Today we have brought in bridal beauty expert Clare Hogan for a professional’s advice on destination wedding makeup. We got together our most frequently asked questions and Clare responded with this excellent advice along with her top beauty product recommendations. Worrying about what to do with your makeup at a destination wedding is such a common stress but really it doesn’t need to be, as we see today.

1) How important would you say a makeup trial is for a destination wedding?

With more and more couples deciding to get married abroad the logistics of booking suppliers you trust and like can be tough. You may not have the freedom to meet up as much as you’d like or have the same access to recommendations which can put your mind at ease and help you make the all-important decision of choosing a makeup artist.

For brides, deciding what to do about makeup and hair can be a challenge when getting married abroad. Using a wedding planner will help narrow your search and hopefully help you find the right person, but no matter how highly recommended a person comes I would always suggest having a trial if at all possible. It may not be an option to have a trial a few weeks or months prior to your big day but even if you can find an hour or two free a few days before when you get to your destination, it is well worth it. If you are a very relaxed person in nature and confident then by all means you can wait until the day itself, but for peace of mind and ease, it’s nice to have met the person properly and had time to talk to them. They will get a feel for your personality and what exactly you like and don’t like and you have the opportunity to make any changes you might want. This becomes more difficult if left to the day itself, especially if there is a large bridal party and you might be under time pressure. If it’s just you having your makeup done on the day and you decide a trial is just not possible then give yourself extra time. Add at least 30 minutes on to your time so you’ll have time to play with if you do decide to change something or you’re not completely happy.

If you’re still not sure about using a makeup artist from the locality and would like to do it yourself I’d recommend having a one on one lesson with an artist you do know or trust at home and go through it with them. They can help you pick some products and show you how to apply them so you have the confidence to do it yourself on the day.

Destination Wedding Makeup Tips

2) Are there certain tips and products you’d recommend for hot weather wedding makeup?

SPF: The first thing you think of when being in the sun is SPF and while it is so important to protect your skin the unfortunate consequence of a high SPF and photography is the flash back that it can cause. Very high SPFs can make your face look white and washed out in photography which is the last thing you want. So if you’re going to wear an SPF on the day and are concerned about it, test it out in photographs first and maybe use a lower SPF of 10 to 15 max. Also be aware if your moisturizer contains an SPF or the foundation that’s being used. I would recommend using a low SPF or none at all and just make sure to stay out of the sun as much as possible on the day. There are some beautiful bridal parasols which will shade you perfectly from the midday sun and will look fabulous in photographs.

LESS IS MORE: My second tip would be careful about the amount of product you use on your face. Overloading products can just make your skin more shiny and cause your foundation to slide off. Apply your moisturizer a few minutes before your makeup is applied and allow it to sink in well into your skin. While a primer isn’t always necessary for brides, to help it last as all day I generally like to use it, and in a hot climate I would certainly recommend it. Depending on your skin type there are so many to choose from. Two of my favorites would be Smashbox Light Primer which is great for sensitive or combination skin and Estee Lauder Matte Perfecting Primer for oily skin. Those with oily skin may even be able to skip moisturizer altogether as the primer will be enough to both moisturize and give a good base for your foundation. Keep your foundation light to medium coverage and natural. Anything too heavy will just make you feel uncomfortable in the heat. Even if you’re used to more coverage, this can still be achieved using concealer in the areas needed.

POWDER: My next piece of advise would be to powder well. You don’t want to look caked so add it in light layers and if you’re dry in certain areas you will only need a little, so concentrate on the areas you know will start to look shiny. One of my favorite products for touching up and a life saver on a hot day is MAC’s Studio Fix Powder Plus. It’s a foundation compact that has a small mirror and sponge and is perfect for carrying in your purse. It’s ideal for those shiny moments or quick touch ups in-between photographs, but just remember to buy a shade that will match your skin tone- whether that will be fake or natural tan on the day. A good tip is, rather than piling more Studio Fix on again and again, use a clean side of the sponge to remove any of the excess oil from your face and then apply some of the product. This will stop you looking caked.

EYE MAKEUP: I would recommend keeping your eye makeup soft for an away wedding. If you’re used to wearing a lot of eye makeup and just wouldn’t feel yourself without it then an eye primer such as Urban Decay’s is good or a cream base like the Pro Longwear Paint Pots from MAC. These will give the shadow something to grip to and minimize creasing and smudging. For eyeliners and mascaras I would always recommend waterproof for all brides. Even those who claim they never cry can shed a tear or two on the day but in hotter climates it’s a must. Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliners are brilliant and last all day, and my two favorite waterproof mascaras would be Max Factor Masterpiece or Benefit’s They’re Real.

Destination Wedding Makeup Tips

3) Sometimes brides can overdo it in the sun when they arrive a few days before the wedding. What would you recommend to help (and hide!) a sunburned face?

If you’re getting married in a hot climate the first thing you need to be so careful about is getting burned in the run up to the big day. Even if you have sallow skin and tan easily, the last thing you want is to have to cover up peeling or burnt skin- so keep applying that sun cream religiously even if you don’t think you need it.

If the worst happens and you over do it in the sun there are a few things you can do to soothe sunburned skin. Aloe Vera is a great product and will cool down the burn and hopefully minimize peeling. Keep it in the fridge to really add to the cooling effect. Be sure to stay hydrated also, drink plenty of water in small amounts. Another great little product to have is a water spritzer like these from Evian or Avene. Either of these will keep your skin hydrated and cool and you can pop it in your bag. They are handy even if you’re not burned and just want something to keep you cool while you’re running around doing any last minute organising.

If you end up with some redness on the day itself, concealer will be your best friend. Something with a yellow tone will counteract the red- just set it well with powder. Be careful though when you’re kissing guests- don’t rub off their suits or clothes, they won’t thank you for it!

Destination Wedding Makeup Tips

4) Is there a product you can’t live without when doing makeup for destination brides?

I have lots of favorite products when it comes to bridal makeup but for an away bride I would highly recommend the Studio Fix mentioned earlier- I carry one with me usually and in the heat I would most definitely bring one. A good primer that suits your skin is a must and I also always carry Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. It’s great for dry chapped skin, burns or just adding a little shine to your lips.

If you’re getting married abroad and have any concerns or questions I’d be happy to help or advise in the best way I can, just drop me an email on

Destination Wedding Makeup Tips

Fantastic advice for the destination bride- thanks so much to Clare and be sure to check out her website, Facebook or Twitter to find out more! (All images via Clare’s portfolio.)

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