Beach Wedding Bridal Makeup Tips from a wedding Photographer

As Wedding Photographer here in the Mayan Riviera this is the single largest cause of not having amazing wedding photos… and the reasons, when you think about them are actually pretty obvious…. Unless you have a pretty significant wedding budget and are able to use an external make-up company, the odds are high that you are going to use the resort spa to do your hair and make-up…. Which is great, and don’t get me wrong, the make-up artists do a great job, but they are usually Mexican girls who work and live here in Mexico so not only do they have very olive skin tone, but they also favour very high impact dramatic make-up which is the fashion in Mexico (and which, by and large, they themselves can carry off…). The issue here is, most of our brides who come to get married here are fairly pale skinned and actually would rather look more natural in their wedding photos, like the best version of themselves, rather than like a drag-queen in a white dress on the beach… Sorry but its true…

From a photography point of view this dramatic make-up also often looks caked on with HD cameras, and the dark and heavy eye makeup makes it almost impossible to get light into the eye (unless you use loads and loads of lamps which aren’t really practical on the beach), the result of not getting light in the eye means your eyes look smaller and it also means you don’t get to see your joy and happiness in your wedding photos…

Bride getting final touches of makeup at wedding in Tulum.

Like Bobbi Brown says, every bride on their wedding day should look like themselves at their most beautiful…

Bearing all this in mind, I spoke to a friend of mine, Kim Parker, several months ago, who is one of the beauty editors at a leading European fashion magazine and who also worked as a beauty editor at Vogue for several years and asked for her help… I then completely forgot about it with traveling around the world, moving house and coping with pregnancy I just forgot… until a few nights ago, when I was chatting to her on Facebook and she asked if we still wanted the article…. OMG YES was my reply and literally, then and there she typed this out for us…. our very own tailor-made for this climate guide and hence yours too to getting the very best bridal beach make-up and as a result the very best Beach Wedding Photos….

A huge thank you to Kim and if you have any questions about alternative products to the ones listed, let me know and I’ll ask her :)

Over to Kim and her general Beauty guru AWESOMENESS…

Ok, so tips about how to look natural glowy and gorgeous in wedding pics, taking into account digital photography and hot weather….

1. I don’t like to think there are many hard and fast rules with wedding makeup, but if I had to pick one, it would be to think ‘naturally glowing and gorgeous’. It’s your big day, so of course you want to look like your prettiest self. But big, obvious makeup ‘looks’ quickly date (ditto that for overdone hair) and advances in digital photography mean that lighter, fresher makeup looks fare better than the heavier ‘pancake’ makeup of the past.

2. With hot weather, the key is to think light layers of makeup that will still let your skin breathe. Yes, you’ll have to do a few more touch-ups than you would have with the thicker, chalkier makeup formulas of yesteryear, but the result will be prettier and much more natural. The best news? Modern makeup formulas have come on so fast in the last couple of years, there’s a plethora of whisper-light makeup textures, from foundations to eyeshadows and lipsticks that will still give great coverage but feel and look truly natural.

3. I like to start with freshly moisturised skin – a smooth canvas means anything you apply on top will look super fresh. Olay and SKII make wonderful serum-soaked cloth masks that are literally like a skin drink. Clarins and Eve Lom also make great moisture masks, and I love Sisley’s Radiant Glow Express mask for a fresh glow in mere minutes.

4. Once skin is clean and prepped, smooth on one of the new skin primers. They’re a world away from the old cloying silicone-filled primers of a few years ago. The newest ones are light, infuse skin with skincare benefits and can help your makeup really go the distance. I love Australian brand Becca, and their Radiance Primer is a total must (in fact, I love all their glow-giving makeup). Revlon’s Photoready Primer is excellent, YSL Top Secret Primer smells incredible and Nars contains a proper SPF of 30, which is useful for hot weather weddings.

5. My foundation rule is: use as light a texture you can get away with. Tinted moisturisers, the new super-light foundation formulas, even a BB cream with just concealer where you need it, they’re more wearable than ever. My new favourites are YSL le Teint Touche Eclat, Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua (liquid or cream), Estee Lauder Invisible fluid makeup or Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation. Apply with a clean brush and blend in with fingers, just where skin needs it (usually down the central panel of the face where skin can be ruddy or dull). Conceal blemishes and shadows (don’t forget the inner corners of your eyes, which can be very dark – doing this will brighten your eyes immediately) and powder only if you need it. (oops, forgot to say with foundations that getting the skin shade match is really important. Don’t match the shade to the back of the bride’s hand, match it to her jawline and neck, to make sure it’s a perfect fit.)

6. For the day, pack blotting papers or powdered blotting sheets to whisk away shine without smudging makeup or leaving skin looking ‘dusty’. The best I’ve found are by MAC, Paul & Joe (in the prettiest packaging) or Serge Lutens.

7. Don’t underestimate the power of a touch of blush. It instantly perks up your skin and can make you look like you’ve had 8 hours sleep (even if you haven’t!). Powder blushes will last in the heat but I like a touch of cream or gel blush blended into skin with fingers – it really makes the glow look like your own. Check out Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge, Becca Beach Tints, Max Factor Miracle Touch Creamy Blush and Stila Convertible Colour.

8. A light dusting of bronzer on top of blush can be great to contour and warm skin, if needed.

9. Highlighter is really useful for adding instant freshness and it looks beautiful patted onto browbones, tops of cheekbones, the very inner corner of the eyes and on top of the cupid’s bow. Try something like MAC Cream Colour Base in Pearl. I would add that if you’re using shimmer, stick it placing it on one or two features only. Say, using it on eyes and lips and keeping skin velvety. Going overboard with shimmer and shine can leave you looking like a glitterball or, worse, really sweaty. It’s more modern to have a mix of textures.

10. With eyes, why not try something fresh and pretty for a day time ceremony and then smoking things up for the nighttime partying. Loads of eye makeup during the day can end up melting and looking messy (strangely though, a little smudged smokey eye at night can look really amazing). For daytime, I like using neutral eyeshadow shades from Bobbi Brown, Urban Decay and Stila. Take inspiration from the bride’s skin tones (or your own, if you’re the bride!). Pale golds, rose-golds and even bronzes are great new neutrals too. If you like, add a fine flick of liquid liner on the upper lid(try MAC Penultimate liquid pen liner or MAX Factor Masterpiece Glide & Define) [Dean : but please please please and I can’t stress this enough, dont use eyeliner on your lower lid it stops all the light getting into the eye and looks really bad photos in the very white light we get here in Mexico] . Finish with waterproof mascara (in case of tears, or ending up in the sea…). I like Max Factor False Lash Effect waterproof, YSL Faux Cils waterproof, Lancome Hypnose waterproof and MAC Zoomfast waterproof.

11. Lips should be the last thing you do before you head out to the ceremony. It gives the bride (or you!) a chance to eat, drink, kiss, practice lines, etc. without fear of smudging or wearing away. Take inspiration from lips natural shade (or you can go for a pop of red or pink if this is truer to your signature look! After all, you need to look like yourself!). I like the new creamy, balm-like textures that have appeared lately. They have great pigment and feel super light, never tacky. Some of the best are Clinique Butter Shine, Bobbi Brown Creamy Lip Colour, YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain (a long lasting balm-stain with an amazing texture), Poppy King Lipstick Queen, Laura Mercier Sheer lip colour and Becca Beach Tint. If you must use gloss, use a tiny touch in the centre of your bottom lip for shine and don’t overdo it – the groom (or, your groom) wants to kiss your lips, not a lot of gloss!

12. Lastly, have an amazing wedding day! Of course, you’ll look wonderful but don’t forget, it’s about much more than that – it’s about taking the next step in life together.

– From your Mayan Riviera + Cancun Wedding Photographer Dean Sanderson

Bride having makeup put on for Tulum wedding