When it comes to your skin and your hair, it’s never too early to begin getting ready – and it’s never too late to start!
The two big wedding bookings to cross off the list first are the venue and the photographer, but we’re increasingly hearing that some makeup artists and hairstylists are filling popular dates – most notably Saturdays in July – two to three years in advance.
The good news is that there’s really only two things you need to do at the start of your beauty countdown: break bad habits and start new improved ones. The fundamentals? 1) Swap makeup wipes for hot-cloth cleansing (just as easy but it makes a dramatic difference). 2) Drink at least two litres of water each day. 3) Ensure you’re getting a lot of top-quality sleep. And 4) Up your intake of fruit and veg (chuck in a vitamin supplement too).
“Regular eyebrow appointments are vital,” adds Leanne Templeton, High Definition Brows Master Stylist at Yuu Beauty. “We create a specific brow design and treatment programme to achieve the look you want. We look at the end game, so we may leave some hairs others would remove, as these will help shape the brow over time.”
With six months to go, consider a series of monthly facials to get your skin in #nofilter condition (check if block booking gets a discount). Put your hair in detox mode: weekly masks, minimal colouring, regular cuts.
If you’re thinking about upgrading your smile, don’t leave it until the last minute: “Teeth straightening takes the longest,” says Dr Agnieszka Milbauer of Your Perfect Smile Dental Clinic. “For veneers, bonding and contouring, you would need a couple of months, and at least two to three weeks for teeth-whitening.”
Aim to have your hair and makeup trials booked for 12 weeks before the big day, and start to gather ideas on looks you love. This gives you enough time to arrange a follow-up appointment if you don’t feel like you’ve nailed it at your first trial.
Marj Walters, hairstylist at Glasgow’s Twisted Sister, has this advice: “Often clients have a strong idea of what they want, but their hair trial can reveal they suit something quite different. Some clients can have as many as five or six appointments!”
T minus three months is also when you should start exercising and eating healthily. To lose weight? Nope, although this can be a handy side effect! This is the stage where you will be most stressed. Releasing endorphins from exercising will boost your mood, and you’ll be surprised at how much energy you can generate by swapping dense, stodgy carbs for a rainbow plate of fresh veggies.
The last few weeks before the big day is when you should see the fruits of the past year’s efforts: silky hair, glowing skin, shapely brows and an active, nourished body that feels great from the inside out.
If you don’t do so already, add exfoliating to your bathtime routine, and pop a hand cream into your bag to apply every time you wash your hands.
Finally, schedule in some ‘me time’. A relaxing candle, scented with ultra-soothing lavender, teamed with a bubble bath and (non-wedding!) magazines, can have magical healing properties.
Repeat after me: tried and tested. Now is not the time to turn yourself into a guinea pig.
The final week is when you should have your hair cut and coloured, get a manicure and pedicure, and have lash/brow treatments and any waxing you have planned – all of which should have had a practice run in the last year.
Naturally derived products are least likely to irritate, so slather on Liz Earle’s Intensive Nourishing treatment mask (£18) to keep skin hydrated.
Text or call your makeup artist and hairstylist to confirm your booking for the big day. It’s much better to find out a week beforehand if they’ve accidentally double-booked than on the morning you’re getting hitched!
On the big day
It’s THE day at last! Among all the poppin’ bottles and trying to get your mum to stop crying, you should have a finely tuned production line for hair and makeup.
Some artists and stylists prefer the bride to go first, allowing them to take their time, while others may want to work on you a little later so your hair and makeup is freshest. Both can take up to an hour or more, so if you’re used to a quick turn-around for nights out, don’t get restless if you’re stuck in a chair when you really want to be jumping on the couch!
Communicate any alterations from your trial style before your makeup artist and hairstylist show up on the day. It’s not a big deal, but springing it on them means they might not have brought the products you need – the right rollers or more natural lashes, for example.
Even with the best will – and primer – in the world, your makeup might need a tiny top-up later on, so put together an SOS kit and trust it to your maid of honour. Snap a quick selfie and let’s go: it’s party time!