25 Biggest Makeup Mistakes Brides Make

Your wedding is one of the most-photographed days of your life. Look your best in all those pictures by avoiding these common makeup mishaps.
By: 
Kristen Klein

11. Wearing a Foundation With SPF
Many formulas now include sun protection, which is wonderful for your everyday look. But on your wedding day, stick to a traditional foundation. The reason: "Some ingredients in the SPF formulas can cause the face to look white in flash photography," said Fuller. If you're going to be outdoors all day long, you can wear a sunscreen underneath your foundation, since that'll sink into your skin rather than sitting on top of it with the foundation, said Fuller. But do a couple of test shots before the big day to make sure that you're not left with a chalky complexion or a washed-out look, recommended Erica Bishop, makeup artist for Prescriptives.

12. Using Airbrush Foundation
Airbrush foundation can be "the bride's best friend" — if you're someone who doesn't need a lot of coverage. "The finish is very lightweight, so the bride won't feel as though she is wearing a mask," said Mary C. Rascon, director and owner of Cambio Salon and Day Spa. But if you need more coverage, you may want to stick with a traditional formula. "If there's an appearance of any smudge due to an accidental rub or too much perspiring, it's a problem to repair airbrush makeup," said Hope Henderson, makeup artist and founder of Beauty Mark.

13. Piling On the Foundation
"Many brides believe that they have to have a heavier foundation in order to look good in photographs, but in fact, it's the opposite," said Cohen. "To be able to see the skin glowing underneath, a sheer foundation creates an amazing close up beauty shot in bridal portraits." And piling on the makeup won't make it last longer. "Just be sure to use a good primer and follow with a medium coverage foundation," said Misha Shahzada of Artmix Beauty. Primer gives your foundation something to adhere to, helping it last all day long. It also minimizes the appearance of pores, giving you that porcelain look. Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation Primer is always a top choice among beauty pros. But you don't just need a facial primer — you also need an eye shadow primer to keep your shadow fresh and avoid creasing. Fuller recommends Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion.

14. Overdoing it with the Powder
Powder can be great for mattifying your look, but when used under your eyes, it can sink into any tiny wrinkles and magnify them. "The under eye area can end up looking dry in photos with too much makeup," said Giannoni. "To prevent this, you want to use very little powder under the eyes or skip it all together. The less powder, the better, to keep the under eye skin looking fresh and beautiful."

15. Skipping Body Makeup
Makeup doesn't end at your jaw line; Lauren Knuckles, professional makeup artist at Pucker, points out that it's important to even out your complexion on your décolletage and back as well, since these areas are on display in a wedding gown. And Cohen likes to sweep a gold shimmer powder along the collarbones: "It helps to light up the face."

16. Not Waterproofing All of Your Makeup
You already know to wear waterproof mascara. But you should also wear waterproof foundation. "As a bride, you are bound to shed a few tears," said Ludwig. "There is nothing worse than having streaks of black mascara running down your face or white streaks where your foundation came off." And when you do cry, don't wipe those tears — dab them instead. "Even if a bride does use waterproof makeup, consistently wiping her face of tears or sweat is going to completely destroy her makeup."

17. Not Giving Your Makeup Time to Set
Between each step of your makeup, give your makeup some time to dry. "Use a hair dryer set on the cool setting if time becomes an issue," said Giannoni. “Your makeup will last longer if you let each step dry before the next one.”

Also, never apply your foundation with your fingers. "Using your fingers brings bacteria, germs, and even sometimes fingerprints," said Nicole Zerafa, owner of Original Diva salon. "Using a sponge or brush will give your foundation a more natural look and will blend it more evenly into the skin."

18. Over-Tanning
A lot of brides try to get some extra sun during the week of the wedding. But remember that you are wearing white — "The contrast makes it look even more dramatic," said Zuena. And, of course, trying to get a natural tan means you run the risk of burning or getting tan lines, meaning that your makeup artist will need to spend extra time combatting those problems.

19. Getting a Spray Tan Too Close to the Wedding
Don't book your tanning session the day before the wedding; instead, build color gradually over several sessions in the weeks leading up to the big day. “Get the lightest shade possible, and let it build,” said Kelly. "This will let you test whether or not you like it, and you can control the evenness of the tan better." Plus, your faux tan needs time to set in — if you get it done the day before, you run the risk of it bleeding onto your gown, according to Kristin Alexander of Esoteric Events.

Worried about it wearing off before the big day? Giannoni recommends placing an "emergency touch-up appointment" on hold for the day before the wedding in case you end up with any streaks from your previous sessions.

20. The Mono-Tan Look
A spray tan often looks unnatural because it coats your body evenly with color; a natural tan simply doesn't work that way. Instead, opt for airbrush and ask your artist to skip your face on the last pass. "It doesn't look natural to have the entire face and eyelids all one deep tanned color," said Giannoni. "It's better to use a bronzer on the face to deepen the color of the complexion. The face and chest should match, but the center of the face should reflect light."

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