With all the balls you have to juggle in preparation for your big day (the catering! The flowers! The place settings!), the last thing you want to stress over is your beauty routine. That’s where we come in: With advice from some of the best pros in the business, we created this simple, easy-to-follow bridal timeline to prep for your wedding. From which facials to book, to the products to pack in your satin wedding clutch, we’ve got your beauty bases covered.
Six Months Before Your Wedding
See your facialist. New York City-based skin therapist Ildi Pekar believes in the long game. “I always recommend coming in six months before to address all the skin concerns.” Start with a deep cleansing facial to clear pores then have your pro examine your skin. Pekar typically suggests LED therapy once a month to address pigmentation issues and acne scarring. “Most clients favor these treatments because they see that their skin is more even-toned.” Another bonus: The light therapy isn’t painful.
Look into hair and makeup professionals. “In order to have the most options, I suggest looking for an artist between eight to six months prior to your wedding date,” says Kelli J. Bartlett, the director of artistry for Glamsquad, the beauty-pro booking app. “My general rule is once you've picked the dress, you should start thinking about hair and makeup.” Allow more time if you’re having a destination wedding, and plan on bringing a pro with you. “By the time your shower rolls around, you should have an artist booked.”
Four Months Before Your Wedding
Have a trial run with your hair stylist and makeup artist. “It’s key to have several trials before you lock in your artist,” says Bartlett. Test-drive a few hairstyles that you like. Book your trial in the morning then move around all day; see how your hair and makeup hold up. Did your updo fall flat? Did your curls frizz? Did your makeup smudge? Take all of this into account before booking your pros for your big day.
VIDEO: How Much Should Wedding Flowers Cost?
Three Months Before your Wedding
Book your hair and makeup professionals. Then they can be around for all of the special occasions leading up to your wedding, says Bartlett, like your shower, your bachelorette party, and your rehearsal dinner.
Six Weeks Before Your Wedding
Check in with your facialist and ask about a chemical peel, suggests Pekar. Typically fueled by acids (and available in a variety of strengths), the treatment provides a resurfacing of the skin, which can help with uneven tone and texture.
One Month Before Your Wedding
Get a haircut. Star stylist Riawna Capri suggests you book an appointment at least 30 days in advance of your wedding. Even if it’s just a dusting of your ends, this will ensure that your hair looks healthy. You can also ask for a glossing treatment. “Even if you don’t color your hair,” says Capri, “you can get a clear gloss in a salon, like Redken Shades EQ and Evo Temptress Shine Treatment.” The result is shine, which looks amazing in photos, she says. And if you have highlights, “it will refresh them.”
Think about experimenting with self-tanner. Starting the process a month before will allow you to get used to seeing yourself with self-tanner, says St. Tropez Skin Finishing Expert Sophie Evans. As the days go on, you can gauge the tonal shifts and get the exact glow you want. Try a professional spray tan at first, and then maintain your glow at home with products like St. Tropez Self-Tan Classic Bronzing Mousse ($32, sephora.com).
If you prefer a professional handle your tan, book your final appointment a few days before your wedding. “If you’re getting married on a Saturday, I suggest applying on Thursday evening,” says Evans.
See a brow stylist. Get your brows professionally shaped then just clean them up at home in the days leading up to your wedding.
The Week of Your Wedding
Ask your facialist if he or she offers an oxygen treatment for “great hydration” and a dewy glow, suggests Pekar. A facial with hyaluronic acid will also provide a plumper surface. And avoid incorporating any new skincare products into your routine. You don’t want to risk skin irritation.
When it comes to your hair, unless it’s super-dry or damaged, “avoid heavy masks,” says Capri. “You want your style to last as long as possible and not be weighed down.” She suggests a lightweight shampoo and conditioner, like MarulaOil Light ($25-$50, raremarula.com), and says, “apply conditioner only to the ends to achieve the most volume.”
Clean up your brows. Avoid using at-home waxes (too much room for error there), and just pluck hairs that grow outside of the silhouette that your professional gave you a few weeks back. Fill in gaps with a pencil, suggests pro Kelley Baker (try Kelley Baker’s Brow Defining Pencil ($22, Kelleybakerbrows.com).
The Day of Your Wedding
After your makeup look is set, ask a bridesmaid to hold travel or sample-size portions of the makeup you’ve used. Also arm yourself with a strong-hold hairspray, suggests Capri, to keep your look in check from the vows to the final dance.