Head-to-Toe Bridal Beauty Prep Guide
Wedding-day beauty shouldn't begin on the day-of while you're sitting in the stylist's chair. Start now to ensure you look your bridal best.
Great bridal locks require a little love and devotion. We all know that washing, blow-drying, and heat-styling on a daily basis makes for a messy head, full of split ends and "wispies" (those little broken pieces of hair that stick up from your scalp). Start repairing from the inside out. Experts believe that a diet filled with Vitamin B helps bring out your hair's natural shine (dull hair is actually a symptom of a Vitamin B deficiency). Foods like fish, nuts, and eggs will give you a good head start. On the outside, an invigorating scalp massage and deep conditioning treatment (about 4 weeks prior to the event) not only feels good, but stimulates the hair follicles and adds body. FYI Despite what many bottles claim, there is no way to repair damaged ends -- once your hair breaks, get a trim.
When it comes to the best way to care for your face, there are many schools of thought but here are a few good pointers for common issues A dermatologist can help those fighting a losing acne battle, by prescribing topical creams and oral pills, or administering facial peels to knock out bacteria and oils. Start seeing a derm six months before the wedding-your skin will need to adjust to a new regimen, and your body to any new medications. If you're looking to bring a dull complexion to life, an aesthetician at your local spa can provide a series of facials that clear blackheads, slough off dead skin cells, and improve circulation. (Start these visitations six months prior as well-and don't dare get a facial within ten days of your wedding.) But the real secret to great skin? Water. Drink tons of H2O before and on your wedding day to make your face look dewy and radiant.
Dark circles and puffiness are common bride-to-be afflictions (all those late nights pouring over the seating chart is bound to take a toll, after all). Since the skin around your eyes is particularly sensitive, be gentle take off eye makeup with a water-soluble remover (don't scrub), and keep rubbing to a minimum. A nightly application of eye cream, in combination with adequate sleep, will improve the appearance of dark circles and a cool compress once or twice a week (or as needed) helps keep puffiness at bay. During the days before the wedding, steer clear of too much salty food, which can cause eyes to look swollen.
For that all-important kiss at the end of the ceremony, you'll want your lips to be in the best possible shape. A Vitamin E stick (sold at pharmacies and health food stores) can combat cracks and creases that weather and nervous lip biting can cause. You should also exfoliate your lips at least once a week, to clear away dead skin Wet a toothbrush with warm water and brush lips with a gentle back-and-forth motion. Finally, protect your kisser with sunscreen, as the sun can leave lips looking -- and feeling -- parched.
Neck and Decollete
Since your gown no doubt shows off a little (or a lot!) of neck and decollete, start taking care of this overlooked region as soon as you can. Think of it as an extension of the skin on your face -- but remember that this fragile skin is thinner, has fewer oil glands than the rest of the body, and requires special care to keep it supple and smooth. Exfoliate it with a gentle face scrub every other day, apply a light moisturizer daily, and use sunscreen when heading out in a chest-baring top.
You can get your body in shape without lifting a weight or walking a mile (though both will help relieve stress and whittle away at the inches). From the inside, a daily multivitamin can work wonders on a range of ills -- from digestive issues to sleeping problems to frayed nerves. Vitamins also up your energy factor, making wedding planning easier. On the outside, exfoliation is the name of the game, because it makes skin feel softer and more toned (no gym required!). Use an exfoliator each day, whether in the form of a loofah or a body scrub.
Your wedding dress might have your legs covered, but that's no reason to ignore them. Shave only after you've softened the skin with warm (not hot) water and use a moisturizing shave cream. One of the simplest rules for keeping them smooth post-shower, apply a rich moisturizer while legs are still damp.
Sure you'll probably treat yourself to a pedicure before the big day, but you should indulge your feet in sweet treatments in the months leading up to the wedding. Good foot care starts with a little tough love use a pumice stone or foot rasp daily to scrub away dry, cracked skin on heels and toes. Note that feet should be damp, not completely wet -- a sopping foot is too slippery to be properly exfoliated. Then treat your feet while you sleep slather on a thick moisturizer and slip into a pair of socks, which will retain body heat and help seal in moisture overnight. An added bonus to these measures well-moisturized, cared-for feet are less likely to blister in uncomfortable shoes.