As the bride, you're the star of a major production. Are you ready for your close-up? These days, bridal beauty goes far beyond professional hair and makeup. If you're looking for soft glowing skin and a dazzling smile, you'll need some expert advice to help you look your bridal best from top to bottom.
Make That Appointment
In the series of appointments a bride makes when planning her wedding, scheduling a salon visit may be one of the most important. Even if you consider yourself to be a low-maintenance bride, your wedding is a great excuse to give yourself the spa treatment. But don't wait until the last minute.
"The salon is usually booked solid on Fridays," notes Kelli Hosso, salon and spa manager of Charles Scott Salon and Spa in Rocky River. "That's the day of indulgence."
Many salons, like Charles Scott, offer special bridal packages designed to accommodate large groups that often extend beyond the bridal party. "The biggest thing I've seen is kind of a pre-bachelorette party," Hosso says. "Pampering and then a night on the town."
She recommends scheduling appointments four to six months in advance along with a trial run of makeup and hair at least two weeks before the wedding.
Hair, Makeup and Nails â€” Oh My!
Start your wedding beauty regimen with the basics by giving your hair, face and hands special attention.
Your hairstyle has to have staying power, whether you choose a traditional upswept do, casual curls or a short and sassy style. Once again, Hosso recommends planning ahead. "We like everyone to do trials, take a look at your veil and get your input," she says.
It's harder than ever to describe a typical bridal hairstyle, with so many "more mature" brides walking down the aisle, says Denise Zingale, owner of D'Maz Lifestyle Salon in Woodmere. "We're working around a lot of hairpieces. Some of them don't go with full veils."
Zingale adds that brides should choose a wedding hairstyle that's not too different from their everyday look. "A lot of women right now are wearing very chic styles â€” shorter, sharper, more sophisticated," she says, so the old vision of a veiled bride with her hair up won't look as good on them. "You don't the want bride going in with something she's not accustomed to."
Choosing makeup that will last through tears of joy, a photo session and the last dance is essential. This is your day to glow, not shine. The challenge is to wear enough makeup to look picture perfect, yet still be able to recognize yourself in the mirror.
"The key to looking natural is to not go to the extreme," advises Hosso. "Trust the judgment of the professional, but voice your opinion, too."
She adds that brides shouldn't wear so little makeup that they appear washed out in their pictures. She also advises brides against wearing eye makeup and lip color that is too dark.
"I definitely suggest a trial run three to four weeks in advance of your wedding," she says. "Shimmery white shadows are popular and bronzing keeps the eyes simple for brides that don't want to wear a lot of makeup."
Remember, the goal is to simply enhance your features. "Everything should be most natural," says Tanya Sigal, owner of Europa International Salon and Spa in Beachwood.
While you've planned ahead for your hair and makeup, it's best to save your nails for last. The day before the wedding, manicures and pedicures are the number-one beauty treatment brides request, according to Hosso. Some brides choose acrylic tips, others go au naturel, but they're all prepared when their groom slides on the wedding band.
"French manicures and pedicures are the most popular," Sigal says. "If it's not French, it's the most sheer polish."
Beyond Beauty Basics
When scheduling salon treatments, keep in mind that as your wedding day nears you may want to consider services beyond the traditional hair, makeup and nails.
After months (or years) of wedding planning, many brides treat themselves to a massage. "They usually ask for a massage two to four days before [the wedding]" Sigal says. "I think sometimes the bride's mom needs it more."
Facials are also a favorite service for brides. However, aestheticians caution not to have one too close to the wedding day because of potential breakouts or allergies. Hosso suggests beginning a skin-care program at least three months prior to the wedding. It's necessary to give your skin time to adjust to all of that special attention.
Some brides are going beyond the facial. "I see a lot of brides getting microdermabrasion," Hosso says. "It's a very good surface exfoliation and helps correct uneven pigmentation, giving [the skin] a healthy glow."
An increasingly popular alternative to sunbathing and tanning beds is commonly known as a "buff and bronze." First, the body is exfoliated, creating a smooth canvas for even tanning-bronze application.
Those Pearly Whites
Nothing complements glowing skin like a healthy smile. A lot of bridal parties are looking into the many options for teeth whitening.
For the budget-conscious bride, Crest White Strips are a popular over-the-counter treatment. The product has to be used for 30 minutes twice a day for two weeks. The system is relatively easy to use, produces good results and has been the subject of many consumer reports. The Good Housekeeping Institute reports that the Crest product, on average, whitens teeth three shades.
However, Dr. Scott L. Rose of The Center for Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry in Solon says comparing an in-office dental treatment with an over-the-counter whitening system is like comparing apples and oranges.
"The difference is in the strength of the whitening solution and in follow-up," he says.
An office visit with the doctor lasts about an hour and lightens the teeth three to six shades. Rose adds that the dentist's treatment is longer lasting than that of over-the-counter products. Results depend on the patient following instructions and the degree of discoloration. The center offers a two-for-one teeth-whitening treatment for the wedding couple.
"We're getting probably three or four couples a week coming in for screening," Rose observes. The end result? His-and-her dazzling smiles for the big day.