Schedule Weekly Manicures
Face it: As soon as you got engaged, everyone was asking to see the ring. Keep those nails and hands primed and pretty with regular weekly manicures. This is your chance to experiment with colors (pretty mauves and pinks) and get to know your manicurist. When you get your nails done, look at your nail bed. Shape your nails to match, giving your hands and nails a balanced and elegant look.
Want to splurge? Shellac manicures use UV technology for a harder and smoother finished nail. They're a bit pricier but can last up to twice as long as a traditional manicure!
Go for the Bronze
Sun-kissed skin will give you a natural, healthy glow. Use a gradual self-tanner like Jergens Natural Glow moisturizer. The pros at Brazil Bronze Glow Bar in NYC say brides should get a spray tan a few days before their wedding for a beautiful glow (this leaves enough time to fix any trouble spots and let the color calm down). A one-time tan will give you just enough bronze for a sun-touched look in your photos. Whatever you do, don't use a tanning bed or go out in the sun without sunblock.
Want to splurge? Some tanning salons like Brazil Bronze Glow Bar make house calls.
Whiten Your Teeth
You want pearly whites for all those beautiful pictures you'll be posing for (but we also know how crucial coffee is right now with all the planning). Most toothpastes have whitening ingredients in them, but for faster results, choose a special whitening one. White strips are also a great option.
Want to splurge? Get your teeth professionally whitened. However, makeup artist Sonia Kashuk says, “Don't go overboard. Anything that looks too artificial becomes too prominent in a picture.” Get a professional whitening six months out so your teeth aren't too brilliant the day-of. Beware, though: Teeth whitening wears down your enamel, making your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold, so don't overdo it!
Get a Smooth Face
A primer is a great place to start. Use it daily. It provides a smooth surface for foundation to adhere to all day. Or try a hydrating facial serum. Apply it daily before your makeup for softer and smoother skin.
Want to splurge? At least three months out from your wedding, start planning monthly facials. Facials boost your skin's health, meaning it will look clearer and brighter! We're loving blueberry soy facials -- the antioxidants in the blueberries help firm your skin and naturally exfoliate at the same time.
If you can bear it, try staying away from sugar, lots of sodium and processed foods. These all lead to belly fat and bloating. Instead, focus on green vegetables, fruit and lots of water -- all great for staving off food cravings and clearing up your skin. Watch out for carbs as well, especially fried foods (that means no French fries!). Stay away from too much booze -- alcohol makes your skin puffy and dry (not to mention, you crave more snacks and junk food when you're buzzed).
Want to splurge? Sign up for meal plans that deliver healthy meals right to your door every morning like the Zone (ZoneDiet.com) and The Fresh Diet (TheFreshDiet.com). Or, hire a nutritionist to get you on the right diet track!
Work Out Regularly
We know it's an obvious one…work out on a regular basis. “Working out will help tighten and firm your body while also detoxing your skin,” Kashuk says. A good workout gives you a boost of energy, helps you lose weight and makes you feel happier (hello, endorphins!).
Want to splurge? Join a gym. You won't have the weather to use as an excuse, and you'll have all the equipment right there. Plus, working out with other people is always a huge motivation.
Add weights to your workout routine. That age-old myth that you'll bulk up is false! Some simple dumbbells will make all the difference between toned arms and that little bit of arm fat that's so hard to shake. Try a trainer-approved exercise like a seated dumbbell press
.Want to splurge?
Pick a personal trainer over a workout video. Your trainer will customize the session to your needs and change up your workout every time.
Have a Day-Of Bag
Whether it's flyaway hairs or fall-off fake lashes, you should make sure you have an arsenal of bridal beauty fixers on hand the day-of; this means being prepared for any scenario. Start adding items as you begin to work out the details of your wedding, as well as during your makeup trials. You should have a plan of attack with your makeup artist should they not be there in a moment of need! Want to splurge?
If you don't have the time to pull it all together, you can buy premade kits. Our personal fave is The Knot Wedding Shop Bridessentials Survival Kit
, complete with hair spray, clear nail polish, deodorant and all those things you haven't thought of.
Have Your Brows Shaped
If you do your own tweezing, take this opportunity to splurge on brow shaping. The pros at salons will follow your advice, as well as offer suggestions for the best brow shape according to your face. Waxing is a popular option. Threading uses a cotton thread rolled along your skin to catch hairs. The process is quick and more precise than waxing (also, if you're on antibiotics or skin medications, threading is the safe way to go). Start shaping appointments six months out, waiting three to four weeks between sessions. Schedule your last shaping a month before the wedding in case you need to grow out any areas.
Want to splurge? See a brow specialist -- “someone specializing in the care and maintenance of your eyebrows,” says Kashuk. They'll know best for your brow line.
Do a Makeup Test Run
Besides your hair trial, you should also schedule a makeup trial. Have a trial at least three months before the wedding. This is where you'll fine-tune your look with your makeup artist so that you know exactly how you'll look the day-of.
Want to splurge? Hire your photographer to take photos of you after you've had your makeup done (or schedule your makeup trial the same day as your engagement photo session). This run-through will ensure you know how you look in multiple lights for your wedding photos. If your makeup looks too harsh or too subtle, have your makeup artist experiment and repeat.
Focus on Your Lips
Take care of your lips each night by applying a generous coat of lip balm or Vaseline. “Gently rub it over your lips in a circular motion with a wet washcloth,” says makeup artist Mally Roncal. This will exfoliate and soften your lips at the same time. Go for a glossy lip on your wedding day. A matte lipstick will look classic but may not hold as long, and could crack and wear down. Put a gloss over your lipstick to cover up those imperfections.
Want to splurge? Some salons offer special lip treatments that focus on exfoliating, moisturizing and energizing your lips!
Get Longer Lashes
If you weren't blessed with long lashes, consider trying false ones. Don't want to look overdone? Get a softer, more romantic look by applying half lashes in the outer corners of your eyes. Longer lashes will enhance the shape of your eyes and focus all attention on you. Don't want runny mascara on your wedding day? Try this: Apply your favorite mascara, and curl your lashes. Then apply a top coat of some waterproof mascara. This will give you beautifully curled lashes without the heavy feeling that many waterproof products have.
Want to splurge? Get semipermanent lash extensions at a salon. Extensions eliminate the need for mascara, which can actually lead to healthier eyes and lashes. They also last much longer than at-home kits. Applications stay on until they fall out naturally (you'll have to get touch-ups every two to three weeks).
Get Smooth Skin
Have a tough-to-treat spot like dry elbows? A good body scrub in the shower will get rid of dead skin. Then, moisturize with a good almond butter or shea butter lotion. Wrap your elbows in a cloth and keep the moisturizer on for about an hour.
Want to splurge? Get a full-body scrub at a salon for allover smooth skin. Go for a sugar scrub for a soft and sweet-smelling finish.
Have a Hair Plan
Work with your hairstylist to map out your hair care plan of attack. Try an at-home treatment with your favorite conditioner and mashed-up avocado. The creaminess of the avocado will increase your hair's silkiness. Start doing weekly treatments months before your wedding if you can. For an extra-glossy finish, look for shampoos and conditioners infused with olive oil. The oil helps tone down frizz and boost shine.
Want to splurge? Go to your salon and have your stylist give you a customized conditioning treatment for your hair type. For example, curly hair needs more moisture than straight hair. Your stylist will treat your hair type accordingly.
Plan Hair Removal
That little peach fuzz just above your upper lip may not seem like a big deal in your everyday life, but you don't want it showing up in wedding photos. Start getting monthly waxes for best results. Not into the pain? Salons now offer special waxes like chocolate wax and sugaring (a sugar paste), which are great if you're looking to walk out of the salon without too many sore spots.
Want to splurge? Get ready for your honeymoon by booking laser hair removal appointments in one month intervals (three treatments are recommended for best results). After around seven treatments, the results can be permanent.
Special thanks to Sonia Kashuk (SoniaKashuk.com), Mally Roncal (MallyBeauty.com), Cleo Paula of Deva Spa (DevachanSalon.com) and Elizabeth Tanzi, MD (SkinLaser.com).