Indian weddings are typically colorful, festive and, well, long. With several events—like a garba and mehndi party—taking place over a week, some days begin in the morning and end in the late evening. With my good friend’s wedding coming up in Philadelphia, I knew I needed my makeup game to be able to withstand long hours, since I probably wouldn’t get much time to touch up in between events. While my daily routine requires no more than a few minutes, I was ready to up the ante, so I turned to pro Daniel Chinchilla (aka Ariana Grande’s makeup artist) for some tips on how to make my look last for 12+ hours.
Since Indian outfits, like sarees and anarkalis (a long gown-like top with pants), tend to be fairly bold, I usually like to pair them with more neutral makeup. My main focus was to ensure a flawless complexion that would stay put from morning to night. With the ceremony taking place at 11 a.m., my morning prep started at 10 a.m. in my hotel room. I had brought more cosmetics than I'd ever used for an event! I had spoken with Daniel the week before and he gave me the lowdown how to get my makeup to hold up—because it’s one thing to look great immediately after putting some makeup on and another to still look good 15 hours later.
On a normal basis, I don't wear eye shadow. It just seems like a lot of effort for most days in the office. But I wanted to look a little more polished for the wedding. First, Daniel recommended using a primer (Too Faced Shadow Insurance, $20; toofaced.com) to really anchor the pigment. After applying a layer onto lids, I dusted on a soft mix of champagne and brown shadow from the Urban Decay Naked2 Palette ($54; urbandecay.com). Then came eyeliner—my everyday, can't-leave-the-house-without-it staple. (I blame this addiction on my Indian heritage's long love affair with kajal.) I used Benefit's super dark gel eyeliner ($24; sephora.com) to create a cat eyes on my upper lash lines and Urban Decay's waterproof eye pencil ($20; sephora.com) to define the waterlines. On lashes, I applied two coats of Eyeko mascara ($24; ulta.com) after curling. My brows are pretty thick naturally, but for special events, I rely on Clé de Peau's two-sided duo ($25; nordstrom.com); I fill in any patchy spots with a soft brown pencil and then use the spoolie end to blend and brush brows up.
P.M. report: My cat eyes stayed perfectly intact for over 14 hours! While the pencil had slightly faded from my waterlines, it held up pretty well through the ceremony (even through a little tearing). For the evening, I quickly ran the pencil eyeliner over my waterline one more time for extra intensity, and I blended a slightly deeper brown shadow (also from the Naked2 Palette) in the crease for a little more drama. My mascara didn't create any flakes or smudging from night to evening.
Makeup artists have often told me that the key to a good makeup job is the prep, as applying layers of moisturizer and primer can make a huge difference in staying power. So I made sure to load up on plenty of cream (Tatcha Moisture Rich Silk, $33; tatcha.com) so makeup would glide on smoothly. Then I applied a mattifying primer. Why? Because I love to dance, and inevitably I get tagged in a Facebook picture in the days following with my face looking shiny. Daniel recommended Smashbox's version ($39; sephora.com), which did the trick perfectly. Luckily, my skin is fairly clear, so I don't wear foundation often, but I felt a wedding called for some extra glamour. I used a damp Beautyblender sponge ($20; sephora.com) to stipple a thin coat of Laura Mercier's Silk Creme Photo Edition Foundation ($48; lauramercier.com) all over my face. Its "Photo Edition" description really sold me on using it (and considering that our reception escort cards were on selfie sticks, I knew there would be a lot of pictures being taken!). Up next, I was ready to tackle my under-eye circles, the bane of my existence. I could write for days about my love for Kevyn Aucoin's concealer: This stuff is thick, creamy, and super pigmented. It gets the job done and stays put. Then to really make my base last, I took Daniel's advice to use a setting powder. He recommended using a powder puff to pat the powder over my base and really lock it in. I think this extra step really worked. Now, I'm a big believer in blush; a little color on the cheeks can completely brighten your face. I went for a two-step approach to make sure it held up: I first applied a cream shade (Makeup Forever HD Blush in 515, $26; sephora.com) with my fingertips along the apples of my cheek and then dusted a powder formula (MAC Peaches, $22; maccosmetics.com) from the apples up to my temples. I applied a tiny dab of Lancôme's illuminating shade from its genius contour/highlight duo ($36; lancome-usa.com) to highlight my cheekbones for a little extra glow. To top it all off, I added a spritz of facial mist so nothing looked cakey ($15; tatcha.com).
P.M. report: I dabbed a little extra cream blush on my cheeks for extra brightness before heading to the reception, and it lasted even through hours of dancing. I also kept a CoverFx foundation compact ($42; sephora.com) in my clutch in case I needed touchups (which I didn't!).
"The approach to making lip color last is all in the layering," said Daniel. And while I always apply a lip color, it's like any photo of me has no evidence of any efforts. Since there's typically a lot of drinking and eating at weddings, it's not easy to have a lip color stay put. I made it last through Daniel's approach by first outlining my lips and then filling them in entirely with a burgundy lip liner (MAC Cosmetics lip liner, $17; maccosmetics.com). Over this, I mixed two lip crayons to create a rosy toned neutral (Marc Jacobs Kiss Pop Color Stick in Pop Rock, $28; sephora.com and Sonia Kashuk Velvet Matte Lip Color in Mulberry Nude, $8; target.com). I drew along the center and blended outwards with my fingers, really pressing the color into the lips.
P.M. report: For touchups, I carried a neutral lipgloss in my clutch for a little extra shine and moisture ($12; topshop.com).
The Total Look
So was it a lot of steps and lot of products? Yes. Have I ever had my makeup stay put so well from a ceremony all the way to an afterparty? No. I may not need an arsenal this extensive to get me through everyday, but I have a newfound respect for makeup artists and how they are able to keep their celebrity clients looking fresh for hours with the right products and techniques (read: lots and lots of light layers!). I have another wedding this weekend, so I'll be polishing up on my makeup skills once again!
*Excuse the poor lighting, I was too busy having fun to take too many pictures!
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