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How to do your own wedding makeup: Tips from pros at Charlotte Tilbury, Bobbi Brown and MAC

Expert advice on getting yourself bridal ready in lockdown

Kate Middleton royal wedding makeup© Photo: Getty Images
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
January 15, 2021
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Being a bride-to-be during the coronavirus pandemic is unsettling to say the least – but once the UK lockdown is lifted and weddings are back on track, it won't be long before you are walking down the aisle. Or perhaps you are planning a virtual wedding (so, 2021)? Either way, if you're considering doing your own wedding day makeup (à la like Kate Middleton) then now is the perfect time to practice. Use your spare time to perfect the art of eyeliner and find the best foundation for you, so that come your wedding day, you are good to glow. We've rounded up the very best advice from beauty professionals to get you started…

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Of course, the key to getting picture-perfect, long-lasting wedding makeup is all down to preparation – both ensuring you have the right products on hand, along with plenty of trial runs in the lead up to your big day. We asked the experts from leading brands including Benefit, MAC and Nars to share their top tips and product recommendations you need to know so take note! And even if you're hiring a makeup artist for your wedding, you'll still benefit from their expertise for touch-ups throughout the day…

Kate Middleton royal wedding© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge reportedly did her own wedding makeup

Practice makes perfect

All of our experts agree that practice is the key to getting it right. You could go to a makeup counter for a lesson from a makeup artist in the lead up to your wedding, watch video tutorials, and take the time to get yourself familiar with the look you want to recreate for the big day.

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Invest in your makeup kit

makeup kit

If you’re not spending the money on a makeup artist, you should be able to invest in a few key products for your on-the-day kit. Better still, you’ll be able to keep using them for other occasions after your big day is over, including your honeymoon. Key pieces to purchase are a primer, foundation that has been matched to your skin tone, powder and a waterproof mascara, for any tears on the day. Something like the Ultimate Bridal Beauty Box, created with beauty guru Hannah Martin will ensure you have everything you need to look flawless on the day.

Create the right environment

Your wedding morning is likely to be quite busy, but a chaotic environment won’t help when you’re trying to focus on getting a flawless base or gorgeous winged eyeliner. Lauren says: "Creating the right environment is key, playing your favourite calming music, having natural lighting, laying your product out in order of use and most importantly, giving yourself a good couple of hours to get ready without any interferences."

Prep your skin

Poppy Delevingne wedding© Photo: Getty Images

Charlotte Tilbury uses Magic Cream on all her clients - including celebrity bride Poppy Delevingne

You’ll want your makeup to last all day and night, so prepping your skin beforehand is key. Celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury recommends her Magic Cream, which she tells HELLO! is "magic skin and I never do makeup without it. It is the key to creating the perfect, flawless-looking, glowing goddess canvas before makeup."

Meanwhile, MAC Global Senior Artist, Claire Mulleady, recommends using primers specifically targeted for different areas of the face. "The MAC Prep + Prime range will be your best friend for ensuring all your makeup stays in place. Choose primers for your skin, lips, lashes and I always use 24 Hour Extend Eye Base to ensure your eyeshadow doesn’t crease," she said.

MAC eyeshadow primer

SHOP: MAC Prep + Prime 24-hour eye base, £16.50, LookFantastic


Whether it's pre-wedding nerves or pure excitement, sleepless nights are almost guaranteed in the lead up to your nuptials. Ensure you hydrate your eye area sufficiently to create the perfect base for your make-up. L'Occitane Immortelle Reset Eyes is a unique serum, which is both rich and yet lightweight.

How to apply foundation

It’s not only important to have a foundation that has been matched to your skin tone, but also to apply it correctly for the perfect base. Jane Richardson, the Global Artistry Director for NARS, says: "I always recommend applying foundation in sections as this allows you to ensure perfect blending before moving on to another area. Apply a small amount (less is more for a natural finish) between your brows and using your fingertips, massage into the skin using a circular motion to move the foundation up and out towards the hairline.

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"By applying a small amount between the brows (and not in the middle of the forehead as I often see) you will avoid any foundation visibly sitting in the hairline. Use your fingers now to push/rock the foundation into the skin before moving on to the next section – nose, under eye, cheek, chin – this motion, along with the warmth of your fingers will allow the foundation to settle further into the skin and under any baby fine hairs to look natural, not heavy." Her foundation of choice? The Sheer Glow Foundation, which costs £33.50 and has a buildable formula.

Nars sheer glow foundation

SHOP: NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, from £31, LookFantastic


Don’t wear too little makeup

Of course, on your wedding day you’ll want to look like yourself at your best, but you may need to amp up your makeup routine compared to normal. Bobbi Brown Senior PRO artist, Amy Conway, says: "Always remember against a white or ivory dress, add a touch more blush than normal to avoid looking washed out in photos."

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But don’t stray too far from your usual routine

That being said, you don’t want to go too overboard so that you don’t end up looking or feeling like yourself. Benefit’s Lauren Hogsden says: "When applying your own wedding makeup for your big day, you want to feel and look your very best. It’s important to not steer away too much from your usual makeup routine so you can be the perfect polished version of yourself."

Layer your mascara

woman applying mascara© Photo: iStock

Layer waterproof mascara over another mascara

Weddings can be emotional, so wearing a waterproof mascara is a no-brainer. However, layering this over another product can help to give your lashes more volume. Bobbi Brown Senior PRO artist Amy Conway says: "Always layer your mascaras! A waterproof mascara is a must on your wedding day, but first apply a mascara that isn't waterproof as a base because these give all the fullness, volume, length and curl that a waterproof can't. They layer your waterproof mascara on top to act as a raincoat to your mascara and have the best of both worlds! My favourite combo has to be Smokey Eye Mascara & No Smudge Mascara."

Bobbi Brown smokey eye mascara

SHOP: Bobbi Brown Smokey Eye mascara, £25, John Lewis


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Set your skin with powder

Help your makeup to go the distance by setting your skin with powder. Jane Richardson, the Global Artistry Director for NARS, shared her top tips with HELLO!, saying: "I  use powder in areas where there is any potential oil production, and where any blush will be applied for a better blend using a powder puff. I use a rock and roll motion to push it into the skin to ensure it binds with the other products to look as natural as possible.

NARS loose powder

SHOP: NARS Soft Velvet Loose Powder, £29, John Lewis


"The more that you push the powder using this technique, the better the powder will look on the skin, and the longer it will last between touch ups. Once done, use a powder brush to remove any excess and buff the skin. Remember that it takes at least 45 minutes for the complexion products to warm into the skin and look their best (NARS loose powders are all photochromic so perfect for those all-important photographs!)."

Don’t forget your lips

Amal Clooney and Poppy Delevingne’s wedding makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury says: "On your wedding day, you should have the most beautiful lips of your life! From the magical first kiss as husband and wife, to sipping champagne and talking all day to your loved ones, a long-lasting, pout-perfecting, sumptuous lipstick is a bride’s must-have! My Pillow Talk Lip Cheat and Matte Revolution Lipstick duo are the perfect, nude-pink suits-all shades that shapes the lips of your dreams to allure, tempt, and last from the vows to the dancefloor!! I wore Pillow Talk for my magical wedding day!!"

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lipstick

SHOP: Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Pillow Talk lipstick, £25, FeelUnique


Keep some key products on hand for touchups

You’ll want to have some of your makeup on hand for any touchups, to ensure you’re photo-ready all day long. MAC Global Senior Artist, Claire Mulleady, says: "As you’ll be having lots of pictures taken throughout the day, carry (or get your bridesmaid to carry) Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation to mattify and give an extra flawless finish long into the night. Just use a little bit when and where it’s needed and you’ll be instantly photo-ready again."

Bobbi Brown skin foundation stick

SHOP: Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation stick, £32, LookFantastic


Meanwhile, Bobbi Brown’s Amy Conway’s must haves are "Skin Foundation Stick, Sheer Finish Pressed Powder and a good lippy! I love Neutral Rose Luxe Lip Color for Brides because it's super nourishing, delivers a great colour pay off and just gives the perfect blushing bride pout."

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