Let’s start off with my own bridal beauty routine. Or, rather, the lack of one! I was a complete mess at my wedding. With a psycho boss and the craziness of launching a new magazine, soothing spa sessions were the last thing on my mind. Instead, I was in office till midnight every single day and missed my last wardrobe fitting because I was shooting — most ironically — a bridal beauty spread.
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. Because, after all, when does a girl get to indulge herself the way she does at her wedding?
My mistake was in not realising that, like the rest of your wedding, 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 been writing in to ask 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 beauty plan 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!
Bridal beauty routine: 4-6 months to go
Begin your bridal beauty regime: Skin takes at least 4-8 weeks to renew itself, so you won’t get optimal results instantly. This, then, is the time to supercharge your complexion’s glow potential with regular masks, exfoliation and moisturisers. If you need to tackle issues like hyperpigmentation or acne with actives like retinol or AHAs, do it now. These formulations can make skin flaky or irritated in the beginning, so you need to 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!
Start on the hair: Hair takes even longer to show results, so start as soon as possible. Do a deep conditioning treatment once a week and decide whether you want to take a supplement like Moon Juice SuperHair or Nutrafol.
Hair colour: This is the time to start discussions with your colourist as it will allow you to judge exactly when your colour looks its best and book your pre-wedding appointment accordingly. 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.
Cellulite: While it’s not possible to “cure” cellulite, you can minimise the appearance of ripples and dimples with daily self-massage and a caffeine-spiked cream (my personal favourite: Sol de Janeiro Brazilian Bum Bum Cream!).
Eyebrows: 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.
Bookings: Bridal beauty pros like makeup artists and hairdressers are notoriously overbooked, so snag your dates now. And don’t forget you’ll need to book hair and beauty appointments for your bridesmaids and mom as well.
The big picture: To help prevent your skin from looking dull, start following a healthy diet, eat plenty of fresh fruit, remember your eight glasses of water a day and reduce alcohol consumption. And start an exercise regime — it will improve your circulation, flush away the toxins that cause skin blemishes and help ease stress, something any bride-to-be will appreciate.
Bridal beauty routine: Three months to go
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 you can remember the finer details later.
Going solo: If you are planning 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.
Hairdresser: Have a hair trial with your headpiece and veil. In fact, it’s a good idea to chat to your hairdresser at least once before you buy the headdress as sometimes brides choose something too heavy for their hair type.
Don’t forget the teeth: Teeth can take on the dowdy tone of yellowed linen against a crisp white dress. For the best results, do a power bleach at least four weeks before your wedding and then pair it with at-home trays if needed.
Dates, dates, dates: Book other beauty treatments, such as a fake tan now.
Bridal beauty routine: One month to go
Back to the hair: Get a final cut 2-3 weeks before the wedding day. Don’t change the style at this point, just get the ends snipped for a neat finish.
Facial: If you’re having regular facials, schedule your final appointment for 7-10 days before the big day. Skin will still be glowing but without the risk of any post-facial blemishes.
Time it right: Do a timed make-up trial, not just for you but for your bridesmaids as well. Remember the order — makeup comes after hair and nails, just before the wedding dress.
Practise, practise, practise: Planning on doing any or all of the hair or makeup yourself? Start practising – especially a technique you haven’t used before (like applying false eyelashes).
Bridal beauty routine: One week to go
Tackle body hair: Go for your final waxing and brow-shaping appointment.
A major do-not: DO NOT switch beauty products within a couple of weeks of the wedding. Skin goes through an adjustment period, which may include breakouts, whenever introduced to a new product. Plus, there’s also the risk of an allergic reaction.
Pamper yourself: The last six months have been hectic, so book yourself in for a bit of 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
Hair again: 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.
Manicure: A bridal manicure is a must-have. Remember, all eyes will be on your wedding finger, so make sure your messy nails don’t detract from the dazzling ring. Have your manicure no earlier than the day before to avoid chipping.
Pack it up: Put together a bridal beauty bag for touch-ups as the day takes it toll. Powder, blush, lipstick and tissues should be enough to keep you looking your best all day long. 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!).
Chill out: Relax, have a long bath and an early night.
Bridal beauty routine: The big day
It’s your day, so enjoy 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. At the top of every list of bridal beauty tips? Wear a button-down shirt to your hair appointment!
Getting married? Let me know if you have any questions about wedding day beauty prep and I will do my best to get the right solutions.