We all know that many weddings take months and even years to plan. But keep in mind that long before you're assembling guest lists and choosing table cloth colors you must be prepping your skin (and other things) for the big day. In other words, as soon as that ring is on your finger, find a licensed esthetician near you at a reputable spa or medical spa and get a game plan started asap!
What is the ideal state for a bride's skin, you ask? A bride's skin should be smooth, evenly toned (pigment wise), plump, exfoliated, hydrated and blemish free. This ideal state will not only give the bride confidence and inner peace but will also give her the best make-up application possible. As an esthetician and bridal make-up artist, it is a non-negotiable for my clients to prep well in advanced of the big day…I'm talking at least six months in advance, but a year is best. Here is what I advise...
1. Make a plan: proper skin prep for my bridal clients includes a thorough skin analysis and consultation, first and foremost. Then we plan a facial service schedule at the spa coupled with (mandatory) prescribed home care products and procedures. We will also talk about whether there are concerns for the skin of the back, chest or arms depending on the style of their wedding dress. We also discuss where and when the wedding will be, whether or not she will be spray tanning (because no UV tanning is allowed, under my watch) and what her goals are for her look. Looking at photos is always a great help and being clear about expectations is key.
2. Recommended facials for a bride: depending on the bride's skin type and conditions, certain facials will be better than others. In general, however, you can expect great results from regular monthly facials that include a chemical and/or physical exfoliation. Chemical exfoliation choices are usually alpha hydroxy acids like glycolic and lactic acids. Salicylic, a beta hydroxy acid, can also be blended in for more oily skin conditions and acne. Enzymes are a great way to try a chemical exfoliation, for beginners. Physical exfoliation methods like microdermabrasion, dermaplaning and ultrasonic spatulas are also fabulous for smoothing skin's texture. Facials should also include light extractions, facial massage and lots of hydrating serums and masks.
3. Fantastic home care products for a bride: Facials alone will only get you so far. Proper home care for morning and nightly use will get you the results you want…fast. I prefer powerful antioxidants for proven results. Vitamin C is my go-to antioxidant ingredient for a bride who is preparing for the big day. I always make the joke that Vitamin C is the B.L.T. ingredient of skin care because it brightens, lightens and tightens. Vitamin C should be in a concentrated serum form that can be used day, night or both; underneath moisturizers and sunblock. Be advised: not all Vitamin C serums are created equally, so look for a serum with at least a 10% volume in a container that is a tinted glass bottle with an eye-dropper style dispenser. Small amounts of glycolic, retinol and brighteners like kojic acid and licorice root are also advisable. And, of course, don't forget a great eye cream. As always, no treatment plan is complete without a broad spectrum spf for daily use…and don't forget to reapply!
4. Getting doctored up: If you are considering seeing a doctor for injectables like fillers or neuromodulators like Botox or Dysport, start the process as soon as possible. Starting a new treatment to reduce wrinkles or plump the lips should be planned at least 6-9 months ahead of your wedding day. It takes time to see the results and know if you like them. You do not want to try these services a few weeks before your wedding only to find out that you are unhappy with the results. You will have to live with said results on your big day AND look at them in your photos…forever. So, if you do opt for medical beauty enhancements, tread lightly. Make sure the M.D. knows that you are a bride and that you are looking for a more subtle enhancement/correction…not a new face.
5. Bridal beauty extras: make sure you don't miss any of these tips either! An eyebrow game plan should start as early as one year to nine months before the big day. For most brides, it's all about letting those face-framing brows grow in! That's right, put the tweezers down, stop waxing and basically don't touch your brows at all. The only pass you get is tweezing the unibrow hairs in between…but other than that, don't touch them. It's going to be awkward, upsetting and downright difficult to leave your brows alone for several months…but you just have to. Having a fuller brow will allow you options like brow tinting and really nailing down a beautiful arch. Furthermore, without sufficient brow hair growth, filling in the brow with pencil, gel or powder can be challenging and fake looking. Without a doubt, let your brows grow...your make-up artist and future self will thank you.
The other extra that I mention to all my brides is teeth whitening well in advance of the wedding. You don't have to rack up an expensive bill at the dentist, check out the plethora of drugstore options and find one that you like. Whitening strips, toothpastes and mouthwashes will all illuminate your smile…and don't forget to get the groom in on it too.
Lushes lashes are all the rage and are especially important for brides. If you are thinking of trying a lash growing serum like Latisse, keep in mind that it is a prescription product that takes several weeks (even months) to show lash growth. It is an excellent option for a lot of women and should be started at least 6 months before your wedding day to get optimal results. If you are opting for lash extensions, individual lashes or band lashes on your big day try these methods at least one to two months ahead of time. Keep in mind that all three of these methods require an adhesive (glue) to be used on or near your lash line. Some people are allergic to these adhesives and find out when it is too late. Don't let that be you. Don't be the Benadryl bride.
It takes many months to get everything prepared for your wedding day, when it comes to being a glowing, flawless bride. I hope these tips shed some light on wedding day beauty so that you will feel gorgeous and radiant on your wedding day...and beyond