As if planning a wedding wasn’t stressful enough already, one of the biggest fears brides-to-be face (a close second to keeling over at the altar out of sheer exhaustion, we imagine) is having to look at photographs from their wedding day and not liking what they see.
Add to that hundreds of guests, a photographer capturing your every move under lights that are breaking you into a sweat – no pressure at all. So we asked Namrata Soni, who took time off from tending to her impressive roster of Bollywood celebrity clients including Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Anushka Sharma, Jacqueline Fernandez and Alia Bhatt, to give us some real life bridal makeup wisdom – everything from how to plan your look to failproof cosmetics you'd be wise to stock up on.
1/7 Timing Is Everything
Step 1 to a smooth sailing wedding look? Zeroing in on your makeup artist well in advance! How much in advance? Well, 6 months is the golden number, says Namrata. “A year is too far ahead which isn’t practical, but neither is 3 months, since that's cutting it close; you don’t want to be stressed if they’re going to cancel on you at the last minute.”
2/7 Picking Your Face Painter
We'll make no bones about this: picking a makeup artist takes a meticulous eye. “A makeup trial is ideal, but most people don’t have time for that. So when you’re picking an artist, review their previous bridal work – make sure you’re looking at unretouched pictures, because magazine editorials have all been edited. When you meet them, it’s also very important to put across what you like,” she advises.
3/7 Planning The Look
As for planning out your bridal makeup look, brain-storming with your face painter at least twice before the main day is paramount. “It’s very important to know that both of you are on the same page – it helps me as a makeup artist do a genuinely good job on the bride. The first meeting is usually about what the bride wants and what she expects from me, and the second is a month before the main day when she has all her outfits in place."
"I’ll always request the bride to send me pictures of herself in every outfit so we can then discuss suitable hair and makeup. Post that, I’ll send her a mood board or makeup references keeping the jewellery and outfit in mind – mainly the neck of the outfit. If it’s a high neck or a bandh gala, I always like to take the hair away from the face – I’ll do a lovely updo or a side braid that plays to the strong points of her face, and that she’ll also love looking at herself in a few years later,” she explains.
“There are many times when brides want to try a hot trend of the season, but I take it upon myself to advise them that they won’t be loving themselves in purple eye shadow five years down the line!,” she laughs.
4/7 Asking Your Makeup Artist The Right Questions
Says Namrata, “A lot of people forget to ask if the makeup artist also drapes because most don’t – I’ve seen a lot of wedding disasters on account of that misconception. Also, don’t assume they’re stylists – they won’t be carrying little things like bindis and maang tikkas, so get that sorted. Having a checklist to see if you both have everything covered helps – it’s something I do myself. Secondly, always ask about hair extentions, because you need to order or hire them in advance. Thirdly, ask about your skincare regime. I’d say, visit a dermatologist for a general check up. You don’t have to go on oral medication if you don’t need it; just start with some beautiful, topical creams to get your skin glowing and even toned. Stick to your skin care regime if that’s what suits you, and drink lots of water! When it comes to hair, get it freshly cut/coloured at least three weeks before the wedding because it takes that long for it to settle in. I’d also recommend going in for hair treatments because the excess use of products is surely going to take a toll.”
For all you teary-eyed brides: Let your makeup artist know if you might cry, so they can use waterproof or smudge proof products. “In this case, it also makes sense to use single lashes instead of a full set because the tear salts will loosen it up,” she tips off.
5/7 Be Prepared For Goof Ups
But even with all the planning, it makes sense for you both to be prepared for last minute goof-ups, according to her. “There was this bride who had the most beautiful skin and I warned her against getting her facials done last minute but she still went ahead, and her skin broke out on the main day – it was a mess! And she didn’t want too much makeup. So it was a challenge for me to give her a no-makeup look but still cover up all the marks. There’ve also been times when my eye shadow palette has broken without notice, or my favourite lipstick hasn’t been packed, so I’d advise to keep the littlest details in mind!” Point taken.
6/7 Your Foundation Options
As logic will tell you, your base makeup is what will sustain your full face through the day, and there are two ways of going about it – getting your artist to do it by hand or by airbrushing, a time-tested method where your base is sprayed onto your face with an airbrush instead of using fingers or tools. “The difference is that when you apply by hand, the foundation takes about 10 minutes to oxidize give you the true colour – which is why you sometimes see makeup artists using foundation that’s half a shade lighter or darker depending on the brand – but when you air brush, the formula is already mixing with oxygen as you apply, so baking time is greatly reduced and it also gives a poreless finish, which you can build as much as you want, in specific parts, without it looking cakey. Personally, I’ve been using the technique for a decade now and I love it!,” says Namrata.
7/7 Top Makeup Picks For a Bride
The main day’s here, the makeup’s done and the stage is set – but don’t forget the essentials to carry through the day! “A powder puff helps to touch up your T-zone if you have a slightly oily face a few hours into the event. Also, make sure you’re carrying the lipstick shade you’re wearing. Tissues and blotting papers are also a must,” she suggests.
As for the products the celebrity artist loves to use on her brides, it’s a good mix of popular favourites. “I can’t do without Tom Ford’s Illuminating Primer, Bobbi Brown Corrector & Concealer, Nars lipstick in Dragon Girl, Maybelline’s waterproof mascara, L'Oréal Infallible Gel Lacquer Liner in black, Tom Ford Cheek Colour in Wicked and my brush set which is an assortment of Bobbi Brown, Tom Ford and Shu Uemura,” she says. So all you brides-to-be now you know what to stock up on – you’re welcome!
Nidhi Sunil and Radhika Nair photographed for Grazia by Taras Taraporvala.