Meghan’s Picture Perfect Royal Wedding Day Make-up, Hair and Nails

Today we’re taking a deeper look at Meghan’s much-discussed wedding day hair and makeup.

From the palace press release —

Ms. Markle’s hair was styled by Serge Normant, with make-up by long-time friend and make-up artist Daniel Martin.”

The ‘messy bun’ style updo and freckle-baring makeup were a classically Meghan look. These are familiar styles we’ve come to know and love (some more than others), and are already a signature look for the new Duchess.  

New York-based makeup artist Daniel Martin has known Meghan since 2011. He is currently a Brand Ambassador for Dior Beauty and the Creative Color Consultant for Honest Beauty. He told Glamour that the process with Meghan was very collaborative, and the two worked with the keywords, “timeless, effortless, and chic”.

an interview with Elle Magazine, Martin shared a very cute story of how it came to be that he was responsible for Meghan’s wedding day face —

She sent me a text asking what I was doing the weekend of May 19th. I was like, “I may be in Cannes for the film festival but what’s up…” and she sent me the bride and groom emoji right back and I literally dropped my phone! Then she sent me the shhhh emoji back so I couldn’t let anyone know…”

From his Instagram account, this lovely illustration and caption:

Confirming what we’ve long-known about Meghan and her love of beauty (we wrote about it here), Martin told Elle —

She’s extremely decisive… She’s very open and loves makeup.”

To Glamour, he added that —

She’s very much about keeping her skin as real and natural as possible. Meghan has incredible skin. I started by prepping her skin with a clarifying toner, water-based moisturizer, and a Korean sunscreen that also acts as a foundation gripper to lock down foundation. Then I just balanced and neutralized any discolorations where needed with concealer and foundation.”

UPDATED:  Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen, SPF 35 is a great option for sunscreen under makeup and this is a brand that both Daniel and Meghan favor — According to Tatcha, it is a lightweight mineral sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum SPF 35 protection from UVA and UVB rays with pure, skin-loving ingredients. Perfect as a primer for makeup.

Another primer from Tatcha that Daniel has been seen using is The Silk Canvas.

Tatcha, The Silk Canvas, $52.00

According to a number of reports Daniel Martin used Dior’s new Backstage Face & Body Foundation on Meghan.


…it secretly made its debut last month in Windsor. That’s right, Meghan Markle’s wedding day foundation of choice—which we all know showed off her natural freckles—was none other than the new Backstage Face & Body Foundation ($40) from the French brand. According to Dior Beauty’s creative and image director of makeup Peter Philips, Daniel Martin used the line’s hero product on the Duchess of Sussex for her big day, making this collection royal-approved.”

Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation, $40.00 USD

This new makeup collection from Dior, a less-expensive makeup line from the brand, launches at Sephora and on June 15.

Peter Philips told Harper’s Bazaar 

It’s my key product. I wanted 16 different levels of intensity but above all, 6 different skin undertones: rosy, olive, yellow, beige, etc. in total that makes 40 colors, allowing every woman to find the shade that best matches her complexion”

The only touch-ups required throughout the day were blotting papers and lipstick, although on the ‘lipstick’ note, Martin said —

I made sure her lips were well hydrated, but I opted for a tinted lip balm that gave color without looking like heavy lipstick. We wanted a natural flush.”

With this description, Martin’s position at Dior, and the look of Meghan’s lips on the day, I’d bet good money the product used was one of Dior’s cult favourite Addict Lip Glows. Walking the divide between a lipstick and a balm, the product is popular for its buildable colours, hydration and lasting power. The brand released new shades earlier this year, which react to the wearer’s body pH and chemistry to transform to a custom shade while on the lips. While undoubtedly very, very cool, this makes it quite hard to discern what colour Meghan might’ve worn(!).

Dior Addict Lip Glow Color Reviver Balm – 001 Pink – Sheer Ballet Pink, $34.00 USD

See that sheen on Meghan’s cheekbone and decolletage in the image above? Martin also said he used the same luminizer across face and body. While neither he nor hairstylist Serge Normant were able to disclose any specific products used on Meghan to the media, as a beauty devotee and highlighter junkie, I do have a guess or three here. Makeup artist Lydia Sellers has mentioned using the cult favourite RMS Living Luminizer on Meghan in the past (RMS is an organic, non-toxic brand right up Meghan’s alley), she told Byrdie —

This highlighter is a favourite when working with Meghan because of its subtlety; it doesn’t go on looking like a disco ball, but it has just enough pop to make her skin glow in a natural, dewy way.”

Meghan’s known to love YSL’s Touche Eclat highlighter, as we wrote about here. Another contender, given Martin’s role at Dior, is the Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer (my best guess is 003, Golden Glow).

Diorskin Nude Air Luminizer Powder in Golden Glow, $56.00 USD and YSL TOUCHE ECLAT Radiance Perfecting Pen, $38.00 USD

Now with the launch of the Backstage collection, we are thinking that Daniel Martin may have also used Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette.

Dior Backstage Glow Face Palette, $45.00 USD

Meghan’s eyes were done in “smokey” effect and we have a great shot of her lids to get a peek at the overall look! We’re thinking that the shadow used was also from the new Backstage collection in Warm Neutrals. Another great palette is the Dior 5 Colouers Eyeshadow in 647 Undress.

Dior Iconic Mascara / Backstage Palette in Warm / Palette in Undress

UPDATE: We have this update from Dior PR on Meghan’s Royal Wedding Day makeup direct from the brand —

(L-R) Dior Backstage – Contour Palette / Backstage Face & Body Foundation / Backstage Eye Palette – 001 Warm Neutrals / Diorshow On Stage Liner / Iconic Mascara in Black / Lip Glow Colour Reviver Balm

Now to the famous and hotly-debated ceremony hairstyle by Serge Normant. The France-born, New York-based hairstylist works with a large number of celebrity clients, as well as being renowned in the fashion and beauty industries for his work in editorial and advertising. Meghan met Normant in 2017, and collaborated closely with him to devise the day’s updo. He
spoke with The Daily Mail afterward.

We worked really closely together but there was nothing contrived about it. We wanted something that wasn’t effortless and really timeless. As long as it didn’t look contrived… She had a pretty good input. We came around with boards and tried to figure out what would be the easiest thing to do.”

Normant doesn’t shy away from the oft-critiqued ‘messy’ label, telling The Daily Mail —

It’s a messy bun, we call it. Messy in a controlled way,’ he said. ‘Making sure it doesn’t become a whole mess after a few hours! He said the style wasn’t about ‘reinvention’, wanting to stick with Meghan’s ‘usual angle’. Despite the criticisms, Meghan clearly feels very comfortable with the relaxed style. Normant told Glamour, “I know everyone’s fixating on the word messy, but it was more like unstructured volume. A low bun in the back with dimension. I love it when a bun has asymmetry here or there, like one side is bigger than the other. I wanted it to feel almost like she did it herself… We both knew we wanted to do something very loose in the back and soft in the front.”

As for working with Queen Mary’s Filigree Tiara – a piece I’m sure is out of the comfort zone of most fashion industry hairstylists – Normant said the hairstyle was dependent on the piece.

it [the style] had to work with both the veil and the tiara, so I didn’t want too much volume on the top.”

More from the Glamour piece:

It’s not that bad,” Normant says of its weight. “I mean, it was a beautiful, beautiful piece. It was a dream to work with it. Now I wish every girl I have to work with from now on would have a tiara, because it was just so amazing. She showed it to me, and I loved it instantly. It’s from 1932, can you imagine? It’s that old. And it looks beyond. It fit perfectly on her.”

Meghan’s hair for the evening reception was by a different stylist, London-based George Northwood. The style was far more casual, a higher, more typical bun and loose strands, a great complement to the Stella McCartney gown.

UPDATE 21 June:
Now to one of the smallest, but perhaps most important details of the day – nails. With no official word on Meghan’s nail polish colour or manicurist, here we enter the very fun world of pure imagination. Susan C and I have had wonderful back-and-forths with swatches of different shades from brands we know Meghan favours, plus some wildcards.

The colour was a pale pink, very opaque, with a very glossy finish.

Thanks to our follower, Andrea, who mentioned she thought she saw a post by Meghan’s BFF Jessica Mulroney and wedding nails, we were able to find this May 14, 2018 post below from Jessica’s Instagram account and CND nail polish!

(l-r) Unlocked, Unearthed (top), Uncovered, Unmasked

We then found in the same post where a follower asks what color the Duchess was wearing on the day of the wedding to which it looks like CND replies! Could this be the color? —

While the color in the image, Unmasked, appears to be a pink, it is actually more of a beige when it goes on.

Interestingly enough, CND Canada announced on their Instagram account their new partnership with Jessica on May 15th —

From the CND site, the colors are from the Spring 2018 Nude Collection and are an opaque polish.

Unmasked is a pale beige, Uncovered is a sheer peach, Unlocked is pink lavender hue and Unearthed is a tan. In the image below of Meghan’s nails, they appear to have almost a satin gloss finish which would be closer to the above Unlocked shade. While a second color could have been used such as the brand’s Beau or Negligee (both colours Susan C. has tried).

Anyone of these colors make a nice selection for a bride.

Susan C. prefers the more sheer shades —

I’ve ruled out the heavier opaque CND polishes for Meghan, like Cake Pop and Naked Naivete. Both have a heavy “white” base to them and Cake Pop is very bubblegum looking in my opinion. I am leaning more towards the thought that Meghan is wearing two shades of CND polishes which is a common trend. It’s possible she is wearing one of the new Nude Collection shades with a coat of Negligee over the top or even the Beau color which is a bit more iridescent. I would need to experiment a bit to see how it looks in the sunlight and indoors.”

UPDATE: Susan C. has received the new CND Nude Collection and after trying the colours — Uncovered, Unmasked and Unlocked mentioned above — Unmasked is an opaque beige and does not appear to match Meghan’s polish color. Uncovered is a sheer peach colour and similar to colours of polish that Meghan has worn recently. Unlocked is an opaque pink/lavender shade and closer to the polish that Meghan is wearing on the Royal Wedding day. There is also that possibility that the colour was combined with one other CND polish such as Negligee. 

CND Shellac & Vinylux in UnlockedVinylux in Negligee and Beau

There is a lot of speculation online that the colour is Essie’s Ballet Slippers. The shade was created for HM in 1989 and has been a staple royal colour since. However, we just don’t think that this was the colour Meghan wore. On Essie’s website, the model shot shows a clear colour difference between the nail bed and tip. Ballet Slippers is a very sheer colour, which would have to be layered with an opaque underneath to achieve Meghan’s look. Doing this is plausible – but unlikely.

Susan C engaged in some proper investigative reporting, testing out a few shades – below L to R – Rimmel Gel Ivory Tower, Essie: Mademoiselle, Sugar Daddy and Vanity Fairest

Meghan wore the Rimmel shade, Ivory Tower, for her Vanity Fair shoot late last year, so Susan C wagers its possible (if not probable) she’s remained loyal to the brand. Of course, there’s more than a couple of OPI shades that I think fit the bill (my go-to nude is the oddly-named ‘My Very First Knockwurst’, which I think is definitely within the realm of possibility). For that glass-like finish, an industry favourite is Seche Vite, an excellent top coat I keep backup bottles of. 

But in the end, I rather enjoyed this Vogue UK article. It ultimately suggests a CND Shellac shade, Cake Pop.

I just had a feeling that it was a CND Shellac colour. Knowing from my every-two-weeks Shellac habit, it had to be. What bride wouldn’t opt for a chip-free nail option; especially when two billion are watching? It’s been documented in the past that Meghan has been a client of Nails and Brows in Mayfair. Although they didn’t confirm that they did her nails for the big day, they did tell me that the Duchess likes her nails to be “short, square but slightly rounded on the sides” and chooses “nudes, creams and delicate pinks for a clean, groomed look. I got on the phone to Samantha Sweet, co-founder of Sweet Squared who distribute CND Shellac and who was also adamant it was Shellac.

We ‘think’ but can’t confirm that it looks totally like Cake Pop (but it could be Naked Naivete which is what Victoria (Beckham) was wearing),” she said. “But we think Cake Pop!”

For anyone who can’t commit to the in-salon removal process for shellac (or, like me, has a potentially irrational fear of the UV light used to cure the gel polish), you may be interested in trying the shade at home. CND also sell ‘Vinylux’ – an at-home shellac-like polish which comes in the exact same shade range. Click here for Cake Pop, here for Naked Naivete and here for the top coat – for that requisite high-gloss finish. 

Susan C. also investigated the CND shades, having already owned some of the polish. Cake Pop (a pink-lavendar based shade) or Naivete (a peach based shade) are both opaque polishes. Negligee (pink shimmer based) and Romantique (ivory based) are two of the brand’s sheer colors.

Meghan’s nails appear to have a bit of a satin sheen to them as well. It could be two different shades of polish to create the look.

And that – phew – is a wrap on the beautiful ‘beauty’ of the wedding. For more deep dives on the wedding, see our post on the dress here and the shoes here, plus details of Kate’s outfit and the childrens’ looks on our sister sites.

We’ll leave you with this lovely picture and caption from Daniel Martin Instagram:

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  1. Comments section doesn’t exist on the latest post (June 17 wedding attendance), not sure why. Also a comment that few photos were available, but the DM has an extensive story – ??

  2. Lovely post! Thank you for this detailed update.
    I am not at all surprised that it takes so many products to create a natural look (that photographs well). And Dior! Luxurious and understated.

    I imagine that both Kate and Meghan wanted to retain a bit of ‘self’ on their respective wedding days. Most brides don’t have the pressure and scrutiny that these 2 women endured. Royal weddings – larger than life, and on a global stage, with details dicussed for days and weeks afterwards. I was disappointed in Kate’s wedding day makeup – eyeliner too harsh, and blush very heavy – it does take a skilled professional to apply makeup that looks good from up close and from afar. I thought it was sweet that Kate did her own makeup, but the result was heavy handed.

    As for Meghan’s wedding day hair, I thought the wispy ‘undone’ style was Megan’s way to feel like herself amidst so much pomp and royalty. The end result was messier than I prefer, but a far cry from the “messy bun” so many describe it as. ‘Unstructured volume’ was a lovely description.

  3. Thanks for this informative post WMW!!! I’m quite the product junkie and since Meghan has such wonderful skin I’m dying to know what products she uses. Since learning that Meghan uses Tatcha products, I’ve tried the rice enzyme cleanser and the deep hydrating eye serum and have to say that I like both The cleanser really cleans well, although to be fair I don’t wear a lot of makeup, but the great thing is that it doesn’t leave my skin tight and dry just clean and smooth. The eye cream hydrates and seems to absorb well so I can apply mascara about 10 minutes after using it. I’ve noticed that Tatcha products are quite pricey but I’ve found travel size samples on Amazon for about half the price. I will probably continue to use the rice enzyme cleanser but I’m not sure yet if the eye serum is worth the price.

  4. Her stylist BFF Jessica Mulroney made an Instagram post of CND polishes just before the wedding. I believe she mentioned weddings in the caption(?) I swear I remember seeing that.

  5. Well, that looks like an impressive shopping list for anyone wanting to model themselves on Meghan. It seems there’s a lot of hard work goes into looking ‘natural’.

    She looked wonderful on the day, every bit as if good health and happiness simply radiated from her quite naturally. It’s great she has her own favourite hair stylists and make up experts and. I love the input we have from them here.

    That’s impressive sleuthing on the nail colours. I’m surprised how very short her nails are, almost workmanlike. Her hands as a whole are lovely, being long and elegant, and eminently regal and the pale colours suit very well.

    • I recall that Kate Hudson once mentioned it took her makeup artist 2 hours to give her that “natural” look for a photo shoot and yes I’m very surprised at all the makeup required to achieve that look, my “natural” look consists of a bit of eye shadow and mascara lol

    • Hi – the post was updated – We know that Meghan has used Tatcha products in the past and that Daniel uses their products currently. Once we have, hopefully, identified a possible brand or product that he used that is a Korean brand we will update the post with all information. We are also wondering if perhaps the article was a misquote – ? It does happen. We will keep you all in-the-know. Thank you and to KK for pointing out the missed error in the late night publishing efforts. It’s much appreciated!! – SAC

      • Thanks for taking feedback from your readers!
        I mean, honestly, it COULD very well be Tatcha. Daniel might have had a slip of the tongue, or the article could have misquoted, as you said.

        • I’ll find the correct Korean item! 🙂 It’s just been a long week for me – this being a second “job” so to speak. We always want to bring the most accurate, quality information to each and every one of you who reads/follows. I’ve been on the other side of blogs so I know the importance of this. Which is why I jumped, raced, etc. to make the edit to the post. Apologies to those who read this error! To add, I’ve actually used the Tatcha products over the years – excellent skincare line! This was before the brand was available via Sephora and other sites. They are lovely to deal with and I always received such wonderful notes from them in my orders. – Susan C.

    • Yes, both Meghan and Daniel would know that Tatcha is American with Japanese influence, and a Glamour beauty editor would know better than to misquote. They would not attribute it to Korea. There are many excellent Korean sunscreens with smoothing and sebun absorbing properties, yet high protection.
      Tatcha could be the blotting papers.
      The lip balm would be Fresh Sugar.

      NOTE-admin edit

  6. I thought Meghan’s wedding day makeup was perfect. It surprised me that it took so many products to produce such a natural look. I agree that Meghan’s freckles should be allowed to shine. Kudos to Daniel Martin for a job very well done! I am in the camp that didn’t care for either of Meghan’s wedding day hairdos. The word “messy” is very descriptive and certainly captures both looks. As pieces of hair started to come loose during the wedding ceremony it looked like the entire hairdo was going to collapse and come undone. I was watching the ceremony with a group of women and everyone was saying, “Get her some bobby pins, where’s the hairspray, did she do her own hair?” etc. I do realize this is a matter of personal taste and there are obviously some people, to include Meghan, who like the very casual hairstyle. I can’t get excited about the shade of nail polish. It was discreet and that is all that matters.

    • I was a bit sad to learn the hair was supposed to come loose on the wedding day as that was one time I would have appreciated a tidy updo. But it was her day and her choice I guess, and she still looked lovely. I wasn’t so troubled by the evening style as I found it in keeping with the fabulous halter-neck dress.


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