Bridal Beauty Countdown
Bridal Beauty Countdown
You've got the dress, but there's still tons to do before that walk down the aisle. Mark your calendar with our prep list and find out which essential steps you should be taking months, weeks and hours before you say "I do!"
Give Skin Some TLC
Unless your doctor says otherwise, start this skin regimen at home: Wash your face twice a day with a mild to deep cleanser, depending on skin type; slough twice a week with a fruit-enzyme exfoliant; use a brightening serum and a high-SPF sunscreen daily; and apply a hydrating cream with gentle anti-agers every night.
Schedule a Series of Facials
If your skin is in good shape and doesn't require a doctor's care, Renee Rouleau, a Dallas aesthetician who has cared for Jessica Simpson's skin, recommends a facial every four to six weeks, starting six months before the wedding. Early on, experiment with different kinds—a brightening antioxidant facial one time, a rejuvenating light-emitting diode (LED) facial the next—to see what your skin responds to best.
See a Brow Specialist
"You need lead time to sculpt virgin brows or grow back sparse spots," says Ramy Gafni, an N.Y.C. brow expert. Ask your expert to follow the natural line of your brows and take a conservative approach. "The most flattering shape for brides is full with a nice arch," says Gafni. Book shapings every four to six weeks leading up to the wedding, and abstain from DIY plucking between visits.
Care for Your Hair
When you shampoo, spare your ends by focusing on your roots, shampooing only every other day. However, do condition daily and use leave-ins for added manageability. Give the straightener and curling iron a rest to let hair heal, and remember to use a moisturizing hair treatment weekly.
Let It Grow!
If you dream of flowing locks on your wedding day, start working toward your goal now. Keep in mind that hair grows about a half inch per month. Tell your stylist to trim no more than an eighth of an inch each time.
Consult a Colorist
Discuss any hair color changes you're contemplating now. Semi-permanent glazes are great gateway dyes that give a hint of tint. Permanent single-process color easily covers grays. Golden highlights photograph best, adding depth, texture and sparkle, says Kyle White, an N.Y.C. colorist who has worked with Mariah Carey.
Have a Tress Rehearsal
Bring a snapshot of your gown and headpiece to your hairstylist. If you'll need hair extensions, ask your stylist to order them now; they'll need to be cut and colored to match your hair. Still having trouble committing to a look? Try a classic chignon or a half-up, half-down creation.
Book Weekly Manicures
Schedule weekly manis—especially if you're a nail-biter—and monthly pedis to create a uniform length and shape for nails (think medium length with rounded square edges). If you haven't yet chosen a nail polish for the wedding, pull a dozen colors you like and try a new one each week. Once you decide on your color, buy a bottle for emergency touch-ups.
Decide On Your Makeup Look
At your trial run, "aim to look like yourself but better by defining brows, lashes and lips, and giving skin a healthy glow," says celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal. Take pictures of your finished face—indoors and out—so you can see how you look in different lighting. Studying these shots can help you determine if you want to pump up your shadow or switch from a foundation to a tinted moisturizer.
Get Your Skin Smooth
Try a deep-cleansing body facial if your gown reveals your back or shoulders. If you'd rather not spring for a spa treatment, have a friend apply a purifying mud or clay mask to your back once a week to draw out oil and grime; let it harden, then rinse.
Polish Your Pearly Whites
"Get a professional bleaching now since the procedure can leave teeth sensitive for two weeks afterward," says Marc Lowenberg, the cosmetic dentist behind Amanda Peet's pearly whites. Keep your teeth dazzling by avoiding red wine, coffee, tea, and berries leading up to the wedding.
Try on a Spray Tan
Professional air bronzers can customize your color—test out different aestheticians to find the one who does the best job. Your glow should last between five and seven days. Keep your new color going strong with an at-home gradual self-tanner.
Smooth Out Your Strands
For brides seeking a sleek hairstyle, Keratin treatment-used by celebrities like Julianne Moore-turns waves and curls pin-straight in hours, and it lasts until your hair grows out.
Go For One Last Trim
Three weeks before the wedding is ideal. "Any blunt lines will soften by the big day, giving you a clean, natural look that falls perfectly," says Rhys.
Try a Homemade Mask
Don't risk a facial before the big day. One safe bet: a mask made with one tsp raw oatmeal and one tsp honey. Let it sit on your face for five minutes, then rinse. "The minerals in oatmeal are soothing, and honey hydrates and kills bacteria," says celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville.
Think Before You Lather
Wash your hair the day before the wedding if you plan on wearing it up so strands will be easy to work with. Squeaky-clean hair gives bobby pins and accessories the slip, so don't lather up the day of.
Pamper Your Hands
Add a paraffin treatment to your final mani-pedi so hands and feet look supple. You might even want to book an appointment for the morning of your wedding, in case you break a nail at the rehearsal dinner, says Kristina Baune, celebrity manicurist for Creative Nail Design.
If there's an area of your face that breaks out under stress, spot treat it with a sulfur or clay mask you've successfully used before. This can prevent zits from popping up overnight, says dermatologist Kenneth Beer.
"Drinking plenty of H2O, using water-based moisturizing products, and spending time in a steam room can plump up skin cells and enhance luminosity," says Somerville. If you don't have access to the latter, run a humidifier in your bedroom the night before the wedding.