Wanted: Makeup Advice, or How Not to Look Like Dame Edna on My Big Day

Maybe I should rename this blog Vain Bride or Shallow Bride, because this post, just like the last one, is about looks. Now, let me preface this by saying the wedding must really be getting to my head, as most close friends can attest I don’t brush my hair regularly and any makeup I wear usually ends up on my teeth. (I told you my chompers are big, but did I also mention they’re always in the way?) So, I can safely say I am generally not looks-obsessed, but the prospect of a wedding has kind of turned me into one of those beauty pageant moms, except in this case I am both mother and daughter. I accept the analogy makes no sense, but neither does any of this.

A few months ago, I received an unsolicited email from some online service called OurWeddingDay.com. (You recently engaged gals out there will be shocked at how quickly they find you, too.) After a close reading of this email, titled “10 Tips for Wedding Photography Makeup,” I not only felt inspired to start this blog, but also came away with two important messages: 1) I’m hopelessly pasty and 2) a professional makeup artist is at least as essential to any wedding as the officiant, although a professional can only do so much to treat congenital pastiness.

Until then I had been determined to not hire a professional makeup artist or hairdo artist on the day of the wedding. When I’ve had makeup and hair done for other weddings, as a bridesmaid, I have always been disappointed about looking like a drag queen with a Grandmother-of-the-bride bouffant. This seems to be the result no matter what I tell the beauty professionals, so I fear even my own wedding will be no different. Poor Special Someone, it’s enough he’s marrying someone who calls herself the Skeptic Bride, but he really didn’t sign on to wed a Dame Edna lookalike.

I’m still pretty set on doing my own makeup — such a rebel I am — though it might not be a bad idea to get a test run at one of the mall counters or Sephora or some place. Anyone have any advice on this? Favorite makeup counters? Favorite drugstore products? Good techniques for making makeup stick around for the whole night? I NEED YOUR HELP. And not just for the wedding – this is something I’ve needed help with ever since the first time I came home from work looking like a two-bit whore, mascara smeared all under my eyes. I would prefer not to be Goth Hooker Bride, though I guess that’s a preferable alternative to 75 Year-Old Transvestite.

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11 Comments on “Wanted: Makeup Advice, or How Not to Look Like Dame Edna on My Big Day”

  1. Sheena says:

    Get someone to do your makeup. It doesn’t have to be a pro, but it helps to have someone else in charge of these things day of. Do you have anyone in your wedding party or family who likes makeup?

    We should talk. For serious!

  2. KB says:

    Getting a makeup artist will likely be the most cost-effective solution, if you’re not a regular makeup wearer. And you’ll get a couple tries at it, which usually isn’t the case for bridesmaid makeup.

    For inspiration or doing it on your own, I definitely recommend viewing the videos on Lisa Eldridge’s site — she’s great and it’s very helpful even if you have different coloring from her (I do). I like the basics offered by Clinique and Benefit. I’ve had terrible luck with the Sephora staff, but a friend had her makeup done there by a NARS professional and it was fantastic.

  3. M. says:

    Well, you know what I look like when I make an effort to clean myself up. I don’t know what you think of it, but here’s what I use…

    Whatever you do, there’s this silicone-based primer (I think smashbox makes it? If we take a field trip to Sephora, I can point it out) that makes makeup stay on your face where you put it approximately a million times better than just your skin.

    I’ve been using a foundation by Almay that supposedly matches your skin tone (by MAGIC!) not all over my face, but just where I need it. I got some of that bare minerals stuff as a gift, and I use some shimmery thing that supposedly mimics sun exposure. It doesn’t on me, but it makes blush unnecessary because I labor under the impression (delusion?) that blush makes me look like a Satan’s favorite hooker-clown-bitch. Also, light judicious application of baremineral’s mineral veil sets everything and oddly enough seems to clear up my skin (?). No idea how that works. But if you use too much, then you look like a Jersey Shore member. Your neck/bust should not be a different color from your face.

    As far as eyes, If you want something understated but pretty, a champagne/pinky shimmer or matte shadow all over the lid with a little added definition in a brown/black smudged pencil? Victoria’s Secret FTW here on the eyeshadow… it’s odd, but they make good makeup, actually. Their eyeliner pencils are oddly good, too. Not to say there’s not something better at Sephora, but compared to drugstore stuff, VS is several steps above. White shimmer on the inside corners and a little on the brow bone. Curl dem lashes, use some waterproof mascara, and boom, done.

    Judging by your last post, you don’t necessarily want to highlight your mouth – even though I think your grin looks absolutely fine – so use a neutral gloss… something that’s ~ the same shade as your lips.

    In a list form:

    – primer
    – foundation
    – shimmery face stuff (bareminerals)
    – not shimmery face stuff (bareminerals)
    – base color eyeshadow
    – eyeliner pencil
    – white shadow (and you can use a darker color under your browbone if you want, but not necessary)
    – mascara
    – lip color of choice

    I always shoot for natural+, which in my head is pretty much like I normally look, smoothed over a bit with eye makeup. I don’t know how it looks to anyone else! 😛 But whatever, writing this has been an awesome way to spend biochem lecture.

  4. Sarah says:

    Whichever one of your (our?) lovely friends is M. is spot-the-eff-on.

    If you want to have a makeup afternoon one weekend I will experiment with you until just before your head explodes. We did a mini-makeover more years ago than I care to imagine it to be, and I think it worked out well, do you remember it? I think I have a picture somewhere.

    And, of course, if you choose not to get a make up artist for the day of, I’m pretty sure I can be there to help out. 😉

  5. Kate says:

    Jen and I went to the MAC store at Columbia Mall to get makeup to wear for our engagement shoot and they were wonderful— not overpriced and not obnoxious!

  6. Kelly says:

    I read somewhere you want to be a slightly more polished version of yourself on your wedding day. So if you don’t normally wear makeup, just pop on some tinted moisturiser, some lipgloss and get some eyelash extensions. Easy! And you won’t risk having your eye makeup end up all around your eyes and lipstick on your teeth.

  7. skepticbride says:

    Wow, y’all! Thanks so much for weighing in!

    Mim especially: damn girl, thank you! That is some awesome information. Primer, that is something I definitely need. I think you always look gorge, btw.

    And Sarah, this whole post was my passive-aggressive way of asking you to do my wedding make-up 😉

  8. NicoleM says:

    July MoCo wedding again. This is something I struggle with as well. I managed to find a hair person by asking my regular stylist for a rec, and she said that w my budget the best I’d do is a junior stylist just starting out, so the shampoo girl at the salon will be doing a trial for me next weekend. Er, fingers crossed on that one. What are you doing about hair?

    But makeup still has me stumped. My current plan is to drag some bridesmaids to Sephora and have them WATCH CAREFULLY while someone does my makeup, buy some of the stuff they use, and then essentially crowdsource the process with the bridal party the day of. Eek?

  9. skepticbride says:

    Hey NicoleM – still not sure about hair, am thinking of just having one of my more stylish friends try to figure out something to do with it. Good idea to get a test run first! As for makeup, I figure the worst-case scenario is I’ll just look like myself (if I have to wipe off a makeup job I don’t like), so I certainly don’t think crowdsourcing is a bad idea. Some of the commenters don’t seem too thrilled by Sephora, but I read somewhere that Laura Mercier people are known for doing a good job. Good luck!!

  10. J says:

    Try Revlon’s Photo Ready foundation, concealer and pressed powder. It gives a clean finish but good coverage; it’s not too heavy and it looks great in photos. Trust me, I got married in September as an exhausted mother of an 8-month-old. The makeup did wonders to hide those stress pimples and cover those why-can’t-my-baby-sleep-until-7 dark under-the-eye circles. Be careful of mineral makeup because it reflects light and will make you look hot in a sweaty kind of way in pictures. I also agree with M. regarding eye makeup and a neutral gloss. Also, I would dab a bit of pink blush on your cheeks so you look alive. Hope that helps! Good luck!


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