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?