A Step-By-Step Guide to DIY Wedding Makeup + 10 Tips

To make sure that your wedding makeup is flawless and you’re looking your best on the big day, check out our tips for DIY wedding makeup below.

By The Zola Team

bride in wedding dress with long veil
Photo by Zola

The First Look ✨

Whether you’re a budding makeup artist, a beauty enthusiast, or a low-key bride just looking to keep it simple, doing your own wedding makeup can be challenging.

While you might be familiar with basic makeup tools and products, creating a makeup look that’s camera-ready and rivals a professional makeup artist is very different from what you might put on as part of your everyday beauty routine. To make sure that your bridal makeup is flawless and you’re looking your best on the big day, let’s take a look at a few makeup tips for DIY wedding makeup—as well as a step-by-step guide to making yourself up for your wedding:

A Step-By-Step Guide To Do Your Own Wedding Makeup

1. Start With Skincare

The easiest way to have killer wedding day makeup is to start with a great canvas. Invest some time into caring for your skin by following this advice:

  • Start early (as in months before the big day) to ensure that any new phases your skin might go through are over by the wedding.
  • Begin by making an appointment with a dermatologist or esthetician for an initial consult about your skin’s needs.
  • Establish a skincare routine and stick to it.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you don’t wake up with radiant skin overnight.

2. Use Primer

For foundation that won’t smudge throughout the happy tears, kisses, and hugs, it’s essential to prime your skin first. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Apply primer before your foundation.
  • Primer ensures that your makeup stays where you put it by setting into your skin, rather than sitting on top of it like a mask.
  • There are tons of different primer types that provide different benefits, such as color balancing, oil control, and wrinkle-smoothing.
  • Experiment with different primers to find one that works best for your skin type.
  • If you want your eye makeup to stay in place, also use an eyeshadow primer.

3. Apply Your Eye Makeup

Your eye makeup is the most intricate and detailed part of your wedding makeup look—and, as such, you’ll want to apply your eye makeup before your foundation. That way, if you have any fallout or need to reapply your products, you don’t need to re-do your entire face.

  • If you’re using eyeshadow, make sure to blend, blend, blend! You don’t want any harsh lines.
  • Consider using neutral colors for a more classic look.
  • Make your eyes pop with a bit of eyeliner.
  • Wait to apply mascara until you’re finished with the rest of your makeup.

4. Apply Foundation

Next up is your base—also known as foundation.

  • Depending on your skin type, you can use liquid or powder foundation.
  • Apply foundation with a brush or sponge.
  • Make sure to blend the foundation into the skin and down the neck.
  • Make sure to choose a foundation that matches your skin tone!

5. Embrace Concealer

Dark circles under your eyes after a night pre-wedding jitters? A surprise pimple the morning of the wedding day? Distressed bride, meet concealer. Here are some things to know about concealer:

  • This products is like foundation but is thicker, pigmented differently, and applied in strategic spots rather than all over.
  • Use concealer to cover up any blemishes or discoloration issues that regular foundation will have trouble hiding.
  • Concealer is applied after primer but before foundation.
  • For best results, your concealer should be no more than one to two shades lighter than your natural skin tone.
  • Choose a concealer that complements your skin type and is suited for your problem areas.

6. Highlight, Blush, and Contour

Once you’ve applied your foundation and concealer, it’s time to bring the face to life with blush, highlighter, and contour or bronzer.

  • To contour the face, apply contour or bronzer underneath the cheekbones, the jawline, and around the temples and forehead.
  • Apply blush on the apples of the cheeks.
  • Add highlighter to the tops of the cheekbones, bridge of the nose, and the cupid’s bow. (And, as mentioned, don’t be too heavy-handed!)
  • Make sure to blend out each product so there are no harsh lines.

7. Wear Waterproof Mascara

Even if you’re not prone to tears, it’s always a good practice to opt for waterproof mascara for big events. As they say, better safe than raccoon eyes.

8. Don’t Forget Your Brows

A very wise person once advised to “never estimate the power of an eyebrow.” It’s true. The shape of your brows really can transform your face—for better or worse. Follow these steps for great brows:

  • Team up with a professional at your local waxing salon or the brow counter at your favorite beauty retailer. They’ll be able to guide you on the shape, thickness, and color of brow that works best for your face shape and personal style.
  • Think about your personal beauty look. Do you like big, bold brows? Or more natural looking arches?
  • Choose which grooming option you like best. There are several options for getting your brows into shape, such as waxing, sugaring, plucking, tinting, and microblading.
  • Start before the wedding day to avoid any problems, such as redness, allergic reactions, or not liking the way they look.6. Skip Foundation With SPF

9. Choose a Long-Lasting Lip Product

The idea of reapplying lipstick or gloss all day long isn’t appealing to anyone, so make sure to choose a lip color that’s long-lasting and non-transferring, like a liquid lip or stain. This way, you can eat, drink, and kiss merrily without having to worry about what’s going on with your lipstick.

10. Finish Your Look With a Setting Spray

Another magic weapon to have in your makeup arsenal is setting spray. Simply spritz all over your face once your makeup is done to set your look for the entirety of the wedding day.

Tips To Do Your Wedding Makeup

Before we jump into exactly how to do your makeup for your big day, let’s cover a few general DIY makeup tips you’ll want to keep in mind to create the perfect look for your I do’s:

1. Give It a Trial Run (or Two)

You know the mantra: practice makes perfect. The same goes for your DIY wedding makeup. The last thing you want is to be trying out your bridal beauty look for the first time on the day of your wedding! Instead, you’ll want to try the complete bridal look beforehand. Here’s how to make sure your makeup is perfect on the wedding day:

  • Give it one or two test runs.
  • Time how long it takes to your do your makeup.
  • Pay attention to how the products you’ve chosen stand up to 8+ hours on your face.
  • Make adjustments as needed based on how your trials go.
  • Don’t forget to snap a few pictures to see how it looks on camera.

2. Consider Wearing More Makeup Than You Typically Would

In your day-to-day life, you may consider tinted moisturizer, mascara, and a bit of concealer around your under eye a complete makeup look. But wedding makeup looks are different. Camera-ready makeup should be heavier and more dramatic than your everyday look. So while minimal or natural makeup may be more your style, makeup that’s too light-handed can lead to looking washed out and tired in your wedding photos. You don’t have to go crazy—just take it up a few notches from your normal regimen.

3. Spend Some Time Watching Makeup Tutorials

If you’re not sure what kind of look you want to create for your bridal makeup—or you know what look you want to create, you just don’t know how to actually create it—you should definitely plan to watch a few makeup tutorials.

Makeup tutorials are a great resource if you’re looking for creative inspiration or clear instruction on how to do your wedding day makeup. They can also give you insights into which products you’ll need to create your look as well as “makeup hacks” to help you during the process (for example, how to use setting powder to keep your look in place throughout your big day or drugstore products that can help you create the perfect wedding day makeup look without breaking the bank).

4. Skip Products With SPF

While wearing SPF on a daily basis is an absolute must, on your wedding day, you’re going to want to avoid products with SPF (and, more specifically, physical sunscreens). Why? Because of a phenomenon known as “flashback.”

  • What is flashback? Flashback is white, chalky discoloration on someone’s skin that appears only in photographs (not in real life) due to light-reflecting makeup particles.

  • Who does it happen to? Skin of all shades is susceptible.

  • What causes it? Flashback is caused by light-reflecting ingredients in your makeup, such as titanium dioxide and zinc oxide (the main ingredients in sunscreen) bouncing the light from flash photography.

  • How to avoid it? When choosing your wedding makeup, make sure that your foundation, concealer, and moisturizer are SPF-free.

5. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

The last thing you want is to be rushing through your bridal makeup—so make sure to set aside plenty of time to create your look the day of your wedding—ideally between 1.5 and 2 hours.

6. Ask For Help

You may be DIY-ing your own makeup. But that doesn’t mean you have to do every step yourself! If you need help with any part of the makeup process (for example, applying false lashes or getting the perfect wing on your eyeliner), ask your maid of honor or one of your bridesmaids for assistance.

7. Avoid (Too Much) Sparkle

While some well-placed shimmer can be lovely, too much sparkle can make you look more like a disco ball than a blushing bride. We suggest using highlighting products in these key spots:

  • On the bridge of your nose
  • Along your cheekbones
  • On your Cupid’s bow (the dip at the top of your lips)
  • Below your bottom lip
  • Across your brow arches

8. Choose The Right Products For Your Skin

When it comes to makeup, not every product works for every person. For example, while a matte, oil-free foundation might be the ideal choice for someone with oily or combination skin, if you’re on the dryer side, it could look cakey—and a foundation with a dewy finish might be the better fit. The point is, different makeup products work best on different skin types—so when choosing the products you’re going to use to complete your wedding makeup look, make sure to choose products that compliment your skin type.

9. Pack a Touch-Up Kit

You want to be able to fix your makeup as your wedding day stretches on—so make sure to pack a touch-up kit with key products (like your lip color and mascara) to keep with you throughout the day.

10. Be True to You

There are tons of tips and tricks for doing your own wedding day makeup, but the most important advice we can give is to be true to yourself. Makeup is there to enhance your natural beauty and make your feel your best. Rock the look that feels the most authentic to your personal style — and avoid anything that makes you feel uncomfortable (there’s no need to rock a dramatic smokey eye, full coverage foundation, or false lashes if that’s not your style!). Remember: it’s confidence in your own skin and the joy you exude on your wedding day that will make you look your most beautiful!

Pros and Cons of DIY Wedding Makeup

On the fence about whether to do your own wedding makeup? Here are a few pros and cons to consider:

Pros

  • It’s more cost-effective. If you’re looking to save money on your wedding hair and makeup costs, doing your own wedding makeup is definitely more affordable than hiring a professional makeup artist.

  • It’s a more creative process. If you consider yourself an artistic person, creating your bridal makeup look can be a fun creative process.

Cons

  • It’s requires more time and effort. When you get your makeup done for your wedding, you get to sit back and enjoy the process. But when you’re doing your makeup yourself, it requires much more time, energy, and effort.

  • It can be a stressful process. For some brides, being responsible for their wedding makeup can be a stressful experience. They can feel time-crunched—and if their makeup doesn’t come out perfectly, it can be cause for upset on their big day.

DIY Wedding Makeup FAQs

What factors do you need to consider when deciding whether to do your own bridal makeup? When determining whether DIY wedding makeup is right for you, some key factors you want to consider include your level of skill, your budget, and how much time and effort you want to devote on your big day to creating your wedding makeup look.

  • Do you need to be a professional makeup artist to do your own makeup? No! While you need some level of skill to do your own wedding makeup, you certainly don’t have the be a professional makeup artist. With some practice (and potentially the help of some YouTube makeup tutorials!) you should be able to create a gorgeous look for your big day.

  • How much time should you set aside for DIY wedding makeup? Creating a wedding makeup look takes significantly longer than day-to-day makeup—so be sure to set aside at least 1.5 hours for makeup on your wedding day.

  • Can you use everyday products to create your DIY wedding makeup look? It depends. If you do a full face of makeup every day, chances are, you can use some (or all!) of those products to create your wedding look. If you tend to gravitate towards a more minimalist makeup look, you may need to buy new products for your wedding.

  • How do you ensure your DIY wedding makeup lasts throughout the wedding ceremony and reception? If you want your wedding makeup to last all day and night, make sure to prime your skin before applying your makeup—and then set it with a setting spray.

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