In addition to all the formal planning, beauty preparation for the big day can be daunting. Deciding on the proper hair, makeup and nail polish color for your wedding suddenly seem like major life decisions. While there is no guarantee your future great grandchild won't laugh at your completely dated hairstyle or lipstick choice, you can guarantee that your skin looks absolutely fabulous. Besides, a perfectly balanced, clear and glowing complexion is always timeless.
Here's a guide to pre-wedding skincare that will get you glowing before your big day:
3 Months Before The Big Day:
• Did you know the average lifecycle of a pimple is roughly 8 weeks long? That's why it is so important to focus on clearing skin at least 12-10 weeks before the big day, since it will take about that long for a new acne treatment to take effect. This would be a good time to visit a dermatologist or skin care specialist to begin a daily regimen to smooth skin and fade post acne marks.
• Test any new products you plan on using between now and your wedding day. That way, there are no surprises in terms of how your skin reacts.
1 Month Before The Big Day:
• Your skin should be fairly acclimated to any new products by now. Tweak your daily regimen if you are having any adverse effects.
• Begin a weekly exfoliation plan. Regularly sloughing off dead and dull skin will help rid skin of any post acne marks or dark spots from the sun. Once a week, try a mechanical exfoliate that uses gentle texture like flax seeds to buff away rough skin. Make sure to steer clear of harsh scrubs that use sand, walnut or apricot seeds, which can cause tiny nicks in the skin leading to infection and irritation.
• Perfect your eyebrow shape, since you'll have just enough time to grow back any mishaps.
2 Weeks Before The Big Day:
• If you plan on getting any chemical peels or laser treatments, now is the time; you'll want to give your skin ample time to recover.
• Set aside a night for an at-home clarifying facial. I like mixing raw dark honey and teaspoon of whole milk with a few drops of all natural cranberry juice. This antioxidant rich mask will clarify pores and soothe irritation. For even deeper absorption, gently steam face for 5 minutes before applying the mask.
1 Week Before The Big Day:
• Schedule a facial or perform any last minute extractions -- this will allow time for any redness to fade.
• If you plan on getting any waxing or tweezing done, this is the time for that as well. Try and steer clear of any makeup 24 hours after waxing or plucking since pores can be particularly susceptible to breakouts.
• Try a diet particularly rich in Omega-3 this week. Omega fatty acids found in foods like Salmon and Chia Seeds can help reduce inflammation and promote a healthy glow.
1 Day Before The Big Day:
• First of all, relax! Set aside some time from the chaos to pamper yourself and collect your thoughts.
• Resist alcohol and salt, which can cause next-day puffiness, and opt for clean, naturally diuretic foods like cucumbers and leafy greens.
• Allow skin to steam in the shower while you use an exfoliating scrub to polish your entire body.
• Within 10 minutes of showering smooth a moisturizing lotion over your entire body. Look for one infused with natural papaya (the fruit enzymes dissolve dull and dead skin to reveal fresh, glowing skin).
• Next, apply a fruit enzyme peel to your face and gently resurface without the irritation of scrubbing. You can also create your own by applying pureed pumpkin, papaya, or pineapple to your skin for 5 minutes.
• Don't neglect your pucker! Create a brown sugar and honey scrub for super soft lips.
• Finish up by gently massaging a lightweight moisturizer into skin and dabbing the eye area with a soothing eye cream.
• Make sure you have an emergency spot treatment available to clear any last minute blemishes.
• Most importantly (and also most difficult), try and get a good night's sleep!
The Big Day:
• Before the makeup and hair appointments, take time to relax with a calming mask to soothe any irritation, puffiness or redness. Remember, a blushing bride is one thing, but a red one is quite another. I like making my own oatmeal, yogurt and honey mask to help calm and reduce redness.
• Place some green tea bags that have been steeped in cold water over your eyes and relax for ten minutes to eliminate any under eye bags or puffiness.
• Apply a pore minimizing primer to your face and moisturize the rest of your body.
• Fine tune any stray hairs on your brows.
Now, take a deep breath, forget about the color of the napkins and the hemline of your bridesmaid's dress and smile. Is it love that is making you glow, or this 3-month answer to beautiful, bridal skin? Perhaps it is a little bit of both.
Sarah Dakar is beauty director with Sonya Dakar Skincare in Beverly Hills.