Practical tips if you're planning on doing your own wedding make-up

I've been doing make-up for brides for nearly 20 years now and every year i'm getting busier and busier. I obviously like to think this is because i'm really good but a lot of it is the fact that having a make-up artist do your make-up for your wedding is becoming more and more standard rather than a luxury. I'm not writing this with the thought of doing myself and other make-up artists out of business, after all it's your wedding day and you want to look your absolute best and also be relaxed, feel pampered and basically its the one day where evrything revolves around you and you should have everything done for you whilst you sit back sipping a glass of fizz.

On saying that I know having your make-up done on your wedding day is very expensive. Some people may question the cost and think you only use about a fuvers worth of make-up on each face, a bit of petrol and thats it. In reality, yes we may only use a small amount of make-up on you but the intial purchase of a good kit costs hundreds, no, thousands of pounds. Make-up also goes off so sometimes bottles and pots of half used product has to be thrown away and replaced. Brushes need cleaning (for me this takes about 1-2 hours after a wedding), theres the cost of training or if your artist is self taught, the hours he/she has spent practising, studying and researching the best products. There are a lot of hidden costs in being a make-up artist, we don't hear the word "wedding" and think we can rob you.

In my experiance, as its getting closer to your wedding, the costs are mounting up and the realisation that you've blown the budget is setting in, it's often the make-up that is the first to go because quite often, unlike your hair, flowers and photographs, yes you can do it yourself. If this is you or you just want to do your make-up yourself then here are my top pratical tips. This advice is not product related and its not full of my all time must have can't live without products (i'll do that later), it's about the simple things to remember so that when it comes to the morning of your wedding you're not stressing about having to do your make-up but actually looking forward to it.



Think about your dress, hair, colours and theme. Are you going for a soft, natural, vintage tea party style flowery wedding? If so you then don't necessarily want your make-up strong, sharp and Hollywood style glamour with bright red lips and lots of glitter or vice versa, if you are going for glitter, diamonds and sparkles you want your make-up to compliment this. Think of your colours and make sure your make-up matches not clashes with it. Visit a good make-up counter and ask their advice on your skin tones and what colours compliment you. Your colour scheme may be pink but do you suit warm pinks or cool pinks? Theres also loads of info you can find on the internet that can help you with this.


Don't just dedicate an afternoon of sitting on the internet getting inspiration and tips. You will end up feeling bombarded, confused and stressed. Get a wedding make-up note book and do a little bit of reseach at a time and make notes. When watching YouTube tutorials write down any suggested products or tips that you liked because I guarantee you will forget all about that really good tip you saw!


If you have make-up that you like, that you feel confident in wearing and know it works for you then don't feel like you have to go out and buy a whole new range from a high end brand to look your best. High street brands have come a long way and a lot of them are fantastic. If you decide you want a bronze smokey eye then buy a cheaper brand and practice with it to see if the colours work for you, once you've decided then you can splurdge on a higher priced product as a treat knowing it won't be wasted or you may just find you love the one you practiced with and be confident it will last.

Go to a make-up counter and ask them to try the products on you. It's easy to feel pressured into buying but most assistants will understand if you tell them you want to go home and look in your own mirror (this is a massive tip, you know your face best in your own mirror so it's a good way of knowing if you're happy with the look) plus you want to see if it will last the day.

Buying palettes - palettes are good as the colours are put together to compliment each other but don't spend a fortune on a big pallette if you're only going to use two colours. If you only want two colours then buy them individually but ask the assistant if they work well together, for example, if you want two browns then you ideally want two warm or two cool toned browns so they work together. This isn't too complicated and you will soon have an eye for it. Google a good colour chart or wheel to learn more about colours.


You can buy the best make-up in the world but if you're using poor quality brushes then you're wasting your time and the product. If you are going to splurge on one thing make it a good set of brushes. Again, starter sets are good and can be value for money but only if you use them all. Dont buy a set with a pricey foundation brush if you prefer to use a sponge or one with an eyebrow brush when in fact most cheap eyebrow brushes will do the same job so you may be better buying your brushes individually. Take your time and choose carefully, as with buying make-up, if you start to get confused then walk away empty handed, have a think about it and go back another day. I still do this now, I spend hours at a counter or shop, mulling over and trying to choose products and get myself in a tiz. It's at this point its better to just walk away rather than waste your money.


You should be thinking about your make-up as soon as you have your dress, colours and themes. Give yourself months and months to practice. The first time you do your make-up and it doesn't go to plan then it doesn't matter because you have months left to keep trying. If you've set an afternoon aside to sit and practice but its not going right and you're getting frustrated then again just walk away. Dont keep wiping it off and starting again, it will never look right and you will end up with a blotchy face. If one eye or eyebrow goes wrong then still continue with doing the other eye and learn from your mistakes. Once you get better don't just practice when you're not going anywhere, if you're going out then make extra time to do your make-up properly, this way if you know you've got to go out wearing this make-up you will make sure you do a better job.

Ask the advice of someone that you know will tell you the truth!

Watch tutorials but don't get yourself too hung up if you can't get it right. Firstly these people are artists and have been doing it for years. They choose their models wisely to make the make-up look it's best. These models have the kind of eyes that are a make-up artists dream to work on, your eyes may not be the same shape or colour and so even when you've done the make-up exactly how they have done it you aren't necessarily going to look like they do and you can be left feeling like you have done it wrong when you haven't. Even a professional cannot create extra eyelid space! Yes we have tricks to make eyes look bigger or to lift them but if you have small eyelids then we can't create bigger ones. Google looks that will work for your eyeshape such as 'smokey eyes for small eyes' or 'winged eyeliner for hooded eyes'. If you have hooded eyelids (which isn't a bad thing) then Google 'celebrities with hooded eyes' and look at their make up.

Don't forget some of these make-up tutorials have had the hell airbrushed out of them! Dont be misled by perfect images and then fill yourself full of self loathing because you dont look like them. If you saw a lot of them in real life you would see how they look nothing like the images. Also, we all have flaws but we notice them on ourselves far far more then other people do!

Once you're happy with your make up then get someone to photograph it. Don't just selfie it where you've taken fifty photo's with various different pouts until you get the one you're happy with. Get a friend to take some posed pictures and some that you aren't expecting so you can see an honest look of how your make-up will look on camera. You may find you need to go heavier than usual so that your make-up can be seen on the photographs. If you're having a pre-wedding shoot with your photographer then go in your full wedding make-up. Avoid foundations or moisterisers with an SPF, this will create a glare on your photographs.


Make extra time and do your make-up early and before your hair. If you're running late you can put your pants on quick if you need to and shove your shoes on as you're going out the door but you can't do your make-up in a hurry! If you want you can put your base on and have a break, do your eyebrows and then have a break and so on. Don't be scared to ask for privacy so you can concentrate, take yourself in another room on your own to do any bits that can be tricky, ie eyeliner! Even now if i'm putting my false lashes on and my boyfriend walks in asking stupid question like what socks to wear I get in a fluster, I need to be totally on my own in silence to get my lashes on straight!

Finally have plenty of cotton buds and a liquid make up remover to correct any mistakes. A slighty wonky eyeliner can easily be corrected without having to wipe evrything off.

Some of these tips may seem obvious but the aim of this post was to make you not stress about doing your own wedding make-up so I wanted to include every little tip I have for making it stress free. I will follow this with a blog on a few of my product and application tips. In the meantime though remember to enjoy the build up of your wedding and try not to stress, i'm not going to sit here and say that the only thing that really matters is that your marrying the man/woman of your dreams and that it doesn't matter if your eyebrows are wonky or the dogs chewed your veil because we all know ladies...yes it does! *wink face*

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