DIY Bridal Makeup Tutorial Part 1: Neutral Makeup

DIY Bridal Makeup Tutorial Part 1: Neutral Makeup

Cara B. Design & Wellness is owned and operated by Cara B. Drescher, Licensed Esthetician & Makeup Artist.  A 2003 graduate of The Lansdale School of Cosmetology, Cara’s professional background includes work at high end salons and spas in the Philadelphia Metro area and the Main Line, as well as freelance work for local photographers, models, hairstylists, and more.  In addition to skincare and makeup, she is a Pennsylvania Licensed and Nationally Certified Massage Therapist and Continuing Education Provider.  


DIY Bridal Makeup Tutorial Part 1: Neutral Makeup

by Cara Bendler Drescher


Last week I talked about budgeting for beauty services for your wedding, and how to choose the right makeup artist for you. While hiring a makeup artist is the most beneficial way to achieve your desired look, it’s not always an option. Sometimes you need to take on the task of doing your own makeup. To help ease the stress on your big day, I’ve put together three different makeup tutorials, each highlighting a different style of makeup, and focusing on different ways to pop the eyes, hair color, skin tone, etc. Keep in mind while viewing the tutorials, that every face is unique. While you may have similar features to one of the models, other features may be different. I’ve included pictures and in depth descriptions of each section to guide you.


Our first model, Corrine, doesn’t wear a lot of makeup, so a neutral palette is a good choice for her as the goals of neutral makeup are: classic, timeless, matte, crisp. When you hear the term “neutral makeup”, some colors that should come to mind are, brown, taupe, earthy, beige.


Part I: Foundation, Concealer, & Contouring






Step 1: Cleanse and moisturize your skin, using a proper cleanser and moisturizer for your specific skin type (dry, oily, combination, sensitive, mature, etc.)





Step 2: Find your matching foundation


The first step in choosing the proper foundation color for your skin, is determining what your undertones are. There are three undertone colors: pink/cool, yellow/warm, and neutral.


There are a number of ways to determine undertone, and one of the best ways to do this is simply to look at the veins in your wrist.

  • Veins that appear blue will usually belong to people with pink/cool undertones.
  • Veins that appear green will usually belong to people with yellow/warm undertones.
  • Neutral undertones create a blue-green color to the veins.


Another way to determine undertone, is looking at your jewelry.

  • People with pink/cool undertones, will usually look best in silver jewelry.
  • People with yellow/warm undertones, will usually look best in gold jewelry.
  • Neutral undertones will look good in both gold and silver jewelry.


Our first model, Corrine, has fair skin with pink undertones.   In my professional Makeup Kit, I carry Make Up For Ever’s cream foundation palette. I chose Pink Beige on Corrine, as the color blends flawlessly into her skin.





Step 3: Application Process


There are various tools to use when applying foundation. Choosing which tool to use, depends on the type of foundation you are using, as well as the look you are striving for.

  • Fingers: Best for liquid foundation.
  • Sponge/Wedge: Best for liquid or cream foundation.
  • Beauty Blender: Similar to a makeup wedge, but works better.
  • Brush: Best for cream and powder foundations, though a different type of brush is used for powder and for cream.


For the Make Up For Ever cream foundation, I chose a synthetic foundation brush to apply the foundation to Corrine’s skin. It’s very important to blend the foundation into the skin going down the neck, as the skin on the neck will almost always be a slightly different shade than the skin on the face.


Step 4: Choosing a concealer


Concealer/Cover Up has various purposes, and the two most common are:

  • Under eye concealer: The purpose is to conceal darkness just below the eyes (dark circles) and comes in three basic formulations: liquid, cream and powder.
  • Blemish concealer: The purpose is to cover blemishes, and comes in three basic formulations: liquid, cream and powder.

When choosing a concealer color, you want to select a shade lighter than your foundation choice.


***TIP: Sometimes color correction is needed if the circles under the eyes are very dark or purplish. In this instance, you’ll want to apply a color corrector that will neutralize the underlying color. To neutralize an underlying color, keep in mind: orange neutralizes blue; green neutralizes red; brown neutralizes pink.


Step 5: Application Process


There are multiple ways to apply concealer and it all depends on the formulation of the concealer.

  • Fingers, best for liquid and cream.
  • Brush, best for liquid, cream and powder.
  • Beauty Blender/Wedge, best for liquid and cream.


For Corrine, I chose a cream concealer for under her eyes. She did not have any blemishes that needed covering up, nor did she require color correction under her eyes either. I used the same palette that I used for her foundation, as the formulation makes this product quite versatile.


In order to get the most accurate color to match under her eyes, I chose her foundation color (Pink Beige) and added some white to lighten it a bit.


Once the colors are mixed, I had her turn her gaze upwards so I could apply the color with a smaller synthetic concealer brush, and then blend it with my finger.


***TIP: When applying under eye concealer to your own skin, blend it with your ring finger. This finger has the least amount of muscle, so it is naturally weaker, making your blending look more flawless.





Step 6: Highlight & Contour


Highlight and contour are not always necessary, they are mostly used for photography, and to emphasize and diminish specific features.


  • Highlight: Used to emphasize an area, or to make it stand out. For Corrine, I chose to emphasize:
    • Her jaw line
    • Her cheekbones
    • Straight down the bridge of her nose
    • Middle of her forehead
  • Contour: Used to diminish an area, or to keep it in the background. For Corrine, I chose to diminish:
    • Under her jaw
    • The sides of her nose
    • Sides of her forehead


Step 7: Choosing the proper colors & Application Process


  • The colors I chose for highlighting and contouring come from the original palette that I used for her foundation. I used white for the highlight, and I used chocolate beige for the contour. For the highlight, I like to use white for almost all skin tones, and for contour, I like to use the darkest foundation color available for the undertones in the skin (pink, yellow, or neutral).


  • For the highlight and contour, I used the same synthetic foundation brush that I used for her foundation.




**Important tips for highlight and contour:

  • When using highlight and contour, go light, not heavy. The Kim Kardashian look is all over social media, and while she is a beautiful woman, her highlight and contour are intentionally very heavy handed because she is photographed all the time.
  • Remember that your highlight and contour should look natural and not severe, so on top of a light touch – blend, blend, blend!


Part II: Eye makeup & Eyebrows


Step 1: Choose your color palette. Since we are doing neutral makeup on Corrine, we are going to focus on varying shades of browns, with just a hint of color to bring out your eyes.


Choose your color palette based on your eye color. To bring out your eye color, focus on a color palette that is the opposite of your eye color. The best colors to use on any eye color will be variations of brown.

  • Blue eyes: Use a brown with an orange undertone.
  • Green eyes: Use a brown with a red undertone.
  • Hazel eyes: Use a brown with a red undertone to bring out the green, use a brown with a yellow undertone to bring out the brown
  • Brown eyes: are more versatile so work with the undertones of the skin you used to choose the foundation (pink/cool or yellow/warm) and choose a brown with those undertones.


For Corrine’s eyes, I chose to focus on orange and gold to bring out the blue.


Step 2: Apply primer


Always make sure to apply a primer to the eyelid prior to applying eye shadow. While there are many very good, very popular eye primers out there, you can also use foundation and you’ll get the same results. I used foundation as eye primer for Corrine.


Step 3: Base Color


My favorite eye shadow is by the brand, Lorac. This eye shadow has zero fallout, full color, and amazing staying power. For Corrine, I chose the base color Nectar from the Lorac Pro II Palette. It has a nice orange-peach shade to it, and will give us a good base to start with.





Step 4: Crease color


The color you choose for the crease will have the same effect that the contouring has on the face. The idea is to help give more shape to the eyelid. For Corrine, I chose Garnet from the Lorac Pro palette. I chose Garnet because of its orangey-gold color. It will help to bring the contour to Corrine’s eye because it’s darker, and also brings the orange and gold color to pop the blue in her eyes.




Step 5: Eyelid highlight color


The color you choose for the eyelid highlight color will have a similar effect as the highlight had on the face. It will make the eyelid more prominent.


I added a light touch of Yellow from the Make Up For Ever Flash Palette (this will make the color I place on top pop a little more) directly to the center of the eyelid. I touched this color on her lids lightly with my ring fingertip. I then applied Gold from the Lorac Pro Palette directly on top of the yellow.







Step 6: Brow bone highlighter


Highlighter should be applied directly under the highest arch of the eyebrow. Applying highlighter directly under the brow, on the brow bone, emphasizes the that area.


I chose two colors for the brow bone: Lt. Bronze from the Lorac Pro palette and Snow from the Lorac Pro II palette. I applied Lt. Bronze first, directly under the brow bone, and then added Snow to brighten the color.






Step 7: Inner corner highlighter


Highlighting the inner corner of the eye will help make the eyes pop even more. I chose Beige from the Lorac Pro II palette, and then I added Snow from the same palette, to give a little more brightness.






Step 8: Blend


Blend all the eye shadow on the lid once it has been applied using an eye shadow blending brush.


Step 9: Eyeliner


Eyeliner for a neutral look should always be a neutral color, such as brown, taupe, beige, etc.


For Corrine, I chose two different eyeliners. For the top lash line of her eye, I chose L’oreal Voluminous Smoldering Eyeliner in Brown, and for the bottom lash line of the eye, I chose Revlon Colorstay Eyeliner in Black Brown.


***TIP: If you wear contact lenses, do not line the waterline on the bottom or top lash line. If you do not wear contact lenses and would like to line the waterline, I advise using white only. White eyeliner will serve to give the illusion of larger eyes.





Step 10: Mascara


Regardless of the color or length of your eyelashes, mascara is always important. Mascara will always make the lashes appear larger and fuller. My go-to mascara for bridal makeup is L’oreal Voluminous in Carbon Black. Always coat the top lashes first, and then follow with the bottom lashes.


***TIP: Do not use waterproof mascara on a regular basis. Waterproof mascara can dry out the lashes when used on a regular basis.





Step 11: Eyebrows


Filling in the brows is important to help them stand out and look a little more defined. When filling in brows, fill in sparse areas, but don’t overfill. The idea is to give a natural shape to the brows, not to create a different shape. Also, make sure to always soften the brows when filling in the sparse areas, and avoid creating severe lines.


To help define Corrine’s brows, I used color from the Senna Brow Book. Because the colors aren’t labeled in the Senna Brow Book, I’ve indicated it in the image provided!


I chose a color with a reddish tint, because Corrine has blonde hair with red highlights.


After I applied the color, I applied Tweezerman Brow Mousse to help her eyebrows stay put. The brow mousse works like a gel for the eyebrows, without drying crunchy.





Part III: Blush & Lip Color


Step 1: Choosing a blush formulation


Choosing a blush formulation is dependent on various factors, including weather, skin type and personal preference. There is a wide array of formulations available for blush, including:

  • Cream: Best for dry skin
  • Gel: Best for oily skin
  • Tint: Best for oily skin
  • Stain: Best for oily skin
  • Powder: Best for normal skin (not too oily, not too dry)


I prefer cream blush in my kit, as I find I have better control over the blending and application.


Step 2: Choosing a proper color


When choosing a blush color, choose a color that best matches your natural flush color. The purpose of blush is to give you a natural looking flush. For Corrine, I chose NYX Cream Blush in Pink Poppy.


Step 3: Application Process


When applying any formulation of blush, apply directly to your cheekbones. DO NOT APPLY IN THE HOLLOW OF YOUR CHEEK – that is oh so 80s! This is very important. The best way to get the proper effect is to smile and apply blush to the apples of your cheeks. Once you do this, gently swipe the color up your cheekbone on the outer side of the face.






Step 4: Choosing a Lip Color


When choosing a lip color, it’s best to choose a color that picks up some of your skin’s undertones.


For Corrine, I chose two colors. The first color is Make Up For Ever N9 to fill in the entire lip (top and bottom) and then I lightly touched L’oreal 182 on top to deepen the color a little bit.




Step 5: Application Process


When applying lip color, it’s important to apply a lip liner first to help keep the color from feathering at the edges. Because it can be difficult to find a matching lip liner, I prefer to use invisible/clear lip liner.


  • Start by lining the edges of the lips with the lip liner of your choice.
  • Be aware of lip shape, including asymmetry. To give the appearance of a fuller lip, line the lip just outside of the natural color of the lip.To give the appearance of a thinner lip, line the lip just inside the natural color of the lip.
  • Always apply lip color with a lip brush instead of directly from the tube. This will give a more natural look. After applying lip color, blot lips with a tissue, and then apply more color. To help the color stay longer, repeat this process 4-5 times.
  • For a matte look, apply lip color, blot, and leave as is.
  • For a glossy look, apply a clear, or sparkly lip-gloss on top of the lip color.


Step 6: Finishing Powder


Always finish a makeup look with finishing/translucent powder. My go-to powder is NYX HD Studio Finishing Powder in SFP01. Dust the powder all over the face to set the makeup in place.





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