When I got married last June, like many other brides, I opted to do to my own wedding makeup. We were operating on a pretty small budget for our London pub wedding, and I really didn't want to eat into it by forking out for a professional to help me. However, the main reason was that I never feel quite like myself after somebody else has done my makeup. That's not to say that my own makeup skills rival that of a pro, of course. I just wanted a less-perfected, more-DIY makeup look that felt entirely like me.
One of the most valuable things that I did to prep for doing my wedding makeup was to visit a Bobbi Brown store for a bridal beauty lesson. At the time, it was completely free, but now, it costs £50, which is redeemable against any product that you purchase in the store. In exchange, you get 60 minutes with a professional makeup artist, who walks you through every single step of your bridal makeup routine. For me, the time spent was invaluable and proved the importance of talking to experts if you're planning to do your wedding makeup yourself.
Of course, not everybody has £50 to spare, lives near a Bobbi Brown counter or wants to spend 60 minutes playing with makeup when they're in the midst of wedding planning. So instead, I recently caught up with professional makeup artist and wedding day beauty expert Hannah Martin to pick her brain on all things bridal makeup. As the woman responsible for Princess Eugenie's gorgeous wedding-day makeup look, I knew that there was no better person to chat to. In fact, it's even been reported that Martin is the very makeup artist who gave K.Mids her bridal beauty lesson before her big day.
Keep scrolling for Hannah's top tips on doing your own wedding day makeup for all brides-to-be and to shop the bridal beauty products that she swears by.
Hannah's Ultimate Wedding Makeup Advice
"My advice to any bride considering doing their own makeup is to do their research, seek advice and most importantly, practice! I tell brides to seek out photos of themselves when they felt their prettiest and see if that's a look that could translate to a bridal look.
"Tearing pictures out of magazines and taking screenshots of makeup they like is really helpful too to see if a particular look or style comes through. I then suggest brides take these pictures and show a makeup artist to see if they think it would work for them and ask for their guidance around what products would be most suitable," advised Martin.
"Once brides have a look they're happy with, I advise they practice multiple times until they know the look back to front so re-creating it on the morning of their wedding feels easy and natural and not a case of stress or anxiety. Even if practising is done last thing at night before taking their makeup off!"
Makeup Counters vs. YouTube Tutorials
"Watching YouTube videos can be incredibly helpful for gaining inspiration when trying to establish what bridal makeup look to go for. It's also an excellent resource for learning and mastering new techniques," said Martin. "I still think nothing can beat seeing an artist IRL to help you perfect your look, so I highly recommend going to counters like Bobbi Brown and Hourglass to have a consultation. Even if its sole purpose is to reinforce that you're on the right track, often hether that's to be more camera-ready or show you how you can make it last all day with just a few tweaks."
Choosing Your Colour Palette
"When considering makeup colours, stick to what suits you and your skin tone. Don't be fooled into thinking your makeup needs to match your flowers or your bridesmaids' dresses," explained Martin. "Colour themes can be picked up in decorations. It's more the style of the makeup that the dress and general theme of the day will dictate. For example, block liner may look a little harsh with a boho dress, and likewise, a super-soft boho makeup look might look a bit insipid in a chic city wedding."
Planning your time
"On the wedding day itself, give yourself at least 30 minutes longer than it usually takes you to do your makeup—[although] I'd say an hour ideally to allow for all eventualities," advised Martin. "You want to feel calm and not rushed, and you need to factor in time to field everyone's questions and moments like saying hello to the florist when they drop off your bouquet or when your bridesmaids bring you a gift from your partner. All those moments can steal the time you may have allocated for getting ready."
The Most Common Bridal Makeup Mistakes
"The most common mistakes I see are brides not wearing enough colour. Not enough bronzer and blush can leave brides looking a little washed out, so be sure to warm the tops of the cheeks, hairline, temples and neck with bronzer and apply a pinky blush to the apples of the cheek. Just a touch more than you normally would, to ensure you nail the healthy look," said Martin.
"In recent years, I've regularly seen too much highlighter. I recommend choosing one area to focus on and then use a light-handed touch to sweep a more subtle highlight over the skin. Something like Hourglass Ambient Light Powder in Luminous (£42) will look really effortlessly glowing and not overly metallic.
It sounds silly, but I still see brides in lipstick that simply doesn't suit them. There's a common belief that wedding lipstick needs to be darker than your natural lip colour, but this leads some women to wear shades too dark that in fact make it look like they've borrowed their mum's lipstick and it can be quite ageing. I think a natural, pinky lip tone is most flattering—my go-to being Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Pillow Talk (£25) with Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 07 Toffee Pink Shimmer (£18) on top."
Keeping Your Makeup in Place
"The combination of prepping skin well for makeup, choosing the right foundation formula for your skin type and setting your makeup with powder and setting sprays will give your makeup the best chance of lasting all day," explained Martin.
"If you don't hydrate your skin effectively before makeup, then your skin will drink your makeup and go patchy. If you use a really luminous foundation and don't set it, then it will slide off after a while. Powder doesn't need to be cakey. A little through the T-zone will help lock makeup in place and a spritz of a setting spray like Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray (£19) will be that finishing touch to make your makeup bulletproof."
Trademark Beauty Looks
"Lipstick is really personal. Some women have a go-to shade, and others don't ever wear it. For others, red is their 'natural,' so if that's the case I encourage brides to stick with whatever shade makes them feel their best," advised Martin. "Red can be a little more high maintenance, but there are so many excellent long-wearing lipsticks on the market currently that shouldn't need too many touch-ups. All I really suggest is that brides don't experiment with lipstick on their wedding day. It's not the time to try something new—save that for the honeymoon!"
Fail-Safe Bridal Beauty
"While I have loved creating all manner of different bridal looks over the years, I must say I simply love soft, bronze-y eyes with pinky lips and cheeks. Its seems to work on almost everyone and photographs really well," said Martin.
Shop Hannah's Wedding Day Beauty Picks
"When working with brides, I am never without my Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick. It doesn't contain an SPF, and I can customise how much coverage I create from the sheerest of finishes to complete coverage."
"I always use Laura Mercier Translucent Powder to set makeup."
Hannah swears by this champagne pearl shade for a natural-looking highlighter.
The ultimate lip topper for Martin's wedding-day lipstick of choice.
"I love Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate for a first layer of cream bronzer."
Hannah's wedding-day lipstick of choice for brides.
Make sure you add some colour to your cheeks with Hannah's favourite blush from Bobbi Brown.
"Beauty Pie Longwear Cream Shadows really are the best bases for powder shadow but also look great on their own."
"I'll also always have a plethora of lashes with me to suit every eye shape and preference. They really can elevate an otherwise gorgeous look to the next level."