If you’ve been on this Afrobella journey with me for any length of time, hopefully you’ll realize — I am all about bellas on a budget. I believe that just about every woman wants to feel beautiful every now and then, whether they’re stacking lots of paper, or struggling to get by. These almost-recession days aren’t easy, and some of those glossy magazines would have you believe that beauty products need to cost you a pretty penny. But I’ll tell you this — you don’t need to buy all your products at Sephora to be gorgeous. There are often bargains to be had at the drugstore, or even right in your own pantry. Having said that, I also think it’s important to recognize that sometimes, you get what you pay for. Take for example, this recent Ask Afrobella question.

Dear Afrobella,
I just found your blog. I am in a wedding in two weeks. I have been told by the bride(zilla) that we can either do our own make or she will have someone there to do our make up for $5. So I’m like, what kind of make up are they doin for 5 bucks? I am worried that this make up chick will have me looking crazy, but I’m not confident that I can do my own make up.
The only make up I own is lipstick and I don’t have an appropriate color for a wedding, I don’t think. I generally prefer dark lipstick. I would just go without make-up and just wear lipstick and mascara, but I don’t want to look odd against the other bridesmaids. I’m a full-time student so I can’t afford to spend a lot on make-up, especially that I won’t wear everyday. Should I let the $5 lady do my make up? Go to the drug store and get some stuff and do my own? I don’t even know what to get or how to apply it. Or just go without and put on some lipstick? I have dry skin. I get a few pimples on my forehead and chin around my period. I’ve attached a pic so you can see what I’m working with. I’m just wearing lipgloss.
Y

OK, so I didn’t post Y’s photo in the interest of protecting her privacy — wouldn’t want the bride-to-be to find out that she’s a bridezilla on the internet! But just so you know, this is a lovely, luminous bella with wonderful chocolate brown skin. She’s got her hair pulled back with a head wrap, and from the photo, her skin’s got nary a blemish. So Y, my first bit o’ advice is, you’re naturally beautiful so don’t worry about comparing or looking odd next to the other bridesmaids. It’s entirely possible that this makeup artist is an apprentice, an amateur, or a professional family friend who’s offered an insanely affordable price…? I dunno, $5 is pretty cheap if you ask me, so I can understand your skepticism. I’ve never heard of a professional makeup artist who’s that affordable. I’d be interested to know how that turns out for the other bellas in the bridal party. So for the wedding, I’d advise you wear some fabulous accessories, and with these basic makeup tips, you’ll be the one of the loveliest ladies in the room (besides the bride, of course)!

I think it would probably stand you in good stead just to have some basic ideas of how to wear makeup in your arsenal, lest there isn’t a makeover artist handy. But we’re trying to not spend more than oh, let’s say $20. $25, tops. So let’s go to the drugstore!

I am a big believer in eyeliner, and I really think a bold eye could set this wedding look apart from your everyday style. First stop, Milani. Did you already guess? I really like this super cheap makeup line. The colors actually stand out on women of color, unlike many other drugstore brands. I seriously rock their eyeliner almost daily, and I get compliments on them all the time. So first you might want to consider the color of your bridesmaid gown. Is it bold, or is it demure? Either way you might want to start with basic black or dark brown liner along your lower lash line, and I think the new Color Brilliance eyeliners are the bomb. They glide on effortlessly, and the pencil is soft but doesn’t break easily. The black pencil is my new daily eyeliner. Love it. Also, I might be partial because I’m a Pisces, but I think aqua shades look divine on brown skin. Just lining your top lid with a thin splash of color could be a fun way to jazz up the wedding day. If I’m not using some kind of primer, I usually lightly powder my eyelid before applying eyeliner. And trust me when I tell you, that aqua pencil is FIRE. And Milani being Milani, there’s no website that tells you the exact cost, and they’re not sold on Drugstore.com… But I will guarantee you that these are less than $4 a pop.

OK, maybe you aren’t quite ready for blue eyeliner, LOL. I always tend to reach for brights, and they’re not for everyone. For a more subtle way to dazzle, consider using a touch of golden shimmer on your eyelid.

I am partial to Physician’s Formula Shimmer Strips — they’re flattering, user friendly, and can be used as bronzer, blush, and eyeshadow… but I pretty much only use them as eyeshadow. I love the warm, golden pink shades — just applying a little to your eyelid, then lining your upper lash line with black could really make your eyes pop. This Temptalia look will give you an idea of what I mean, close up. Temptalia has great makeup tips in general, and if you’re not sure which part of the eye to apply makeup to, their eye diagram is tremendously helpful.

Now. On to the rest of your face!

I already outed myself as a big fan of the Queen Collection makeup — their foundations come in a great range of shades, and offer coverage where you need it. Makeup artist James Vincent recommends “dealing with the problem areas and focusing on the center of the face where most women have discoloration; then blending the makeup out from there.” So I apply with the sponge lightly over the problem areas, and blend with a brush and a little translucent Physician’s Formula powder to mattify (that’s $11.95, but keep reading, you may not need it).

For bellas like you who don’t need a ton of coverage but could use some shine control for a special event such as this, the Queen Collection Shine Control Powder Foundation rocks. And it’s $6.99!

You mentioned that you’d wear lipstick and mascara — for the record, I’ve been wearing Cover Girl Lash Blast mascara every day and I really like it! But Y, I notice that you didn’t mention blush. A whisper of blush on those cheeks, and you’ll take the bridal party from zero to sixty.

There is no cheaper makeup on the market than e.l.f, and their Natural Radiance Blusher in bronzed will cost you just a dollar. Bronzed is the perfect color for a bella of your complexion — it’s warm and subtle and just gives the apples of your cheeks a glow. Go super light on the blush, you don’t want to turn up as Lil Kim to a wedding.

Let’s talk lipstick. You say that you “don’t have an appropriate color for a wedding,” and you “generally prefer dark lipstick.” So you might not want to go TOO dark and be the goth bridesmaid this time around. I still have undying love for L’Oreal HIP in Dreamer, the first soft rose petal pink gloss that’s made me instantly fall in love at first try. It’s very wedding apropos, IMO.

But since you like darker shades, you might prefer HIP Moisturizing Lipcolor in Charming or a similarly restrained color. A brown-bronze lip, layered with a pink lipgloss, will make for a warm, inviting, wedding-appropriate look. And there you have it! It’s really not that difficult or daunting.

Oh, and I’m sure you could use some of these Clean and Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets in your purse — I always regret when I don’t have mine with me, especially at a special occasion.

I hope that helps. Get your new makeup soon so you can play dress-up and figure out a look before wedding day — don’t wait until the morning-of to then realize — OMG I don’t know how to put on this eyeliner! Know what you’re doing before the big day, and maybe if you get there early, you can watch the artist work on the other girls and then decide if you want her to give you a minor touch-up. At the very least, watching her could either give you makeup tips, or show you what not to do!

I hope the wedding is beautiful and you have a wonderful time. Any advice I should have given, my fellow bellas? Let me know your best makeup tip for newbies!

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