19 Mother of the Bride Makeup Ideas You'll Actually Wear

Plus, expert tips and product picks.
mother of the bride makeup
Molly Lichten Photography
maddy sims the knot associate editor
Maddy Sims
maddy sims the knot associate editor
Maddy Sims
Associate Editor
  • Maddy writes for The Knot, with a specialty in beauty, sustainability, mental health and inclusivity.
  • Before joining The Knot Worldwide, Maddy wrote for several different publications, including Insider, Bustle, Real Simple and Apartment Therapy.
  • Maddy has a Bachelor's degree in magazine journalism and a Master's degree in health, science and environmental reporting (both of which are from Northwestern's Medill School ...
Updated Jun 22, 2021
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Your child's wedding (no matter how big or small) is an important event. As such, you'll want to feel your most confident for the occasion. To help make that happen, we've covered everything you need to know about mother of the bride makeup. From pro tips to expert product picks to inspiration, we have everything you need to feel your best on the actual day. Of course, you don't need to wear makeup if you don't want to. However, if you're interested in primping for the special day, you'll find all the necessary information below. If you choose to get glam for the event, we always recommend working with a professional makeup artist, as they'll be able to flawlessly execute your vision and ensure it stays put all night. Ready to get started? See everything you need to know about mother of the bride makeup, below. (Psst: This advice also works for mother of the groom too.)

In this article:

Should the mother of the bride get her makeup done?

mother of the bride makeup mom and bride laughing
Griot Photo

There are no official rules around the mother of the bride's hair and makeup. Pros recommend doing what feels best for you. "[The mother of the bride] should do what makes her feel the most comfortable and happy on the day," says Lynda J Pearce, a celebrity makeup artist widely known for her work on Bridgerton. "It's a lovely treat for the mum—it's a big day for the parents too, and I think it's lovely to see them share that experience with their daughter."

But getting the mother of the bride's makeup professionally done isn't just fun—it's also practical. "Professional makeup may last longer and look more polished in photographs," explains Nikki Wolff, celebrity makeup artist and global creative director of artistry at KVD Beauty. Makeup pros are not only able to expertly apply your products, but they'll also use professional-grade products that will last all day and night.

Who pays for the mother of the bride's makeup?

If you have the budget and would like to treat your mother to beauty services, that's absolutely an option. In fact, it's quite common for couples to add their mothers into the cost of wedding beauty services. However, if you don't have the budget for that, you can ask your mother to cover her own costs. Additionally, you can ask to split the services (you pay for makeup while she pays for hair). Ask your pro about rates ahead of time so you know exactly what you're signing up for.

Mother of the Bride Makeup Bag

mother of the bride makeup family portrait
Lininger Rood Photography

"Weddings are long fun days with lots of eating, drinking and dancing so you might want to keep some essentials for touch-ups in your purse," Wolff says. What are those essentials? "Carry a lipstick to reapply and a powder foundation (this'll be great for blotting any unwanted shine and fixing any smudges as the day progresses)."

You'll also want to account for happy tears, says Pearce. Bring tissues as well as under eye concealer and powder for any necessary touch ups. If your eyes water, we recommend blotting the tears away instead of swiping so you don't move your other makeup (such as foundation, bronzer and blush).

Speaking of blush, you might want to add it to your purse as well. "Blush is another product to always keep in hand, as this is usually the makeup product that fades the quickest," says Robert Sesnek, celebrity makeup artist. "Setting powder is another great one for quick touch ups throughout the day and night."

And finally, you might want to bring a small setting spray to lock in your makeup. Etienne Ortega, celebrity makeup artist and Deck of Scarlet brand ambassador, says a spray is best for summer weddings to ensure your makeup lasts through all the sweat and heat. His final beauty tip? Keep a lip gloss on hand for reapplication.

Mother of the Bride Makeup Product Recommendations

mother of the bride mom zipping up bride's dress
Erica Streelman

If you're stuck on what to buy for the day of the wedding, we asked the pros for their favorite mother of the bride makeup products. Pearce says keeping it light and dewy is usually best for mature skin. "Creamy products keep [the complexion] looking fresh and, in turn, show less signs of aging," she says. However she also notes that skincare is key: use an eye mask and a hydrating face mask on the morning of the wedding to get a serious glow. Wolff adds that it's best to skip shimmery products, as they can attract attention to fine lines. "This means creamy but not metallic products." See their top picks, below.

mother of the bride makeup primer

OLEHENRIKSEN Banana Bright Face Primer, $38, Sephora.com

mother of the bride makeup foundation

Pat McGrath Sublime Perfection Foundation, $68, Sephora.com

mother of the bride makeup foundation stick

Bobbi Brown Skin Foundation Stick, $49, Sephora.com

mother of the bride makeup powder foundation

L'Oreal True Match Super Blendable Powder, $10, Ulta.com

mother of the bride makeup concealer

Yves Saint Laurent Touché Eclat All-Over Brightening Concealer Pen, $38, Sephora.com

mother of the bride makeup pressed powder

Charlotte Tilbury Airbrush Flawless Finish Setting Powder, $45, Sephora.com

mother of the bride makeup cream blush

KVD Beauty Modcon Liquid-Gel Blush, $26, Sephora.com

mother of the bride makeup setting spray

Catrice Prime & Fine Multitalent Fixing Spray, $8, Ulta.com

mother of the bride makeup bronzer

Deck of Scarlet [Mist]ake Proof Bronzer, $36, DeckOfScarlet.com

mother of the bride lipstick

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick, $34, Sephora.com

mother of the bride makeup lip gloss

Tower 28 Beauty ShineOn Jelly Lip Gloss, $14, Sephora.com

Wedding Makeup Tips for the Mother of the Bride

mother of the bride makeup walking down aisle
SMS Photography

The pros agree: When it comes to your wedding day makeup, stay true to yourself. " Always wear your makeup in what you're comfortable with, stay true to your likes and dislikes," Sesnek says. "Today is probably not the time to experiment or try new looks." That means sticking to what makes you feel your most confident no matter what. "If you love blue eyeshadow, wear blue eyeshadow," Wolff says.

Feeling comfortable in your own skin is the most important factor, Pearce adds. "Be you: the most glamorous version of yourself," she says. "The most beautiful thing anyone can wear is a smile, and every mother of the bride I have ever seen has been beaming from ear to ear."

However there are some key products you'll definitely want to include in your day-of lineup. "I'd recommend using primers before foundation and eye makeup," Wolff says. "Avoid products with too much sparkle, as these tend to emphasize fine lines." Pearce's pro tip? "Use a lip pencil—the colour will last longer than a lipstick."

Once you decide on a look, Sesnek says it's crucial to schedule a makeup trial ahead of the wedding day. "That way, you can get the look and make sure you're on the same page with the artist."

Ortega adds one small note of caution: "It's important to never outshine or distract from the bride." Work with the guest of honor to ensure your makeup look works for the wedding. One idea is to coordinate the mother of the bride's makeup look with the bridesmaid or wedding party makeup looks. Another approach? "Coordinate eyeshadow color to the dress," Sesnek says. "I find this always looks modern and complementary."

And finally, don't forget to enjoy the experience. "Getting ready with your daughter is a wonderful moment," Pearce says. "My advice is to stop and enjoy it together—and remember the tissues!"

Mother of the Bride Makeup Ideas

Ready to get inspired? See a few of our favorite mother of the bride makeup ideas, below.

Bright Eyes

Make your eyes pop with a light-colored eyeshadow (think: light blue, light pink or light purple). It'll brighten up your gaze and make your eyes the focal point of your glam. Pair it with a neutral lip color to balance it out.

Mauve Lips

You can't go wrong with this classic mother of the bride look. Draw a thin line of eyeliner across your lashes and gently flick up to lift and open up your eyes. Then, swipe on a mauve-colored lipstick for a fresh, dewy look. (Pro tip: Use a lipliner to ensure the color stays put.)

Natural Beauty

Embrace your natural beauty on the big day. Use a medium-coverage foundation, concealer and a touch of blush and bronzer for a fresh, minimal glow.Apply a layer of your favorite lip gloss for a final touch.

Bold Lips

mother of the bride makeup red lipstick

If matte red lipstick makes you feel your most confident, wear it on the wedding day. It won't feel too overpowering if you pair it with a fresh complexion and neutral eyes.

Rosy Cheeks

mother of the bride makeup rosy cheeks

Blush is having a major moment in the beauty world—and with good reason. It adds a natural flush of color to the complexion and gives off a fresh, dewy effect. Apply a cream blush on the apples of your cheeks for a simple aesthetic, or blend it up along your cheekbone for a lifted look.

Bronzed Glow

mother of the bride makeup bronzer
Light Sky Photography

Get that just-back-from-vacation glow without the sun exposure (or spray tan). Brush a bronzer along the high points of your face (forehead and cheeks) for a warm glow. You can also use it for contouring by swiping it right below your cheekbones.

Nude Lipstick

If you want to rock a bold lip but don't love the idea of red lipstick, consider a nude hue instead. It's equally as dramatic and will go with any outfit. Balance it out with eyeshadow, eyeliner and extra coats of mascara.

Smoky Eye

The key to keeping a smoky eye from looking too dramatic is to use neutral tones (read: brown or grey) so it doesn't get too dark. Add a berry lip to the look for a pop of color.

Glamorous Cat Eye

mother of the bride makeup cat eye

Accentuate your gorgeous eyes. Apply eyeliner to your lash line, and then flick it upwards into a wing. Finish off the look with a few extra coats of mascara (or false lashes) for a dramatic, elegant look.

Warm-Toned Glow

mother of the bride makeup warm toned blush

Unleash your inner glow with a warm-toned makeup look. Apply bronzer to your cheeks and forehead, and then sweep on a coral-colored blush. As a final step, apply highlighter to the high points of your face (cheekbones and browbones).

Fresh Foundation

mother of the bride makeup fresh foundation

If you're a beauty minimalist, this mother of the bride makeup look is for you. Focus on your complexion by applying a medium-coverage foundation, a dewy concealer and a cream bronzer for a flawless finish. Apply several coats of mascara for the finishing touch.

Lined Eyes

The eyes are the window to the soul, so make them stand out on the wedding day. Line the top and bottom of your eyes to make them pop.

Berry Lips

mother of the bride makeup berry lipstick
Stanlo Photography

If bright red or bright pink lipstick doesn't feel right to you, you still have options for a bold lip. Rock a deep berry color to make a statement in your own unique way.

Fluttery Lashes

mother of the bride makeup fluttery lashes
Jenny Quicksall Photography

Lean into the romance of the day with this pretty makeup look. Use eyeliner to create a subtle wing, and then use false lashes (we recommend individual ones for a more natural look) to create long, fluttery lashes.

Glossy Lips

mother of the bride makeup lip gloss
Erica Streelman

If you don't love the idea of wearing lipstick for the wedding day, use lip gloss instead. It'll make your lips look hydrated and soft. Plus, it'll give a plumping effect. Remember to keep it in your purse so you can reapply throughout the day.

Bright Lipstick

mother of the bride makeup hot pink lipstick
SMS Photography

You don't have to shy away from color. We love the idea of wearing hot pink lipstick for the wedding day. It's the perfect balance of fun and elegant.

Sparkly Eyes

mother of the bride makeup sparkly eyeshadow
Lininger Rood Photography

Make your eyes pop. Sweep a shimmery eyeshadow across your lids to brighten them up. To make them look even brighter, pop some of your highlighter in the inner corner.

Neutral Eyeliner

mother of the bride makeup neutral eyeliner
b. schwartz photography

If you're nervous about wearing dark eyeliner, consider using light brown instead. Lightly smudge it across the top half of your eyes to subtly define your gaze.

Defined Eyebrows

mother of the bride defined eyebrows
Molly Lichten Photography

You don't have to use heavy makeup to accentuate your eyes. Simply fill in your brows to help frame your eyes, and then use eyeliner and mascara as a finishing touch. You'll look fabulous.

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