Bridal beauty prep should not be underestimated. While you’re booking photographers months (or years!) out, and searching for your wedding dress well in advance, it’s a good idea to start your beauty prep early too. With your hair, nails, skin and make-up a sum of parts to you feeling your very best self – not to mention your wellbeing, and that all-important bridal scent – there is a lot to contend with. Here you’ll find The Wedding Edition’s breakdown to the ultimate bridal prep, starting from 12 months before your wedding, to help you on the journey. And the first thing to say is: congratulations! Enjoy the wedding planning process, as you may find you miss it once the day comes…
12 months to go
The Big Things First
With a year before the wedding, start by asking yourself if there are any major changes that you want to make. Perhaps that’s starting a dental journey to avoid feeling self-conscious about your smile, reducing the appearance of unwanted scarring or balancing your mind and body from the inside.
Book Your Glam Squad
If there’s a particular make-up artist or hair stylist you’ve been waiting for an excuse to book, ensure to secure them as soon as possible – just like photographers, these experts get booked up fast, particularly if you’re getting married in the peak months of May-September. Trials could start from 6 months, with the final trial 1 month before.
9 months to go
“Hair is Everything”
A hair colour journey starts well in advance. Francesca Dixon, Colour Director at Hari’s Hair suggests nine months is a good starting point for any colour changes. “In nine months, clients can come in three to four times. The final goal is a journey, and it’s rare it can be achieved in one appointment,” she shares.
Your wedding dress, and any ideas of the rest of your look is imperative to share, as any good colourist will adapt their techniques to your overall look. “I need to know what brides are wearing, whether it’s off the shoulder or a high neck. I also need to know the hairstyle. For example, if they will have it up, balayage might be too heavy as there would be too much contrast between the darker root and lighter lengths.” As for your final appointment? “The last appointment before the wedding is usually 1-2 weeks, as the hair needs time to settle and return to its natural form.”
6 months to go
Hair and Make-up Trials
Hopefully by now you’ve found The Dress, and booked in your crew, so it’s time for your first trials. If you can, book your trails for the same day, so you can see what your hair and make-up will look like together.
Take along references that you like, along with pictures of you wearing your dress. It’s also a good idea to wear a top in the same colour as your wedding dress, so your make-up artist can tell if you need more or less warmth, for example, in your base. And if there’s particular skincare you’d like to use, take it so the make-up artist can use it. The Bobbi Brown Pro Team swear by Vitamin Enriched Face Base, £52, bobbibrown.co.uk as both a moisturiser and primer.
Anyone for Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is brilliant for many things, including carving an anxious nervous system. Ross J Barr is the Willy Wonka of acupuncture in London – getting an appointment with him (or a series, ideally) is akin to finding a golden ticket – and the results are instant.
3 months to go
Make Friends with a Facialist
Great skin requires commitment, consistency and patience. While an at-home routine is vital, a series of visits to a facialist can unlock the key to your best skin yet – any good therapist will be able to look at your skin and advise on an appropriate treatment programme. Not sure where to start? Read our guide to the Best Facials in London for Brides.
Get Serious About Skin
If you’ve not already started, now’s the time to buckle down and commit to a great at-home skin regime. “Any skincare routine will take at least a month to start showing any real signs of results on your skin, as skin cells turnover (meaning they shed and form a new layer) about every 28 days, so if you are starting a new routine, do it at least three months before your wedding day,” explains Dr Barbara Sturm.
As a guide, a good routine will require a cleanser, serum and moisturiser, morning and night. You will want something that removes make-up and cleanses skin: Olivanna’s Soothing Seed Oils Cleansing Balm, £44, is great for easily irritated skin or 111Skin’s Vitamin C Brightening Cleanser, £55, could be a fast-track to glowing skin.
Dr Sturm suggests adding an exfoliant “two or three times a week,” and advises brides to, “use my Facial Scrub on drier skin or Enzyme Cleanser for more oily skin.” Exfoliants can also come in tonic form: Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, £35, is a firm favourite for troubled skin, and Cellcosmet’s Active Tonic, £120, is an insider secret to smoother skin texture.
Serum is perhaps the most important step of your routine, as these thin fluids have the most concentrated skin-improving ingredients packed into them. Esteé Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair Serum, £65 for 30ml, is an icon for a reason, targeting skin recovery, and Dr Barbara Sturm suggests her Hyaluronic Serum is “like the ‘white t-shirt’ of any skin routine
Moisturiser comes down to personal preference: do you prefer a cream, gel or lotion texture? Cellcosmet’s Ultra Vital Cream is packed with postbiotics and CytoPep (a blend of peptides and amino acids) to nourish and hydrate, or if a gel formula is more your vibe, Biossance’s Squalane and Probiotic Gel Moisturiser is a soothing wonder.
For more skincare suggestions, check out the Best Skincare Products for Brides.
2 months to go
The Tan Test
Just like a hair and make-up trial, if you’re planning on tanning it’s important to test it, so you know how deep you might want to go, and areas that might need special attention. “Your hen party is a great opportunity to test your glow,” suggests Spray Tan Artist Gina Garbutt (@gina_tans). “Most brides don’t want to look like they’ve been on holiday for two weeks, but want to look luminous, healthy and have that lit-from-within glow,” she says. “It’s important to test as the contrast between your skin and the (typically) light colour of your gown might be a starker contrast than you think.”
Whether you tan yourself (we love Tan Luxe for easy, at-home natural colour) or book a spray tan, there are simple steps to adopt to get the most out of your tan. “You want to get into a good body routine of body brushing, regular exfoliating and moisturising so your skin is healthy and supple. 24-hours before your tan, complete any hair removal and exfoliate generously,” says Garbutt.
Once tanned, the wash of process is still very much part of the trial to avoid any transfer onto your beautiful dress. “The common mistake people make is not rinsing the guide colour off thoroughly, which is often what transfers to clothes,” explains Garbutt. “Then, avoid any oil-based products, especially body creams, and add a light dusting of facial powder to anywhere you think tan might transfer.”
1 month to go
The Last Trial
A month before your wedding means the light and weather should be slightly closer to what it’s going to be like on the big day (unless you’re marrying abroad, of course). Our preferences change and so having another trial relatively close to the big day will help alleviate any doubts that what you settled on five months ago is still right – or if not, there’s time to change.
Choose a Wedding Scent
Scent is our sense most connected to memory – there’s a reason why certain smells remind you of certain things. And what better way to remember your wedding, aside from the photographs, than a scent. Perhaps it’s a twist on your signature scent with another scent layered in, or something completely new.
A personal scent is one thing, but what about scenting your spaces. “Even the most sumptuous spaces can feel empty without Music and Fragrance,” says Emma South, Fragrance & Lifestyle Expert, at Jo Malone London. “Fragrance brings everyone together, enveloping your guests in the moment and leaving a glowing impression, long after the festivities have finished.”
“Consider the season, setting and floristry when choosing scents, for example ‘Wild Bluebell’ is the sapphire carpet of spring, ‘Wood Sage & Sea Salt’ encapsulates the windswept shore,” suggests Emma.
“For placement, consider clusters of candles down the aisle, across tabletops or illuminating stairs, to create instant atmosphere and dramatic effect. Diffusers and Room Mists are perfect for building the ‘scentscape’ beforehand, and misted menus and tablecloth hems continue the scented scheme with every movement,” she says.
One week to go
A luxury manicure should be top of your list for beauty prep in the lead up – it’s also a great moment to take an hour for yourself away from wedmin. Book in at Townhouse Nails for an indulgent gel manicure to minimise chips (it should last through a minimoon too) and you’re wearing open-toed shoes too, the team have perfected the simultaneous mani-pedi.
The Final Appointments
In the week leading up to the wedding, it’s time for the last visit to the hairdresser and facialist (and don’t forget brows and lashes, if you’re having them.) Don’t try anything new at this stage – it should simply be the final appointment with your preferred professionals.
The night before
Get A Great Night’s Sleep
Easier said than done, perhaps, but there are a few ways to create a calm environment for sleep. Minimise your screen time in the evening, and try an essential oil pillow spray such as This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray, £21, and a calm, restful night will be the best way to set yourself up for the exciting next day.
Related Article: Best Skincare Products For Brides