How to do your own bridesmaid make-up like a pro

14 Feb 2018

Expert advice in how to achieve beautiful bridesmaid make-up without professional help

Words: Sophia Smith

Image gallery

Image gallery

When your dress, hair and shoes are sorted and your bridesmaid duties await, all that’s left to decide upon is the make-up. While hiring a professional make-up artist is a great way to make sure your look ends up looking pretty and polished, it’s actually not your only option.

You might not be Pat McGrath or Bobbi Brown, but any girl with some talent and the willingness to practise can actually get pretty good at applying her own war paint. All you really need is patience, time, and a few good tips to get you going.

The perfect base

Start with a primer. Silicone primers can fill in your pores and minimise their appearance while lotion primers make sure your skin stays hydrated through the day, so pick whatever suits you. When applying foundation, make sure that the shade matches your neck and your chest, because anything else will make you look either too orange or too ghostly in pictures.

Bobbi Brown’s brand new Skin Long-wear Weightless Foundation is a great choice because of its wide shade range, natural finish, and the fact that it wil last up to 16 hours (something we all need for a wedding). It even offers SPF 15, which is a must for a spring or summer wedding. Apply with a brush if you want more coverage, or with a beauty blender if you want a sheer, more natural finish.

Concealer, corrector and setting powder

While a lot of make-up artists and beauty gurus layer their concealer over foundation, it is advisable that you avoid doing the same for the under-eye area, especially if you don’t want it to look cakey. If you have really dark circles you can use a dab of lavender-coloured corrector underneath to neutralise the darkness.

Now, find a creamy, long-lasting concealer to apply on top and make sure you pick a shade that’s a bit lighter than your skin tone to brighten your face. Then, to make sure nothing smudges, sweats away, or fades during the day you should use a setting powder. Grab a big powder brush, a loose setting powder - such as Laura Mercier’s Translucent Setting Powder (a good choice because it gives no flashback in photos), and apply a very thin coat over your face to set it.

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Beautiful eye make-up

Swipe a peachy or soft brown matte colour in the crease of your eye with a crease brush, then add some shimmery rose gold, bronze, or delicate champagne in the middle of your eyelid. If you’re using eyeliner, instead of a thick cat eye go for a subtle line, and make sure to smudge the bottom lash line a bit for a softer, slightly smokey, look.

Instead of just mascara, use either falsies, or better yet, extensions. There is nothing like eyelash extensions done by a professional to give you dreamy, sultry eyes that don’t even need mascara to look stunning. What’s great about this is that you don’t have to worry about anything smudging and you don’t have to worry about falsies falling off in the middle of the reception. Extensions also tend to look more natural and wispy.

Blush and glow

Soft peach, apricot, and pink blushes will give you a nice natural appearance, just make sure you go in with a light hand - applying to the apples of the cheeks and following the line of the cheekbone. The next step is going to look really look good in photos: highlighter. Apply it softly at the top of your cheekbones, down your nose, your brow bone, and a tiny bit on your cupid’s bow and you’ll have a lovely, ethereal glow. 

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Plump lips

To make sure your lipstick looks perfect, you first have to have a good base. Dry, chapped lips lead to uneven application and feel really uncomfortable through the day, so the best way to avoid this is a combination of lip scrub plus lip mask. A really good option is Bubblegum Lip Scrub from Lush because it’s edible (and quite delicious), and it’s really good at sloughing away the dead skin.

However, there’s also a DIY version for anyone who wishes to save a few pennies: 1 tsp of coconut butter, 1 tsp of honey, and 2 tsp of brown sugar. Mix all of this in a small bowl and then rub all over your lips to smooth out the texture. Once you’ve washed this away, it’s time for a mask. Keep it simple and slap on a very thick coat of petroleum jelly to leave on for half an hour, then wipe it away gently. You are now ready for lipstick. For a natural and delicate finish, MAC’s lipstick in the shade Brave, Kat Von D’s liquid lipstick in Lolita II, or just a clear lip gloss work perfectly. 

Fixing it in place

The very last step is going to be a few generous spritzes of setting spray. This is quite an important bit because it’s the best way to avoid that overdone, powdery look to your make-up and gives you a nice, dewy finish. It will also help keep everything in place.

Use your creative talent and start practising a few months in advance – you’ll master a look by the time the wedding comes.