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The Best Makeup for Brides (Do Your Own Wedding Makeup)

Updated on June 18, 2018
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Arby has been a professional writer and researcher for over 10 years, and has learned a ridiculous amount of cool stuff along the way.

It's no big secret that every girl wants to look flawlessly gorgeous on her wedding day. Deciding whether or not to hire a professional makeup artist is tough. On one hand, it's nice not to have to worry about doing your own makeup on the big day. If you have the right MUA, you're pretty much guaranteed to look amazing.

On the other, most girls have a good idea of what looks best on them -- and this may not be the same as what a makeup artist thinks looks best. Also, let's face it: makeup artists are expensive. I have great respect for what they do, and I don't think what they charge is unreasonable (like, at all) . Sometimes, though, it's just not in the budget.

My own experience with bridal makeup began with a trial run by a professional makeup artist. I didn't care for the results at all, and I was out a bunch of cash. I could have kept on looking until I found an artist whose tastes were closer to my own.

Instead, I decided to invest whatever money I was willing to spend on a professional into the best makeup I could find. I would do my own makeup (cue scary, suspenseful music). I've never been an expert at makeup; I've used cheap, crappy cosmetics my whole life. I used my impending wedding as an excuse to perform a long overdue overhaul on my beauty regimen.

Let me just say that decision was a life-changer. Seriously. I spent hours and hours poring over product reviews, chatting in forums with other ladies, and testing out products to get the most out of every hard-earned dollar I spent on my wedding makeup. It was worth it; I ended up with an arsenal of top-notch products that really deliver and I'm so glad to share them with you!

Dreamy bridal shots require flawless makeup.
Dreamy bridal shots require flawless makeup.
There are so many beautiful bridal looks. Browse through lots of websites and magazines for inspiration.
There are so many beautiful bridal looks. Browse through lots of websites and magazines for inspiration.

My Wedding Day Makeup

Drumroll, please. Here are all the cosmetic products I used on my wedding day.

Coastal Scents Concealer - I bought a 16-color palette and can already tell it's going to last me forever since it takes the tiniest little bit to cover anything. I actually didn't end up using this on my wedding day, since my skin was blemish-free! This is a huge deal for me, and yep, I will write a hub about how I did it.

Makeup Forever HD Primer - This stuff is quite awesome. I wasn't sold on the idea of a primer - much less one that costs thirty bucks - until I tried this. As with the concealer, a little dab will really do ya. A very thin layer of this stuff really gives my skin a more even texture and definitely minimizes those dastardly pores on my nose! I find that I need far less foundation when I use the primer beforehand.

Makeup Forever HD Foundation - I am head-over-heels in love with this foundation! I have always had a complicated and painful relationship with foundation. I have always sought that "polished" look that I have seen on other girls and would slather myself in drug store goop every single day trying to achieve it. All I accomplished was looking orange-y, or pink, and just sort of fake!

This stuff totally evens out my skin tone without looking like a coat of spackle. It isn't heavy coverage, which scared me at first. But, that's the beauty of it. You look like a real person while wearing it -- a super hot, real person. Less really is more.

I applied it with a big stippling brush; I just dabbed away. It goes on so evenly -- especially with the primer underneath. The "HD" stands for "High Definition" and it's specially formulated to photograph beautifully. I have honestly never used anything like it. I looked flawless - but natural - even in the harshest light!! I am so impressed with this stuff and am 100% convinced that it's worth every penny of the price - and I am typically a serial cheapskate, by the way.

Makeup Forever HD Microfine Powder - Noticing a pattern here? The MUFE HD stuff is fantastic - and it all works really well together. The powder is insanely expensive, but I'm starting to realize that the tiny $30 pot I purchased w ill probably still be half-full when we start driving hover-cars around. With high quality cosmetics, you get so much more out of so much less product. The cost isn't really any higher for the good stuff if you calculate a per-application price. Who knew? Well, maybe you did - but I was clueless.

Anyway, the powder. It is extremely fine; do not inhale while applying it. (I used a big kabuki brush). It's a really good, silky soft powder. It isn't really suited for on-the-go use, but I think it's a must for bridal makeup -- or for any occasion where you'll be photographed a lot. It works perfectly in conjunction with the other HD products. I can't wait to get my professional pictures back -- I promise to share them so you can see what I mean!

Tarte Amazonian Clay Long-Wear Blush (in "Blushing Bride", of course) - This blush really is made from Amazonian clay and it's definitely unlike any blush I've used before. It is incredibly soft and goes on lightly, subtly -- in a really good way. It looks so natural - like I have a rosy glow, rather than the obvious swath of chalky pink I used to get with blushes. This stuff was expensive, too, but I have used it almost every day for the last 3 weeks and I haven't so much as disturbed the pretty pattern etched into the top of the blush cake. It's going to last for eons.


NYX Eyeshadow Base - Okay, you have to use eye shadow base for your wedding day makeup. No exceptions. I didn't even know there was such a thing up until this whole wedding planning adventure. Put it on and your eyes become a lovely, creamy canvas upon which to create your look. It makes your eye shadow look more polished and pretty, and also helps it to stay put longer. It's inexpensive, too, but a little goes a very long way.

Too Faced Naked Eye Shadow Palette - So, I had heard that this "Naked" palette was discontinued or unavailable at some point and apparently this caused some major unrest among glamorous ladies (and gents) the world over. I kinda see why. I LOVE the combination of colors in this cute little kit. You can go from a clean and bright daytime eye to a sexy smoky look -- and all kinds of other places -- with this thing.

The colors are all highly pigmented -- which means you'll get a good amount of color for each swipe of shadow you apply. And it just looks really pretty. It's so much better than the drugstore brands. I am sure it's formulated differently, and there are complex interactions going on between interesting ingredients. For me, it simply looks more beautiful.

Sephora Eyeliner Pencil in Midnight Black - The Sephora brand pencils are pretty inexpensive (around five bucks a pop) and go on really nicely. I hear good things about their liquid eyeliner, but I'm not confident enough in my abilities yet. Pencils are so ... forgiving. It stayed put pretty well most of the night. I only touched it up a bit after the reception at around 10 p.m. - and I didn't even need to.

Too Faced Lash Injection Mascara in Black - This is my new "if I could only have one cosmetic product.." product. It, too, comes with a gasp-inducing price tag BUT I feel that it's entirely worth it. I have used a great many types of mascara, and had settled in on a favorite drug store brand that seemed to do just fine. I didn't know it could be this good, though, and I refuse to go back to my old ways. I will save up so that I don't have to go without this product ever again. Not even kidding.

I was completely bare-faced and we had unexpected company drop in shortly before the wedding. I only had time to swipe on a coat of the Lash Injection before greeting our guests. I caught myself in the mirror again afterward and couldn't believe it. I looked dang good for wearing nothing but mascara! It almost looked like I was wearing falsies -- but you could tell they were mine. Pretty awesome if you ask me.

Makeup Forever Rouge Artist Intense Lipstick #27 - This is a fabulous lipstick. I wasn't a huge lipstick girl before, mostly because the stuff just gets wiped off the first time you try to do anything other than sit there and look pretty. Not the story with MUFE's formula! This lipstick goes on full-force and stays put - especially if you use a primer and/or sealer with it. I didn't use either, and still didn't need to touch up my lipstick until the end of the reception.

A note on the color: I found #27 to be a bit pink for my taste once I saw myself outdoors. I fixed this by doing a little layering with brown and coral lip pencils. My suggestion would be to check out any cosmetics you're testing in natural light if possible. I still love this tube of lipstick, though. I would have laughed (or possibly cried) at the idea of spending this much money on lipstick before, but now I get it. These items cost more because they are better!

I finished things off by defining my brows a bit with a random eyebrow pencil a teensy bit darker than my hair color and using a couple of quick spritzes of "Model in a Bottle" finishing/setting spray. I don't like it for every day use, but it's good for when I'm going out and need my makeup to stay looking fresh for a long time. Don't spray this stuff too closely, though, or it will make your face sticky.

The key to successful wedding day makeup is to practice, practice, and practice some more. I started out following tutorials on YouTube with my cheap-o makeup. As I continued my research, I started getting some brushes and eventually the cosmetics themselves. I used every little occasion and get-together in the weeks leading up to my wedding as an excuse to do a trial makeup run on myself.

I was not awesome at it from the get-go, but with regular practice I was confident enough to do my own wedding day makeup. I've gotten even better since then and it's definitely provided me a bit of a self-esteem boost, and that never hurt anyone!

So, have fun and become empowered to explore the possibility of doing your own wedding day makeup. For what I would have spent on a makeup artist, I gained skills and got products that will last me well beyond my wedding day! I'm certainly not claiming to have anything close to the talent, skill, or expertise a professional MUA would have. There's a reason they're called artists.

No matter which way you go, have a wonderful wedding and know that your true beauty shines from within!

Nobody has to know how much effort went in to your "natural" wedding look.
Nobody has to know how much effort went in to your "natural" wedding look.

A Few Good Makeup Tutorials

© 2011 Arby Bourne


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