Image courtesy of OneWed.com

I’m not one of those girls who’s dreamed of getting married since she was old enough to understand the words “bride” and “groom.” I never fantasized wedding dresses or centerpieces. I didn’t wish for a Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet (sorry, fiancé, if you’re reading this).

But what I did dream about was a legit excuse to buy as many beauty products as I wanted. A reason to try 13 different eye shadows. An excuse to spend three hours searching the Internet for the perfect shade of lip gloss. A reason to splurge a little.

My pending nuptials seem like the perfect excuse. I gave myself a little longer of a leash than usual, and went all out. Here’s a few tips that I learned along the way, plus the products that I think will give me the natural-me-but-better look for my big day.

Face:

One thing I don’t want to have to worry about on my wedding day is my makeup melting. In order to stay off the sweaty train, two things are key: a good primer and a layering of different types of makeup.

I start with ARCONA’s Desert Mist, a daily primer and skin protectant. It seals in moisture and helps create a smooth base for all your subsequent blending. I’ve also heard Amala’s Purifying Mattifier is a good one.

  1. Liquid foundation: I already gave this puppy its due on the blog last week, but I can’t say enough how excited I am to have found 100% Pure Healthy Skin Foundation. It has silky coverage without making me look like I’m in a theatre production of “Cats,” it doesn’t melt off and it doesn’t give me too much of a “glow” (I’m not really a dewy-skin lover). I stipple it on with a Beauty Blender because it’s awesome and works better than a sponge or a brush or my fingers (I’ve tried them all, people) to get even, not-cakey coverage.
  2. Sticky-ish liquid concealer: I do this concealer from Mineral Fusion* (which comes with two colors so you can mix a custom for your skintone) OVER my foundation. Otherwise the stippling takes it all off.
  3. Mineral foundation: Something to remember, which will come up later when we talk about eyeshadow—you want to avoid shimmer and glitter and sparkly-ness on your wedding day. They create bounce-back when your photog snaps glamour shots of you and your S.O., which can wreck the images and make you look older than you actually are. And NO ONE wants that. So, the mineral foundation I use is a totally matte one that we’ve recommended on the blog before: Alima Pure. So many colors. So much lovely, soft coverage. It’s the bomb.com. The only thing I’ve ever loved as much as it was Jane Iredale’s PurePressed Foundation, which is a bit pricier.
  4. Blush: I am NOT a rosy girl. I much prefer a little color in the form of a bronzer (no shimmer) but for the wedding-day, I want to look more polished than usual. So, I went back a tried-and-true matte blush (remember how I said to avoid shimmer? Blush is included here.): Alima Pure Satin Matte Blush in Pink, a literally universally flattering shade.
  5. Luminizer: Now, I said before shimmer is baaaad. And I stand by that statement… until photos are through. Then I’m going to dab a little of (the best beauty product in the world) RMS’ Living Luminizer in the inner corners of my eyes, down the bridge of my nose and on my cupid’s bow. Glow-ing.

Eyes:

This was where most of my searching, researching and testing happened. I just had a tricky time finding a matte (are you sick of that word yet?) eyeshadow palette that was flattering and contouring enough. So, I mixed my own.

  1. Eyeshadow: I bought a load of samples from W3LL PEOPLE (thank you to any and all clean lines that offer this service—it is the best thing ever) and ended up finding my perfect shade in a slightly unlikely place—the mineral brow pigment. I use a medium shade on my lid (Matte Taupe) and a darker shade in my crease (Matte Espresso).
  2. Eyeliner: For all-day wear, liquid liner is your best bet. I haven’t found a clean one that I lurve, so I improvise by creating my own. I do a thin line on my top lid only (don’t want any bleeding under my eyes on my big day) of Jane Iredale’s Eye Pencil in Black Brown. Then, I dip a stiff eyeliner brush in water before dabbing it in Modern Minerals’ loose mineral eyeliner in Cocoa. I gently enhance the Jane Iredale line with this deep chocolate shade, thickening the line a bit.
  3. Mascara: I looove me some mascara. I already have long, curled lashes (my hair stylist asked me last week if I’d gotten eyelash extensions after I swiped on one coat of black-brown mascara) but I need some additional thickening. To get the look I want, I use two mascaras in sequence: a) 100% Pure Fruit Pigmented Mascara in Dark Chocolate (it actually smells like I’m swiping melted dark chocolate on my lashes, which is just an added bonus to its lengthening power). b) Josie Maran GOGO Instant Natural Volume Argan Mascara in Pitch Black. This baby thickens and darkens, giving me almost-falsies.

Lips:

My lips are SENSITIVE, so I’ve tried many a balm, stick, gloss and stain in order to find the perfect one that doesn’t make my lips swell and flake. I also didn’t want one with too much color, as I’m doing a heavier eye than I normally would. In order to get that my-lips-but-better look, I’m using two products:

  1. Dr. Hauschka’s Lip Liner in Soft, Muted Rose. It’s almost exactly the shade of my natural lips, so I’m only using it to help my real color stay on longer. Creating a base of a stickier substance, like the liner, helps hold color in place (since I’m not jumping on the 14-hour dirty lip color train).
  2. My holy grail of lip color and gloss: RMS Beauty’s Lip Shine in Bloom. Confession: I own ALL the colors of the Lip Shine. I love them so much – they go on sheer but can be layered for more color. They leave a light stain so even once the gloss wears off, I still have a little color. And Bloom is the perfect shade to make me look super put together on a no-makeup day or enhance my lips for a  special occasion (aka, my wedding).

That’s it peeps. Seems like a lot, but I think it’ll all help me feel confident about looking my best on wedding day (t minus three days…). What products did you use for your wedding? What did I miss?

So yeah, we’ve been up to all sorts of the very best kind of no-good this weekend. Ahem, extended weekend.

The festivities started on Friday when Siobhan and I met up in Montreal with some of our oldest pals to begin celebrations for our darling Erika’s wedding. (Erika is also a frequent commenter here in the NMDL community.) It lasted for three days and it was completely off the hook! Is there anything more beautiful than seeing two people make an authentic expression of their love before family and friends? Not so much. And this one was especially special.

The second best thing about this wedding though, in my humble opinion, was all the female camaraderie—most notably, the pre-party primping.

We spared nothing! We went for nails, we got blowouts, and we watched the bride get her makeup done with big silly grins on our faces. There were chemicals, of course—too many tears of joy not to be!—but we minimized exposure where we could.

I showed up at the salon with my hair wet and conditioned, cause we know I wouldn’t run the risk of being forced into a wash again. The nail salon we found was also shockingly unstinky, and offered three-free options we could live with.

For myself, this was also a MUCH-needed reconnection to my more glamorous side. A side, I’m embarrassed to admit, that’s been in hiding since, well, my wedding. See, aside from trying new clean hair and face products religiously, I’ve let some of the more ritualized self-care fall by the wayside. My fellow freelancers can probably identify: It’s hard to get to the salon (clean or otherwise), when you are barely getting out of your PJs! It’s also way too easy to slack off when you decide to settle down with someone—whatever that may mean to you.

So a question to the non-single ladies: Has deeper commitment for you resulted in less commitment to your grooming? If so, join me in making a public promise to turn this trend around! Nails will be trimmed and buffed or polished (with Scotch or Zoya, of course!). Legs will be shaved (I’m actually testing out a new clean shaving cream this week). Hair will get blown out now and again (I’m going to see how long I can extend this one with a natural dry “shampoo”).

What have you neglected?

Image via Vogue