Wedding Makeup Series Part 3.1 - Purchasing The Perfect Foundation & Concealer That Will Photograph Well!


Getting foundation and concealer right has to be the most important thing when it comes to makeup for your wedding day especially for them all important photos. But truthfully it's the hardest thing to get perfect when you have so many things to consider - the weather, your skin type, how it will photograph, will it last the full day... whilst also looking to achieve flawless looking skin that looks like your own just essentially more beautiful!

Which is why I've wrote two posts of epic proportion on the subject and I even surprised myself on how much there is to actually say about picking the right foundation and base products. 

Whatever your wedding plan's I'd suggest you need to schedule in at least two shopping trips just for makeup alone, though when you do it is totally up to you, as long as it's not the week before!

On the first trip you want to be looking at everything you plan to apply to the face on the day (minus anything for the eyes,lips and cheeks as it could easily become too overwhelming) - so that could be a primer, foundation, concealer, powder and a matte bronzer if you are wanting a touch of warmth to the face without having a fake tan. On the subject of fake tan if you are planning on having a spray tan or having a self tanner applied make sure you go shopping 2 or 3 days after you have a trail tan done so that you can get colour matched whilst tanned!


Shopping for Foundation Samples
Back to shopping, well I say shopping but I wouldn't suggest buying anything on your first trip. The main focus is to get colour matched for both your concealer and foundation at a range of counters and then take home samples to try out near a window in good daylight to see how natural it looks and also how it lasts. Now asking for samples and beauty counters are equally as daunting but even though I love the high street I definitely feel a high-end foundation is needed for the big day as these brands have a huge range of shades and finishes and you will need quite a specific type of foundation (which I've detailed below). So if you are going to splurge on anything let it be your foundation and concealer.

Nearly all beauty counters will colour match you if you ask - likely the sales assistants will colour match you just above your jawbone, proceeding to show you how pretty your closest match looks and then mostly likely expect you to hand over your cash there and then. But you of course don't know if it looks natural with all the artificial department store lighting around or if it will last on your skin! So ask for a sample of the shade you have been colour matched to, though be prepared for the SA to say she hasn't got any samples to hand! Which is when you produce your own little plastic jar (you can buy travel sized pots from Superdrug or Boots) for her to put afew applications of foundation into. If the sales assistant for whatever reasons says she can't do that then WALK AWAY! There is no point in spending £20+ on a foundation that may not look as natural as you thought once you get home. You NEED to apply a full application and see how it feels, lasts and looks.


When foundation shopping for your wedding makeup you need to consider at least 4 key points -
  •  No SPF (the sales assistant may try to sell you one with even a low SPF in especially if it's summer but just don't go for it! It just photographs badly and there are many foundation choices without it. Also avoid anything that promotes to be radiance enhancing, light reflective or dewy as this can appear oily looking on the skin in photos.
  • Try to find a foundation that suits your specific skin type - If you have oily skin avoid anything that has anti-ageing properties or hydrates the skin etc. All common sense really!
  • Look for a sheer to medium/semi-matte or satin to matte coverage - you want your concealer to do all the work hiding blemishes and not the foundation. A full coverage isn't going to look as natural as you want it to.
  •  This is the most important time to find a shade that matches your skin perfectly so don't rush! Never try a foundation at a beauty counter and buy it there and then. Ask politely for a sample to try out at home - explain it's for your wedding day if you hate having to ask for samples. Asked to be colour matched even if you think you know what your shade is - Too dark you risk looking dull, muddy or at best just orange! Too light and you risk looking like a Casper the wedding ghost in photographs. You need to find the perfect shade, so if this means going to 6 different brands... DO it!

If you do have quite pink undertones, flush easily or suffer from redness then you definitely want to opt for a yellow based foundation as photography will only enhance pink tones in the skin so the yellow based foundation will help to counteract this problem.


All the same rules apply for concealer - though I can't stress enough how you don't want to purchase anything that's going to be light reflective under the eyes. So nothing that says 'radiance' 'dewy' 'hightlighting' 'brightening' you just want a simple liquid concealer with no shimmer - the concealer pen's are great but just keep in mind the above. It's even more important to get the right shade of concealer for under the eyes as you don't want that 'racoon' look that you can sometimes get in pictures from picking a concealer that's too light for you. It should of course match your foundation and be of good coverage.
SPF isn't your friend! 
Avoiding sunscreen in cosmetics for your wedding day could be a post all of it's own! But I will try to keep it as short as possible because it is pretty boring if I'm honest. Like I previously mentioned you want to be avoiding any SPF in foundation but this also applies to your primer, concealer, powder and any mineral makeup basically whatever makes up your base you will be applying. Check on ingredients list that it doesn't contain Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide or Zinc Oxide. As these UV ingredients will bounce off flash in photos and create a white powdery cast over the face or lighten the whole face and your features. There are also a few products to especially avoid like the Make Up For Ever HD Powder and Laura Mercier Secret Brightening Powder that are the worst culprits for looking really white and powdery in photos.

The effects of up close flash photography with HD and brightening powders!

However the result of 'ghost face' in non-celebrity land is basically down to the wrong use of flash photography. So my guess is your own photographer's photos will turn out perfectly. But them snaps Auntie Jean will take with her digital camera (and will also kindly uploaded onto Facebook) at the night reception 2 feet from your face won't really be showing your makeup in it's best light! To solve this... you could ban all cameras or tell people to stand the hell back (only joking)! But really there isn't much you can do except count your lucky stars you have a pro that knows what he or she is doing!

Whatever your skin type if you feel you need an sun protection during the day (especially if it's summer or you are going abroad) then you need to apply it but there's also a chance of you sweating from the heat and moving about so much in probably quite a heavy dress which means your makeup has a chance of sliding/wearing off so applying a cream sunscreen under foundation just isn't going to work. So before applying any makeup to the face, make sure to apply a mineral powder SPF from either Bare Escentuals or Peter Thomas Roth. Making sure you don't miss out the neck - this will also decrease the risk of looking like you have ghostly skin in photos! If your budget won't stretch to such a costly mineral SPF then your next best option is an oil sunscreen as this won't leave a film on the skin. Also don't instantly go for the highest SPF the range does - the lower the better for the day but of course nothing too low that will still let you burn.


You obviously want to go subtle on the bronzing front so opt for a matte powder bronzer that isn't too dark for you. If you have particularly dry skin you may want to consider/try out a foundation 2 or 3 shades darker than your own as a contour, which can be blending in with your foundation brush. For this a sachet or sample pot will be your cheapest option instead of the full-sized product!

Powder highlight can be too harsh in photos or even look too shimmery. You need to be very aware of what you want the camera to pick up, so you really want to just highlight the high points of your face - along the tops of the cheekbones and lightly along the brow bone, again this can all be done under the foundation for a subtle effect. 
Avoid pencil brow highlighters are they will give a harsh edge and even makes your eyes look abit puffy in flash photography and  also dusting a powder highlighter all over the face isn't a good idea. You really want to find a nice liquid skin illuminator that you can sparingly apply to certain areas, this will make the skin look nice and glowy and will be perfect for your wedding photographs. 

To set everything your actually looking for a finely milled powder that is the nearest to your own skin tone with a slight yellow cast to it and not in fact a translucent one liked you'd think (as again it just doesn't photograph well). You will only need the smallest amount on the day but it will really ensure your makeup will last the day whatever your skin type.

Have I missed anything out? More than likely! But I'm sure I'm starting to bore you now! My next post will be the second part in which there will be talk of  brushes & primers, foundation & concealer application, keeping your skin oil-free throughout  your wedding day... and actual brand recommendations for different skin types! 

Hope you are enjoying the series so far!

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