beauty & truth
A lot of so- called advice is less than reliable. To help nail your wedding look, we asked experts to debunk some of bridal beauty’s major myths
Makeup experts debunk popular myths to help you on your path to perfection
If there was ever a day that called for clump-free lashes and expertly blended bronzer, your wedding day is it. This means the road to your ceremony will likely be strewn with more prepping and polishing advice than you’ve ever encountered before, with everyone from your grandmother to your well-intentioned work colleagues dishing out their prized pearls of beauty wisdom.
But what advice should you take to heart, and which tidbits are beauty sins disguised as cosmetic commandments? Our team of experts debunks some of the most common bridal beauty myths to help ensure your moments in the spotlight are faux-pas free.
‘Skin preparation starts with a great primer on the morning of the wedding.’
The groundwork for a smooth canvas needs to be laid earlier than that, says Elizabeth Arden makeup specialist Lidean Erasmus. ‘Start preparing several weeks before the wedding. This is key to ensuring your skin is in prime condition for the big day.’ Along with regular exercise, plenty of water and a clean diet, the building blocks for a dreamy bridal glow include a gentle cleanser, regular exfoliation and frequent dabs of quality moisturiser, eye cream and lip balm.
‘Treat yourself to a facial the day before to enhance your bridal glow.’
According to MAC senior stylist Amber D, if you want to increase the odds of waking up to a scattering of big-day blemishes, a facial too close to the wedding is the way to do it. Although having skin-conditioning treatments in the months leading up to your event is wise, using new products can cause breakouts, so you should stick to your regular routine for at least a week before the big day.
‘Know your favourite looks before your first consultation – it’s important to give your makeup artist a clear idea of what you want.’
While it’s important to have some sense of the looks you like, you don’t necessarily have to have settled on a particular idea or trend when you first meet with your makeup artist. Smoky eyes may look great on Jessica Alba, but if they won’t flatter your features, it may not be a good move to replicate the look. ‘Make sure you collect photos of people with a similar face shape, skin tone, hair and eye colour to you, then use them as inspiration to find a makeup look you love,’ says Lidean. Be open to trying a range of products, colours and ideas – your makeup artist will steer you in the right direction.
‘Don’t bother hiring a makeup artist – they’re overpriced. If you’re looking to save, you can easily apply your own makeup.’
Unless you have a black belt in brush handling, Lidean says going it alone can make your wedding morning a nerve-racking nightmare. She recommends hiring a professional in case the jitters throw you off your game. ‘An experienced makeup artist will take note of your colouring and skin type, and know how to make makeup last so it’s stunning – both in person and on camera – all day long.’
However, if you do take the DIY route, Sarah Lee Hewitt from Bobbi Brown recommends a session with a pro before the big day. ‘We offer lessons to ensure the bride is comfortable with products and application techniques,’ she says. ‘The makeup artist will help you to create a special look you’ll love.’
‘Steer clear of any makeup trends. They’ll only date your wedding album.’
Beauty trends can add a touch of modernity to your look, so there’s no reason to avoid them. However, Lidean warns that it’s best to err on the side of caution. ‘Practise wearing the looks so you can be sure they suit you,’ she says. Anna Hardman from Revlon agrees, saying that selectivity is key if you’re looking to bring an element of ‘now’ to your makeup. ‘Bold, bright lips and cat-flicked eyeliner are examples of appropriate on-trend looks that won’t date as quickly as something like neon eyeshadow.’
‘It’s your special day, so you should have your makeup done before your bridesmaids.’
According to makeup artist Stacy Lee Ghin, when it comes to the makeup queue, the bride should take the final spot. ‘You should be last
– aim to be almost ready when the photographer arrives.’ Waiting your turn will mean your face looks as fresh as possible when you glide up the aisle, plus your photographer will have time to document your transformation.
Don’t wear any products with SPF in them. The ingredients in these formulations reflect the camera’s flash, and make your face look unnaturally white in photographs.’
While it pays to be cautious about the sun protection you use, forgoing SPF products for the sake of your wedding album is unwise and unnecessary, says Amber. ‘Modern primers and foundations contain sun protection that won’t show up on camera. Make sure you wear these types of products if you’ll be spending lots of time outside – there’s nothing worse than a sunburnt bride.’ Having said that, New Zealand’s harsh rays mean products with builtin SPF might not offer adequate sun protection, so if you’re marrying in the heat of the day, you may want to apply a smear of sunscreen as backup. To be safe, test the lotion under your makeup and with flash photography in advance, and be sure to spread the lotion evenly over your face, chest and arms.
‘Your wedding makeup should be no heavier than your regular application.’
For a perfect finish in photos, your potions and powders need to be applied more generously than usual, says Charlene Burslem from Lancôme. ‘Although you look flawless in person, it may not translate to your photos. Apply your makeup – including your blush and eye products – a little more heavily so you don’t look washed out.’ Makeup artist Leisa Welch recommends applying foundation with a kabuki brush for a seamless look, and says it’s key that it isn’t applied too close to your hair or jawline. ‘Blend your makeup well down your neck, but stop before you get to your dress so it doesn’t bleed onto the fabric.’
‘ A thicker, darker brow will frame your face, giving you a more refined look.’
Leisa says your formula for flattering brows depends on your complexion and colouring. ‘I love the look of a filled-in brow, but if you have fair skin it’s wise to use your discretion – you don’t want to wander too far from your everyday look.’ Keeping your brows adequately groomed is also key, but be sure to allow plenty of time after plucking and waxing for redness or swelling to fade. ‘A full shape at least three
‘Although you look flawless in person, it may not translate to your photos. Apply your makeup – including your blush and eye products – a little more heavily so you don’t look washed out’
days out means little hairs that pop through can be removed without causing too much irritation,’ says Leisa. ‘Waxing removes the top layer of skin, leaving a different texture, so have it done at least five days beforehand.’
‘For standout eyes that truly pop, don’t overlook eyelash extensions.’
Leisa Leisa says says extensions aren’t the be all and end all when it comes to looking beautiful. ‘While false lashes look great, a growth serum is another fabulous option if you have the time to apply it.’ For best effect, Leisa recommends beginning the applications three months before your wedding, and curling your lashes on the day. ‘An added bonus is that you can still enjoy activities such as swimming on your honeymoon – whereas sometimes false lashes don’t fare well during physical activity.’
‘Waterproof mascara is unnecessary, and it’ll leave you with panda eyes the next morning.’
According to Amber, waterproof mascara is unrivalled as the bride’s best friend. ‘Do not get married without it,’ she says. ‘Even the toughest bride can tear up when she least expects it.’ Carolyn agrees, but says waterproof mascara doesn’t mean you’re in the clear to cry buckets. ‘If you feel yourself welling up, put a tissue against your eye and blink into it. This will stop the tears before they do any damage to your foundation, eyeshadow or eyeliner.’ As for the panda-eye problem, Anna has a solution: ‘Make sure you use a makeup remover that’s specifically designed to break down waterproof formulas.’ The right cleansers will ease the mascara off.
‘Use a lip gloss to add colour to your smile – it’ll keep your look fresh and feminine.’
While lip gloss is easy to apply, Carolyn says when it comes to your wedding day, the sticky stainer can be more of a hindrance than a help. ‘If you wear your hair down and it’s a windy day, it will stick to your lips,’ she says. Instead, opt for a long-wearing lipstick that has a lustrous finish – it’s just as fuss-free to apply, and you’ll maintain a feminine pout that doesn’t deposit a gluey residue on every surface it touches. Amber is an advocate for bright lipstick, and says the idea that you shouldn’t wear bold shades is one of the biggest misconceptions brides have about their big-day look. ‘ Bright lips can finish off a look beautifully. Just make sure you use a long-wear formula and pair it with a quality lip liner so you don’t have to touch it up too often.’
‘Don’t worry about a beauty bag. You won’t remember to use it and it’ll be a hassle to carry.’
Keep a small bag with touch-up tools close on your big day. Include blotting paper to reduce facial shine, hairpins to tame stray strands, and lip colour to keep your smile fresh. Alternatively, Carolyn says the trend towards having pockets in the skirt of your dress leaves your hands totally free. ‘It means all your emergency items, from a handkerchief to your vows, are on hand. You won’t be left with a face that’s anything less than flawless.’
stick, $ 40 karen murrell
lipstick, $ 30 estÉe lauder zero smudge liquid
eyeliner, $ 50
clarins instant light complexion
perfector, $ 63
mac extra dimension blush, $ 54 qvs BL onde bobby pins, $7
bare minerals ready BLUSH , $ 38 dermalogica cover tint spf20, $ 95 chanel perfection
lumière fluid foundation, $105 yves saint laurent brush, $ 49 estée lauder tripleaction cleanser/ toner/ makeup remover, $ 68 dr hauschka dear eyes eyeshadow blender brush, $ 49 bobbi brown creamy matte
lipstick, $ 54
nars eyeliner stylo, $ 58 yves saint laurent
Le Teint Touche Eclat Compact, $79 elizabeth arden eyeshadow, $ 88