Tan at Least Two Days in Advance
If you're going to get a fake tan before the big day, spray-tan at least two days prior to your wedding, makeup artist Alexandra Andrade advises. "It'll darken on the second day, and by the third day, it'll have settled and be perfect."
Consider Climate Before Applying Makeup
Especially for brides getting married in warmer climates, consider using as many oil-free products as possible primer, moisturizer, foundation, etc. and keeping oil-free blotting sheets on hand.
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Play Up Your Makeup for Photos
"Another general rule for brides," Alex says: "The camera will blow you out in photos. Put on a little more makeup than you would apply normally, more than you think you need, since the camera and lights will tone down your makeup."
If you're doing your own makeup: Practice and take pictures before the big day. Start with less, because it's easier to add more if you need it than having to remove excess makeup, which can get messy.
Use a Primer
"Especially with brides," Alex says, "you want to make sure you cleanse and really moisturize the skin before you start applying your makeup. Then, after you moisturize and before you put on your foundation, there's a really important step — primer. It'll make your makeup go on smoother and last a lot longer. You're going to have a long day ahead of you, and you want your makeup to last you all day and all night." Alex recommends using Laura Mercier primer. "It's one of my favorites," she says. "It's really great because it comes in all different formulas for all different skin types."
Laura Mercier Oil-Free Foundation Primer, $30; lauramercier.com
Always Apply Your Foundation with a Sponge or Brush
"Certain foundations work better with a sponge or brush," Alex says, "but definitely use either one or the other — never your fingers. The less you can touch your face, the better." (Bacteria, dirt, etc., can be left behind.) Your fingers can also leave behind fingerprints, "so the look isn't as smooth and finished-looking." If you use a sponge, apply foundation by stippling the sponge, not swiping it across the skin. This gives your foundation a more natural look, and blends it more evenly into the skin.
CoverGirl Make-Up Masters Sponge Puffs, $2.59; drugstore.com
Put on Concealer After Your Foundation
"Your moisturizer, primer, and foundation are already going to even out skin and cover imperfections," Alex says, "so doing it before your foundation could leave you looking cakey with too much product." She also notes that it's important to use a different kind of concealer for your eyes than for your face. "It should be something very creamy and emollient — not necessarily oil-free, like you'll use on your face — so it doesn't get dry and cakey throughout the day," she says. "You also want to use something peach-based so it contrasts the the blue and purple tones of your eyelid."
Laura Mercier Under Eye Perfecter, $22; lauramercier.com
Use Different Concealers
Your concealer choice depends on what you're covering. "If it's a blemish, red spot, or broken capillaries, use an oil-free, pigmented, thicker concealer with hints of yellow," Alex says. "For under your eyes, you want to use something with a little more peach in it to cover and contrast the blues and purples. It should be something emollient and creamy because there are no oil glands there. Sometimes you'll see women with dry, cakey concealer under eyes; their concealer is either oil-free or they have too much on." Make sure to use a brush to apply your concealer so you can really pinpoint the spot. Press gently and melt it into skin. Start thin — you can always add more.
Laura Mercier Secret Concealer, $22; lauramercier.com
Primer for Eye Shadow
For a Natural Makeup Look, Try a Cream Blush
It goes on sheer and looks healthy and fresh. If you want more staying power, try layering a powder blush on top of it.
Tarte Natural Cheek Stain in Blushing Bride, $30; sephora.com
You Can Learn Where to Place Your Blush Just by Smiling!
When you smile, the apple of your cheek pops out. Place your blush right there and blend into your temple — this will make it look like you're naturally flushing.
Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour, $24; lauramercier.com
An Eyebrow Pencil Is a Must-Have
"A big step that some women forget when they do their makeup," Alex advises, "and something that you'll especially want to do on your wedding day, is to use a brow pencil to fill in your eyebrow. It really frames your eye and finishes the whole picture." A tip for finding the right color for your eyebrow pencil: Always go a shade or two lighter than your own natural eyebrow color.
Laura Mercier Eye Brow Pencil, $19; lauramercier.com
Replace Pencil Eye Liner with Cake Liner
"Cake liner is a great product," Alex says. "Once you apply it, it lasts all day line — seriously, it really won't budge! A pencil can sometimes disappear — it has an oily, wax-y texture that can migrate down your skin." Because cake liner is dry, you'll need a little bit of water to activate it — aim for a shoe- polish consistency. If you do decide to use a pencil, Alex suggests setting it with some powder so it'll stay longer.
Regardless of which type of eyeliner you use, you'll want to make your lashes look thicker by filling in the roots of the lashes. "This is a place where many women don't traditionally line," Alex says, "but you'll see that it makes the eye pop and the lash line look a lot more plush." Apply by pressing in between the lash roots.
Laura Mercier Cavier Eye Liner, $22;, lauramercier.com
Use Eye-Enhancing Makeup Techniques
Focus darker eye shadow on the outside of eyes, moving lighter and brighter as you work in, "so you don't close off the eyes," Alex says. "You want them to look big, bright, and beautiful." And if you happen to mess up on your eye makeup? "Just take a little makeup remover or eye cream on a Q-tip to clean it up. If you use a wipe, you're risking ruining your foundation and concealer too."
Make Up Forever Eyeshadow Palette, $19; sephora.com
Get Wide-Awake Eyes in Seconds
"Always use a shimmer powder in the inner corners of your eyes before taking any photos," Alex says. It makes a huge difference — it really will give you eyes that look bright and awake." Use a brush with a smaller head to get right into the inner corners of the eyes.
Laura Mercier Shimmer Bloc, $38; lauramercier.com
Curl Your Lashes the Right Way
"The best way to curl your lashes," Alex says, "is to curl at the root of the lash, at the middle, and at the tip. You don't need to clamp down with the curler, just squeeze lightly."
Shu Uemuera Eyelash Curler, $19; sephora.com
Use Fake Lashes
"I recommend using false eyelashes for all brides or any special occasion where you'll be in pictures," Alex says. "They make your eyes look big and captivating." If you're going for a full-on sexy or glamorous look, use a full lash strip. However, for a more subtle look, use individual lashes. "Either way," Alex says, "always curl your lashes and do a coat of mascara first — then apply the fake lashes. After that, wait until the glue dries, use your eyelash curler again, and, finally, apply another coat of mascara."
Tip: Cut and measure false eyelashes before you apply them. You don't want them to extend past your natural lash line.
Make Up Forever Eyelash Strip, $15; sephora.com
Waterproof Makeup Is Key
"If you're worried you're going to cry on your wedding day," Alex suggests using "a great product by Benefit called She Laq that will seal everything." Take the She Laq (it comes with four different brushes for easy application) and put it all over your lid to seal in shadow and liner so it won't run when you cry.
And don't forget waterproof mascara! "Even if you don't like waterproof," she says, "use it as an extra coat over your other mascara. And, if you're wearing false lashes, use a glue that's waterproof, too."
Benefit She Laq, $30; benefitcosmetics.com
Do Some Prep Work — on Your Lips
Put lip balm on your lips before gloss or lipstick so they're not dry and flaky. Then, fill in your entire lip with a lip pencil, which will hold the color longer. "For brides who just want to wear a gloss, prepare for it to fade," Alex says. "However, a lip pencil will help you keep some of that color longer."
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, $24; sephora.com
Carry a Few Touch-Up Products in Your Makeup Bag
"Carry at least your lip color," Alex says, "as that's what'll wear out the fastest and need to be touched up the most." If you use good quality face and eye primers, everything else should stay in place.
Alex also advises keeping some oil blotting sheets on hand. "If you don't want to keep piling on powder throughout the day, make sure you also have some oil-absorbing sheets so youre not just adding on more and more makeup. You can switch on and off — an application of powder, then the oil-absorbing sheets, and so on."
Q-tips are another great item to carry around with you. Makeup can collect in the inner corners of your eyes, and you can use the q-tips to clean them out.
Play it Safe
If you're considering making a drastic change (i.e. lightening brows, changing hair color, doing an intense tan), think twice. Changing your look so significantly before such a big event can be a big mistake. Instead, aim to look like yourselfjust enhanced.