There is but on one occasion when I’ll sanction – no, encourage – a face free of SPF to hit the great outdoors. The occasion: your wedding day. My reasons are many: 1) A single day of incidental sun damage is hardly going to really impact skin; 2) For make-up to look good and last it needs to be applied in fine layers – an SPF, though nowadays rarely gloopy, will add an unnecessary extra coat and, 3) SPF can flashback in pictures, making a face appear ghoulishly pale.
That aside, my advice if you’re marrying is to consider your look a few months prior and then dedicate time and whatever spare cash you might have to spend on beauty to whatever it is that makes you feel beautiful – if lashes are you thing, invest in a lash potion to make them super-lustrous, if you’re all about dewy skin, a course of facials may just pitch you into supermodel glow territory, if a cloud of a scent makes you come alive, go and find one that makes you feel sensational. Here are some more ideas //
Skincare / Start early. Whatever you do, don’t get to a fortnight before the big day and decide to have a peel – I was once making up a bride who’d done just this and MUCH corrective work went into her base. Just don’t do it. Instead, implement a gentle routine (here’s a rough guide to a simple way to keep skin happy) ASAP, and seek the advice of a good facialist who’ll be able to tell you where improvements can be made within the timeframe you have. Note: if a huge spot pops up right before the big day, try dabbing ice on it through a cloth to bring down inflammation.
Don’t Forget Your Body / You’ll probably have heard lots of people say that your skin doesn’t end at your neck and so neither should your skincare, but it’s especially important prior to your wedding – whether your dress reveals flesh or not. Soft, smooth skin unrevealed is a little like wearing great underwear: others may not know it’s there, but you do and it’ll raise your confidence as a result. Body brush and then moisturise daily, and treat problematic body skin as you would you face (a quick cheat – chronically dry: a good body oil like Sarah Chapman Overnight Body Treatment, pilaris keratosis – bobbly skin that looks like goose bumps – : Ameliorate exfoliant, acne: SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Cleansing Wash).
For Seriously Abundant Hair / Whatever the length of your hair, I’m guessing that if you’re getting married you want it to look lustrous and healthy – that stands for lashes/brows too. A few things will help with this:
- Get popping omegas. They’ll improve the quality of your hair vastly and also make your skin look better. Make sure you get one that’s decent quality – I trust Udo’s Choice (get the capsules – drinking the oil is agonising) or the Advanced Nutrition Programme.
- Try a thickening product before you head down the extension root – I really like Aveda Thickening Tonic and Sacha Juan’s shampoo and conditioner to swell the hair shaft slightly. If you have thinning hair or sparse patches, a trichologist may be able to find the cause – try Philip Kingsley.
- Brows: Rapidbrow. Lashes: Rapidlash. Both brought back my lashes and brows from the dead prior to my wedding.
- Condition. Easily overlooked, but for hair to look nice, it needs to look healthy. Either head into a salon for an Olaplex treatment, or treat at home with Philip Kingsley’s peerless Elasticizer.
Tan Notes / Before you decide to go for a liberal application of St. Tropez, remember that the white of the dress will automatically make your skin tone look deeper – and that a well-placed blush can really bring a wan face to life. That noted, decide how deep you want your tan to look and do a trial run. Ideally you’d fake tan a day or two before your wedding and be diligent on the moisturising thing post so you don’t end up with any patchiness.
… And On Teeth / You’ll be smiling for most your wedding day (hopefully). If this fills you with terror, for God’s sake don’t go out and buy a whitening kit/blindly book in for veneers – a smile bleached of character is pretty creepy. I’d suggest finding a dentist who has an eye for how teeth can be improved without making too many changes (and, bonus, will therefore save you money overall). The best I’ve found for this is Dr. Mervyn Druian, who refused to do anything bar gently contour my front teeth to make them appear more uniform (I wanted a brace – he strongly cautioned against doing so and was right).
Hands & Feet / Pedicures are glorious things and you will absolutely want one before you walk down the aisle. If you’re DIYing, trying following this routine. If you’re going somewhere, try Margaret Dabbs or Cowshed. Both also offer cracking pedis/manis. Do this a few days before your wedding if your nails don’t tend to chip (I did mine the day before – my nails shake off polish whenever they can).
On The Day Of / Don’t do anything different bar a (tested) face mask on the morning of. I opted for Institut Esthederm Eye Patches and Sisley Black Rose Mask while I was eating breakfast for an injection of moisture. If you’re nervy, also make sure you have Aromatherapy Associates Breathe Essence to inhale when it all feels a bit much. I tend to also always have This Works In Transit Rollerball in my bag when I’m around brides – stiff shoulders aren’t agreeable on such a monumental day.
Perfume / I know I’m always banging on about the relationship between scent and memory but that’s because it’s so very true. Unless you have a signature poison, choose something you can revisit to remind you of the day and – if you don’t want to smell like half the congregation – mix two complementary scents or go niche – Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Byredo, Annick Goutal, Diptyque and Penhaligon’s all make brilliant scents.
Make-Up I Rate For Brides / Every face is different and there’s therefore no absolute formula, though I rely on these an awful lot to create a ‘classic’ look:
Primers / Eve Lom’s Primer preps skin for make-up and gives it that ‘juicy’ look. If I’m doing bridal make-up, I’ll whack on a mask, remove it so skin is totally clean and then follow with this. If skin is very dry, pop a hyaluronic serum on before it. For more ‘health’, I either use a bit of the Becca highlighter (see below) mixed with the Lom, or crack out one of Tom Ford’s Illuminating Primers.
Foundations / MAC Face & Body is an enduring classic that offers sheer coverage when buffed on (but can be beefed up by applying more) and comes in a huge range of colours. I also like Oxygenetix on brides (it’s glowy but offers a shade more coverage than the MAC) and the Dior Airbrush Foundation whisked onto skin with a brush if skin’s a little oilier.
Concealer / Estee Lauder Double Wear mixed with Clinique Airbrush is really good under the eyes for concealing darkness, while Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage is the best spot-covering concealer bar none.
Powder / Even if you’re after healthy sheen, a powder is a good idea – just grab a soft fan brush and dance the smallest amount over your t-zone until you’re happy with the finish (and ask a bridesmaid to top you up if needed before pictures). I like Sensai Cellular Performance Pressed Powder, Jurlique Rose Powder and Laura Mercier’s Translucent Powder.
Illumination, Blush and Bronzing / For highlighting, Becca’s Shimmering Skin Perfectors can’t be beaten – mix them with the primer for a backlit glow or tap onto high points (making sure to blend the edges properly) after foundation’s been applied. If in doubt, opt for Nars Orgasm blush – it suits everyone. When bronzing (subtly!), try something that’s only a few shades deeper than your skin to keep things fresh. Avoid glitter and shimmer. A bronzer from Guerlain’s Terracotta range is always a safe bet.
Eyeshadow / Deep, rich browns will offer the most flattering look – though steer clear of really warm palettes if you tend to look washed out. Tom Ford Cocoa Mirage is the best palette I’ve found for enhancing eyes and the browns are fairly cool so work on pink complexions too. bareMinerals The Truth is also a really nice palette and the Bobbi Brown’s Gel Eyeliners are reliable and should stay put all day.
Lashes / If doing ‘classic’ pretty, you’ll need to curl lashes to open eyes. Troy Surratt and Shu Uemura make the best eyelash curlers. If you have a preferred mascara, buy it in a waterproof formula (to be sure, to be sure), or try a tubing mascara – I really rate DHC’s, which has a small wand so you can be very precise with application.
Brows / I prefer a really natural finish on brides so usually opt for Suqqu Liquid Eyebrow Pen or an Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Dip Pomade stroked through sparse areas to fill brows. Always set in place – RMK Brow Gel has very strong hold, though to save some pounds try spraying a hairspray onto an old toothbrush and brushing that through brows.
Brushes / You’ll need a few to make things look seamless. I’d recommend getting the MAC 217 to blend concealer and eyeshadow (get two – they’re not overly pricy and washing a brush and waiting for it to dry on your wedding day would be really annoying), and a soft cheek brush for blush/bronzer. Try Real Techniques Bold Metals in 300 – the head is small enough to offer precision. For the eyeliner, grab Jane Iredale’s Detail Brush or Zoeva’s Slant Brush.
Lips / To condition, I love By Terry Baume de Rose (and, actually, often use this mixed with lipstick for the final look). If you’re looking for a decent deep ‘your lips but enhanced’ look, try Laura Mercier Bare Lips. If you prefer a gloss, Perricone MD No Lipgloss Lipgloss is a great shade of rich pink.