Heat-Proof Wedding Makeup

Abbey Anspach
Jacqueline (Dennis) Ricker gets ready for her wedding to Corbin Ricker.

This story first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2019 issue of Columbus Weddings, published December 2018.

A shimmering, dewy look is a popular trend for bridal makeup this season, but only to an extent. Don’t let a “natural” look turn into a natural disaster thanks to the heat and humidity you may be exposed to on your big day.

While you may have hired a makeup professional to execute your wedding look and ensure it stays in place, it is still incredibly important for you to understand your own skin and have the right questions and recommendations when going into the process with your artist.

First and foremost, keep in mind that your wedding-day makeup doesn’t start (or end) with your makeup trial appointment. In fact, it should start months beforehand. The way your makeup looks—and more importantly, how it wears as the night goes on—depends on the health of your skin.

“As soon as you get engaged and get your wedding planning started, that’s the time to start reassessing your [skincare] regime,” advises Melody Kuck, a senior aesthetician at PENZONE Salons + Spas. “Your makeup is only going to be as good as the skin underneath.”

We aren’t all makeup gurus, so it may be difficult to know exactly how to prepare. If you’re not sure whether your skin is dry, oily or combination—or what other concerns you might need to be aware of—it can help to schedule a facial early in your engagement. Not only will you get some much-needed pampering to help you deal with planning stress, you can also use the opportunity to educate yourself on your skin’s needs.

Kuck recommends having a consultation with your makeup artist at least a month prior to your wedding to go over your final skincare regimen and practice the vision you have for your makeup.

The most important thing to keep in mind? Honesty. The whole purpose of a trial appointment is to voice your ideas and ultimately say something if it’s not what you had in mind.

“I’d rather have that communication with [the bride at the trial] instead of them coming in nervous for their wedding day, even though you practiced once,” Kuck says. “I want you to look beautiful and I want you to feel beautiful, and if that means we are going to have to try three or four different lipsticks, that’s what’s going to happen.”

Caitie Couper laughs as a PENZONE Salon + Spa aesthetician finishes her look. (Photo by Derk’s Works Photography)

Alyssa Arnold, a makeup artist at Square One Salon and Day Spa, also recommends bringing inspiration photos to your trial.

“If you have a picture, that gives a visual reference for both the makeup artist and the bride,” she says. This is especially important when clients aren’t particularly familiar with makeup. A bride could say a brown, smoky eye when she means a charcoal cut crease, so a picture helps clear up any confusion around industry jargon.

While a picture might give guidance and serve as inspiration, it’s important to not get hung up on recreating the exact look.

“A professional is a professional for a reason,” Kuck says. “Obviously, a picture or a vision is a jumping-off point, but let [the makeup artist] guide you through the process, because she’s probably done this before. This isn’t her first rodeo.”

And your honesty shouldn’t end with your thoughts on the trial look, particularly when it comes to a summer wedding. Your skin will react to being outside in the heat and humidity, which for a lot of people means sweat and oil.

A lot can happen between your early morning hair and makeup appointments and walking to the altar—not to mention activities at the reception. While you may leave your appointment looking flawless and fresh, exposure to outside conditions and your skin’s natural tendencies can affect how your makeup holds throughout the day.

While a makeup artist can predict conditions like the heat and plan accordingly, she doesn’t know your skin type, which Kuck says plays a huge role in the products your makeup artist will use. For example: You may come in to your appointment with dry skin, but you also may have a tendency to sweat when you’re nervous. If you don’t share that fact with your artist, he or she won’t know to use the right products.

Redness is another major makeup concern when the temps turn up. “Redness is one of the hardest things to tint down,” says Kuck, citing a number of contributing factors. For a lot of women, she explains, redness can be the result of anything from anxiety to heat to alcohol consumption. If you are prone to redness, be sure to notify your makeup artist so he or she can be proactive in combating the problem.

A makeup artist works on Jaimee (Walt) Wheeler’s eye look. (Photo by Hillary Ferguson Photography)

When it comes to her clients’ makeup routine, especially in anticipation of the summer heat, Arnold’s motto is “prep, set and wear less,” with an emphasis on the “wear less.”

“I remember a couple times, when I was just starting my journey, that I just acted like it was any other day. [The bride] looked beautiful when she left, but the next thing you know, things were starting to break apart on the face, were just too heavy and were settling into creases,” she says.

Airbrush makeup is a great tool to ensure that the product is spread evenly and, more importantly, lightly. Both Kuck and Arnold say that they use airbrush foundation, especially in the summer months, versus a traditional long-wearing foundation. When asked about the difference, Kuck explains that the biggest distinction is the seamless coverage the airbrush provides.

“Airbrush makeup is almost pixilated, if you will, because it comes out of such fine spray. You can make a really full-coverage look completely seamless, like there’s nothing on the skin,” she says.

Between the stress, hugs, happy tears and fun you’re going have on your big day, touch-ups can be a necessity—especially when your makeup appointment is several hours before. Both PENZONE and Square One salons provide brides with their shade of lipstick and compact powders to set their makeup as the day unfolds. As you’re researching makeup artists for your own day, make sure you ask about this important perk.

And if you’re still worried about the longevity of your makeup, Kuck has some words of wisdom.

“As long as you get good photographs at the beginning, no one’s going to remember what you look like by 11 o’clock,” she says. “Trust me, they don’t care by then.”