While I’m planning to go to the professionals for my wedding reception make-up, for my ceremony at a local registry, I’d like to do it myself. I just need a little help – which I found in the form of a bridal makeup class with Bobbi Brown PRO artist Zara Findlay.
Often referred to as Gold Standard of wedding makeup, Bobbi Brown offers free bridal beauty classes at all its stores. After attending a class with Zara, here's what I learnt about how to do your own wedding makeup. Spoiler alert: I learnt a lot!
Your make-up can only be as good as your skin, so take good care of the latter
As magical as make-up can be (ever seen an episode of Rupaul’s Drag Race?), it can only do so much. Whether you’re going to a professional or doing a DIY job, it’s important to take care of your skin in the lead up to your wedding day. I myself have problems with regular hormonal breakouts, so Zara recommended adding Bobbi Brown's Intensive Skin Supplement to my daily regime.
“This product has helped me out so much," says Zara. "When you have a hormonal breakout, it really helps brighten and repair the surface area of the skin.”
Allocate at least one hour to do your make-up
If there is one event for which you should take your time to do your make-up, it’s your wedding day, so Zara recommends allocating one to two hours' prep time before you need to be ready.
Where you do your make-up and how you prep your skin is also super important. Zara's best tips include:
- Do your make-up in a relaxing space
- Opt to either be by yourself or have a supportive, chilled out friend with you
- Lay all of your products out and have cotton pads and tips on hand
- Do your make-up near a window, so you can see yourself in natural light
- [b]Use both a large mirror and a hand mirror
Prep your skin for the finish you want to have
Once you’re all set up (maybe with a bit of mood music playing), it’s time to prep your skin. Wash your face, so it feels clean, and add prepare your eyes with an eye cream. And, yes, as Zara taught me, you need eye cream!
“A lot of women take their moisturiser up to their eye, but the under-eye is 50 times thinner than the rest of your face, so it’s almost like putting thick body cream on your face – you know you’re going to break out,” says Zara “That’s why a lot of women get melia, a build-up of fat underneath the skin, under their eyes, because it’s too rich for an area that can't absorb it properly.”
Once your skin is clean and your eyes are moisturised, it’s time to prepare it for make-up. According to Zara, the type of primer or moisturiser you use depends on your skin, as well as the finish you want. For example, if you have oily skin and want a matte finish, you should use a mattefying primer.
I have combination skin but want a slight glow, so Zara recommends applying the hydrating gel cream (which is a moisturiser and primer in one) followed by the Bare Illuminating Balm, which just needs to be added to places like your cheeks, where you want a little glow.
Apply concealer first, then foundation
As someone who has been applying their foundation first all their life, this tip rocked my world. But, as Zara explained, it made total sense.
“A lot of women tend to start with their foundation first but the under-eye is the part that shows how tired you are,” Zara says. “If you start on your face first, you end up putting more foundation that you actually need. Whereas, if you cover the area that is actually causing you to feel like you look tired, you’ll end up putting much less foundation on afterwards. Which is better for your skin and will result in a more natural overall look.“
How you apply under-eye concealer is also key to making sure it stay put and to avoid creasing. When asked whether you should use your finger, a sponge or a brush, Zara says the most even application is with a brush, such as Bobbi Brown’s Full Coverage Touch Up Brush.
Once your under-eye has been blended, Zara advises adding concealer to any other areas that might be reddish, such as around your nose. Once this is done, I’m blown away by the difference and can see how little foundation I really need. On any given day, I would feel confident with just this amount of coverage on my face. But, for your wedding day, Zara recommends also adding a little of the Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick. Don’t worry, this scared me too, but I was surprised to hear Zara likes to apply it with a brush and buff it into the skin, which, once it was added, felt incredibly light – and it blended perfectly.
Of course, brides-to-be can use whatever foundation they feel comfortable with on the day, but Zara’s best tips for application are:
- Avoid foundations with SPF: In the evening, when there’s flash photography, it will completely bleach out the skin.
- Never use your foundation to cover up something: Only use your foundation to even out your complexion. If you see blemishes coming through, don't put more foundation on. Add concealer instead with a little brush, so the product stays on.
Skipping bronzer is the biggest bridal beauty mistake
As a reasonably pale person, I always associated bronzer with people that want to look like a golden Amazonian, like J.Lo. Little did I know that, according to Zara, bronzer is the key to creating a flawless beauty look and one of the best ways to solve a big beauty mistake.
“Our face is often protected, so, generally, you get colour in your body but then you lose it on your face. So that’s where the bronzer comes in to play – by bringing the colour that you have on your chest which is warm, up to your face,” says Zara.
Zara even recommends applying bronzer to the back of your neck if you’re planning to wear your hair up on your wedding day, so your face and your body is fully blended. Before applying bronzer, Zara likes to dab a bit of highlighter onto areas like the cheek bones, above the brow and onto the tip of the nose to add a soft glow. Following bronzer, apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. The add some powder only to the places where your skin is oily, such as your t-zone.
Hold the brush at its top end when applying makeup
While most people (myself included), might think you need a lot of makeup on your wedding day, I’m surprised to see Zara, while using a high number of products, apply everything very lightly.
“Make-up is very similar to cooking,” says Zara. “If you make a sponge cake, it’s just a simple sponge cake and won't take long to bake. If you’re making a wedding cake, there are multiple layers and a larger number of specialist ingredients, which is what makes it so amazing. So, approach your bridal make-up with the attitude that you're applying a little bit of a lot of products to result in an amazing overall composition.”
This all makes sense, but when you’re sitting with butterflies in your stomach on the morning of your wedding, it can be tempting to slap as much product on as possible. To avoid over-applying your make-up, Zara’s best tip is to hold your make-up brush at its very end.
“When you hold it at the tip, you lose control over it, so you force yourself to be very light handed.”
Use a hand mirror to do your eye make-up and start with your ‘naughty’ eye
We all have one eye that we prefer to apply eyeliner to, and what Zara calls a 'naughty eye', which we can never get quite right. To avoid asymmetry, Zara recommends facing the fear and beginning with your naughty eye. By doing this, you can take your time to perfect the eye.
But start your eye make-up with eyeshadow, followed by eyeliner, and then go back and blend and add a crease colour, depending on the look you want. To ensure precision, Zara’s top tip is to use a hand mirror that you can hold under your chin and look down into when applying liner. If you want to do a cat eye but, you’re not 100% confident, Zara recommends you can map it out with a taupe eyeshadow first.
Bobbi Brown offers free bridal make-up lessons. Book a class online