Everybody’s wedding priorities are different.
Getting your skin in the best shape of your life may have been at the top of your priority list since the moment you said “I do”, or it may just be the last thing on your mind even now while you’re busy planning everything from honeymoons to centerpieces.
Regardless, you’re wedding’s approaching fast and now’s the time to think about how your skin will look on the day.
Here you’ll find the FULL pre-wedding skin prep regimen and plan for brides (AND grooms), starting 3 months out from the wedding. Don’t worry if you’re closer than that though, just start as soon as possible and let’s get glowing! but first, you need to ask yourself…
What does wedding ready skin look like?
First of all, let’s quickly touch on why you want to be treating your skin extra nicely right now.
Looking fresh, relaxed and youthful – like the best version of you – is kind of everyone’s dream on their wedding day. It’s supposed to be one of the high points of your life, where you’ve found the love of your life and are celebrating your long life together.
On the day, not only will you have to probably last more than 12 hours meeting people, hugging, dancing and sweating, but there will be photos that’ll last a lifetime. You want to look your best and avoid any surprise breakouts to make your makeup artist’s job as easy as can be.
Surely, you think, your usual routine of a quick cleanse in the shower, makeup wipes when you remember and an anti-ageing serum you scrounged from the bottom of your drawer is fine, right? Wrong!
Good skin is predictable skin, and to ensure that there’s some steps you’ll want to get ahead on. By starting in advance, you’ll really give yourself a chance to nail the system, iron out any problems, and ultimately get your wedding face in tip top shape. (Plus, I highly encourage you to get your groom in on the action!)
Checklist for things to organise/book/do for your skin in the lead up to your wedding, from soonest to last minute:
Start a consistent basic daily routine
When: as soon as you’re engaged (or earlier).
Why: This is the #1 way to get predictably good skin (or as close to it as possible). You don’t want to be using no daily skin care products by the time of your wedding, because that’s a recipe for dull and congested skin. But you also don’t want to be throwing new ingredients at it last minute either, unless you’re asking for a breakout or bad reaction. Picking your core 4-5 products ASAP and sticking to them is key.
What: Lucky for you, I’ve covered everything you could possibly need to know about building a reliable skin care routine from scratch. Focus on mild exfoliation + acne protection 2 x per week. Do NOT skip the sunscreen!
Book in for facials
When: once fortnightly beginning 3 months out (6 total).
Why: Facials get you over the hurdle from looking so-so to looking really special. Plus, you can also speak to the nurse, aesthetician or facialist to get advice on your skin type, routine and goals. You want to start early with getting treatments to find what works and kick off the snowball effect that comes from a few treatments in a row. Just don’t fall prey to sales tactics; spas are often partnered with brands they are trying to sell and they’re overpriced!
What: I recommend LED treatments and focusing on hydration. LED (light emitting diode) treatments are session of laying under coloured lamps. Sounds crazy, but it’s essentially risk-free, relaxing, affordable, and yet able to go beyond what your daily skin care products can do. Otherwise, let your treating practitioner know that you have your wedding coming up and want to focus on soothing and hydration. It’s the easiest way to get maximum results (beautiful, luminous skin) without any risk of exacerbating current problems or running into unexpected reactions.
Choose + test out your makeup
When: 1 month out.
Why: If you’re doing your own makeup on your wedding day, you need to test the combo for colour matching, possible reactions, compatibility and longevity. By giving yourself plenty of time, you’ll be able to make sure everything works seamlessly in the way you want it to, and make any tweaks needed so your base makeup looks as good as possible on the day.
(If you’re going with a makeup artist instead, make sure you book in your trial session around this time so they can experiment and adjust as needed to make sure you’re both happy with the outcome.)
What: First, you’ll need to pick out the products you’re using. Feel free to reach for something already in your makeup bag, or go buy something special.
Primer – Decide between hydrating or longwear based on your skin. Take note of the formulation – it will often be either high in water or silicone content. Try to choose a foundation that matches this base, as otherwise they may repel and sit poorly on the skin.
Foundation – Choose a matte foundation. Strategically placed highlighter is better than a glowy base in the case of foundation you’ll be wearing all day. Then you can delay sweaty skin and control and limit where the light will bounce back, which also makes concealing uneven tone and acne better. The level of coverage is up to you. The foundation you choose be SPF free (we’ll discuss why later). As mentioned, it should match primer in formulation.
Powder – Any powder should do except “HD” powder – while it looks great in real life, the photos will turn out oddly (again we’ll discuss why later).
Apply them all as you intend to on the day, then take photos when it’s applied fresh (flash and natural light if possible) and then wear the makeup for as long as possible. Bonus points if you get sweaty in it. Then take another set of photos to compare. You want the makeup to wear gracefully – no running, smearing, patches, yellowing etc.
Convince the groom to wear some skin products on the day
When: 1 month out.
Why: Photographs don’t show us as we truly are. Especially ones with flash. And given so many wedding run into the evening, or flash is used by the photographer for other reasons, it’s likely you’ll be exposed to it. And unfortunately, bare skin can come across as SHINY on film. If there’s a man involved in your wedding, he may want to wear powder on the day for the sake of photos, to keep foreheads from reflecting or sweat ruining the shots.
What: The same powder you use, applied a short while before the ceremony should do wonders. It’s just the convincing that may be difficult. Now is the time to bring it up and see if they’re up to wearing it. Reassure them that the powder is translucent and invisible to the naked eye, but could save photographs on the day. And if your fiancé isn’t on the same page as you re: men using ‘women’s’ products like skin care, send him this article.
Use hydrating sheet masks
When: twice a week beginning 1 month out.
Why: Sheet masks are relaxing, hydrating, and fun. They bring you much needed moisture and enjoyment in the stressful pre-wedding weeks.
What: I can’t live without my Dr. Jart. Ceramidin masks.
Psst: get any injectables or botox done now (2-4 weeks out).
I personally have had experience getting botox in both my eyebrows and chin. The difference is astounding – I look more relaxed and fresh, especially is photos. I would definitely recommend getting any treatments you’ve been thinking about before your wedding so you feel as confident as possible on the day. You’ll want to get injectables done now, with plenty of time to give it a chance to settle in and make any adjustments if needed.
The key before your wedding is to be conservative. It’s no good if you look like a totally different person and won’t recognise yourself looking back.
Wash your pillows at least once each week
When: beginning 3 weeks out.
What: If you aren’t already in the habit, get used to throwing your sheets in the washer more consistently now.
Why: You may just prevent that zit from all the nights spent tossing and turning on a dirty pillow from showing up on your wedding day.
Learn to face massage
When: 2 weeks out.
Why: It’ll de-stress you in the lead up to the event, and also get your lymphatic drainage along.
What: I do facial massage with my cleansing oil each night in the bath or shower.
When: on the day of the wedding.
Why: No, you’re not having a senior moment. I did just tell you a second ago to never skip a day of sunscreen. But this is the one exception. You’ve probably heard of or experienced flashback – the bright white cast that turns up in flash photography of people sometimes. It’s caused by the light-reflecting pigments in some sunscreens. (It’s also the reason why you want to avoid HD face powder – those same mineral pigments are to blame for a white, ghostly smear wherever it’s put.) If possible, give the sunscreen a miss just for the day to make sure you don’t end up regretting it later.
What: If you are not able to avoid sunscreen (e.g. you have an outdoor ceremony planned), just ensure you’re using a sunscreen free from titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. A great affordable chemical-only sunscreen is Neutrogena Clear Face.
Apply base makeup as late as possible
When: on the day of the wedding.
Why: Put on that primer, foundation, concealer and powder you chose, and any other face makeup, as late as you can in the morning. Try to organise your hair to be styled beforehand, for example. This is to keep your skin looking fresh a little bit longer, hopefully through into the reception and photos.
Final step: Enjoy yourself! Whether you got a stray pimple or your redness flares up from all the dancing and laughing, just make wonderful memories on your wedding day. I can truly say that you won’t remember your skin looking back at all.