One of my nerdy readers is getting married, and she sent in this request!
“Hi, I love your story… I am exactly the nerdy girl you describe… almost done with my master’s in engineering in Instructional and Performance Technology… Dream Job.. VP of Training and Development or Chief Learning Officer for a cosmetic company… I love that you are melding all your interests and talents into this website. Best of luck to you. I am getting married July 26th… any good looks to suggest?”
When it comes to weddings, it is really up to the bride to get exactly what she wants on her special day! So when the bride chooses a makeup look, it should be something that she feels comfortable in. That means if you don’t wear makeup on a daily basis, then you’ll probably be most comfortable wearing minimal makeup — enough to cover up any flaws, slightly enhance your features, and powder to reduce shine in your photographs. If you’re pretty comfortable with makeup, then you can go for a little more drama with your eyes (but still sticking to neutral colors). If you love wearing a lot of makeup, then you can go all out with it too (such as smokey eye or pop of color)! My recommendation is to not stray too far from how you’re normally seen everyday (or how you look in previous special occasions)… you don’t want your special someone to not notice you when you walk down the aisle!
For the step-by-step pictures I did below, you can either achieve a very natural look (for those who don’t usually wear makeup) or slightly more dramatic yet still neutral look (this would actually be my choice for my own wedding makeup, as shown above). I mention in certain steps which parts to skip if you want to keep the look minimal. If you’re the type to wear a more dramatic look to your wedding, then just browse through the several looks on my site for more ideas for your wedding makeup.
To get started:
- Apply moisturizer on your face and neck.
- Gently tap eye cream around your eye area, if desired.
- Prime your face, if desired (though I strongly recommend it for your wedding day! Click here to learn more about face primers).
- Apply foundation (click here to read about one of my foundation techniques).
Apply an eye primer to your entire lid and highlight area (see my eye makeup map if you’re not yet familiar with these terms). For this neutral look, I recommend a colorless eye primer (like Too Faced Shadow Insurance or Urban Decay Primer Potion) or one that is a color that’s similar to your skin tone.
Here I used MAC Paint Pot in “Soft Ochre” with a MAC 249 Large Shader Brush.
Apply a shimmery cream eyeshadow like MAC E/S in “Shroom” as a wash (click here to see how to apply an eyeshadow wash).
Using a fluffy blending brush like MAC 224 Tapered Blending Brush, pick up some light brown matte eyeshadow on the tip of the brush and apply it along your crease in a windshield wiper motion. I used MAC E/S in “Soft Brown Matte”.
If you want a very natural, almost “no makeup” look, then skip ahead to Step 6!
To add some depth and further enhance your eye makeup, apply a dark brown eyeshadow on your outer V. I used MAC E/S in “Handwritten”.
I like using a pencil brush (MAC 219) to add dimension to my outer V, because it allows for more precision.
Blend the color you applied in Step 4 with a blending brush with a bit of another matte brown eyeshadow that is lighter than the color on your outer V but darker than the color on your crease (I used MAC “Espresso”). Using a color in the middle of two shades helps to make the colors look more blended.
Also blend some of this medium brown color to the outer half of your crease.
Line your eyes. Use a black gel or liquid liner for a more dramatic look, like I did on the right.
If you want a natural look, use a brown color. A brown pencil will achieve the most natural, “barely there” look — stay as close as you can to your lash line, and then smudge the line with a pencil brush.
You can also fill in your eyebrows now with a pencil (use light, small strokes for a natural look) or some eyeshadow (for a more dramatic look).
Contour the sides of your nose if you want to make it appear taller. Shade the tip of your nose if you want that part to look smaller.
I used Benefit Bronzing Powder in “Hoola” — the color you use to contour should be 2 shades darker than your skin tone.
To create a more pronounced jawline, use a large angled brush to contour your jawline with the same powder you used in Step 7 (this is also a great way to look a little slimmer!). I used a MAC 168 brush with some more of my Benefit “Hoola” powder. Lightly brush along your jawline, and then brush down your neck to blend it out. The placement should be where you would naturally see shadow under your jawline.
Also contour your cheeks (click here to see step-by-step details).
Apply a natural blush that still has a hint of color to it (like a soft muted pink/rosy blush) on the apples of your cheeks and blend upwards diagonally.
I used MAC Powder Blush in “Cubic” with a MAC 129 Powder/Blush Brush.
Once you’re done with your blush, apply an invisible (colorless) or translucent (the same or one shade lighter than your skin tone) powder to your entire face to set your makeup.
Line your lips with a lip pencil similar in color but a couple shades darker to the blush you used in Step 9. Then fill in the rest of your lips with this pencil.
I used MAC Lip Pencil in “Soar”.
Now that you’ve finished most of your makeup, it’s time to do your eyelashes. I don’t wear false eyelashes very often, but I would recommend it for special occasions, especially natural ones for weddings. Read my tutorial that covers everything you need to know about false eyelashes to finish your wedding makeup look. Otherwise, just curl your eyelashes and apply mascara — use a waterproof one just in case!
One last thing I would recommend to help your makeup last throughout the ceremony and the reception is a makeup setting spray. I personally love Model in a Bottle, a matte setting spray that helps make everything last longer and look fresh. To use it, when you finish applying your makeup hold the bottle about 6 inches away from your face, close your eyes, and spray about 2 to 3 times. Keep your eyes closed for about 20 seconds to let it dry.
Have a wonderful wedding!
(By the way, if you’re wondering what that white cloth is that I’m wearing as a “wedding veil” in the first picture, it’s the white top I wrote about in my Fashion Friday: Episode 21 post! haha)