DIY Wedding Makeup Tips

Photo by May Gunsul Photography

Photo by May Gunsul Photography

When my husband and I started planning our wedding, one thing I decided early on was to do my own hair and makeup. While this did save us some money, the decision was based less on budget and more on my dislike of other people doing my hair and makeup. I’m uncomfortable with other people touching me, and not knowing if they’re going to do things exactly how I want it stresses me out. I’m very particular, and I know what I like — and in general, I know how to do it myself to my own liking.

I’ve since said I wished I had hired someone else to do my hair. I had not been 100% happy with all of my trial hair run-throughs, and my nerves kicked in BIG TIME on the morning of the wedding. As a result, my hair looked okay for most of the initial photos, but started to go limp even during the ceremony, and especially by the time the reception was just getting started.

However, I’m still really happy with how my DIY makeup turned out. I invested in good-quality products, tested them all out (luckily, I had three weddings before my own to really put these products to the test!), and have been doing my own makeup for my entire life, and was 100% confident in my skills.

If you’re thinking of doing your own wedding makeup, here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. Practice makes perfect
  2. Test products for endurance during stressful and sweat-inducing conditions
  3. Take photos of your trial runs – remember, your look needs to look good on camera!
  4. Prepare to apply makeup while NERVOUS and excited on your big day (think: shaking hands)
  5. You’ll probably be using more products than you usually do for your everyday makeup (my normal routine is a fraction of the products you’ll find listed below)

Meanwhile, here are the products that I found worked best for me on my wedding day:


tarte foundation

Neutrogena Shine Control Primer

The foundation for my foundation helped keep everything in place, despite getting very hot and sweaty during the reception.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Full Coverage Foundation

This foundation was light enough to match my pale skin, and withstood a LOT of sweating.

Make-Up Forever Full Cover Concealer

I used this to cover up any small red spots leftover from acne, or other blemishes.

Sephora Smoothing & Brightening Concealer

This was all about covering up dark circles under my eyes, and for any highlighting I wanted to do during contouring.

Coty Airspun Loose Face Powder

I swear by this stuff. I’ve been using Coty’s translucent powder forever – probably since I started wearing makeup in middle school. My mom used it, and my grandma used it — and it’s still the best face powder I’ve ever used. It can be hard to find in drug stores, but whenever I see it, I stock up.


tarte blush

Benefit Posietint

I blended this onto the apples of my cheeks before applying translucent powder. It provided a good base, and as a stain, helped make sure I always had some color on my cheeks, even if/when my regular blush wore off.

Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush

After dusting my whole face in translucent powder, I brushed this over my cheeks – doubling up where I’d already applied the Benetint stain, for a more dramatic look. (Remember, the camera washes you out!)

Too Faced Milk Chocolate Soleil Bronzer

The fact that this bronzer smells like chocolate is just a bonus. I loved that this was a matte bronzer (no shimmer, which can look weird in photos) — and was the perfect shade to compliment my very fair complexion. I used it for contouring along my cheekbones, the side of my nose, around my hairline, and along the jawline. It gave just enough tint, without making me look weirdly tan for my winter wedding.

Benefit’s Watt’s Up!

I lightly blended some of this along the tops of my cheekbones, just to catch the light but not give too much shimmer.


cinderella compact

Sephora Perfecting Eye Primer

There are lots of great eye primers out there, but I’ve always been happy with Sephora’s in-house brand. It’s great for getting eye makeup to stay put during the day, and hold-up longer.

Estee Lauder Pure Color Gelee Powder Eye Shadow

I used the Estee Lauder shadow in silver and black to create a dramatic smoky eye. I also blended in a coppery-brown shadow into the crease of my eye, and a shimmery white shadow into the corners of my eyes. These were from a limited edition Sephora-Disney Cinderella eye palette, which is no longer available.

Sephora Waterproof Gel Eyeliner

With a fine angled makeup brush, I used this gel eyeliner to paint on the perfect winged eye. This is something I often do as part of my usual makeup routine, so I’ve had lots of practice with a steady hand to get the winged eye just so.

Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil

I used this creamy pencil for lining my waterline.

Ardell Lash Accents 315

I was a newbie to false eyelashes when I started planning my wedding makeup, but after some trial and error, I found that these accent lashes were perfect for me. They added length and drama, without feeling clunky or unnatural. I did have to practice applying them a few times before the wedding, but I got the hang of it pretty quickly and was happy with how they looked. I applied them after all of my other eye makeup — and before applying mascara, I went over the line of the eyelashes with a little more eye liner just to camouflage where they were applied. I then curled the falsies along with my real lashes, and applied lash primer and mascara.

Tarte MultiplEYE Natural Lash-Enhancing Primer

Beyond the false lash accents, this primer helped extend the length of my natural lashes for drama and length.

Tarte Gifted Amazonian Clay Mascara

The finishing touch! I was brave and did NOT use waterproof mascara (because, let’s be honest, waterproof mascara just never looks as good) — but if you’re worried about tears, look for a good quality mascara with a waterproof formula.


posie tint

Benefit Posietint

The same Benefit stain I’d used on my cheeks also became my lip color. I loved that this color was bright, without being unnatural and gave me a nice bridal pink tint to my lips. Plus, as a stain, it lasted longer than a regular lip color.

Mac Clear LipGlass

I like a little shine without the stickiness. I used Mac’s clear lipgloss to pump up the shine and color on my lips. I like that this gloss is not sticky. My maid of honor kept this in her dress pocket for me, so I could reapply during photos and right before the ceremony.

Photo by May Gunsul Photography

Photo by May Gunsul Photography

For the comments: What was in your wedding makeup bag?


Camping Makeup 101

As I stated yesterday – I’m a glamor queen when I camp.

Well, not really a glamor queen … but I do wear makeup when camping. I feel more comfortable with makeup, I like the way I look in vacation photos better, and in general, it just makes me happy.

But that doesn’t mean I bring my full arsenal of cosmetics when I go camping. I mean, I’m not completely ridiculous. Here’s how I’ve simplified my beauty routine for camping – though keep in mind, this is what works best for me, and it’s still a work in progress.

camping makeup11) Foundation. In the last year, I have discovered the joys of BB cream, and this is particularly great when camping, because it combines all the stuff you WANT (moisturizer, SPF, etc.), plus a little tinted coverage to even out your skin tone — all in one nifty tube. I have sensitive skin, so I’m particular about my BB cream, and have been really happy with Tarte Tinted Treatment 12-Hour Primer, which includes an SPF 30 sunblock.

2) Contouring & color. Too Faced’s “The Secret to No Makeup Makeup” is actually one of my favorite go-to items for camping and other low-maintenance makeup days. Sometimes I’ll even skip using the BB cream (though I still slather on a moisturizer with SPF if I do), and just use the concealer and highlighter from this palette to even out my skin. (Blotchy red spots, dark circles, etc.) Then, I use the blush for color on my cheeks, and the bronzer works for a little definition on my eyes.

In lieu of packing this palette, I’ll bring a cream blush that I can blend in with my fingers and a matte bronzer that I can use on my cheeks and my eyes.

3) Finishing Touches. I’m a sucker for eye makeup, and while I can forgo fancy eye shadows when camping (I’ll just swipe a little bronzer over my lid and blend into my crease for some definition), I can’t live without eyeliner and mascara. For camping, I’ll stick with a waterproof pencil that I can work into my lash-line (no fancy winged eye necessary when camping), then finish with a few coats of waterproof mascara. Waterproof is great for camping, because it will stay put regardless of whatever activities you get into, and won’t give you that oh-so-attractive raccoon eye effect.

Waterproof mascara is notoriously wimpy compared to regular mascara, but I’ve been relatively happy with Sephora’s Full Action Waterproof Extreme Effect Mascara.

4) All the rest. I don’t go anywhere without lip balm, and camping is no exception. I also bring a good moisturizing lotion, because I have notoriously dry skin, and of course sunscreen.

5) Hair. This isn’t really part of the makeup routine — but I pretty much let my hair do whatever it wants when I go camping. I do bring a hair dryer, because I always seem to get sick if I let my hair air dry. But I keep the product to a minimum. After washing with shampoo and conditioner, I work a little Moroccan oil into my hair while it’s still damp (it helps condition and prevent tangles), and then blow dry upside down. That’s pretty much it.

A salt spray can also be great for letting your hair’s natural curl take over. I love this look, but tend to steer clear of salt spray unless I’m due to re-color my hair soon after getting home from a camping trip, as it is VERY damaging to colored hair.

For the comments: What are your camping beauty tips?


Yes, I wear makeup when camping. Here’s why …


The husband and I are getting ready to go camping this weekend, and as I tend to do before any sort of travel, I made a packing list. I’m a big fan of lists. Lists are great. Lists are gravy. Lists are life.

I love lists.

For the camping trip packing list I included our gear, my clothes, shower supplies, food, etc. … and makeup.

Yes, I wear makeup when camping.

A lot of people cringe at the very notion of wearing makeup while camping. I am familiar with the judge-y, disdainful glares from other women in the shared campsite bathroom when I’m flicking on some mascara. But I just don’t care. They can camp however they want, and I’ll camp however I like. And my way includes makeup.

Here’s why (a list, because I love them):

1) Photos. I like to take photos – everyday, on vacation, just because. I’m shutter-happy. And I don’t want to look back on a photo from our camping trip and wonder who that stranger is who snapped a selfie with my husband. I want to look like myself, and the “myself” I love and recognize wears makeup.

2) Comfort. You may be thinking, “If you want to be comfortable, then WHY are you wearing makeup?” But here’s the thing about comfort: it’s different for everyone, and my level of comfort involves makeup. I feel like myself when I have makeup on; it’s part of my morning routine. Without it, I feel sluggish and sloppy and out of sorts.

What’s more, camping isn’t my forte. I never camped growing up, and I wouldn’t camp at all now if my husband didn’t love it so much. I go for him. So to make the entire experience more enjoyable for myself, I partake in various indulgences that hardcore campers would scoff at for my own personal comfort. Like makeup.

3) Because I like it. The biggest and main reason I wear makeup ever is because I like it. I wear it for me. Not to impress anyone, or attract anyone – but because I enjoy it. I like the art of putting makeup on, and trying new techniques, new eye shadow colors, new styles. I like the way I look with makeup on. I like enhancing my favorite features, covering up my blotchy skin, and piling on globs of eyeliner and mascara just because I can.

For the comments: So do you wear makeup when you camp? Why or why not? Tell us in the comments below!

TOMORROW: My camping makeup routine (because I DO simplify).