As promised here is my guide to pre-wedding beauty treatments, and the pros and cons, as well as when to get them done!
1. Faux Tan - If you are thinking of wearing fake tan, make sure you have a few trial runs to assess how it wears, whether the product transfers (which could be a disaster on your dress!) and whether it looks better on day 2 or even day 3? Also if you have a makeup trial, go wearing fake tan so that the artist can match the correct foundation with your tan.
2. Lashes - Some brides like to have Lash Extensions for their big day. If you have never had these done before, my advice would be to try them out a long way in advance from your wedding date. Personally I cannot wear them as they irritate my eyes, and honestly I prefer wearing a good mascara and/or faux lashes. That said, many of my friends and clients wear them and they look fab, and of course are great for honeymoons as they negate the need for mascara! Alternatively an LVL Lash Lift is a good alternative which when freshly done, lashes are lifted, curled and thickened with black colour which avoids the need for mascara on holiday/honeymoon. However, I think that you can achieve the same results with an eyelash curler and mascara, so this decision really depends on whether this would be nice for you to have on a day to day basis.
Psst "A great tip for getting longer and thicker lashes is to use RevitaLash. It's on the higher end of the price spectrum, but 2.0ml will last 6 months. You can get it direct from the retailer or at Amazon and QVC. Trust me, when I stop using this, my eyelashes return to their short, stubby-selves, but with regular use, my lashes are long and thick. It takes about 4 weeks to start seeing results so stick with it!"
4. Brows - So the obvious advice is to ensure that you have your brows shaped, by plucking, threading or waxing. Trained HD Brow beauticians can create a great shape of brow with a coloured tint, using all of these methods of hair removal. Personally I like threading as it catches all the tiny hairs that can be tricky to get with tweezers! A tint can be good, but personally I like to colour my brows with makeup to get more of a natural look. A big trend at the moment is a 'semi-permanent' brow' which is basically a form of temporary tatoo. Of course it goes without saying to go to a professional for this, as it does involve needles and therefore hygiene is imperative! Also there are different kinds of styles of 'semi-permanent' brows, so make sure you do your research and go to the right person that will suit what your natural brow looks like after you have applied makeup. I made the mistake of going to someone who does 'Ombre Brows' which is a powdered effect, faded at the start of the brow and ending in a harsh point, because I am pale, it doesn't look very natural and I realise now that microblading or 3D hairstrokes would have been better for my skin tone, but I like to try out treatments so that you can learn from my mistakes!
5. Hair Extensions - So budget and time is a huge consideration if you are thinking of having hair extensions. I had hair extensions for my wedding which was 6 years ago and they cost £550! They also took lots of care and maintenance which I had no knowledge of prior to having them put in, and no-one warned me that when you first have them, the bonds (where the hair is glued onto your own hair) are really hard and horrid to sleep on for a few nights!). Don't get me wrong I don't regret it, it was fabulous having long, thick hair for the one and only time in my life, and I enjoyed this throughout the build up to my wedding and on my honeymoon. However, I now prefer clip in extensions for special occasions, which are less costly, and with appropriate care last indefinitely. If you are having your hair done by a professional, your hair stylist can put these in for you. Think about why you want extensions, is it for length, or volume or both? Your hairstylist can advise you on what would be best and also recommend products which may help.
6. Mani/Pedi - I do have the odd bride who has never had a professional mani/pedi, so for those people.... here are my top tips! If you have strong nails, and nail varnish lasts a week, then just treat yourself to a professional shape and application. A professional nail tec will also push back cuticles and exfoliate both hands and feet, and if you are lucky, massage in some lovely softening moisturiser.
If you only have to look at your nails for them to chip then a 'Gel' manicure might be better. There are 3 types of Gel; Gel Polish, Soft Gel and Hard Gel. All Gels are light cured, whether by UV or UV LED lamps. A Gel polish and soft Gel can be soaked off, whilst a hard Gel is mixed with Acrylic and has to be filed off. Some people get confused by the different 'Brands' that Gels are sold as, these include 'Shellac', 'Gelish' and 'OPI'. A Gel manicure should last 2-3 weeks, depending on how fast your nails grow. The product has to be soaked off and can damage nails a little, so try and just have this done as a treat, or be prepared to get hooked on having a new mani every 2-3 weeks!. Just be careful not to use nail varnish remover containing acetone whilst wearing Gel (on your toes for example) because acetone lifts Gel!
If (like me), the only thing that will survive on your nails is concrete, then consider having acrylics. This is a powder that sets to a hard shell, and has to be soaked and filed to be removed, or infilled with more product. You can have a natural 'French' manicure, or you can have clear acrylic and have a colour applied on top. These will last 3-4 weeks, again depending on how fast your nails grow.
7. Facials - As I mentioned in my last Blog (see previous linked post) facials are essential and there are many types of facials available. If you are thinking of having microdermabrasion which is a non-chemical, non-invasive procedure that uses a spray of microcrystals to remove the outermost layer of dry, dead skin cells and reveal younger, healthier-looking skin, then make sure you have your last treatment no more than 2 weeks prior to your wedding.
8. Waxing (legs, bikini line etc.) - So I would say get this done as close to your wedding as possible (assuming the you are jetting off on honeymoon soon after your wedding). I had this done 2 days before my wedding and I exfoliated and moisturized the areas with Aloe Vera a few days later and then every few days for the next couple of few weeks to avoid ingrown hairs, and this kept me looking bikini ready (as I ever will be) for my entire honeymoon!
9. Teeth Whitening - I have only had a clean and polish done by my dental hygienist, but I do know that it can make your teeth a little more sensitive. My advice is to have this done a few months prior to the wedding, and always go to a Dentist for this treatment (some off the shelf products can be too harsh) and then maintain whiteness with a good toothpaste so that you can sip your chilled Champagne on your wedding morning without fear of tooth pain!
10. Cosmetic Procedures - I know that this is a controversial subject. For those that are against messing with what nature gave you, I get that and respect your view. However, for me, I have dabbled in some some treatments and I am happy to share my experiences with you (but please try not to judge!)
Botox - Firstly, if you are worried about the safety of Botox, you may not know that it has been used since the 1970s to treat children with Cerebral Palsy, and therefore has good safety data. However, it is a cosmetic procedure and I would always recommend going to a trained healthcare professional for this. I first had Botox 6 years ago, at the age of 38 in preparation for my wedding. For me, it was because I had always had a frown, even when I was happy, and something a 'lovely' ex-boyfriend once said to me had always stuck, which was "you always look so miserable!". With this in my mind I went to an amazing Doctor (again I did research and got a personal recommendation), who created a perfect natural look and no-one knew. Of course I am an open book and told everyone, and some did call me vain, but for me, it was about looking and feeling my best. I still have this treatment done now but only once a year (I am now 44!)
Fillers - So in terms of safety these have been used since the 90s, so have less data, and I have only just had my first tiny amount in the ever deepening marionette lines running each side of my mouth down to my chin. It hasn't made a massive difference but it has stopped my mouth from turning down, which is great.
Cryotherapy For Pigmentation - If you have age spots or areas of darkness on your face or hands then Retinoid Creams can definitely help, but a faster procedure which I have tried is Cryotherapy. This is slightly less invasive than laser treatment and is basically a freezing treatment that forms a scab over the sun spot or area of pigmentation. After about 1 week the scab falls off to reveal perfect looking skin underneath. However, be warned that unless you wear sun cream on your face and hands everyday, future sun damage will mean that these can come back, so you may need this treatment again in years to come.
Thread Lift - I was offered this treatment for free on the basis that my procedure was part of a tutorial for the company that sells this product. I have to say, personally I would not recommend this treatment. It's a lot more invasive than I was led to believe, starting with the tiny multiple injections of anesthetic, which were applied to my scalp, brow area, chin and behind my ears (I had my eyes and chin lifted), this did really sting. Next, once I was numb the thread was put in which did not hurt, but later that night I did experience some pain which affected my sleep and I was left with swelling and bruising for about one week after the procedure. Although I could see a difference initially, the results only lasted for about 6 weeks (they say results should last between 1-2 years), and now when I compare my before and after photos I see no difference. For me, considering the cost (about £2K) and the minimal effects, I would not have this treatment again.
So there we have it, all the treatments I think you may consider prior to your big day, and my thoughts and experiences. Please let me know if I have omitted to mention something that you want me to review, or indeed if you disagree with my experiences, I would love to know your thoughts?
Until then, Lipstick and Lashes,