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Guest Blog Post by Clare Hogan – Freelance make up artist.

Your wedding day is probably one of the most important days of your life and every woman wants to feel and look amazing. Many girls grow up dreaming of how they will look on their wedding day and even those who don’t, once they become engaged start thinking of the big day and what they need to do to get ready. So I’ve put together a few points on how you can start planning so that your skin and wedding make-up will be just as perfect as the day itself!

6 Months To Go:

To start off, there is only so much magic we can do with make-up. The real secret to amazing skin is starting from within and get into good habits months ahead. One of my biggest tips is to start drinking plenty of water.  It’s a well-known fact that diet plays a huge role in achieving great skin so try keeping a bottle of water handy at all times. Also try to cut down on tea, coffee and alcohol as these can add to skin dehydration. If you don’t already, start eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, whole grains and protein such as chicken and fish and cut back on processed and sugary foods. This will be hard – speaking as a major chocaholic, I know – but once you see the benefits it will be worth it!

Get into the habit of cleansing, toning and moisturing your skin every day and night and exfoliate gently twice a week to get rid of any dead skin that can make your skin look dull. Don’t use anything too harsh though as it can actually irritate your skin and do more harm than good.

3 Months To Go:

I would recommend going for a couple of facials a few months before the big day. Apart from being great for pampering the skin, planning a wedding can be stressful and this can show on your skin so taking time out to relax will do you the world of good.

If you have any very dry area’s of skin, for example elbows or lips start using something like Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream on the area to really soften it and after a few weeks you should see a big difference.

If you haven’t already thought about this yet you should start deciding on the make-up look you’d like for your big day. Then decide if you’d like to hire a make-up artist, go to a make-up counter or do your make-up yourself.

Unless you are very sure you know you can achieve a flawless, long-lasting look by yourself I would recommend getting your make-up done by a professional. If you do this it is a good idea going for a trial. This is the only way to be completely sure you get the look you want and are comfortable with it on the day itself. If you plan on having a fake tan I would have this done for the trial also and if possible maybe have your hair trial the same day so you can see the whole look together. You get a much better idea then of what you might like to change. Have your make-up trial as early in the day as you can. This way you can see how it lasts throughout the day. There’s no real point having it done at 6 in the evening, going home and then taking it off as you won’t really get to see how it will perform for you on the day. I would also suggest taking some pics at the trial. Sometimes you might think you look over done or not done enough but in photographs you will get a much better idea or how you might look in your wedding photographs.

Have your eyebrows shaped around this time too so you get a shape you’re happy with and can maintain up to the day or if you’re growing your eyebrows this will give them time to grow.

 The Day Before:

Don’t have any treatments such as facials or waxing done the day before your wedding, especially if you haven’t had them before. The last thing you want is to have a reaction or break out in spots and you have to hide it.

Make sure you get a good sleep that night also, or even a couple of nights before if possible, so you’re bright-eyed and fresh in the morning. The mornings can be chaotic and you need to be able to cope with anything the day throws at you. If you’re tired and stressed you’re more likely to worry over small things and not enjoy the day as much.

 The Big Day:

If you can, eat a good breakfast which is high in protein such as scrambled egg with a couple of rashers or a yummy omelette with some fruit rather than breads or cereals. This will keep you feeling fuller for longer and give you the energy you need for the morning ahead.

Have your skin cleansed and moisturised ready for your make-up artist although most artists will do this for you before they get to work.

Wear a top that opens down the front so that when your hair and make-up is done you just have to slip it off to get dressed and don’t have to pull anything over your head.

I would allow 45mins to 1hour for your make-up to be done. If you have bridesmaids and guests that need their make-up done as well take all this into account. A good idea is to have a timetable worked out so that you give everyone plenty of time and leave some time at the end for any touch ups.

Have an area of good natural light free for having your make-up done as this what the make-up artist will need to work at their best or if you’re doing your own make-up this will make it easier for you to see what you’re doing.

If you’re using a sun screen don’t use one that’s too high a factor as this can cause your face to look white in flash photography.

Use products appropriate for your skin type. If your skin is oliy you might need a primer to matify the skin and you may not need to use a moisturiser as well, as this could be too much moisture for your skin and make it too oily. If you have dry skin use products that are moisturing and don’t make your skin feel tight.

If you have redness in certain area’s like your cheeks or nose, use a primer with green in it such as Smashbox. The green balances out the red in your skin making you skin colour look more even.

Pick a foundation that matches your skin colour perfectly. If you like to look sun-kissed or tanned don’t use your foundation to achieve this, you can use bronzer later. Also, your foundation should only be used to even out your skin tone and not hide any marks or blemishes, that is what concealer is for.

Use a concealer the same colour as your foundation to hide any imperfections on the chin, around your nose or on any spots or imperfections you might have but use a lightweight, creamy concealer under your eye’s to hide any dark circles. You can go a shade lighter here but not too light or you’ll look too white in your photographs.

A little light reflecting product around the under eye such as YSL Touche Eclat will make you look more awake. A lot of women use this as a concealer which it’s not, it actually has the opposite effect so make sure you are using it as a highlighter not a concealer.

Use a lightweight, translucent powder to set your foundation and concealer where needed.

Waterproof mascara is a good idea for any bride. Even if you’re not usually one for tears it’s always good to be prepared just in case!

If you’re wearing false lashes, use an eyelash curler first so that the lashes sit perfectly with your own. You can then apply another coat of mascara on top so they sit seamlessly. I normally use individual lashes. They look much more natural and last longer than the strip lashes because they sit between rather than on top of your own lashes.

I’m a huge fan of eyebrows and I think they really frame the face so use a matt eyeshadow or eyebrow pencil, the same colour as your hair, to fill in any gaps and define the brows. The difference will be amazing!

A little shimmery highlighter looks gorgeous on brides, dusted on the top of the cheeks and blended into your blusher or along your colar bone and shoulders but be careful not to use to much as the flash photography will pick it up. Equally, don’t go for anything glittery on your eye’s, as much as we ladies love a bit of glitter, this will just look awful in your photographs. As a general rule, a little shimmer is ok, glitter is a no, no!

Neutral or pale lip colours tend to look washed out in photographs so go for something a little brighter than you would normally wear. Pinks, plums and rose colours work really well on brides and make your teeth look whiter too. Corals are another beautiful option if you don’t like pinks. To make sure your lip colour lasts longer use a lip liner. Fill in the whole lip as well as lining them so they look flawless and there’s no visible line.

The aim of your make-up is to make you feel and look like yourself only better so don’t go for a drastic change in what you’re used to. If you normally wear very strong make-up then going very light and understated will feel wrong for you, while if you never wear make-up going for a strong eye and dark lips will be far too overpowering for you. Play up your best features, whether it’s your big brown eye’s or fabulous Angelina Jolie lips. You want people to say how amazing you look… your features should do the talking, not the make-up!

Ultimately, you want to feel amazing and happy on your big day and while your make-up artist will be there to give you advice on what will look good and show you how to achieve it, only you know yourself what you want. If you’re not happy with what they have suggested don’t be afraid to say so and work together to get you the look that you love!

One last tip is to have one of your bridesmaids or friends carry a little emergency kit around on the day. Have a lipstick or lipgloss, blush, blotting paper or some powder – if you tend to get shiny, a couple of cotton buds for teary eye’s or touch ups and maybe a little sewing kit, a needle and thread will do, for those hem/button emergencies!

I hope some, if not all of these tips and advice will help you through the preparation for your big day and make looking your best even easier, then all you have to worry about is enjoying the day and taking all the compliments from your guests 🙂

Happy Planning x

Clare Hogan is a freelance make-up artist based in Dublin. She is available for weddings, parties and special occasions. Check out her website at or email her at


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