While Kylie Jenner and Kim Kardashian are championed as beauty entrepreneurs, what they sell is poles apart from Meghan Markle’s wedding day splendour. ‘My immediate thoughts were like “Ooh not really what I expected, I expected a bit more”,’ assessed celebrity make-up artist Caroline Barnes. And, she wasn’t alone in this appraisal.
Just like the Duchess of Sussex’s wedding dress was originally presumed to be a frothy affair by Ralph & Russo (a design team that rarely says no to beads or decoration) the reality was something far simpler. Meghan surprised the fashion industry and avid public with a sculptural white affair by Givenchy’s artistic director Clare Waight Keller that was the definition of minimalist. Similarly, Frederic Letailleu, Northern Europe Make-Up artist at Yves Saint Laurent Beauté, said she relied on a paired back beauty look to carry off the dress. He described her make-up, which was applied by Daniel Martin, as ‘a warm matte complexion, sharply defined brows, a dense black colour on the upper lid, full lashes focusing on the upper lid, a soft touch of warm blush and delicate rose matte lips’. Could this be further away from the heavy-handed baking and bronzer that the Kardashian’s sell?
Meghan's a professional actress and celebrity, she's had red carpet experience and knows what works under the camera lights. Yet, Barnes points out she avoided doing 'full-on beauty and glam', instead of learning from Kate Middleton's heavy wedding day make-up and opting for something softer and more natural.
In fact, her make-up marks a break from tradition. Most brides layer on the foundation and contour until their bone structure is chiselled like an Ancient Greek sculpture, yet Barnes points out she's not done this. '[A]llowing her look to be natural is quite honest and far more modern than having layers and layers of make-up, which traditionally most brides would do.' Adding her skin 'screams confidence', which she thinks is important as 'this is a moment in time where we're encouraging everyone to be confident in their own skin'.
Freckles are so often contentious in the beauty world. Loved and admired and even pencilled on, they are so often plastered over with thick foundation and contouring sticks. 'If you do have freckles, the last thing you want to do is cover them up because it just looks like a mask, and wearing a mask isn't really that modern,' says Barnes. Instead of chasing down cut-glass cheekbones she focused on 'really fresh, healthy', she said.
If you were to recreate the look, Letailleu says you should start with the complexion by working with a product called Instant moisture glow to get that silky, hydrating effect and then add a light foundation and illuminating concealer to key points on the face. Next, work on the brows by ‘dotting the brow in three points over your existing shape and stretch the texture of YSL’s brow palette from the inner part of the brow to the tip using the tip of the applicator.’ For the eyes, he recommends using a light black base shadow swept over the lid that increases with intensity the closer it comes to the crease. Finish with eyeliner and a volumising mascara. Finally, to recreate that light wash of blusher use a soft matte powder on a brush mixed a light bronzer.