How to Choose the Right Beauty Look for Your Destination Wedding

You’ve booked your wedding venue destination and things are beginning to take shape with your plans. Next on the checklist? Hair and makeup. Figuring out the right beauty look for a destination wedding can be tricky—there’s no doubt that you want to look your best the entire night. Ideally, your makeup should last past the first toast and your hairstyle should still look great during the final dance of the night.

In your regular everyday climate, you probably know what works well for skin and have your go-to hair products. However, for your destination wedding, chances are you’re going to need to change up your regular routine and enlist products that work well with the environment.

To shed some light on the best hair and makeup for different destination weddings, we turned to celebrity hair and makeup artists, Matthew Sky and Sabrina Rowe, and asked them to share a few of their best tips and favorite products.

Meet the Expert

  • Matthew Sky is a New York-based freelance hair and makeup artist whose work has been in commercial, editorial, and television.
  • Sabrina Rowe is a celebrity hairstylist and founder of NTRL by Sabs.

Photo by Kelly Giarrocco / Design by Tiana Crispino

Hot, Humid Weather 

If you’ve ever been in hot, humid weather with a full face of makeup, you’ll already know that your makeup can start to sweat off pretty quickly. There’s nothing more frustrating than spending a ton of time perfecting your makeup, only for it to melt off in the sun. 

According to Rowe, the best way to make sure your makeup stays put in hot climates is to keep it minimal. “Less is more,” says the artist. “Stick to a light foundation that is buildable and really take your time working it in. Also, primer is absolutely paramount for a hot, humid climate. Do not skip this step.”


For the skin, Sky says he loves to use Jones Road Beauty Face Pencils, a light foundation pencil that helps to cover redness, correct discoloration and cover dark spots, whilst remaining virtually undetectable. “In hot, humid climates, I only use foundation where it’s needed,” he says. “These face pencils are great as they come in a variety of colors, they are very easy to blend, and you can put the foundation just where you want it.”

Once you get your foundation correct you’re halfway there, just make sure to blend as you don’t want hard edges. Next, you’ll want to set your foundation with a good setting powder like  Huda Beauty Easy Bake Loose Baking and Setting Powder or Ben Nye Luxury Powder. Setting powder can help extend the wear of makeup, especially in hot weather as it decreases shine, prevents creasing in crease-prone areas, like under the eyes or around the mouth, and gives the skin a smoother appearance.

If you’re prone to a shiny T-zone, Sky recommends carrying blotting powder papers like Fenty Beauty Invisimatte Blotting Paper. “I recommend using these booklets as they don’t create texture and they help to mattify.”


When it comes to your eyes, there’s one word that you’ll want to make sure you see on most of your products: Waterproof. Your wedding day is bound to be filled with tears of joy, potentially mixed with drops of sweat from the heat. The last thing you want is black circles under your eye from the makeup running. “Definitely go for a black eyeliner like L’Oreal Pro-Last Waterproof,” says Sky. “I apply the pencil on top only as it helps to open up the eyes and create definition. Then, I’ll use Maybelline’s Great Lash Waterproof Mascara, it’s a good affordable option. I layer it on about three times, but let each coat dry in between. I would not do the bottom lashes as it may end up under your eyes even though it’s waterproof.”


Adding a splash of color to the apples of the cheeks can help to brighten any smile, but in scorching temperatures, it’s important to find a blush that won’t look cakey or melt away. Nars Blush delivers a weightless, natural-looking rush of cheek color in matte, satin, and shimmering finishes and has high-quality, weightless pigmentation which means one swipe of blush lasts a long time. 


If you really want to make sure your lipstick stays on all day, Rowe says it’s important to base your lips with a pencil or primer before applying gloss or lipstick on top. Once you’ve got your base in place, Sky recommends using a matte lipstick. “I like to use Mac Cosmetics lipsticks in a pinky beige or a berry color for darker skin tones,” he says. “Once the lips are stained, I apply ELF Lip Plumping Gloss—the lips should look kissable, so some gloss does the trick.”


Braided hairstyles and updos are great for staying cool and looking chic in hot weather, but if you prefer the look of your hair down, make sure to grab some anti-humidity spray or cream. “Anti-humidity products are huge now and this is exactly what you should look for if you’re styling your hair in hot, humid weather,” says Rowe. “Some of my favorites for curly hair are NTRL by Sabs Nourishing Collection. The shampoo and conditioner are great to create a supple foundation for styling and the nourishing oil helps with unwanted frizz. I’ve also used Kérastase Discipline Anti Frizz Smoothing Spray and Lottabody Wrap Me Foaming Mousse on textured hair for years and they’ve never let me down.”

Photo by Kellie Francis Photography / Design by Tiana Crispino

Cold or Snowy Weather

If you’re planning for a scenic wedding at a destination that is known to have colder weather, the key to flawless makeup is moisture. “Moisture is your friend in this climate so go dewy and you will be prepared for a long day of fabulous makeup,” says Rowe. 


“I like to use Zo Skin Health on my clients in colder weather,” says Sky. “They have amazing products to moisturize your skin. If you’re trying out any new products before your wedding, I always recommend testing it no less than two weeks from your wedding, in case your skin doesn’t react well.”

When it comes to foundation, both makeup artists recommend keeping your coverage light to avoid dry patches and a cakey looking finish. Set your look with a light setting powder like Makeup Forever Ultra HD Matte Setting Powder.


“Waterproof, waterproof, waterproof—I can’t say it enough, cool weather makes the eyes tear up,” says Sky. “The L’Oreal Pro-Last Waterproof Pencil is amazing and doesn’t move. If you’re a fan of false lashes, colder weather is the perfect environment to wear them as they’ll definitely stay in place, says Sky. “I like to use Ardell lashes with gray lash adhesive as it blends with the eyeliner better, then I apply loads of waterproof mascara.”


In colder weather, you want to use products that help give a more hydrated appearance. Rowe recommends using a cream blusher as most brands contain moisturizing oils that lock in hydration and provide added sheen and reflection on dry skin. “Try Ilia Multistick Cream Blush + Lip Tint, Glossier Cloud Paint, or Tarte Cheek Stain. 

When it comes to colors, Sky says he likes to recreate the look of a blushing bride by applying pink or coral to the apples of the cheeks for fairer skin, and wine-colored blush for darker skin tones. 


Satin finishes are great for this weather but make sure to moisturize with a natural lip balm like NTRL by Sabs Natural Lip Balm. If you don’t want to think about reapplying your lipstick, opt for a lip stain—these products tend to have more staying power. “Mac cosmetics make great lip stain colors,” says Sky. “I would stick to a color similar to your own lip color or two shades brighter, and top off with the ELF Lip Plumping Gloss.”


If your wedding destination has cold weather, you’re in luck when it comes to styling your hair. The lack of humidity and cool, crisp air means your curls will hold up and your blowout will stay tamed. “If you’re wearing your hair down, a good blowout with Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray will give you a bouncy finish that will last in any weather,” says Sky. “I think in general, no matter what the temperature, making sure your hair is secured and not blowing on your face when you say I do, is very important. Meghan Markle looked gorgeous with her hair up for her wedding and I loved how Solange wore her hair natural on her wedding day. It looked stunning.”

Photo by Jillian Mithcell / Design by Tiana Crispino

Beach Wedding

If you’re tying the knot on the beach, it’s important to make sure you have a good layer of SPF on your skin. You don’t want to burn on your wedding day. “I like Kiehl’s Activated Sun Protector Water-Light Lotion For Face and Body,” says Sky. “It’s a light moisturizer that sinks into the skin.”


Tinted moisturizers, light foundations, or a spray tan with a good sunblock are best for beach weddings as they allow the skin to breathe. “I like using Mac Studio Radiance Face & Body Radiant Sheer Foundation, Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector SPF 30, or Nars Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30, as they keep the skin hydrated and radiant, whilst providing a light, natural coverage,” says Rowe.

An all-over golden glow is key to any beach wedding look. Try Chanel Illuminating Dry Oil for Face, Body and Hair and Chanel Les Beiges Oversize Healthy Glow Sun-Kissed Powder to get a radiant body shimmer.

For your overall finish, you want to look effortless. “If you have freckles let them show through,” says Sky. “Apply a setting powder just once on your forehead and nose. I like Ben Nye Luxury Powder as they have a lot of shades and really blot well.”


For a beach wedding, Sky recommends keeping the eye makeup simple and applying a dark brown eyeliner. “Stick to a dark brown pencil as beach lighting is very unforgiving—brown will look soft but still define your eyes,” he explains. Finish off the eye makeup with waterproof mascara.


To get that gorgeous sun-kissed look, bronze highlighter and a light blusher are the way to go. Rowe loves using Tarte Amazonian Clay 12-Hour Blush, a silky powder blush that contains long-wearing Amazonian clay, so the pigment looks freshly applied all day. Mac Cosmetics Powder Blush is also great for providing long lasting color.


“Minimal lipcolor is always a more beachy vibe,” says Rowe. Have fun with soft nudes and mattes like Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick or Mac Cosmetics, Please Me.


“Beach weddings typically have a bohemian vibe, so enjoy feeling free,” says Rowe. “Some of my favorite beach ready styles are soft and flowy, playful with braids, half-up and half-down, and crowns of flowers.”

Sky adds that he loves creating textured hair for beach weddings and swears by Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil. “This oil works on caucasian and natural hair. It’s amazing as far as spray goes. You don’t want your hair to look gummy or heavy—this spray helps keep your style but is light.”

Weddings by the sea tend to be slightly breezy. To avoid having to brush your hair every minute, add weight to your hair by wearing hair accessories. This is a great way to keep your hair intact, so don’t be afraid to experiment.