These time-saving salon services and at-home treatments will make a major impact in the months, weeks and even hours leading up to your big day. (Cold-weather beauty woes, begone!)
by Jennifer Finn
ONE TO THREE MONTHS BEFORE WEDDING
Invest in tomorrow’s skin
Elizabeth Johnson, co-owner of Houppette in Greenville, Del., recommends “upping the skincare ante” about three months before you say “I do.”
A surefire way to achieve real results? Integrating an anti-aging and/or hydrating serum into your routine.
Most creams only treat the skin that’s on the surface today, Johnson explains—but a serum penetrates more deeply to treat what will be on the surface tomorrow. Her recommendations: Fresh Rose Deep Hydration Face Serum ($55) or SkinCeuticals H.A. Intensifier ($98).
Clean up your act
“Since stress predictably wreaks havoc on the skin, I encourage brides to focus on a total-picture approach to improving their skin,” says aesthetician Erin Draper of Pagavé Salon & Spa in Wilmington, Del.
A month before the wedding, Draper advises brides to start minimizing caffeine, increasing water intake, avoiding alcohol, exercising for one hour each day and aiming for 8 to 10 hours of beauty sleep each night. She also recommends that they begin taking a multivitamin and probiotic, avoiding inflammatory foods (refined sugars and grains, hydrogenated oils, fried foods, dairy products) and cutting sodium intake—steps that promote healthy skin, reduce bloating and alleviate puffy eyes.
Slough off last season’s skin
Facials are a popular pre-wedding treatment but must be timed carefully, since temporary (albeit noticeable) side effects frequently include irritation and breakouts.
At Eastern Shore Makeup in Ocean View, Del., owner Mary Beth French offers a Hydrofacial ($150), which can be scheduled four to six weeks before the wedding. The service is particularly well-suited for brides planning fall or winter weddings, French says, as it removes layers of dead skin that tend to accumulate during the summer months.
After exfoliating and extracting impurities, French employs a pain-free micro-needling treatment to deeply infuse the skin with plumping, ultra-hydrating products.
TWO TO FOUR WEEKS BEFORE WEDDING
Revive lackluster locks
Pagavé Salon & Spa offers a Milbon treatment ($35) that hydrates, combats frizz, adds shine and “restores hair to a better state,” says senior master stylist Karen Sgroi.
The service entails one in-salon treatment at Pagavé, plus four weeks’ worth of take-home product.
Brides seeking to seal in color and increase shine can also purchase hair glazes ($59+)—perfect pick-me-ups before a bridal shower or bachelorette party.
Try an at-home treatment or two
You don’t need to schedule a facial appointment to see significant skincare results. Stop by Ooh La La—The Makeup Studio in Centreville, Del., to pick up a Glow Mask ($36.50). The deep-cleansing charcoal treatment warms on contact with skin, melting away debris and leaving you with a sparkling-clean complexion and healthy glow, says owner Tonia Marisa Patterson.
Or, one to two weeks before the wedding, Johnson recommends using Natura Bissé NB Ceutical Tolerance Enzyme Peel ($105)—a gentle, fruit-based enzyme peel that gently dissolves dead, dry skin and reveals a younger-looking, beautifully dewy complexion.
A week before the ceremony, there’s still a bit of wiggle room if you want a facial—but remember: This is not the time for exfoliation or extraction.
Facialists “shouldn’t use anything abrasive or agitating” at this point, French says. Book a non-invasive treatment that will remove redness and make skin look smoother and calmer.
French offers a Red Carpet Facial ($99), during which she piles several cold, oxygenated, non-irritating products onto the face. It lasts about an hour and 15 minutes—“I don’t like to skimp,” she says—and hydrates, softens, reduces puffiness and enhances radiance and fullness.
Intensify your eyes
Looking for a fast and affordable beauty fix that will last well into your honeymoon? Get your eyebrows and/or eyelashes tinted three or four days before the wedding.
At Salon 828 in Wilmington and Middletown, Del., both services only take about 15 minutes each. Brow tinting temporarily eliminates the need to fill in hard-to-see hairs with pencils or powders, explains owner Holly Grist, while lash tinting makes naturally lighter eyelashes appear darker and more dense.
Each individual tinting is $20; combined, they cost $38.
Get some confidence-boosting color
Salon 828 also offers customizable spray tans.
“We always recommend a spray tan, especially before a fall or winter wedding, because by then our natural summer tans start to fade,” Grist says.
Appointments only take between 15 and 30 minutes, and results last for five to seven days.
Polish things up
Nail those close-up engagement ring shots! Sage & Grey Nail Studio in Wayne, Pa., offers express manicures and pedicures that get you in and out “much faster” than traditional services, says owner Theresa Tran.
The S&G Express Mani ($13) takes only 15 minutes; the S&G Express Pedi ($23)—which includes a scrub and moisturizing treatment—is finished in just 20 minutes. And if you spring for both, you’ll be done in a mere 30 minutes or less.
Women tend to forgo pedicures during the colder months since they’re typically wearing closed-toe shoes, Tran says—but even at a fall or winter wedding, there’s a good chance your toes will be peeking through your wedding-day footwear. (Plus, if you’re going someplace warm on your honeymoon, a cute pedicure is a must.)
Terribly pressed for time? Pop in for a five-minute polish change ($8 for hands; $13 for feet).
THE DAY OF
Undo last night’s damage
Maximizing the early-morning hours is important, French says—especially if you had one drink too many at the rehearsal dinner or were simply too excited to get a good night’s sleep.
While a big pot of coffee is brewing, she suggests, exfoliate your lips. Snag some sugar from the kitchen or hotel coffee bar and mix it into a bit of Vaseline or olive oil. Scrubbing away dead, dry skin will ensure that any lip color applied later goes on smoothly, she says.
Next, lie down for five minutes (or more) with a plastic bag of frozen, uncooked rice on your eyes. The rice conforms to your eye sockets, she explains, and significantly diminishes under-eye bags and puffiness. (Not to mention, it’s a super-calming way to start such an adrenaline-driven day.)
If you want to try this beauty trick with all your bridesmaids, consider purchasing Firming Eye Gel Pads ($12 for two sets) at Ooh La La—The Makeup Studio. (“Warning: These can be addicting!” Patterson says.) Place refrigerated pads under the eyes for 30 minutes. “Collagen-building peptides will firm skin, reduce puffiness and nourish the delicate eye area—and the results will last for hours,” Patterson says.
To make dull, dry skin come alive, French recommends applying a cream or lotion containing mica to the shoulders, neck, clavicle and décolletage. It won’t look glittery, she promises, but will give skin a subtle, beautiful sheen.
And for the face, French’s “holy grail” for brides is BECCA Backlight Filter Face Primer ($38). Apply it underneath foundation and you’ll “glow from within,” she says.
Rely on primers
Johnson stresses the importance of primer, too. A silicone-free option, she says, will ensure that makeup stays fresh throughout the ceremony and reception.
She also strongly suggests priming the eyelids, even if you’re not wearing eyeshadow.
“No matter who you are, how old you are or what your lifestyle is, everyone has really thin skin around their eyes,” she explains. A pigmented primer—like bareMinerals 5-in-1 BB Advanced Performance Cream Eyeshadow Broad Spectrum SPF 15 ($19)—mitigates the purplish hues that tend to plague that translucent skin.
“A little goes a long way,” she promises.
Don’t forget the finishing touches
For a soft, clean look, Patterson recommends using a white or nude waterline eye pencil to brighten the inner rim of your lower lash line.
And after you’ve applied a lipstick or stain, French advises lining the outer rim of your lips with the same flesh-colored pencil you used on your lower lash line. “It makes your lips appear naturally big and defined, and looks really good in photos,” she says.
Last but not least: Ensure your jaw-dropping makeup stays intact. By Terry Hyaluronic Hydra-Powder ($60) pulls moisture in and sets makeup beautifully, Johnson says.