These days, natural-looking beauty is in. So for the most important day of your life, you’ll want to look your natural best. Enhance away, but use caution; avoid heavy makeup or so drastically changing your look that you leave people wondering if that is, indeed, you at the altar. No matter what look you choose, be sure to experiment with it well in advance of your wedding. The last thing you want to add to typical wedding-day jitters is self-consciousness. So as with everything else, when it comes to achieving natural-looking wedding day beauty, practice make perfect.
To help you reach perfect with less practice, you may want to consult with a licensed beauty professional before your wedding. If this sounds like a good idea but is out of your budget, consider getting a free consultation at the cosmetics counter of a nearby department store. That way, you will get ideas and advice on products, shades and techniques, but no added expenses. You may also want to consider the following advice:
Make your eyes stand out. Eyes are the windows to the soul, so make sure yours draw people in! Start with your eyebrows, which frame your face. Gone are the days of thin brows; instead, a fuller, more natural look now reigns. Natural, however, does not mean overlooked. A week before your wedding, have your brows tweezed or waxed. Avoid the temptation to do your brows the day before the wedding, because redness or irritation may linger through your big day. On your wedding day, use a small brow brush or even a toothbrush to move brows into place, and then hold them there with a tiny drop of hairspray or clear mascara. Colored mascara that matches your hair color will add hold, plus added definition.
Choose muted, neutral eye shadows that work with your dress and with your other cosmetics. To brighten your eyes, use a light or white eye shadow on your brow bone and on the inside edges of your eyes. Use a darker shade on your lower eyelids. To make eyes appear larger, use shadow along the edges of your eyelids and at the corners of your eyes. Beware of eye products with shimmer or glitter, since they can make you look shiny in pictures.
Use eyeliner sparingly. For a natural look, choose brown or gray, rather than black, eyeliner. You will want your eyes to stand out in pictures and across a crowded reception hall, but not appear too severe.
Use waterproof mascara. Even brides-to-be who don’t think they’ll cry during the ceremony often do. Even if you don’t get misty-eyed or downright torrential, you’ll want your mascara to last and remain smudge-free. If you choose to curl your lashes, do so prior to applying mascara to avoid smudging your makeup. For an even more dramatic look, consider using false eyelashes, which are available in strips and as individual lashes.
To keep your face shine-free, keep pressed powder or powder-dusted blotting tissues handy. Avoid loose powder (which could spill on and stain your gown) and mineral-based powders and cosmetics (which tend to deflect light in photographs). You may also want to avoid using sunscreen, because it not only deflects sunlight, but also light from camera flashes. The result of light bouncing off your face back to the camera causes a white and sometimes chalky appearance in pictures.
As with other makeup, go for a natural look when applying blush. Remember that you’ll likely be flushed from the excitement of the wedding, so you may need less blush than you think. If your wedding photos will be in black and white, avoid using blush that is darker than your skin tone. Too-dark blush can have the effect of making cheeks appear gray and brides appear ill.
Your lipstick should complement your overall look. You’ll want to choose a shade slightly bolder than your normal color so it will show up in pictures, but not so bold that you will feel self-conscious. If in doubt, try out the lipstick in advance of your wedding and see if it grows on you. If not, experiment with another complementary shade. The darker your skin tone, the darker the shade you’ll be able to carry off. By opting for a bold lip color, though, you will be making your lips the focal point of your face.
To avoid appearing over-done, go for a more subtle effect with eyes and cheeks. No matter what shade you choose, using lip-gloss in addition to lipstick will make your lips appear fuller in pictures. And to ensure that your lip color stays in place, you won’t want to forget to apply lip liner all over your lips before you apply your lipstick.
Again, experiment with your look prior to your wedding. Apply your make-up and view yourself in a mirror from across a room and in natural and artificial light similar to that of your wedding day venue. You may even consider having your picture taken so you can get an idea of how your makeup will look when photographed. If your face seems to fade away, experiment with slightly more dramatic techniques. If what you notice most about yourself is the makeup, then scale it back a bit. With practice, you’ll feel confident and at your most beautiful on your special day.