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17 Wedding Guest Makeup Ideas for Every Style and Skin Tone

Photo: Tobi Henney

We know how much time and effort  goes into bridal beauty, but wedding guest makeup requires some decision making too. From minimalist makeup to ultra-glam face beats, the options are endless—and usually informed by the dress you wear or the venue you’re at. Our suggestion? Take a scroll through Instagram and your saved folder for inspiration from some of your favorite beauty experts and celebrity makeup artists.

To get you started, we spoke to some of the top makeup artists to share their best wedding guest makeup looks. Celebrity makeup artist Nick Barose, who works with clients like Lupita Nyong’o, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, and Kim Catrall suggests selecting a vibe or aesthetic that’s true to your personal style. “Makeup for weddings should have that extra pop so it looks great in all the photos but also, at the same time, should look natural and fresh to the naked eye in real life,” he says. “There’s a misleading concept that you have to do a lot more makeup for weddings for the cameras, which is true to a degree, but that doesn’t mean a drastic makeover where you end up looking unrecognizable.”

Instead, focus on creating a solid base by perfecting your complexion. “The skin should always look fresh in real life but polished enough for photos,” Barose says. “That means you might need to wear a bit more foundation and concealer than your everyday, and also a mattifying primer and a bit more powder on your T-zone. Once the complexion look right, you can do fun, glamorous things to the eyes and lips.”

Ahead, four celebrity makeup artists share their favorite wedding guest makeup looks.

Subtle Winged Liner

Photo: Tobi Henney

The popular kitten-eye trend is a daintier take on winged liner—and will go with nearly any outfit you wear. To complete the look, celebrity makeup artist Tobi Henney opts for a natural base with softly groomed brows. “I use the Bobbi Brown Long-Wear Gel Eyeliner to create a small flick with the Wet ‘N Wild Essential Makeup Brow and Liner Brush,” she says. “Curl lashes with Tweezerman Lash Curler and apply coats of Byredo Astronomical Mascara.”

’90s Baby

Photo: Tobi Henney

Nineties party-girl makeup is the perfect look for dancing the night away. “This is a great look for a fun destination wedding or if the wedding has a more party feel to it,” says Henney. Lean into the nostalgia with a matte brown lip using MAC Cosmetics Lip Liner in Cork and Victoria Beckham Posh Lipstick in Spice.

Monochromatic Nude

Photo: Tobi Henney

Who said nudes are boring? A monochrome look is chic and bold, no matter what color you’re wearing. “This is great glam if you are wearing a bright dress and want to look glam but not overpower the look with makeup,” Henney says. “Create a glowing base and finish with a beautiful nude lipstick and some bronzer.”

Lady in Red

Photo: Tobi Henney

Get matchy-matchy by pairing a red dress with an equally fiery lip. For this look on Olivia Culpo, Henney used MAC Cosmetics Retro Matte Liquid Lip Color in Feel So Grand. “It has a stunning matte finish and will last all day,” she says. “I also used Lashify to add some extra volume to the lashes.”

Pretty in Pink

Photo: Tobi Henney

Lean into the romance of the event with pretty pink lips and eye shadow. “Use a pink lip color to make the lips be the focus of this look, and pair it with a golden highlight on the tops of the cheekbones,” says Henney. She recommends the Nars Sheer Lipstick in Roman Holiday and Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette to highlight.

Go for Gold

Photo: Nick Barose

A gilded beauty look is party-ready and easy to execute. For Lupita Nyong’o’s golden and bronzy look, Barose used Lancôme L’Absolu Rouge Cream Lipstick and Ombre Hypnose Stylo Stick. “Adding a touch of golden tones on the eyes and lips is the easiest way to add festive glamour,” he says.

Monochromatic Fresh

Photo: Nick Barose

“Another fresh way to wear rosy and plum tones is by opting for multiuse products you can use on the eyes, cheeks, and lips to create that wash of rose petal pinks on the face,” Barose says. Keep things from being too uniform by adding texture to the lips with a hint of lip balm. To create Lauren Ridloff’s look, Barose used Armani Beauty Neo Nude Color Melting Balm in 60.

Line Up

Photo: Nick Barose

Bright and colorful eyeliner is the most fun plus-one. “You can either pick colors within the same family as your wardrobe or pick the opposite color so it contrasts,” Barose says. We love Half Magic Beauty’s Chromaddiction Matte and Nyx Epic Wear Waterproof Liquid Liner for long-lasting high pigment.

Cherub Cheeks

Photo: Nick Barose

Create a IRL filter with some carefully applied highlighter. “Adding shimmery liquid highlighter and blush in fresh romantic pink tones helps add more dimension to the face, so it looks extra photogenic in photos,” Barose says. “Makeup can often appear flat, so adding a bit of subtle shimmer in cheekbones will help define your face in a gentle way.”

Bright Fuchsia 

Bring Barbiecore to your beauty routine with a hot pink lip, as seen on Amber Tamblyn. “A pop of lipstick will always be classic and bold fuchsia is an unexpected color instead of classic red,” Barose says. His favorite shade? Armani Lip Power in Brave.

Shimmery Wash

Photo: Katey Denno

Glitter eye shadow doesn’t have to be intense. For a subtle way to add some sparkle, try a diffused wash of shimmer. “This means more attention on the entire eye area, which means it’s important to make sure the skin around your eyes is moisturized and light-reflecting,” says celebrity makeup artist Katey Denno, who works with Mindy Kaling and Beanie Feldstein. “I love Pangea Organics Peptide-Rich Eye Cream, and a little tiny dab is all you need underneath your eye. When choosing an eye shadow, go for a shade that matches your outfit, your eye color, or your mood. PYT Beauty eye shadow palettes are nicely priced and offer an array of colors and finishes.”

Soft Glam

Photo: Katey Denno

When it comes to soft glam, less is always more. Denno suggests “soft, subtle glam that lets skin look like skin and showcases features by adding subtle tones in minimal amounts. This look requires that skin be at its best. I recommend starting a gentle exfoliation routine a few weeks prior. One favorite duo is Pangea Organics Pore Purifying Peptide Toner and Super Antioxidant Glow Oil. Keep foundation light, focusing on areas of discoloration, and use only a light touch of powder where you are most likely to get excessively shiny. A flush of color on the cheeks is a key feature in this look, and the new RMS ReDimension Hydra Powder Blush is buildable in color and offers a beautiful range of shades.”

Bold Berry

Amp up a sultry black dress by pairing it with a deep berry lip. For Mindy Kaling’s look, Denno used highlighter to create a glowing base and added a bit more drama around the eye. “This puts the emphasis on a bright berry lip, which adds a great pop to a black dress, but can look equally fantastic when complementing a dress that’s colorful,” she says.

Beach Coral

Photo: Beck Morgan

Jetting off to a destination wedding? Armani Beauty makeup artist Beck Morgan loves tropical shades in coral and orange for beach nuptials. To beat the heat, Morgan recommends using a breathable foundation like Armani Beauty Neo Nude Foundation and the Luminous Silk Glow Setting Powder. “The A-Line Liquid Blush in 30 is a water color textured tangerine shade that’s easy to apply and wear,” Beck says. “Enhance your eyes with Eye Tint in 54 all over your eyelid, blending into the crease with your fingertips. Lip Power in Bright is a my go-to vacation coral lip color that complements your beachy glow.”

Iconic Red

When in doubt, a classic red lip will never go out of style. “Weddings are the best time to pull out all the stops and wear your boldest lip shade,” Morgan says. Some of our favorite red shades? Sunnies Face Fluffmatte in Hot Sauce, Fenty Icon Lipstick in The MVP, and L’Oréal Paris Color Riche Matte Lipstick in Matte-Rful Red.

Naturally Defined

Photo: Katey Denno

Makeup minimalists can elevate their no-makeup makeup look with some contour and healthy washes of color. A luminous primer, warm bronzer, and peachy blush will keep you fresh-faced but not overdone. “If you rarely wear makeup but want to look great in photos, sunny shades will make you look polished and camera-ready,” Beck says.

Summer Glow

Photo: Katey Denno

Go monochrome in sunset colors for a romantic and summery look. Beck recommends soft pink eye shadow and rosy cheeks for the perfect flush. Don’t forget fluttery lashes—complete the look with a volumizing mascara like YSL Beauty Lash Clash Mascara or Uoma Beauty Drama Bomb Extreme Volume Mascara.

Originally published in

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