How to Do Your Own Wedding Makeup

Essential bridal makeup tips to achieve your own perfect DIY look on your special day

Knowing exactly how to do your own bridal makeup can be a challenge. You know you want to stay beautiful all day and need to be photogenic for pictures that will last a lifetime--but you also require a touchable look that won't startle your groom.

Bridal makeup artist Sally Van Swearingen says it's possible to achieve all this for your special day with a strategic DIY wedding makeup look. Here, she offers tips on achieving your own perfect wedding-day makeup:

Fight Shine: Before you begin, apply antishine liquid powder to chin, nose and forehead, and moisturizer to the rest of your face. Van Swearingen offers Matte Maker in her own Studio Essentials line.

Find Your Bridal Style: Brides in their 20s and 30s should go for a natural, glowing look using sheer color, says Van Swearingen. Brides over 40 often benefit from a more neutral look using monochromatic shades.

Create a Flawless Base: The key to creating a look that lasts all day is in the way you apply concealer, highlighter and foundation. "I recommend you get cream-based concealers in two shades (see color tips below for individual skin tones), and then use only the barest amount of foundation," says Van Swearingen. 

  • Concealer Tips: Use concealer only under the eyes and on reddened or darkened areas to even skin tone.
  • Highlighter Tips: Trace the highlighter around the eye contours, at the brow line and around lips, the sides of the nose and in the cleft of the chin. Gently stroke it on with a makeup brush specially designed for concealers and highlighters (an acrylic artist's brush also works great). Then blend with a sponge. You'll notice how your face begins to brighten. Now you will need less foundation.
  • Foundation Tips: Use a very small amount of sheer foundation that matches your skin tone, as heavy formulations will actually accentuate skin's imperfections. A good makeup artist's rule is to apply about five drops of to your face -- one on each cheek, the point of the nose, the middle of the forehead and the chin -- then blend.

Try False Lashes: Experiment with lashes to open the eye and add drama. A great way to get that "A-list" star look is to use a strip of faux lashes or individual lashes. This is something you want to spend time practicing before your wedding day. To get the most natural look, pick lashes with an invisible band and trim them to the length of your eye. "Many professional makeup artists prefer individual lashes," says Van Swearingen, "as they look the most natural. However, lash strips are easier to apply when you are designing your own wedding makeup." When applying individual eyelashes, pull them in at the outer corners to "lift" the eye rather than applying directly to the lash line. Always use black glue.

Play Up Your Glow: For a youthful glow you may want to try creamy luminescent shadows, blushes and highlight sticks. "I use two shades that work on any skin tone: mauve and golden bronze," says Van Sweringen. The lighter mauve color is used to highlight the top of the cheekbone and brow bone, and as a light eye shadow base. The bronze color has many uses, from contouring the cheekbone and jaw line to bronzing the décolleté and adding depth to the eyelids. Don't forget to apply a "gleaming" blush to the apples of the cheeks.

Keep Lips Kissable: To leave lips soft yet camera ready for hours, first start with a light application of lip sealant. Next, dab on a little bit of highlighter or concealer, blending well. Finally, apply lip liner pencil to the entire lip.

  • Lip Color Tips: Don't choose a bright color that will detract from your eyes. Use rich, deep shades, like mauve browns, burgundies or classic reds. Always use gloss layered on top of any lip color, which gives a youthful look. Avoid matte lipstick because it can be aging.

Shape Your Brows: Get brows professionally shaped about a week before your wedding, and check for strays two days before. "You don't want to pluck brows the morning of your wedding," says Van Swearingen. "You could create redness or irritation." Further define your arches by shading in at the top of the brow, using a very narrow brush with a slanted cut and matching brow powder.

Define Your Lids: To apply eye shadow, use three colors -- light, medium and deep. The light shade goes on the lid from lash to brow line. The medium shadow goes in the crease or just above the crease. And the deep shade goes on the outside corner of the eye and can be used as an eyeliner. Tip: Never line around the entire eye unless you have huge eyes. Lined eyes will look smaller.

Get Strategic With Mascara: Apply two coats of waterproof mascara. For a beautiful, elegant look, use more mascara near the base of the lashes and less at the tips. Tip: Deep navy mascara brightens the whites of the eyes.

Don't forget your best beauty feature on your wedding day... your SMILE!

For more information, check out, where Sally offers more cosmetic tips.

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