Skip To Content

    I Did My Own Wedding Makeup And I Couldn't Have Been Happier

    🎶Goin’ to the chapel and I’m / Gonna do my makeup myself 🎶

    It was about two months before my wedding, and I’d put off finding a makeup artist. I’ve always enjoyed doing my own makeup and felt fairly confident that I could do my own wedding day look myself, so I went for it.

    Ryan Greenleaf / Via ryangreenleaf.com

    I’ve also never loved how my makeup has turned out when I’ve had other people do it for me. After watching a dozens of bridal makeup tutorials on YouTube, I decided I could save some money and skip hiring a professional. I set out researching products, which required lots of product testing (shoutout to Sephora for its amazing return policy), watching makeup tutorials, and spending hours online scouring product reviews and sleuthing on Reddit’s /r/MakeupAddiction thread. After testing out A LOT of products, I found my ultimate wedding day makeup kit for a classic bridal look that would last all day yet wouldn’t be too heavy for my outdoor spring wedding.

    On average, professional makeup artists will charge anywhere from $115 to upwards of $200 depending on your location, so after purchasing these products I essentially spent more money than it would’ve cost to hire someone to do my makeup. However, I genuinely enjoyed being able to curate these products and apply them myself.

    I went into my wedding day knowing I’d love how everything looked, and when I got my wedding portraits back I was glad that I still looked like myself.

    Ryan Greenleaf / Via ryangreenleaf.com

    I wouldn’t recommend doing your own makeup for your wedding day unless you’re already quite confident in your makeup application skills. For many people, hiring a professional is the way to go! But if you want complete control over the products used and the overall look, it’s worth considering doing your makeup yourself.

    Another perk is that you get to keep all the products you’ve purchased and can use many of them regularly for everyday looks, so consider it an investment!

    Anna Rietz

    Below, all the products I used:

    1. This Esarora Ice Roller is amazing for de-puffing your under-eyes after a restless night (or one too many late-night cocktails).

    amazon.com

    Okay, this isn’t technically a makeup product, but I had to include it! I didn’t get much sleep the night before and woke up with some serious bags under my eyes. I grabbed this out of the freezer and ran it over my entire face to de-puff. I’d tried different face rollers in the past that seemed more gimmicky than they were useful, but because this one is frozen it really does help minimize the puffy, tired look. Truly, this might be the best $12 I’ve ever spent on Amazon.

    Get it from Amazon for $11.99 (available in eight colors).

    2. Smashbox’s Photo Finish Primer minimizes pores and provides your skin with a matte finish with one quick swipe.

    sephora.com

    I wanted to prime my face with something that would mattify my T-zone and minimize the look of my pores. This primer has been on the market for years and had awesome reviews. It gave me a perfect base to apply my makeup and helped keep it in place for the full day. The formula is a clear gel, so it will work with any skin tone.

    Get it from Sephora for $36.

    3. Charlotte Tilbury’s Hollywood Flawless Filter is somewhere between a primer and foundation, and helps create a subtle glow without the use of glittery flecks.

    sephora.com

    I wanted something that would give my skin that “lit from within” glow, so I applied this slightly tinted, luminescent liquid product in a light layer over my entire face for a subtle glowy base. (I love that it doesn’t have chunky glitter flecks, like some luminating products do.)

    Get it from Sephora for $44 (available in seven shades).

    4. This Estée Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Foundation is a phenomenal full-coverage product that's lightweight and stays in place (hence the name) flawlessly for hours.

    Ryan Greenleaf / Via ryangreenleaf.com

    I’d read that a lot of makeup artists have this foundation in their kits to use on brides who need full coverage that will last a solid eight-plus hours. I tested this foundation a few times, wearing it to work or on weekends when I’d be outside in the heat. It really is the holy-grail foundation for all-day wear! It stayed in place from the 4 p.m. ceremony until the end of the night (pictured above!) and I didn’t have to worry about touch-ups. The slightly matte finish doesn’t look heavy or cakey like other long-wearing foundations I’d tried. It also comes in an impressive 56 shades and is both fragrance-free and oil-free.

    Get it from Sephora for $42 (available in 56 shades).

    5. To brighten my under-eyes and other center points of my face, I used the incredibly smooth NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer.

    sephora.com

    I’d used this concealer a few years back and had forgotten how good it was! I tested different shades and used one that was a few shades lighter than my foundation. I specifically wanted a concealer that wouldn’t crease under my eyes, and this stayed fairly smooth throughout the day.

    Get it from Sephora for $30 (available in 30 shades).

    6. Milk’s Matte Bronzer can be used for effective contouring and sets beautifully no matter what makeup is underneath.

    sephora.com

    I already had this product and had been using it when I wanted to do a more chiseled cream contour. I love this stick bronzer in the shade Deep Bronze because it’s a very neutral color (not too warm or cool toned). I used an angled foundation brush from the Sephora Skin Perfecting Brush Set to apply it to my forehead and just under my cheekbones. Since it’s a matte bronzer, it set beautifully and didn’t move the foundation I’d already applied.

    Get it from Sephora for $24.

    7. I wanted something that would make my under-eyes look almost airbrushed — and Laura Mercier’s Secret Blurring Powder came in clutch.

    sephora.com

    I wanted something that would make the under-eyes look almost airbrushed and this product came in clutch. It looks white in the pan but goes on translucent and makes your skin look like you’ve used the FaceTune “blurring” function but IRL. I cannot recommend enough for smooth, bright under-eyes!

    Get it from Sephora for $28 (available in two shades).

    8. Hourglass’s Veil Translucent Setting Powder was a product I’d already been using, and I knew it would be great for the soft, glowy look that I was going for.

    sephora.com

    I wanted my liquid makeup to be set in place, but I didn’t want an overly mattified look. I also needed something that wouldn’t have flashback in photos. This setting powder has “diamond powder” to refract the light but it’s not overly shimmery. I did have to touch up my powder once just before the reception after being in the sun for a few hours. It made my skin look healthy and vibrant but not powdery.

    Get it from Sephora for $20+ (available in mini and full sizes).

    9. Though I’d already used a liquid bronzer in a neutral shade to contour, I used Physicians Formula Butter Bronzer liberally over my cheeks and forehead to deepen those areas.

    amazon.com

    I’ve loved this bronzer for years now and didn’t even bother trying to find a better powder bronzer for my wedding day. “Buttery” perfectly describes the application. I knew this product wouldn’t look muddy or patchy on my skin in the daylight. It has a very slight shimmer, similar to the finish of the Hourglass Veil Translucent Setting Powder.

    Get it from Ulta for $15.99 (available in six shades) or Amazon for $8.26 (available in four shades).

    10. Charlotte Tilbury’s Cheek to Chic Blush has finely crushed pearls that capture the light beautifully and made the apples of my cheeks flushed and healthy-looking.

    sephora.com

    I’m a big fan of Milani’s Baked Blush in Luminoso, but wanted to find a similar shade that had slightly less shimmer in it. I kept seeing this Charlotte Tilbury blush mentioned in reviews and tutorials, so I tried out a few different shades and found Love Glow, a pinky peach blush that’s super-pigmented. (Also, okay, I may have been a sucker for the name “Love Glow” for my wedding day.)

    Get it from Sephora for $40 (available in seven shades).

    11. Rather than using a bling-y highlighter, I opted for Hourglass’s Ambient Lighting Powder, a subtle “lighting powder” to apply to the high points of my face.

    sephora.com

    The shade I used, a natural peach beige, gave my skin a warm golden-hour glow but didn’t highlight the texture on my face. I used this on my cheekbones, cupid’s bow, top of my forehead, and the tip my of nose, and also brushed some on my shoulders and collarbone to make them pop just a bit.

    Get it from Sephora for $24+ (available in mini and full sizes, and in five shades).

    12. The NARS Voyageur Eyeshadow Palette Mini contains super-pigmented shades — three matte and three shimmery — that blend together seamlessly.

    sephora.com

    I used this warm-toned palette in Copper for a natural, coppery eye look. It didn’t have any “fallout” in the under-eye area (but to be safe with any eyeshadow, you can always apply these shields under your eyes to prevent the powder from getting on your face). I’m not great at creating elaborate eyeshadow looks, but since I stuck to this simple color palette, it turned out beautiful and just a bump up from how I’d do my everyday eye makeup. I applied the matte saddle color to the crease and used the metallic rust bronze shimmer over the lid, then applied the more golden shade to the corners of my eyes and along my brow bone. I specifically chose a warm-toned palette that didn’t include colors that were too dark or smoky.

    Get it from Sephora for $32 (available in three color options).

    13. This Stila Cosmetics Stay All Day Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is a holy-grail product that applies smoothly and will survive even the teariest of teary wedding days.

    BuzzFeed Reviews

    I was terrified that I’d mess up my liquid eyeliner the day of the wedding so I searched YouTube for “foolproof liquid eyeliners” and saw this product frequently mentioned. (It also happens to be a BuzzFeed Reviews pick for Best Liquid Eyeliner!) The shape of the applicator tip made it easy to give a small winged flick and it went on smooth and matte just above my lash line. I also loved that it was waterproof for the teary parts of the day. I used the dark brown shade rather than black for a softer look with my warm eyeshadow.

    Get it from Sephora for $22 (available in eight colors).

    14. Charlotte Tilbury’s Lip Cheat Lip Liner is so smooth and creamy — I used it as an all-over base for my lip color.

    sephora.com

    The shade Pillow Talk is just a bit darker than my natural lip shade and made for a beautiful, timeless lip color that would pull together the entire face. I used it all over my lip, not just the lip lines, as the base of my lip color for the day. I did have to apply it again after dinner but the waterproof color wore beautifully and didn’t feather my lip line throughout the night. I still wear this liner all the time and now want to buy more shades.

    Get it from Sephora for $22 (available in 15 colors).

    15. This L’Oreal Paris Colour Riche Lipcolour provides a beautiful satin finish and uses vitamin E and argan oil to moisturize your lips.

    amazon.com, Ryan Greeleaf / Via ryangreenleaf.com

    I tried a ton of different nude lipsticks for my skin tone and found this amazing formula and color (Fairest Nude) at the drugstore — it paired perfectly with the liner I used. My lips felt hydrated and not too cakey after reapplying a few times throughout the night. The Color Riche line has over 40 shades and plenty of nude colors for different skin tones.

    Get it from Amazon for $5.67 (available in 49 colors).

    16. Glossier’s Boy Brow gave just enough color output to fill in a few small patchy areas in my brows, but I mostly love the small, spooly brush that lets you shape your eyebrows quickly with a few strokes.

    glossier.com

    My brows are already pretty full, so I needed a product that would brush them into place for the day. This product has its own cult following so I gave it a try and have been hooked daily ever since.

    Get it from Glossier for $16 (available in four colors).

    17. And finally: Urban Decay’s All Nighter Long-Lasting Setting Spray kept my makeup perfectly locked in place until the end of the night.

    sephora.com

    Of all of the products I used, this was the one I was relying on the most to make sure my makeup stayed in place throughout the day. In all my research, this product kept coming up as the best setting spray on the market (it’s got five stars from over 9,000 reviews on Sephora!). I sprayed a pretty generous amount just before I had to take portrait photos and IT. CAME. THROUGH.

    Get it from Sephora for $15+ (available in mini and full sizes).

    (Also: I had eyelash extensions for the wedding so didn’t apply any mascara.)

    TL;DR: If you choose to do your own makeup for your wedding or another big special occasion, sure, you may not necessarily want to use all of the products above, but they all come highly recommended by me, a real-life human who took on the challenge and went through a ton of trial and error.

    Ryan Greenleaf / Via ryangreenleaf.com

    And if you’ve already done your own wedding look, congratulations — and let us know your favorite products in the comments!