Perhaps the most important, yet most overlooked part of your makeup routine: your skin. With stress and tension rising, your skin might be the first to show that you’re under pressure. Your skin may not be what automatically draws the eye, however you will notice it especially if it is extremely oily or dry and flaky. As we all age, our skin loses a bit of its glow, and you may notice that you’ve developed fine lines, just like the rest of us. We suggest prioritizing your skin as early as you can before the wedding, and following a good skincare routine in order to keep your skin in tip-top shape. The better your skin looks; the less makeup you will need. This will help you in avoiding a cakey face or accentuated wrinkles caused by an excess of powder, or any other issues that can occur with too much makeup.

We know you want to look your best, which is why we’ve spoken to pro makeup artist and skincare extraordinaire Shlomit Brandwein for her expert advice on preparing for the big day! Naturally-styled makeup can enhance your features rather than completely transform your face. Brandwein likes to play up the skin when doing makeup for the mother of the bride and work with her natural beauty.

Wookie Mayer with the hand on the chin

Skin Prep

“Usually everyone thinks about the bride, but the mother of the bride should also really focus on skincare as soon as possible, really as soon as your daughter gets engaged!”

Woman washing face with water

Your makeup routine starts before you even begin to apply foundation, with your skin prep. “Usually everyone thinks about the bride,” says Brandwein, “but the mother of the bride should also really focus on skincare as soon as possible, really as soon as your daughter gets engaged!” Beginning as early as two-to-three months before the wedding is best, with products such as moisturizers, anti-aging serums and eye creams. These products can do a great job of plumping the skin and diminishing the appearance of fine lines and other imperfections over time. Skin can lose radiance under pressure, and reliable skincare products can reverse some of the effects of this process.

Acids for skincare benefits chart

In preparation for a full face of makeup, you should:

1. Exfoliate and remove all oils or moisturizers you may have on your skin prior to this.

2. Apply moisturizer and let it absorb for a few minutes.

3. Apply foundation primer as it will help in smoothing the surface of your skin by filling in fine lines and blemishes.

4. You may also wish to dab a bit of eye cream around your eye as well to brighten the area and minimize the appearance of eye bags.

Know Your Skin Type

One of the most important things to know about in skincare is your skin type (you could be dryer, oilier, or a combination of the both). Brandwein does not have a go-to product because nothing works universally on all different skin types. It is essential that you use products formulated specifically for the needs of your skin. This bit of knowledge will play a large role in every decision you make during your skin routine, from facewash to foundation.  


Foundation comes in liquid, cream, or powder-based form and is meant to give the appearance of even skin and to conceal imperfections. You can determine which type to use by first identifying what type of skin you have. Keep in mind that not only does your skin change from year to year, it also changes with each passing season, as temperature, humidity, and sunlight can all affect your bodily production of oils. Use the chart below to determine which type of foundation you should use in preparation of this occasion.

Foundation directions diagram

Tip: Avoid foundation with SPF as it adds a certain grayness or pallor to your face that a camera often picks up on.

Brandwein finds that many mothers of the bride are overly critical and concerned about fine lines and sagging skin. She recommends magnifying one’s favorite features because doing so detracts from one’s insecurities. She often adds more coverage or concealer in necessary areas and contours the face to even out certain features or irregularities.


For a quick and easy contour, use a non-shimmery bronzer to trace a 3-shape lightly onto each side of your face. You should start at the temple, trace back along the hairline at the side of the face. The middle should follow the hollow of the cheek, and then you should proceed downward along the jawline, coming from the earlobe down to the chin.

Woman blending contour and highlight cream with beauty blender

Creating radiance in the face will really put the finishing touch on your skin during your makeup routine. Brandwein loves to play up radiance using a highlighter to brighten up areas of the face where the sun would naturally hit. Dust a bit of a light, shimmery color onto the tops of your cheekbones and along the bridge of your nose, bringing the color up between your brows.

Joan Smalls with dark hair

For even more of an effect, you may choose to apply this same highlight color just under the arch of your brows, on your cupid’s bow above the lips, and in the inside corners of the eyes near the tear ducts.

Woman models wear to place contour and highlight on face neck and chest

Above all, remember to blend the colors you apply. Nothing stands out more than a harsh dark line drawn across your cheek. Use a big fluffy brush for powders and a makeup sponge for creams to blend these colors seamlessly together.

Brandwein also sees blush as a must for mothers of the bride. Apply a creamy, rosy blush directly onto the apples of your cheeks and blend outward and slightly upward, toward the ear.

Keep in mind (and bag) for the big day…

While keeping your look low-maintenance, Brandwein does suggest you carry just three items in your bag for the occasional touch-up.

Q-tips abstract photography

Have blush at the ready so that you can re-apply a few times throughout the night. Skin can lose color with age, so keep that rosiness in your cheeks.

Model holding lipsticks between fingers

Keep happy-tears…well, happy! Keep Q-tips with you to wipe away those persistent eye makeup smudges.

Pink Lipstick Smudge

Always keep your lip products with you during an event like this. You are constantly talking, eating, and drinking and your lip product is bound to wear off at some point.

While makeup will help enhance your natural beauty, this is not the time to experiment. You want to look back on these photos and see the real you smiling back. Brandwein is very drawn to a flawless face, but one that does not look like it has on makeup. Go lightly on your makeup so that you are able to focus your attention on celebrating with your loved ones and on these once-in-a-lifetime festivities.

See our Makeup Guide editions on Eye Makeup and Lips for more tips and to get your face looking flawless all around!

For more help and makeup tips, feel free to call our customer service representatives at (212) 398-0657 or E-mail us here at Teri Jon!

Visit Shlomit Brandwein’s website for even more ideas and advice.