Whether getting ready for your wedding day or another momentous occasion, the following tips and reminders will ensure that you look beautiful in person and in photographs:
  1. Keep in mind that regardless of the product, shade, or application technique, makeup is only as good as the skin it covers. Take time in the months leading up to the big day to treat your skin well and avoid using products that cause irritation or can cause side effects such as dryness, flaking, or redness. Anticipate your skin’s needs based on its history and the weather (is the event in a location where it will be more humid, arid, or cold than your skin is used to?) then choose products accordingly.

  2. Do not have a facial, microdermabrasion, peel, or any other spa or dermatologist treatment within two weeks of the event, especially if you have not had such procedures performed in the past. The last thing you want to deal with is the complications that could result. If a trip to the spa is part of your bridal bliss, use the time to get a stress-relieving massage or manicure and pedicure rather than a facial.

  3. Anticipate being photographed and take into account the lighting. Outdoor wedding photos demand different makeup than indoor photos. Outdoor lighting is most flattering in late afternoon as the sun begins to set. If possible, avoid scheduling an outdoor wedding ceremony and photos for midday when the sun is directly overhead. This casts unwanted shadows on your face and is universally unflattering. Less makeup is preferred for outdoor weddings. Use a sheer, satin-matte foundation, a light dusting of pressed powder, powder blush, soft eyeshadow colors that are matte or barely shiny, and eyeliner that is dark brown or slate gray rather than black, which can look too harsh in daylight. Lips can be any color, but keep in mind that opaque lipstick with sheer makeup can look too contrasting. Generally, outdoor makeup looks best with creamy lipsticks. For mascara, choose brown if you have blonde hair (dyed or not). All other hair colors should stick with black mascara, preferably waterproof unless you’re sure you won’t cry!

  4. For indoor ceremonies, you must take flash photography into consideration. A camera's flash tends to emphasize pink or ruddy skin tones, so proper camouflage with a neutral- to yellow-toned foundation is a must. Avoid foundations and powders with sunscreens in which titanium dioxide or zinc oxide are the active ingredients. Both of these mineral pigments have an opaque, reflective quality that can make your face look whiter than the neck in photos. A small amount of titanium dioxide in your foundation or powder is fine; it just shouldn't be an active ingredient where the concentration is considerably higher.

  5. Be sure your foundation matches your skin color exactly. Check to be sure there is no line of demarcation at the jaw, hairline, and temples. In general, liquid foundations with a soft matte finish work best because they are versatile and let your natural skin tone show through. Cream-to-powder and stick foundations tend to offer heavier coverage that, unless carefully blended, can look mask-like. It may be tempting, but do not mix a liquid shimmer product with your foundation to make skin look more radiant. In photos, even when used judiciously, shimmer can make skin look slick and greasy instead of luminescent, especially after wearing it for a few hours. And once the event begins, stealing away for touch-ups is unlikely.

  6. Seek a powder that closely matches your skin tone. Pressed powder is more portable and easier to use than the loose version. Look for a pressed powder with a silky texture and skin-like finish. Today's modern powder formulas (particularly those from Estee Lauder, L'Oreal, M.A.C., Prescriptives, and Maybelline) make skin look beautifully polished, not powdered or ultra-matte. Apply the powder with a professional brush, not a puff or sponge. If you have normal to dry skin, only powder the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and leave the cheeks with the soft matte finish your foundation provides.

  7. For blush, powder formulas tend to photograph best and hold up over the long haul. If in doubt about which shade to choose, opt for those in the rose or pink family if you have fair to medium skin and choose rosy-plum tones if your skin tone is medium to tan. Do not make the mistake of under-applying blush, especially for indoor photos. Wedding makeup is formal, and requires more color than you may normally wear. Make sure your blush is in the same tonal family as your lipstick (for example, pair a pink blush with a pink, berry, or rose-toned lipstick).

  8. The color of your makeup design should come from your blush and lipstick, not your eyeshadow. Keep tones muted and matte so that they emphasize, not compete with, your natural eye color. As a general rule, you can't go wrong with eyeshadow colors that have a brown, tan, taupe, or neutral base. Think earth tones (slate, shell pink, bronze) and "food" tones (cream, caramel, coffee). If you want to add a touch of shimmer to your eye makeup, find the sheerest product possible, apply sparingly to highlight your brow bone or the inner corners of your eyes, and make sure you like how it looks in photos before the big day arrives.

  9. Pay attention to your eyebrows. Do not attempt any new tweezing techniques or patterns, but do see a professional brow groomer who has loads of experience shaping brows so they frame your eyes as attractively as possible. A brow pro can also show you how to make the most of sparse, thin, or barely-there eyebrows. For wedding makeup, use brow powder, a matte powder eyeshadow, or tinted brow gel rather than traditional brow pencil to shape and define.

  10. Be sure to carry your lipstick and lip liner with you for touch-ups after the ceremony and before the reception. It is also helpful to carry a pressed powder and small powder brush, as well as a clean makeup sponge in case you need to buff or smooth any aspect of your makeup, especially lipstick marks from over-zealous relatives or friends.