How to Care For Your Hair Before the Wedding, According to Expert Stylists

Pro-approved suggestions to help you achieve your dream wedding hair.
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
lauren whalley headshot
Lauren Whalley
Fashion Editor, Beauty & Inclusivity
  • Lauren writes and edits articles for The Knot Worldwide, with a specialty in fashion, beauty and size inclusivity.
  • Prior to The Knot Worldwide, Lauren worked in wedding editorial for Brides, Style Me Pretty and Enaura Bridal.
  • Lauren studied public relations and advertising at the University of Central Florida.
Updated Mar 13, 2023

Whether you're dreaming of long romantic curls or a short modern pompadour, both of these styles require one thing: proper hair care before the wedding. The time leading up to the big day is a great opportunity to get your locks in tip-top condition. The steps to taking care of your tresses' health may seem overwhelming, but that's where booking a professional stylist comes in. We tapped expert hair artists to get their advice on how to prep your hair for the wedding and beyond. (Because who doesn't want gorgeous hair year-round?) Read on for your prewedding hair care timeline—plus advice based on your individual hair type.

In this article:

Meet Our Experts

How to Take Care of Your Hair Before Wedding

We all know taking care of your hair is important, but how exactly do you do that? While some advice is universal, like getting regular trims, there are a few extra steps you can take to care for your hair based on its texture and length. Below, expert stylists are sharing all the deets.

1. For Long Wedding Hair: Use a Deep Conditioning Mask

Cascading long locks are a wedding hair go-to, but whether you want a blowout or Hollywood-inspired curls, you need to nourish and strengthen your hair in advance. "Try a weekly deep conditioning treatment using Amika's The Kure, which is great for all hair types, to keep hair long and healthy for your wedding day," Davis says. "Focus on applying it to the mid-shafts and ends, then let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes before washing it out with cold water." You'll notice irresistibly soft and silky strands the moment you step out of the shower.

2. For Short Wedding Hair: Play with Different Cuts

Change it up on your wedding day and give your hair a short cut for added body and bounce. A word of advice from Davis: Give your hair the chop long before the big day. "If you wish to cut your hair for your nuptials, try getting it cut some time in advance to be certain you want to keep it short for your wedding day," she says. "This gives you plenty of time to grow it back out if you decide you prefer longer hair."

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3. For Natural Curls: Stay Away from Heat

The beauty of natural curls is that you already have a beautiful built-in hairstyle. To keep your coils healthy and hydrated, Davis recommends staying away from hot tools. If you're set on a style that requires heat, try using a blow dryer with a diffuser attachment to define your curls without frizz or a high-quality ceramic iron that works quickly. Davis believes that no matter what style you choose, a quality heat protectant, like Paul Mitchell's Neuro Protect, is a must to avoid damage.

4. For Voluminous Hair: Consider Extensions

Who doesn't want voluminous hair on their wedding day? With just a simple styling trick, you can take your hair from flat to va-va-voom. "If your hair inspiration board shows very voluminous and full hair, purchasing clip-in extensions for your wedding day is the perfect way to achieve that look," says Davis. "Brands like Luxy, Bellami, and Zala are the easiest, most affordable way to add fullness without the cost or commitment of sewn-in wefts or tape-ins."

5. For Men's Hair: Density Shampoo and Fibers

The key to great wedding day hair? A healthy scalp. If your hair is thinning, a shampoo formulated for density can improve conditions contributing to hair loss. For a day-of fix, Lauren has just the technique. "Hair fibers are the secret weapon for disguising thinning strands," she says. "I use Toppik Hair Building Fibers to fill in my male celebrities' thinning areas, sideburns and even mustaches. You can easily apply it by shaking it over the desired area and spritzing it with hairspray."

When to Get Haircut Before Wedding

No matter your hair type, regular haircuts leading up to the big day are crucial. "A lot of clients want to keep their hair long, but they don't realize the key to healthy hair, whether long or short, is a trim every six to eight weeks," says Davis. Even just a dusting will get rid of dead ends and cut down on potential frizz (pun intended) to keep your locks in shape, no matter the length.

When to Dye Hair Before Wedding

Whether you're looking to add a few highlights or make a dramatic hair change, you have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to color. Lauren recommends testing the dye no later than three months before your wedding. "It's always important to consult with your bridal hairstylist before making any huge hair changes," Lauren says. "For example, if a client comes in for a hair trial with blonde highlights, then that will add texture to the style, but if they remove the highlights, that can change the final result and feel of their wedding day look."

When to Wash Hair Before Wedding

Despite the myth that dirty hair is better for day-of styling, it can actually do the opposite if your hair has too much oil and dirt buildup. "For most hair types, you should wash and air dry your tresses the night before your wedding," says Davis. This rule also applies if you have wavy or curly hair that you want to heat style. Want to embrace your natural curls? Davis recommends washing them the morning of your wedding.

Hair Care Before Wedding Timeline

8 to 12 Months: Find Hair Inspiration

If you haven't already, now is a great time to start looking for hair pictures to add to your inspiration board. Having a few images to show your hairstylist can make all the difference when describing the look you want to achieve at your hair trial (more on that below). Psst: Get started by looking through magazines or visiting sites like Pinterest, Instagram or The Knot's digital library of hairstyle ideas and advice.

4 to 8 Months: Experiment with Cut and Color

It's happened to the best of us: you go to the salon to try out a new cut or color, only to discover that you don't love it as much as you thought you would. "Experimenting with your hair this far out gives you plenty of time to decide if you love it or want to get back to your normal color," Lauren says. If you're thinking about changing up your color, make sure to do so ahead of time so your stylist has time to make adjustments, as it can sometimes take multiple sessions to see results.

1 to 3 Months: Schedule Hair Trial

Scheduling a hair trial is not only an opportunity to make sure you love your wedding hairstyle, but it will also get you and your professional stylist on the same page about your 'do. "You should schedule your hair trial one to three months before the wedding date," says Davis. "By this point, you should have a similar cut and color to what you'll have on your big day, so you can better envision the final look."

1 Month: Final Hair Trim

As for when to get the last cut before your wedding, Lauren suggests no later than a month out. "This last haircut should be a light trim or dusting," she says. "If you plan on cutting layers or changing your overall cut after you've already completed your hair trial, you should consult with your bridal hairstylist as soon as possible, as a different cut can completely change how your chosen style will look."

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