How To Look Fantastic: DIY Bridal Makeup, Part 1.

A bride applies lipstick.
A bride applies lipstick.
Photos Courtesy of Ashley Kochanowski, Rosey Red Photography

I’m planning a wedding on a small budget. Can I do my own makeup?

Yes, you can! As a matter of fact my gorgeous client featured above did her own makeup for her wedding. And what an incredible job she did! She was very experienced at doing her own makeup so she already knew what worked for her. Successfully executing DIY makeup if you have a small budget like so many brides will depend on many factors. Firstly you must ask yourself a few questions. Do you wear makeup semi regularly and feel comfortable applying it? Do you have an arsenal of professional quality long lasting products and the tools to apply them? Understand how makeup will photograph under a variety of lighting conditions like flash photography or low lighting? Do you know how colors transform when represented in black and white pictures? If the answer is no to any of these questions then you may want to consider allocating some funds to hire a professional.

Will I save money by doing my own bridal makeup?

If you’re starting from scratch with no products or tools by the time you purchase everything you’ll need you will probably spend more than you anticipate. You may not save money over hiring a professional. Even though you’ll be spending that money on products you can use again vs. a service that you’ll only enjoy once; those products won’t last forever. Each day you don’t use them is a day they get closer to expiration. And if you store those products in a location like your bathroom where the temperature and humidity fluctuates frequently the longevity is sure to decrease even sooner. Not to mention some long wearing products like waterproof eyeliners and cream shadows can dry out and become unusable over time. They can sometimes be revived but that involves buying yet more products and the quality may be affected. If after reading these caveats you still want to forge ahead with DIY makeup if you’re a bride with a small budget I’m here to help.

I’m ready to try DIY bridal makeup! What will I need?

You’ll need skincare, makeup, makeup remover, brushes and a few other tools. In Part 1 of this series we are exploring skincare. Prepping your skin properly is one of the most important aspects of makeup application. It affects everything from how smoothly makeup applies to how long it lasts. You’ll want to use products appropriate for your skin type. This is where many get it wrong. I often see people using products that are overly drying or too emollient for their skin type. It would be ideal if your usual skincare worked with your chosen makeup however not all makeup applies well over all skincare. If you need to replace some of your products with those that work better under makeup there are effective affordable skincare options. So let’s get started!

Step 1: Cleanse

Start with a gentle cleanser. I prefer mild foaming cleansers. They’re appropriate for almost all skin types. There are many great options at various price points but you don’t need to spend too much here. I tend to use cleansers from brands available at drugstores and large retailers.

Step 2: Exfoliate

Makeup applied over dead dry skin is the shortest path to caked up coverage. I recommend exfoliating 1-3 times a week. Again there are many options but you want to stick to products that aren’t too aggressive and use them carefully.

Step 3: Apply Serums and/or Toners

Using serums and toners that address your skin concerns is important. Do you have oily skin or fine lines? Do you want to brighten up dark spots? Perhaps you want to refine texture or address dry skin? A carefully selected serums and toners can address these concerns and more.

Step 4: Use Eye Cream

Eye cream is necessary to keep the delicate skin around the eyes hydrated. It will also help concealer or corrector apply more smoothly. Using a lightweight formula that isn’t greasy and moisturizes with ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid will help keep eye makeup from migrating or creasing.

Step 5: Moisturize

Moisturizer is incredibly important when applying complexion products like foundation, concealer or other types of base products. It helps keep the makeup from settling into pores and lines. It will also help keep foundation from looking heavy by preventing your skin from absorbing the emollient ingredients in the makeup leaving just the pigment sitting on top of the skin. The right moisturizer will even increase the longevity of your makeup. Choosing formulas for your skin type is vital. Also choosing formulas that are not too rich and oily but still hydrate and plump the skin will go a long way.

Step 6: Wear SPF

If you’ll be spending time outdoors you will want to use a broad spectrum sunscreen under your makeup. I would look for something with at least SPF 30. Be careful when choosing a sun care product because some contain ingredients that can cause skin to appear ashen or washed out depending on your skin tone and especially in photographs. High concentrations of titanium and zinc oxide in physical sun blocks can be problematic in flash photography situations but it’s a case by case basis. You can always test out products by photographing them with the flash enabled on your camera but bear in mind a professional photographer’s flash will be more powerful than the one on your phone camera.

Now that you know the first steps to achieving flawless DIY makeup on a small budget you’re ready to move ahead to the fun part, color!

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