Pandemic Weddings: How To Do Your Bridal Makeup When You Can’t Hire a Makeup Artist

There’s a lot to compromise when planning a wedding during a pandemic. The main one, of course, is having to sacrifice the presence of your beloved guests.

Another compromise is skipping on quintessential bridal treatments and services you’d normally get done as a Bride, like a facial, a mani-pedi spa day, and getting your makeup professionally done.

Getting beautified by a professional makeup artist is a special treatment that most people only get to experience on their wedding day. Some 2020 Brides getting married during this pandemic may feel that experience has been robbed from them.

If you find yourself on this boat, don’t worry.

When we postponed our wedding to next year, and then changed our minds and decided to get married this August, I had to take my Bridal makeup into my own hands.

But it wasn’t as scary as it sounds.

Luckily for YouTube tutorials and affordable high-performing makeup, this doesn’t need to be a daunting task for my fellow COVID Brides out there.

I’ll admit, I was doubtful I could pull this off.

But with practice (mixed with passion for makeup), I nailed the look I was inspired by, and I truly never felt more beautiful than on the day of my wedding.

As much as I would have loved to get pampered by a professional MUA, making myself up on my wedding day was a rather unique once-in-a-lifetime experience, and ultimately, a proud achievement.

How often can we say “I did my own makeup for my wedding”?

Well, the way things seem to be going with this pandemic…I feel like it will become a more common thing to say.

But don’t worry. I gotchu.

In this blog post, I will share how I chose my Bridal makeup look, some tips on how to keep your skin behaved, and the products I used to achieve it.

Choosing Your Bridal Makeup Look

Go For Something Attainable

I was aiming for a Bridal look that I could realistically achieve and that was easy for me to practice in the middle of our two month wedding planning timeline. This was not the time for me to commit to creating ambitious smokey eyes.

My main goal was to have glowing skin that lasted all day, waterproof lashes, a simple eyeshadow look that wouldn’t crease or smudge, and a fresh youthful “Blushing Bride” look.

Keep Your Wedding Dress and Venue in Mind

Our venue was my in-laws’ backyard that has a gorgeous wall of greenery, and my vintage wedding dress was my Mom’s wedding dress that has a delicate pastel floral print.

Needless to say, I was not going to choose a bright red lip or dark smokey eyes for a light and airy outdoor wedding.

Much like my wedding dress and our intimate backyard setting, I wanted to keep my makeup light and fresh.

Photographer by Daring Wanderer

Choose a YouTube Tutorial That Matches Your Vision

Once you establish those general ideas, head to YouTube.

I have been a long time fan of Chloe Morello (she’s funny, shares great beauty tips, and I could listen to her talk forever in her Australian accent). She got married a few years ago and I remembered that she posted a tutorial of her own Bridal makeup.

I went back to that tutorial, studied carefully and used her bridal makeup look as the inspiration for my own.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Then, I practiced on myself.

A full two weeks before the wedding, I tested out different eyeshadow looks every day, mainly switching up eyeshadow colours and seeing which one photographed better, lasted longer and just overall looked the best, and made me feel the best.

I also tested waterproof mascaras (i.e. splashed water on my face or used eyedrops), and techniques to make sure my eye makeup wouldn’t run when I shed emotional tears.

Carving out enough time to practice is also essential in case you have to buy a new makeup product that you’ve never used, and you’re not sure how it will react on your skin or eyes. Ain’t no Bride wants a pimple or skin rash the day of their wedding.

Luckily for me, all the products I used on my wedding were my “ride or die” favourites.

But, that said, quarantine life made me rusty with winged eyeliner. So for every day in those two weeks, I focused on perfecting my winged eyeliner skills. I think I did a decent job.

Decent enough to make me feel confident on the day of my wedding.

And essentially, that’s the whole idea. Getting that confidence to create your Bridal makeup yourself.

Now let’s get into the good stuff!

Quick Bridal Skincare Tips

Avoid Testing New Skincare Products

It’s a little risky trying out a new skincare product before your wedding, especially if you have sensitive skin like me. If you already have a solid skincare routine, why change it? I stuck to my trusted skincare routine every day and night, and I was thankfully rewarded with a smooth blank canvas on the day of my wedding.

Eat Extra Healthy and Drink Extra Water

In addition to the skincare routine, stick to your health & fitness routine too. The week before our wedding, I made sure to be extra consistent with my healthy meals and avoided dairy and carbs, which are known to be break out and inflammation culprits for me. Most importantly, it can be so easy to forget to drink water when you’re busy setting up for a wedding, so I made a deliberate effort to remember to stay hydrated.

Sleep Well

There’s always going to be last minute things to do the day before the wedding, and you will for sure be over excited the night before, but be sure to have at least 7-8 hours of restful beauty sleep.

Have Clean and Moisturized Skin and Lips

Before I started with my makeup, I had clean, hair-free and moisturized skin, which in all honesty, is the key to having beautiful makeup anyways. I also made sure to have exfoliated and smooth lips before applying my makeup. I used the La Neige Lip Sleeping Mask in “Vanilla” on my lips before getting started on my makeup application.

The Makeup Products I Used

Below, I’ve listed everything that I used for my Bridal makeup. As mentioned, these makeup products are my tried, tested and true, so I know they perform well and react nicely on my skin and complexion.

GLOWING SKIN

★ HAIR REMOVAL: Face Razor Set. I have been shaving the little peach fuzz off my face for almost two years, and it is truly the best trick to have the smoothest, flawless, glowiest skin under makeup. Don’t be intimidated by this; shaving your face does not give you thicker hair!

★ PRIMER: Farsali Liquid Glass Radiance Serum. This primer is wonderful for those of us with dry skin who want a boost of dewiness without feeling oily. This primer really does keep my makeup in place while giving a healthy glow from underneath.

TOPPER: Charlotte Tilbury Hollywood Flawless Filter in “2 – Light“. This stuff is incredible. I use this product as a topper, meaning I apply this over my foundation, as a final seal of glowiness. It gives the most “glowing from within” result and it lasts all day.

★ SETTING SPRAY: MAC Fix+ in “Original”. This has been a revolving product in my makeup bag since 2009. A cult classic, this is my favourite setting spray to set makeup, and to refresh the face throughout the day (I kept this travel-size version handy for a quick refresh before we headed out for our wedding portraits).

FOUNDATION AND CONCEALER

★ FOUNDATION: L’Oréal Infallible 24H Fresh Wear Foundation in “420 True Beige”. Yup, I used a drugstore foundation for my wedding makeup. This one in particular is amazing. It’s full coverage without looking too cakey, and I am still amazed by its lasting power. It lasts all day. It also photographs really well. This is definitely wedding-worthy, in my books. (Small note: it does have a light fragrance so heads up for those who are sensitive to fragrance).

★ CORRECTOR: Maybeline Master Conceal Camouflaging Concealer in “10 Fair”. Even though this is a concealer, I like using this as a corrector because it does a great job at brightening and correcting the blue/grey tones under my eyes. A little goes a long way with this. I use only the size of a rice grain for both eyes.

★ CONCEALER: Tarte Shape Tape Concealer in “Light”. What would I do without this concealer? (or any concealer for that matter!) I’ve been using this for years and it’s simply my holy grail concealer. As mentioned in my quarantine beauty routine post, concealer is the makeup item that makes the #1 difference to my face.

I mean, look at how concealer brightens up my eyes!

To set under my eyes, I used the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder.

CONTOUR AND BRONZER

★ CONTOUR: Fenty Beauty Match Stix Matte Contour Skinstick in “Amber”. This is truly the perfect shade when it comes to contouring. It’s a cool-toned brownish grey which creates that perfect defined shadow for the cheekbones, nose and jawline. As for the brush I use, it was a limited edition brush by Quo (a Canadian in-house drugstore brand) but it is the perfect shape for contouring.

★ BRONZER: Thrive Cosmetics Sun Chaser Blur+Sculpting Bronzing Powder in “Rhea”. I wanted to keep my bronzing matte, and this is a favourite of mine. It’s a nice cool-toned brown shade and it lasts all day.

BLUSH

For a full face of makeup, I like starting with a matte blush and topping off with a shimmery blush.

★ MATTE BLUSH: Milani Cosmetics Rose Powder Blush in “Coral Cove”. For my matte blush, this is my favourite one. I love, love, love it. It is such a beautiful coral shade, it’s really pigmented (so a little goes a long way) and it truly lasts all day.

SHIMMERY BLUSH: NARS Blush in “Orgasm”. This is another cult classic that has returned in my makeup bag. Although the lasting power isn’t anything to write home about (I find that Milani blushes last longer), pairing this shimmery blush on top of my coral matte blush is the perfect combo. The golden shimmer on this blush really does add a nice “Blushing Bride” effect.

HIGHLIGHTER

Highlighter is my makeup weakness, so you better believe I used two highlighters on my wedding day!

★ HIGHLIGHTER: Maybeline Face Studio Master Chrome Metallic Highlighter in “Molten Rose Gold”. The first highlighter I applied is from Maybeline (the circle one). This is my favourite drugstore highlighter. I love the rose gold shade, and this lasts impressively long without fading into glitter.

★ HIGHLIGHTER: Anastasia Beverly Hills Highlighter in “Amrezy”. This one is a treat yo’self, full glam, “I can see you from space” type of highlighter. It’s pretty magical. I also used this highlighter for the inner corner of my eyes and underneath my brow bone. Unfortunately, this was a limited edition so I’m sorry I can’t link it!

EYES

★ LID: Pixi Glow-y Gossamer Duo in “Delicate Dew”. What I loved about Chloe Morello’s YouTube tutorial was how achievable her bridal eyeshadow was. She even applied the eyeshadow with her finger, which I also did because I’m all about easy-peasy when it comes to eyeshadow. She chose a champagne-coloured shimmery eyeshadow. I didn’t have eyeshadow with that kind of shimmer, so I used a highlighter palette instead.

★ CREASE: L’Oréal Colour Riche Monos Eyeshadow in “Café au lait”. For my crease, I wanted to stick to a cool-toned shade so that it ties in with my eyeliners, so this one from L’Oréal was perfect.

Now to add some drama.

★ WINGED EYELINER: Stila Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eye Liner in “Chocolate Brown”. I chose the brown colour of this classic liquid eyeliner because I felt that black would be too harsh for a soft and natural look.

★ WATER LINER: Urban Decay 24/7Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Desperation”. The Urban Decay waterproof eyeliners are another cult favourite that have returned in my makeup bag. The colour Desperation is a beautiful smokey grey colour that adds soft and sultry definition to the eyes, without being too harsh.

★ TIGHTLINE: Urban Decay 24/7Glide-On Eye Pencil in “Perversion”. This is the mattest, blackest eyeliner I’ve tried, and it does not budge. It’s my classic black eyeliner to keep in my makeup bag. I only used this to tightline underneath my upper lash line, which is a trick to make lashes look more fuller.

LASHES

My eyes get very sensitive when wearing false lashes, so I skipped on wearing them and stuck to my favourite mascaras and techniques.

★ LASH CURLER: Revlon Lash Curler. This lash curler gives great volume and curl, and fits comfortably on the eyelid and lashes.

★ MASCARA: Benefit Roller Lash Curling & Lifting Mascara. This is my holy-grail mascara. I even wrote a review about it here in my early days of blogging! For someone like me who has long but straight lashes, this mascara does the trick in lifting and curling into a natural-looking wispy lashes.

★ WATERPROOF MASCARA: L’Oréal Telescopic Waterproof Mascara in “Black”. Without a doubt, Brides need waterproof protection for their lashes. I applied this iconic mascara on top of my Roller Lash mascara to seal in the waterproof function, and it worked perfectly.

Proof? I got teary eyed during our First Look, when we read our vows to each other, and when I caught a glimpse of my Dad crying. Throughout all these emotionally-charged moments, my mascara did not budge.

Tip: be sure to get waterproof eye makeup remover, like this one.

★ LASH COMB: Tweezerman Folding Lash Comb. I’ve had this little guy for years in my makeup kit and it works wonders at combing out any lashes that may get stuck together. I use this after I apply my mascaras.

EYEBROWS

GROOMING: Tweezerman Brow Shaping Tweezer & Scissors. Without a doubt, a Bride’s gotta have eyebrows on fleek. This grooming kit has served me well during quarantine when I stopped going to my eyebrow threading appointments. I’ve taken my eyebrow routine into my own hands with these tools with no regrets.

★ EYEBROW PENCIL: e.l.f. Cosmetics Instant Lift Brow Pencil in “Taupe”. This is a really great affordable eyebrow pencil, and the light taupe colour gives a natural and soft definition to the brows without looking too harsh.

★ EYEBROW GEL: essence Make Me Brow Eyebrow Gel in “03 Soft Browny Brows”. This is considered a dupe to the Benefit Gimme Brow eyebrow gel at a fraction of the cost. This is another revolving product in my makeup bag.

LIPS

When it comes to lips, I’m a MAC girl and I have been since I was a teen in the 90s/00s. This may sound silly, but it felt sentimental and special to wear a MAC lip for my wedding day.

★ LIP PENCIL: MAC Lip Pencil in “Dervish”. This lip pencil is the perfect nude liner to draw out a natural pout, and it is a very close match to my natural lip colour.

★ LIPSTICK: MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in “Peach Blossom”. This lip shade is such a fresh and pretty colour for a Bridal look, especially if you are going for a more peachy-pink palette. This shade picked up nicely with my coral blush and my reddish hair. I contemplated topping off my lips with a gloss, but the Cremesheen formula of this lipstick gave a nice sheen to my lips, so I skipped on gloss and let it be as is.

As nervous as I was to appoint myself responsible for my own Bridal makeup, I have to say I am proud and happy with how it all turned out.

I am especially happy with the way my contour looked in our wedding photos. Check out how my cheekbones popped while walking down the aisle!

Photography by Daring Wanderer

Whether taken from afar or as a close up, my makeup lasted all day and looked fresh and defined all while staying soft and natural, just how I envisioned it.

Photography by Daring Wanderer

If you’re also planning an intimate wedding during this time when hiring a makeup artist is just not possible or safe, don’t worry.

Choosing a specific look that is attainable and that matches your overall wedding vision, and carving out enough time to practice will give you the confidence to rock the beautiful Bridal makeup you just created yourself.

xo 💋

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