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How to do your own wedding make-up, according to the experts

These are the must-have beauty essentials for ensuring your face lasts from 'I do' to the first dance

Louise Whitbread
Thursday 27 May 2021 09:58 BST
<p>Avoid getting overwhelmed and make sure you get in enough trials ahead of the big day</p>

Avoid getting overwhelmed and make sure you get in enough trials ahead of the big day

After a long wait, weddings are back on, and from 17 May, up to 30 people are allowed to attend both indoor and outdoor ceremonies in Covid-secure venues. There’s not long to go until 21 June either, which according to the UK Government's roadmap out of lockdown, should see all restrictions on weddings, civil partnership ceremonies and receptions lifted.

As the restrictions ease, many people are going ahead with their big day, whether it's an intimate wedding ceremony like Ariana Grande, or a big blowout in June with all the loved ones you’ve spent most of the last year separated from.

The day you get married is one where you want to look and feel your absolute best. If you’re planning to do your make-up yourself for the big day, we’ve consulted the experts to help make the task less daunting.

Bobbi Brown senior pro artist Amy Conway and make-up artists Ruby Hammer and Trish McEvoy have shared their tips, tricks and recommended products with IndyBest so you can perfect a bridal beauty look that will last all day and night.

From the long-lasting foundations that will keep you looking flawless, to gel eyeliner that will hold up throughout the happy tears walking down the aisle, these are the go-to products your wedding make-up bag needs.

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Prepare ahead of time

Before your big day, Conway recommends doing three to four run-throughs of the make-up you plan to wear to make sure you feel comfortable with the final look.

On the day itself, leave yourself enough time to enjoy the process. "Everything always takes longer than you think so blocking out enough time to get glam in the morning is so important," says Conway.

"You don’t want to start the day feeling stressed or overwhelmed and want to ensure you enjoy every minute you can. I would recommend allowing 90 minutes for your make-up – it won’t take you this long but this will provide you with a buffer."

For small touch-ups throughout the day, Hammer recommends having a touch-up brush, tissue, q-tips, a touch of loose powder to dab away excess oil and your lipstick of choice to hand. These can be looked after by your bridesmaids, or in your handbag, so you are ready to touch up when needed.

Hammer’s magnetic brush set (£28, is an innovative on-the-go trio of lip, eyeshadow and angled brushes that are interchangeable and will ensure perfect application every time.

They're made from cruelty-free brush hair and work well with cream, powder and gel textures.


First up is your base. Conway advises using primer, whatever your skin type. “It acts as a protective barrier between skin and make-up; on oily skin it stops the oil from seeping through and making make-up slide. On dry skin, it stops the make-up going patchy,” she says.

We would recommend the Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood flawless filter (£34, that our reviewer loved in our guide to the best make-up primers that give a flawless finish.

“It gives a luminous, dewy and completely glitter-free glow, diffusing light to optically blur out imperfections,” they said, adding, “it also comes in different shades, so there’s no one-size-fits-all expectation for your skin tone.”

Look for long-wearing foundations too, that will provide a flawless finish and stay in place. In our guide to the best foundations for dark skin tones, we loved the Nars natural radiant longwear foundation (£37,, available in 33 shades, if you're looking for a natural, dewy glow.

For a foundation that will last, use a long-wearing formula that will keep you looking flawless

According to our reviewer, it gives 16 hours of fade-resistant wear with a whisper-light texture and it suits all skin tones. "The neutral undertone of the foundation gave the skin a soft glow without looking too orange or red," they said.

However, if you have an oilier skin type, try the Estée Lauder double wear stay-in-place makeup SPF 10 (£34,, which offers a full-coverage, oil-free, water-resistant matte finish that's available in over 60 shades.

When applying it, Conway suggests using a brush for the best results. "Brush down the face because that's the way the hair lies," she says, adding, "then layer a sheer finish pressed powder on top for that natural-yet-flawless coverage finish that will last."

She also highly recommends using powder in sheer formulas that will set your foundations without changing the colour or adding coverage.

"It's important to 'sandwich’ your foundation in place between primer and powder to give the ultimate all-day wear. Start by using a small brush and a layering powder just in the T-zone area – for oilier skins take it through the cheeks also."

In our guide to the best face powders, the Huda Beauty easy bake loose powder (£29,, was our best buy for a number of reasons.

A small amount goes a long way to blur the appearance of pores, and it's also non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t cause breakouts later on.

Bronzer, blush and highlight

To add warmth to your complexion using bronzer, McEvoy advises applying it in a "3" shape on each side of your face. "Then, layer on the highlighter on cheekbones, under the brow and décolletage," she says.

Our favourite bronzer is Fenty Beauty sun stalk'r instant warmth bronzer (£25, It offers a comprehensive shade range that considers undertones as well as skin tones, and our reviewers found it foolproof in how easy it is to buff into the skin.

As you'll be continuously photographed throughout the day, to ensure you don't get a flashback and end up looking like Casper the ghost, wear a little more blusher than normal, blended delicately into cheeks.

Hammer's favourite is the Daniel Sandler watercolour gel cheek colour (£16.50, because it's easy to blend.

This hydrating gel blush is easy to blend and adds a natural-looking glow

It's a long-wearing, water-resistant formula in a gel texture that can be dabbed onto cheeks for a radiant finish.

If your big day is looking to be a hot one, avoid powder highlighters, as these can cake more easily and lose their luminosity the sweatier you are.

"Using too much highlighter can give you a flashback too," says Hammer who suggests creating a lit-from-within glow using a subtle shimmer. "Products need to be long-lasting – you need to make sure it looks great for professional photos, video, and mobile phone shots, as well as to the naked eye."

Try the Lumene invisible illumination instant illuminizer (£22.50, in "rosy dawn", which you can dab onto the high points of your cheekbones, eyebrows and cupids bow.

A liquid highlighter can also be mixed into your foundation or worn beneath it to give you a lit-from-within glow

The pearlescent pigments will leave your skin looking radiant but not overly shiny.


When it comes to eyeshadow, according to McEvoy, there are no colours to avoid, more so application techniques to avoid, such as very thick eyeliner.

"Matte or semi-matte textures are more flattering under stage lights and in photography, so ensure that if you are wearing shimmer, that it is a very fine, sophisticated sparkle—not too shiny or glittery," the make-up artist says.

This Ilamasqua movement artistry palette (£29.25, has 12 vegan shades, ranging from matte, satin and shimmer finishes which you'll also get lots of wear out of for months after the ceremony.

Whether you're opting for neutral tones or flecks of shimmery copper, this is a versatile palette to do it all

There's also pops of lavender and mint green if you prefer a bolder, more experimental look.

McEvoy recommends this intense gel liner⁠ (£22, "Start at the innermost lash and glide the tip of the pencil along the lash line. It will last through all of the happy tears," she says.⠀

Line your waterline with a gel liner to ensure it stays in place

Waterproof mascara is, of course, essential if you want voluminous lashes that will hold up through teary moments, hot weather and hours spent on the dancefloor.

In our guide to the best waterproof mascaras, we loved the Bobbi Brown no smudge waterproof mascara (£25, which didn’t budge at all.

Once applied, little will shift this waterproof mascara from your lashes

This one has a fat bristled brush that with a single coat will make sparse lashes look instantly longer, more defined and voluminous.

It lasted from morning to evening without clumping, smudging or smearing, with no crumbled product on the lower lash line either.


Look for a lipstick that will last through endless kisses, eating and drinking, but isn't too glossy as this may catch in your hair.

Hammer recommends using a lip pencil first to give you more definition and longevity. "Line the whole of your lips with a pencil and then put the lipstick on top – that will give you a little bit more intensity," she says, and to extend its wear, "blot layers with a tissue and go over it again".

"There are loads of great long-lasting lipsticks out there that come in an array of shades, including those from Lime Crime, Too Faced, Mac and Fenty – they’re the best for long-lasting lips," Hammer tells The Independent.

In our guide to the best long-lasting lipsticks that aren't drying, we rated the Mac retro matte liquid lip colour in “burnt spice” (£19,, which has a suede-like finish and impressive staying power.

This matte formula is long-wearing but not drying, though we would recommend applying a lip balm underneath for maximum comfort

According to our reviewer, the colour is a lovely daytime-appropriate dirty rose, but there are 15 shades to choose from, ranging from a subtle nude to statement purple.

As a finishing touch, use a fixative spray to keep it all in place. Hammer's favourite is the Becca Skin love prime & set mist (Asos, £22,

A light spritz of this over skin once your make-up is applied will keep it in place from morning to evening

It's a fine mist that will keep your skin hydrated and won’t leave even an eyebrow hair out of place.

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For the latest discounts on beauty and make-up buys, try the links below:

For more products that will ensure your stays make-up in place all day, read our guide to the best setting sprays for every skin type

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