If there’s one thing everyone knows about weddings, it’s that all eyes are always on the bride – so from head to toe, looking luminous is essential. One make-up artist who has played a key role in countless beautiful bridal moments is Hannah Martin. Widely understood to be the expert hands behind the Duchess of Cambridge’s radiant wedding day look in 2011, alongside numerous other members of the royal family since, she dubs 2021 the year of the “DIY bride”, with many women opting to do their own make-up due to Covid. Here, she shares her tricks of the trade .
How to decide on your look
“My advice to brides is to avoid doing anything too experimental or far removed from your normal look. Find a picture of yourself when you looked good and seek to recreate a similar make-up look. If you’re doing it yourself, there is a wealth of bridal make-up information out there, from make-up artists on Instagram to YouTubers to, of course, excellent wedding articles featuring aspirational brides and ways to emulate elements of their look.”
Start with skincare
“For bulletproof make-up staying power, it’s a layered process – and it’s better to take the long route than to try quick fixes that will end up disappointing you. It starts with skincare. For make-up that stays as long as possible, your skin needs to be freshly exfoliated the night before so there’s no dulling dead skin sitting on the surface that could interfere with how your foundation sits upon the skin.
Lots of light layers is better than one super-rich moisturiser, which can add way too much oil to the skin’s surface that can then cause your foundation to slide. Start by cleansing then follow with an essence – something water-based and light – to hydrate. Follow with an eye cream and then a mid-weight moisturiser, like Bobbi Brown’s Vitamin Enriched Face Base, or Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream Light. Avoid applying a singular SPF in favour of a skincare formula that incorporates it – it could cause flash-back in photographs.”
Ace your foundation base
“I’m always keen to tell brides that, just because it’s your wedding day, that doesn’t mean you need to wear more foundation or a heavier formula. Something that works on every skin type is MAC’s Face & Body. I often start with a sheer layer and then build coverage with a stick foundation if necessary. My holy grail for this is Bobbi Brown’s Foundation Stick, as you can really manipulate it for the coverage you want in areas like the cheeks, or around the nose and chin – gently stipple with a small, tightly bound brush, like Hourglass’s Concealer Brush. Another good foundation is Armani’s Luminous Silk, because it works on all skin types, while brides who want a bit more coverage will like Lancôme’s Teint Idole. After stippling it until it sinks in, I love to use my fingers just to take off any excess make-up.”
Powder is your best friend
“On your wedding day, you must use powder! Loads of brides are really averse to it as they think it will create heavy, cakey-looking skin, not the radiant glow they’re after – but you can still do that while using setting powder. It’s important that it gets applied over the T-zone, so in the centre of the forehead and between the eyebrows – if you get shine in that area, you’ll see a white patch in your photographs, which reads like sweat. Mattify the sides of the nose, the triangle around the mouth, top lip and chin. I don’t advocate the baking technique as it can dull the skin and make it look flat IRL. Products like the iconic Laura Mercier Translucent Powder, or By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder, are great for setting the skin around the T-zone.
Setting spray does work – but only if it’s used correctly
“While I believe in the power of setting spray there is a big caveat: you’ve got to follow best practice, as previously mentioned, to get to that point. A setting spray will never magically fix your make-up into place if you’ve shoddily applied it or not used powder, which is a strong barrier for oil to seep through. I like Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray.”