I’ve never been a big makeup wearer. Day-to-day I might wear mascara and a bit of lip balm (only if I have time before I run out the door though). My appearance isn’t my highest priority in life. Don’t get me wrong, I still wanted to look and feel beautiful on my wedding day. But I was worried about looking at my wedding photos and not really recognising the bride looking back. So, I had a dilemma – what should I do about my bridal makeup so I still felt like myself?
As I see it there are 4 broad options for a bride when it comes to makeup:
- Get a professional makeup artist
- Get a skilled friend or family member involved
- Do it yourself
- Don’t bother – it’s your face so you don’t have to wear makeup
As I’d decided I wanted to wear makeup on my wedding day, this left me with the first 3 of these options to choose between. I’m going to explain why, in the end, I decided to DIY my bridal makeup and what I did to make that a success.
Professional Makeup Artist
Hiring a professional makeup artist is a pretty common approach to take for your wedding makeup. A makeup artist will usually provide all the makeup and equipment need, and the same person may do your hair too. Before your wedding you go for a trial run (or two), to practice what your would actually like for your bridal makeup.
This is potentially the lowest effort option for a bride, all the work is done for you and by someone with the skills to do it right. It’s also likely to be the highest cost option too. But the big risk, in my opinion, was finding the right person to suit me.
I’d heard few horror stories about wedding makeup artists that scared me. From eyebrow plucking disasters to caked on makeup that wasn’t what the bride wanted. This lack of control for something that is so personal as makeup, was too much for me. So I crossed makeup artist off the list.
Friend or Family Member With the Skills
If you have a makeup skilled friend or family member you could ask them to do your bridal makeup. Unlike a makeup artist you’d probably need to provide your own makeup and kit. Again you’d need to do a few trial runs to get it right before hand.
This option may not be as easy as hiring a professional, but it could be cheaper depending on how much you need to spend on makeup. It is a big ask of your friend or family member though, so shouldn’t be taken lightly.
For me, this had the same issue of loss of control as hiring a makeup artist. And also the potentially bigger problem of falling out with said friend or family because you weren’t happy with the makeup on your wedding day. So this meant this option was also crossed off.
Do It Yourself
So that left me with the final option of DIY bridal makeup. This solved my issue of not having control. It’s potentially cheaper than a hiring someone, but you do need kit yourself out with the equipment you’ll need. Great. But this option raised a new problem, my makeup skills (or lack of).
I mentioned earlier that I don’t wear much makeup. Before my wedding, I didn’t own a foundation and wouldn’t do full makeup for a special occasion. So I wasn’t at all confident I’d be able to successfully do my makeup for my wedding day. I needed some help.
While chatting with a friend she revealed that after disastrous trial with a makeup artist, she’d opted to do her own wedding makeup too. She mentioned that she went for a makeup lesson to prepare. Light bulb moment – why hadn’t I thought of that.
So based on her recommendation, I made an appointment for a full makeup lesson at MAC Cosmetics. This is 90 minute session with a MAC makeup artist. You tell them what occasion the makeup is for and what kind of look you want to achieve. I’d recommend picking out some looks you like beforehand so you have something to guide them. You can check out our bridal makeup Pinterest board for some ideas.
During the lesson, they will show you how to apply the makeup you’ve agreed on. They will go through every step, applying to half your face and then you copy them on the other half. So you get hands on practice with an expert to guide you. At the end of the appointment they will create a face chart to help you recreate the look at home later and a list of the products used.
My wedding makeup face chart from MAC
The full makeup lesson costs £50, but this is redeemable against any MAC product you buy. I had my lesson at the MAC counter at Debenhams in Milton Keynes. Click here to find out more and to locate your nearest MAC counter.
I learnt a lot from my makeup lesson with MAC. Because I applied half the makeup it helped to make what I’d been shown stick in my head. It gave me the confidence to apply my own wedding makeup and enjoy doing it.
It would be a good idea to write down all the steps as soon as you can after the lessons, so you don’t forget all the advice you’ve been given. Then practice doing the full makeup on your own a couple of times. Time how long these practices take so you can leave yourself enough time on your wedding day timeline (rushing will stress you out).
In hindsight, I don’t think I saved much money doing my makeup myself because I had to buy most of the makeup and brushes I used. You do need to be aware that from MAC’s point of view the lesson is an opportunity to sell you their products. The £50 cost of the appointment will cover £50 spend on their products, so it would be silly not to take advantage of that. The MAC artist I saw wasn’t pushy trying to get me to spend more than this. But I did spend around £50 extra in MAC, on top of the appointment cost, buying the products I really liked. So having a budget in mind before the lesson would be sensible so you don’t get too carried away in the excitement. I did spend some more money on makeup and brushes from Boots to fill the remaining gaps to get the complete look.
Overall I think it was money well spent really. I learnt a lot from the lesson, and I’ve used the makeup kit I brought numerous times since my wedding. I wouldn’t have gained either of these if I’d hired a makeup artist to do my wedding makeup.
I also made use of wedding makeup tutorials on YouTube to get ideas. I particularly like those from Lisa Eldridge, who’s a professional makeup artist. She has a playlist specifically for bridal makeup and another playlist on the basics of applying makeup (which may be useful if you a newbie to it like I was).
My finished DIY wedding makeup
The biggest positive of doing my own bridal make this way, was that I was really happy with the way I looked on my wedding day. I look at our wedding photos and I see an enhanced version of myself which is what I was hoping for. I eased back a little on the amount of makeup I wore on my wedding day compared to the lesson. Doing my wedding makeup gave me the control, so it was just right for me.