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When I got engaged last year I knew immediately that I'd do my own makeup for the big day. I'm very particular about my makeup -- some might call it product obsessed. So my mission was to put together a list of products I'd need to create my ideal look.
Somehow I found myself spending hours (seriously hours) researching foundation in search of the perfect formula. I'm a tinted moisturizer type of woman, you see, and I hadn't worn a real foundation in years.
I zeroed in on Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk Foundation as my top contender. It's a gorgeous formula that's won several awards. When I mentioned it to LHJ's beauty director (one of the perks of our office is that shop talk includes discussing the perfect foundation), she suggested that I meet with Armani's national director of creative artistry, Tim Quinn, and get a little wedding makeup tutorial. Have my makeup done by the man who makes Gwen Stefani and Kate Bosworth even more gorgeous? Um, yes please!
I met Quinn at the Giorgio Armani flagship store on 5th Avenue in New York City. We discussed how I wanted to look on my wedding day -- natural, like myself but better. We also talked about the feature I love to highlight the most (my eyes) and then the lesson began. Lucky me -- and lucky you because I'm sharing Quinn's amazing pro tips so that you can DIY a gorgeous wedding makeup look too!
This may seem like a lot of steps but this is a day to look your best so we're sharing every little detail to help you get it right!
1. The morning of your wedding, start with clean, dry skin. Prep the skin under your eyes with a de-puffing serum like Armani's Regenessence Eye Rejuvenating Serum. Then, apply a rich, moisturizing eye cream such as Armani's Crema Nera. Use your fingers to dab the cream in and feel for extra-dry spots that might need more attention.
2. Moisturize your entire face. A well-hydrated face sets a good base for your makeup and will make it look even better. Quinn also recommends using a lip scrub like Fresh's Sugar Lip Polish to smooth and de-flake your lips in preparation for color.
3. Apply a gel-based primer to your entire face. Quinn prefers a formula with silicone for a smooth finish. Primer will prevent makeup from moving or melting, which is especially important if you have oily skin. Try a mattifying primer if your wedding is outdoors or if you tend to get shiny.
4. Use a smooth liquid, light-reflecting concealer -- Quinn used Armani Maestro Eraser -- under your eyes and over your entire eyelids. This will even out your skin tone and camouflage any blue veins or dark shadows around the eyes. It will also give your eye shadow more depth. Make sure you don't use a heavy concealer that's meant for blemishes -- the goal is to brighten your eye area.
5. Next, fill in your brows with light, short strokes. Quinn likes wax-based brow pencils because they have great staying power. Plus, the fine tip lets you get really precise. If your pencil has a spool at the opposite end, use that to blend and comb your brows once you've filled them. You can also use a clean mascara wand. Even if you don't fill your brows every day, Quinn says every bride should include this step -- there's no better way to frame your face!
6. Smudge waterproof eyeliner along the base of your upper lash line. Don't worry about drawing a perfect line for this step -- getting the pencil right into your lash line (instead of above it) will give you the illusion of thicker lashes.
7. Now, grab a small, angled brush and a pot of gel-based, waterproof eyeliner (Quinn loves Bobbi Brown's version). Use your angled brush to draw a precise line over the base of waterproof eyeliner pencil you already smudged into your upper lash line. Then, line your lower lash line. Lightly smudge the liner to soften the look. Lastly, use a flesh-colored pencil to line the inside bottom rim of each eye. Quinn uses this little trick to make eyes instantly appear brighter!
8. When it comes to eye shadow, stick to your comfort zone -- if you're not the type to wear bright shadow, don't do it on your wedding day! Quinn likes peaches and warm browns for day and soft plums or grays for an evening wedding. He used Armani's No. 7 "Blush" Eyes to Kill Quad to compliment my light, neutral skin tone.
9. When you apply your eye shadow, Quinn recommends layering neutrals to build dimension. Apply your lightest, most flesh-toned shadow on your whole lid and up to your brow bone. Apply the middle shade to the outer two thirds of your eye. Use your darkest shade just in the crease of your eyelid. Then add another layer of eyeliner at the base of your upper lashes to redefine the line.
10. Clean up under your eyes with a cotton ball and makeup remover if any of the shadow or liner went astray (it usually does).
11. At this point you can apply another layer of light-reflecting concealer under your eyes and in the hollows of your eyes by your nose to mask blue pigments and brighten.
12. Now it's time for foundation. Quinn loves Armani's Luminous Silk foundation for any skin tone. Apply it with a foundation brush or a blending sponge. If you're feeling up to a little contouring, here's a good subtle trick: Apply foundation one shade darker than your normal color in the hollows of your cheeks under your cheekbones. Then use your normal shade for the rest of your face. This gives a more natural effect than traditional contouring but still helps you fake those supermodel cheekbones if you weren't naturally blessed.
13. Blend your foundation down to your neck, making sure there are no telltale lines where the color ends. Quinn also recommends using clean fingers to press the foundation in as you blend with the sponge or brush.
14. Layering your blush may sound like a lot of work, but Quinn loves it for a big event because it gives you an amazing glow. For my look he layered Armani's Fluid Sheer in Number 5 and Number 8 (these are liquid, highlighting blushes). He blended these light-reflecting formulas directly onto my cheekbones.Then, to add more defined color he did a light dusting of powder blush on just the apples of my cheeks. This layering technique works well because cream or liquid blush brings light to your face whereas the powder will deposit more color. Quinn's tip is to use a blush brush -- even for liquid and cream formulas -- because the brush will help diffuse the light-reflecting particles so they don't get crazy shimmery.
15. Next apply a lip liner that's close to the shade of lipstick you plan to use -- Quinn used Armani's Lip Pencil #2 on me. Liner really does keep your lip color in place (super important on your big day). Then, fill in your lips with your lip color. Quinn likes velvety-textured products because they have the most staying power and tend to feel good on your lips longer. For my look he used Armani Maestro #500 lip color -- in my opinion the perfect wedding shade!
16. When it comes to bronzer, Quinn suggests only a very light dusting for warmth.No one wants to look orange in their wedding photos! Brush a very small amount of brozer under your cheekbones, on the bridge of your nose, your jaw line, and your hairline.
17. To finish the look (yes we're almost done!), use a small amount of translucent finishing powder and lightly dust it just over the areas of your face that tend to get oily. Quinn's not a big fan of heavy powders when you're going to be photographed, so if you don't have oily skin you can skip the setting powder and just use oil absorbing sheets during the day.
You're done! And hopefully you look as gorgeous as Quinn made me feel. We definitely recommend doing a run-through a few weeks before your wedding day to get these techniques down so you're totally stress-free and beautiful on the big day.
1. You don't necessarily need a full-coverage foundation; let your complexion decide! If you have clear skin let a little show through with medium or lighter coverage. This was new information for me: I assumed he'd recommend full-coverage for such a special occasion but in reality, you have to make the makeup work for your skin!
2. Moisturize. Dehydrated, super-dry skin is the biggest problem Quinn sees with brides. Even if you're a pro using the highest-quality makeup, dry skin makes your makeup look bad! Stay hydrated (drink lots of water) and moisturized (twice a day) the week before the wedding and especially on the day.
3. Quinn's favorite product for a wedding look is a concealer. A luminizing, liquid concealer (not a heavy one you'd use to cover blemishes) can be used to brighten under your eyes, even out the skin on your eyelids, and bring light to the eye area. He loves Armani's Maestro Eraser. Another popular formula is YSL's Touche Eclat.
4. Do your eye makeup first. That way you can clean up under the eye before you apply foundation. This seems so obvious but I have always done my face before my eyes. I'll be switching it up from now on!
5. Eye shadow with light shimmer looks good on camera but avoid a white, shimmery highlighter on the brow bone. A light-reflecting concealer works better and looks more natural. This is such a fabulous tip: I'd actually planned to use a highlighting pencil on my brow bone but Quinn's advice changed my mind -- the concealer he used made my skin glow in a good way.
6. If you plan to use self-tanner for your wedding day, make sure you self-tan before your makeup trial. Being two different colors from the trial to the wedding will completely change the what shades you or your makeup artist uses.
7. If you have imperfections you'd like to cover on your chest or arms, use a special formula like MAC Face and Body to cover them instead of regular concealer. It's waterproof so it will make your skin look perfect without rubbing off on your white dress. Quinn uses it on all his celebrity clients and brides.
8. Pack a kit for touch-ups on the big day. Quinn recommends including your lip color, a little bronzer in case you get nervous and lose your color (so smart!), oil absorbing sheets, facial mist like Caudelie's Organic Grape Water for hydration and setting makeup, and a rescue kit like Miniemergency for any unexpected emergencies.
9. Give yourself at least an hour to do your bridal makeup. It may seem like a lot of time but on this day you want to look your best and you definitely don't want to rush. And skip the mimosa until after your look is perfect!
10. I asked Quinn which brushes every DIY bride needs in her makeup kit. He recommends a foundation brush, an eye shadow brush, a flat, basic brush also for eyes, a contour brush, a little angled brush (which you can use to put on false lashes instead of a scary tweezer), a big, fluffy powder brush, and a blush brush.