Most brides put a lot of thought into The Gown. They rip pictures from wedding mags, pin gowns to Pinterest boards, carry binders and smartphones crammed with inspiration, and try on every promising dress until they find the one. But as much thought as they put into the gown, and the shoes, and the flowers, they fail to plain for possibly the single most important element in their big-day-look – beauty. Gorgeous healthy hair and skin and the right makeup are as essential as a pretty dress when it comes to making a lasting impression on your wedding day. Fortunately, we’ve rounded up a few experts to help you count down to gorgeousness.
Even the best-made plans aren’t foolproof. I very carefully chose the makeup artist for my wedding after seeing his beautiful work at my sister’s nuptials two years earlier. Also, it didn’t hurt that he had been the makeup artist for the Backstreet Boys. Or was it In Sync. Anyway, when a family emergency caused him to cancel at the last minute, I had to improvise. Fortunately, I had more than a little experience doing my own makeup. One drugstore run (for false lashes and translucent powder) and one borrowed lipstick (my bridesmaid Molly’s Chanel Lune Rousse) later, I was ready. And while it wasn’t the same as having Nick Carter’s makeup artist, I managed to pull it off in time for the big moment. While I always advise hiring a professional, it’s great to have a back-up plan (and a well-stocked makeup bag), just in case. And if you do decide to take matters into your own hands, follow this advice from celebrity makeup artist Elaina Badro:
“It’s always important to keep a bride looking fresh and an enhanced version of herself. Peachy blushes and lipsticks are always great shades for spring. The more fair the skin, the less orange you go. After all, the groom wants to recognize his own bride the day of the wedding, right? Make sure to stay away from a foundation with titanium dioxide; this could potentially reflect off the flash of the camera and make the foundation appear “ghostly” in images. Also, make sure to thoroughly blend foundation, eyeshadow, and blush. Using the (Elaina Badro) duo fiber brush in a circular motion will allow for a more ‘airbrushed’ foundation appearance without the stiffness of airbrushing. The blending brush is ideal for eye shadow in the crease. Even using this brush for undereye concealer in a circular motion allows for a flawless application.”
In decades past, there was little a bride could do to prepare her skin for the big day, short of stocking up on beauty sleep, staying hydrated and avoiding the sun. All still good practices, to be sure, but why stop there. Revision Skincare (revisionskincare.com) offers a 60-day Bridal Protocol to prep skin for the big moment. Want to take it further? There are many innovative, non-invasive treatments designed to get you glowing. Here, a checklist from Dr. Vish Banthia, founder of ZendyBeauty.com.
Pre-Wedding Skin Prep
6 Months Before:
- Improve skin’s tightness and tone with 2-3 sessions of fractional laser resurfacing (wait 6 weeks between sessions). Fractional laser resurfacing will improve skin tone and minimize pores and fine lines.
- If you’re not motivated enough to pursue fractional laser resurfacing, start a series of microdermabrasion sessions (spaced apart 6 weeks). The results won’t be quite as noticeable as laser resurfacing, but will achieve a similar result.
- Lock down a good skin care regimen for maintenance in between laser or microderm sessions. This should include moisturizer; a good retinoid such or glycolic acid product to boost cell turnover and slough off dead, damaged skin; a blemish reducer such as vitamin C or kojic acid; sunscreen with SPF 30 (don’t go too high or it may clog pores). A DIY face mask is also an easy, inexpensive way to maintain skin tone. Try Dr. Banthia’s signature yogurt mask: Take one teaspoon of yogurt; squeeze a lemon; and put a pinch of turmeric. Mix and apply to face for 10 minutes on a daily basis. Turmeric has high anti-oxidant potential; other ingredients within have lightening and brightening potential.
- Laser Hair Removal – Perfect for brides who are honeymooning on the beach. Laser hair removal takes several sessions (usually 4-6) to get the desired results. Some areas to consider: legs, arms, bikini area and upper lip.
- For those looking for major anti-aging results in one shot, try Ultherapy (nonsurgical facelift) to lift sagging neck, jowls and brows. Just one session and no downtime. Optimal results are seen in 4-6 months.
- Ensure a smooth silhouette in your wedding dress sans Spanx. Remove stubborn fat in the lower abdomen and love handles with Coolsculpting. No downtime, takes about 45 minutes per area and full effects are usually seen in 3-4 months. Results are more effective than doing thousands of sit-ups (seriously).
- Laser Tattoo Removal – If you have ink that you’d like removed before the big day, don’t wait any longer!
4 Months Before:
- Improve skin tone and clarity with 2-3 sessions of IPL (photofacial) for the face, neck and décolleté areas. Also a great option for arms and hands. IPL minimizes blemishes, brown spots, red spots and capillaries around the nose, and creates a glow to the skin. Do the final session approximately 2 weeks prior to the big day.
- If you missed Coolsculpting or Ultherapy at 6 months, get it now – it’s not too late!
3 Months Before:
- Plump up cheeks using a soft filler (standard hyaluronic acid) in the cheek area to create a youthful look.
1 Month Before:
- Botox and fillers – Fill up the smile lines, plump up lips and touch up any prior areas of treatment. Consider Botox to create a ‘chemical’ browlift to gently and subtly lift the tail of brows to brighten up the face and eyes – while this may seem like a minimal detail, it yields great results.
1-2 Weeks Before:
- Book a microdermabrasion session to enhance your already glowing skin.
- If you’re an older bride or MOB who is insecure about your neck and arms, try Radiofrequency skin tightening (i.e., Thermage, Venus Freeze, Exilixis, Velashape, etc). This procedure requires no downtime.
Chances are, if your hair falls flat, so will your mood. That’s why it pays to plan. Deciding on a ‘do in which to say your “I do’s” should not be taken lightly. Fortunately, Stylist Frank Barbosa for IT&LY Hairfashion, N.A., offers tips on finding the right stylist (and style) for your wedding day:
- If you see someone with great hair, ask them who does their hair.
- Make an appointment to have their stylist do your hair.
- Never have a haircut, color or chemical service on the first visit. If they can style your hair per your request, chances are they are listening to your needs.
- Look in magazines when they list salons in your area.
- Ask your bridal consultant; she has dealt with so many brides so she can help suggest someone.
- Try Google, Pinterest and Instagram. You might be pleasantly surprised to find salons that specialize in bridal hairstyling.
- Ask co-workers, friends and family if they know anyone. Referrals are always the best way to find someone.
- A bride should know what type of hairstyle she wants for her wedding day. If she wants an up-do, it is imperative that she seek out someone who really specializes in this.
- Bring a camera and take photos of each look at all angles when you do your test styles. This way you can see how you look from every angle. This will help you pick the right one. The day of the wedding, bring the photos so your stylist can duplicate the look with ease. Also, share the photos with friends and family to get their feedback.Deciding on a ‘Do
The chic-est chignon on the bridal runways for spring and summer, according to Cutler Salon bridal stylist Franco Della Grazia, was the imperfectly chic hair seen at Rita Vinieris, Oscar de la Renta, and Vera Wang, but there is no single style that will suit every bride.
“Everyone knows their comfort level and what they look best in,” says Barbosa. “Never have someone talk you into something that isn’t you.” And timing is everything. Barbosa suggests picking the dress first, then the headpiece, and then the stylist, no later than two months before the wedding. “The dress should dictate everything. The neckline will tell you the best way to go, followed by your headpiece and veil. If your dress is strapless or off the shoulder, you can go either way. You can show off your beautiful neck and shoulders with a swept away look or opt for Bohemian curls. If you have a higher neckline, I feel an up-do is the best style. This way you aren’t covering up your beautiful gown.”
TRESemme stylist Jeanie Syfu agrees, who has led a backstage team of stylists at Jenny Packhams bridal shows for the past two years, offers this guide to choosing a hairstyle to suit the neckline of your dress:
DEEP V-NECKLINE: “A deep v-neckline appears very ethereal. I recommend wearing hair a bit loose and enhancing it with a wave or adding texture.”
Recommended Styles: “If you are leaning towards wearing your hair down, try a half-up style so your neck and shoulders are exposed to complement the neckline.”
Stylist Tip: “Just keep in mind that there is a fine line between undone and unkempt. If you are playing up a loose texture, make sure your ends are polished by smoothing hair with a blowout first.”
JEWEL NECKLINE: “This cut is vintage-inspired and calls for a hairstyle that echoes an era. Play up that theme with simple styles and dramatic details.
Recommended Styles: “Try an updo with a 40’s S-wave or a twisted updo with a sleek finish. You can also choose a classic style, like an elegant chignon, and add a modern touch by playing with texture.”
Stylist Tip: “Remember it’s a juxtaposition of classic and modern that will make this neckline and hair work.”
HIGH COLLAR: “A high-collar neckline will usually have some type of intricate detailing. Hair should be pulled back to really show off the neck and face.”
Recommended Styles: “Keep hair classic and simple by going with a high bun or a low chignon. Play with subtle details like a dramatic side/middle part, enhancing exture in the bun or adding a hair accessory.”
Stylist Tip: “If your hair is shorter, create a focal point with your makeup by adding a bold lip or eye. This creates a good balance to your look and keeps it clean and modern.”
STRAPLESS: “The hairstyle possibilities are endless with a strapless dress! Since the shoulders are exposed and the neckline is clean, you can pretty much wear your hair up or down.”
Recommended Styles: “Play with interesting details, such as braids and twists, as they will not compete with any detailing on the bodice. Face-framing hair can add a feminine, effortless touch if you decide to wear your hair up. Since this cut really shows off your skin and shoulders, play up your assets with some shimmer. And if that dramatic veil is your thing, go for it!”
Stylist Tip: “The important thing to remember is to pick a style that you feel most comfortable wearing. If you are known for leaving your hair down, focus on making sure hair is glossy, blown out and styled to perfection.”
ASYMMETRIC/ONE–‐SHOULDER: “Since this neckline is asymmetric and has detailing on the shoulder, it is very important to keep hair simple and pulled away from the face. Tendrils, face-framing pieces, and anything down would be too busy for this neckline.”
Recommended Styles: “Play with a side bun, low chignon, topknot, or ponytail. All of these styles can be personalized with a part (side, center, bangs), texture (undone, swept back, wavy) or simple accessory to keep the focus on you.”
Stylist Tip:”Since it’s important to keep your hairline neat and away from your face, make sure you are concentrating product around the hairline, like TRESemmé 24 Hour Body Finishing Spray, as you are styling, so hair stays in place.”