How To Do Your Own Bridesmaid Make-Up: Three Step-By-Step Guides

How to chisel your cheekbones, nail the smokey eye and ace that nude lip - all without having to splurge on a make-up artist (or upstaging the bride).

MOST POPULAR

You've planned the hen party of dreams, found a dress that doesn't look like a bejewelled blancmange and finally have a date to go with - but there's just one thing you haven't got sorted.

Your bridesmaid make-up.

Smoky eye or winged liner? Pretty pink blush or lashings of bronzer? And can you ever pull off a red lip at a wedding?

The thing is, while the models on Pinterest and Instagram make nailing bridesmaid beauty look like a walk in the park, they've probably had an army of professional make-up artists fussing over their faces since 7am.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

So whether you've blown all of your wages on Zara's limited edition collection or simply like the idea of giving it a go yourself (what better way to make the most of the bits you've bagged from the new Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder collection, right?), read this step-by-step tutorial before you even think about picking up the foundation brush.

Natural: Make-Up That Won't Upstage The Bride But Still Looks Pretty In Pictures

'Ask most bridesmaids what look they want and nine times out of ten they'll say "natural"', says Professional NYX Make-Up Artist Dean Smith. 'Everyone wants something that brings out their features without looking too obvious - although, the main aim is for the make-up to show up in the pictures and on the wedding video.'

How To Achieve The Look

Skin

Skin prep is the key to flawless make-up that lasts way past the first dance, so it's important to start on a completely clean and hydrated canvas - but what do the make-up artists use?

'I'd recommend cleansing skin with the REN Rosa Centifolia 3-in-1 Cleansing Water, £15,' says make-up artist Gabriella Floyd, 'then following it with the Murad Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisturiser, £47. It's great for all skin types, but if you're particularly oily, treat your skin to the Murad Oil Control Mattifyer, £35 which will stave off shine throughout the day.'

Now is also a good time to apply lip balm (we love Rodin's Lip Balm, £25) to hydrate and plump up your lips and to stop any foundation from clinging to them.

Base

You want your foundation to look like your skin but better, so investing in the right formula is important - heavy, cakey base? Er, no thanks.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

'For longwear and great coverage, it's got to be the Marc Jacobs Re(marc)able Foundation, £37,' says Gabriella. It gives a natural finish that isn't too dewy or too matte and it'll last well without rubbing off with all the cheek-kissing! For bridesmaids, I tend to apply this with a Beauty Blender, £16 as it lends an airbrushed finish.'

Simply run it under the tap, squeeze out the excess moisture and use gentle tapping motions to blend the foundation into your skin. See ya, tidemarks.

If you've chosen a natural-looking foundation, Pixi Beauty Global Director of Training & Artistry, Amanda Bell suggests stepping up your game when it comes to concealer. 'Use the lightest texture foundation you feel comfortable with and then go in with a full coverage concealer,' she says. 'It'll give you that perfect balance of a base that looks like a second skin.'

Try...

- Urban Decay Naked Skin Complete Coverage Concealer, £19

- Pixi Pataway Concealer, £16

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

- Kevyn Aucoin The Sensual Skin Enhancer, £38

With These Tools...

- Dior Backstage Brushes Concealer Brush - £17.55

- ZOEVA Rose Golden Vol.2 142 Concealer Buffer Brush, £9

And of course no clutch would be complete with a powder compact - if you're running around tending to both the bride and the guests, you're bound to get a little shiny.

'The Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Powder, £33 will keep areas of the skin matte - but it's super light so you can easily keep topping it up,' says Gabriella. To keep it looking really natural, pat it into the skin with a damp make-up sponge.

Cheeks

When it comes to adding bronzer and blush, think subtle, matte washes of colour that are going to sculpt and enhance your complexion without being too obvious or drawing attention to blemishes.

With an angled brush, buff a little bronzer into the hollows of your cheeks and extend up to your temples, along your hairline and across jawline.

Try...

- Laura Mercier Matte Radiance Baked Powder, £28.50

- Victoria Beckham x Estée Lauder Matte Bronzer, £52

- Smashbox Bronze Lights, £26

Next up, blush. And Gabriella's go-to? 'Becca's Beach Tint in Dragonfruit, £20,' she says, which has the clever knack of breathing life into more or less all complexions and can be dotted upon the lips for barely-there, balmy look.

'I'd also go to Becca for a really subtle highlight to finish,' adds Gabriella. 'The Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Creme Highlighter, £30 is very natural.' Simply press a little on to the tops of your cheekbones, et voila.

PRO TIP: 'Something I always suggest for self-applying bridesmaids is to trail makeup wearing a T-Shirt in a similar shade to their dress,' says YSL Regional Make-Up Artist, Ffion Davies. 'This ensures a perfect match.'

Eyes And Eyebrows

If you want to keep your look as natural as possible but feel naked without a wash of eyeshadow, opt for matte hues. 'The collagen infused, matte shadows in the Naturally Pretty Palette, £34 are great for enhancing every eye colour,' says It Cosmetics Make-Up Expert, Caolan Kelly. 'They lend a really soft, smokey effect but as they are matte, there's no flashback.'

For a watercolour-esque finish, take a fluffy brush and blend the eye shadow into your socket and up into your brows. For extra definition, dust a little below your lower lash line.

If you find false lashes a little too fussy or don't have time to book in for a lift, Lancôme make-up artist and bridal beauty expert Charlotte Wood has the answer.

'An eyelash curler really is your best friend,' she says. 'It gives lashes instant lift and really opens the eyes - but the mascara you follow it with is important, too. Something buildable like the Lancôme Hypnose Volume-a-Porter Mascara, £24.50 will add length with every application without going clumpy.'

And when it comes to bridesmaid brows, Caolan suggests keeping them super-soft by simply brushing them upwards using a spoolie brush. Something like benefit's Gimme Brow, £20 - a tinted gel formula that boasts teeny tiny hair fibres - will fill in any scant patches as it grooms.

Lips

You won't have time to check your make-up every five minutes, so an understated lip will be the icing on the cake of a fuss-free look. Opt for a slick of tinted balm rather than a fully fledged lip colour. It'll be much easier to quickly reapply throughout the day, too, as you can dab it on straight from the bullet or with your fingertips.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

'A tinted balm always looks great on bridesmaids,' says Gabriella. 'I'd recommend Lipstick Queen's Belle Époque in Belle Pink, £18 but if you want a bit more of a stronger colour that shows up in photographs and still looks pretty understated, the NYX Butter Gloss and Soft Matte Lip Creams are amazing.

AVOID THIS MISTAKE: 'Trying something new on the day of an occasion is never a good idea,' says Charlotte. 'If there are new colours you want to wear, practise with them beforehand, so when it comes to the event, you know what you're doing and exactly how it's going to look on you.'

Glowy: Make-Up That Looks Radiant But Isn't Too Heavy

Ethereal and totally Instagram-worthy, this look is all about enhancing the skin. Think ultra-radiant, dewy and supermodel-esque – but it requires a little prep.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

How To Achieve The Look:

Skin

Don't forget to fully hydrate,' says Leigh Griffin, Global Brand Ambassador at tarte Cosmetics. 'Not only will dry skin make it difficult to apply your make-up more evenly, but it'll highlight your imperfections. Drink plenty of water the night before and don't forget to moisturise really, really well.'

Balms like the Pixi Rose Flash Balm, £26 are also amazing at achieving that beautifully dewy look under make-up. Simply pat it into the skin until absorbed.

Also Try...

- Illamasqua Hydra Veil, £34

- Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre, £20

AVOID THIS MISTAKE: According to Caolan, now is not the time to start facials or try brand new skincare regimes as it could make you more prone to breakouts. The solution? 'Make sure you trial new products at least 2-3 weeks before the big day.' Sorted.

Beautiful @nicole7jo 💕🌸 #makeupbyme #gabriellafloydmakeup #glow #summery

A post shared by Gabriella Floyd (@gabriellafloydmakeup) on

Foundation

You're in for the long-haul, so you want your foundation to be enduring yet virtually undetectable – think lightweight and breathable textures with just the right amount of pigment to work like a soft focus lens, not a mask.

Try...

- MAC Next To Nothing Face Colour, £27

- NARS All Day Luminous Weightless Foundation, £34

- Laura Mercier Candleglow Soft Luminous Foundation, £35

And if you want an even lighter base? Leigh recommends tarte's Rainforest of the Sea Water Foundation, £35, available at QVCUK.com. 'It's packed with antioxidants to make your skin glow and has a unique dropper to let you customise you application. Start with three drops for a sheerer finish and work your way up to six for full coverage.'

Simply take a slightly damp stippling brush like the ZOEVA 125 Stippling Brush, £13 and blend the foundation into just-moisturised skin using both circular and patting motions for a silky, gossamer-like finish.

Cheeks

To really nail that ethereal flush, pick up a complexion-enlivening creme blush - it'll lend a dash of dewy tint that looks oh-so-pretty.

'Use a creamy, long-lasting colour as a base on the apples of the cheeks for a subtle hint of colour,' says Pixi's Amanda Bell.

The best way to apply? With your fingertips – use the soft pad of your ring finger to buff and pat the colour into your skin. Just remember to wash your hands before zipping up your dress!

Try...

- Bobbi Bown Pot Rouge, £21

- NARS The Multiple, £29

- Pixi Multibalm, £12

'If you do want to add extra intensity after the cream blush, use a little translucent powder to set and then layer on a powder blush to really sculpt and define the cheeks,' adds Amanda.

@nicole7jo @models_1uk 🌸 #makeupbyme #gabriellafloydmakeup

A post shared by Gabriella Floyd (@gabriellafloydmakeup) on

And of course, the finishing touch is lashings of highlighter. To give your skin that lit-from-within look, ditch chalky, ashy powders for creamy textures that won't make a crater in your foundation base.

Our pick? benefit Watt's Up! Soft Focus Highlighter, £25.50. Using your fingers, tap a little on to the tops of your cheekbones, into the corners of your eyes, down the centre of your nose and atop your Cupid's bow.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

AVOID THIS MISTAKE: 'Don't choose a highlighter which is too glittery,' says YSL's Ffion. 'This will highlight open pores and fine lines. My go-to is the YSL Touche Eclat Glow Shot, £22.50.' And if you're more into powders, Amanda suggests tapping the excess product off the brush and letting it dance across the cheeks. 'Hold the brush lightly and let it gently sweep across the cheeks for that lit by candlelight effect,' she says.

Eyes And Eyebrows

For a subtle but Instagram-worthy eye make-up look, swap heavy powders for cream-based pots or even quicker and easier, eye shadow sticks.

'I love the Laura Mercier Caviar Stick Eye Colours, £23,' says Gabriella. 'They're super-easy to use - just scribble all over the eyelid and up into the crease, then blend out with a brush for a soft, smokey look.'

When it comes to brows, a defining pencil with a super-fine nib to mimic single hair strokes will offset the look beautifully.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

'For a natural brow, I'd go for the Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz, £15.50,' says Gabriella. 'Use it to fill in any areas where you want more volume or definition, then finish with a swipe of Eyeko's Sport Waterproof Mascara, £19 on the lashes. It doesn't budge, so it won't run down your face if you think you'll be weeping while watching your friend tie the knot!'

AVOID THIS MISTAKE: 'For the most part, the only time people attempt false lashes are for major events like weddings, which means there is very little practise combined with a lot of stress behind mastering the application,' says tarte's Leigh. Skip the falsies for a mascara that's going to make your lashes super-thick and long - I love Lights, Camera, Lashes, £21.52.'

Lips

If you want your colour to complement your ultra-glowy base, it's got to be followed by a subtle slick of gloss, and Pixi's Amanda has the cleverest tip for giving your lip colour mega staying power, even if you're consuming your body wight in canapes and bucks fizz.

'I use clear lip liner to trace around the outside of the lips to prevent any colour from travelling and then fill the lips in with it, so it gives the base something to adhere to – it's like a lip primer,' she says.

'When you've done this, split a Kleenex tissue so it's 1ply thin, and after applying your chosen lipstick, blot with it and reapply. Repeat the procedure 2-3 times so that the lip colour becomes more like a lasting stain. I love finishing with a light glaze of gloss.'

- Make Up For Ever Lip Line Perfector, £14

- Clinique Long Last Lipstick, £19.50

- MAC Lipglass Clear, £15

PRO TIP: 'If you are doing your make-up yourself, always do a practise run,' advises Gabriella. 'It's best to do it before a night out so you can see how well it lasts or get feedback from your girlfriends and most importantly, the bride. And be sure to take photographs to see if it'll show up in pictures.'

Understated Glamour: Make-Up That Shows Up In Pictures, But Isn't 'Too Much.'

The last thing you want to do is upstage the bride, but that doesn't mean you can't look just as glamorous, right? That said, there's nothing worse than slaving over your make-up for it to then completely evade the photographer's snaps – so it might be time to take it up a notch.

@gabriella_stacey ✨ #gabriellafloydmakeup #makeupbyme #mua

A post shared by Gabriella Floyd (@gabriellafloydmakeup) on

How To Achieve The Look:

Skin

If you're applying a little more make-up than usual, it pays to invest in a primer, and Amanda swears by Pixi's Flawless & Poreless, £24.

'It hydrates and provides longevity to your base as well as creating a velvety-textured canvas,' she says. 'It's not just a name - your foundation will look flawless all day!' After an even quicker fix? Spritz on a make-up mist as a water primer and then again at the end to lock your look in.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

Also Try...

- Pixi Make-Up Fixing Mist, £16

- Clarins Fix' Make-Up, £24

- Mario Badescu Facial Spray, £7

Base

'When it comes to wedding make-up, the trick is to avoid any foundations that have anything higher than SPF15 in them,' says Lancôme's Charlotte. 'This causes flashback in photography and can really white you out.' Caolan mentions it's also best to ditch those that have shimmer particles in them for the same reason.

If completely seamless coverage is what you covet, opt for a foundation that sculpts, blurs pores and tucks away blemishes without the flat, powdery look.

Try..

- Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation SPF15, £32

- NARS Sheer Glow Foundation, £31

- Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation, £31.50

According to founder of ZOEVA, Zoe Boikou, your application technique is detrimental to your look, too.

ADVERTISEMENT - CONTINUE READING BELOW

'I'd advise gently blending foundation into the skin with the ZOEVA 104 Buffer Brush, £15,' she says, as the soft, dense bristles and flat surface take the faff out of application. 'For an even make-up look, and as a basic rule, only apply more product where you need it,' Zoe adds. 'It's easier to add then to erase!'

PRO TIP: Amanda also suggests the layering technique for amazing staying power. 'Layers are key to longevity with bridesmaid make-up,' she says. 'Light, fine layers that build up colour will last for a sustained amount of time as opposed to thicker formulations that can smear or wear off quickly.'

Clever.

AVOID THIS MISTAKE: Wearing a strapless dress? 'Make sure your foundation balances with the skin tone of your body,' says Gabriella. 'If it's too light or too dark, it'll show up in the wedding photographs and always remember to brush foundation down the neck to prevent any unsightly foundation lines.'

Cheeks

'To make your features stand out in pictures, you want to apply a little more colour than usual,' says Charlotte. 'Just add a little blush at a time to build up the colour carefully.'

Your best bet? Powders, as they'll cling to the skin for longer. Just remember to tap off the excess before buffing it on to the apples of your cheeks and up to your temples.

Try...

- Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush, £32

- By Terry Terrybly Densillis Blush, £54

- Lancôme Blush Subtil, £29.50

Eyes And Eyebrows

A big occasion calls for a smokey eye, but golds, nudes and peachy hues are much more flattering and bridesmaid-esque than darker, more dramatic shades. 'Smokey doesn't necessarily mean black,' says Ffion. 'Bridesmaids should opt for lighter tones.'

To achieve the look in next to no time, take your lightest colour and dot a little into the inner corners of your eyes and along your brown bone, then blanket your entire eyelid with the medium hue using a soft, fluffy eye shadow brush. To create the smokey shadow, take a shading brush and apply the darkest shade to the outer corners, gently blending it in towards the crease.

Try...

- Bobbi Brown Beach Eye Shadow Trio, £27

- Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Natural Eye Shadow Palette, £45

- YSL Eye Duo Smoker, £25

With These Tools...

- Morphe MB25 Deluxe Round Blender Brush, £5

- Zoeva 237 Detail Shader Brush, £9

Ditch the harsh liquid liner and wedge a kohl pencil into your upper lash line, then use an angled brush to smoke it outwards for a subtle flick that'll define and shape.

But what about lashes? 'If you want to wear false eyelashes on the day, I'd recommend the Ardell Demi Wispies, £4.95 to add subtle length and volume,' says Gabriella. 'Or, if you do a practise run beforehand, the Ardell Individual Lashes, £5.50.'

And if you've gone for a glam eye, opt for a natural brow to balance the look. 'Use a brow pencil that's one shade lighter than your natural hair colour so you can add definition and shape without the heavy angry brow look,' says Charlotte, 'then run a spoolie brush through to soften any harsh lines. Also, set them in place with a clear brow gel - it'll give the brow structure and create a bushy, fuller look without adding any more colour.'

Try...

- Kevyn Aucoin The Precision Brow Pencil, £21

- Tom Ford Brow Sculptor, £36

- NYX Control Freak Eyebrow Gel, £6

Lips

Fed up of nudes? You can totally wear a red lip - just be sure it doesn't clash with your dress or the wedding's colour scheme!

'Some people may find red lipstick daunting, intimidating and high-maintenance,' says Charlotte, 'and that's where lip stains come in. They're easier to wear and are much less precise but they add a colour impact that lasts really well.'

Try...

- Smith & Cult The Tainted Lip Stain in Mad Heat, £24

- Lipstick Queen Saint & Sinner Lip Tint in Rose, £22

- MAC Versicolour Lip Stain in Resilient Rouge, £21

And if you want to dial up the colour intensity, go matte.

'Matte textures last longer,' Charlotte adds. 'My top tip is to colour in your lips with a lip pencil first - this will act like a base.' It's also worth it to pat a little translucent powder over your lips before applying another swipe of lipstick to really build up those long-lasting layers.

PRO TIP: Whichever look you go for, it's important to time yourself beforehand so that you know exactly how long to give yourself on the morning of the wedding. Rushing will only leave you flustered and you're more likely to miss important steps out!

More from ELLE UK: