First, congratulations! I assume if you're reading this, you may be recently engaged. As a fellow fiancé, I know how stressful the wedding planning process is. However, as your makeup artist bestie allow me to lift one weight off your shoulders by providing the best makeup and skincare tips to prepare for your big day.
Let's start off with the base of all things makeup; skincare. Skincare can be overwhelming, especially to someone who's never had a skincare routine before. I will break down why having a skincare routine is important before your wedding, what type of skincare products are must-haves, and some other skincare recommendations.
To preface this, I'm not an esthetician or dermatologist. This is just my two cents on skincare in relation to makeup. Please advise your own specialist to see what products or recommendations are best suitable for your skin.
From a makeup artist's perspective, skin is like a blank canvas. Before applying any paint, it's vital that you prime the canvas for the paint to adhere and apply exactly how you want it. The same goes for skin prepping. Without skin prepping, it's not only harder for the makeup artist to apply makeup, but also, the makeup can come off easier and show more texture on your skin. Skin prep is a must-have before applying makeup, but when a bride comes with already supple and hydrated skin, the makeup looks even better.
Tip #1: Work with what you already have
You don't need to go off and start replacing your whole skincare routine just because you see a viral product on TikTok or because the salespeople at the cosmetic counter are advising it. Weddings are expensive so you'll thank yourself for every penny you can pinch between now and your wedding day.
Unless your products are very stripping or harsh, you probably have something on hand that can be incorporated into your routine. We just might need to zhuzh it up with some additional products that might be beneficial for your skin.
Tip # 2: Establish your routine and stick with it.
For a PM skincare routine, I recommend an oil cleanser, a daily cleanser, an exfoliator, and a moisturizer. Continue reading for more a breakdown of each product. I think this is an easy and minimal skincare routine that will make a big difference in your skin if you don't know where to start.
For an AM skincare routine, I would simply use your daily cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF.
The most important thing is staying consistent. Set a SMART goal if you have to or a daily alarm but push yourself to do it. You'll thank yourself on your wedding day! I like to light a candle, put away my phone, and take five minutes to do my skincare as a daily self-care routine instead of looking at it as a chore.
Tip #3: Start as early as you can and don't use new products all at once.
It's never too late to start your skincare journey. The earlier the better so you have time to test out what works for your skin and what doesn't.
If you are incorporating new skincare products into your routine, do not use them all at once. Incorporate a new product a month. This will help ensure 1) if you have an allergic reaction to a product, you can pinpoint what it is and 2) your skin won't freak out because it's not used a bunch of changes at once.
Tip #4: If you're getting a facial, do it at least two weeks before your wedding.
Facials are a great way to bring hydration and brightness to your skin. I get them a few times a year even if I have my skincare routine down to a T. Aestheticians have a lot of medical-grade masks and skincare tools that we can't purchase or operate on our own.
If you've never done a facial before, I would advise going a few weeks in advance before your wedding, in case you need time to heal from extractions or have an allergic reaction to a product they use.
My personal favorite place to get a facial is Silver Mirror Facial Bar.
Now that I've laid out a few tips to help with your skincare. Let's dive deeper into product recommendations*:
Oil cleansers - This a cleanser you use before your daily cleanser to melt all your makeup and SPF off. I couldn't live without this!
Green Clean Makeup Removing Cleansing Balm - A classic!
DHC Deep Cleansing Oil - I personally like a pump better so I opt for this cleanser.
Clinique Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm Makeup Remover - Another classic!
Daily cleansers - This is a cleanser used in your AM and PM routine (nothing fancy)
Sanitas Sensitive Skin Cleanser - I got a really bad mask acne during COVID, and I switched my cleanser to this one. This made a huge difference in my skin, and my skin doesn't feel tight or stripped after washing it.
First Aid Beauty Pure Skin Face Cleanser - Great for combo skin
The INKEY List Salicylic Acid Acne + Pore Cleanser - More affordable option and great for oily/combo skin or acne-prone skin.
Exfoliants - There are two types of exfoliants, physical and chemical. I'm a bigger fan of chemicals such as AHAs and BHAs as they're more gentle on my skin. However, I won't get into the nitty gritty about it, but here is an article explaining the differences.
Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant - I freaking LOVE this!
The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Exfoliating Serum - Can't go wrong for only $8
Retinol - You can choose to incorporate retinol but depending on how close you are to your wedding, it may or may not be a good idea. Retinols take time to see results. Side effects of retinol can be dryness, flakiness, and irritation so you want to use this as far in advance as possible or opt for just an exfoliant. Exfoliants work top-down on your skin whereas retinol is bottom-up. While everyone could use retinol in their skincare routine, I think it's more important for people with hyperpigmentation or more textured skin. It's best to consult your dermatologist for recommendations and proper use of retinol. Many people start out with Adapalene/Differin or Tretinoin (Prescription only).
Vitamin C - If you have a lot of redness or uneven skin tones, you may want to incorporate vitamin C. High-quality vitamin C can be pricey, but it's one of those products that aren't a huge make or break for me.
SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic - A classic, but she's pricey! ($169)
Biossance Squalene + Vitamin C Rose Oil - A product I buy off and on when I feel like I need it.
Moisturizers - This is a product where I don't think you need it to be fancy schmancy or invest a lot of money in. Hydration is important for sure, but it doesn't have to come at a hefty price tag.
The Ordinary Natural Moisturizing Factors + HA - Great for combo skin & lightweight
First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream - Good for the winter or dry skin
Laneige The True Cream Aqua Bomb - One of my fave go-tos for oily / combo skin
ELF Fragrance Free Holy Hydration! Face Cream - Great drugstore option
SPF - Sunscreen should be incorporated everyday you go outside into your AM skin routine especially if you are using any exfoliants or retinols! It should have a minimum of 35 SPF.
Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen - She's pricey, but she's amazing. I'm sure there are more affordable sunscreens that work well, but I'm a creature of habit so I stick with this. It just feels like a primer on your skin. You can also purchase this with an FSA card.
Pimple Patches - If you get a pimple near your wedding day, don't panic! Pimple patches are a great way to zap your pimple or minimize the inflammation. Whatever you do though, DO NOT pop your pimple. Your skin will scab, and the makeup will not adhere to it well. It's better to get it as flat as possible because I can most likely cover it up with concealer and color corrector.
Hero Cosmetics Might Patch - My go to! (Another product that can be found FSA eligible)
*None of these are affiliate links and are solely based off my personal suggestions.
Want to learn more about the order of skincare? Check out this article. There are a lot of products in this article, but you DO NOT need to do all of those steps. Stick to what you can realistically do on a daily basis and try the routines I mentioned above. P.S. I don't use a daily eye cream because I am prone to milia on my under-eye area. However, for makeup application, I do use it to make concealer glide on easier.
After getting in the groove of your skincare routine, here are a few makeup tips that can help prepare you for your trial run and wedding day.
Tip #1: Go to your nearest beauty store and create your wedding day touch-up kit.
For your wedding day, I recommend finding a shade of lipstick that you like and bringing it with you to your wedding. Lipstick doesn't last all day especially if you're eating and drinking. Some lipsticks may advertise long-wear but truth is, they most likely are drying and uncomfortable.
A cult classic for my clients is Charlotte Tilbury Pillowtalk in Nude Pink for light-medium complexions and Talk Intense Berry Rose for deeper complexions.
Pick up a setting powder to set areas where you're shiny. I like this one: Hourglass
Mini Veil Translucent Setting Powder - Talc Free.
If you opt to wear false lashes, I will provide a new tube of lash glue for you as well as a powderpuff for you to reapply your powder throughout the night.
Tip #2: Schedule your trial run on the day of your engagement shoot or when you have somewhere to go such as a brunch, a date night, etc.
Scheduling your trial the same day as your engagement shoot will allow you to not only get more bang for your buck but also see how your makeup photographs. If syncing up your engagement shoot with your trial run is too difficult, at the very least you should go out and do some activities so you can see how your makeup wears for the day.
Tip #3: The trial run is the time to try new things.
For example, if you are considering lash extensions, a spray tan, or a lash lift for your wedding, you want to have these done before your trial run so you can see how your makeup looks in conjunction with your skin or lashes.
If you've always wanted to try false lashes, the trial run is perfect for trying them so you can decide if you will want them for the day of your wedding.
Tip #4: Have inspiration photos ready for your trial run.
Grab some photos preferably from Instagram of clients and/or models that have similar facial features to you. You can even screenshot reference photos from my instagram as well. Try to explain specifically what you like about the photos using phrases such as:
"I really love the eye makeup on this model because it's soft and neutral."
"While I don't like the wing liner on this model, I like how her eyes pop and are the most accentuated feature of the look."
Pinterest is most likely not the source for inspiration photos. These photos are heavily photoshopped and are of models with very specific features.
Tip #5: Be open to suggestions and feedback.
My clients have the best trial run experience when they trust in my expertise and honesty. A large part of my job is to discuss and set expectations around what look would best complement and enhance your facial features. Everyone is very different and therefore, not all makeup looks transfer the same on each person. As someone who has serviced over a hundred clients, I can confidently say I have the knowledge and experience to guide you on what is most suitable for your needs.
A trial run for your wedding makeup is a crucial step in the beauty preparation process, as it allows you to test out different looks and products to find the perfect one for your big day. To get the most out of your trial run, it's important to come prepared with any inspiration photos or specific ideas you have in mind. As your makeup artist, I welcome you to communicate openly about your preferences and concerns and don't be afraid to try out a few different options to see what works best for you. By taking the time to properly prepare for your trial run, you can ensure that you feel confident and beautiful on your wedding day.
I hope these tips helped make your wedding planning process a tad bit easier! If you thought this was helpful or have any questions, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you're a 2023 bride looking to reach out regarding my availability, please inquire here. I look forward to chatting with you.