These 14 wedding makeup tips could help you save face… literally

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Wedding makeup tips from @offbeatbride
Makeup by LaDonna Stein Makeup and Hair Artist

We've seen offbeat wedding makeup run the gamut from vintage-styled to barefaced to natural and glowing to masquerade masks and Halloween makeup to offbeat groom makeup. So what advice can we impart to help keep your makeup plan less stressful and more BLAMMO? Here are our favorite wedding makeup tips for Offbeat Brides.

Think YOU, only enhanced

Wedding makeup is never required, of course, but a lot of brides (and grooms) opt to enhance their gob for the day and to make sure they don't look washed out in photos.

Don't let anyone hijack your look. You want your partner to see you on the wedding day, so make sure you're repping your own style. Does this mean you can't branch out and go a little bolder? Hell no! Just make sure you're following your own needs and not letting the pressure to conform to any standards get to you. Rock your goth look, pin-up red lips, or au naturel — as long as it's you.

Wedding makeup tips from @offbeatbride
Makeup by Makeup Artistry by Liz

Pro or no?

A lot of brides get their makeup done professionally for the wedding, but it's not required. A professional can definitely give you a little insurance in terms of helping your makeup last and adjusting it for your lighting and photography situation, but you can certainly do it yourself or ask a skilled friend, if you prefer.

Friendors can be awesome with hair and makeup since they probably know and respect your style (or you can at least school them ahead of time). If you're going with a friend, have them do a dry run just like a professional would. Either way, make sure to do a trial run or two at least two weeks before the wedding day. Do it in natural light and check every angle in a large mirror.

Our directory of makeup and hairstyle vendors is a great place to start when looking for a professional to step up your beauty game.

Tip: Blend blend blend blend. And blend again.

Wedding makeup tips from @offbeatbride
Makeup by Makeup Artistry by Liz

Bring references to your makeup trial

Don't be afraid to bring photos of makeup you like to your trial. It's way easier than trying to explain your rockabilly meets carnival idea with words alone.

Wear your dress color to the trial

Wear a shirt that's similar in color to your wedding dress so you can see how it will all come together. Dress color can reflect on your face (as can hair accessories), so plan ahead for that.

Wedding makeup tips from @offbeatbride
Fab lashes by VAIN

Now is the time for waterproof mascara

If you're anything like me, the tears will flow, and your makeup will want to travel with it. Secure your eye makeup with waterproof products just this once.

Tip: Amp up your eyes for photos with some falsies (no, not the boob kind). Here's a tutorial for applying false lashes.

Consider blush even if you don't usually wear it

Even if you're going bare-faced, you might want to consider a little blush. Photos really can wash you out, and just like in the theater, a little blush can make all the difference. Try a cream blush with a powder on top for long-lasting wear.

Wedding makeup tips from @offbeatbride
Makeup by Hairspray Beauty Lounge

Prime it, prime it real good

Primer for your foundation and eye makeup is soooo helpful. It'll fill in pores and lines and keep your makeup from melting. We'll be getting to heat-related tips shortly, not to worry.

SPF is your pal

Consider using a tinted moisturizer underneath your foundation with some SPF. Don't ruin your party time with a sunburn. You didn't work so hard on your makeup to have it become tomato-themed later in the day, right?

Don't rush your timeline

Allow at least 45 minutes to an hour for makeup application on the day so you don't have to cut it short or go without. This is a good tip for every facet of wedding planning, actually.

Prepare for the weather

Tissues, blotting papers, makeup wipes, an umbrella, cotton swabs, and backup makeup are all awesome things to add to your “oh shit” kit to prevent weather-related makeup fallout.

Wedding makeup tips from @offbeatbride
Makeup by Raina: Hair & Makeup

The Big DON'Ts

Seriously, don't do these things. If Ross can mess up a spray tan, you can, too.

  • Don't go too overboard with tanning or teeth whitening (note the looking-like-you tips above).
  • Don't wax near the wedding day: you don't want red bumps ruining your jam.
  • Don't try any new products near the wedding day: Allergies are a thing, dude. Try new products a few months or weeks in advance.
  • Don't spray tan right before the wedding day: Heed the Ross warning!

Are you going to rock a new makeup look for your wedding? Tell us about it!

More wedding makeup tips


: LaDonna Stein Makeup and Hair Artist
: Makeup Artistry by Liz
: Hairspray Beauty Lounge
: Raina: Hair & Makeup

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Comments on These 14 wedding makeup tips could help you save face… literally

  1. I was under the impression that spf under flash photography caused flashback and an ashy look to the skin due to the reflective properties of zinc or whatever is in there. Was I led up the garden path?

    • It can. That was the main red flag that went off in my mind when I was reading this post. I’m Tania and I’ve started collaborating with the Offbeat folks contributing makeup posts on the Offbeat Home site (the first one went up the other week )

      So since as a makeup artist I primarily work in photographic media rather than bridal, SPF factors heavily in makeup for photography. It isn’t even so much the strength of the SPF its the **type** of sun block used. For photography you definitely want to stay away from any of the physical sunblocks (Titanium Dioxide and Zinc Oxide). Those are the culprits that cause white cast and they also flashback in photographs (particularly if a flash is used). Flashback makes your face look lighter than your body and just look super odd in photographs. The chemical sunscreens can be problematic for sensitive skin, but they are much less likely to cause a flashback reaction in photographic situations. As far as the strength of the SPF, higher SPF products *can* often be in a heavier base which creates a difficult surface over which to apply makeup. DEFINITELY use a sunscreen made for the face and give it time to set before applying makeup.

      Some “hi-def” powders can also cause flashback because of their silica content. If you’ve seen pictures of Nicole Kidman or Angelina Jolie with weird white stuff under their eyes or around their nose, that’s caused by silica-based powders flashing back at the camera.

  2. When you said Ross… I thought it was Ross from Game Grumps. I immediately got confused, checked, realized which Ross and came back. But these are all helpful tips! I’ll be sure to share them with a friend who’s getting hitched!

  3. I agree with all of this except you may not need SPF if you’re not at risk of catching the sun, especially because it can cause problems in photos (as I believe titanium dioxide can – so worth choosing foundation and powder with this in mind).

    On the time issue, I’d say allow enough time to do your face two (or maybe even three) times over – just in case something goes wrong and you have to take it all off.

    I did my own even though I don’t wear make up much. I practiced a lot before hand, and bought my make up about three months ahead. I watched a lot of YouTube tutorials which really helped. I also bought makeup setting spray (I went for Urban Decay) and I think that was a huge help.

    I think doing my own worked well for me because I could enhance things just a little. Sometimes with vendors I find it difficult to articulate what I want or say if I’m unhappy but I didn’t have to worry about that.

  4. I agree with all of these. And have a good makeup remove handy for the end of the night!
    Getting a trial run of the makeup is insanely important. As a bridesmaid in my brother’s wedding, I had mine done by a pro (even though I make makeup for a living- they have the better knowledge AND tools). I loved how she basically made my skin look airbrushed (an hour of hard labor) even though we disagreed about the brightness of my lips (red lipstick makes me uncomfortable). However, weeks later my then-boyfriend/now-fiance remarked that he HATED how I looked on the day- very not myself, very plastic, and he didn’t feel comfortable kissing me with all those layers of paint on my face. (he framed in the form of a compliment, wise man that he is, but still)
    Without this trial run, I would never have known that my wearing heavier-than-normal makeup on our wedding day would make him uncomfortable.
    And every professional makeup artist I’ve talked to includes a trial-run free of charge when you contract them for wedding makeup. It’s SUPER IMPORTANT to have done.

  5. My FW is a professional make-up artist and had a tiny fit over two things in this post, so here’s her two cents:

    – waterproof mascara – don’t do it! Most waterproof mascaras are NOT tearproof. This means you’ll cry, your mascara will run down your face… and because it’s waterproof you won’t be able to wash it off your face without using make-up remover. She’s fairly certain Dior makes one that’s tearproof, but they’re hard to find and very expensive. Her advice – have your eyelashes dyed, which won’t run, or use falsies (with high-quality glue!), if you must. We’ll both be wearing regular mascara because even if we cry it’ll just wipe off (wedding dresses with a special tissue pocket? :P)
    – NO SPF ON YOUR FACE you will look like a ghost in your wedding photography. Odds are you won’t need it anyway (as you probably won’t be sunbathing?). Anything light-reflective on your face, even under your make-up, will make you look white. The same goes, for instance, for under-eye concealer.

    • Something like Fiberwig mascaras are tear proof. The tubing kind of mascara that is, other brands makes tubing mascaras as well.
      It washes off with hot water on a rag. You have to soak for a while to get it off, not ideal for evereyday use, but for special occasions i really do like it.

  6. Thank you the wonderful tips! I never experiment with my skincare products and stick to only one(, which I have been using since last few years and plan to use that on my wedding day too!

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