Wearing a wedding dress that shows a little more skin than usual? Don't worry: your makeup artist has you covered - literally!

From temporarily ‘erasing’ tattoos to making your limbs glow, here’s what you need to know about body makeup. 

Although we always encourage loving yourself in your own skin (RuPaul’s famous catchphrase springs to mind here), we know how difficult it can be to practise what you preach. There’s no quick-fix, fake-it Instagram filter to ‘perfect’ the skin you’ll have on display come the big day, so what do makeup artists recommend?

“We are increasingly being asked about body makeup,” divulges pro MUA Nadine Grant. “Brides want their day to be flawless in every way, and many are looking to cover up tattoos, scars, bruises and birthmarks.”

Hiding imperfections and tattoos

Body makeup can largely be divided into two categories: products to conceal and products to enhance. The former are often employed to hide tattoos, as renowned Glasgow-based makeup artist Leigh Blaney explains: “Although tattoos are incredibly popular these days, some brides want to ‘erase’ their inkings just for one day, particularly designs on the arms or the chest area,” she says.

“Most of my clients still like their tats but just feel they don’t go with the style of dress they’ve chosen. And in some cases, unfortunately, they’ll be doing so under pressure from their mums who prefer a more classic look.”

“My work will depend on the size of the tattoo, the depth of colour and the position on your body. For a medium size, it can take 30 to 40 minutes, while covering a sleeve or full-chest tattoo can be up to an hour and a half. It all needs to be discussed beforehand – it can’t just be brought up on the wedding day itself.” Leigh can also reduce the appearance of any other skin markings you might be self-conscious about, so it’s worth having a chat about it at your trial.

Get a body and limb glow up

As is the case for the face, body makeup is as much about enhancing as it is concealing, so there are various ways to flatter on-display areas. “I get a lot of brides asking for some bronzer or highlighter on areas they want to stand out, like the chest or shoulders,” says Georgina Kane of Ayrshire-based I Do Makeup by Geo Kane. “I’d usually use a cream product with an iridescent sheen to it. A shimmer dry oil is also nice to give some luminosity.”

Or, if you’ve got legs to rival Taylor Swift’s and have picked a dress to show them off, give them some extra attention. “My new go-to product for this is Vita Liberata Body Blur: it’ll make your pins look flawless, and it is a great addition to my kit,” says Nadine Grant.

“I carry a product in my kit especially for legs – it’s almost like a spray-on foundation for limbs,” says Trisha Cameron, a makeup artist based in the north east of Scotland. “It smooths and covers any imperfections.”

So far, so glowing – but we know what you’re thinking: how can you prevent product transfer onto your pristine ivory gown? “I gently set with a fine powder and spritz a setting mist over,” reveals Georgina. “However, nothing is guaranteed not to transfer, so I do this sparingly and only at the discretion of the bride.”

Fake it til you make it

Now, let’s talk tan: should you? And if so, when? If you’re tempted, the first thing to say is avoid the sunbed – it’s not worth the risk. Book yourself in for a fake tan run-through, just as you would with bridal makeup. “Have a trial,” Geo stresses. “Go to a reputable professional who specialises in bridal – you want to avoid patchy, green-tinged results at all costs. And always prep your skin by moisturising and exfoliating in the lead-up.”

For those who prefer to DIY, we’d suggest applying it two days before your wedding to allow it to settle.

Look after yourself and it will show

It goes without saying that one of the most effective ways to look after your body is simply to indulge in regular self-care as you approach the wedding date. “Exfoliate gently, body polish and moisturise,” Leigh suggests. “And look after your skin, body and mind, with plenty of water, sleep and relaxation. A healthy diet will also boost the appearance of your skin, hair and nails.”

And remember, no matter what makeup you apply, nothing will make your bod shine in pictures like confidence. Own it, sister!

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