy Lip Creme Naked Spice .1 oz/ 3.2 mL

A satin matte lip cream that cushions lips comfortably in one-swipe color while blurring and smoothing.Formulation Type: Lipstick, Liquid LipstickBenefits: Hydrating, Long-wearingHighlighted Ingredients: - Passionfruit Seed Oil: Cold-pressed emollient oil that leaves lips feeling...

When it comes to eyeshadow, Wainner echoed Patinkin’s lip advice.

“You don’t want to overdo it with a super smoky eye and look back in a few years and say to yourself what was I thinking?” Wainner said.

The same as your lip color, sticking with neutrals for your eyeshadow is usually wise, and there’s certainly no shortage of palettes. Huda Beauty can help you keep it simple with its makeup-bag-friendly Nude Obsessions. This nine-pan palette is available in three versions for different skin tones: light, medium, or deep.

A woman wears a pink and brown eyeshadow look, and several eyeshadow pans are smashed into powder.
Huda Beauty

Do: Wear More Blush

A person wears blush on their cheeks and a tub of blush has its applicator beside it.

Saie Dew Blush Liquid Cheek Blush Dreamy 0.40 oz / 12 ml

An effortless, healthy flush has never been easier—Dew Blush’s blendable, liquid-cream formula melts into cheeks and let’s your skin be the star revealing the perfect, lit-from-within pop of color. Finish: Natural Formulation: LiquidHighlighted Ingredients: - Elderberry Fruit...

Just like your foundation, Patinkin also advises brides to layer their blush.

“I always tell brides who are doing their own makeup that they need about 20% more blush than they would usually wear,” Patinkin said. “I know it seems like a lot, but bridal makeup needs to pop in person, on video, and on camera. And you need to make sure you don’t look washed out.”

She recommended Saie’s liquid blush due to its long-wear time. However, this is definitely a product you’ll want to experiment with long before your wedding day.

To apply any liquid or cream blush, the key is to start with a small amount and blend. If it doesn’t pop enough, add a second layer. The trouble is you can always add more, but you can’t remove too much without all of your makeup going with it, so practice for a while until you get the process down.

Don’t: Wear Lip Gloss

Three arms are swatched with lip colors, and a person wears a terracotta-colored lipstick.

Rouge Dior Forever Liquid Transfer-Proof Lipstick 200 Forever Dream 0.20 oz/ 6 mL

A transfer-proof, matte liquid lip color that is ultra-pigmented with 12 hour weightless long-wear.Formulation Type: Liquid LipstickIngredient Callouts: Free of parabens, formaldehydes, formaldehyde-releasing agents, phthalates, mineral oil, retinyl palmitate, oxybenzone, coal tar,...

If you regularly wear lip gloss, you might be tempted to do so on your big day. However, both of our pros advised against it for several reasons.

First, gloss can cause creasing around your lips, which will make them look sticky instead of just shiny in your wedding photos. Gloss is also far easier to transfer to other people, which will not only be bad at the altar but when greeting your guests, as well.

There’s also a chance of a hair (or really, anything else) getting stuck to your lips and annoying you when you should be focusing on your vows or a million other things. This is why a long-wear option, like Dior’s Transfer-Proof formula, is best for your big day.

Wainner likes lip stains because they, well, actually stain your lips. Even after the initial layer has eroded, your lips will still retain the color, and it won’t transfer to champagne glasses, eating utensils, or your spouse’s face.

We like Ink Velvet by Peripera because it comes in a ton of colors and has a silky finish, even though it’s a stain.

A woman holding the applicator of Ink Velvet 17.

Peripera Ink the Velvet Lip Tint

Long-lasting and comes in a variety of neutral shades.

Do: Play Up Your Lashes

A tube of mascara is next to an applicator, and a photo shows a person's lashes before and after applying mascara.

Buxom Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara Blackest Black

A volumizing, waterproof mascara that separates and defines lashes. Glide on amped-up lashes with this ultradefining, smudge-proof mascara. The vitamin-enriched, clump-resistant formula deepens, darkens, and intensely thickens, while the curvy, hourglass-shaped brush evenly coats...

Another thing our pros were in agreement on is amping up your lash look for your wedding. Wainner recommended Buxom’s Lash Waterproof Volumizing Mascara because it resists clumps, won’t smudge, and builds volume.

Of course, the ultimate way to upgrade those eyelashes is to add more.

“Even though they might not ordinarily be drawn to false lashes,” Patinkin said, “nothing makes a bride feel more romantic and special than long, fluttery lashes.”

They also look incredible in photos. However, once again, this is a process that will require some pre-wedding practice sessions. Experiment with different lash shapes and lengths well before your wedding day to determine which you like best—and get the application process nailed down to a science.

Patinkin recommends Ardell’s Soft-Touch Trio lashes. They allow you to customize your look and the medium length isn’t over-the-top dramatic.

Doing your own makeup on your wedding day is definitely one way to save cash, but it can also take some practice. These tips from professional makeup artists will help you choose the right products and shades, so you’ll not only look gorgeous that day, but forever in all those wedding photos.

Shea Simmons Shea Simmons
Shea Simmons is the Editor In Chief of LifeSavvy. Previously, she worked as a freelance writer with a focus on beauty and lifestyle content. Her work has appeared in Bustle, Allure, and Hello Giggles. Read Full Bio »
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