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Over the years I’ve had a few brides who are minimalists when it comes to makeup and don’t use it in their everyday lives. I think it’s great that these women are so comfortable in their own skin, but I also understand that this can present a bit of a conundrum about whether to wear makeup for their wedding days.
If you don’t wear makeup normally, any makeup will probably seem like too much to you. But you also want to look your best on your wedding day, and hiring a good makeup artist will ensure that you don’t have to worry about stress or late nights showing up on your face. Plus, the members of your wedding party and family will likely be wearing some makeup, and it might be noticeable in the photos if you are the only person without makeup.
Since minimalist brides don’t want a heavy look and generally don’t have much practice applying or evaluating makeup, it’s doubly important that they hire a great makeup artist who can subtly highlight their natural beauty. It’s also crucial that these brides have at least one makeup trial well in advance of the wedding so they can make sure they are comfortable with the makeup and request changes if necessary.
One of my brides recently contacted me after her makeup trial to say that she felt uncomfortable with the way she looked. She was able to send me some photos of the makeup and ask how I thought it would translate into professional photos. I thought this was such a smart idea, and I loved helping her think through how to get a natural look that would be perfect for photos.
Here are some of the things I suggested to her:
1. Makeup does always “disappear” a little in photos. Sometimes it looks like a lot in the mirror but not as much when it’s properly shot, exposed, and edited. An iPhone photo often doesn’t accurately capture how you look in the same way as a real camera, but if you have someone else take a photo outdoors (in natural light) from a good distance away, it will be a closer representation of how you look. This is also another reason why hiring a professional makeup artist who works strictly on wedding makeup is so important. They understand how makeup translates to camera (going from three dimensional to two dimensional) and also how it looks in different lighting.
2. There are certain types of makeup that don’t disappear as much. Shimmery eyeshadow seems to stand out more, and I’ve seen brides get a reflective highlighter on their cheeks that looks very bad in some kinds of light. If you like a natural look, you will want softer colors with more natural textures. Eyeliner is another thing that can really change the way you look–especially if it’s done with a heavy hand, a dark color, or “wings” that extend past your eyes.
3. A high quality foundation is so important! I am no expert on specific brands or applications when it comes to foundation, but your makeup artist can help choose the best match for your skin and apply it correctly so that there are no lines or blotches.
4. Give yourself time to get comfortable in your makeup. Consider asking your makeup artist which products they used on your face and having them teach you how to apply them so you can get used to them a bit before the wedding day. Give yourself permission to try things out and take some of the pressure off of the “wedding makeup” by incorporating it into everyday life first.
5. Finally, and most importantly, ask your partner what they think about your makeup trial. They are the person who loves and understands you most, and they are going to help you feel most comfortable with your decision.
Since I’m not an expert on makeup application (just photographing it!), I wanted to include a Q&A with Andi from Something Blue Stylists. Andi created the hair and makeup for the engagement photos in this post, and she is an expert at emphasizing natural beauty without creating an overly dramatic or heavy face.
Q: Andi, what would you say to a bride who is afraid of looking overdone on her wedding day?
Most of my clients would describe themselves as people that “never wear makeup”. These women understand that for such an important day, it’s best to leave their face in the hands of a professional. Finding an artist who’s portfolio reflects the style of makeup that you have been envisioning for yourself is key. If someones portfolio is an Instagram account with 400 selfies showcasing different looks, run, don’t walk, away. Though it should go without saying, makeup enthusiasts are not professional makeup artists. Period. The ability to do makeup on oneself in no way translates to the ability to properly and sanitarily apply makeup on others, and the rise of the influencer has created a lot of confusion for people when selecting their bridal beauty team. One you’ve found the right team, open and honest communication with your chosen artist is key to achieving the look that you want. A trial appointment is not only necessary, it is the one chance you have before your big day to make any adjustments and tweaks to ensure that you look and feel your best!
Q: What kind of makeup tends to look too heavy? And what kind keeps things soft and natural?
A lot of brides tend to see overly filtered Instagram makeup, and get such a misconception on not only what is real and what is a filter, but what fresh natural beauty actually is. Using heavy concealers, bronzer, and shimmers to highlight and contour the face is the quickest way to look overly done in photos and look muddy and unblended to the naked eye. Fresh, moisturized skin, and flushed cheeks paired with matte eyeshadows and individually placed faux lashes are a great place to start with any bride.
Q: Does a bride’s natural color play a role in determining what is heavy vs. natural?
A bride’s coloring will always come into play when it comes to selecting the right shades that will compliment and accent her natural features. Knowing your color wheel and how to use complementary colors is crucial for selecting a custom palette for each bride. For this reason I always strongly discourage spray tans, as this can completely skew a brides natural coloring. In 16 years of doing weddings I have never seen a spray tan that looked good enough that I couldn’t immediately tell that they had one done, which really defeats the purpose of a ’natural glow’.
Q: What type of foundation do you typically recommend for minimalists brides?
While many think airbrush makeup is the holy grail for flawless coverage, I have found that traditional applications can be better suited to most brides. With proper skin care, a properly matched tinted moisturizer is perfect for those wanting to even out their skin without feeling like they are wearing a full coverage foundation. Face Atelier Ultra Skin has been a staple in my kit for years, and is the first thing I grab for anyone who says they are not comfortable wearing a lot of makeup. Keep in mind no makeup is bullet proof. If a bride rubs her face against peoples jackets, she is eventually going to rub off the makeup. As a precaution, I always prep my brides by explaining that their face and hair is a work of art on the wedding day, and to treat it as such. Light hugs, air kisses, “dab don’t wipe”, basically doing what they can to ensure that their face and makeup looks amazing all night.
Q: Should brides allow makeup artists to use highlighter to create a “glow” on their skin?
I tell my clients that by using proper skin care, and prepping the skin on the wedding day, we can create a ‘from within’ glow that does not require the use of an actual highlighter. The only highlighter in my kit is a liquid that I mix with a cream oil lotion in a 1:4 ratio and apply to the brides décolleté area to give definition to the collarbone area.
Q: What is a good rule of thumb for keeping eye makeup looking natural?
Keep it simple. When I first started working with other makeup artists, and watched their techniques and tricks, I realized that my minimalist approach to makeup also translated to my actual use of products. While many artists use 5-6 shadows to create a look, I could create the same look using only 2 or 3. Don’t get caught up in using every color in a palette just because they are there. Avoid shimmery tones, and stick to satins and mattes.
Q: What about lips?
On of my go to tricks for picking out a lip color, is to look at the color of the clients gums. It seems silly but whenever someone says they never wear lipstick, it never fails. We use a satin lip stain on our clients for longevity, which only requires the occasional gloss application over the top to keep looking fresh.
Q: Anything else you think we should know?
The key to looking radiant on your wedding day is to remember that makeup will only look as good as the canvas that it’s put on. If you fail to properly prep and prepare your skin months before your wedding, you cannot expect a makeup artist to make it look like you have. If you were blessed with amazing skin, weekly light exfoliation, a daily SPF moisturizer, and a hyaluronic night cream may be all that it needs. For the rest of us, I highly suggest visiting your favorite esthetician every 6-8 weeks at least a year prior to your wedding to help you achieve a fresh faced glow. Healthy, moisturized skin will always be timeless in your photos, and requires minimal makeup.
Andi, thank you so much for making makeup less intimidating to all the natural beauties planning their weddings. I can’t wait to try out some of your suggestions myself, and I’m looking forward to our next collaboration!
To all of my engaged ladies in the Indianapolis area, if you want a suggestion for a great aesthetician, I finally found one in Carmel. I’d be happy to share her name if you send me an email.
Finally, thanks again to the incredible team of vendors who helped create the engagement photos in this post:
Planning and Coordination: All in the Details
Venue: The Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts
Floral Arrangements: Pomp & Bloom
Hair and Makeup: Something Blue Stylists
Gown: Leanne Marshall
Tuxedo: The Black Tux
Bride and Groom: Appearing courtesy of Ballet Arkansas