June 15, 2011

The bridal beauty countdown... starts now!

Looking picture perfect on your wedding day entails time, organisation and diligence. Our beauty blogger Laura Curtis makes things simple by piecing together a comprehensive beauty calendar for brides-to-be. And the countdown begins...

6 weeks away

It's time to book your bridal make-up artist and hair stylist. Ask friends and family for their recommendations if you are unsure of a good candidate. Reserve a date for a trial with each of them, for a couple of weeks away. Start thinking about the style you would like to wear; browse magazines and beauty blogs for inspiration.

Choose a wedding fragrance. Try to find something unique and fresh, like Byredo La Tulipe, Kai or Renee Tuberose. You will know if it is "the one" the first time you smell it on your skin. (Just wait a few minutes for the alcohol to dissolve). An Eau de Parfum formulation is best, as it is more concentrated than an Eau de Toilette so it lasts longer on the skin. If you want to indulge, complement the EDP with a matching body lotion and a handbag-sized mini, for extra staying power on the day. I would recommend starting to wear it now, in the lead up to the wedding. The planning and anticipation are part of the memories to reflect upon when you catch a whiff of your fragrance years later.

Invest in skincare. Ask a beauty therapist or beauty consultant for a skincare consultation, and explain your skin type and concerns, as well as the changes you would like to see in your skin before the wedding day. A cleanser, serum, moisturiser, eye cream, mask and exfoliant will make up a comprehensive regime that will give you a healthy, even-toned bridal glow.

4 weeks away

Now is the ideal stage to have any heavy-duty facials done, including microdermabrasion, Omnilux, laser, extractions or a glycolic peel. All of these treatments have long-term results that will last until the wedding.

Try to schedule your make-up and hair trials for this week as well. When you talk to the artists, be clear about what you want. Show them pictures. Be honest. If you don't like what they have done for you, tell them so they can alter it. Ask someone (your bridesmaid, mother or friend with good taste) to come along for a second opinion; bring a digital camera with you so you can see how the style will look in photos.

2 weeks away

Have your hair cut and coloured. You will need at least two weeks to let the new style settle; for the layers to grow out and the colours to blend. Don't make any drastic changes you may regret – you want to look like yourself on your wedding day (just extra glowy, polished and gorgeous!).

It's also time to buy make-up products for the wedding day. A lipstick, blush and pressed powder will keep your make-up fresh all day long. I love Chanel Rouge Allure Lipstick, Nars Blush and By Terry Teint Terrybly Compact Powder Foundation. Tatcha Japanese Blotting Papers are a must for oily skin.

2-3 days away

Time to get waxed at a beauty salon. Wait at least 24 hours after waxing to have your spray tan. Two days away from the wedding day is ideal as it will allow the telltale fake tan aroma to dissipate and the colour to fade to a natural looking shade. Ask your spray tan technician to lightly mist your face and neck to avoid looking pasty in photos; your make-up artist's bronzing powder will do the rest.

Have your brows professionally shaped and tinted. And by "professionally", I mean enlist a brow expert. It may be expensive (up to $90), but it will make all the difference.

Get a manicure and pedicure. A classic french manicure is always lovely, but feel free to express your individuality through your nail colour. Midnight blue (Essie Nail Colour in Midnight Cami), lilac (Chanel Nail Vernis in Lilac Sky), aubergine (OPI Nail Polish in Lincoln After Dark) and taupe-rose (Mecca Cosmetica Nail Colour in Maria) are unique, yet still elegant and bride-appropriate.

The night before

It's crunch time! Use your skincare products to give yourself a mini-facial. After cleansing, use a scrub or peel to lightly exfoliate your skin. Elemental Herbology Radiance Peel leaves the skin smooth and glowy. Follow with a hydrating mask. I can't go past the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask for an instantly silky, soft, plump complexion.

Wash and treat your hair. Use a gentle, moisturising shampoo and rich, buttery hair mask. The Bumble & bumble CrËme de Coco range is perfect.

The morning of your wedding

Gently cleanse your skin (Eve Lom Morning Cleanser is a lovely option), and finish with a lightweight moisturiser like Estee Lauder Daywear Advanced Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant SPF 15 Lotion.

Apply a light layer of your fragranced body lotion and spritz your Eau de Parfum behind your knees, on your wrists and at the nape of your neck (to greet all the congratulatory hugs and kisses to come).

Look in the mirror, take a deep breath and smile. Your wedding day has arrived. Enjoy it!

Laura Curtis is a beauty writer and make-up artist. To see more of her writing and beauty advice, you can visit her blogs One April Morning and Pretty Poesy, and follow her on Twitter (@laura_valerie).

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