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25 Get-Gorgeous beauty tips: Your Base

Short Romantic Birdcage By BelleJulie

To me, perfect bridal make-up must tick these boxes:
*  be natural-looking (so you look like the most radiant version of you)
*  be classic but modern
*  look good in all lights, including flash photos
*  be long-lasting

So, here is Part 1: 25 top tips and tricks that I’ve gathered over the years to help you DIY your big-day base to perfection – I’m talking foundation, concealer, powder, highlighters and brows. “Because it’s all about the base, bout the base, no trouble.”* Here goes:


Get-gorgeous Base

1 Foundation looks more natural and applies better to freshly-moisturised skin. After cleansing, let your moisturiser sink in for a few minutes to prevent a patchy finish.

2 Have you tried primer? It’s a godsend for making your skin tone look more even and your make-up last longer. Dot a tiny amount in the centre of your face then blend it out with your fingertips or a sponge.

3 Getting your foundation professionally matched to your skin tone is a really good move. If you’re planning a tan, book a tan trial to coincide with your foundation shopping trip just to be sure of a perfect match. The normal rules of foundation selection apply: draw three stripes on your cheek and choose the one that disappears completely.

4 Every bridal shoot I ever worked on saw the model wearing a liquid foundation containing light-reflecting particles as it created a luminous complexion. And every make-up artist I ever watched used a foundation brush to make sure it was perfectly blended around the nose and jawline. There’s no need to apply foundation to your neck – if you’ve aced the right shade there shouldn’t be any difference in colour.

5 It’s worthwhile applying your base from start to finish before the big day and get it photographed both outside and in to check how it looks and lasts (any excuse for a night out eh?)


Get-gorgeous Concealer

6 The perfect match to your skin tone is a non-negotiable, otherwise you’ll end up drawing attention to exactly what it is you’re trying to hide. Colour match a smooth, creamy, yellow-toned concealer in natural light by blending a little around your nose. Go for the shade that vanishes into your skin and makes you look instantly better.

7 A dose of eye cream (or primer) will help concealer to go on more smoothly. Otherwise, if your skin is too dry, the concealer could look caky and crinkly.

8 Dark circles under your eyes? Use a brush or your finger to apply the concealer in thin layers all the way up to your lash line and into the inner corners of the eyes to make them look more open. Use a puff to press a pale yellow loose powder over the concealer to lock it in place and brighten up the eye area even more.

9 Trying to hide moles with concealer won’t work. But you can use it to cover certain birthmarks, sunspots or age spots. Experiment before W-day as you may need to switch shades.

10 If you’re trying to cover a spot, apply foundation as normal then dip a concealer brush into a stick foundation and paint it onto your unwelcome wedding guest. Apply powder to seal it in place.


Get-gorgeous Powder

11 Powder helps your make-up last longer by setting your base and controlling shine. It shouldn’t  alter the colour of your foundation, but a yellow-toned one will add a little more colour and radiance. (Beware of white ones – unless you’re going for the geisha look!)

12 An oil-free, sheer powder is perfect for absorbing excess shine on oily skin. Use a loose powder on your wedding morning, along with a puff or large brush but keep a pressed powder compact for touch-ups during the day.

13 Go easy with powder. It shouldn’t show – otherwise your skin could look flat or dry. You’ll need to use a bit more if your skin falls into the oily category. If it’s dry, use powder mainly on your nose and forehead.

14 For a matte finish, press and roll the powder into your t-zone using a velour puff. For a more sheer finish, use a brush. Tap or blow off any excess before lightly sweeping it over your skin. And keep a towel over your shoulders if you’re already in your wedding dress.

15 Regular top-ups of powder during the day may leave your face looking caked in make-up. I’m a big fan of using powder-free blotting papers to mop up shine.


Get-gorgeous Brows

16 Perfect brows frame your face and draw the focus up to eye level. Wedding brows look best when they’re soft and natural with a little extra emphasis courtesy of make-up. Anything too dramatic and your photos will look dated in years to come.

17 If you prefer to tweeze, for goodness sake, don’t go the whole hog on your W-day. Get your shape sorted beforehand so you only some need minimal maintenance on the day.

18 Tweezing won’t hurt as much if you do it straight after a hot shower when the pores are still open. Make sure you’ve got good natural light, a magnifying mirror and a pair of sharp angled tweezers.

19 On W-morn, make sure that the area between your brows is hair-bare, then just pull out any stragglers that are ‘waving’ after you’ve brushed your brows upwards with a clean toothbrush. Keep switching between your brows and check your progress so that you don’t overdo it.

20 Sometimes you’ll still need some gaps filled and a little extra definition. I find it easier to sketch in little imaginary hairs to fill in sparse spots then use a powder to boost the colour. Begin at the inner corners and work your way across using light, feathery moves.


Get-gorgeous Highlighter

21 Lots of contour kits come with instructions. It’s well worth a lot of pre-W-day practice to make sure you get it right – and how it behaves during the day. Otherwise you’ll just look like you’ve drawn daft lines across your face.

22 Think of the highlighting/contouring malarky like this: when highlighting, you use lighter colours which then draw certain areas forward. When contouring, you use darker colours which makes them recede. Another reason why practice is essential!

23 Generally speaking, you should go one shade lighter than your foundation when selecting which highlighter to use. As far as contouring, go two tones darker. Avoid anything with a shimmery or chalky texture.

24 I spotted this trick on a cover shoot once. The make-up artist dipped her fingertips (not thumbs or little fingers) in her highlighter, press them together then ‘tapped’ her fingers down the model’s cheekbones really lightly. The difference it made was subtle but really pretty. What she had left on her fingers she then lightly blended above the cupid’s bow, on the model’s earlobes and collarbones and down the the centre of her cleavage.

25 Contouring done well can help sharpen your cheekbones, slim down your nose or soften your jaw. But you always run the risk of overdoing it and well, basically looking like you booked into a bad plastic surgeon as part of your pre-wedding prep. Did I already mention practice? And check photos! I’ve joined a local wedding group on Facebook. I love it when B2Bs ask if their make-up looks okay. You can definitely tell who has been trying to find their inner Kim Kardashian.

So how are your DIY beauty plans going? Any extra tips to share? Please tell me in the comments below – and don’t forget to click onto Part 2. How to score perfect DIY eyes, lips, lashes, cheeks and nails.

Sarah x

  • disclaimer. Obvs not the right lyrics but as Kylie once sang, “Can’t get you out of my head”


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  • I’ll be doing my own make-up at my wedding – which is on top of a mountain with just my fiancé, the vicar and a couple of witenesss. I have no idea where to start so these tips have helped me no end. thank you xx

    6 months ago : diance
  • I’m getting eyebrow extensions to beef up my overly plucked brows for the big day. I’ve trialled them already. They don’t last more than around 4 days but as long as you’re careful – and resist all urges to scratch your brows – they’ll look really good x

    5 years ago : Juicyjess
  • I think that as long as you have a good set of brushes and a decent liquid foundation that matches your skin you can’t go wrong. You don’t even need to spend a fortune either. No7 will match you and you can pick up pretty good quality brushes in Superdrug. Zoe warner

    5 years ago : Zoeyzo
  • Will contour cream cover a tattoo? I’d love a post about asking your MOH to cover a chocolate brown satin dress-wrecking dragon with only 3 feet tattoo. X

    5 years ago : Aj
    • Hey AJ – I’ve researched this and will write up as a post asap! Promise x

      5 years ago : Sarah Green
  • Love these tips. Roll on part 2 💄💋x

    5 years ago : SAndie
    • It’s coming…. just tweaking x

      5 years ago : Sarah Green
  • I’ve been asked to do my friends makeup. I’m a travel agent. I’m bricking it. Reading these tips makes me want to go makeup shopping with her. The right colours will make my job a lot easier Carly x

    5 years ago : Carlene
  • These are great tips. As a bride who just can’t afford a makeup artist I need all the help I can get. My dark circles thank you. Macy x

    5 years ago : Mjones