Bridal Makeup FAQs

Bridal
Makeup
FAQ

with Makeup Artist Jo Strettell

Airbrush or powder foundation? Statement lip or glowy gloss?
Is contouring still on trend?

Airbrush or powder
foundation?

Statement lip or
glowy gloss?

Is contouring still
on trend?

If you're making plans for wedding day makeup, you probably have a lot of questions. For answers, we turned to the expert: makeup artist Jo Strettell. Her flawlessly clean looks have graced the pages of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair, as well as the faces of Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman, and Demi Moore. (She also created the glam looks in our bridal makeup how-to series!) Below, Jo answers your pressing questions on bridal beauty.

If you're making plans for wedding day makeup, you probably have a lot of questions. For answers, we turned to the expert: makeup artist Jo Strettell. Her flawlessly clean looks have graced the pages of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar and Vanity Fair, as well as the faces of Naomi Watts, Uma Thurman, and Demi Moore. (She also created the glam looks in our bridal makeup how-to series!) Below, Jo answers your pressing questions on bridal beauty.

Q: What should brides consider when hiring a makeup artist?

A: The best way to find a makeup artist is word of mouth—if you know a bride whose look you loved, ask who did her makeup! Because it’s so easy to retouch photos, don’t rely solely on an artist’s portfolio. While you can certainly look at Instagram and online portfolios, you should do an in-person trial before making a final decision. Bridal makeup is very personal and emotional; a trial assures that you won’t have to stress about your wedding day makeup.

Q: When you’re ready to schedule a bridal makeup trial, what should you discuss with your artist?

A: Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Make sure your artist is on time.
- Check that their kit looks clean, fresh, and orderly—if you spot dirty brushes or makeup that looks used, consider another artist.
- Explain what you’re wearing and bring an inspiration board of colors, textures, and details you like.
- Make sure your makeup artist understands your ideas and offers suggestions for bringing the look together. If they’re uncertain, it may mean that they’re not experienced enough.
- A good makeup artist should be able to achieve the look you want in the time you have available. If they fight you on that, it’s time to walk away.
- If a trial doesn’t work, it doesn’t work! It’s okay to move on if you don’t achieve a look you love.

Q: For brides struggling to choose a makeup look, what’s the best place to start?

A: Start with an online search for bridal makeup, or for any woman who inspires you! If you just love how Kate Moss looks in pictures, start there. Check out fashion magazines, Pinterest, etc. You can also search by season. Finally, choose your gown before thinking about beauty, so you can see how it was styled professionally. Check out the brand’s website to see how their models are styled overall, too.

Q: Is the wedding day a good time to try something new? How can brides subtly enhance a familiar look?

A: Weddings are not the time to experiment! A fresh, enhanced version of your natural beauty is what you and your family will love to see on your wedding day. You’ll keep these photos forever, so be the most beautiful version of you. Save more dramatic or daring looks for parties.

A little twinkle or glitter is a timely enhancement that never goes out of style. Add shine with highlighter, glitter, or gloss—anything that will brighten up a natural look without being too gaudy.

Q: Can you give us your rundown for a flawless wedding day makeup look?

A: Skin: The foundation you choose will depend on your skin type, but I believe a bride should be as fresh, natural, and pretty as possible. Start with a clean face that has been lightly moisturized and exfoliated, so you have a good canvas. Stick to a light foundation applied with a brush or your fingertips—the less product, the better. Massage it lightly into the face using a dense buffing brush in circular motions. Next, use concealer to cover any dark or red spots. Finally, a dusting of powder goes on after foundation and concealer to set and reduce shine.

Brows: Get your eyebrows shaped two days before the wedding to avoid any redness. When filling in your brows, never make them darker. Shape your brows so they’re symmetrical, but still natural. (When searching for a makeup artist, make sure they don’t give everyone the exact same eyebrow shape!)

Eyes: For brides, I like a natural eye color that brings the eyes out. You might choose a soft, sunny brown or taupe. There are so many looks—it’s especially important to bring examples of eye makeup that you like. Curl your lashes, then add mascara and eyeliner (if you like). Add false eyelashes if desired.

Cheeks: If you choose contouring, it should be used to make the face look even, not as a makeup “look” of its own. It should be subtle and flattering, especially during the daytime when heavy contouring can look dirty or smudged. Next, choose a soft, pretty blush that works with your skin tone. Blend it onto the apple of the cheek with a soft, clean brush. Finally, add a few dashes of highlighter—at the top of the cheek, browbone, end of nose, and bow of lip—to give a glowy look.

Lips: Do your lips last. Avoid any high-fashion, editorial looks—they look great in specific studio lighting, but in person you want something fresh and healthy that emphasizes your natural lip color. Start by lining with an enhanced version of your natural lip color. Add lipstick by pressing it in with a brush and running the brush along the edge of the lip line.

Q: Any tips for giving wedding day makeup extra staying power?

A: Be prepared with a mini makeup kit that you can use for touchups throughout the day. I suggest a kit including: blotting papers; cotton swabs for cleanup; a powder compact for light dusting; a powder puff; and small, empty containers to fill with the foundation and lipstick your makeup artist used. These items will assure that you’re set for any touchups needed!

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