Heed this advice from some of the top beauty professionals to help you look your best on your big day.
by Eileen Smith Dallabrida
There’s an adage that all brides are beautiful—but not every bride is naturally blessed with dewy skin, a dazzling smile and long, luxurious lashes.
But with great products and healthy habits every bride can achieve a radiant look, according to pros in the beauty business. The key is preparation.
1. START EARLY
Ideally, that begins at least six months before the big day, says Sheri David of Sheri David Brows and Makeup at the Jay Michael Salon in the Radnor Hotel.
“Start using an exfoliating cleanser as soon as you get engaged,” she advises. “If you start with facials only a month before the wedding you might stir up problems with your skin and there won’t be time to resolve them.”
David will also meet with brides four to six weeks before their weddings to boost their brows—she frequently recommends using an enhancer to encourage the brows and lashes to grow. She also often tints the brows.
“The brows will look much fuller if they are colored,” she says.
Tonia Marisa Patterson of Ooh La La—The Makeup Studio in Centreville, Del., also suggests getting a head start—“and be consistent with your skin-care routine. Good skin isn’t something you achieve in a day or even a month.”
2. TRIAL RUNS ARE KEY
Brides who are consulting with a professional stylist should make an appointment for a trial run in makeup application. Wear a blouse or pullover that is the same shade as your gown.
“Your makeup just won’t have the same effect if you come in wearing a black turtleneck,” Patterson says. “Bring photos of any makeup looks you love, as well as one of your gown, jewelry and hairstyle you have in mind, and certainly invite mom and a bridesmaid to join you, if you like.”
David encourages brides who are planning to spray tan to take it for a test run to make sure the shade is right for them.
“A light spray tan gives the bride a glow and is great for covering freckles on the décolleté,” she says.
Tani Chowdhury of TCBeauty, a mobile bridal van that operates from the Delaware beaches to Middletown, says a trial run allows a bride to experiment with different looks.
“You do not want to wind up with something you don’t like on the day of, so plan ahead,” she says.
3. CONSIDER YOUR VENUE AND SEASON
Makeup trends for beach weddings include “a natural look, rather than a made-up look,” says Chowdhury.
For more formal events, Old Hollywood is back in vogue, with well-defined brows, highlighted cheekbones and full, red lips. For a photo-ready finish, many pros recommend airbrushing, a method in which a lightweight, waterproof foundation is applied through an air gun machine.
And because photographs are such an important part of the big day, David encourages brides to go for a timeless look so their wedding pictures will never look dated.
“Pink lips are so pretty and red is dramatic and classic,” she says. “But you wouldn’t go for a smoky eye if you are wearing bright red lipstick. It’s important to maintain that balance.”
Patterson says soft and smoky gray eye shadow complements a pale pink lip.
“You don’t want anything that screams,” she says. “Save the purple lipstick for your bachelorette party.”
4. MAKE SURE IT LASTS
Patterson typically begins by applying a thin veil of primer chosen to suit the bride’s skin type. Primer evens the texture of the skin, minimizes pores and makes foundation last longer.
To ensure eye shadow stays in place, Patterson taps concealer onto the lids before applying.
“I find that concealer holds any powder eye shadow even better than an eye shadow primer,” she says.
David chooses lipsticks that last, especially Chanel Ultra Wear Lip Colour. “If I do a bride at 8 o’clock in the morning it will stay on all day. It doesn’t kiss off or rub off.”
5. CONSIDER TRENDS, BUT DON’T OVERDO IT
Shimmering highlights applied to the brow bones and cheekbones are popular with today’s brides, David says.
“The trend is running toward subtle contouring and a natural bride, definitely a dewy and glowy look rather than a matte finish,” she says.
But don’t overdo it. Contouring should be subtle. “Sometimes, all that’s needed is a beautiful bronzer above the cheekbones,” she says.
For lashes, the look is full and luxurious. No worries if you don’t have your own.
Options include false lashes applied in clusters, usually to the outer corners of the eyes to create the illusion of uplift. Strip lashes create a fringe of drama. Mink lashes applied in strips, such as the opulent faux lashes by Vain Beauty, are over-the-top options sported by celebs Jennifer Lopez, Heidi Klum and the Kardashians.
“There’s also a huge trend toward false eyelashes applied individually to provide length and fullness,” Chowdhury says.
6. GET STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS IF NECESSARY
Planning a destination wedding and can’t take your makeup artist with you? Patterson suggests scheduling a makeup lesson before you go and having your artist provide a step-by-step chart for someone on location.
Here are a few of her tips:
- Blush is a pick-me-up for your face when applied to the apples of the cheeks. Choose a rosy pink or coral.
- For noteworthy eyes, pat the palest nude pink, apricot crème shadow or sheer gold liquid shadow onto eyelids and inner corners of eyes. Next, line and smudge with dark liner to define eyes. Build depth by cutting along the crease of the eye with a deeper shadow—berry, golden bronze or smoky green—and blend with a chisel brush.
- White or nude water liner pencil brightens the whites of your eyes, making them appear larger, while using a black liner along the inner top and bottom rim of eyes gives more of a sultry look.
- Curl lashes, add several lash clusters to your own and top it all off with waterproof mascara.
- To maintain a shine-free face throughout the day without piling on heavy powders, use light, fine-milled invisible blotting powder or gently pat with blotting papers to absorb any excess oil on your face.
- A finishing spray lightly misted over the entire face will provide longer wear and can also be used any time during the day if your skin feels dry.
Chowdhury will provide brides with skin-care tips and other information that will help them to prepare for the wedding, such as how to quickly eradicate a blemish.
“I tell brides to get lots of sleep,” she says. “And if you get a break out right before the wedding, put a little honey on it, sprinkle on cinnamon and go to sleep. When you wake up, your breakout will be gone.”
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