Guest Blogger: Musing on Beauty

So there are actually two big surprises for this week! The first is that our wedding is being featured on A Practical Wedding today! Yay!! You can head there to check it out! I am super psyched since I wrote the post a while back, but only recently got brave enough to submit it.

The second surprise is that I've asked a number of blogger friends to guest blog while I'm in sunny Florida. First up is Mariella at Musing on Beauty. Since I discovered her blog, Mariella (or Ms. Musing, which I secretly call her in my head) has become my go to site for all things makeup and beauty related. When I asked her to guest blog, she prefaced her response by saying, "You know I'm not a professional makeup artist, right?" I do, but as it turns out, we don't need a professional makeup artist, just a beauty guru, who knows about all things makeup. I've asked Mariella to give some tips for how to look great on your wedding day. For those of us who are already married, or those of us who are still single, we will apply these tips to, you know every day. Pays to look hot, ladies. (Seriously...ask Angelina Jolie.) Enjoy today's post!

Even though I’m single, I’ve learned a lot about bridal makeup. Hey, makeup is makeup, so I’m interested. Plus, I don’t know how many weddings I’ve been to these past years, and the makeup of the bride is always the second thing I have a look at (the first being the dress). So I was really excited when Marty asked me if I could write a post on the subject, and I hope it’s going to be helpful for you.

Now, when it comes to makeup for your big day, my number one recommendation would be to have a professional makeup artist do your makeup, if you can afford it. Not that doing it yourself is impossible, but you’re going to be nervous and having someone taking care of you for half an hour is relaxing, plus that will be something you won’t need to worry about. If you choose not to hire a makeup artist, all the information below still applies, so make sure you’re taking it into account when planning on what makeup to wear.

When choosing your makeup artist, make sure that you get to see their portfolio of bridal makeups and also that you like their work. Also, you will need at least one trial session, because it is really important to make sure you are both on the same page for the big day. You will need to give your makeup artist information, such as what the wedding theme or colors are, what colors are the bridesmaids going to wear, etc. These are all important factors on deciding what makeup to do. For example, if everything from the flowers to bridesmaids' dresses are lavender toned, you don’t want to wear coral makeup that would totally clash with everything around you. Make sure everything stays within either warm tones or cooler tones, or stick with very neutral colors that won’t clash with anything. If you’re not hiring a makeup artist, another thing you can do is to book an appointment at a counter like Bobbi Brown or Mac, and have an artist create a look for you and write it down, as well as the products recommendation. This is often reasonably priced and sometimes the price can be redeemed in products, so that’s a great deal and it can be helpful.

If you plan on being (fake-) tanned for the wedding, make sure you are the same level of tan when having your trial, because your skin tone obviously has a big influence on the shades the artist will be using. (And, a little tip, rushing to the tanning beds 2 days before your wedding is ALWAYS a BAD idea, I’ve seen a few lobster-red brides and even grooms and that is not a pretty look). Also, make sure you wear a top the same color as your dress (cream, white etc...), as that also has a big influence on how much color you will need in order not to look washed out.

If you’re going to do the makeup yourself, practice it several times so recreating it feels like a piece of cake on D-Day. If you plan on wearing false lashes, but aren’t used to them, practice putting them on AND wearing them a whole day. Getting used to them can take some time; you don’t want your wedding day to be the first time you wear them.

After trials, take lots of pictures both in natural daylight and inside with flash so you can really judge if the makeup you’re trying will look good. After all, the pictures are still going to be there decades after your wedding, so it’s in those pictures that your makeup needs to look its best! Speaking of which, I would say there are a few rules you really need to follow so you won’t feel like hiding in shame when seeing the wedding pictures:

1. Be yourself! If you usually don’t wear much makeup, don’t go overboard with it because it’s your wedding day. You need to look like a better version of yourself, not like a technicolor nightmare. And if you’ve been wearing black liner and false lashes on a daily basis for all your adult life, not wearing them would make you look odd to everyone who knows you. So by all means do incorporate these items in your wedding makeup even if you use them in a slightly different way.

2. Be timeless! Forget about following this year’s catwalk trends. When looking at wedding pictures, you shouldn’t be able to tell when they were taken, and trendy makeup (and hair!) will already look dated in a couple of years. One of my favorite wedding pictures ever is this one of Grace Kelly, because you could wear the exact same makeup today and still look modern.

3. This is the one day in your life where you should not wear SPF. That’s because physical sunscreens reflect light and produce a white cast on your skin when you’re being photographed with flash. Chemical sunscreens shouldn’t produce the same results, but if you’re not sure of what's in your product, just avoid SPF altogether. So no SPF in moisturizer, foundation, concealer or powder! No mineral powder foundation either! You don’t want to look like actress Blake Lively in this picture (whoever did her makeup should find another job): her face looks paler than her body, and all the spots that were concealed on her decolletage look whiter - that’s SPF flashing back the light.

So what should you be looking for when shopping for makeup products for your wedding? Aside from products containing SPF, you should also avoid anything with light reflecting properties, such as highlighters and concealers. A bit of highlighting is fine if it’s used on the right places, but certainly not all over the face or under the eyes. That means brightening powders or Touche Eclat type concealers are a big no-no.

It’s also a common misconception to think that all the so-called HD products are suitable for photography. These were developed to make you look flawless in front of a camera, but again, aren’t suitable for flash photography. Many celebrities have suffered from this misconception while being photographed on the red carpet. This, ladies, is HD silica powder flashing back the light and making poor Nicole Kidman look like an addict.

Note: most HD foundations, like the Makeup For Ever one, do look good in pictures. It’s mainly the powder that causes issues. What you do want to use are products that will be A. adapted for your skin type and B. long lasting. If you’re oily, make sure you use a mattifying primer underneath your makeup, and a matte foundation. If you’re dry, make sure you have moisturized and primed your skin properly. Choose a mascara and a liner that are waterproof. You may also want to use a sealing product like Benefit She-Laqu; a lot of makeup artist use this on brides so that their makeup won’t move.

Don’t think that putting on a lot of makeup will make it last longer; it’s the opposite that's true. Thin layers that are well blended into the skin will last much longer, so skip anything that isn’t necessary. Use primer alone and no moisturizer underneath, use the smallest possible amount of foundation and build it only where it’s needed etc... You can also ask one of your bridesmaids to keep your powder and lipstick with her so you can touch these up after you’ve been kissing hundreds of people.

To close this already very long post, I’d like to talk about color choices. As I said above, making sure you don’t clash with the theme of the wedding is one rule, but I’d like to add one more: beware of pink on the eyes. Pink is often used for weddings. A lot of brides ask for pink eye makeup because it looks soft and romantic and it’s not going to shock their great-aunties when they meet. Still, I do find that pink isn’t flattering on anybody, particularly if you haven’t slept enough or if you cry. Pink can enhance the redness of your eye area and make you look sick. So I would recommend staying away from anything pink or plummy, which can make you look bruised. Instead, choose soft lavenders and cool-toned golds, for example, if you need to wear cool tones. Save the pink for your lips, if you do want to wear some. Also, make sure that your body and your face are the same color, particularly if you have a summer wedding and a lot of your skin is going to be visible. You can use a waterproof body foundation on the outside part of your arms and on your back or even legs to hide discoloration, veins or blemishes and look even. Ask your bridesmaids to help you with that if you’re doing your own makeup.

Here are some useful links:
Best bridal makeup video
Dry Skin bridal makeup
Oily Skin bridal makeup
Summer Rose Bride by Lisa Eldridge (suitable for hot days)

Foundations that are known to look good in photographs (even though some do contain SPF): anything by Chanel (Mat Lumiere, Pro Lumiere etc), Guerlain Parure Extreme, Makeup For Ever HD (liquid foundation, NOT powder), Makeup For Ever Face&Body, Mac Face&Body, Revlon Color Stay or Photo Finish.

Hope this was helpful!

- Mariella

For more beauty tips, product reviews, and featured looks (which are my favorite!) go to Musing on Beauty.

And if you joined us from A Practical Wedding, welcome! I hope you'll come back soon. I'll be back to my regularly scheduled blogging this Friday!


  1. Thanks for the vital info on foundations.God I would die if my foundation would melt away on my wedding day.

    designer wedding dresses

  2. @Ma.Aprilette: I think we all would! I felt lucky to have my makeup done by a professional. But I'm sure glad that I have Musing on Beauty to help me out if I was doing things on my own!

  3. Fantastic post Musing! I am a professional makeup artist and I don't think I could have said it better myself! The only thing I slightly disagree with is the suggestion not to wear pinks and plums- I use them often on bridal parties, though I completely agree with Musing that care must be taken to avoid red, "sleepy" eyes.

    One tip I have for anyone who wants to wear pink or plums on their special day (or any day) is to use less saturated versions- like a pale, beigey pink or a brownish plum- and balance it out with a neutral shade (loading rose onto pink or plum onto lilac is overkill, and can easily result in the issues Musing mentioned!)

    Finally, I have to mention one of my biggest Bridal pet peeves- tan lines! Of course, we're all smart ladies that wear sunscreen 24/7, but if you should happen to have a "friend" whose wedding dress shows tell-tale tan marks, help her spot apply self tanner a few days before the wedding, repeating until the tones match (a synthetic filbert shaped foundation or concealer brush is great for precise application!)


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