The key to achieving your look? Have a plan.
It takes barely a minute for a bride to walk down the aisle.
The steps she takes to enhance her natural radiance on her wedding day might start weeks or even months in advance, depending on the bride’s beauty goals.
This year, brides are embracing fresh-faced skin, subtly contoured cheeks and long, longer, longest lashes. There’s no middle ground on lips; the look is either nude, a barely there tint, or bright, bold color.
“There’s a lot to think about so it’s very helpful to meet with your stylist and do a dry run so you can experiment with different looks,” says makeup artist Kimberly Lynn of K.Lynn Artistry in New Castle. “The only surprises you want on your wedding day are happy ones.”
Even brides blessed with a naturally flawless complexion should be diligent about maintaining the basics of good skin care to offset the stresses of planning a wedding.
“Exfoliate with a good scrub and moisturize,” advises Heidi Sweringen, bridal makeup artist at Made Ya Look in Rehoboth Beach. “Stay out of the sun and drink huge amounts of water.”
If you are planning on an extensive skincare regimen to grow your glow, factor in lots of time.
“Typically, we recommend beginning any new skin care products and/or procedures at least three months prior to the wedding,” says Kerry Coates, an aesthetician at Premier Dermatology and Cosmetic Surgery in Newark. “This allows enough time to deal with possible reactions to the newly introduced products.”
Brides are trending upward in age—the average first-time bride is now 29—and there’s a growing emphasis on products and regimens that contribute to a youthful appearance.
“Often we will recommend having a microdermabrasion or light chemical peel in the office, combined with a home care regimen,” says Lori Spencer, M.D., a dermatologist at Premier.
Premier and other select medical spas carry Revision Skincare’s 60-day Bridal Protocol, which includes four products to prime and prep skin for the big day: a weekly exfoliating scrub to remove dead cells that dull the skin; a concentrated, oil-free hydrating serum; Vitamin C lotion, loaded with antioxidants; and a tinted moisturizing sunscreen in two formulas, matte for oily skin and the original blend for medium to dry skin.
In applying makeup to the skin, Lynn starts with moisturizer, followed by primer, an extra step that reduces shine and creates a smooth canvas for foundation. It also provides a surface for foundation to bind to, ensuring your makeup will stay put through a day of hugs and kisses.
There are a number of good primers on the market, including Murad, an oil-free formula available at Ulta, selected Sephora locations and other stores.
“I love primer because it tightens the pores,” Lynn says. “It’s that extra layer that masks those little imperfections.”
There are lots of options for foundation. Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation offers natural-looking, long-lasting coverage. Michelle Elizabeth of Michelle Elizabeth Makeup Artistry in Dover often reaches for Revlon ColorStay—“a great product you can find at any drugstore”—which is formulated to last for up to 24 hours.
For the finishing touch, she brushes on peachy blush to contour the cheeks and add a hint of subtle color.
“It gives the bride the glow every girl wants,” she says.
Insider Beauty Tip: Your mom might have sworn by face powder but you should stick to brush-on mineral makeup and liquid or creme foundations. Traditional powders tend to exaggerate lines.
Long Lashes and Clean Brows
Opulent eyelashes are to makeup what the strapless gown is to bridal fashion.
“Lashes are all the rage,” Elizabeth says. “It’s a very strong trend that shows no signs of slowing down.”
There are a number of ways to get the look, depending on the bride’s budget and timeline. Will you achieve luxurious lashes with the help of strip lashes or extensions? Or will you grow your own through the magic of stimulating serums?
Lash extensions, in which individual lashes are attached to your own, will last through your honeymoon and a few weeks beyond. Expect to pay about $200 for a full set of 80-100 lashes per eye and $100 for a demi-set of 45-60 lashes per eye.
Serums such as GrandeLASH-MD and City Lash start at about $65 for a three-month supply and take approximately four weeks to work their magic. The serum is applied like liquid eyeliner to the base of the top lashes only. You also can dab a little on your brow line to stimulate hair growth in sparse patches.
Elizabeth favors Ardell strip lashes—“they look like mink”—and are available at Target, Walgreens and Sally’s beauty supply stores for less than $5. Eylure also offers a line of lightweight, pre-glued lashes sold in both continuous strips or clusters at Ulta and other outlets.
Sweringen often applies lashes in individual clusters, then finishes with several coats of waterproof mascara.
If Mother Nature has blessed you with naturally long lashes, mascara is all you need. Napoleon Perdis Mesmer-Eyes waterproof mascara, found at Nordstrom and various beauty stores, lengthens and curls lashes and won’t run or smudge no matter how many happy tears are shed.
Waxing or threading produces a polished brow line, forming a natural frame for the eyes. The goal is to clean up the brow line, not reduce it.
“Brows are thicker this year, more filled in,” Sweringen says. “The very thin arched brow has fallen out of fashion.”
Because tweezing and waxing can cause temporary redness, Elizabeth recommends getting brows in shape well before the big event.
“Brows must be waxed at least five days before the wedding,” she says.
Insider Beauty Tip: If you add mascara, discard strip lashes after one use. If you don’t use mascara, you can wear lashes multiple times.
Everyone at a wedding wants to kiss the bride.
To keep color in place, Lynn starts by covering the entire lip with lip pencil. She then applies lipstick, blots with powder, and adds gloss as the finishing touch.
“The whole key to making lips last is to layer on the color,” she says.
After several seasons of pale lips, bolder colors are making their way onto the palette.
“Lips are going both ways, from the nude, neutral lip to bright pinks and corals,” Sweringen says.
Her go-to product for lovely lips is Lip Fixation by Jane Iredale, which offers a full-line of cosmetics sold at Made Ya Look and other high-end salons. Fixation includes a durable lip stain in colors ranging from rich red to near natural, plus an accompanying lip gloss.
“The colors are gorgeous and long-lasting, plus it keeps lips soft,” she says.
Insider Beauty Tip: Make certain you have ready access to lip gloss throughout the celebration. While your lip color will remain in place through kisses and Champagne toasts, you will have to periodically add sheen to your lips.
Body Art and Tanning
While you’re contemplating cosmetics for the face, also consider whether you and your maids will display or cover up body art.
“There are lots of brides who don’t want body art in their wedding photographs, especially if their moms have a say about it,” Elizabeth says.
She swears by Dermablend, the iconic line of camouflage makeup and concealers that offers coverage for tattoos, birthmarks and other skin conditions.
“It won’t smudge, it’s long-lasting and it’s waterproof,” she says.
Brides intent on a sun-kissed look also should consider the artful coverup. Invest in a professional spray tan or a quality, non-streaking self tanner, such as Brazilian True Tan.
“Avoid the tanning booth and the sun because both will dry and damage your skin,” Elizabeth says. “The goal is to look relaxed and fresh.”
Delaware Bridal Makeup Artists, Spas and Salons