Head to Toe BeautyEverything you need to know to look your absolute best when you walk down the aisle
By contributing writer Stephanie Jacob
While we know you’re beautiful just the way you are, if you want to step up your beauty game for your wedding day the hair, makeup, skin, and nail options are bigger and better than ever. We live in the glam-squad era, after all. This is the ultimate high-maintenance list so you can go all in…or not. How much glam time you take on is up to you. Either way, planning your look for the big day and securing beauty appointments should start early. Here’s a guide to what to do when.
Twelve to Nine Months Before the Wedding
• Make an appointment with your dermatologist, both for a medical and cosmetic consultation (to take place nine months before your big day) and a just-in-case appointment for the day before your wedding to treat any last-minute stress breakouts, says Meggan R. Newland, dermatologist and medical director at Saint Luke’s Dermatology Specialists.
• Schedule your initial hair and makeup consultations. Bring photos of your dress, images of hair and makeup you like—there’s no shortage of inspo on Instagram and Pinterest—look at the pros’ portfolios, and make sure they’re available on your date. Popular ones get booked a year or more in advance, says Hilary Embry of Hilary Farrell Hair & Makeup Design in Kansas City.
• Book your hair and makeup trials. These can take place the day of your consult—before locking in the hair stylist or makeup artist—or after, one to two months before the big day. Schedule them for the same day along with a dress fitting. “There is no substitution for seeing the full look,” says Embry.
• See your dermatologist. They can prescribe a plan to treat acne and dry-skin issues, recommend the right skincare regimen, and discuss goals such as brightening or smoothing that may require laser treatments, peels, microdermabrasion, or injectables like Botox. “Good habits and good skincare don’t happen overnight,” says Newland. Start now to allow enough time to see improvements from new products or medications—and to make changes if your skin freaks out.
• Begin laser treatments with your dermatologist for hair removal or to get rid of brown spots and redness on the face, neck, and other areas of skin that’ll be on display.
• Schedule regular cut and color appointments (about every six to eight weeks). If you want to go back to a more natural hair color, start now so there’s enough time to get it right. If you’re growing out bangs or layers, consistent trims are your golden ticket, says Molly McPheter, stylist and owner of Roots & Branches Salon in the River Market.
• Book a facial tailored to your skin type. It’ll treat your neck and décolleté, too—a bonus if your dress shows off those areas. Consider adding dermaplaning, which exfoliates facial skin and removes peach fuzz so “makeup goes on like a dream,” says Nancy White, esthetician at Bijin Salon and Spa in Prairie Village. If you like the results, schedule the same facial once a month until your wedding.
• Start waxing legs, bikini line, and upper lip.
• Schedule a brow-grooming appointment. Coaxing beautiful arches takes time, especially if brows have never been shaped by a pro, have been groomed incorrectly, or need time to grow, says Maria Estelle, celebrity brow and skin artist with a Lee’s Summit location. This is the time to try tinting if she suggests it. Book monthly sessions between now and the wedding—and don’t touch them between appointments.
• Try injectables like Botox, which can soften lines caused by squinting and smiling and help eyes appear more open in photos. The effects last three to four months so if you like them, schedule another appointment for one month prior to the wedding day, says Newland.
Four to Three Months
• Start a prescription or non-prescription lash enhancer if you want Bambi-like fringe without extensions or false lashes.
• Have a consultation with a nail technician and book a manicure and pedicure for a few days before the wedding. Bring any inspiration—a Pinterest board, photos of your flowers, shoes, or dress—and have a trial run, suggests Nicole Sanchez, master nail technician and educator at Beauty Brands in Lonetree, Colorado. They can also put you on the path towards longer, stronger, healthier nails.
• Groom your brows. If they’re in good shape, maintain visits with your pro. This isn’t the time to try someone you haven’t researched.
• Have your hair trial. Consider a backup style for humid or wet weather and if you’d like one look for the ceremony and another for the reception, says McPheter. Come prepared with your veil, accessories, and dress photos, and wear a white top. You and your stylist should both take lots of photos, in case one set gets lost. Wear the style for several hours to be sure it holds.
• Have your makeup trial. Once the final look has been decided, write down every product used along with key notes on how they were applied. Buy the lip color and any others you want for touchups. Snap lots of photos from different angles, both inside and out, says Embry, and test the makeup by going back to work, running errands, or heading out for dinner or drinks.
• Book a spray tan. If you like the color and technician, book one for three days before your wedding. Make note of the color and technique used along with what prep you did before and after, says Courtney Pals-Siebert, president of Elite Body Bronzing and spraytanbiz.com in Kansas City.
• Try an eyelash lift and tint. If you dig it, repeat it one week before your wedding.
• Get your last facial. Skip extractions to avoid upset skin.
• Get a final hair trim and color touch-up.
• Wax legs, bikini, and upper lip so redness has time to clear up.
• Have your final brow shaping four days before the wedding. If sparse areas remain, have your makeup artist fill them in, says Estelle.
• Get your final spray tan. Late afternoon appointments are best so you can sleep in the fresh tan and shower the next morning, says Pals-Siebert. Whatever you do, avoid chlorine.
• Book a mani-pedi before your spray tan, says Sanchez, and a just-in-case touch-up with your nail tech for the day before the wedding. If you get your nails done post tan, skip exfoliating soaks or scrubs which can fade the color, and opt for a polish change only, says Pals-Siebert.
• Pack your beauty touch-up kit, including blotting papers.
Day of the Wedding
• Relax, enjoy, and have fun, you beauty.