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The Dos and Don’ts of Wedding Day Makeup

January 1 | 2 minute read

Memo Wedding Day Makeup 16x9

Words by Christie Sinclair

Originally published on | March 13

As the countdown to your wedding day begins, there are a dizzying amount of decisions to be made. Choosing the song you walk down the aisle to will likely (and unexpectedly) keep you up at night, as will the thought of having to select a shade of lipstick for the big day.

For most brides, there’s an inevitable point in the planning process when, no matter how certain you thought you were about your wedding day makeup, you start questioning every brushstroke and colour choice. But there are some really simple things you can do to avoid the panic, says beauty editor Emily Algar when she looks back on her recent wedding with the wisdom of hindsight (and knowledge of an industry insider).

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Algar may have the advantage of having countless makeup artists in her DMs, but she only reached out to the one person she knew would understand her brief. “Serena Wyllie did my makeup and she did an incredible job!” reveals Algar. “I don’t wear a lot of makeup personally, so it was important that I worked with someone who understood the whole ‘no-makeup makeup’ thing.”

It’s equally important to work with someone who you gel with, explains Algar: “I was intent on surrounding myself with great energy on the day — Serena is professional and intuitive, but also warm, kind and incredibly personable. I couldn’t have imagined anyone else.”

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The brief

Your camera roll is filled with inspo. Pinterest is serving bridal looks in abundance. But distilling this into a brief your MUA will understand and a look you’ll love can be a challenge. A makeup trial – or multiple – is essential, explains Algar.

“Initially I thought I wanted fresh skin and a softly defined eye with lots of lashes,” she says, but after trialling “the most ‘made up’ version”, Algar ultimately decided she felt more comfortable sticking closer to her everyday approach, which she describes as “minimal, classic, casual even”.

The final look

“My dress was a simple silk construction, my hair was worn in a soft bend — the same way it’s always worn — and my makeup was pared back. I was worried I’d look ‘too much’ like my regular self, but I ended up feeling really comfortable. The last thing I wanted to do was feel like I was playing dress-up or in a costume. I think honouring my style helped with this.” This culminated in dewy skin, barely-there brown eyeshadow (no shimmer), individual lashes to add fluffy volume, a natural brow, lots of blush and a rosy lip.


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The products

Algar prepped her skin with a fluid SPF before Wyllie buffed in the Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. “Despite my preference for ‘natural’ coverage, this is my ride or die formula,” she reveals, adding, “The finish is believable but the coverage is unmatched. It’s also the only foundation that stays on my face for hours on end.”

Next, a few swipes of the Kosas Revealer Concealer, Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Blush in shades ‘Bichette’ and ‘Couchette’ and the Tom Ford Shade and Illuminate Contour Duo.

“We also used a clear gloss highlighter; I was really opposed to ‘shimmer’ or reflective pigments,” shares Algar. Wyllie added a custom cream lip colour, but Algar topped them up during the night with a combination of a rosy-taupe lipstick, the Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Lip Cheat liner in shade ‘Pillowtalk’ and NARS Powermatte High-Intensity Lip Pencil in shade ‘Dolce Vita’. “I had La Mer’s Lip Balm on hand for hydration purposes, too,” she adds.

The dos

There is a certain pressure to look and feel like the best version of ourselves on one of the biggest moments of our lives, and when it comes to wedding makeup it’s easy to get swept away says Algar. “Your wedding is not the time to try something new,’ she explains. “Stick to what you know, stay true to your personal style, and be clear with your vendors and with your brief.

The don’ts

While there aren’t many aspects she’d change, Algar does have some insights that might help other brides. “I do wish I spent a little more time touching up my face and hair as the night went on, but at the time it didn’t feel like a priority,” she says.

Algar also recommends booking a trial for any new beauty treatments (a tan, manicure) you may not have tried before – this will prevent any pre-wedding beauty disasters!

And finally: “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” she says. “Your photographer can always fix up stray hairs, frizz or shiny skin in post-production!”

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