No Such Thing as the Au Naturel Bride

Even brides that look natural have some help from discreet makeup.
Even brides that look natural have some help from discreet makeup.
Flying Colours Photography/Riser/Getty Images

Every bride wants to feel her most beautiful on her wedding day, but that doesn't mean you need to wear a mask of makeup that hides your face. Well-done wedding makeup highlights your natural beauty, concealing flaws and bringing out your best features, while still leaving you looking like you. Best of all, the natural look never goes out of style so you can feel beautiful not only on the day of the wedding, but also as you look back at your classic, timeless photos of the big day.

The best thing about going for a natural wedding-day look is that it doesn't take a ton of makeup talent or a bunch of fancy products. Much of the work takes place well before the wedding, and involves no makeup at all. For a gorgeous, glowing complexion, the most important thing you can do is treat your skin right in the weeks leading up to the wedding. That means eating well, working out and drinking plenty of water. A week before the wedding, get a facial to remove dead skin cells and moisturize daily for baby-soft skin.

Have your eyebrows groomed at least a week before the wedding, and soothe your eyes with cucumber slices or tea bags the morning of the ceremony. When you sit down to start prepping for the ceremony, your face will already look amazing, even before you unzip your makeup bag.

For flawless skin without the heavy caked-on makeup look, skip the layers of liquid foundation and powder in favor of more lightweight alternatives that even out skin tone without covering it up. Think dewy, mousse-textured foundation, tinted moisturizer and loose mineral powders that add just a hint of color. Cheek stains and cream blushes look more natural than powdered blush, but still give you that soft flush that looks great in photos. If you must wear powdered blush, pick a color just a shade or two darker than your skin, or choose the blush that most closely matches your natural flush.

Curl your eyelashes to open eyes up naturally, then add two coats of waterproof mascara. Skip the eyeliner unless you really can't live without it, or try "tightlining" your lashes by filling in the space between your lashes rather than lining the entire lid. When it's time to apply your eyeshadow, go with classic neutrals and earth tones in soft, matte shades—now is not the time for dramatic, smokey eyes. To make eyes stand out, apply an eyeshadow that complements your natural eye color. Think copper or gold tones for blue eyes, lilac or plum for green eyes and virtually any shade of brown for brown-eyed girls.

When you're choosing your lipstick for the big day, remember that going too bold can upstage your dress. Stick to neutral shades that match your natural lip color, or pick a sheer lip stain if you want a hint of color that doesn't overwhelm. Avoid clear gloss, which tends to be too shiny on camera and requires constant retouching.

To complete your natural wedding day look, polish your nails in a nude or neutral shade that matches your lip color. Want something a little more glam, yet still refined? You can never go wrong with a classic French manicure. If you prefer to avoid nail polish because of its chemical content, simply file your nails into your favorite shape then buff them until they shine.

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  • Naylor, Sharon.; DeLaubenfeld, Blair; Weber, Christy; and Bamberg, Kim. "The Bridal Bible." Lyons Press. 2012.
  • Monette Roberts, Anna. "5 Wedding Tips Every Bride Should Know." BellaSugar. June 27, 2012 (Sept. 26, 2012)
  • Moon, Louise. "The Natural Wedding." Rizzoli Universe Promotional Books. 2010.
  • Tague, Angela. "How to Create a Natural Look for Your Wedding." Daily Glow. May30, 2012. (Sept. 26, 2012)
  • Talip, Heini. "Wedding Makeup Tips for Natural Beauty." Daily Glow. August 30,2012. (Sept. 26, 2012)