Bridesmaid Makeup: How to Go Matchy-Matchy Without Looking Tacky-Tacky

It's entirely possible to gracefully coordinate your makeup to your bridesmaid dress.
Publish date:
June 22, 2015
weddings, bridesmaids

I’m going to be a first-time bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding in a couple of weeks, and I’ve ambitiously (and frugally) taken it upon myself to do my own makeup. It’s not that I don’t trust the talent of professional makeup artists; it’s just that an individual meeting me for a few seconds has NO IDEA how high-maintenance my skin is (e.g. I have an extremely oily T-zone and eyelids and a propensity for upper lip sweat. Hot, I know.)

Since my close friend is all about coordinating everything to go with her coral-silver theme, I started thinking about extending the theme to my makeup. I know it’s not the “in” thing to do these days, but I think it’s fun to be festive!

If you want to go the extra mile and match your makeup to your bridesmaid dress (or any outfit) like me, keep in mind these tips.

For colors normally worn on the eyes such as shades of green, blue, purple, metallics or pastels:

Stick to a sliver of color. Going for an all-over wash of eye shadow in the exact shade of your bridesmaid gown has a lot of potential to look TOO matchy-matchy, especially in pics. Instead, focus on only applying the coordinating shade to one specific section of your eye area, such as your mobile lid or your crease. (Above, I'm wearing Kiko Makeup Milano Infinity Eyeshadow in 265, a mint shade, only on my mobile lid.)

Pair tricky-to-pull-off colors with neutrals to keep it wearable. This is great especially if you’re not too fond of wearing anything non-neutral in the first place. For example, if you’re choosing to only apply the matching color on your mobile lid, keep your crease color neutral and choose a matte gray or brown shade.

Blend well! Whenever I think of matchy-matchy makeup of the past, I immediately recall images of poorly blended, harsh makeup. That’s because when people wear shadows that boldly or brightly match their clothes, they’re bound to leave an impression on people. Make sure you leave the RIGHT impression by stepping up your blending game so your makeup looks flawless.

Keep blush and lip color simple. You don’t have to go neutral or nude, but look for blush and lip color pairings that complement your eye makeup. Peach or pink shades are usually a safe bet.

For colors you could wear on your lips such as shades of pink, red, coral, orange or plum:

Go a shade lighter or deeper than your dress color. Because of the huge market for lip colors, you’re likely to find a lip color that matches your dress exactly. To avoid looking too matchy-matchy, purposely seek out a lip color that’s slightly lighter or darker than your dress.

Play around with finish. If your dress happens to be very shiny, shake things up with a beautifully contrasting matte lip. Conversely, if your dress is very matte, try amping up your lip color with some gloss.

Speaking of gloss, you can use it to sheer out a bright lip color. Coat your lips with the gloss first, pat on the lipstick and blend it all out with your finger.

Coordinate your blush to your lip color. To bring out your lip color even more, opt for a complementary blush shade in the same color family. For example, warm red lips pair well with a coral blush, and light pink lips can go with peachy-pink blush.

Define your eyes with neutral colors. If you’re wearing a bright color on your lips, the rule of thumb is to go bare or very light with your eye makeup. If you’re going to be photographed a lot, however, I advise sticking to neutral yet highly pigmented shades so they still show up in pictures. And don’t forget your liner!

As for colors that can be worn all over the face, remember that it’s all about balance and moderation.

Seriously. If you want to do coral shadow and coral lips, go for it—but make sure they’re at different intensities.

  • Have you ever tried matching your makeup to your clothing?
  • Is anyone going to be a bridesmaid this summer? What color is your gown?
  • Have you ever done your own makeup for a wedding?