10 Top Tips For Doing Your Own Wedding Make-up

10 Top Tips For Doing Your Own Wedding Make-up

Considering doing your own beauty look for the big day? Here, celebrity make-up artist and former artistry manager for Bobbi Brown, Hannah Martin, shares her top tips for getting the bridal glow and the products to use for a flawless finish.

Prep Your Skin

“Prepping your skin is one of the most important steps in your bridal make-up look. Your skin must be thoroughly clean and really well hydrated – plenty of water is the most incredible skin restorer. Drink lots of it, and your skin will look bright, plump and fresh.

“Directly before applying make-up use an essence to hydrate the skin. The Shiseido Treatment Softener and BioEffect EGF Essence are two of my favourites. Just a few drops in the palm of your hands, then pressed onto the face, will saturate your skin with lightweight moisture and help your complexion take any product applied afterwards.

“Then, use an eye cream to plumb up any fine lines around the eyes and prep this delicate area for concealer. The MZ Skin Depuff and Define Contouring Eye Cream is a firm favourite in my kit. If your under eye is an area of real concern (it’s one of mine) then after cleansing and before moisturising try an eye mask – the Chantecaille Energising Recovery Eye Masks and the Guerlain Super Aqua Eye Patches need only be applied for 10–15 minutes to help refresh and plump up the skin in that area.

“Moisturiser is also essential to ensure your skin looks and feels its best. A fairly basic day cream for a wedding day is best – nothing too thick or too active, just something simple like the Kiehls Ultra Facial Cream.

“Finally, if your skin is prone to oiliness then I would suggest using an oil controlling primer, but just through the T-zone. Apply a tiny bit of the Bobbi Brown Primer Plus Mattifier in the centre of the forehead, down the nose, across the front of the cheeks and chin – and be sure to really work it into the skin. You can use a brush, but blending it in with your ring finger will help it look more natural. When your skin feels comfortable and flexible then you’re ready to get started on your make-up. If any area still feels tight then don’t be afraid to layer more moisturiser if you think you need it.”

Use Good Brushes

“When it comes to your wedding make-up, good brushes can make make-up application significantly easier. Thankfully, there are now many brush brands available at different price points, so good tools are easy to come by. Just always remember to have plenty of spare, clean brushes with you on the day to help blend and clean up any edges.

“When it comes to foundation brushes, try the BareMinerals Seamless Buffing Brush or Real Techniques 402 Brush which is actually sold as a setting brush – sometimes a smaller head can help you be more accurate in your application.

“When it comes to eyes, opt for Louise Young Brushes. There are so many to choose from, but try to have a flat-headed brush for applying cream shadows; a fluffy headed brush for powder shadows; longer dome tipped brushes for crease-colour blending; and firmer, smaller brushes for eyeliner application and blending. 

“When it comes to powder and bronzer, look for larger brushes that will blend product seamlessly across a larger surface area, then look for smaller headed brushes for blusher and highlighter for more precise application. Remember to always blend the edges of your highlighter too – apply with one brush and blend with a second, clean brush.”

Choose The Right Foundation

“This can throw many brides into a tailspin, but it doesn’t need to be complicated. The golden rule is to make sure it doesn’t contain any SPF so you avoid getting a ‘flashback’ in your photographs (a slightly ghostly white hue that is caused by the titanium dioxide reflecting the light in flash photography). If you have a base that you love, and you feel confident in, then use that. However, lots of brides want a base that will wear a bit longer and possibly offer a bit more coverage. Bobbi Brown Foundation Sticks are so versatile – you can use as much or as little as you like, to really customise your look. Other options include the NARS Natural Radiant Long Wear Foundation and Armani Luminous Silk, both of which photograph beautifully. Just be sure to get the colour right, and if in doubt, remember it’s more flattering to go for a shade a touch too warm than a touch too light.”

Don’t Forget About Concealer

“Brides should apply their concealer after their foundation to make sure it blends well under the eye. Try to bring the concealer that bit lower, just to the top of the cheek, to avoid creating a tight little ring of concealer under the eye. Also, find a shade a bit brighter than your foundation, to help brighten and open up the eye. If your under-eye area is really dark, then try using a corrector first – Charlotte Tilbury, MAC and Bobbi Brown do excellent ones that eliminate darkness so your concealer looks really clean on top.

“The general rule is that pink-y correctors work well on pink-y-blue shadows and peachy-toned ones work best on more brown-y shadows. To avoid concealer looking cakey, hydrate the skin first and choose a creamy formula that doesn’t look too dry. The Charlotte Tilbury Magic Away concealer leaves under-eye skin looking great – good coverage but a teeny bit moist, too. Saying that, it is advisable to lightly set concealer with powder – just a little on a really fluffy bush as this will just help keep it in place all day. Make sure there are no creases in it before you set it, as if there are, you’ll powder the creases in place.”

Think About Your Brows

“If possible, get your brows threaded and tinted before your wedding to take the pressure off. If not, my fail-safe brow routine consists of brushing the brows first with a brush or spoolie wand, filling in with a powder shadow that is a similar shade to your hair colour (or possibly a fraction lighter), using an angled brush and following the direction of the growth of the hairs. Finish it with a clear gel to hold everything in place. The Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Palette and Clear Brow Gel are a winning combination – they always create really natural looking brows. If you have really sparse hairs, you might want to use something a little stronger like a pomade. Blink Brow Bar London do a lovely one that isn’t too thick. Use a slim, angled brush to create really fine, hair-like strokes in the less dense areas to create the illusion of fuller brows. Be sure to practice before the big day to avoid overdoing it and creating a brow that’s overpowering.”

Prime Your Eyes 

“Eye shadow primer can be really helpful if you’re prone to an oily lid, which can cause shadow to crease. The Urban Decay Primer Potion is a complete failsafe. Long-wear cream shadows can act as a great base/primer too – simply layer shadow on top. Cream shadow sticks are great, and there are many to recommend from different brands such as Trish McEvoy, By Terry, Bobbi Brown, Beauty Pie and Bare Minerals – they are all excellent. Apply straight from the stick and then blend with a brush for a really soft, long-wearing finish. Always use a waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Even if you don’t think you’ll cry – they simply wear better and will stay in place longer. That said, some are better than others. Go for Delilah Gel Liner in Ebony and either Bobbi Brown No Smudge Mascara or Dior Show Waterproof.

Consider Your Lipstick Choice

“Lipstick is another thing that can worry brides. If you don’t usually wear lipstick then a bold, matte formula isn’t a good idea. On the other hand, if you’re a bold lippy kind of gal, then going for a nude might feel really alien. Brides shouldn’t venture too far from their normal look. For those that don’t wear much lip colour, use just a little lip liner – something like Charlotte Tilbury’s Super Size Me Lip Cheat with one of my all-time favourite Clarins Natural Lip Perfectors on top, shade 6, Rosewood Shimmer and 7, Toffee Pink Shimmer. These are both soft, subtle nude pinks that make lips look and feel gorgeous. Just be careful not to go too nude as is could make you look washed out.

“If you are a lipstick wearer then simply wear your favourite. If you’re not sure what shade to go for, a trick that always works is to find something just a little deeper than your natural lip colour – your lips will look polished but not overdone. Matte lipsticks do last longer but can get a little dry, so if that’s your preference, make sure you have a bridesmaid or friend with a lip balm on hand so you can refresh your lipstick throughout the day.”

Remember, Less Is More

“A little bronzer and highlighter can look beautiful on brides but remember less is more, especially when it comes to highlighter. Bronzer can add that much needed warmth to the skin when a bride is wearing all white, which can be a very draining colour. Adding bronzer to the higher points of your face – top of the forehead, top of the cheekbones, nose and neck can help you look like you at your healthiest, while adding a little shade and shape to the face without a harsh, contoured look. One of my regulars is the Tom Ford Bronzing Gel. It says it’s for men, but it creates the most natural warmth to the skin applied on top of foundation. Matte powder bronzers are great, too – most recently the new Airbrush Bronzer by Charlotte Tilbury, as it creates a really natural flawless shade to the skin. Highlighter then adds a radiant finish. Just use a touch at the top of the cheekbones and maybe a little under the brow bone to help bounce light and complete your blushing-bride look. Err on the side of caution and don’t use too much – you could look shiny and metallic. And use something soft – my favourite is the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Luminous Light.

Always Opt For Blush

“Blush is a bride’s best friend, and its recommended you go for pink. You might worry a strong pink is too much, but a blue-based pink is truly flattering on all skin tones and helps again make brides look their healthiest. My go-to is Pale Pink by Bobbi Brown but Ciate Baby Doll and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush in Diffused Heat both work well – incredible for that almost air-brushed blush. If you really don’t like pink then coral or plum are fine too, just be careful of anything too nude because it can look a bit flat. Also, anything too coral can actually translate to looking a bit brown in photographs.” 

Set Your Look

“Setting your make-up is essential for keeping it in place. Use a very light dusting of translucent powder – the Laura Mercier one is amazing as is the Hourglass Veil, Shiseido Synchro Skin, and By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra Powder. Use a small brush if you’re nervous of using too much, and lightly stipple into the T-zone. If your skin is prone to oiliness, then try using a bit of powder on a velour puff and press it into the area you’re worried about. The main areas you don’t want shine (it can look like perspiration if you’re not careful) is just above the brows, the bridge of the nose, the front of your cheeks, your top lip and chin.

“Once you’ve set with powder, a make-up setting spray is the final touch. The Urban Decay All Nighter setting spray is fantastic if you’re getting married in the heat, but the new Hourglass Soft Focus setting spray is beautiful, too. If you prefer a more dewy finish, then the Iconic Prep Set Glow is a great option.


Prepare For The Big Day With Hannah’s Essential Wedding Day Kit…


  • Powder or blotting paper – to get rid of any unwanted shine

  • Lip balm and your lip products – so you can do a full ‘re-set’ of your lips. Nerves, excitement and champagne can all make your mouth and lips a little dry, so rather than reapply product on to dry lips, take everything off, apply lip balm, and then redo them. Sounds annoying, and isn’t always necessary, but it can really revive your make-up look.

  • Concealer – you may not need it, but in case of over enthusiastic hugs where your make-up gets smudged, it means you can quickly fix your face. 

  • Blush – in case you start to look or feel a bit tired, blush can always revive your look. 

  • Cotton buds – essential for fixing eyes or any slight tear smudges in the corners.

  • Mints – so your mouth feels fresh at all times. There’s nothing more annoying than stale champagne breath when you have guests to entertain.

  • Paracetamol – it’s not uncommon for brides to get a headache. It’s a huge day with a lot going on and often with a big build up, so a few headache pills can be a real lifesaver. Best to treat a headache at first sign than try and battle through.

For wedding bookings or to follow Hannah you’ll find her on Instagram @HannahMartinMakeUp and on YouTube.

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