Scottish beauty experts give us the low down on how to achieve the perfect bridal eyes

If the eyes really are the windows to the soul, it’s only right they get an extra dose of attention on your w-day. Nicole Conner finds out how the experts do it

Getting my eyes looking just right is the most important part of my makeup, and the most challenging: 20 attempts at symmetrical winged liner and tantrums trying to stick on false lashes will testify to that.

If that sounds like you, the stakes will be even higher on your big day. So we sat down with some of Scotland’s top makeup artists to get advice on how to make those peepers the star of the show.

Makeup by Heidi McLachlan on a model
Opting for a bronze eye look? Heidi McLachlan Makeup Artist shows how to do it. (Photo: Margaret McKenna Photography)

What colours suit who

A rule of thumb for wedding makeup, according to Maureen Crolla at The Bride to Be, is to pick an area to focus on: eyes or lips. If you’re opting for a strong eye, a full coverage base may be needed to balance the face. “Lips could be softer in tone but may need to be defined to finish the look, otherwise your makeup can appear unfinished,” she tells us.

Blown-out smokes in browns or light-pink shades are very popular with brides, according to Sheilanne Rose at Honey and Violet Weddings. It gives a timeless look, especially when coupled with a little shimmer, she says.

The colour of your iris should also be a consideration when you’re picking an eyeshadow, as certain tones will accentuate your eyes beautifully. Golds and bronzes, as well as plum and mauve shades, suit all eye colours, according to Leigh at Makeup by Leigh Blaney. “Classic combos for wedding looks tend to involve browns, pinks and champagnes. I’d avoid silvers or any intense colours as you don’t want your makeup to date quickly,” she adds. Some colours are fashionable for only a while so aim for timeless, she advises: you’ll want to look back on pictures forever and never feel your maquillage has dated.

Sheilanne Rose echoes this, pointing out that blue eyes can really dazzle with copper and brown tones in particular, while purple hues will bring out a green iris.

Danielle Dickson Makeup Artist suggests brides think about the time of year they’re getting married and tie their makeup in with that. “I’d use gold and rose-gold tones on blue eyes in summer,” she says. “In winter, though, I’d switch to burnt oranges. The seasons can impact the looks and make them stand out.”

Once you’ve decided on the look for you, it’s important that the eyeshadow will last the day. I Do Makeup by Geo Kane’s Georgina can’t get enough of MAC’s Prep’n’Prime 24-hour eye base, which she applies on every bride. This is followed by concealer. “I put a long-wear product over the top to neutralise the area and remove any hints of blue or red before starting with the shadow,” she tells us.

Leigh Blaney Makeup works her magic on a bride tribe, left, and a bride on right
Left: Makeup by Leigh Blaney glams up this bride tribe with dark smokes and fluttery lashes; right: She also does full bridal glam in all its glory

How to get lush lashes

False eyelashes are absolute essentials in most bridal makeup bags. Leigh Blaney, for one, is always equipped with a full range of three-quarter-length lashes, from natural to full glam.

If you’re looking to create a chic cat’s-eye, she suggests trying lashes that fan out from small to big. “These also suit almond eyes,” she added, “whereas fanned-out fluffy styles work great on round eyes.” Going for medium lashes that “open those peepers” is her advice for anyone with hooded eyes: you don’t want to highlight the part that is cowled.

Heidi McLachlan Makeup Artist agrees, adding that full lashes may not suit all eye shapes, such as hooded, but lashes are available in different forms to still give that flirty flutter: try individual lashes or three-quarter-length strips instead, she suggests.

Not everyone is comfortable using falsies, of course, and Mairi at Mairi MacDonald Makeup says that if brides (or their mothers) are intimidated by them, she goes for a three-quarter-length style as it is lighter on the eye and will be easier to wear.

It’s important to feel like the best version of yourself on your big day, so ultimately stick to a makeup look that will make you feel confident and beautiful.

A model showing off her green eyeshadow by Makeup by Danielle Dickson, right: A Makeup by Geo Kane bride
Left: Want to go for an eyeshadow that’s a bit out there? Danielle Dickson Makeup Artist shows us how it’s done (photo: Maja Janjowska Photography); right: I Do Makeup by Geo Kane uses full lashes for maximum (photo: Gail Photography)

Get those brows right

Your brows play a big part in defining your eyes and tying your bridal look together. Heidi McLachlan likes to keep things simple when doing bridal makeup, applying powder-based products to add some definition.

“I create brows according to your face shape,” she explains. “If yours is oval-shaped, I like to do soft angles and shallow arches, for example.” If your face is round, she would lift the arch to lengthen the face, but keep this shape flatter if your face is long. Love a strong brow? Heidi tells us this look works best on a square face, and it requires defined arches to add balance.

Left: Mairi MacDonald Makeup adds a touch of pink to this brides eyes; right: The Bride to Be shows less is more with this bridal look
Left: Mairi MacDonald Makeup keeps this eye look pretty in pink, and we love it!; right: Subtle eye looks can still pack a punch, as this one from The Bride to Be proves

A bride wearing glasses?

“If you want to wear glasses on your wedding day, I would simply ensure the eyes pop that bit more for impact,” Danielle Dickson tells us. Her top ways to do this are to use stronger eyeliner, put more shimmer on the lids or make the look more smokey. She would also apply eyeshadow under the lower lash line just to add some extra oomph.

“Be careful with the length of the lashes, though,” she warns. “If they’re too long, they will touch the wearer’s glasses, which can be very uncomfortable.”

This point is echoed by Mairi MacDonald, who uses three-quarter-length lashes so they don’t hit the lenses and remain nice and light on the eyes: “They are pretty and subtle, just giving that little something without being too crazy,” she adds.

Left: A newlywed couple by Honey and Violet Weddings; right: MAC Fast Response Eye Cream
Left: Honey and Violet Weddings shows how to keep dark smokey eyes decidedly bridal (photo: Julianne Whyte Photography); right: MAC Fast response eye cream

Prep makes perfect

A good skincare routine before the wedding is important, and Mairi MacDonald recommends using an eye cream to help keep the area hydrated. This will reduce the risk of eyeshadow creasing.

If your eyes are sensitive, and this is something that has crossed your mind before getting your face painted on your big day, Sheilanne Rose advises having a consultation with your MUA. “Speak to them prior to any products being used on sensitive skin. If you’ve already discovered products that work well, we would explore using these or something similar.” Latex-free eyelash glue is always an option too if a bride with sensitive eyes wanted to wear falsies.

If there’s a mascara that you use successfully already, Maureen Crolla suggests sticking with it. “Steer clear of any loose pigments and glitters to help avoid irritation too,” she tells us.

There’ll no doubt be plenty of happy tears on the big day, so best to keep that as the only thing that risks affecting your look!

Left: Charlotte Tilbury mascara; left: Eylure London false lashes
Left: Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Push Up Lashes! mascara; right: Eyelure Texture 117 lashes

Makeup to suit your eye shape

ALMOND: “Avoid smudgy kohl on your lower lashes, which will make eyes appear narrower, and steer clear of dark smokes that make the eyes look small,” Georgina Kane tells us. She suggests trying pastel pinks or browns instead. If smokes are what you’d prefer, she advises concentrating on the outer edges only, with eyeliner on the upper lid only so the eyes appear bigger.

HOODED: As hooded eyes tend to be narrower, Geo suggests avoiding black smokey looks and suggests browns or plums instead. Heidi McLachlan suggests keeping darker tones on the outer edges and use shimmer on the lid to open the eye. If you want to make your eyes appear even bigger, Geo’s top tip is to use white pencil liner on the lower lash line.

ROUNDED: Brides with rounded eyes should think about using lightweight falsies, according to Heidi, and applying a flick of liner for a sultry look and some sparkly pigments on the lid. Geo would opt for winged liner and neutral colours and believes simple eye makeup works best. Avoid anything too dark which will make eyes look hollow.

MONOLID: “Best to avoid thick liner if you have monolid eyes as this will get lost in your crease and give a tired look,” Geo tells us. She suggests a lighter colour (peach, light brown or coppery tones) on the outer edges instead. She likes adding individual lashes too. Heidi, though, believes that fluttery, multi-layered lashes will give a sexy look, so if this is what you want, give them a try.

UPTURNED: “If the outer corners of your eyes are higher than the inner ones, you want to concentrate on this area and use flared half-lashes to accentuate them,” Heidi tells us. Geo suggests you add a half liner to your lower lash line and join it to your winged liner for a half cat’s-eye look.

DOWNTURNED: Geo’s failsafe trick for downturned eyes is to play up the lower lash line. Adding slightly smoked makeup to the outer edges mimics upturned eyes and will give the look a lift. Avoid eyeshadow on the full lid (it can drag the eyes down, as can smokey eyes with a long flat wing) or false lashes which are thicker towards the ends (as these add weight to the outer corner).

Left: Brow setter from Benefit; right: Nude palette from Huda Beauty
Left: Benefit 24-hour brow setter; right: Huda Beauty Light Nude Obsessions palette