It’s hard work being a bride. Not only does everyone expect you to look beautiful on the day itself, but the results must stand up to scrutiny for years afterwards, in photos and on video. So it’s worth the extra effort to perfect your appearance.
Most local hairdressing salons (as well as big city salons) can put a bride in touch with a professional make-up artist to make the bride look ravishing on the big day. It is vital to have a rehearsal well ahead of time, to ensure that both you and the make-up artist are happy with the results, advises Beryl Barnard, Principal of The London School of Beauty & Make-up.
If you’re using a make-up artist, establishing a good rapport is vital. Explains Beryl: ‘It means the bride has one less thing to worry about and enables her to enjoy having her make-up done.’ Some brides, she points out, ‘may not be used to wearing make-up at all, and if they feel like a painted doll they won’t be relaxed on the day.’
Turn up wearing your usual make-up (or no make-up, if you don’t normally wear any) so that the make-up artist can see how you like to look. Keeping make-up subtle – so that you still look like you – is the key to success. The effect, explains Beryl, should be similar to your usual style, with slightly more impact – and staying power, as your make-up will have to work hard and you probably won’t have time to touch it up.
Foundation is the most important element of all, believes Beryl. ‘It must be beautifully blended so that there are no tide marks. The pale colour of a wedding dress will emphasise poor blending or skin-matching, as there may be a lot of skin on show around the shoulders and neckline. If someone has an oily skin,’ she adds, ‘we sometimes suggest using lacto-calamine on the T-zone under foundation, to help skin stay matte.’
Brides should, of course, blush – but not excessively. ‘We tend only to use blusher if a girl is very pale. More often, we’ll use a green under-base cover-up, to tone down natural flush.’
Lips should be outlined in a soft, nude lip pencil: Beryl likes to cover the whole lip area with the pencil, so that if the lipstick itself wears off, there’s longer-lasting colour underneath. ‘I like rosy lip shades, rather than bright reds, which contrast too strongly with the white or cream of the dress,’ advises Beryl.
Eye make-up should be slightly more intense than usual, but stick to a natural palette of browns and taupes, rather than garish blues or greens: ‘A touch of white highlighter on the brow-bone can look stunning.’
Nails should be painted with clear varnish, as French manicure or a pretty, pale shade of pink – whichever you prefer. (And be immaculate, of course: we suggest scheduling a professional manicure for the day before. And no washing-up, thenceforth.)
The most flattering element of all should be the dress itself. It’s worth spending time trying several different shades of white/cream/ivory to find the one which best complements your skin tone. ‘A cream or magnolia dress uplights the face beautifully. It’s the kind of effect that Hollywood employs lighting cameramen to achieve, bouncing light onto the face so that it looks utterly radiant.’ So much so, Beryl adds, ‘that if I could afford the dry cleaning bills, I’d dress in cream and white year-round.’ (Which is exactly what legendary natural health and beauty author Leslie Kenton does…)