10 Wedding Makeup Tips from a Wedding Makeup Artist

Published in: Beauty Tips, Makeup, Makeup Tips/How To

makeup artist allison barbera

Written by Allison Barbera

Today New England-based wedding makeup artist Allison of Allison Barbera Makeup Artistry reveals 10 things brides can do to smokin’ hot on their wedding day.

Wedding season is here! Every bride wants to look her best on her wedding day, so here are some tips to help get that glowing bride look.


1. Avoid using products that contain SPF

I wouldn’t normally advocate this, but products that contain SPF can photograph weird because of the zinc oxide found in many moisturizers and foundations. It causes that paled out face look that shows up in photographs, but not in person. So your best bet is to avoid products with SPF on your wedding day (but don’t forget to wear SPF on your honeymoon!). I like using MAC Face And Body Foundations ($32).

2. Go light on the shimmer

A highlight on cheekbones or browbones is flattering, but too much shimmer doesn’t photograph well. Shimmer has light reflecting particles that the camera picks up as white streaks or shine. Try doing a complete run-through of your makeup before the wedding, and take pictures. If you see shiny or white streaks where you’ve applied a shimmer product, you know where to tone down.

3. Wax three days before the wedding

Redness can be tough to cover, and some people stay slightly swollen for a couple days post-wax.

4. Skip lip gloss if you’re wearing a veil that comes down over your face

It’s a magnet for the fabric and will make the veil stick to your lips the second you put it on. The gloss and any lipstick you’re wearing will transfer to the veil, making for a messy situation.

5. Don’t stray too far from your usual look

I’ve had minimalist makeup girls request a red lip vintage look for their trials and had brides who normally wore a lot of eyeliner ask for a natural look, but they usually don’t feel right when it’s done. I’m all for playing around with makeup, but this isn’t the day to do it. If you want to try a smokey eye for the first time, save it for your bachelorette party!


6. Bring oil blotting sheets with you

I always include these in my bridal touchup kits. It’s a long day and most people get a little shine, but these papers keep it at bay. I prefer them to powder because powder tends to cake up after multiple applications. I use CVS Oil Absorbing Sheets (about $5). They’re cheap, and they work great!

7. Use a foundation and eye primer

The number one question brides ask me is “Will my makeup stay on all day?” With good primers, it will! I prefer Smashbox Photofinish Primer ($36) for skin and Too Faced Shadow Insurance ($17) or MAC Paint Pots ($16.50) for eyes.

8. Consider using false lashes

For weddings, I prefer flares (individual bunches of 6-8 lashes) to full strip lashes. Because you can put on as few or as many as you want, you’re able to control how natural or dramatic your look is. I use the Ardell flare lashes (about $4).

9. Use waterproof mascara

This may seem like a no-brainer, but brides have a million and one details to worry about, so this can get overlooked. It’s a big day, and if you get emotional, you want to make sure your mascara doesn’t show it. My favorite is Dior Diorshow Waterproof Mascara ($24).

10. Set your foundation with loose powder

Not only does the powder give the foundation a soft finish, but it takes shine out of the skin. Cameras pick up shine, but starting with powder and touching up with oil blotting sheets will keep you shine-free. Makeup Forever HD Powder ($30) is my number one pick.

makeup artist allison barbera

Written by Allison Barbera

This post was written by Allison of Allison Barbera Makeup Artistry, a freelance makeup artist and licensed esthetician. Allison’s loved makeup as long as she can remember. In elementary school, she got in trouble for doing all of her friends’ makeup. A fan of NARS, MAC and Make Up For Ever, Allison also loves soft serve ice cream and Notorious B.I.G. 🙂


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  1. knownever says:

    I’m not getting married anytime soon, but these are great tips for anytime you’re going to be getting your picture taken a lot. Especially that tip about SPF products, I didn’t know they could do that! I also think using a lip stain would be good advice underneath or maybe instead of lipstick (depending on the look you want) so you don’t have to worry about reapplying.
    .-= knownever’s last blog post… War Paint =-.

    • Karen says:

      Thanks for the lip stain tip, Knownever! That’s a good one.

    • Allie says:

      Thanks! A lip stain is a great idea. I sometimes use a lipliner to fill in the entire lip before applying the lipstick because it gives the lipstick something to adhere too. The only thing to watch out for with that are the color choices. If you’re using a light lipstick, you need to make sure you pick a liner that is equally as light (can be harder to find than brownish or pink liners) so it doesn’t affect the light lipstick on top.

  2. Tracy says:

    Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 70 is a photo-stable sunscreen you could use. It won’t give you that white glow.
    .-= Tracy’s last blog post… Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Liquid Daily Sunblock SPF 70 =-.

  3. Wow thanks for this Allison! I just got engaged and the first thing I thought about was what am I going to do about my make-up? I know I should be thinking about other things at the mo but I want to look my best in pictures that will last forever. One of my best friends is getting married in August in Scotland and I’m doing her make-up. This advice will come in handy for me to help her look gorgeous on her special day. x
    .-= Annabella Freeman’s last blog post… Annabella’s Review – Soap & Glory Exfoliating Gloves vs. Body Shop Bath Gloves =-.

  4. Lillybeth says:

    Nice one – these are all rock-solid tips for wedding day makeup! Shout out to you, Allison from a fellow freelance makeup artist in New Zealand.

    Except, you CAN wear an SPF on your wedding day, just not in your foundation & powder because the mineral sunscreen agents (also called physical sunscreens), titanium dioxide & zinc oxide, are usually the sunscreen ingredients in makeup and yes they reflect camera flashes and give the awful white bloom. These ‘mineral’ sunscreen actives are added to makeup because they don’t hurt if they get in your eyes, but there are other sunscreen ingredients known as ‘chemical sunscreens’ that are more common in sunscreen lotions, such as avobenzone.

    These do sting if they get in your eyes, that’s why they’re not often chosen for use in makeup, but if you wear a sunscreen WITHOUT the above 2 mineral sunscreen ingredients, using only the chemical type sunscreen actives, you will escape the white bloom/ghost look and still be protected from the sun with an SPF product. You might look shiny however and that’s hard to avoid, even under the makeup.

    Long story short: use non-SPF makeup but feel free to apply a sunscreen that doesn’t contain titanium dioxide & zinc oxide. xx

  5. Agnes says:

    this post has perfect timing!! (not that IM getting married anytime soon).. but my boyfriend’s cousin will be this summer! she’s been so busy running around trying to make everything work that i doubt she has had time to sit down and even think about makeup! Im sure she’s going to get it professionally done, but even so, these tips will definately come in handy for her 🙂 thanks for the great post!
    .-= Agnes’s last blog post… EOTD – Annabelle Pigments Karma & Azure =-.

  6. Maria says:

    Yay! Allison is doing my wedding make up in August!

  7. Audrey says:

    Great post, Allison! I also like to use a setting spray as a last touch on my clients. I’ve been using MAC Fix plus but one of my MUA buddies uses the Ben Nye one (which has a very minty scent) and I also heard the Urban Decay one is good, too!

  8. Beverly says:

    very practical tips…
    I guess its applicable not only for wedding but everyday use. 🙂

    thanks !

  9. Allie says:

    You’re welcome, Beverly! Glad you found it helpful.

  10. Nice tips Allie, basically that tip about avoiding of SPF products is so valuable and impressive.
    Thanks for your information…………………..
    איפור כלות

  11. Kaitlyn says:

    I’m doing makeup for a wedding next month, and I found these tips very sensible, and useful! Thanks 🙂
    Kaitlyn recently posted … Bargain of the week – One n Only Argan Oil Treatment

  12. jenn says:

    Great post. Helpful tips. I have a question. I don’t wear makeup really on a normal basis. Just mascara. I pretty much have never used foundation ever. Sometimes bronzer in the winter but not really. Do you suggest I use it on my wedding day? I don’t want to look fake..or not like me.

  13. elsa says:

    Great tips Allie! I’d also add crucial step one: start with a clean face! If you don’t want to have a professional do a facial, try ROC’s face scrub pads. They are amazingly good and the moisturizer and primer will glide. End result? Your makeup will look incredible and definitely last longer! I got the pads at Walgreen’s for $9 or so.

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