Wedding Beauty Countdown: How to Prep by the Week

With all the energy that goes into planning a wedding, it’s easy to lose sight of what it’s all about—you’re making it official with the love of your life. Even if you have a good planner at your disposal, the stress factor can be high. So it’s understandable that when dealing with pressing concerns like dress fittings, selecting the perfect shoes, and finalizing floral arrangements, there’s a chance you may overlook the more minute, yet not insignificant, particulars of getting your brows groomed, your skin into fighting shape, and your hair color calibrated to the exact right shade. To help you schedule everything from bang trims to teeth whitening, we’ve asked a team of experts to weigh in on what appointments you need to book and exactly when to do it. Hopefully it will help put to bed that recurring nightmare of arriving at the altar avec roots.

1. Schedule a Visit with Your Derm
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 topicals, like retinoids, and medications to address them, says New York City dermatologist Jennifer MacGregor, MD. In addition, brown spots, fine lines, pores, and redness can be attended to with lasers.

2. Consider Your Brows
“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,” says New York City– and Dallas-based aesthetician Joanna Czech. For the most flattering and youthful effect, Czech suggests keeping brows as full and as natural

3. Master the Self-Tanning Equation
There’s much to be said for the ethereal beauty of pale skin, but if you prefer your limbs and complexion subtly golden, self-tanner is an option. Start experimenting with the right shade a few months before your wedding to adjust to seeing yourself with color, says skin-finishing expert Sophie Evans. If you’re getting a professional spray tan, work continuously with the same specialist to avoid any surprises and book your final pre-wedding session three days before the ceremony.

4. Invest in a Keratin Treatment
If you have naturally rebellious or frizzy strands, go for an in-salon keratin treatment one month before the wedding so your texture is under control but hair doesn’t fall flat on the day, says hairstylist (and bridal pro) Ryan Cotton of New York City’s Serge Normant salon.

5. Brighten Your Smile
There will be a photographer documenting the occasion so it pays to ensure that your smile is camera-ready. For a subtle upgrade, New York City cosmetic dentist Marc Lowenberg suggests booking 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.

6. Evaluate Your Hair Needs
If you are wearing your hair down or half up, you’ll need to get it looking as healthy as possible—especially the ends. Cotton suggests getting an in-salon deep conditioning treatment like his pick, Kérastase Fusio-Dose. “But if you’re planning on an updo, skip the treatments. Hair is easier to work with when it’s more textured, rather than sleek and overly conditioned,” he says.

7. Practice Restraint
“Try to avoid salty foods, excessive carbohydrates, and do not overdo your exercise in the week before your wedding as all of these things cause your body to retain water and can result in a puffy face and eyes,” says Dr. MacGregor. If you get a last-minute blemish, she recommends booking an emergency cortisone injection at your derm’s office, rather than relying on potentially drying topical remedies.

8. Time Your Waxing Carefully
To ensure your skin is smooth but not irritated, get waxed no later than 72 hours before the wedding day, says Czech. (If you’re a waxing novice, she suggests having an aesthetician test it a few months ahead of time to see how skin reacts.) Then, to reduce redness or swelling immediately following hair removal, smooth on a calming cream containing colostrum (like Epicuren’s formula)

9. Book a Depuffing Facial
“As much as you should avoid it, many brides end up trying to manage stress with wine that last week, which leads to puffiness,” says Vargas. One last microcurrent facial, which Vargas says is her favorite way to prep clients for any big event, will help deflate your face, thus making your cheekbones and jaw appear more defined.

10. Prime Your Skin
For a last-minute boost on the morning of your wedding, apply a gentle exfoliating mask (like Joanna Vargas Exfoliating Mask) in the shower. Right before makeup, Vargas suggests smoothing a hydrating serum onto your face, neck and décolleté to enhance your glow before heading into hair and makeup. Then, remember to remain calm, breathe, and, most importantly, have fun.


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