Bridal Makeup – What You Need To Know!

Bride Bridal Makeup Wedding www.spaphilosophy.com.au

Following on from our ‘Getting The Wedding Glow – Skincare Tips’ blog last week, we are getting some wedding makeup guidance from Rachel, the artist behind Rachel McNeil Makeup. I had my list of questions at the ready and our lovely expert has very kindly provided all the must-know info and a few extremely handy hints…

While searching for a makeup artist, what questions should a bride ask?

You should ask for photos of previous work or check out their social media pages for examples of their portfolio. Ask about pricing because some makeup artists charge for a trial, while others may be more expensive but include a trial in that price. Also, check if the artist adds on a travel fee. When you are booking accommodation (or considering where to get ready on the wedding morning), consider if there is enough room for you, your bridesmaids, your hairdresser and your makeup artist… Does the room get good light? Natural light is the best environment for getting your makeup done, so big windows or sliding doors are ideal. It’s also important to ensure there are appropriate chairs or stools in your accommodation. If not, your hairdresser or makeup artist might bring their own.

How do you time getting makeup done on the day?

The bride’s makeup will generally take longer to do than the rest of your bridal party. If you let your makeup artist know what time you want to be ready (this is usually when your photographer arrives too), they will work backwards from there.

Bride Bridal Makeup Wedding Rachel McNeil Makeup https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcneilmakeup/

Where can brides-to-be find ideas and inspiration for their look?

Pinterest is a great start. Another good idea is to check the social media pages of your wedding location. That might give you an indication of what past brides have done. If you’re having your ceremony at a beach venue, lots of brides might have that more relaxed, boho, beach vibe for their hair and makeup. Bridal magazines are also full of ideas, as every picture of a dress has a model with her hair and makeup done. When you find ideas that you like, take photos and send them to your makeup artist.

When should you share your ‘inspiration’ pictures with your makeup artist?

I like to get an indication of what the bride wants before a trial, mainly because it lets me know what I should pack in my kit and enables me to be prepared with my supplies.

What are the advantages of having a makeup trial prior to the wedding?

The major advantage of having a trial is just making sure you’re happy with your makeup artist and ensuring that your makeup wears well because it’s all about longevity for a bride. This also gives you an opportunity to take some photographs of yourself to see how the makeup comes up in the images. Even if it’s just taking a selfie on your phone, this picture will give you some kind of indication how your ‘day of’ look will be. I would recommend wearing a white top or dress or once your makeup is finished, hold up a white towel or sheet to see what the makeup looks like against that colour. Take a photo because bridal makeup can look a little subdued against black or patterned fabric and you’ll most likely be wearing white or ivory on your big day!

Do you have any specific tanning tips?

You should probably do a practice tan. It’s not essential to do this before your makeup trial, but it is important to have a tan that you’re going to be happy with. Your makeup artist will always match your face colour to your body so if your body is orange, they will be forced to make your face orange to avoid you looking (even more) unnatural. You’ll want to ensure you have a nice healthy glow as opposed to looking like a terracotta pot. [Abby’s note – this had me giggling but it’s so true!]

Bride Bridal Makeup Wedding Rachel McNeil Makeup https://www.facebook.com/rachelmcneilmakeup/

How can brides stand out while still resembling themselves on the wedding day?

Choose to highlight your favourite facial feature or wear something that makes you feel good when you go out. If it’s graphic black flicky eyeliner, go for that. If it’s a bold red lipstick, use that. If it’s smokey eyeshadow, go for it. Try to focus on one thing that you really want to draw attention to. Just remember, you still want to look like yourself. So, if you always wear a certain product or have a signature makeup style, you should wear it because it will make you feel good and your husband or wife-to-be will know, “Oh, that’s her – the person I’m marrying!”.

Although traditional makeup rules are being thrown out and you can wear basically whatever the heck you want, it’s worth keeping in mind that the photos from this day will be with you forever. So if you are focussing on a smokey eye, consider a slightly muted lip colour. If you are having big bright red lipstick, maybe use more natural eyeshadow colours.

What eye colours work best for brides? 

For the majority of people, colours including bronzes, browns, taupes and ‘earthy’ tones look good. If you’re after something really specific to your eye colour, Pinterest is great to refer to so that you can actually see images of other people with your eye colour and what they use, for example, “Oh, she’s got similar eyes to me and I never would have thought of wearing green.” Even though it’s not going to be full green eyeshadow, just a little flash of colour, it is great to get a visual image. Your makeup artist will also have a ton of great ideas.

What are essential items for a bride and her bridesmaids to have on hand for touch-ups during the day? (You’ll want to take a note of this!)

  1. Definitely blotting paper. This is essential for eliminating shine.
  2. Finishing power. My favourite is the Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder – amazing.
  3. Your lip colour and lipliner too if you’re going for a bright lip (it will stay on better this way).
  4. Cotton tips.
  5. Tissues.
  6. Baby wipes, as they do a great job of getting makeup off white fabric.

For brides (and their partners) who are worried about the big kiss in the church, is there anything their makeup artist can do to keep their lipstick from transferring?

The new liquid kind of lipsticks are great for this problem. They look like gloss in form but when they dry, they don’t transfer very much, so they’re very long wearing and most likely won’t come off too much with ‘the kiss’. If you love your MAC red and want to wear that, your makeup artist should do lipliner, blot, then work the colour into the lip and then blot again. Having that layering helps the lip colour not to budge. I would also say if you’re doing a bright lip, your bride or groom should have a tissue handy. I had a client who wore vibrant red lipstick and her husband had a tissue in his pocket so that he could quickly wipe his mouth without being noticed.

[Abby’s note – I love the Revlon Colourstay Overtime lip colours and they really do stay on for the majority of the day. My favourite shade is ‘Unending Red’!]

Bride Bridal Makeup Wedding Rachel McNeil www.spaphilosophy.com.au

Just for fun, what is your all-time favourite lip colour and who makes it?

Probably MAC’s ‘Ruby Woo’. It’s a lovely matte red and because it’s a blue-based red, it looks good on most people. This colour put MAC on the map! I do tend to love a good red lipstick on myself and it’s a colour that works for the vast majority of women.

Thank you SO much to Rachel for sharing her tricks and tips with us. I know I have certainly learnt a lot and have added a couple of items to my makeup shopping list now… Brides, I hope this has been helpful. If you have any questions or want to book Rachel for your big day, she is incredibly friendly and knowledgeable. You can contact her here. Huge thank you also to Spa Philosophy for the lovely pics of Rach ‘in action’.

What makeup look did you go for as a bride? I’d love to know in the comments section! I had soft metallic smokey eyes and a dusty pink lip, but sometimes wish I’d gone with a stand out red instead! (My rhyming there was unintended but I like it).

Abby xx


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