What makeup do I need for an outdoor wedding?
June 20, 2012 10:42 AM   Subscribe

I'd like foundation and makeup strong enough to look good in photos from an outdoor wedding, but easy enough for a novice to apply. Do you have suggestions?

I'm almost a complete makeup novice -- I typically don't wear any, but can do a decent job of applying eyeliner, mascara, and eye shadow. I'm getting married outdoors in August, and would like to wear makeup for photos and whatnot, but am also worried I will be sweating my face off. Can you recommend a good lightweight foundation that won't clog pores and won't sweat off? Will any old waterproof mascara do? Are there things I should be focusing on, to look good in photos? Thanks!
posted by lillygog to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (37 answers total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
DiorSkin Forever. Stays on, even in south Florida heat and humidity.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 10:47 AM on June 20, 2012

There is no foundation that universally won't clog pores and won't sweat off. I recommend going to a department store or Sephora, explaining exactly what you want, and trying (both for the formula and the shade).

Waterproof mascara doesn't work for me-- it smudges, and I need to wear Japanese fiber-based waterproof mascara-- but if it does for you, then it should be fine. Maybe think about getting an eyelash curler too.
posted by acidic at 10:49 AM on June 20, 2012

I would really recommend that you go to a Bare Escentuals store during the week (this is key to avoid crowds), and they will help you out. For eye makeup, they draw a map of what goes where on your eye. I have had sweat streaming down my face, but my B.E. makeup is intact in photos. I also recommend Lancome waterproof mascara.

I have very oily skin and both the B.E. and the mascara were recommended by a friend. The B.E. in particular has had dramatic effects!

Or go to a makeup artist at a salon.
posted by jgirl at 10:49 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

blinc mascara is the kind that encapsulates your lashes and comes off with gentle scrubbing with water later (in tubes!) -- it won't melt into your lashline and then down your eye. Or just find a decent waterproof lash with a good brush -- sometimes I swap out my DiorShow brush (cleaned) to dip into another brand of mascara.

I mix Neutrogena foundation with my moisturizer and apply with a foundation brush (all from Target). It's light but covering.
posted by mdiskin at 10:50 AM on June 20, 2012

Don't wear sunblock under your makeup, it will come through in photos as patches of white!

I nth using a mineral makeup rather than cream or liquid.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:53 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

You want Smashbox Photo Finish products. The primer I linked to is great, but other stuff is worth the money too. Go to Sephora on a slow day to make sure you like the way it looks; I'm sure they'd supervise you applying it yourself to see if it would be doable on your wedding day.
posted by stellaluna at 10:54 AM on June 20, 2012 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Check out the reviews and boards at Makeupalley.com. They are a godsend. And the boards are very friendly and helpful. You can get advice and reviews tailored to your particular needs (makeup novice level, skin tone, etc.).

Lancome Teint Miracle foundation has always worked well for me, as does Korres in the tube. The nice thing about Lancome is that it comes in a wide variety of shades for both warm and cool undertones. If you can get to a Sephora or Nordstrom's you can try on swatches of different shades to get an exact match to your skin, to avoid that dreaded "jawline" effect. Sephora and Nordie's also can give you a makeover lesson that you can copy on the day of your wedding.

Lancome also makes a good brand of waterproof mascara.

I just had a headshot done, and something I learned was - apply more blush than you think you need if you are going to be photographed. I have very pasty/sallow skin (think Professor Snape) and I had to pile on the blush pretty heavily to look healthy in the photograph. I used Korres powder blush in Pink. Another great shade that works well on most women is Nars Orgasm (a peachy pink).

Finally, I use a SmashBox color correcting primer under my foundation (since I'm sallow I use the lavender; green is for ruddy complexions). It brightens up my skin without looking obtrusive, and also helps my foundation glide on smoother and last longer.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:57 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Make Up Forever HD Invisible is amazing stuff.
posted by batmonkey at 10:58 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Don't wear sunblock under your makeup, it will come through in photos as patches of white!

Very important! Anything with SPF is going to reflect light, not a good look in pictures.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:01 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

When I went to Sephora with this question, they recommended Makeup Forever HD Foundation and HD Powder. (The latter you brush all over your face after you've applied all your makeup to set it.) I had to reapply lipstick, but that was it, and it was a warm day.
posted by mchorn at 11:04 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Everyone's right about getting to Sephora. I actually use Smashbox Photo Finish Primer (in the green color-correcting variety, because my cheeks get red, and this helps to cancel it out) with Bare Escentuals mineral foundation. You will not believe how easy it is to apply, how forgiving it is to beginners, and how little it feels like traditional, goopy, cakey makeup. I've gotten most of my friends to switch to Bare Escentuals, even those that didn't used to wear makeup.

If you can't get to Sephora during the week, try and make an appointment on the weekend, but they'll absolutely be able to help you find what you need and teach you to apply it. Just tell them what you're looking to accomplish.

If you're not sure if you want to DIY for this, I'll mention that for my late August wedding, I was worried about sweating off my makeup and went the professional route. Had a makeup artist come to the venue and do my hair and makeup for less than $100, and she used airbrush makeup, which pretty much never comes off. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably do my own makeup, knowing what I know now about higher-end stuff. Back then, though, I only used drugstore brands, and it was worth it to not worry about it all.
posted by terilou at 11:04 AM on June 20, 2012

Revlon's PhotoReady foundation works really well for me in photo's. I also make sure to put a little bit on my chest so you don't get that white face/red chest look in photos.

I don't use the powder all over, just a little applied with a brush as a light weight concealer. As a bonus, its very scaleable, you can either just use a little and get a look that is you, just diffused and radient, or a lot for some hardcore coverage, plus its cheap and accessible compared to some of the other brands.
posted by stormygrey at 11:10 AM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: You all are awesome. I do actually have a Sephora gift card sitting around, but had no idea what sort of questions to ask or brands to look into. I haven't had time to read through all the answers yet, but thanks! I have a real dislike of heavy foundation, so am encouraged that some are suggesting that the Bare Escentuals feels different.
posted by lillygog at 11:12 AM on June 20, 2012

Seconding terilou - If you're a novice, and you're not interested in rolling makeup into your every day life, I think it might be worth the time and money to get a professional or semi-professional make-up artist to come and do your face for this one day. It might not be so much more than buying new make up that you'll never use again.

Otherwise, Sephora sounds great. Then, practice. Try it, and see how your face looks 2, 4, 6 hours later. If you don't love it, return it and try another. Sephora has a fantastic return policy. But definitely definitely don't try it out for the first time on your wedding day.
posted by Salamandrous at 11:15 AM on June 20, 2012 [4 favorites]

I strongly recommend going to a Sephora store for something like this. They carry a *lot* of different makeup lines and do consultations (you might have to pay something, but it may also be taken off your purchase).

Don't do drugstore makeup. I used that for years and years until I finally decided to try out some better brands. The price is higher, but often you find you need less of it and so it lasts much longer (if you keep it sterile, of course). I don't know how much you're spending on your dress, but it won't be worthwhile if your face and jawline are orangey.

I use Nars (Siberia) during the winter and Make Up 4 Ever (Ivory) during the summer. The Make Up 4 Ever concealer in particular is the most reliable I've ever used, especially in humid weather. But what works for me might be cakey on you, which is why you should get some individual, in-person advice.

I've found that Clinique waterproof mascara has looked the most natural and doesn't flake or rub off in humid weather.

I didn't use makeup at all when I got married (it was winter, I was on birth control, and had the best porcelain skin of my life at 21, sigh). However, when my sister got married, she had it professionally done at the salon where she had her hair done (and made me get mine done). While it seemed slightly overdone in some lighting, it looked really good in the photos. Not sure how much it would run, but buying all the makeup yourself and trying to apply it correctly would probably cost the same or more.
posted by tully_monster at 11:20 AM on June 20, 2012

Best answer: Avoid SPF if there is going to be flash photography. If you need SPF to avoid getting a sunburn, use chemical SPF (it's the physical SPF that reflects white in flash photography).

I personally love MUFE HD foundation, which is designed for photography. This is what I will wear at my own wedding next year - I'm going to do my own makeup too.

I've heard great things about MAC Face & Body, I have a sample but haven't used it extensively. You'll need to go to a freestanding MAC store to buy this - I am fairly sure it's not sold at counters. It is waterproof/sweatproof and photographs very well.

It's also super important to get an accurate color-match; get samples from Sephora/MAC, test it out in natural light (not just store lighting), take photos to see how it looks, then go back and buy it.

For mascara, I think drugstore is fine - you'll have to test out the mascara to make sure it doesn't flake or run on you. My favorite drugstore mascara is Maybelline One by One volume express waterproof.

Also for photos, you'll want to contour, and more heavily than you would in day to day life. You can use a matte bronzer, but it's best to use a dedicated contour product, as the color will look more natural.

Definitely take test photos of the entire look, wearing a white shirt (if your dress is white), this will help you figure out whether the makeup looks good or not.

HOWEVER: I love playing with makeup. I think it's fun. If a lot of experimentation doesn't sound fun to you, I would just hire someone to do your makeup.
posted by insectosaurus at 11:32 AM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Laura Mercier has a fantastic foundation line to check out as well. For sure as everyone else mentioned go to Sephora for a consult. I also wanted to say that foundation is usually used to cover up imperfections. Perhaps you should work on your skin, eat healthy foods, check your birth control, drink loads of water and perhaps some of the imperfections you are trying to hide clear up and you won't have to use such heavy makeup?

(I also recommend a daily use of bb cream to even out skin tone. Worked wonders on my skin)
posted by xicana63 at 11:35 AM on June 20, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, I should mention: I would be open to having a professional do the makeup for me, but we'll actually be in a park that's only accessible by ferry, and I'll need to get there early for setup. So if I had a professional do it, it would have to be at 9am with the actual wedding not until 1pm, and me taking a boat and changing and setting up tables and whatnot in between. Which I think is not a good idea? It's pretty casual all around, more of a picnic than fancy party, so I'm hoping as long as I don't completely botch the job whatever I manage will be OK. That said, the advice of applying first a few times myself, checking it outdoors, and taking a few photos is really helpful. That won't take too long to do, but I wouldn't have thought to do it.
posted by lillygog at 11:37 AM on June 20, 2012

Seconding the Smashbox Photo Finish and Sephora suggestions. False lashes can be tricky, but look amazing when done right. I use the individual lashes, which just take a little practice but look more natural than the strips.

On the day of the wedding, I would also recommend asking a friend or your photographer to take a photo of you when your makeup is finished and showing it to you so you can make adjustments. Things will look different on camera, and this helps prevent any surprises.
posted by elvissa at 12:08 PM on June 20, 2012

Best answer: For foundation:

Mineral makeup, mineral makeup, mineral makeup. Maybe have a consultation with someone at Sephora so they can show you how to do it, but you can totally pull it off on your own. Besides looking natural and being more sweat/transfer-proof than liquid foundations I've tried, I love powder mineral foundation because it's so goof-proof. I can put it on half-asleep.

Do get a good buffer brush though. It needs to be dense enough to deposit the product, and soft enough to not be scratchy/irritating. Sephora will sell some but they range in medium to high price. Eco-Tools makes one of the best travel kabuki brushes I've ever tried, and it's so cheap. I've also used this bronzer brush from them for applying foundation and it works fine.

With a good brush, you can even do touch-ups on the go: gently blot off any moisture/oil with a paper napkin or blotting paper, then just swirl the brush lightly in a little bit of the product (I usually tip a bit of the powder out into the lid of the container), tap off the excess, and buff lightly over your face.

For general makeup:

When you're at Sephora or the makeup counter, ask for a lightweight translucent setting powder as well. You dust this gently over your face (on eyelids and under eyes too, unless you have very dry/crepey lids) after you've applied all your makeup, and it helps keep things in place and keep shine at bay.

I have heard, never having been married myself, that common wisdom is to focus the makeup on your eyes, and just use a pretty & neutral lipstick/gloss for your lips. The reason is that you're going to be talking and sipping and eating and laughing and lip touch-ups are too bothersome. I tend to think that soft subtle lips convey the romance of weddings better than big/bold lip colour anyway.

For mascara / eyeliner:

The best waterproof mascara I've used is Cover Girl LashBlast waterproof (the giant orange tube). It holds a curl (the non-waterproof version doesn't do this as well), is very black and volumizing, and does. not. budge. YMMV, of course, mascara preferences are really personal. But it's cheap enough that you can experiment at least!

If you're doing eyeliner, I've recently discovered Cover Girl's Liquiline Blast and it's awesome. Glides on so smoothly, deposits solid rich colour (at least the black version that I use), and stays in place after it sets. (There's a little smudger on the other end of the pencil that you can use to smudge out the line for a bit of a smokey look, but once it sets, it's there for good.) You will want a good quality sharpener intended for eyeliner -- the pencil is so soft that you'll have to re-sharpen to a fine point after maybe 3 or 4 uses. Definitely worth the trouble. And lest anyone think Cover Girl's paying me or something, the L'Oreal version of this is supposed to be pretty much equally good, though I haven't tried it personally. :)

Oh, and get an eyelash curler if you don't have one. (You don't have to get a fancy one -- I like the one from Revlon just fine for like $7.) It looks a bit like a torture device, but curling your lashes opens up the eye area so much and makes lush lashes stand out even more.

Good luck, and congrats on your wedding!!
posted by miss_kitty_fantastico at 12:19 PM on June 20, 2012

So if I had a professional do it, it would have to be at 9am with the actual wedding not until 1pm, and me taking a boat and changing and setting up tables and whatnot in between.

My one and only wedding party experience was in summer, in a high-humidity climate. I have oily skin, and usually don't wear makeup in the summer because it just slides off my face. However, the makeup that was applied professionally at about 9 a.m. stayed in place pretty well throughout the entire day -- though I wasn't outside doing table set-up, admittedly. All I needed was blotting papers and lipstick touch-up.
posted by EvaDestruction at 1:14 PM on June 20, 2012

I've tried tons of different foundations (from Dior to drugstore brands, liquid/mineral/powder) and surprisingly the best foundation I've ever used is Milani Even-Touch Powder Foundation. Yes, Milani, the brand they sell in drugstores, Target and Wal-Mart. It is specifically this product; they sell a few different kind of powder compacts but it's the even-touch powder foundation that I'm recommending.

Only caveat is that the colors are yellow-toned and on the dark side. If you're super pale this will not work for you at all.

If you are on the pale side, Revlon Colorstay Liquid Foundation is pretty much bulletproof; set it with powder for all day hold. Apply primer beforehand if your skin is a bit uneven in texture. You will probably need to use makeup-remover to completely remove this foundation.

If you want to go higher-end, try a Makeup Forever foundation (either the HD foundation or Mat Velvet+), Laura Mercier (Silk Creme foundation or Oil-Free liquid).

If you end up going with liquid foundation, please be sure to set with powder!!

For a non-flaking mascara, I'd also recommend Blinc, or it's (almost) drugstore equivalent L'oreal Beauty Tubes. Good luck!
posted by french films about trains at 1:20 PM on June 20, 2012

Keep in mind that many professionals, especially freelancers who aren't associated with a salon, are open to traveling to your wedding venue to do your makeup. In fact, I'd say that's the norm for them. I have a friend who moonlights as a makeup artist for weddings and special events and she says that if it were her gig, she would just take the ferry to your location and do your makeup whenever it was convenient for you.
posted by telegraph at 1:23 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

I also recommend going to Sephora, because you can get lots of advice and samples to try running around and sweating in. :)

I wear mineral makeup mostly (though I don't buy Sephora's expensive brands), but you have to be careful because mineral makeup is famous for not photographing well due to strobing when a flash is used. I'd avoid it for that reason, and because if you're shopping at Sephora you'll pay an arm and a leg for it (if you want to try anyway, Lumiere has a decent sample program and good quality makeup. Silk Naturals is what I use, I especially like their bronzers and blushes right now ).

I recently got this Smashbox Complexion Perfection kit. It's a good deal for small sized things if you like the product and match the shades. I find it non-melty when set with the powder (roll it on heavily with a puff, then brush off with a soft brush).
posted by oneirodynia at 1:54 PM on June 20, 2012

Everyone's going to have recommendations for one product or another. I could do that too, but I'm going to skip it, because the real answer is: Go to a professional makeup artist. They've done a million weddings and they know exactly what to do. A good one will suggest a product within your price range for things you're going to want in your personal stash to refresh during the day such as lipstick (I wore a lip stain with a gold gloss over the top) and possibly powder.
posted by matildaben at 1:57 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You've gotten a ton of recommendations for mineral makeup, but be very careful with it... many mineral makeup formulas consist of highly reflective particles and could make your face look white/ashy or really shiny in photos. If you decide to go with mineral makeup, take lots of test photos, with and without flash, and in many different kinds of light to be sure that it will look good on camera. The last thing you want is to end up looking like Casper in your wedding photos. Also avoid sparkly, shimmery eyeshadows, blushes, bronzers or highlighters for the same reason. For shadowing, highlighting, and contouring, stick with good quality matte shadows and blushes in natural looking colors and blend like crazy.

I will Nth the recommendation for Make Up Forever HD Invisible Foundation. It's expensive, but so worth the quality. I've spent most of my life trying to make do with drugstore foundations, and I was thrilled to discover that MUF HD Invisible Foundation actually does what it says it will. It applies and blends like a dream, and covers so well with just a tiny amount, so you don't have to cake it on and feel it on your face all day. And it stays put and won't turn orange, as it's designed to be used under hot studio lights. Set the foundation with a translucent powder. Again, test the powder you use in photos, because so many powders have reflective particles in them to make you look "radiant" and "diffuse imperfections."

For your eye makeup, I am one of those who are forever faithful to CoverGirl LashBlast in the waterproof (very important! must be waterproof!) formula. It volumizes like crazy without clumping up or weighing down your lashes, holds a curl, and doesn't smudge under my eyes. There's a new one called 24 Hour LashBlast that I just bought and will be testing out. I have high hopes. To get your eye makeup to stay put, definitely use an eyeshadow primer. I use Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion and it works really well, but I've heard good things about Too Faced Shadow Insurance too.
posted by keep it under cover at 2:00 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

If you end up checking out Bare Escentuals, get the matte foundation, not the original. The original does strobe, per the woman at the B.E. store who did my face. If you use another mineral brand, ask the sales staff about that issue
posted by jgirl at 2:27 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I will second the recommendations either for Smashbox's Photo Finish or Makeup Forever's HD primer/foundation/powder. If you have a MAC nearby I would also recommend stopping in there and looking around. Be VERY clear that you want light if you have a MAC employee do your makeup- they tend toward the more dramatic, but they are very helpful and (in my experience) generous with samples.

No matter what foundation you choose, I would recommend Urban Decay's All Nighter spray on top, which is supposed to set your makeup- your makeup will. Not. Move. Maybe a dusting of powder over that to get rid of any sheen, but the All Nighter spray is serious business and I would recommend it to anyone looking to avoid sweating all their brand new high end product off.

I don't know your eyelash situation, but mine are pretty short and I swear by Diorshow. Good luck and congrats on your upcoming wedding!
posted by shes_ajar at 2:40 PM on June 20, 2012

Best answer: Nthing to be careful using a mineral makeup, as it makes you look like a ghost in photos. I used Bare Escentuals for my engagement photos and though the photos are lovely I look really, really white.

I just got married last Sunday outside, and I was very happy using Makeup Forever HD primer and foundation. I did not use setting powder, but I did use Urban Decay's All Nighter spray as well. With the primer, it went on smoothly and looked totally perfect, and I danced around outside in the heat for about nine hours and it only came off a little bit (around my mouth, which is understandable what with all the eating and drinking and napkin using, etc.)

(Oh, and I DIYed my makeup if it's not obvious, and I was very happy with that decision. One less thing to worry about.)
posted by ohsnapdragon at 2:58 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Laura Mercier foundation primer plus MAC studio fix powder foundation. I've been told by pro photographers that my skin photographs well when I wear this combo.
posted by lunalaguna at 3:36 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just don't get anything that has any sort of shimmer or minerals in it or it will make you look hugely shiny. I wear the Make Up Forever HD foundation in situations like this and it lasts forever and it looks great in photos! Absolutely positively do NOT use mineral powder, and especially not Bare Minerals/Bare Escentuals (which is my day to day foundation) for two reasons (1) you may have good coverage initially but it is not long lasting no matter what you do to try to make it stay on all day (I've tried multiple brands, this has been true with all of them) and (2) it will make you look shiny/ghostly in photos. The matte BM may not make you look shiny/ghosty, but I think it has less lasting power than the normal kind.

Also, definitely wear primer because it will help your make up stay on longer and it will make sure your face doesn't itch or feel weird from whatever foundation you choose. I use the Sephora brand - I think they're all pretty much the same.

I did my own wedding makeup, too, and a few weeks before I went into a Sephora and asked for help picking out products. Go during a weekday when it's not crowded and tell them it's for your wedding, and they will be super helpful.
posted by echo0720 at 4:32 PM on June 20, 2012 [2 favorites]

Oh also, use eye shadow primer and in general avoid anything with shimmer/sparkles. It will look weird in photos. As for mascara, just try a bunch and see what works for you - waterproof is a must. I like Chanel initimables (I forget how it's spelled), cover girl lash blast, and tarte mascaras.
posted by echo0720 at 4:33 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Watch out for the Makeup Forever HD powder, which strobes like the mineral makeups. If you might have some black and white photos, consider using a lipstick that is not very much darker than your natural lips. I've seen some b&w wedding photos where the bride appears to be wearing black lipstick when she was actually wearing red.
posted by SandiBeech at 5:43 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

I also recommend having a professional come out and do your makeup, just make sure you find one whose portfolio you like, and make sure that they know that you do not normally wear a ton of makeup and that you want a natural look.

shes_ajar has is right with the recommendation on Urban Decay's All Nighter setting spray. That stuff is absolute magic. I've gone dancing for hours and had my makeup looking like I just applied it.
posted by nerdcore at 10:18 PM on June 20, 2012

Best answer: You've gotten tons of good advice here, but I wanted to point you toward this recent picture-heavy tutorial on Etsy about doing a classic, glowing look for your wedding. It's done by a blogger who really knows her stuff makeup-wise, and might help if you decide to do your own makeup on the day.
posted by therewolf at 10:57 PM on June 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

Came in to recommend Smashbox or Laura Mercier (which, I believe is the best mineral powder I've used. By far.) Also, had forgotten about Make Up Forever! Great Stuff!!

Thanks to the commenter above who recommended Blinc mascara. It sounds exactly like my beloved Max Factor 2000 Calorie mascara, which was discontinued in the US. I have now taken to ordering the Max Factor mascara from ebay after I asked this question here on the green.

Enjoy your day!
posted by jbenben at 11:59 PM on June 20, 2012

Response by poster: You people are all amazing. I should really just mark everything best answer -- thanks so much for your help. And I'm actually kind of looking forward to playing around with all these options!
posted by lillygog at 6:23 AM on July 3, 2012

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