HOW TO: get your skin looking its best for the big day

Your skin is the base of any great makeup look – so how do you ensure that you’ve got the glow come the biggest day of your life? We ask the experts

Spotlight Bridal Makeup, Hair & Beauty sets off a radiant glow with a striking red lip (Photo: White Stag Weddings)

My relationship with skincare is very Ross and Rachel. That is to say, it’s quite on-again, off-again. Sometimes I’m a model student: a gentle cleanse twice a day, exfoliating a few times a week, toner, serum, light moisturiser for the day, a creamier one in the evening, with a supplementary face mask on a Sunday night.

Other times I fall off the wagon completely, putting my trust in the magic of micellar water (“It’s just as good as a cleanser, really”) before rolling into bed, my skin still sporting the day’s dirt and oil. The next morning’s spots tell the full story. I salute the women of South Korea, who bookend their days with routines that can incorporate up to ten steps. Ten.

When it comes to maintaining winning skin for w-day, however, there is absolutely no room for complacency with your complexion. Scratchy, disposable wipes just won’t cut the mustard anymore.

Ramilia Hair and Make-up was behind this luminous look

The good news is that (for most skin types) it’s never too late to make a difference. Take this opportunity to really work on your skin’s needs, suggests Claire Aitken of Spotlight Bridal Makeup Hair and Beauty: “Prior to your wedding, it’s all about taking extra care of your skin and paying attention to what it needs rather than getting stuck in the same routine. For example, some days your skin may need a little more care, or you may need more moisturiser from one day to the next.”

When I was growing up, my mum used to kid me on that my teenage acne was symptomatic of my “badness coming out”. I never took her seriously, but now it seems that she might actually have been half-right. For a glowing complexion, you need to think from the inside out: it’s all about a holistic approach to skincare. That means keeping an eye on what you put into your body and leading a healthy lifestyle, as well as all that good stuff you do in front of the bathroom mirror.

“Make sure you follow a balanced diet full of vitamins and skin-loving foods such as avocados, Brazil nuts and oily fish,” recommends Gillian Galbraith of Amour Love Hair and Makeup. “Aim to drink at least three litres of water a day. Good quality sleep is also very important.” And what should brides try to avoid? “Your skin’s worst enemies are stress, smoking, too much sun, being dehydrated and having a bad diet – sugar and greasy foods can cause breakouts,” she warns.

Prior to the wedding, she adds, think about incorporating extra steps into your skincare. “A good routine is imperative. You should exfoliate once a week, and use hydrating masks and a suitable moisturiser with SPF.”

Makeup by Hania pairs fluttery lashes with a flawless base

For superficial fixes, you’ll want to invest in some new products. Skin feeling a little flaky of late? You’re not the only one. “Dry and dehydrated skin is the most common issue I see,” confides Hania McIntyre of Makeup by Hania. “Using an oil or serum with vitamin C is great to combat this, and can really improve the skin’s texture. I use The Ordinary Marula Oil or Sunkissed’s Vitamin C Serum for fast results.”

For pimple-prone skin, try to resist squeezing. “Do not pick any spots – if it’s an angry red one, makeup will cover this,” promises Anne Marie McElroy, director of AMM Hair and Makeup Team. “Aloe vera gel can be used for drying out blemishes too. If it’s acne scarring you’re concerned about, I’d suggest going for a matte foundation. Avoid too much highlighter as this will just emphasise the scars.”

Of course, when you’re talking about such an important day in your life, it’s only natural that you might want to seek professional help. This is a perfectly fine idea, so long as you shop around and stay informed. “I think that it’s a sensible plan to speak to a dermatologist if you are prone to acne,” agrees Claire. “Or, alternatively, visit an aesthetics clinic and have them assess your skin and perhaps have a facial a week or so beforehand.”

From left: Amour Love Hair and Makeup made this bride’s luminous complexion shines even through her veil (photo: Peter Jaay); This bridal look is positively glowing, well done AMM Hair and Makeup Team (photo: Caro Weiss)

So, you’ve made it this far: after months of cleansing, exfoliating and general skincare sorcery, the wedding is just around the corner. What next? “Get some extra hours of sleep in if you can, and try to stick to a makeup-free face for the week preceding the big day – that way your skin will look its best,” advises Anne Marie. “Do any threading of eyebrows and top lip at least three days prior. Then, the day before, drink plenty of water, enjoy a nice bath and just look forward to the wedding!”

You can help your makeup artist create a flawless base by opting for light products when you cleanse and moisturise on the morning of the big day. “Don’t use a rich moisturiser before getting your wedding makeup done,” warns Ramilia at the Hair and Makeup Lounge in Glasgow. “Focus on applying a good primer instead.”

We can’t promise that you’ll wake up on w-day with a naturally radiant complexion, but follow these steps and you’ll at least be part of the way there – and all that water, healthy eating and extra sleep is going to make you feel fantastic regardless!