DIY Wedding Makeup

finished wedding makeup

Before leaving San Francisco, I made friends with the Hannah, the brilliantly creative lady behind the Dress Up Box. She’s a super talented makeup artist and offered to teach me some pointers about how to do my own makeup for my wedding. What follows is the process and some of the tips she shared with me. If you regularly wear makeup, this may be obvious to you, but as someone who considers under-eye concealer and lipstick to be a full face of makeup, I was very grateful to have such a talented lady point me in the right direction for my big day!

Dress Up Box Makeup

Hannah pulled out a giant makeup kit of mostly fancy high-end brand-name stuff. But, she promised that I could get the same effect from the random mish-mash of drug store products that I already owned. Hint 1: If you are recommended a brand name product, google the product with the word “dupe” and you’ll easily find tons of beauty blogs that will tell you a drug store equivalent. Hint 2: Fancy makeup counters will give you samples of anything that is liquid/gel/creme, so if you know you’ll only use it once or twice (i.e. on your wedding day), just ask for a sample!


Starting with my bare face, we applied lotion and then primer. Hint 3: If you have dry skin, many of the under-eye wrinkles can be made to disappear if you put Vaseline under your eyes before you sleep the few days before your event. Hint 4: There is no need to buy a fancy expensive makeup primer. For her professional kit, Hannah uses Monistat anti-chafing gel (covered in black tape so models can’t see what it actually is!) which goes on as a gel and dries into a smooth powder that will make your face a smooth and even surface for under your makeup. At my drug store, I was able to find an equivalent (Lanacane anti-chafing gel). Hint 5: If your eyebrows tend toward unruly, like mine, you might want to use some clear mascara on them to help tame them (which we didn’t have in this set of photos).


Next comes concealer and foundation. We used a strong pale concealer on my nose (since it is particularly bright and red), undereye concealer under my eyes (with a hint of yellow to balance out the purple circles) and then a light foundation across my face. Hint 6: Apply undereye concealer in a triangular shape, continuing down along the side of your nose instead of just in the circle under your eye.

blush apple banana

Next comes blush. Since I wanted my makeup to end up looking really subtle, we used a bronzer that barely added color back to my cheeks. Hint 7: For the perfect shaping to your blush, think apples (on the front of your cheeks) and bananas (going up your cheek bones).

finished eyeshadow

For eyeshadow, we used MAC paint pot in Rubenesque, and eye shadow in Nylon, both delicate gold colors. Then add some mascara. Hint 8: To make your eyes look bigger, concentrate the a light color on the inside of your eyes.

lipstick option 1

We tried a bunch of different lipsticks and ended up settling on our favorite combo as MAC subculture lip pencil and Burt’s Bees lip shimmer in Rhubarb which I buy at the drug store and always have in my purse because it’s super moisturizing with just a touch of color, perfect for my always-dry lips!

wedding makeup

Many thanks to Hannah for her awesome help! I tested out the tips and tricks that she taught me for our Santa Barbara mini-wedding and was delighted with the results. I still want to track down a few more of the specific products (or dupes) she recommended and maybe add a bit more color to my lips (I went with a different lipstick than our favorite from the test run) and certainly get some waterproof mascara (since I cried it off immediately!). Of course this makeup-newb welcomes any further hints any of you more experienced ladies might have, so please chime in with further suggestions!

Comments 4

  1. I love this post – makeup for noobs! I’ve developed a serious fascination for watching make up tutorials on youtube over the last few years – it’s nea to see how people work with it when they know what they are doing! You look lovely in every single pic – no-make up, makeup, and wedding day make-up, which is exactly as it should be! :)

  2. Sometimes dupes are worth it, other times it’s better to go for the real deal (for quality, and the luxe feeling you get from using them). Regarding monistat in particular, I used it for a while before reading this comparison post http://www.brightestbulbinthebox.com/2013/03/drugstore-dupes-to-test-smashbox-photo.html. Since then I tried wearing makeup with NO primer and it was indeed better than the monistat.

    I’d also recommend: setting sprays can make the makeup last a lot longer, and setting powder will “set” liquid foundation to reduce any shininess (if you’re prone to oil) and again, it’ll last longer.

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  3. You are very pretty! I stumbled upon your blog post when I googled “Burts Bees lip shimmer Rhubarb”. Thanks for the post!

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