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Dress? Tick. Venue? Tick. Caterer? Tick. Pre-wedding skincare can be quite far down the list of priorities for brides-to-be, but the earlier you start to think about it, the better.
Planning a wedding is a magical, exciting time, but it can also be fraught with the pressure to both look and feel your best. Airbrushed images on social media have a lot to answer for when it comes to piling pressure onto brides-to-be, and it’s important to remember that they’re offering an obscured version of reality. The best version of you is one that’s calm, happy and present, not someone who’s spent the past 3 weeks desperately trying to obliterate their pores (and remember, everyone has pores).
Much like fad diets, quick skincare fixes won’t do you any good in the long run. Our skin prefers consistency to keep it happy, and the longer you give yourself to think about your pre wedding skincare, the better. Not only will this allow more time to see visible results, but you’ll be able to go slow and steady with any new products or ingredients – reducing the risk of any surprise reactions. Trust us, no one wants to wake up to unexpectedly red, angry skin on their wedding day.
Taking care of your skin in the build up to your wedding will take the pressure off your wedding makeup too. “When it comes to wedding makeup, your canvas is the most important thing,” advises Katie Levy, Pro Makeup Artist at Trinny London. “If your skin isn’t good then your makeup isn’t going to sit well. Instead of using lots of makeup to try and cover your skin, think about what you might be able to do to improve it.”
Step away from the skincare. Consider the below before you make any rash decisions regarding your routine.
The phrase jack of all trades, master of none, comes to mind when thinking about pre-wedding skincare. Instead of trying to overhaul your entire complexion, identify the one element you’d most like to improve. It could be reducing the appearance of hyperpigmentation, banishing blemishes or plumping fine lines. By honing in on one area, you’ll be able to focus all your time and spending, meaning better results without overwhelming your complexion. Win-win.
Not sure when to start your wedding skin prep? The answer is as early as possible. Of course that doesn’t mean you need to hot-step straight from the proposal to your dermatologist, but try and keep it front of mind when thinking about how you want to look on the day. Ideally, you want a year to six months to see real change. Taking the time to analyse your skin and think about what might be missing from your routine is a good place to start. Consider a virtual appointment with a skincare expert to discuss your routine, or use our Match2Me tool to build a personalised routine based on your skin’s key characteristics and needs.
You wouldn’t take a risk by changing your wedding venue two weeks before the big day, so why take a risk with your skincare? In the weeks, or ideally month, leading up to your wedding, avoid using any products or undergoing any treatments that you haven’t previously had. This is not the time to up your usage of potent active ingredients like alpha-hydroxy acids and retinals each, as overuse can compromise the skin barrier, which can in turn lead to dehydration and irritation. Slow, steady and consistent is always the best approach.
With a to-do list longer than the train of your dress, keeping stress to a minimum is easier said than done in the run up to your wedding. Unfortunately for overwhelmed brides-to-be, stress has a big impact on our skin. These feelings cause levels of the hormone cortisol to spike, with the body reacting by prioritising sending more of important elements like blood and oxygen to our vital organs. With our insides getting first dibs on the good stuff, our skin can be left with the scraps – the signs of which are visible on our complexions. You may find that your skin is more prone to dehydration, dullness or breakouts during periods of stress. Try to take time for yourself to unwind, and delegate jobs where possible, to reduce the impact.
Diet and mood are intrinsically linked, and we often find that we consume more caffeine, alcohol and convenience foods when we’re stressed, short on sleep or feeling overwhelmed. Quickly fruit and vegetables are replaced with sugar and salt-laden snacks, and our recommended eight glasses of water a day traded for copious coffees. Planning and preparing meals in advance can help keep you on the straight-and-narrow when it comes to consuming nutritious foods that will benefit both your body and your appearance. “Eating a balanced diet of different foods from each main food group (as well as consuming enough fluids) everyday will ensure your body receives all the nutrients it needs to thrive and glow,” advises Public Health Nutritionist Danielle Shine. A good way to counteract the barrage of beige foods is to focus on incorporating as much colour as possible into your meals.
Not sure where to start with your wedding skin prep? This five-step routine will address all concerns.
Just as good underwear is the key to any outfit, cleansing is the cornerstone of your skincare routine. By removing grime from the surface of your skin, it creates a fresh, clear canvas which allows the rest of your products to work more efficiently. If there was ever a time to trade in your trusty makeup wipes and micellar for a more sophisticated cleanse, it’s the run up to your wedding. Ideally, you should be double cleansing in the evening, using the first cleanse to whisk away makeup, SPF and dirt, and the second to give your pores a good clear-out. A balm cleanser is best suited to the first step, melting away the day, followed by a gel cleanser, but there’s no reason why you can’t simply use the same cleanser twice. In the morning, one cleanse is enough, as you’re not removing makeup or SPF.
Liquid exfoliants are our secret weapon against dull and congested skin, with different ingredients best suited to different skin concerns. If your skin is looking lacklustre, tired and uneven, or you’re finding that dead skin cells aren’t making themselves scarce quite as quickly as they once were, consider poly or alpha-hydroxy acids. These smart ingredients work by breaking down the bonds that hold dead skin cells to the surface, revealing the brighter, more radiant skin beneath. As their molecule size is larger, poly-hydroxy acids don’t travel quite as deeply as alpha-hydroxy acids, making them a good starting point for exfoliant novices or those with sensitive skin.
If it’s congestion and breakouts that are bugging you, opt instead for beta-hydroxy acid like salicylic acid. Blemishes form when dead skin cells and oil create a blockage, so by moving the dead skin cells out of the way, BHAs effectively prevent this from happening. They do a brilliant job of evicting existing breakouts, as well as stopping new ones from taking up residency on your complexion.
Serums hold the highest concentration of active ingredients in your skincare routine and are your opportunity to really hone in on any specific concerns. If it’s dullness or hyperpigmentation you want to target, then try vitamin C. Retinal is great for fine lines and uneven tone, peptides plump, hyaluronic acid will hydrate thirsty skin and niacinamide will help to reduce congestion. It’s important to note that all new skincare ingredients should be introduced slowly into your routine to check your skin is tolerating them well. This is especially true of vitamin c and retinal, which can be especially potent. Apply a couple of times a week to begin with, increasing your usage if your skin is comfortable and happy for you to do so.
“Moisturiser is key both on your wedding day and in the lead up to ensure the skin is hydrated,” explains Katie Levy. As a makeup artist, this is the first step Katie will carry out on the day. A good moisturiser will help support the skin’s barrier function by helping to keep moisture in the skin, while a great one will bring with it additional benefits, like quenching dehydration, plumping the skin and balancing oil flow. The best moisturiser for you will depend on your skin type, as you will need more or less moisture depending on how dry or oily your complexion is. Knowing how your makeup sits on top of your moisturiser will be helpful too, as you want one that perfectly preps your skin for a long-lasting base on the big day.
You wouldn’t store your pristine wedding outfit outside, so why would you neglect to protect your skin from the elements? There are two key types of UV rays to worry about when it comes to our skin, UVA and UVB. UVB wavelengths are short and concentrated, and most prominent during the summer months. They’re responsible for sunburn, and most skin cancers. UVA rays, on the other hand, are present even during the winter, and contribute to the majority of skin ageing. Their presence is why it’s so important to be wearing a broad-spectrum SPF all year round in order to protect your skin. It becomes even more essential if you are trying to combat hyperpigmentation and fine lines, and are using ingredients such as alpha-hydroxy acids and retinoids, both of which bring newer skin to the surface that is more prone to developing marks.