Wedding day makeup tips for brides who usually don’t wear any

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If you don’t wear a lot of makeup – or any at all – the thought of getting dolled up, slapping on a ton of foundation and hiring a makeup artist for your wedding can be daunting.  You might want to wear a bit of makeup (after all, you’re paying enough for photos and the dress, you might as well look your best)… but perhaps you’re terrified that you’ll look so unlike yourself that your hubby-to-be won’t shed tears of joy when you walk down the aisle… he’ll just have a look of confusion!

…okay I’m sure it can’t be that bad!

I started mulling over this topic with a question from the Southern Bride community. Bride-to-be Lisa asked: As someone who rarely wears makeup what would a makeup artist recommend for the wedding day?

As someone who doesn’t know much about makeup myself, and knowing there’s a few brides-to-be out there who don’t wear any at all, I was keen to know if there were any tips, hints or secrets to wearing makeup when you usually don’t wear any at all.

I had my opportunity recently, when I headed to Alexandra to catch up with some of my lovely local Southern Bride Verified ladies. While there I got to finally meet Sophie from Harmony Skin and Beauty!

I could immediately see how Sophie (and her team) would be appealing to a bride who is feeling a bit unsure about wearing makeup – she is so lovely, friendly and down to earth, you can’t help but get a bit of a girl crush on her! Below is Sophie on the left, and that’s me (Amanda) on the right.

Before I launch into my interview with Sophie, I have something exciting to share –

The team at Harmony Skin and Beauty are generously giving away a one-on-one makeup lesson to one lucky Southern Bride reader – worth $90! So if you want some coaching on the right colours, expert application tips and friendly advice, then make sure you enter by commenting on this post – instructions right at the bottom with more details.

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If you rarely wear makeup, what does a makeup artist recommend for the wedding day?

As with most things wedding, there’s no hard and fast rule that you have to wear makeup. So if you’re really concerned about wearing makeup, and just don’t want to – don’t!

But if you do want to wear some makeup… but you’re feeling anxious about how you’ll look, or a bit embarrassed about your lack of makeup knowledge, or perhaps you’ve had reactions to makeup products in the past, so you’re worried about your skin – then Sophie’s advice should put your mind at ease.

“First of all, makeup should be fun and not stressful”, Sophie says, “It’s about emphasising your natural beauty – but most of all, it’s about helping you feel comfortable and confident in your own skin!”

Comfortable and confident were two words that came up again and again.  That is the feeling you’re looking for. You want your makeup artist to give you confidence so you feel comfortable – whatever the makeup style you opt for.

Is there a difference between how you would approach a makeup fan vs a makeup newbie?

I asked Sophie if you should let the makeup artist know whether you’re not usually a makeup wearer, and her answer was yes.  The makeup artist will approach a makeup fan and someone newer to makeup differently.

“Any makeup artist will look after a makeup fan and makeup ‘newbie’ in different ways. For someone who doesn’t wear makeup everyday, the key is ensuring they feel comfortable with how the makeup feels on their skin, the tones and colours used and the makeup styles applied (such as, if you aren’t used to eyeshadow, you may not be confident rocking a winged liner look and red lippy!)

There is absolutely no problem with wearing minimal makeup on your wedding day, Sophie assured me.  Sophie and her team are trained in doing minimal makeup that looks good for your photos – things like a little contouring, natural lips and eyes, and a bit of mascara. “When a bride doesn’t usually wear makeup for their everyday look, they’ll opt for more matt colours, dewy soft foundations and natural lipsticks instead.”

Sophie emphasised that a good makeup artist wouldn’t leave a bride unhappy. Part of knowing if the bride is happy or not, is communicating with the makeup artist.  This can mean being assertive, possibly sharing insecurities, and feeling vulnerable. You don’t want to be making these calls on your wedding day… so it’s vitally important to have a makeup trial.

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Getting a makeup trial is extra important if you don’t usually wear makeup

A common misconception about makeup trials can be that it is practice for the makeup artist… the suggestion you have a trial is met with a bit of skepticism.  But a trial is more for your peace of mind than practice.

There’s a few different reasons for your makeup trial:

Will the makeup react with my sensitive skin?

First of all, if part of the reason you don’t wear makeup is due to sensitive skin, the makeup trial is a great opportunity to check that there’s no irritations or reactions, Sophie explains. She also mentioned it is extremely rare to have a reaction if the makeup used is of good quality, professional and applied hygienically – like the Quoi and Priori mineral makeup ranges Harmony Skin & Beauty uses.

Finding the right fit: making decisions before the wedding day

Secondly, Sophie points out that the very last time you want to be making decisions, is on your wedding day! You want to be able to sit back and relax, right?

Your makeup trial is your opportunity to make all those decisions with the help and guidance of your makeup artist: “Perhaps you may opt for a powder foundation over a liquid, or decide you could wear a darker lippy than you thought. Maybe you might even want to try the false lashes too!”

As she applies your makeup, your makeup artist will be explaining what she’s doing, why, and you might even pick up some tips for your own use (that’s how I started using a foundation brush instead of my fingers!).

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Getting comfortable with your makeup artist

Sophie pointed out that you’re going to be spending the morning of your wedding with this person, literally working on your face, on a really emotionally-charged day.  So you probably want to know them, right?!  Finding the right fit for you is important. You’ll start building rapport and a relationship with them from the first point of contact, so if you are feeling nervous or uncomfortable from the start follow your instincts.  For more information on how to pick the perfect makeup artist, follow my tips on finding wedding vendors here.

You may need to be vulnerable, and always be open and honest with your makeup artist. They are caring people – that’s why they are in this position – so don’t be afraid to share how you’re feeling. A major part of your trial is giving feedback.  If you’re worried that your eyeshadow is too dark, or cheeks are too pink – you need to say. She won’t be offended.

Giving feedback on your makeup after wearing it for a while

As I mentioned above, a big reason for your makeup trial is giving feedback on how you feel about your makeup. But you’re not limited to sharing your feelings only while you are having your trial appointment. Once you’re used to the feel of the makeup, and see how it wears, you can email or ring your makeup artist with any thoughts or concerns that come up.

If you wanted to, Sophie recommends visiting your Mum and/or a trusted friend, to hear their thoughts on your makeup. If you are happy with an aspect but a friend isn’t, go with your gut on it. You’re the one wearing it, you need to feel confident.

You can bring a trusted friend to the trial – but don’t go overboard and bring everyone along.  You need space to decide how you feel about your makeup! Do let your makeup artist know if you’re going to bring a friend (or your Mum) – just so they have enough room for them.

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When should I get my makeup trial?

This question comes up all the time. It’s simple: whenever works for you.

Sophie has some brides book in over 6 months before their wedding day – because that may be the only weekend the bride-to-be can get to Alexandra to see her. Other brides may book in the week before their day.

It seems like a lot of brides book it for the day of their hen’s night – that way they have their makeup done nicely already.

Some brides who visit Harmony make use of a voucher they are given to have a boudoir photo shoot with local photographer, Lisa Davidson. Once they’ve had their trial, they can book in to see Lisa and she can help put together really beautiful images – perfect present for your new hubby!

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Skin care: Making the most of your natural assets

If you’re going minimal with your makeup, you might want to focus on your skin. If your skin is healthy, radiant and glowing, then you may feel as though you need less coverage with your makeup (I know if my skin was perfect I wouldn’t bother with makeup at all).

What I like about the makeup artists at Harmony Skin and Beauty are that they are also beauty therapists. This means they are educated in skin care and treatments.  I was surprised when Sophie told me it’s mostly what you do at home that can affect your skin. Skin health is 70% internal (such as what we put into our bodies) and 30% external (the treatments and products we use on our skin)….so what does that really mean for us?

  • Your Lifestyle – water intake, food, stress, essential fatty acids and zinc – play a huge part in how your skin looks.  So up your water, eat well, and relax a heap more!
  • Routine and Consistency – Using the right cleanser and moisturiser for your skin type – and doing it daily – is SO important, Sophie emphasised.  A beauty therapist can give you the information, tools and treatments – but it’s up to you to stick at them long term
  • Treatments –  As well as your day to day care of your skin, the beauty therapists at Harmony can recommend more specialised treatments to treat individual skin concerns, including Facials, Prodermal Peels, IPL Skin Rejuvenation and Collagen Induction. The real results of these treatments are seen when you are maintaining your skin afterwards too, and can be the answer to solving any skin issues you want addressed before the day.

Remember, your skin is your largest organ, so what you put in your body and on your skin affects it.

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Will you wear makeup on your wedding day?

Whether you go dramatic or minimal, you need to feel comfortable and confident. I hope Sophie’s tips and advice will help when you’re deciding what to do about makeup on your wedding day.

Do you have any burning questions about wedding day makeup, skincare or beauty treatments? Pop your questions below and we will help where we can.

Want to WIN a personalised makeup lesson with Harmony, worth $90?

Keen to learn more about makeup? Harmony Skin and Beauty are generously giving away a personalised makeup lesson, worth $90, to one lucky Southern Bride reader!

“With expert guidance from our makeup artists, we give you the right colours and techniques so you can recreate your own look at home. Our relaxation room is a special area designed to allow you to enjoy a private makeup consultation and sample the products with your makeup artist.”  More information on Harmony’s Weddings & Makeup Services here.

How to enter: Leave a comment below (under the heading “Leave a Reply”) – share your best tip for great skin, ask the girls at Harmony a question, or just thank Sophie for her advice. All comments received by the end of 21 October 2016 will go in the draw, and the winner will be announced on the Harmony Skin and Beauty Facebook page after the winner has been drawn. Make sure you’re following them on Facebook so you don’t miss the announcement. Good luck!

49 thoughts on “Wedding day makeup tips for brides who usually don’t wear any

  1. Do you recommend a different make-up approach for an outdoor wedding, compared to the more traditional indoors event?

  2. This is a great read! There are so many things to organise for the big day and the last thing I want to worry about is how my make up will look. I am definitely having a trial before the big day so I know I’ll be happy and relaxed with everything on the day

  3. This would be an amazing experience! I am an absolute make up amateur and would love love to know how to things better/right! x

  4. Thanks for the encouragement to give feedback. That’s a really hard thing to do if you’re not in favour of what you see so reading that they won’t be offended is helpful.

    1. Absolutely Jody – I think the makeup artists would be more offended if you lied and said you were happy, when you weren’t! Their number 1 priority is making sure you feel confident and beautiful… and you can’t do that if they’ve put on makeup that you’re unhappy with.

    2. Do you recommend a different make-up approach for an outdoor wedding, compared to the more traditional indoors event?

      1. The style of makeup you choose to go with can be dependent on the setting of the venue, so sometimes yes – it can be a different approach or a different ‘look’ for indoor versus outdoor. No matter what, the artist will ensure it is long-lasting and can withstand the environment you are in for the day, so have a chat with them to work out what is going to be the best look for you!

    3. Feedback is fantastic – we truly love it as it gives us an idea of how you see the makeup through your own eyes. Feel free to comment on your foundation coverage, eyeshadow depth, blusher colour, brows and overall look. We won’t ever take offence and love to make sure you are absolutely happy with your final look!

  5. Thank you so much for the tips 🙂 calming some nerves for sure!
    My number one ritual has to be simply wash your face morning and night – a hot face cloth does wonders! x

  6. This has really rested some nerves I have building about my wedding. I very rarely wear make up at all (even special occasions don’t always get the full Shabang) so when I have had it done professionally in the past I always feel like a cross between a clown and a china doll, because I can feel it all on my face. I keep putting off making a decision about it but I feel Sophie might be able to help!
    Thanks!!!

    1. It can be a bit daunting if you’ve not felt “yourself” in the past – but if you’re hiring the make up artist you have lots more control over how you’ll look. Good luck Rhea!

  7. Very unsure about makeup for the wedding. I wear some make up but definitely don’t want it to look to heavy. If I get someone to do it I’m worried it won’t look like what I picture but not very good at it myself!

    1. That’s why the makeup trial is so important hun – if you’re not happy with it at the trial you can ask them to pare it back if necessary. You won’t offend them by saying it’s “too heavy” 🙂

    2. Hi Fritha – it’s a great idea to find some images of makeup that you love and take that along to your trial with you. That way you can explain really well how you would like it, and have a good chat with your artist to make sure they are on the page. The trial should be relaxing, fun time together!

  8. Thank you so much Sophie and Amanda, I am quite unsure about make up for our wedding day as I hope for a natural look and I know our bridesmaids are all at different levels of make up experience and I barely wear make up, however I know I would like a nice natural water proof look haha. Hope I get a chance to learn some tips we would really appreciate it. Many thanks and I love getting these emails for tips and ideas leading up to our wedding June 2017. xo

  9. Always take off anything at night and put a good moisturiser on before bed. I just started using night moisturiser and already noticing the difference!

  10. Such a good article! Since I recently modeled for the wedding show I can definitely say they make up they may choose might not suit you and you need to feel comfortable in your own skin. 🙂

    1. Oh yes, and they probably have to do it quite different as you’re not seen from up close (so it doesn’t *have* to look natural)

  11. Thanks for the tips. As a bride to be who doesn’t wear makeup much at all literally have no idea how to apply it properly this was helpful. Thank you

  12. I don’t wear makeup everyday. But I think the best tips for keeping your skin clear and fresh are…ALWAYS remove your makeup at night, even if I’ve not worn makeup for the day I always wash my face before bed, and cleanse it, and moisturizer is essential everyday, if your o my going to put one thing on your face in the morning, make it a moisturizer.

  13. Thank so for some great tips, I had these tips for my wedding and they’re so true. Im not a makeup wearer and I didn’t know if I wanted any make up but my artist was so great and did everything perfect for ME. I’m hoping that this will help my sister who’s wedding is up n coming.

  14. Great advice! I find planning a wedding stressful enough so knowing you have a great team at Harmony to make you look and feel beautiful means there’s one less thing to worry about!

  15. Thanks Sophie, such good advice! I’m super excited about getting my make up trial in December through you guys for my wedding in Jan 🙂

  16. What a helpful article! I rarely wear much more than mascara and lipstick, and have been quite nervous about getting my makeup done. I had a makeup disaster at my highschool ball and can’t bear the thought of a repeat! Would love to get some more advice on what best suits my face shape/skin tone etc so I can look just like ME on my wedding day! I drink as much water as I can to prevent getting dry lips which is my biggest beauty problem!

    1. Oh no, I can imagine having a bad experience would leave you pretty gun shy Storm – I had a terrible hair do for my formal so I kinda understand the pain! (Let’s not get those photos out aye haha)

  17. What a fabulous article, thank you. As a none- makeup wearer, I have been really struggling with the idea of minimal makeup or none at all. Then the fact I really am unsure of what would be good. I think a trip to a beauty therapist could be in order.

    Like Michelle, I do drink lemon water although I add apple cider vinegar also. My moisturiser is simply coconut oil. I find it to be amazing.

    1. Hey Jo – don’t forget to get in touch with Sophie at Harmony (sophie@harmonyskinbeauty.co.nz) for your free personalised makeup lesson <3 Such an amazing prize, we don't want you to miss out on it!

      x A

  18. I definitely drink alot of water it seems to really keep my skin clear and smooth and glowy! Also remembering to take off makeup even when im too tired to even if it is just mascara is important! I find that if i don’t i get really dry flaky eye area the next morning I also love using scrubs 🙂

    1. I’m terrible at taking my makeup off Darshika! But I am getting better at drinking water (I love soda water & got a soda stream for my birthday, so that helps!)

  19. Thank you so much for this post, it was really helpfull 🙂
    I am a Beauty Therapist but being in the business doesn’t make me more confident on what I should do on my wedding day… I’m good at taking care of others but not of myself!
    I use to be a makeup lover but my husband-to-be don’t like it, so since I’m with him I almost stop completely wearing it… I’m so confuse about what I’ll do on our wedding day!
    I’ll definetely come soon say hello to the team of Harmony, really interested to have advice from fellow beauty therapist!
    Thank you!!

    1. Hi Marine – I understand completely, I had another makeup artist do my makeup for my own wedding day, I just wanted to sit back and enjoy!
      I’d love to help you if you would like some advice, or to help you get an idea of how you could create a look you feel comfortable with for your big day.

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