Well-known fact: Every bride wants to have great-looking skin and hair on her wedding day. Not so well-known fact: To get hair and skin in tip-top condition takes time, and the earlier you start, the better.
When skin is balanced, it absorbs the benefits of products more efficiently. So prep at least a year ahead and you’ll look absolutely radiant on your big day – and long after that, if you keep up the new beauty habits.
For those pressed for time, don’t panic; here’s our tips on the different steps to take to look fabulous in time for your wedding.
12 MONTHS TO GO
1. ESTABLISH A GOOD CLEANSING ROUTINE FOR THE FACE, HAIR AND BODY
a) USE THE RIGHT PRODUCTS REGULARLY
It all starts with using the right products for your skin type. Keeping skin clean is the first step to balancing it; the right cleanser will leave skin comfortable – not excessively tight or oily – half an hour after you’ve washed it.
If you wear makeup, start with a makeup remover, followed by a cleanser; preferably a foaming one. A makeup remover is essential for removing residue from makeup grime, one of the key causes of clogged pores and breakouts.
After cleansing, follow with an eye cream or gel, skin softening lotion (to prep skin to absorb products better) and a water-based moisturiser you can layer on, if necessary.
Layering on a light moisturiser is more effective than using one that’s too rich or heavy.
b) ADDITIONAL SKINCARE PRODUCTS AND TREATMENTS TO TRY
- For glowing complexions and smooth skin: Other skincare extras include twice-a-week facial scrubs to remove dead skin cells that dull the complexion, and a mask used once or twice a week. Do this religiously and you should start seeing improvements in two months.
- Shower and scrub with a skin towel or loofah daily for smooth, radiant skin on the body. The scrubbing gets rid of dead skin cells and boosts circulation. Apply a body lotion right after a shower to seal moisture into skin. Hydrated skin also tends to recover more quickly from cuts and discoloration marks.
- Avoid scrubbing areas that are prone to pimple breakout, especially if you’re prone to back acne or breakouts on the body. Keep skin clean, and apply spot treatment on zits after a shower.
- Look for treatment products containing salicylic acid – it works wonders to dry out zits and promote cell renewal for faster recovery.
- Try a peel; be sure to get it done at an aesthetic clinic. It removes dead skin cells and speeds up skin renewal at a more intensive level. There are different types of peels – from acids to laser – and your doctor will recommend the ones best suited to your skin and needs. The downtime is minimal: about two to three days for skin to “crack” and flake off, during which time you are expected to keep it well hydrated, and preferably, avoid the sun. The result, however, is worth it – clearer, more radiant skin.
c) FOR SHINY, HEALTHY HAIR
Good cleansing applies to hair too. Daily hair washes, with light conditioning for hair ends, are necessary for oily scalps, while dry hair types (with dry or normal scalps) will benefit from a weekly, treatment mask.
2. USE SUNBLOCK WITH A VENGEANCE
If you’re not already protecting yourself from the sun — SPF30 if you’re indoors and SPF50 if you’re outside a lot — you should start now for a more even skin tone by the end of one year. Do it for the face and body.
3. EXPERIMENT WITH HAIRSTYLES AND COLOUR
Now’s a good time to start experimenting with a new haircut and/or colour – there’s enough time to grow it out if you’re not crazy about the results.
- Consider a layered cut if your hair is thick; the cut is also great for a chic, tousled look if you want something other than your usual chignon.
- Hair colour is another way to change the look of your hair, and the best colour suggestions would probably come from your hairstylist.
- Generally, colours with red undertones add warmth so skin looks rosier: Think aubergine, wine or a rich chestnut brown. Hair colours with blue undertones – jet black, purply black, etc – are colder, and tend to make your complexion look sallow.
4. MOISTURISE HANDS AND FEET AT NIGHT
Make sure to moisture your hands and feet and put on cotton gloves and socks after that; you don’t stain your bedlinen this way. Get rid of dry cuticles by giving nails a quick, daily brush (a soft toothbrush will do) while in the shower.
5. EXERCISE AND DIET
Make time to hit the gym by change your eating habits and schedules and get a headstart on your get-in-shape regime. After all, if you’ve been largely inactive before this, you’ll need more time to get up to speed before you even think about losing the excess pounds.
8 MONTHS TO GO
1. KEEP TO YOUR DIET AND EXERCISE REGIME
You should start seeing results from your diet and exercise regime if you’ve been diligent. Keep up the good work!
2. START INTENSIFYING TREATMENTS FOR SKIN AND HAIR
Begin a monthly programme with a facial salon or an aesthetics clinic, if you think your skin needs more help.
Do the same for hair with deep conditioning treatments to soften it – it will look advertisement-worthy come the big day.
3. BEGIN RESEARCHING POSSIBLE WEDDING-DAY MAKEUP LOOKS AND HAIRSTYLES
Start a folder of magazine tears for reference and a discussion with your hairstylist at a later date.
4. SCHEDULE MONTHLY SEA SALT BODY SCRUBS
This natural exfoliant sloughs off dead skin cells efficiently, particularly in the underarm area. You’ll end up with smooth, brighter-looking skin.
Alternatives: A whitening body scrub that helps even out skin tone. You might also want to consider body wraps if you have a bit of spare cash. These help “tone” up the body when done regularly.
1. MAINTAIN YOUR DIET/ EXERCISE PROGRAMME
For treatments done by a doctor or an expert, check with them if you need to vary anything.
2. TAKE UP MUSCLE-TONING EXERCISE PROGRAMMES
Sign up for a yoga/ deep-breathing/ relaxation course if you can. Exercise programmes such as yoga and Pilates tone up muscles effectively, and you get to show them off with that strapless number you’re wearing.
3. DRINK JUICES REGULARLY
A celery-green apple combination is a wonderful detoxifier.
4. APPLY FACIAL MASKS REGULARLY
For the results to show in time for your wedding, this is your last chance start applying facial masks regularly, if you haven’t been doing so. A weekly, hydrating mask returns much-needed moisture to skin that’s dehydrated due to stress.
Alternate between purifying and hydrating masks for your twice-weekly treatments. Some whitening masks also offer good hydrating properties (try Sisley’s Phyto-Blanc Ultra Lightening Mask) which you can use in place of a moisturising mask.
5. CONFIRM BIG-DAY HAIR AND MAKEUP LOOKS
Once you have booked your appointment, bring your folder of magazine tears for the discussion. Stay open to styling suggestions during the meeting and be prepared to try different looks – this is the one time you can experiment without worrying about the consequences.
Thrash out all queries so there’s no problem on the big day: Discuss your hair trim, colour, highlights, styles, accessories and/or extensions. Do the same with your makeup artist. After the hair and makeup trial is done, take a picture so you can visualise the whole look with your gown fitting.
1 MONTH TO GO
1. FACIAL TREATMENTS
Your hair and facial treatments should taper off in the second last month.
- If you intend to go for a peel, book it four weeks before the big day so skin gets one last intensive boost. It will give skin a glorious glow, and if you don’t mind splurging, get it done on the neck and shoulder for a more even skin tone (do apply sunblock generously after).
- Or book your facial two weeks before the big day if you aren’t sure about peels. Remind the beautician not to squeeze – in case there’s not enough time for marks to heal. If your skin is in a reasonably good state, ease off twice-a-week masks to just once a week.
- Maintain hair with leave-in hair serums to keep it moisturised and healthy-looking.
1 WEEK TO GO
1. TO GET RID OF BLOATING: AVOID CARBS AND DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
To banish wedding-day bloat, cut out carbs and excess salt. Drink plenty of water to clear your system and you’ll look svelte. Now repeat after me – no bread, no rice, no bread…
2. GO FOR A MASSAGE EARLY IN THE WEEK
Schedule a detoxifying, lymphatic massage for the early part of the week to drain excess fluids as well as to help you relax. Drink loads of water after to aid the detoxifying process.
3. GET A COLOUR RINSE FOR YOUR HAIR
Book a colour rinse with your hairstylist this week – it works like a refresher to perk up existing colour.
4. DO YOUR MANICURE AND PEDICURE TWO DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING
Get your manicure and pedicure done two days before the wedding rather than the day before – you don’t have to rush through the session, and there’s time to re-do, if nails do get smudged accidentally.
5. SLEEP WELL AND HAVE LOTS OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES
Get enough sleep, drink lots of water and up your vitamin C intake this week. Your skin will thank you for all these.
ON THE DAY
Slip into that gorgeous dress, smile – and just look fabulous!
CHECKLIST AND TIPS FOR THAT ELEVENTH HOUR SKINCARE AND MAKEUP PREPARATION
QUICK TRICKS: SKIN
Even with a good regime, some tips are invaluable.
1. NEVER POP A PIMPLE
You run the risk of an infection or a bigger area of discoloration. Now which is harder to heal? Besides, open or “broken” skin doesn’t hold makeup well, and is hard to conceal.
- Instead, try wrapping an ice cube in a towel and hold it to the zit for about 20 to 30 seconds. Remove for a minute, and repeat the procedure twice.
- Dot a doctor-prescribed, Retin A-based cream or a spot cream with salicylic acid and leave it on overnight to reduce inflammation.
- A steroid injection always works on pimples: If a pimple pops up a few days before your wedding, have your doctor shoot it down.
2. ALTERNATE MASKS TO KEEP SKIN CLEAR
Do a purifying mask in the middle of a week and a moisturising mask on the weekend. This helps keep skin’s natural oil and water balance in check.
3. CARE FOR YOUR LIPS
Neglect shows up fast, so regular care for your lips is a must.
- Gently dry-brush lips once a week with a soft-bristled toothbrush to clear dry, flaky skin. Brush in a circular motion (believed to improve circulation too). Wash mouth, pat dry and protect with a balm after. And stop licking your lips – evaporation dries up lips quickly.
QUICK TIPS: MAKEUP
The right hue or tool makes a difference.
1. MOST VERSATILE EYESHADOW HUE: PINK
Pink, especially rose pink – it makes any skin tone look radiant.
2. BRIGHTEN UP YOUR EYES WITH SHIMMERY WHITE EYESHADOW
Add a sparkle to eyes by dabbing a shimmery, white eyeshadow on the inner corners of the eyes. It helps to make eyes look bigger against mascaraed lashes.
3. FORGET ABOUT FALSIES
Unless your makeup artist is an expert at cutting them into smaller sections that are then applied where needed. Too-thick lashes make eyes look small.
4. DON’T OVER-TWEEZE EYEBROWS
Thin brows age you, making you look harsher.
5. MAKE YOUR EYEBROWS FULLER WITH A BROWN EYESHADOW
Plump up already-thin eyebrows with a brown eyeshadow. Fill in colour where needed, following your natural brow line.
6. BEST BLUSHER SHADE: A ROSY-PEACH
It suits most skin tones, adds radiance, and photographs beautifully every time.
7. PICK NEUTRAL HUES FOR YOUR NAILS
Neutral hues work best for nails – opt for pink, champagne or sand tones in shimmery finishes. The latter makes accidental smudges less obvious.
PHOTOGRAPHY: AIK CHEN, STYLING: LILY LEE & JANICE SEAH, HAIR & MAKEUP: SUNNY KOR/ IKON, MODEL: ISABEL H/ UPFRONT
This article was originally published in Her World Brides June-August 2010.