You know how the best lessons are learned from your own mistakes. Right? So, let me tell you about my bridal skincare and haircare routine. Or, rather, the lack of one!
I was a complete mess at my wedding. With a psycho boss (sneaky though — should I link to her page here)) and the craziness of launching a new magazine, soothing spa session, or even a proper bride facial was the last thing on my mind.
Instead, I was in the office till midnight every single day. I missed my last wardrobe fitting because I was shooting — most ironically — a bridal beauty spread (not kidding). A couple of haphazard facials, a haircut on the run… that’s all I could squeeze in. And trust me, it wasn’t fun.
Even years later, when I look back at my wedding, I regret all the missed opportunities for wedding skin prep. Because, after all, when does a girl get to indulge herself the way she does during her own wedding preparation?
My mistake was not realizing that, like the rest of your wedding countdown calendar, your bridal beauty routine needs to be planned out well in advance to ensure peak gorgeousness in time for your big day.
So, this post is for all the brides-in-waiting who have asked me how to tackle their wedding beauty jitters: When should you have that pre-wedding facial? How do you get that bridal glow if you’ve been more than a little edgy lately? How to look good in the wedding photographs?
This bridal skincare and haircare calendar has been gleaned from experts and tested on a hoard of friends who have sworn that it’s made their weddings much easier. And prettier. So, let’s start, ladies!
Oh! And do feel free to read and implement even if you are not a bride — after all, you don’t need to get married to glow!
4-6 months before: Begin the bridal beauty countdown
This is the perfect time to prepare your skin and hair for the big day. Building solid foundations in skincare and haircare at this stage will pave the way for a radiant look on your wedding day.
Let’s delve deeper into what these foundations should look like.
Get into the wedding skin prep groove
Skin takes at least 8-12 weeks to renew itself, so you won’t get optimal results instantly. So, this is the time to supercharge your complexion’s glow potential by getting a personalized regimen — with regular masks, exfoliation, and moisturizers. And don’t forget to apply SPF daily.
Meet with a dermatologist to determine your skin type and the best products. Hydrating serums, retinol, or vitamin C might be recommended, but it’s essential to introduce new products slowly to monitor any skin reactions.
Specialized bridal skincare: Tackling concerns head-on
If you need to tackle issues like hyperpigmentation or acne with actives like retinol or AHAs, do it now. These formulations can initially make the skin flaky or irritated, so you must give it enough time to settle.
For the same reason, this is the time to talk to your dermatologist about lasers or chemical peels if you want one!
Haircare routine: Pamper your tresses
Hair takes even longer to show results, so start as soon as possible. Regular trims will keep split ends at bay, and If you haven’t started yet, incorporate hair masks into your routine to help restore shine and prevent damage.
The importance of scalp care
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. Incorporate a scalp scrub or treatment into your routine to eliminate product buildup and stimulate circulation for healthier hair growth.
Hair color and cut experiments
Start this process now if you plan to drastically change your hair color, cut, or extensions for your big day. It gives you ample time to adjust the color or cut if it doesn’t turn out how you imagined.
Do not make any colour changes close to the big day because if you are not happy, it may be too late to make repairs.
Nourishing from within: The role of skin and hair supplements
As part of the wedding skin prep, consider supplements to support your skin and hair health from the inside out.
Ingredients like collagen, biotin, and omega-3 fatty acids can be beneficial. However, it’s crucial to consult your healthcare provider before starting any new supplements.
Your best body: Skin and hair beyond the face
While we’ve focused heavily on facial skincare and haircare, remember the rest of your body.
Body skincare is also important!
Exfoliate and moisturize your body regularly. Pay extra attention to areas that will be exposed, like your neck, shoulders, and arms.
While it’s impossible to “cure” cellulite, you can minimize the appearance of ripples and dimples with daily self-massage and a caffeine-spiked cream (my personal favorite: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream!).
Body hair — to do or not to do?
Plan any necessary hair removal. Consider starting this a few months before the wedding to avoid any last-minute rush or irritation.
Eyebrows have it all
Allow brows enough time to grow in completely — it’s essential for correcting previous mistakes. Once you’ve done so, get them reshaped according to your bone structure and facial shape.
Adopting a beauty-boosting lifestyle: Nutrition and exercise
To help prevent your skin from looking dull, start following a healthy diet, eat plenty of fresh fruit, remember eight glasses of water daily, and reduce alcohol consumption.
Start an exercise regime as part of your wedding skin prep (even if you don’t need to slough away any excess pounds!). It will improve your circulation, flush out the toxins that cause skin blemishes, and help ease stress, something any bride-to-be will appreciate.
Securing the pros: Book your bridal makeup artists and hairdressers NOW
Bridal beauty pros like makeup artists and hairdressers are notoriously overbooked, so snag your dates now. And remember, you’ll also need to book hair and beauty appointments for your bridesmaids and mom.
3-4 months before: Fine-tuning your bridal skincare and haircare regimen
Once you have established your foundational routine and regularly care for your skin and hair, it’s time to keep up the momentum.
This stage of the process is crucial for reinforcing good habits and amplifying your results. It’s also the final deadline to introduce more specialized treatments to address any lingering concerns and really make you shine.
Pre-wedding skin prep: It’s all in the details
Fine-tune your skincare routine, and ensure you’re maintaining a balanced diet — what you put in your body is just as important as what you put on your skin.
Try to keep stress levels down, as stress can trigger breakouts and dull your skin.
Pre-wedding haircare tune-up: Final touches
Finalize your wedding hairstyle and conduct trial runs. If you’re using hair accessories, ensure they fit well and won’t cause discomfort.
Have a hair trial with your headpiece and veil. In fact, it’s a good idea to chat with your hairdresser at least once before you buy the headdress, as sometimes brides choose something too heavy for their hair type.
Hair treatments: Investing in healthier, shinier bridal hair
This is the time to consider specialized hair treatments to keep your hair healthy and shiny. These might include Olaplex or K18 treatments to repair damaged hair, gloss treatments for extra shine or scalp treatments to ensure a healthy hair growth environment.
Start on the makeup prep
Try out different looks with your bridal makeup artist if you’ve opted to use one. And make sure you have at least one trial run, complete with digital photos, so that you can remember the finer details later.
If you plan on doing your own makeup, head to your nearest cosmetic counters and ask about bridal beauty consultations. Several brands offer free ones for brides-to-be.
Locking the calendar: Dates, dates, dates
Book other beauty treatments, such as a fake tan, now.
One month before: The final bridal skincare and haircare countdown
With only a month to go, the excitement is building. Let’s focus on achieving the perfect glow and maintaining your hair health.
Final bridal skincare steps: Get the bridal glow
You’ve laid a strong skincare foundation and tackled your main skin concerns. Now, it’s time to focus on achieving that enviable bridal glow.
The power of peels
Gentle at-home peels can reveal fresher, smoother skin. Look for peels with alpha hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to slough away dead skin cells and promote cell turnover. Two to try: Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Pads and the Moon Juice Acid Potion AHA + BHA Resurfacing Exfoliator.
However, do the final peel 7-10 days (or professional facials) before the big day. Skin will still be glowing but without the risk of any after effects, like redness or sensitivity.
Masking for maximum moisture
Hydrating and brightening face masks can give your skin an extra boost. Look for masks with ingredients like hyaluronic acid for hydration, vitamin C for brightening, or green tea for soothing inflammation as part of the wedding skin prep.
If you’re prone to breakouts, keep a spot treatment handy. These treatments can quickly reduce inflammation and promote healing to keep your skin clear.
Fine-tuning the wedding hair: Embrace the shine
Your hair has been through a lot in the past few months. Whether you’ve gone for extensions, a color change, or have been growing your hair, it’s time to give it some extra love and shine.
The final cut and color
Get a final cut 2-3 weeks before the wedding day. This allows time for the color to settle and any adjustments that may be needed.
Don’t change the style now; just get the ends snipped for a neat finish.
Harnessing hair masks
Amp up your use of hair masks. Look for masks that target your specific needs — moisture-enhancing for dry hair, protein-rich for damaged hair, or color-protective for dyed hair.
Time the wedding day makeup!
Do a timed makeup trial, not just for you but also for your bridesmaids. This will ensure your partner and guests are not left twiddling their thumbs, waiting for you!
Remember the order — makeup comes after hair and nails, just before the wedding dress.
Are you planning on doing any or all of the hair or makeup yourself? Start practicing, especially a technique you haven’t used before (like applying false eyelashes).
The week before: The finishing bridal skincare and haircare touches
You’ve made it! The last leg of your skincare and haircare marathon is here. With just a week left before your wedding, you’ll add the finishing touches that will have you feeling confident, radiant, and ready to say “I do.”
Final wedding skincare prep: Bask in the glow
In this final week, your skincare routine should be on cruise control. Your focus is to maintain that luminous glow and avoid potential skincare pitfalls.
Keep it gentle
Now is not the time for aggressive treatments that may react adversely with your skin. Stick to your routine, and opt for soothing and hydrating masks to enhance your glow.
Hydration is key
Hydrate from within by drinking plenty of water, and maintain your skin’s moisture with a hydrating serum or cream.
Skincare pitfalls to avoid
Stay away from any aggressive facials that include extractions in this final week. They could cause unexpected breakouts or irritation.
Another major DO-NOT: Don’t switch beauty products within a couple of weeks of the wedding. When introduced to a new product, skin goes through an adjustment period, including breakouts. Plus, there’s also the risk of an allergic reaction.
However, if your skin does still end up in a reactive, itchy, red state — slather it with the Avene Cicalfate+ Restorative Protective Cream. It’s like a master reset button for dry, dehydrated, or sensitive skin!
Haircare capstone: Shine on
Your hair is your crowning glory and needs a few final touches to ensure it looks its absolute best.
Deep conditioning: Nourishing your hair to the max
Apply a final deep conditioning treatment at the start of the week to ensure your hair is as healthy and shiny as possible.
The final touches: Last-minute hair adjustments
If you have any last-minute color touch-ups or a final trim, schedule them at the start of the week.
Heat styling hiatus: Protecting your hair pre-wedding
Try to limit heat styling this week. Give your hair a break to avoid any damage that could affect your wedding day style.
Beyond the face: Enhancing full-body radiance
Along with the rest of your bridal skincare routine, you should also pay attention to the rest of your body this week. After all, bridal beauty isn’t just about your face and hair.
Continue exfoliating and moisturizing your body. Consider using a dry brush and body oil for an extra glow.
If you’re waxing or threading, do this a few days before the wedding to avoid irritation or redness on the big day.
The last six months have been hectic, so book yourself in for some pampering — either with a professional scrub, soak, and massage or in a decadent home spa, preferably surrounded by your best friends.
Bridal beauty routine: One day to go
You’re almost there, and you look radiant. The last steps are all about maintenance and relaxation.
Stay hydrated, stay beautiful
Stay hydrated, get enough sleep, and keep your skin moisturized. Consider a gentle, hydrating facial a few days before the wedding, but steer clear of any harsh treatments that may cause redness or irritation.
Final hair conditioning tips
Apply a deep conditioning treatment to your hair, ensuring it looks healthy and shiny for the wedding. Avoid using heat styling tools to prevent any last-minute damage.
Also, Check with your hairdresser whether or not to wash hair the night before or in the morning; most don’t like working with squeaky-clean hair as it doesn’t hold a style well. And do like the celeb squad — sleep on a silk pillow, and your hair will be super shiny when you wake up.
Perfecting the bridal manicure and pedicure
A bridal manicure is a must-have. Remember, all eyes will be on your wedding finger, so ensure your messy nails don’t detract from the dazzling ring. Have your manicure and pedicure the day before to avoid chipping.
Bridal beauty bag essentials: Prep for touch-ups on the go
Put together a bridal beauty bag for touch-ups as the day takes its toll. Powder, blush, lipstick, and tissues should keep you looking your best all day.
If your makeup artist has custom mixed a lipstick for you, ask her to pop some in a small pillbox or on a cotton swab so you can take it along (and if you want to go a step further, pop over to a bespoke lipstick service and have it mixed and tubed for you through posterity!).
Your wedding day: Shine bright, beautiful bride
It’s YOUR day, so enjoy it to the max! Give yourself plenty of time to get ready.
And follow the instructions — most beauty professionals have a set of to-dos and not-to-dos for brides.
Pro-tip: At the top of every list of bridal beauty tips? Wear a button-down shirt to your hair appointment!
FAQs about bridal skincare and haircare routines
These are the most frequently asked questions about bridal wedding preparations concerning beauty routines. Have one of your own? Drop it in the comments, and we will do our best to get the right solutions.
When should I start my pre bridal skincare routine?
Ideally, start six months to a year before your wedding. This allows time to address all your skin concerns and establish a routine with the best results.
How can I reduce stress-related skin issues before my wedding?
Regular exercise, a balanced diet, ample sleep, and mindfulness practices like yoga or meditation can help reduce stress and its effects on your skin.
Should I get professional facials as part of my wedding skin prep?
Yes, a professional bride facial can deeply cleanse, hydrate, and nourish your skin. Start these as part of your wedding skin prep 3-6 months before the big day.
What if I have a breakout right before my wedding?
Don’t panic. A dermatologist can provide a fast-acting treatment — usually with a corti-steroid injection, which can deflate a pimple in 12-24 hours. Don’t pick at whatever you do, as this can lead to infection and scarring.
Should I do anything special for my skin the night before the wedding?
Stick to your skincare routine to avoid any surprises. A hydrating mask can help your skin look incredibly fresh and glowing.
What is the most important bridal skincare advice?
Start early with your wedding skin prep, be consistent, stay hydrated, eat a balanced diet, get enough sleep, manage stress, and always remove makeup before bed.
Disclosure: A portion of this post is part of a campaign of Avene. However, as you know, I only feature products that I genuinely love.