On your wedding day, you’re already wearing the most gorgeous dress of your life, carrying the most beautiful flowers, and rocking the prettiest, glossiest hair your head’s ever seen. The final step? Making sure you’re not partaking in any common wedding makeup mistakes ahead of the big day. Even if you’ve had a skincare and beauty routine down pat since 2008, it’s time to step up your game before you say I Do. Because chances are, you’ve been making some major makeup faux pas without even realizing it.
Before you walk down the aisle, take an extra minute in front of the bathroom mirror and see if you’re guilty of any of these top eight wedding makeup mistakes. Reversing them is the easiest way to a flawless wedding look—even in the unretouched photos!
1. You forget to prep your lips.
A great longwear lipstick can stay put for hours, but it’s no match for champagne toasts and wedding cake—unless you give it a little help. Before you swipe on lip color, create a smooth surface with lip primer we love MAC’s version ($17.50, available at Nordstrom); it makes for easier application and keeps lipstick on way longer.
2. You’re using the wrong foundation shade.
If your base makeup makes you look chalky, it’s time to switch out your shade for summer. Even if you’re planning to go the drugstore, head to a department store first to find your shade. Swipe three options on your jawline, then go to a mirror near a window to see how it looks in natural light. The shade that blends most closely to your skin tone is the winner.
3. Your concealer’s doing double duty.
Wondering why your concealer is settling into the creases under your eyes? It could be because you’re using the same all-purpose pot you use to cover up breakouts. While blemishes usually call for thick, full-coverage concealers, under-eyes benefit more from smoother formulas with light-catching pigments. Try a liquid formula, like Maybelline Dream Lumi Touch Highlighting Concealer ($6.44, available on Amazon).
4. You’re not applying primer.
For makeup coverage that lasts all day, from your first look photos all the way to the reception, primer needs to be a regular in your beauty bag. Primer can also come in handy if you have certain skin conditions, like a dry or oily complexion. Start your makeup regimen with this beauty must-have, and then apply foundation.
5. You’re using a dry makeup sponge.
The invention of the BeautyBlender has been a saving grace for makeup aficionados, but only when used properly. Using a dry makeup sponge to blend your makeup means the beauty tool will absorb more of the product, putting your beloved (and most likely expensive) foundation to waste. Splash a little water on your sponge for a streak-free, photo-ready result. Make sure you’re also storing the damp makeup sponge in an open environment after use to prevent mold (the last thing you want on your face).
6. You’re contouring too much.
While Kim K. can rock the contoured look like nobody’s business, this beauty trend seems to be a thing of the past. Plus, too much contour can create a noticeably heavy contrast between your face and the rest of your body, according to makeup expert Sonia Kashuk. For a more natural sculpted look, she recommends applying sheer products under the cheekbones for extra depth.
7. You’re depriving your lashes of maximum lift potential.
Goopy, clumpy eyelashes aren’t the best look on your wedding day. But chances are, you’re weighing your lashes down with every swipe of the mascara wand. If you usually swipe from underneath your lashes upward, try reversing it: Apply mascara from the top of your lashes, sweeping down and out, which makes for the most separation.
8. You’re not refreshing your makeup bag every few months.
Just uncovered your favorite lipstick from 2015 at the bottom of your makeup bag? Toss it before your wedding day. Left in a makeup bag at room temperature, makeup grows bacteria fast—most after six months to a year, but some after just a few months. Check the expiration date at the bottom of each tube (it looks like a jar of face cream with a number in it; that number shows how many months until it’s donezo) and stick to it.
Given the amount of photo manipulation we see everywhere from ads to Instagram, it might be natural to think that your wedding pics can be tweaked the same way. I mean, after all, almost anything you dislike in your final gallery can be edited out with Photoshop, right? Not exactly. Photographers caution against assuming that everything can be retouched in the final snaps. Here’s what can and can’t be done.
First Things First
Before actually signing a contract with a photographer, you need to make sure that their style matches what you are actually looking for. “I think the critical first step for clients is to choose the right sort of photographer from the start: people who like a heavily retouched look should pick a photographer who clearly leans toward that style, with lots of computer effects and ‘perfect’ airbrushed-looking subjects,” says Al Fortier, creative director at Alistbeauty. “A reportage or documentary style photographer is going to be less inclined to do major retouching, favoring the natural and organic look they captured in-camera.” The best way to make sure someone will be able to deliver what you want is take a good look at their website and see if their images fit what you have in mind.
Set Clear Expectations
There is hardly one blanket approach, so it’s important to find out what your photographer’s view and policy is on retouching before getting started. “It definitely varies from photographer to photographer, so it’s good to ask from the start what kind of photo retouching, if anything, a wedding photographer provides,” says Al. I generally want to provide a near perfect gallery, so I ask to retouch anything that drives me nuts [like stray hairs or weird things in the background] before I put them on my website. When it’s something beyond my capabilities and it’s bothering me, I’ll send it out to a retoucher.” Someone on Fiverr.com
If there’s something about your appearance that you’re insecure about, it’s best to give your photographer a heads up before your big day, as many things can be tweaked for your final images. The important thing is to speak up, because what stands out to you may not for your photographer. “[It’s important] that my clients tell me what they’re self conscious about before we shoot so I can be aware of it and share what retouching may be possible for them,” says Al. “For instance, a client who is insecure about yellowed teeth: I won’t insult anyone by automatically whitening their teeth on my own, but if they request it ahead of time, it’s an easy fix. If someone has bad acne scars and they ask me to fix it, I can also address that in photos that need it. However, I never ‘fix’ anyone’s flaws unless they ask me to. [It’s] sort of rude to assume!”
I love this picture but it is retouched a lot. You can tell the modles eyes are not this blue skin is too flawless and Emma had a necklace I did not love with this dress.