The 12 bridal beauty commandments

Experts lay down the law on w-day hair and beauty prep and share their can’t-live-without products

Georgina Kane of I Do Makeup by Geo Kane has given this bride a gorgeous glowing look (photo: The Gibsons)

1. Be prepared for your makeup trial

“I always advise my brides to come to their makeup trial well prepared,” says Georgina Kane, makeup artist and owner of  I Do Makeup by Geo Kane. “It’s worth creating a moodboard on Pinterest of the styles of makeup you like, as seeing something you already love will give me a good starting point. I find that a lot of brides struggle to put into words what they’re looking for and what they really like, so having a visual representation of your bridal aesthetic can be a real help.”

2. Avoid waxing in the week before the big day

“I always ask my brides if they are planning on having any facial waxing carried out before their wedding day, as it’s important to schedule this for the right time,” continues Georgina. “Waxing appointments should be out of the way at least a week before the big day. It only happens very rarely, but things can go wrong and you could be left with less hair than you’d planned on losing, or even suffer friction burns. Waxing strips everything from the surface of the skin, which can result in makeup not adhering as well as it should. Allowing a few days for everything to settle means makeup will glide on much more easily.”

Amanda McCarthy Professional Makeup Artist created this dreamy bridal look (Photo: Jodie Mann)

3. Begin with a good skincare routine

“I cannot stress enough how important it is to invest in your skin,” says Amanda McCarthy, the talent behind Amanda McCarthy Professional Makeup Artist. “We all deserve radiant skin, especially on what’s going to be one of the biggest days of your life. I would recommend a routine of daily cleansing, toning and moisturising. This will mean your makeup artist is only enhancing your beauty, as your skin will be well nourished. Also, make sure you up your water consumption: this can improve the tone and texture of your skin. I know this can sound tedious, so I can of course allow my brides to factor in the occasional glass of prosecco too!”

4. Book a bridal trial six to eight weeks before the wedding

“I feel it’s important to plan a bridal trial a couple of months before your wedding,”says Irene Clare of I-C Makeup. “The reason I recommend this is because your skin may need some attention, your eyebrows may require some work, or you could be strapped for time in the lead-up to the day. By giving yourself a significant amount of time to address your concerns, you can sort out any problem areas you may have before you’re in front of the photographer. For example, if you are having some difficulties with your skin, you’ll have time to treat yourself to a facial and give your complexion a chance to recover.”

5.  Bring three looks to your trial

“By having more than one look in mind, you’ll give your makeup artist a far better feel for what you like and the style you’re going for,” explains Kim Boyd of Kim Boyd Makeup Artist. “Your makeup artist should be prepared to spend as long as necessary trying out different looks until you are completely happy – that is what a trial is for. I’ll block off three hours for a bridal trial so we can have a proper in-depth chat about skincare, allergies and sensitivities, and I’ll still have plenty of time to experiment with different looks.”

6. Prep hair correctly the day before the wedding trial

“When you’re coming for your bridal hair trial appointment, it’s best to prep your hair exactly as you would for the big day. For this, I’d suggest either going to a salon to have it washed and blowdried the night before your appointment, or doing the same yourself at home. Preparing your hair like this, and using the same products you plan on using before the wedding, will allow your stylist to recreate the look the way you want and means you’ll achieve the same results for your day,” suggests Jasmin French of JasminFrench Makeup & Blowdry Lounge.

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A dusting of MAC Blot Powder will cancel out any shine, according to the team at Mitchell and Macinnes Makeup.
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Leslie Sneddon uses Laura Mercier’s Nourishing Face Oil on herself as well as her brides.
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Lipcote really works a treat at ensuring lipstick stays put,” says Katie Hellier.
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Amanda McCarthy shares her secret weapon for glowing skin: “Caudalie Beauty Elixir offers amazing results.” 
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Jasmin French loves L’Oréal Techni Art Pli spray as it lifts hair from the root and provides great hold.
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7. Don’t make any drastic changes to your regular style

“When my brides are thinking about their wedding makeup, I always recommend they avoid completely overhauling their regular routine,” says Katie Hellier, an expert in bridal makeup, and the name behind Katie Hellier Makeup Artist. “You want to look and feel like the best version of yourself, I always remind them, so don’t alter your look for one day because you won’t feel comfortably yourself. In other words, if you are used to wearing a bold lip colour or a winged eyeliner, why change it? Go ahead and rock it! On the other hand, if you don’t wear a lot of makeup day to day, I would suggest opting for a more subtle look to enhance your natural features, not hide them.”

Leslie Sneddon Makeup Artistry demonstrates the art of perfect eyebrows and subtle contouring (photo: Rachael Sture)

8. Don’t fear bridal prep

“Bridal prep, although scary for some, really shouldn’t be. It is easy to get the best out of your skin,” claims Leslie Sneddon of Leslie Sneddon Makeup Artistry. “I recommend starting a few months before the wedding, beginning from the inside out. It’s not a cliché – what goes in the body really does show on the outside. So eat plenty of veg and drink lots of water. I also recommend investing in a high-quality multivitamin and skin supplement. Exfoliation is super-important too, as when you use a good product on your skin every couple of days, you remove daily grease and dead skin cells, and that allows makeup to sit beautifully on the skin.”

9. Get your hair trimmed regularly

“Regular trims are especially important if you’re growing your hair long, or if you’re growing out layers, as it will help to keep split ends to a minimum and will go a long way towards keeping hair healthy,” says Lisa McAllister, the creative force behind Lisa McAllister Make Up & Hair Artistry. “If, by the time your date draws near, you feel your hair isn’t as long as you’d like, there are lots of hair extension choices out there. These can really help to give the desired length and volume.”

10. Book two bridal trials

“I’ve known some brides who booked two trials in order to find the right look for their wedding,” adds Lisa, who does bridal hair and makeup. “Not only does this alleviate some of the stress of planning, by allowing you to get organised ahead of time, but it’s a great excuse to have your hair and makeup done and to enjoy feeling pampered. It’ll give you a good reason to go for a night out with friends too! The closer you get to your date, the trickier it can be to find time for a trial, so I’d suggest booking the second of the two no later than two months before the day, so you can relax in the knowledge that it’s all sorted.”

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Lush’s Sugar Lip Scrub is “great for dry chapped lips”, according to Irene Clare of I-C Makeup.
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MAC Prep + Prime Moisture Infusion is wonderful if you have dry skin. It’s a lightweight serum so you don’t have to worry about heavy creams,” says Kim Boyd.
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Charlotte Tilbury’s lipstick in shade Pillow Talk is Lisa McAllister’s fave
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Kiehl’s Daily Reviving Concentrate is a wonder product for the skin,” says Georgina Kane.
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KMS’s Tame Frizz helps to smooth and nourish the ends of your hair and features in Lisa McAllister’s kit
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11. Use the right products for long-lasting payoff

“The key to makeup that lasts all day is to begin with skincare.” Those wise words come from Rhona and Sarah Jane, the team at the helm of Mitchell and Macinnes Makeup. “Use a quality moisturiser to keep the skin well hydrated – it’ll give a flawless finish. For the lips, a primer such as MAC Prep and Prime Lip will help keep your lipstick on longer, and its smooth texture means that lipstick will glide on. When your makeup is complete, a setting spray such as Urban Decay Allnighter is a must for ensuring it lasts all day and into the night.”

12. Treat yourself to frequent facials

“To get your skin in tip-top condition (i.e. the best base for achieving a pristine, airbrushed look), book in for regular facials in the run-up to your wedding,” advises Kim Boyd. “A first-rate facialist is worth their weight in gold when it comes to wedding skin. I’d recommend starting having regular appointments at least six months ahead of your big day. For even better results, avoid using new makeup or skincare products close to your date, just in case you suffer an allergic reaction or any sensitivity to the new formula. The last thing you want is a breakout – followed by the stress of having a breakout!”