DIY Bridal Makeup Tutorial Part 3: Dramatic Makeup

DIY Bridal Makeup Tutorial Part 3: Dramatic 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 3: Dramatic Makeup


by Cara Bendler Drescher


Oh, the drama! To wrap up my bridal makeup blog series, I’m focusing on dramatic makeup. It should be bold, striking, and well… dramatic! It should create an intensity that draws the eye in and makes jaws drop. Some colors to consider when going for dramatic are, red, black and deep tones. You can always choose other colors to brighten the look, and unlike natural makeup, where color should be subtle, in dramatic makeup, the additional color should be bold. I chose dramatic makeup for model, Naeemah, because she is the lead singer of a band, and needs to stand out from the crowd. In terms of bridal makeup, a dramatic look is best for the big personalities and the statement makers. If that’s not you, then its time to step out of your comfort zone!


I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again – keep in mind that every face is unique. While you may have similar features to one of the models, other features may be different. I’ve included photography and steps to guide you through the tutorials, with tips for how to customize the look to suit you look and style. Finally – you’ll notice a lot of the techniques from my last two posts are similar. While the details for applying makeup are the same, the final look will differ. You’ll discover this as well, as you practice and perfect your own technique!


Part I: Foundation, Concealer, & Contouring



Step 1: Cleanse and moisturize your skin, using a proper cleanser and moisturizer for your specific skin type, whether that be 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. I talked about this in Part 1 & Part 2, but if you haven’t read those, it will help set the groundwork for establishing a look. 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, is simply 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.


Naeemah has deep chocolate skin with yellow undertones. In my professional Makeup Kit, I carry Make Up For Ever’s cream foundation palette. I chose Beige Chocolate on Naeemah. This color was an exact match to her skin tone.




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 Naeemah’s skin.


***TIP: 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. A great tool for blending a liquid or cream foundation is a beauty blender. It’s similar to a makeup sponge/wedge, but it is denser, teardrop shaped, and requires moisture to be most effective. Wet the beauty blender sponge in water until it expands, and then squeeze all excess water until it feels slightly damp. It is now ready to use!


Step 4: Choosing a concealer


Concealer/Cover Up has various purposes, and the two most common are under eye and blemish concealer.


  • Under eye concealer: Its purpose is to conceal darkness just below the eyes (dark circles) and comes in three basic formulations, liquid, cream and powder.
  • Blemish concealer: It covers blemishes, and comes in the same 3 basic formulations, liquid, cream and powder.


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


***TIP: You can add white to your concealer if you are unable to find the right color. Choose a concealer that is similar in color to your foundation, and then add just a little bit of white from a flash color palette to lighten the concealer a little. Any flash color palette will do, but I prefer the Make Up For Ever Flash color Palette.


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:


  • 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 Naeemah, I chose a cream concealer for under her eyes. I used the same palette that I used for her foundation, as the formulation makes this product quite versatile. I chose Caramel from the Make Up For Ever foundation palette, as the color was a perfect match for the skin under her eyes. It sits directly next to her foundation color, and is slightly lighter. I had her look straight up and I applied the color with a smaller synthetic concealer brush, and then blended with my fingertip.


***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.




*Note: this photo includes under eye concealer as well as eye primer.


Step 6: Highlight & Contour


Though 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 Naeemah, I chose to emphasize:
  • Her cheekbones
  • Straight down the bridge of her nose
  • Middle of her forehead
Contour: Used to diminish an area, or to create shading to add depth. For Naeemah, I chose to shade the hollows of her cheekbones. More than anything, I wanted to create more shape to her cheekbones, rather than diminish them.


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 as well as the Make Up For Ever Flash palette. I used white from the foundation palette for the highlight, and brown from the Make Up For Ever Flash palette for the contour. For highlight, I like to use white for almost all skin tones; for contour I usually opt for the darkest foundation color available for the undertones in the skin (pink, yellow, or neutral). Because Naeemah’s foundation color is the darkest in the palette, I needed a darker color, so the brown from the Flash Palette works best.


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





Part 2: Eye makeup & eyebrows


Step 1: Choose your color palette.


Since we are doing dramatic makeup on Naeemah, the focus is going to be on bringing attention to her eyes, and making them stand out from the rest of her facial features.


Choose your color palette based on your eye color. To bring out your eye color, focus on a color palette that is opposite of your eye color.

  • Blue eyes: Pick an orange-based color palette.
  • Green eyes: Use a red-based color palette.
  • Hazel eyes: Opt for a red-based color palette to bring out the green, and a yellow-based color palette to bring out the brown.
  • Brown eyes: More versatile that the other eye colors because brown is neutral, you can use any color to bring out the eyes. The most attractive colors will have your undertones in it.


For Naeemah’s brown eyes, I chose to focus on a dramatic color that would create a bold look. Together, we chose green for her color palette.


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 on the market, you can also use foundation and you’ll get the same results. For Naeemah, I chose the same color I used for her foundation, which is Beige Chocolate from the Make Up For Ever foundation palette.




Step 3: Brow bone highlighter


Highlighter should be applied directly under the highest arch of the eyebrow, on the brow bone, to give it emphasis. I chose two colors for the brow bone: White from the Lorac Pro palette and Snow from the Lorac Pro II palette. I applied White first, directly under the brow bone, and then added Snow to brighten the color.





Step 4: Base Color


For a base color, you want to have a color that you can layer other colors on top of and still have the base color shine through.


For Naeemah’s base color, I used Jade from the Lorac Pro 2 palette.





Step 5: 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 Naeemah, I chose Ivy Garden from the Mary Kay mineral eye makeup palette. Ivy Garden is a deep green shade which is darker than Jade from the Lorac Pro 2 palette; it will help round out the contour of the eye.





Step 6: Eyelid highlight color


The color you choose for the eyelid highlight color will have a similar effect as highlighting had on the face. It will make the eyelid more prominent, and give it a more rounded shape. I added Lemongrass from the Mary Kay mineral eye makeup palette directly to the center of her eyelid.





Step 7: Inner corner highlighter


Highlighting the inner corner of the eye will help make the eyes pop even more. I chose Snow from the Lorac Pro II palette, and gently brushed it on the inner corner of the eye.




Step 8: Blend


Blend all eye shadow on the lid once it is in place, using an eye shadow blending brush.


Step 9: Eyeliner


For Naeemah, I chose two different eyeliners. For the top lash line of her eye, I chose NYX Super Skinny Eye Marker. I created a winged liner for both of her top eyelids. Because the NYX Super Skinny Eye Marker is a liquid liner, it creates a very sharp line. I lined the bottom lash line with NYX Eye/Eyebrow pencil in Lime Green.


***TIP: To create winged liner, start by lining as close to the lash line as possible. Line from the inner corner all the way out to the outer corner of the lash line (Fig. 2). Without lining the bottom lash line, follow the curve of the lower lash line to create the bottom of the wing (Fig. 3). Do this by using a sharpened eye pencil in a neutral beige or brown, and starting at the outer corner of the lower lash line. The length of the wing is up to you, but ideally, it should end right at the edge of your orbital bone (the outer edge of the eye socket bone). Once you have the bottom part of the wing, draw a line from the center of the top lash line out to meet the line you drew from the bottom lash line (Fig. 4). Go over the outline with the liquid liner, and then fill in the gap (Fig.5).




***TIP: If you wear contact lenses, do not line the waterline on the bottom or top lash line. In other words, don’t tight line the eyes. 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.


Naeemah was wearing false strip lashes. I highly recommend false lashes for dramatic makeup, and for most bridal makeup.


**TIP: False strip lashes will give a more dramatic look than individual false lashes.


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. Always make sure to soften the brows when filling in the sparse areas, and don’t create severe lines.


To help define her brows, I used color from the Senna Brow Book. Because the colors aren’t labeled in the Senna Brow Book, I’ve pointed out the color I used below. I chose the darkest color in the palette, because Naeemah has very dark eyebrow hair. After I applied the color, I applied Tweezerman Brow Mousse to help her eyebrows to stay put. The brow mousse works like a gel for the eyebrows, without drying crunchy.






Part III: Blush/Rouge & Lip Color


Step 1: Choosing a blush formulation


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

  • 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 tone that best matches your natural flush color. The purpose of blush is to give you a natural looking flush. For Naeemah, I chose two colors, NYX Cream Blush in Pink Lotus & Tulip.






Step 3: Application Process


When applying any formulation of blush, apply directly to your cheekbones. 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 along the outer side of the face.


***TIP: I stressed this in my last two posts, and will do so again. Do not apply blush in the hollow of your cheek. This is an 80s trend that is not flattering on anyone.


Because I chose two colors on Naeemah, I applied the lighter color first (Pink Lotus), and placed a small amount of the other color on top to bring out the original color more.




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 Naeemah, I chose Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics (OCC) Lip Tar in Vintage.

This color looks different on everyone, but has a burgundy tone to it. It looks deeper when applied heavily, and when applied lightly, gives a less dramatic look, adding just the right amount of color to the lips.


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. Or, if you want 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.


***TIP: You can also use a cotton swab instead of a lip brush to apply color, especially with the OCC Lip Tars. 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 lipgloss on top of the lip color.


For Naeemah, I applied the Lip Tar fairly heavily with a lip brush. I chose to add even more glossiness with Sephora’s Precious Pink, which has a slight pink sheen to it, and lots of shimmer.


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.


***TIP: When applying any loose powder, gently tap the powder into the lid, careful not to pour too much out. Swirl your brush into the powder and then tap the brush out a few times to leave the brush with a light dusting of the powder. This will prevent the powder from caking on and creating flashback in pictures, and will prevent an ashy/washed out look.






Tying the knot? Schedule your makeup session with Cara at or for more information, visit