2016 bridal hair and make-up trends

Leading bridal stylist Pam Wrigley highlights key trends for wedding hair and make-up in 2016 and provides advice for brides-to-be on how to get the look. Photos: Agata Kocon

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The bigger and smoother ‘up-do’ is becoming increasingly popular and works well with more formal wedding gowns

While hair and make-up haven’t made any seismic shifts in 2016 – with soft and ‘unstyled’ looks still remaining in vogue, there is a subtle move into some more formal hairstyles that work with current bridal fashion trends. Make-up remains styled, with focus on eyes and soft blending to ensure a look that works in the photos and – most importantly – face-to-face with your guests.

Undressed hair

For hair, the most popular look remains relaxed. Pam says: “The effect most brides want to achieve is effortless, as if they haven’t tried too hard”. This includes the use of soft braids and the ‘half up half down’ look. For this to work, she cautions, you have to get professional advice as hair must be in tune with overall dress and wedding style, and be designed to stay firmly in place throughout the celebration. Some brides are choosing to wear their hair down in soft waves to create an ethereal look – again, the key trend is not over-styled or stiff.

Soft styles work very well with hair vines and decorative hairpins. Pins can be particularly effective as they not only help to keep the hair in place but can be grouped in a cluster to the back or side of the hair to enhance the style. While tiaras are not favoured by too many of Pam’s brides at the moment, in tune with the new romantic styles there are signs of a revival in the flower crown – these have also been seen on a few catwalks recently.

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Soft and relaxed styles remain popular – this is a look that appears effortless but needs to be carefully planned with your stylist

The ‘up do’

Low buns remain popular, looking particularly good if you have a gown that is strapless, low-backed or with a lace overlay so that key features to the back of the dress are revealed, but with some hair showing. Another key trend is the bigger and smoother up-do. This is a rather more formal style in the Audrey Hepburn mould. Pam says: “For this you may require discreet back-combing just to give the style the structure and staying power you need”. This look can work particularly well if you have a formal tea-gown or 1950s-style design, as it adds height and shows off the strong shoulder line of the dress.

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Make-up trends for 2016 are styled – soft and dewy skin and with a focus on strong brows and dramatic eyes

Dramatic make-up

There is more drama and overt styling to make-up, although the look brides are aiming for is polished but discreet. Pam says: “Make-up tends to follow the opposite trend to hair, so when hair was really coiffed make-up was more natural. It’s always about getting the balance right so the bride doesn’t look ‘overdone’. Right now, make-up is not hard but it is styled with a hint of drama that works for both photography and the event itself”.

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With strong eyes and brows, the overall look needs to remain balanced – a clever stylist’s trick is to highlight the cupid’s bow of the lips and the centre of the eyelid. Photo: Agata Kocon

This look focuses on perfect eyes and lashes and with less colour and emphasis to lips. Sometimes eyes can have the nude look, but for evening and winter weddings, brides are still favouring smoky browns and greys. It’s important that strong eyes are matched properly with lips, and a professional trick of the trade is to highlight the cupid’s bow of the lips and the centre of the eyelid. Cheek colour is very soft and blended, aiming for a hint of flush– peachy and sandy tones work better than purer pinks or bronzes, which can be cold and unnatural against white and pale gowns or in strong light.

Well-defined and balanced eyebrows are a must, which is not a look you may be able to achieve alone. Pam says: “I tend to recommend that brides visit a brow specialist a week or two before the wedding to get the shape of the brows defined. Brows can then be perfected on the day by your wedding stylist, who will fill in any gaps and complete the brow”.

Pam Wrigley is a London-based wedding hair and make-up specialist. weddinghairandmakeup.com

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