Bridal Beauty Guide

You’ve got the dress, but there’s still tons to do before that walk down the aisle. Mark your calendar with our prep list and find out which essential steps you should be taking months, weeks and hours before you say “I do!”

Unless your doctor says otherwise, start this skin regimen at home: Wash your face twice a day with a mild to deep cleanser, depending on skin type; slough twice a week with a fruit-enzyme exfoliant; use a brightening serum and a high-SPF sunscreen daily; and apply a hydrating cream with gentle anti-agers every night.

If your skin is in good shape and doesn’t require a doctor’s care, Renée Rouleau, a Dallas aesthetician who has cared for Jessica Simpson’s skin, recommends a facial every four to six weeks, starting six months before the wedding. Early on, experiment with different kinds—a brightening antioxidant facial one time, a rejuvenating light-emitting diode (LED) facial the next—to see what your skin responds to best.

“You need lead time to sculpt virgin brows or grow back sparse spots,” says Ramy Gafni, an N.Y.C. brow expert. Ask your expert to follow the natural line of your brows and take a conservative approach. “The most flattering shape for brides is full with a nice arch,” says Gafni. Book shapings every four to six weeks leading up to the wedding, and abstain from DIY plucking between visits.

When you shampoo, spare your ends by focusing on your roots, shampooing only everyother day. However, do condition daily and use leave-ins for added manageability. Give the straightener and curling iron a rest to let hair heal, and remember to use a moisturizing hair treatment weekly.

If you dream of flowing locks on your wedding day, start working toward your goal now. Keep in mind that hair grows about a half inch per month. Tell your stylist to trim no more than an eighth of an inch each time.

Discuss any hair color changes you’re contemplating now. Semi-permanent glazes are great gateway dyes that give a hint of tint. Permanent single-process color easily covers grays. Golden highlights photograph best, adding depth, texture and sparkle, says Kyle White, an N.Y.C. colorist who has worked with Mariah Carey.

Bring a snapshot of your gown and headpiece to your hairstylist. If you’ll need hair extensions, ask your stylist to order them now; they’ll need to be cut and colored to match your hair. Still having trouble committing to a look? Try a classic chignon or a half-up, half-down creation.

At your trial run, “aim to look like yourself but better by defining brows, lashes and lips, and giving skin a healthy glow,” says celebrity makeup artist Mally Roncal. Take pictures of your finished face—indoors and out—so you can see how you look in different lighting. Studying these shots can help you determine if you want to pump up your shadow or switch from a foundation to a tinted moisturizer.

Don’t risk a facial before the big day. One safe bet: a mask made with one tsp raw oatmeal and one tsp honey. Let it sit on your face for five minutes, then rinse. “The minerals in oatmeal are soothing, and honey hydrates and kills bacteria,” says celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville.

Your hair will look best with sunkissed highlights.