Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pleez help me with my wedding makeup

Dear ESB,

Help! I am pretty pale, with long red hair and blue eyes. No idea how to do makeup. Looking for photo inspiration to share with the friend who will be doing me up the day of, and whose first go at it was a bit more theatrical than I'd feel comfortable with (plus fake eyelashes make me feel like my eyeballs have shades on). I want the photos to look good, sure, but I also want to be recognizable in person. Hair will be up (hot summer wedding), dress is super plain, probably will rock huge earrings.

-Not wanting to look like a clown


Not only am I not a redhead, I am soooooo not a makeup expert. (Come on, does this really surprise anyone?)

But the day I got your email, I also got an email introduction to a team of beauty experts. So I figured I'd ask them to handle this one.

Beware. The following post is a little more polished, a little more, shall we say, magazine-y? than the off-the-cuff rants you have come to expect from me and some of my guest bloggers. But I think it might actually help you.

Hannah Kuhary is a writer and resident redhead at Beauty Bets. Here she shares easy tips and no-fail makeup suggestions for keeping your bridal look naturally chic, not freakishly clownish.


Prepping the skin with a primer will ensure that your makeup lasts all day. I love Korres Face Primer ($28), which is silicone-free, 99% natural and creates a perfect canvas for makeup application.


Most redheads have pink undertones, which can make imperfections hard to cover. Use a light, yellow-tinted foundation to even out skin tone and minimize any redness. I like Bobbi Brown Natural Finish Long Lasting Foundation ($45) or Chanel Pro Lumiere ($54). Both are long-wearing and have a natural, semi-matte finish.


Bronzer is a great tool for contouring the face, but many are too orange for fair-skinned redhead. Instead, try a sheer, luminous blush. Two favorites for a gorgeous glow are Bare Escentuals All-Over Face Color in True ($18) and Bobbi Brown Illuminating Bronzing Powder in Antigua ($33).


BECCA Fine Loose Finishing Powder ($35) is perfect for setting makeup because it creates a touch-proof, sweat-proof finish, which is ideal for any wedding day. And, because it's finely milled, skin looks natural.

Eye Shadow

Warm, earth-tone eye shadows will make your eyes stand out without competing with your striking hair color. I wore Orb, Charcoal Brown and Satin Taupe from MAC ($14.50 each) on my wedding day.


In addition to shadow, eyeliner really makes eyes pop—especially in photos. I recommend a waterproof or smudge-proof liner on the top only, so eyes look big and bright. Make Up Forever Aqua Eyes in Pearly Brown ($17) or Smashbox Limitless Eye Liner in Java ($19) are great choices.


Even though most redheads have fair lashes, it's still important to wear dark mascara to define the eyes. For weddings, wear a waterproof formula so lashes stay full and lush, even after happy tears. Try DiorShow Waterproof Mascara in black ($24).


Your face can look washed out in wedding photos unless you have some color on your lips. To bring out their natural shade, try Midimauve by MAC ($14.50) or Josie Maran Argan Oil Lipstick in Rumi Joon ($20). If you want to try a bolder look, Chanel Rouge Coco in Cambon ($32) or MAC Sophisto ($14.50) are sure bets for redheads.

Photo #1 by Craig McDean for Interview Magazine via dirty_fashion; Photo #2 by Tec Petaja via Style Me Pretty


  1. but she was looking for phooooto inspiration.

    need more photos!

  2. I love this, especially the smokey eyes:


  3. You know who is pale with red hair and blue eyes? CHRISTINA BLEEPING HENDRICKS:



    I only learned to do make up as an adult. And one thing is that when you look at yourself in make up and are not a makeup wearer, you will invariably think, "my god! What a whore!". I mean fake eyelashes probably are too much, but you might want to ease into the look as well- try wearing a little mascara and eyeliner once a week or so, just to get the feel for it.

    Also eyeshadow colors that look great with blue eyes (not all at once of course) are brown, gold, and purple. Also, also, mascara comes in dark brown, and that can look more natural than black black mascara for fair haired people. Maybe buy one or two palettes of colors in those shades. If you hand your friend an approved pile of makeup to work from, she's less likely to go out into a scheme you hate.

  4. You could try googling Amy Adams. She always looks lovely on the red carpet and never overdoes her makeup.

    Also, I second the previous post on Christina Hendricks.

  5. christina hendricks is a bit too vampy for your purposes, i'd think: try ye olde google images roundup for bryce dallas howard, whose makeup team seems to know their shizz.

  6. are you saying my posts aren't polished? ;)

  7. You're fair, with red hair and blue eyes so you're going to be stunning no matter what!! Less is more with makeup, because your natural coloring is already so pretty. Just enhance what God gave you. Use primer and concealer and powder to make your skin look a little less transparent- better for pictures- and highlight your cheek and brow bones with shimmer and some pretty peachy shades. A little bit of eye liner on your upper lashes, mascara (waterproof, trust me!) and a natural peachy shade of lip gloss and you're all set.

    Check out Amy Adams with an up-due and big earrings and simple makeup:


  8. speaking as another resident redhead, x-nay on the black mascara-ay.
    go with dark brown.
    still makes your eyes pop, but it's much more natural and doesn't make you look like you just got punched in the face.

  9. hello. updo. not updue. your hair is not giving birth. :P

  10. As a red-head myself I can tell you that you need to try any foundation on your skin before you buy it. There's many shades of pale and not all of them will look good on you. Most department store make-up counters will help guide you through the process. You should be able to schedule a full make-up application with them as well. If you like the person you can pay to have them do it again the day of your wedding. I like Laura Mercier myself, she has a great three-in-one concealer and foundations with varying levels of coverage. I like to use a rather sheer make-up so that my freckles show through and then use the concealer to cover any blemishes or circles. The type of foundation you choose will vary with your skin type. You need a good professional to evaluate your skin so that you get the right make-up for it. I agree that primer is necessary, especially for a long day. When it comes to eye make-up a good set of brushes will make application much easier and blending is KEY. Pale skin shows harsh lines easily, go over all of your eyeliner with some dark eye shadow on an eyeliner brush to soften it. I have a nice set of Sonia Kashuk brushes from Target that were inexpensive and have everything I need.
    Redheads tend to have pale lashes so you always need a good mascara, I sometimes even get my eyelashes dyed and it makes them thicker. I've never liked brown mascara, I wear black myself but it's a taste thing. I also hate to wear green because have told me to my whole life.

    As for inspiration look to the palest of the pale, Nicole Kidman.: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm2231613952/nm0000173


    Here's a lovely pic of Julianne Moore in soft make-up: http://www.imdb.com/media/rm3334380288/nm0000194

    and a cute one of Amy Adams:

    If you're doing your make-up yourself for your wedding, make sure you wear it that way a few times for other outings so that you're comfortable with it. Have some translucent powder on hand for touch ups. Find a lipstick that has some color but not so much you're uncomfortable with it. I like the long wearing ones myself because I like to eat and drink and I hate reapplying. When you're pale your lips can really disappear if the color stays on you don't have to worry about it.

  11. I'm a redhead. Here's a pic from my wedding: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=30047236&l=4c7dde3a44&id=1352663224

    Clearly, not at all indie but it's a picture!

    My eyes are brown though, which means my coloring tends to be a bit different than redheads with blue eyes. I asked a makeup expert at a Nordstrom's trend show for wedding makeup suggestions. He suggested bronze and I was really pleased with how it turned out. They have these every spring and you can get lots of suggestions to use/ignore. There's a fee, but you get a little goody bag and it's a fun Saturday with girlfriends.

    What I used:
    Trish McEvoy Anti-Fatigue Cream Enriched Primer and Mask
    Prescriptives foundation (sadly they're gone now)
    NARS blush in Orgasm
    NARS bronzer in Laguna
    MAC eyeshadow in Vanilla (all over)
    some brown shade I had (crease)
    Mary Kay eyeshadow in Lucky Penny (crease)
    Mary Key eyeliner in some broze-y color. Loved it an used it all up.
    Benefit eyebrow powder (Browzing) in Medium. This makes all the difference b/c I am so pale.
    Mascara. Can't remember.
    Mascara sealer She Laq by Benefit. Prevents mascara smudges.
    Clinque loose powder in Transparency Neutral
    L'Oreal Infallible Lip Color (Can't fine it to give you the shade. It was something neutral close to the shade of MAC's lipglass is Lust, my go-to color. I'm not crazy about the way long wearing lipsticks feel, but I considered it a necessary evil.)

    I did my own make up and if you're going that route, I encourage you to test drive.

  12. Foundation, primer, blusher and powder is a lot of make-up for someone who's not used to it. It depends on your skin how much you want/need(?) to cover up. If you've got freckles - show them :)

    You might prefer something lighter like tinted moisturizer.

    Also, I second other people saying experiment beforehand. Try out lots of different things, take photos of you in natural light.

  13. If you're in LA, I highly recommend going to see Patrick at Barney's in Beverly Hills. He's the resident make-up artist who will meet with anyone, at no charge. Granted, you are expected to buy something and he will tell you you need $500 worth of stuff, but he also understands brides with a budget. He did my makeup, I loved it, so I bought the products he used (ok, 60% of them was all I could afford...) and then he showed me how to put it on. He did a really great job, and I normally NEVER wear makeup. However, now I do because I bought so much damn stuff from him.

  14. Wow, that list... I couldn't read it all. Too much makeup-stuffs... that you may not even know how to properly apply (I wouldn't!). If I were you, I'd hire a pro. If you aren't typically a makeup wearer, you don't need to buy all this crap. There are plenty of other things you may need $$$ for in the weeks leading up to your wedding. Oh, and do a trial run before the big day, obv. Good luck. xoxo.

    Inspiration photos:





  15. Feel free to totally skip the bronzer and ignore the tan police. Signed, a fellow blue eyed redhead who ain't ashamed of her moon tan.

    I would totally do either a very simple eye with a slash of perfectly applied liquid liner (like Our Lady Christina Hendricks) OR Id do a strong red or pink lip with a bit of taupe eyeshadow and mascara.

    Maybe buy a foundation, if you don't regularly wear it, and of course buy a new lipstick so you feel fancy. That guest post wasn't the most helpful, IMHO.

  16. Amazing post from Hannah! I can vouch for Korres Primer, so lovely. As is the Becca powder and Bobbi Brown illuminating bronzers.

  17. Some inspiration I gathered for my wedding make-up as a fellow redhead was this one
    http://www.oncewed.com/29408/wedding-blog/real-weddings/a-lovely-retro-wedding/ and I thought some of this advice was helpful http://www.archibaldphotography.co.uk/blog/2010/09/08/wedding-day-makeup-what-should-brides-think-about/

    My actual make up is shown here http://emmacasephotography.blogspot.com/2010/12/kiara-john.html which my cousin did for me after I bought all the gubbins from MAC after a lesson in Glasgow. It was more than I normally wear and I also had fake eyelashes which I wasn't sure about but I loved them on the day.

  18. @Kiara - you are the bride with the green bow?! I LOVED your wedding, and sent it to my friend for inspiration some time ago. Bravo! xo.

  19. hilarious first photo, first of all.
    second, i thought there should be more photos too, just because that's what she asked for specifically.
    HOWEVER, the tips you gave are awesome. i definitely agree with ActsofBeauty that you should see your makeup in natural light before...but ya know.

  20. wow. people really have opinions on makeup. this is mind boggling to me.