Bridal Beauty Prep: Week by Week
You've been busy planning your wedding and there are many details to attend to. Consider your skin and beauty needs well before the wedding to have glowing skin on the big day. Before you even consider your makeup, focus on your skin first, preferably a year in advance.
Start A Year in Advance
1. Develop A Skincare Routine
To get your skin in top form, start a specific skincare routine about a year in advance. If you don't have that long before the wedding day try to adopt these good skincare habits as soon as possible.
2. Schedule Professional Facials
This is the perfect time to indulge in some pampering and work with a professional aesthetician to assess and improve your skin. Book monthly facials to refresh your skin. An experienced aesthetician will massage your skin, scalp and decolletage to stimulate blood circulation and keep your skin looking healthy. This is a great time to address clogged pores and your aesthetician can extract the dirt from pores at your request. Only a professional should do this as if you try it at home it can cause scarring. If monthly facials are outside your budget opt for at least three in the 6 months before your wedding.
3. Use A Skin-Specific Moisturizer
Not every moisturizer works for everyone. You'll want to look for one that addresses your specific skin type. Even oily skin needs moisture to balance and hydrate. A gel moisturizer works well for oily skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ferulic acid, both of which help your skin maintain water. Dry skin benefits from moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, glycerin and squalane. Dry skin craves moisture. If your skin is prone to breakouts, choose a moisturizer that's noncomedogenic. The bottle should have this noted. Sensitive skin will benefit from a fragrance-free moisturizer and soothing ingredients such as raspberry extract and oatmeal.
4. Reduce Sunspots and Scarring with a Glycolic Peel
It may sound scary but a peel is another way to exfoliate skin with fruit acids. They are gentle enough for most skin types and you can request one designed for sensitive skin if your skin is more reactive. Glycolic Acid is an alpha- hydroxy acid that breaks down old, dead skin and a peel will slough off dead skin and bring new, fresh skin to the surface. This is a must for even skin that will make your makeup artist's job much easier since there is less to cover and your makeup will apply evenly. To make the most of these treatments book a series of peels in advance about two weeks apart. If you have a full year before the wedding book twice in fall and twice in the spring. Avoid a summer peel if you can since skin is more susceptible to burning this time of year. Another great option if peels are outside your beauty budget is to invest in an effective glycolic mask or peel pads well in advance of the wedding. Consider Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pads or Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask.
4-6 Months Before the Wedding
1. Self-Care is Key
Take care of yourself and boost your beauty efforts with regular exercise, getting plenty of sleep, drinking a lot of water and eating a well-balanced diet. Don't try any new products or aggressive skin treatments at a spa or dermatologist's office. Maintain your skincare routine and wear extra sun protection.
2. Visit Your Dermatologist
If you have major skin concerns like acne and uneven pigmentation, it’s best to get the situation under control well in advance. This is the time to have your doctor prescribe topical treatments such as retinoids and medications to address them. This gives you time to see improvement in your skin over the next few months without reactions right before your wedding.
3. Eat Super Foods
No matter what your skin type is it craves water. Sure, drinking water helps, but snacking on naturally hydrating foods like fruits and vegetables works too. Other super foods for your face? Try grapefruit, cucumbers, tomatoes and kale.
4. Get Brows On Point
Have your brow groomer settle on a shape and tint as far in advance as possible so you can figure out what you like best. For the most flattering and youthful effect keep brows as full and as natural (not too perfect) as possible, which may mean tweezing instead of waxing.
Three Weeks Prior
1. Brighten Your Smile
Get your smile camera-ready with your dentist. For a subtle upgrade book a professional cleaning to remove surface stains and plaque. Then, one day later, go back for an in-office whitening procedure like Philips Zoom QuickPro. To maintain the brightness, using over-the-counter whitening strips up until a day before the wedding can help.
2. Refresh Hair Color
Figure out which hair color works best for you as far in advance as possible. Choose a color that makes you feel most like yourself. At this point you can update highlights or schedule a root touch up so the color has a chance to settle in and still look fresh. You won't have to worry about your roots growing out either.
One Week Prior
1. Say No to Salt
Since your wedding is a week away practice restraint as much as possible. Avoid salty foods, too many carbs and maintain regular exercise. These things can cause your body to retain water and can result in a puffy face and eyes.
2. Go for a Final Trim
Don't make a drastic change with your hair this close to your wedding to prevent any surprises. Have a trusted stylist trim your ends and bangs.
Three Days Prior
1. Wax Carefully
To ensure your skin is smooth but not irritated, get waxed no later than 72 hours before the wedding day. Don't overdo it but simply tweeze any stray hairs near your brows.
The Day of the Wedding
1. Prep Your Skin
For a last-minute boost on the morning of your wedding, apply a gentle exfoliating mask like Murad Pomegrante Exfoliating Mask. Rinse, then apply a hydrating serum onto your face, neck and décolleté and layer on the Clarins Beauty Flash Balm to brighten and tighten the skin before makeup.
Now just relax, have your hair and makeup done and have fun!
My bridal clients often ask me which blush to use for their wedding day. They want to look pretty, not painted. Aside from 8 hours of sleep, the right blush can lift your face, enhance your eyes and punch up the glow factor.
Blush is one of my first loves. This love affair with blush dates back to antiquity. Blush has been a makeup necessity since ancient times and was used by Egyptians, Greeks and Romans.
Today, as a professional makeup artist I've definitely graduated to blush in all shades and the options are endless. For my bridal clients I always emphasize the importance of blush for a flawless photo. Think NARS Orgasm blush for a flush of peachy color or Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush for an ethereal glow. These are just two options that are leaps and bounds ahead of what we used in 1989 thanks to advanced pigments and finely milled powders
If you’re busy planning a wedding like most of my clients and can’t get 8 hours of sleep? It’s no problem with the right blush in hand. Trust me, as a pro makeup artist I’ve seen the power of blush to lift a girl’s smile countless times.
If you want to look your best for your wedding photos or just look every -day gorgeous, brush up on these tips to learn where to apply your favorite blush.
1. The old advice to apply blush only to the apples of your cheeks is a rule you can forget about. Where to apply blush depends on the shade you choose.
First: Perfect your face with foundation or tinted moisturizer. Apply your concealer so you are starting with a fresh canvas. Then choose your blush color. Apply depending on the shade you choose.
Pretty in Pink: Cool pink blushes mimic the rosiness of cheeks after a brisk walk.
Tip: Apply pink blush only on the very top of the apple of the cheek with a domed blush brush. Tap into the color and tap onto the cheeks. Don't swirl it but rather tap it and blend it back toward the hairline along the top of the cheeks. Make sure not to apply it too close to the smile lines on either side of your nose. You just want an infusion of color not mime-worthy circles of color.
Warm It Up: Peachy blush or blush with golden warm undertones like warm corals look best swept under the cheekbone.
Tip: They are closer to natural skin tones so use them to sculpt your cheekbones. Cool pinks can look too 'stripy' when placed under the cheekbone for sculpting. To start, place three fingers along the side of your mouth to cover your apples which tells you where the color should stop. Then swirl an angled blush brush into your peachy blush and apply starting near your ear and sweep it forward just until your apples. You'll notice most of the color is concentrated away from the apples and closer to the hairline.
The effect lifts the face and highlights your facial structure. It even makes your eyes pop. I also love to take whatever is left on the brush and sweep it across my nose and chin to balance out the color.
Take it from professional and invest in quality brushes to get the best application.
Brides and clients often ask me how to take care of their skin for the best makeup application since I'm pretty obsessed with skincare. It's also a blessing since I work as a professional makeup artist and have worked with women of all ages and skin types so I really understand how the skin performs.
In my experience working with Seattle clients, the best way to achieve a smooth makeup finish is to moisturize and exfoliate regularly. If you have a wedding to get ready for or just want to look your everyday best, these tips are for you.
Tip: Bring on the Moisturizer
Winter air can be drying as anyone living in Seattle already knows. Indoor heating, a low humidity climate and cold winds can zap the moisture from our skin very quickly. Lucky for us there are many ways to hydrate and moisturize our skin.
Tip: Make sure to moisturize your skin every day.
Even if you have combination or oily skin, our skin needs key lipids to stay soft and supple. Lipids keep the skins moisture barrier intact much like a safety net. If you skip this step your skin will actually overcompensate and produce more oil. No one wants that! Think of moisturizing as balancing your skin with what it needs. Hydrated skin means foundation applies evenly and won't show uneven patches of flaky, dry skin. If you use a powder foundation you can't skip this step since powder sits on the skin differently than liquid and accentuates skin texture.
Tip: Choose a day and night cream that are designed for your skin type.
Normal/ combination skins can use a lotion during the day while normal/dry skin types benefit from a lotion for day and a night cream. Look for ingredients such as sodium hyaluronate which binds moisture to the skin and sodium PCA which is a skin-replenishing ingredient and hydrates nicely. Glycerin and squalane are moisture binding agents so check the label for these skin soothers. Face oils are another great option to supercharge your skin's moisture level. Be sure to choose one that has argan, avocado or sunflower oil. If your skin is hydrated your foundation will have a silky feel and perform the way it is meant to. If you give your skin the right moisture to drink in, it won't drink in your makeup.
Shiseido Advanced Bio Performance Cream is my all time favorite night cream. It hydrates without being greasy, soaks right in and has anti-aging benefits as well. Clinique's Moisture Surge is another one I keep in rotation. It's formulated for ALL skin types and is a lightweight cream-gel that provides up to 24 hours of soothing hydration. Sometimes I layer this on top of my night cream for added moisture if I'm particularly dry. If you love pure ingredients then try BeautyCounter's Nourishing Day Cream. It absorbs quickly and the unscented formula contains a mix of organic coconut oil, safflower oil, and aloe to provide nourishing hydration, plus antioxidant-rich acai to protect against dry skin.
Exfoliate Like A Pro
Exfoliating regularly is a must for a flawless face.
As we age the skin turnover process slows down which means skin can look dull and uneven and even flaky. Exfoliating means removing old, dead skin cells. Exfoliate regularly and your makeup will go on smoothly and you'll avoid an uneven bumpy texture on your tzone and cheeks.
When you buff off all that dead skin on the surface, you expose the new and radiant skin underneath. You can use a scrub but an exfoliating mask with alphahydroxy acids is often gentler and more effective to brighten and even skin tone. Alphahydroxy acids like fruit acids and glycolic acid are best because they penetrate skin and help to exfoliate, or ‘unglue’ dead skin cells that sit on the skin’s uppermost surface, leaving newer and healthier skin cells to show through. Our skin's natural pH is about a 7 on a scale of 1-14 which means it benefits from fruit acids to break down dry, flaky skin on the surface. So to summarize, a fruit acid mask is the most effective but if you love a scrub, use it gently on the t-zone only.
Tip: Use an exfoliating mask at least twice a week at night after cleansing your skin of makeup.
Most masks rinse off easily and are pretty quick to use taking about 10 minutes.
Tip: Be consistent. Your skin will improve with regular use because you are polishing your skin for a smoother skin texture.
Tip: Apply your evening skincare after the mask. It will penetrate better into refreshed skin.
The Murad Pomegranate Exfoliating Mask smells amazing and is gentle enough to use 2-3 times a week. I'm obsessed with it. It is ideal for sensitive skin. Pomegranate and Ginkgo Biloba extracts fight free radicals and inflammation. Your skin will glow after just one use.
Ren makes another great mask that exfoliates: the Ren Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask. An instant complexion-perfecting mask that brightens and renews skin tone and texture, minimizes pores and diminishes hyperpigmentation. This one is a bit stronger and formulated for combination and oily skin. It works well on post-acne scarring, blemishes, blackheads, and sun-damaged skin.
Friends and clients often ask me what I use in my skincare routine to get glowing skin. I'm meticulous with my skincare routine and if I have to choose just one thing that I can see an immediate difference, it is Vitamin C. My skin changed for the better once I started using it a year ago.
If you want great skin everyday or in preparation for your wedding, incorporate Vitamin C into your skincare routine.
Why Vitamin C?
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) is an antioxidant powerhouse. It's a must for fighting free radicals (pollution, dirt and smog) that can age our skin. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals and photo aging from the sun to prevent skin cell damage. The antioxidant properties of vitamin C and its role in collagen synthesis make vitamin C a vital molecule for skin health. Vitamin C is also proven to brighten and even skin tone. For these reasons it is my holy grail product. I can tell an immediate difference in my skin after just a couple days.
I recommend using a Vitamin C serum layered under your daytime cream with a sunscreen. It has been shown to increase the efficiency of sunscreen protection as well. You can also use it under your night cream and before any other serums or face oil at night.
My favorites are Skinceuticals CE Ferulic serum and Obagi Professional C 15%. The texture of both serums is lightweight enough to absorb quickly and are perfect for all skin types. Drunk Elephant also makes a lovely Vitamin C day serum packed with a powerful antioxidant complex, essential nutrients, fruit enzymes, and an antiaging chronopeptide to visibly firm, brighten, and diminish the appearance of photo aging (sun-damage).
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