6 Tips on Doing Your Own Elopement Makeup | Plus, Inspo Pics!

This post talks about when it makes sense to do your own elopement makeup, plus plenty of tips and inspo pics to get you started!

Should I hire a hair and makeup artist or do it myself?

I want to start out by saying that this post is not meant to convince anyone to not hire a hair and makeup artist. Hiring a professional HMUA can be well worth the money, and it is totally the right choice for many people getting married. 

That said, there are definitely some people who prefer to do their own hair and makeup, or it just doesn’t work out with hiring a professional for one reason or another.

Let’s dive in deeper on each of those scenarios!

When to hire a hair and makeup artist

There are plenty of times when it makes more sense to hire a professional HMUA for your elopement day, such as:

  • You’re eloping in a place that has plenty of professional wedding vendors/HMUAs available (for example, near a city or metro area, or a popular wedding destination)
  • You want a certain look and know that a professional will be able to better create that look than you can yourself.
  • You just don’t feel confident doing your own hair and makeup for such a big occasion.
  • You don’t want to have to spend extra time or stress on your wedding day worrying about this, since a professional will be able to get the job done quicker.
  • You don’t have the time to spend practicing your hair and makeup look before your elopement day.
  • It’s going to stress you out to worry about doing it yourself.
  • You want to feel pampered on your wedding day and find getting your hair and makeup done to be a fun experience.

When it makes sense to do your own elopement makeup

Personally, I did my own hair and makeup for my elopement and it was the right choice for me in the circumstances. I eloped on an early morning helicopter excursion in remote Alaska, and chose a simple hair and makeup style. I still practiced for months to get it right and had to wake up around 3 AM to be ready in time because obviously I am slower than a professional. 

But at the end of the day, I was really happy with how my look turned out, both in person and in the photos and feel I made the right choice for me.

Here are some reasons you might choose to do your own elopement makeup and/or hair:

  • You’re eloping in a remote location and are having trouble finding someone that will travel to that location.
  • You’re doing a very early morning elopement, such as a sunrise hiking elopement, and are having trouble finding someone to take on the early morning assignment.
  • The hair and makeup artist is outside of your budget (possibly because of travel fees to your remote elopement location or early morning fees).
  • You are eloping in a destination location (somewhere other than where you live) and so trial runs are not possible, and you’re uncomfortable with that.
  • You just feel more comfortable doing it yourself!

You can also choose to just do one or the other yourself

As an elopement photographer who helps couples find their vendors, I have found that pretty frequently you will have different people doing your hair and your makeup. Most artists specialize in one or the other.

What that means is that you can choose to just hire one and DIY the other if you want. For example, if you feel really comfortable doing your makeup, but not your hair, then DIY your makeup and hire a hair stylist. Or vice versa. 

Tips on doing your own elopement makeup

If you do choose to do your own elopement makeup, here are several tips, from both my experience but also from the perspective of an elopement photographer and what I’ve seen with my couples.

Practice, Practice, Practice!

If you’re not feeling very confident in your abilities to do your own hair and makeup, practicing your look will do wonders for you.

And even if you are confident, I still recommend doing several trial runs on yourself. 

You’ll want to time yourself and see how long it takes too. The last thing you want is to feel rushed or stressed out on your wedding day because you’re doing your own hair and makeup. Make sure that you know how much time you need and even allow for extra time, in case something goes wrong.

Finally, make sure that you practice your look with any accessories, like a headpiece or veil. For me, I was putting my veil in my hair by myself. I was so glad that I had practiced many, many times at home before my elopement day.

It took several times of experimenting to get comfortable with the exact positioning I wanted for the veil on the crown of my head and also to make sure it was super secure and was not going to come undone during our helicopter elopement.

Choose long lasting makeup, especially foundation

Choosing long lasting makeup is absolutely essential. If you hire a makeup professional, they will use long-lasting makeup. But if you’re doing it yourself, you’ll need to choose the right products.

The foundation is the most important for long wear, in my opinion. You can always reapply lipstick and touch up things like your setting powder, but you can’t re-do foundation. 

I did quite a bit of research and experimented with a few foundations in advance and ultimately settled on this Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation. It turned out perfect for my elopement makeup look. 

If you’re not sure about what color to get, the Estee Lauder website actually has a great color match tool where you can take a picture of your skin with your phone and it will help you match the right foundation color. Look for the QR code for the iMatch Virtual Skin Analysis on this page

This iMatch shade finder worked perfectly for me, and I got the right color on the first try. In contrast, when I went into a store to purchase the foundation, the sales associate actually recommended a shade that was several shades too dark for me and it was only when I got home that I realized it was not going to work.

Go a bit heavier than normal

I hear from so many brides that they want a natural look for their wedding day, and that is great! You absolutely want to look and feel like yourself.

But you also want to look back on your photos for the decades to come and feel like those photos are an accurate representation of yourself. So it’s important not to forget that you’re going to lose about 30 to 40 percent of the effects of your makeup in the camera.

In other words, you’re going to want to go a bit heavier than you think looks good in person so that it shows up looking good in your photos.

Also, don’t forget to account for the fact that your makeup will wear off quite a bit as the day goes on. Some of this can be countered with long lasting makeup, and also by bringing touch up items with you, like your lipstick and setting powder to absorb any excess oil.

Don’t skimp on the eyelashes

As a photographer, I felt like it was important to give eyelashes their own section in this post. 

I can’t understate the effects of false eyelashes in making your eyes pop out in the photos. This is another area where what you see in real life and what you see in the photos are two totally different things.

You may think that false eyelashes look overexaggerated in real life (and that can be true), but they will not look that way in the photos. They make your eyes look like they are more wide open and less squinty, for lack of a better term.

If you have room in your budget for it, getting eyelash extensions ahead of time is truly worth it, in my opinion. You typically get these at a spa or an eyelash or eyebrow bar, and they can run you a couple hundred dollars. But very worth it in my opinion, especially if you’re going on your honeymoon right after your wedding day since the eyelash extensions will last through your honeymoon and make doing your makeup so much easier for those couple of weeks.

If you’re going to get eyelash extensions, the best approach is to get a full set about 3-4 weeks before your date and then get a refill as close to your elopement date as possible. This way you know for sure you like the look, and if you need to make any adjustments (such as getting them a little longer or fuller) you can do that with your refill.

Finally, even with false lashes or extensions on your top lash line, you’ll still be using mascara on your bottom lashes. For this, don’t forget to use a waterproof mascara!

Get your skincare routine in order

Hopefully you’ve found this article well in advance of your elopement date, because it’s so incredibly important to start taking care of your skin well in advance so you can look your best.

It doesn’t matter how good your foundation makeup is, it can’t fix bad skin.

You absolutely want to start a skincare routine at least one month, but preferably two months before your elopement date, to help prepare your skin to look its best.

If you have the budget for it and want to skip steps at home, you can start going to a spa for facials in advance.

Or if you just want to do this part yourself too, here is what I recommend.

Daily skincare

Your daily routine should consist of the following:

  • Removing your makeup completely at night with makeup remover wipes or micellar cleansers
  • Washing with a gentle cleanser once (or twice) per day
  • A light morning moisturizer with SPF
  • A thicker nighttime moisturizer suited to your needs

Plus, a once- or twice- weekly regimen

Then, once or twice per week, starting one to two months in advance before your wedding day, I recommend doing a mini at-home facial with the following steps. I like to do this at night right before going to bed.

If you really want to get fancy with your at-home facials, I LOVE this at-home facial steamer which is really not too pricey, and you can use it to make a hot towel too.

You’ll want to use the steamer for about 10 minutes after you’re removed your makeup and before you cleanse your skin. I like to use the damp, hot towel to remove the mask. It makes me feel so luxurious! But it’s still at home so I’m not spending too much money at the spa. 

Choose the right type of SPF protection

Applying an SPF moisturizer is a great habit to be practicing daily, but especially if you’re doing makeup for a hiking elopement, you’re definitely going to want sun protection.

The key here is to make sure you apply a moisturizer with SPF before applying foundation. (I like this one from Neutrogena because it’s inexpensive but gets the job done). Don’t use a foundation with SPF in it because if it has zinc or titanium oxide it will cause a white face effect with any flash photography.

If you need to reapply, I recommend getting a sunscreen spray with a very fine mist (like this one from Hawaiian Tropic) so that it doesn’t make your face look overly dewey.

Elopement makeup inspiration

Looking for specific inspiration on elopement makeup? Look no further! Here are some great looks from past brides of mine.

Are you planning an elopement or microwedding?

I’m more than just a photographer. Helping couples create their dream day is what I do best!

Get in touch and let’s chat about your vision!

Or check out more elopement planning resources…

Elopement Photographer Kim from Wild and Found Photography

Hi I’m Kim, a Denver, Colorado based photographer specializing in Adventure Elopements in Colorado and worldwide! Photographing couples on the most special day of their lives is a true honor for me. But I’ve made it my mission to take it one step further than that. When you work with me, you’re getting more than just a photographer. I’m here to help you with all of the planning resources you need to have the most amazing elopement day ever! That includes everything from assistance with location ideas, timeline planning, and lots more free resources. So you can forget the work, and focus on having fun!

Post may contain affiliate links. While I may receive a small amount through affiliate links, it is always at no cost to you and all opinions are entirely my own.

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