A 1-Month Beauty-Prep Timeline for Procrastinating Brides
Maximum results, minimal time, minimal effort.
If you’re a betrothed person with a wedding in your near future, a lot of other things are probably happening all at once—besides actually, you know, being super excited about spending the rest of your life with your best friend (!!)—like choosing calligraphers, dress shopping, following all kinds of sometimes (OK, almost always) dated etiquette, and, of course, actually planning the damn thing, which I’ve waxed poetic about here and here. And the never-ending to-do list and Pinterest black hole of overly cupcake-y bridal stuff can get overwhelming, so with months to go to my own nuptials, I’ll be writing to you weekly with a little bit of what I’ve learned, mostly from Google and firsthand experience—like that time FedEx lost my wedding invitations.
As a beauty editor, physical prep for my upcoming wedding means a lot. I’m not about changing your entire look, going through extreme workouts, or putting a ton of pressure on yourself to look a certain way, but I do want to look healthy and glowy—basically like the best possible version of myself (without resorting to a ton of makeup that I’m inevitably going to cry off). So that ultimately means maintenance, some professional treatments, and taking obsessively good care of my skin long before the day arrives. The goal is to look sensational all wedding weekend long—without wearing a stitch of makeup.
With four months until the wedding day (eeeeek), I’ve been trialing some beauty treatments to gauge results and see whether I should commit before the ceremony. Below, I’ve rounded them up and brain-dumped all my thoughts, just for you.
Permanent eyelash extensions are a wedding must-have for a lot of brides (as opposed to applying individual falsies the day of), but there are definite pros and cons to consider. There’s the price factor—a typical set can cost about $200 (look on Groupon, but do your research and choose a reputable salon)—maintenance (you can’t wear mascara or, like, rub your eyes), and the fact that you have to sit still with your eyes closed for two hours during the application (seriously, download a podcast). But trying them before the event date is important (even if you’ve had them before) because there are a lot of options—you’ll have to choose between numerous looks, lengths, thicknesses, and curls—and it might take a couple treatments to get them perfect. The first time, I was overwhelmed by choice and ended up getting lashes that looked too natural; the second time around, Sugarlash PRO showed me a variety of “bridal-appropriate” lashes that were thicker and more voluminous. Treat it like a hair appointment: Know what you want, come prepared with photos, and communicate everything to your technician.
Having your teeth professionally whitened is a no-brainer for you and your significant other (just make a dual appointment!). It makes your whole face light up and looks insanely good in photos. I always assumed this was something I would do the week of the wedding so they looked extra sparkly. But after undergoing a serious three-hour bleaching session with cosmetic dentist Dr. Marc Lowenberg, I learned a few things. Mainly, don’t get your teeth whitened the week of your wedding! I experienced serious zingers (sharp pains in my teeth, otherwise known as one of the most uncomfortable things I’ve ever felt) and pain for two days after. “For women or men that are getting married, I tell them two weeks, because the week before they’re getting married they’re probably insanely busy and don’t want to bother with their teeth,” Dr. Lowenberg told me. So in the interest of playing it safe, go two weeks before, and then use at-home trays or strips to maintain up until the night before.
I’ve had a bit of a hair disaster this past year following a coloring appointment gone wrong (another tale for another day), but multiple days spent in a salon chair later, and I know for sure now that on my wedding day I’d like to have my hair exist in its natural dark brunette state. No ombre or balayage business. And a lot of this has to do with photos! Hear me out—adding blond to dark hair is tricky because it can turn brassy fast. You may not notice it in your bathroom mirror, but have your photo taken in different light or, even better, with a flash on a proper camera, and you’ll see what it actually looks like and how it photographs—aka how it will look on your big day. Don’t undergo a drastic color change right before your wedding; just touch up the look you’ve been doing for years, and after the wedding, feel free to try going red, or platinum, or whatever your heart desires.
You may think you’re either a spray-tan kinda person or not a spray-tan kinda person. But if you fall into the second camp and you’ve never had one (or haven’t since high school prom), well, you may want to try it out. A bronze can hide a variety of sins and make you look more toned. Plus, overly tanned orange faces, streaky wrists, and Cheerio-smelling skin isn’t really the reality anymore—the spray-tan industry has, well, evolved. Staying out of the sun and loading up on sunscreen (I’ve become one of those diligent people who use it on my hands, too) in the summer months before the wedding is crucial, because although I want my olive skin to have a subtle tan as opposed to its pasty yellow-tinged winter hue, I don’t want any of the sunspots, damage, or worse, sunburn that comes with UV rays. A really good spray tan is more like a full-body contour (or like swiping your body in Hoola Bronzer). You’ll have to pick a shade that works for you, decide how deep of a tan you want, and then—most important—wait and see how your glow changes and how long it lasts. Take photos, check it out from all angles, and pay attention to what areas fade first.