My friends and colleagues have found this facet of my personality somewhat humorous over the years, especially given my job. I have been a journalist for over twelve years now and much of that time has been spent working on magazines, where I am lucky enough to frequently be gifted gorgeous beauty products that I usually immediately pass on to my best friend, a beauty junkie. She is incredulous that I would give it up. ‘But don’t you know who Anastasia Beverly Hills is?’ No, sorry, I have no idea.
Which is why, when approaching my own ‘bridal season’ the idea of what I should be doing from a beauty perspective utterly eluded me. Wherever I turned, people were recommending facials and products and toners and I just wanted to scream into the frothy-tulled-abyss: ‘Guys, I still don’t know what a brow pencil is.’
“There is no wrong or right when it comes to make up!” Yasmin Salmon, a make-up artist and The Wedding Edition’s own contributing beauty writer, reassures me. “Have fun with it! It’s just about what makes you feel your best.”
But… where should I even start? Yasmin tells me the key first stop is skincare. As someone who works with brides often, she knows the importance of a great base when it comes to wedding day looks. “Makeup can only cover up so much so skincare is extremely important,” she says. “My best piece of advice would be to make sure you wear SPF especially if you are having a wedding abroad. On a few occasions I’ve had a brides overdo it in the sun the day before the wedding. Which has led to trying to cover up nasty sunburns. It’s not an ideal situation, so protecting your skin is key for the run-up.”
“You do really have to start taking care of your skin ahead of a wedding,” she continues. “Nothing makes you feel more confident than having gorgeous glowing skin, I always tell my brides to either book a great facial or two leading up to the wedding. Or invest in some great skincare tailored to your needs.”
One of her recommendations is 111Skin. I actually already had some products and something convinced me to not re-gift them when I received them. Call it my ‘beauty gene’ kicking in. I began using the Eye Lift Gel and the day cream and, within a few days – particularly with the eye gel- I started noticing a subtle, but still glowy shift in the texture of my skin. I immediately gushed to all my friends who patiently smiled at me. The delights of skincare are not as much of a novelty for them, as they are to this 34-year-old beauty dunce.
In defence of my duncery, having very sensitive skin has often made me gun-shy when it comes to products, something the experts at 111Skin are keen to comfort me about. After all, the brand was founded by cosmetic surgeon Dr Yannis Alexandrides as a soothing serum for his patients after facial surgeries. You cannot get any gentler on the skin than a product designed for post- surgery.
Milena Naydenov, 111SKIN Head Aestheian and Global Trainer shared with me her top tips for prepping the skin for its bridal moment- in an attempt to achieve what everyone is telling me I need: that bridal glow. “In a perfect scenario a bride should start prepping three months prior, or a minimum of one month to see optimum results, allowing for skin cell turnover which takes place every 28 days. Exfoliation is essential, to remove dead skin cells, stimulating cell turn over allowing for other products to penetrate the skins dermis layers more effectively.”
I make a mental note to discover what exfoliation really means but thankfully she recommends a product. “The 111SKIN’s Exfolactic Cleanser will help purify the skin and prevent any stress-related breakouts ruining a bride’s day,” she says. “The non- foaming Cleanser is developed to deep clean, while being non-irritating on the skin. The antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory rosemary base will calm the skin, as well as being key for treating blemishes and impurities. Perfect for daily use on blemished skin, or as an alternate with another cleanser as a regular exfoliator. After use, the skin will be brighter, clearer and smoother in appearance.”
*Adds to cart* While I’m there, I also pick up a multitude of her recommended eye and face masks – enough for me and my bridesmaids to enjoy on the day.
Base secured, I now need the witchy magic of make-up. So, it’s back to Yasmin for her advice… “I always recommend going to a counter first before purchasing anything,” she says.
“This will not only help you save money but time as well. I often find that my clients feel overwhelmed with the number of products out there. So, seeking advice from a professional first is always a good way to start.”
I follow her advice and head to the counters of the only two beauty brands I have ever used, Armani, and Estee Lauder, where I cleaned up on everything I needed for an elevated version of my everyday look. Namely: that classic French ‘no-make-up-make-up’ which suits my temperament, knowledge and skill set in that it…usually doesn’t actually require much make up.
The trials at both counters were illuminating, with tons of advice, and I brought along my aforementioned beauty junkie best friend, who also happens to be an astonishing amateur make-up artist, and will be doing my face for The Big Day. We have recreated the ‘look’ several times now, in rain and shine, and it’s still a winner because, crucially, it still looks like me- a woman who knows nothing about beauty, who just happens to have turned up to the church looking Very Good.
Speaking of The Big Day, Yasmin has her own advice for the wedding morning. “Give yourself 30 minutes to one-hour rest after you have done your makeup just in case,” she says. “There is nothing worse than rushing make up as this is when you make mistakes, and you want to feel your most confident walking down the aisle. I also like using a loose powder to set my make-up especially under the eyes. This will also prevent those dreaded Panda Eyes throughout the day!”
When it comes to those final touches, I’m eager to know what I should be thinking about when it comes to fragrance. “Don’t overthink it!” says Anna Syren, from Jo Loves. “Go with your gut but don’t choose an overpowering scent. Make sure to go with something that you can layer up. We would also recommend Body Mists and Hair mists to add extra dimensions to your scent.”
“If you want to create a memory catcher for your wedding day through scent then we would definitely recommend purchasing a new one for the day,” she says, advising me to try Jo Loves ‘tapas’ counter, where you can build a scent that suits you. “You could even get a complimenting scent for your partner so that you can both remember the day through Fragrance. You can also opt for a second paired scent for your honeymoon to remind you of the next special stage in your life.”
So, in choosing a special scent that will remind me of the day, what should I be looking for? – “Start with your wedding vision: the theme, location, temperature, vibe, palette and atmosphere of the day and how you want to feel,” says Alice du Parcq. “Make sure you know any strong ‘no’ or ‘yes’ smells. It’ll help the on-counter consultant edit down a list that’s more fitting to you. Also, set a realistic budget, but bear in mind most of these brands do small 30ml or travel sizes so just because they’re luxe doesn’t mean you can’t be part of the gang!”
“Once you think you have found ‘the one,’ leave it at least 20-30mins, which is when a truer version of the perfume begins to unfold,” she advises. “You’ll know it’s The One if you want it intravenously fed into your veins and smothered all over your hair and clothes. It should bring you pure joy, it should make you smile, it should glow on you and fit you like a perfect pair of shoes.”
As I’m packing now, for my wedding in France in just over a week, I am including all the skincare, cosmetics and fragrance this invaluable advice has wrought. Each one has elevated and comforted me in different ways, something I never thought beauty could do. It has certainly made my bridal ‘beauty gene’ come alive. I still don’t know what brow pencil does though…
Related Article: How To DIY Your Own Bridal Makeup