When it comes to planning a wedding, it all comes down to details. Some are just the fine print, like not forgetting to grab a marriage license; others are for superstition’s sake, such as burying the bourbon (to keep rain away, duh!). Walt Disney was once quoted, “There is no magic in magic, it’s all in the details.” But it might as well have been said by a Southern bride.
Something every bride gets painstakingly detailed about is her bridal look. That’s when she gets in a right tizzy. From the gown to the veil to the tiara (hey, it happens), this is the detail that will last beyond the license-signing and bourbon-burying—because, well, photos. Photos are forever, which means something as seemingly self-explanatory as what to do for your wedding hair and makeup becomes sort of a big deal. In particular, what not to do.
There’s one big wedding makeup mistake that every bride needs to know before the Big Day, especially if she’s planning a sunshiney beach ceremony followed by a late-night reception. It’s called SPF flashback, and it’s caused more than a few wedding photo disasters in its day. Repeat after us: Beware the flashback.
It appears in the form of a ghostly or baby powdery veil hovering over where your just-married face should be, all as a result of the camera’s flash bouncing back. If you’re looking for cute candid shots of you smashing wedding cake into your new hubby’s mouth or busting a move on the dance floor, this is obviously not ideal.
As responsible adults, we’ve been trained to wear SPF every day to protect our skin from harmful UV rays and to keep it looking youthful and wrinkle-free. Somewhere along the line, SPF-infused makeup became the norm, which is exactly why we wouldn’t think a thing of it when using it on our wedding day. Apparently it’s time to think again.
The ingredients used to protect our skin from the sun—like the ones in your favorite foundation—are very good at reflecting light. In fact, that’s their whole purpose. (Makes sense, right?) Therefore when these products are photographed with a camera flash, they reflect the incoming aggressor and unleash a whole lot of trouble. Namely, SPF flashback.
Not every bride needs be worried: If you’ll be photographed in natural light from ceremony to after-party (as in, no flash photography), wear all the SPF you’d like. It’s the camera flash that should make you wary. If you’ll be in a mixed-lighting setting, we’d play it safe.
To banish "ghostface flashback" from your photos forever, steer clear of SPF-infused foundations, especially those over SPF 15. Instead just focus on looking like your most beautiful and natural self.
Celebrity makeup artist and Maybelline brand ambassador, Vincent Oquendo, lives by this foolproof approach: “Conceal anything you’re concerned about with a medium-to-full coverage concealer, and then go with a medium-to-sheer coverage foundation and blend out with a Beautyblender. You’ve covered up the stuff you don’t want to show, but you have beautiful sheer coverage over the rest of your face. It looks the most youthful and natural.”
He recommends using Maybelline’s new SuperStay Under-Eye Concealer for its full-coverage, long-lasting finish (note: he likes to use it anywhere on the face) before finishing with one of Maybelline’s sheer foundations, such as the Dream Satin Liquid Foundation, which comes infused with hyaluronic acid for the ultimate hydrated, dewy glow.
There you have it. Unless your wedding makeup is inspired by Casper the Friendly Ghost meets reflective pavement marker, let’s avoid SPF foundation, hm?
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We can hear the wedding bells ringing already. You've got the makeup tricks, we'll bring the champagne.