STELLAR’S No Bullsh*t Guide To Bridal Beauty
Vicki Notaro tells it like it is when it comes to getting wedding ready.
I’ve been around the block when it comes to beauty, and also when it comes to weddings. I’ve only had the one, mind, but one is enough to know what you need to know about your face and body on the big day.
I was going to write a big feature on traditional bridal beauty, with loads of celebrity inspo pics, but when it came down to it, it felt disingenuous, and that’s because in reality there is no such thing as ‘bridal beauty’, really. There are countless different looks you can choose, no wrong or right decisions, and it goes way beyond what colour lippie you eventually decide on.
So as someone with access to the pros and the products, and with the benefit of recent hindsight, let me break it down without the buzzwords, the rules, or the crap.
Start well in advance
At least six months before your wedding, your skin should have settled in to its routine. Don’t introduce anything new that could irritate or upset your face or body! I visited a dermatologist for
a consultation on at-home products (IMAGE Skincare is bae now), and in the lead up, I had three mild peels – one three months before, one six weeks before, and a pre-event peel (very mild) just one week before.
To tan or not to tan?
In my case, it was always going to be tan, and I had a fabulous Bellamianta spray all over two days before (which gave me time to even out any patches with gradual tan, but thankfully, there were none). I had a trial one for my hen so I knew what to expect. Some brides just don’t want or need it though, and that’s totally cool. Just make sure you’re regularly exfoliating and moisturising every single day.
Look after yourself from the inside out
It kind of goes without saying, but you need to take care of your whole self to truly gleam. Eat well, drink almost too much water, take supplements for hair, skin and nails and get enough rest – the only way to ensure natural radiance!
You want to look like yourself on your wedding day…
…not some perfectly prescriptive idea of of a bride you have in your head, you, but at your radiant best. So in order to do that, you have to empty your mind of what you *should* look like, and focus on what you *do* look like. What’s your skin type? What’s your beauty routine like? What kind of make-up do you normally wear?
Only you can decide what kind of look you’re going for, because there are countless permutations. But my advice is, if you’re a gal that normally loves a full brow and a strong lip, you’re not going to be content with the softly-softly approach that is par for the course with bridal make-up. My day-to-day look is highly defined with winged liner, even on a shitty Monday, so I knew I’d be incorporating that into my look – otherwise, I wouldn’t have recognised myself.
Get someone you trust wholeheartedly to do your make-up – even if that’s you. Make-up artists are brilliant – they’re professional, they know tips and tricks you don’t, and they’re efficient on what is a stressful morning. However, there is no golden rule that says you must have one, and
if you do, only book one that you are one hundred percent certain is going to listen, and to recreate the look you want.
Several of my besties are MUAs, blessed as I am, so I knew I’d be in fantastic hands (thanks Laura!) but if you are more comfortable going it alone, do it. Just choose your products wisely, practise loads in advance and give yourself more than enough time that morning to preen. I’d say 90 minutes, minimum.
Start at the very beginning
What products of yours do you absolutely love, and can’t live without? Whether it’s concealer, foundation, contour, brow products or all of the above, do not be afraid of using them on your big day – in fact, I’d say don’t use anything but the foundation you rely on to make you look your best on a normal Friday night out.
Ditto your other face-saving products. You use them every other day and rely on them! Get your basics straight, no matter if you’re using a MUA or DIYing. A good makeup artist will happily incorporate them into your wedding look.
…Then add colour
At your make-up trial, try a couple of lip and eye colours. I thought I was going to go for a strong pink lip on the day, but after my trial I went softer and more neutral, bigging up the eyes instead. You just never know, what might suit you on a night out may not be appropriate for a day time event, and remember, you don’t want your look to date either.
Go for longwear products
It is a long day, with tears and kissing, and sweating! Choose products that will go the distance. If you have dry skin, choose something hydrating that won’t cake or look flat. If you’re oily like me, choose something specially formulated to work with your skin – ideally something containing silicone to soak up pesky grease!
I didn’t want to worry about my lippie rubbing off on my chin (or my new husband!) so I went for a matte, liquid lip (good ol’ Kylie Jenner’s Koko K) and my MUA used Inglot’s AMC Gel Liner, which is black, thick and Does. Not. Budge. Waterproof mascara is also a very good idea!
Top tip: Take some practice photos with the flash on to make sure you’re happy with the finish of your foundation, and that there’s no white flashback – some foundations look grand in real life, but may have underlying chalkiness from SPF that’ll show up any differences between face and body.
Trial anything unusual you’re thinking of having, whether it’s professional brows or lashes, or even just a new type of strip lash or glue – you do not want any unpleasant surprises or allergies on the day!
Bag it up
Not at all brides carry handbags, but you’ll need someone to mind your pressed powder compact and your lippie and liner throughout the day. Like I said, there’ll be eating, drinking, kissing, crying and dancing, so you’ll want to touch up.
Up or down?
I couldn’t settle on a hairstyle; the ones I liked on Pinterest actually didn’t look nice on me, and I had my poor stylist tormented. So my advice is to first decide if you’re having your hair up, or down. Lots of brides go up as it’s just the done thing, but remember, this is a personal decision. You’ll have to look at these pictures for life! Not sure? Try half-up, half-down, or swept to the side. at way you’ll still look ‘done’, without looking too different.
I wanted Princess hair, which I believe is quite common. So not only did I have my full-head of extensions (which I already had for a couple of years), I got them in a longer length, and added in two layers of clip-ins. I am not blessed folically.
You do you, and don’t be afraid to experiment. I ended up being nice and warm under my layers of hair, with no need for a bolero or wrap!
Think of the veil
Or headpiece, hair band, floral crown etc, etc… Your hair do must work with what you have on your head. When you have your trial(s), bring it and make sure it all incorporates well, and that you’re happy with how it feels. Again, it’s a long day, and you want to be as comfortable as you are glam.
Colour you happy
Get your colour done three weeks before the big day. That way it will still be fresh without any pesky greys or fading, but it will have evened out if it was a bit deep or brassy – or there’s still time to fix it before the wedding itself. Believe me, 20ish days out is the optimum time to book that appointment! And if there are any stragglers on the day, they can be sorted with a tiny burst of root spray.
Just like with your skincare, don’t reinvent the wheel. Use the same shampoo and conditioner as you do for a big night out, and ditto hairspray and styling products. is is not the time to realise you have an allergy to something!
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