Big-day makeup: Your guide to a timeless look

Beauty guru Jenna Moore interprets the latest makeup trends for a bridal beauty palette that’s as romantic as it is timeless

  • Story by Photo Carolyn Haslett

Besides the drop-dead gorgeous gown and stunning ’do, one of the non-negotiable elements of your big day is picture-perfect makeup that will stand the test of time.

Referencing current trends allows you to create an up-to-the-minute look, but the key is to choose a palette that will appear chic in photos after 10, 20 or even 30 years. Earthy, romantic tones will enhance your natural beauty and project an image of healthy radiance: think glowing skin, long, dark lashes, well-defined eyebrows, and well conditioned, peachy pink- or coral-coloured lips.

Flawless Skin

It’s not news that to attain a beautiful complexion, drinking two litres of water a day should be on your agenda. But so should getting six to eight hours of sleep each night, cleansing twice a day, exfoliating twice a week and using a weekly mask that’s specifically formulated for your skin type.
On the day of your wedding, apply moisturiser half an hour before your base. This will give it time to absorb and will ensure your foundation stays in place. Next, apply a primer to help your makeup last longer and to create a smooth finish.
Apply foundation to your entire face using your preferred method, whether that’s your fingers, brush or sponge. Don’t forget to extend the coverage to your neck and décolletage. Use concealer on blemishes, and a shade slightly lighter than your skin tone under the eyes to eliminate shadows.
Finish off your look by lightly sweeping translucent powder or bronzer over your face to ‘set’ your makeup and remove any shine. Too much powder can result in a ‘made-up’ look – fresh, dewy skin is the objective.
TIP: Avoid using foundations or sunscreens with a high SPF as they can create a ‘Casper’ effect in photos. Look for photo-ready products that have been formulated with ingredients which combat this.


Long, lush lashes paired with well-groomed brows are all the rage this season – and with good reason, as they highlight your eyes and create a striking effect on any face. The perfect brows are neither too thin nor too thick, and clean-lined, with a well-defined arch. The best way to achieve this is to see a professional beauty therapist at least three months prior to your wedding. To maintain the shape, visit a salon once a month or pluck them yourself, keeping to the brow line and never plucking from the top. Book your final shaping about two days before your bridal debut to avoid redness or swelling on the day. When it comes to makeup, use an eyeshadow or brow powder (this is easier to use and has a softer effect than a pencil) and an angled brush to define brows. A taupe shade suits most brows.


Luscious lashes are one of beauty’s holy grails. To obtain them for your bridal look, try this three-step approach:

1. Curl lashes using an eyelash curler to help open up your eyes.

2. Apply a coat of primer to create a thicker, longer base for mascara to adhere to.

3. Brush on two coats of mascara to give your eyes extra impact.

By applying lash renewal serum nightly, you’ll give lashes a boost of nutrients to encourage growth. For an instant ‘Wow’ effect, consider semi-permanent extensions – which last about eight weeks – or self-adhesive false eyelashes. TIP: Tears of joy are bound to make an appearance on your wedding day, so select a water-resistant mascara – and give it a test run before the day arrives.


A subtle sweep of blush will add vibrancy to your skin and define your cheekbones. Wearing whites can wash out faces in photos, so aim for a depth of colour in makeup. Choose a hue that complements your lip palette: peachy tones if you’re wearing corals and orange-based lip shades, and a pink blush to match blue-based pinks and reds. Powder formulations give a matte finish (a must for oily skin) and creamy textures create a dewy flush. Sweep powder along cheekbones with a blusher brush, or use fingertips to dab cream on the apples of cheeks before blending.


With bold brows and lashes taking centre-stage, a single-colour eye shade in various opacities is all you’ll need to make those peepers pop. Blend a palette of nudes, peaches or pewters all over the eye socket and into the contour to make an impact. Try to stick to matte shades, as glitter and overly shimmery eyeshadows can be too reflective in photographs. With the plethora of colours available this season, it shouldn’t be hard.
If you want to use some of the stronger colours that are making waves this season such as purple, turquoise and green, go lightly. One way to wear them is as a subtle accent, by dampening the shadow and applying as you would an eyeliner. This technique gives a touch of colour that will last for the entire celebration. For an easier option, use a soft-textured water-resistant pencil.
TIP: White pencil applied to the eye rim can make eyes appear bigger and brighter.


Many brides opt for muted, soft lip shades, but may run the risk of looking washed out. By all means go for pretty, but choose pinks, roses and plum shades with a bit of depth. One less-than-predictable hue that’s making waves this season is coral – as a more fresh and vibrant take on peach. You may opt for all-out glamour and go for a bright version of this hue, or even red. Bear in mind that bold lips mean eyes should be subtle, so both features won’t be competing for attention. TIP: Wearing gloss, balm or lipstick is a personal choice, but whichever option you choose will require longevity. Use a long-lasting neutral- coloured lip pencil, and fill in the entire lip area, topping with your gloss, balm or lipstick. It’s a fabulous little trick that will make any lip formula last the distance.

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