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Your pre-wedding grooming guide: hair, skin, tan & nails beauty regimen

Your pre-wedding beauty regime starts here

Hopefully you’ll also be reading the Ultimate guide to pre-wedding skincare, because there’s simply too much to squeeze in here on skincare, but at the very least, overhaul your skincare 3-4 months out and book yourself a professional facial 6-8 weeks out from your wedding. I swear by Dermalogica products and you can use ‘meg10’ to save on your investment (and it is an investment!)

This article will walk you through the best beauty regimens to follow for healthy hair, skin (body) and nails. The key to all is hydration (and relaxation) so refill your drink bottle, grab a cuticle oil, hair oil and body oil (this one’s my favourite!) and read on.

Healthy hair starts well before the wedding

We are so lucky in New Zealand with our weather, but those hot summer months can wreak havoc on our hair. While most of us take great care of our skin with daily SPF, most of us don’t think about our hair turning to straw under the sun’s glare. I’m a long-time user of hair masques, my favourite being Olaplex who also make amazing shampoo and conditioner. For summer though, Kerastase also have a ‘Soleil’ collection which works to protect your hair in three ways: with a UV Protection filter; Ceramides to reconstruct hair fibres; and mineral oils to fight frizz (essential in Auckland).

An ideal post-beach routine is the Bain Apres Soleil (literally Bath After Sun) which detangles and repairs, followed by the After Sun masque. There’s also a Micro-Voile Protecteur which acts against UVA/UVB rays and is anti-frizz.

Beyond products to apply directly to the hair, you can also benefit from taking a flaxseed oil and primrose oil orally either with pills or in smoothies. Of course, your hair will also benefit (like your skin), from eating healthy, whole foods and taking in as many nutrients as you can naturally.

Bad brows won’t ruin your big day!

Even with full brows on trend, the best of us can get carried away with the tweezers. Overplucking is a hard beauty habit to break, and while your brows will grow back even after the occasional over-pluck, you don’t want to be waiting too long for that, as your wedding day approaches.

Personally, I’d leave it to the professionals for your shaping, and use tweezers only to maintain the shape between times. If you really have overdone it, grab some Revitalash brow to help nourish the hair follicles and work towards a fuller-looking, more defined brow.

You may now kiss the bride

While much of a bride’s wedding day make-up focuses on a radiant, glowing complexion, don’t let your lips be an after thought. The ideal lipstick to wear on your wedding day is a long-lasting one, but as they can be quite drying, you really don’t want to be applying it to dry, chapped lips. Use a lip scrub to start and then apply Keihl’s buttermask. Whatever you do, don’t let your lips get sunburned, always wear a lip SPF if you’re in the sun.

Glowing skin and a healthy tan

The only healthy tan is a fake tan, but to ensure a great tan, you need to start with a great base. If you plan to tan, whether by a spray tan or an instant bronzer, it’s vital to exfoliate and hydrate your skin first (or be at risk of patchy, streaky skin – eek). Coconut sugar scrub, hydrating honey wrap and dry-brush exfoliation with warm milk bath or coconut rub and vanilla creme whip ritual… not just good enough to eat, but ever so good for your skin. If you’re doing your own tan, practice many times before doing it the week of the wedding, and make sure you’re very comfortable with the product. Bondi Sands make a great range of moisturisers which work well before and after tans, to ensure great application and extend its life.

See bottom of page for tips on choosing your foundation if you’re not using a professional makeup artist.

Lush lashes

If you’re worried about your eye make-up running down your face on the big day, or you want to set off on your honeymoon sans mascara, consider lash extensions for instant intensity and va-va-voom volume.  Yes, my lashes were extensions, which paid off on our wedding day as we went swimming at 4am! However, if you’ve never had them before, I would suggest you have them put in a couple of months earlier, just to see if you like them. They take a little getting used to, and they’re not for everyone.

Another option of course is to use a lash serum. I reviewed Flash vs Revitalash a few years ago with quite interesting results, spoiler alert, Revitalash worked much better.

Polish off your wedding day look with perfect nails

While your wedding day hairstyle and make-up are probably at the forefront of your mind, having perfect nails should not be an afterthought, because there’s only so much a pre-wedding polish can do.  No one wants to be lifting a chipped, red raw finger when it comes to the exchange of rings. there’s no other day in your life that your hands will be more photographed – holding the bouquet, cutting the cake, and of course the all-important exchange of rings. Don’t let dry cuticles, bad nail polish or rough hands ruin those photos, indulge your hands in a hydrating mask, a soothing oil massage and shellac nails which will remain flawless through the big day and well into your first couple of weeks as a newlywed.  Wearing peep-toes? Add a pedicure, and benefit from reflexology healing or a foot massage.

Ideally, you’ll be looking after your hands, nails and cuticles for weeks, if not months before your wedding (the nail plate can take six months to grow from root to tips), the polish just being the final ‘lick of paint’ to finish the look.

10 tips for top nails
  1. If you’ve committed nail no-no’s like over-cutting (or cutting at all, according to some experts) or other sins, you’ll want to allow longer to prep.  If you’re a nail-biter, consider having acrylic or gel nails for a couple of months in advance, to allow your nails to heal, and whatever you choose for the big day will be far more photogenic.
  2. For normal nails that just need a tidy-up, 1 or 2 manicures before the big day.
  3. Hydrate! The quality of your wedding day manicure (how good it looks and how long the polish lasts) depends no the quality of your hands and nails before you get painting.  If cracked, ridged or dehydrated, chipped nails will be as inevitable on your wedding day as the groomsmen’s questionable dance-floor moves.  Apply hand creams and nail/cuticle oils (this one is most recommended by nail techs) in the lead up to the big day, as often as you remember. If you have particularly dry hands, a masque will work wonders, and a strengthening serum is delicious for cuticles while boosting nail growth.
  4. Apply cuticle oil every night before bed to give your nails on overnight nourishing treat.
  5. Always keep nails protected with a polish or at the very least a nail hardener or strengthener.
  6. If you’re wanting something other than a simple polish, head to an expert – or else you risk having a messy mani.  Honestly, though, I’d steer away from anything other than simple – nail art dates, and wedding photos are forever.  If you must, a light ombre or little sparkle will do (or have nail art on your toes!)
  7. Gel nails are the easiest way to ensure you’re chip-free on the day, but if you’re over budget in every other way, of course you can give yourself a tidy home-manicure, or have all the bridal party help each other out.  Of course, if you’re wearing peep-toes or heading off for a jandal-clad honeymoon, you’ll also be wanting a pretty pedicure, which you might as well do yourself.
  8. First, soak your finger or toes, use a foot file on your hard skin, exfoliate your whole body including cuticles and then gently push back cuticles with a towel.  Apply body moisturiser all over hands and feet. Now just wipe over nails with nail polish remover and apply your base coat, polish and top coat followed by cuticle oil.
  9. Take care of the bridesmaids too, set aside an evening (preferably the night before the wedding day) and have a polish party with your ‘maids.  It’s fun to match the colour scheme, but if you want to keep everyone happy, the a classic French or modern nude or pink.
  10. Colour-wise: soft pink has always been the most popular shade for brides, however, the colour of the bride’s dress, shoes, flowers and make-up influence the nail shade choice. Cool tones and colours should be reflected in the polish selection.  If you’re holding red roses in your bouquet, you might even want to have red nails.

Choosing your wedding fragrance

Scientifically, the olfactory nerve is close to the brain area which is connected to emotion and memory.  If you use a particular perfume only on special occasions for instance the perfume you use on your wedding day is the perfume you will use on your anniversary and other special moments, will have a huge impact on your memory. The smell of what you choose to wear on your wedding day will forever be a reminder of the special moments.

Old or New?
Most brides will ask themselves whether wear a new perfume specially selected for that day or use your favorite perfume?  You might choose to wear the perfume you have always used, perhaps because your fiance fell in love with you while you wore that same fragrance.  However, most brides like to select a completely new and special kind of fragrance for the wedding day, and create a new fragrance memory.  If you do opt to wear your favourite fragrance, keep in mind that it’s often photographed in the pre-wedding shots, and you may want to have a new bottle for that reason.

Give it some thought and make sure to choose something you’ll be happy to treasure the memory of forever.

So how do you choose?
There are many different varieties of fragrances or perfumes, so finding one that is suited to you personally is very important. Do you love fruity, floral and feminine fragrance or prefer warm, sultry, spicy scents? Understanding your type is essential in helping you choose the best fragrance for your wedding.

There’s a few things to take into consideration: –
– If you’re a Spring or Summer bride you’ll be more likely to choose something floral or citrusy, while Winter better suits orientals, woods and spices.
– You still want to feel like yourself, so don’t force the new ‘It’ Fragrance if it doesn’t feel right.
– While it’s nice to surprise your partner on the day with some things (the dress, for instance), you actually don’t want to surprise him with a fragrance he inexplicably dislikes, so you may wish to involve him in your decision.
– Fragrances develop over the course of a day with the warmth of your skin.

Most importantly, then, you need to wear it.  Try it on, wear it in – that’s what the testers are for, so take advantage of them.  I suggest you pop into your local department store and try these beautiful floral, fresh and feminine perfumes which would be perfect for a wedding.

Choosing your wedding foundation

The right foundation is the only way to ensure a smooth, glowing and even complexion, and is essential to making the rest of your makeup look natural.

Whether picking your wedding day foundation (if you’re doing your own make-up), or looking for a new product for everyday-wear

How to pick the perfect foundation shade

Many women wear the wrong shade of foundation – that is, it’s too light or dark for their skin. The most important aspect of choosing a foundation is the colour/shade. Most department stores and make-up counters will have experts to guide you, but incase you find yourself navigating solo, follow these tips.

  1. In natural light, swatch the foundation from your cheek to your jaw and gently blend it into your skin.
  2. Do the same with another foundation that’s one shade lighter and another that’s a little darker. The shade that best blends in with your skin colour should be your pick (rather than changing the colour of your skin).
  3. Double-check the shade it against your forehead, since some women tend to be darker there.

Not all foundation lines will have the perfect match to your skin, so if you don’t feel like the colour is a perfect match, look for another range – there’s plenty to choose from.

The right foundation solution

Your skin type will indicate what the best type of foundation suits you. If your skin is oily, you’re best to use an oil-free liquid, or a powder/mineral foundation. Mineral makeup often works well on oily skin, because the dry particles absorb moisture.

If your skin is usually dry, choose a liquid or hydrating powder foundation. Liquids and sticks both have a moisturising consistency and usually offer more coverage. In general, liquid foundation is suitable for all skin types (an oil-free formula if you tend to get more ‘shiny’ than glowy).

If you have combination skin, you can apply a powder foundation strategically over your liquid foundation, which allows you to distribute more of the oil-absorbing makeup where you need it and less where you don’t.

How to choose the level of coverage right for you

Women choosing a foundation for their wedding day are often torn between wanting to look ‘natural’ while also wanting to look perfect. It’s a fine balance between having coverage that lasts all day (and night), looks good in photos all day, but doesn’t overwhelm. For this reason, many women hire a professional make-up artist to assist, but if this is out of budget or logistically unsuitable, you can definitely achieve a professional look with the right products.

My advice would be to let ‘you’ shine through, rather than wanting to look too ‘perfect’, so if you usually show your freckles, let them show through! With use of under-eye and targeted concealer, you can still look your best with a light coverage foundation

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