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The ultimate chic city bride look: How to rock a signature red lip and smoky eye

Sexy, sultry and oh SO glam – the bold red pout has certainly stood the test of time in the world of beauty. But for some reason, it’s not always the first port of call for brides. Quite often, women think that they should go for a more natural look on their wedding day - but I couldn’t agree less! Although gorgeous, flawless makeup should always be the goal - to me, nothing is more important than feeling your absolute best on your big day. And if that means rocking an out-there lip or a bold eye look, so be it!

I always say to my brides that if their everyday red lip makes them feel their most confident, badass selves, there’s no reason why they shouldn’t rock it for their trip down the aisle. I recently did the hair and makeup for a bridal-themed shoot in London with photographer Kelly Hiscox, and I really wanted to show just how gorgeous a red pout and smoky eye can look when teamed with an elegant white gown.

For this look, I chose to pair the red lip with a chic smoky eye and sleek tousled waves. The model, Aleesha Hicks, was wearing a beautiful, classic gown by Medusa London, and I just had a vision that this combination would look absolutely stunning. I wasn’t wrong!

How to create the perfect bridal red lip

There’s no right or wrong way to apply a red lip for a wedding – it’s all personal taste. And as a makeup artist, I always accommodate the vision that my client has as best as I can. For Aleesha, I chose a beautiful bright poppy red hue, which suited her skin tone incredibly well. Firstly I went in with a lip liner – MAC Lip Pencil in Ruby Woo – to line the edges of her lips and then lightly shade them in. I find that a light coat of liner on the lip tends to help the lipstick to grip better – and longevity is so important for a wedding day!

After applying liner, I went in with Illamasqua Lipstick in Man Eater, which is probably the best red lipstick I have come across when it comes to staying power and pigment. I don’t tend to apply it straight to the lip from the bullet, though. Instead, I like to use a small lip brush to apply the colour, as this way you can build the colour up as much or as little as you want. I applied a couple of layers of this before blotting off any excess product with a tissue.

There is a bit of science behind matching the perfect red lipstick shade to different skin tones. Generally, dark skin handles deeper reds with blue undertones better. Think berries, wines and letter-box reds. For olive/medium skin tones, corals are a real hit. On lighter skin, cranberry or poppy shades work well, or any brighter shade of red with a blue undertone. But that’s not to say it can’t be shaken up – after all, there are no rules when it comes to makeup!

How to create a bridal smoky eye

Smoky eyes are a go-to for so many brides, as they can be as bold or as subtle as they want. For Aleesha, I chose a neutral taupe shade as the base of the eye look with a heavier shade in the crease, before adding some boldness with liquid liner and some false lashes.

I always apply an eye primer before I apply wedding eye makeup. It’s SO important for that eye look to withstand the days antics – whether that be happy tears, one-too-many drinks or some hard partying! Once this is done, I dust on a light base shade. I’ll then apply whichever shade works best for the look to the crease of the eyelid – for Aleesha, it was a taupe – before adding some shimmer. In this case, I went for a champagne tone, but silvers are mega popular, too. For any smoky eye look, my go-to palette is the Too Faced Born This Way Eye Shadow Palette, as it offers such an amazing range of colours.

Then, I carefully applied liquid liner along the upper lash line and winged it out slightly, directed toward the end of Aleesha’s brow. For the lashes, I skipped mascara on the top lashes and went straight for Eylure ¾ Length Lashes, which instantly added the right amount of drama to the look. I then added a slick of mascara to the bottom lashes to define the eye slightly more.

How to create Aleesha’s base makeup

When teaming a bold lip with a bold eye, it’s important to keep the base quite simple. I always think that no matter what, skin should always look radiant and natural. For Aleesha’s beautiful fair skin, I chose to use It Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Foundation - a medium coverage base that would hide any imperfections but not look too caked.

I then really wanted to add a light peachy bronze to her cheekbones, just to accentuate the definition in her face. I love Hourglass Radiant Light Bronzer for this, as it’s not glittery or too shimmery – it just adds a lovely complimentary radiance.

This shoot was so lovely, for so many reasons. Not only was it based at some of the most amazing, colourful and classy venues – Peggy Porschen café, Chelsea Town Hall and Sloane Place – but this timeless bridal look is one of my favourite looks I have ever created! These images portray this look so well, I just had to share them with you.

Love my wedding MUA tips and tricks? Stay tuned…

Love, Alyse x

Photography: Kelly Hiscox Photography @kellyhiscoxphotography,

Hotel: Sloane Place,

Hair & Makeup: @alysebakerartistry

Bride: Aleesha Hicks @aleeshahicks

Dress: Medusa London,

Accessories: From Brides With Love @frombrideswithlove,

Bouquet: Unique Your Wedding @uniqueyourwedding,

Cafe: Peggy Porchen @peggyporschenofficial,


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