DIY Wedding Day Makeup Lessons Learned

by Melissa on February 2, 2012

I am really pleased with my decision to do my own makeup on my wedding day. As trivial as it sounds, it was a decision I really struggled with for a long time. But after my terrible hair and makeup trial in August, I realized that I would probably be unhappy if I didn’t do my own makeup. 

A few caveats. I consider myself to be knowledgeable about makeup. I’ve taken classes at MAC, subscribe to YouTube makeup tutorials, and own probably about $1000 worth of makeup. I’m comfortable using four shades of eyeshadow in one look and am not afraid to ask artists at the MAC makeup counter for help and tips. So, it’s not like I go barefaced every day and then all of a sudden decided to DIY my wedding-day makeup. As an added caution, I even watched several DIY wedding day makeup tutorials.

wedding day makeupMy biggest concern was having makeup that lasted. For instance, my makeup looks very different at the end of my work day compared to the beginning of my workday. I bought an airbrush makeup set from Dinair, but didn’t like it at all, so I returned it. It made my normally-oily skin feel dry, and the coverage lasted no longer than my regular foundation. I also had a hard time getting a precise color match.  It was nowhere near worth the price tag.

So, I stuck with my tried and true MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation.

While I have no regrets about DIYing my wedding day makeup, here are a few lessons learned I would offer to other brides doing the same.

(Image: Personal Photo, taken getting into the car shortly after doing my whole makeup thang)

DIY Wedding Day Makeup Tips

  • Our engagement photos were actually a perfect testing ground for my wedding-day makeup. I realized that in all of those photos, it looked like I was wearing no blush, even though I was wearing the amount I would on a regular day. So, I knew that for blush to appear in the photos, I should go a bit heavier on my wedding day. So I did, using this technique.
  • Set aside about 10 minutes during your reception to do a detailed touch-up of your makeup. I probably would’ve completely re-did my foundation and blush, but left my eyes alone. In the photos taken late at the reception, my foundation definitely did not look as fresh. But in fact, this may not have been a product of doing my makeup myself. I imagine that if I had had my makeup done professionally, I would also be recommending a detailed touch-up about halfway through the reception. And the benefit of having to do a touch up when you DIY your makeup is that you already know what foundation colors and techniques to use!
  • Give someone, like a bridesmaid or close friend or family member, your lipstick, lipgloss, and a small mirror, and remind have them remind you to freshen your lips up every 30 minutes. Especially if you, like me, have very thin and/or light-colored lips that tend to just disappear when you smile. And again, this would go for any bride, not just one that DIYed their own makeup.
  • While not necessarily makeup related, designate that same friend (or a different one – just as long as it’s someone who is brutally honest) to make sure they tell you when something isn’t right, like when you have food in your teeth, or in my case, my bangs got messed up. There are a few photos where I can tell this stupid section of my bangs is completely out of place. I just want to reach into the picture and brush it out of the way. I wish someone would’ve told me! 



My Wedding Day Makeup!


  • Too Faced Shadow Insurance Eyeshadow Primer
  • MAC Blanc Type Eyeshadow all over lid
  • MAC Scene Eyeshadow in outer corner of lid
  • MAC Shadowy Lady Eyeshadow in outer corner and crease
  • MAC Vapour all over browbone
  • MAC Kohl Eyeliner in Smolder on upper lash line, and a very light line on outer corner of lower lash line
  • MAC Mascara Prep+Prime
  • MAC False Lashes Mascara
  • Benefit Cosmetics Brow Zing in Medium

Face and Cheeks

  • Mac Studio Fix Fluid Foundation in NW15
  • Ben Nye Crème Color Palette Concealer ?? under eyes and in an inverted V-Shape on cheeks
  • Dermablend Body Cover Concealer for undereyes
  • Make Up For Ever High Definition Powder all over face
  • MAC Minearlize Skinfinish in Light all over face
  • MAC Lilicent Crème as base blush
  • MAC Pink Swoon Brush (I followed this tutorial for blush application)


  • MAC Cremestick Liner in Pink Treat
  • MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Speed Dial
  • MAC Dazzleglass in Steppin Out

The only new items I had to purchase were the MAC False Lashes Mascara and Mascara Prep+Prime (I wanted to make sure I had a high-quality waterproof mascara for that day. Something that typically is not a priority for me), and the brow coloring, since that’s also something I usually don’t trouble myself with during my daily makeup routine.

So, there you have it. I saved myself about $250 by doing my own makeup. So, if you’re comfortable doing your own makeup on a regular basis, I’d highly recommend doing it yourself on your wedding day.

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DIY Wedding Day Makeup Tutorials

by Melissa on October 20, 2011

I mentioned a while back that I absolutely hated my hair and makeup trial. Well, I’m happy to report that since then, I had a VERY successful hair trial. I booked her services on the spot! I also mentioned that I decided to do my own wedding-day makeup. I’ve been wrestling with this decision, but seriously, when I take a look a pictures of myself with a full face of makeup that I have done myself, I look just fine! My only lesson learned from my engagement photos would be to go a bit heavier on blush.

But, I have been looking for a few tips to finesse my makeup techniques a bit. Several years ago, I went to a class that MAC offered at our Macy’s. That was really the start of actually understanding how to use makeup. Before that, I only used single color eyeshadows. I never wore blush, eyeliner, or mascara. Suffice it to say, much has changed in the last several years since going to that class!

But, wedding day makeup is an entirely different animal. Here are the best tutorials I’ve come across that have helped me improve my techniques

Where to learn DIY Wedding Day Makeup Techniques

Kandee Johnson’s makeup videos are great! Here are some of the best:

Makeup by Tiffany D is another great source

Makeup Geek also has great YouTube tutorials

I think that your foundation routine will be the most important part of your DIY wedding day makeup. So here are some great general foundation tips.

I’ll be posting some of my wedding day techniques soon!

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I hated my hair and makeup trial

by Melissa on August 18, 2011

For those of you that follow me on twitter, you probably saw that I was lamenting the prices of wedding-day hair and makeup in DC a few weeks ago.  I had to draw the line somewhere.  I established a threshold that I would not pay more for combined hair and makeup (including trials) than what I paid for my dress, which was $535.  Sounds reasonable enough, right!? 

Well, I finally found a local hair and makeup artist through non-wedding review site means.  Her prices were incredibly reasonable and her portfolio looked great online.  I was excited about this great find and booked a trial as soon as I could.

So, here’s the rundown of what I hated.

  • She set everything up on the dining room table without even asking and then proceeded to brush my hair right there and also spray hairspray without any effort to prevent it from going on the table.  I eat at that table, lady!
  • Her supplies were totally disorganized.  I guess I envision makeup artists traveling with those cool train cases.  Her makeup and hair supplies were split between like five dirty cosmetic bags.
  • She only had two or three shades of foundation.  I am extremely fair skinned, and the shade she used was way too dark.  I looked like a muddy mess.  When I pointed out the dark foundation line right at my jawline, she said that she would definitely blend it better on my wedding day. Ummm, blending or no blending, it doesn’t match my skin!
  • I had sent her an image of a fishtail braid I wanted to try out.  She had no idea how to do a fishtail braid and just kept doing regular braids at different angles (off to one side, off to another, etc.).  She offered no apologies for not letting me know she did not know how to do the hairstyle I requested
  • We ultimately settled on hair down with loose curls (which was my original idea anyway, I had just kind of fallen in love with the fishtail braid once I saw it).  The curls actually looked quite nice, but within 90 minutes of her leaving my house, the curls were completely gone.  When I brought it up, she just said that on my wedding day she’d curl it with an iron in addition to the rollers to make it hold more.  Umm, not trying to be a diva here, but I thought a trial was all about seeing what my hair would look like (and how it would last) on my wedding day.

A final point, and this one is not her fault, I am completely paranoid about having anyone near my eyes (other than me). Whether it’s the eye doctor putting drops in my eyes, an eyebrow waxer that presses a bit too hard on my eyelid, or a makeup artist putting mascara on me, I become one blinky nervous mess.  So, I kept messing up her eyeliner and mascara application.

So, now I’m really, REALLY mad that I just spent $65 on a hair and makeup trial that I HATED and now have to spend money on a trial somewhere else. 

But, here’s what I’ve decided.  I’m actually quite good with makeup.  So, I’m going to do my own makeup on my wedding day.  I figure, even if I do find someone better, I’m going to have my eye paranoia issue, so, I may as well just do it myself. 

But, I do need to find someone to do my hair, because unlike makeup, I am completely useless at anything hair-related. 

So, perhaps I’ll even do some wedding makeup trial tutorials and post them here to see what you all think!