The wedding and beauty industries can be pretty toxic when giving suggestions for wedding day beauty. Why is it people are told that they should be skinny on their wedding day? That is a lot of pressure for a single day. Instead, we should start to say, “Just be the best you.” Let’s discuss how to adapt a healthy lifestyle so everyday we look and feel our very best. In this post, we’ll cover 25 beauty tips you can add to your daily routine for healthy hair, skin, nails, teeth, eating, exercise, and mental health care.
Full disclosure that I am not a physician, nutritionist, personal trainer, or mental health expert—but the tips below are what I found helped me (and sometimes my hubby!) in the months and weeks preceding our own big day. I strongly recommend speaking with your own accredited professionals before making any significant changes to your diet, exercise, and physical and mental healthcare regimens.
You may be wondering when you should start routines like this. The answer is right now. The 25 beauty tips below are great for someone who is engaged, but they can also be adapted for any stage of your life. No quick fixes here folks. Most everything listed below are long term changes that make a big impact over time. The sooner you begin, the better!
You may also be wondering if I’m about to tell you to spend thousands of dollars on a new beauty regimen. That is 100% not my style. I love a deal and saving money. I don’t think you have to spend an arm and a leg to get high quality goods. Some items may be costly, so I recommend if you ever do catch them on sale, then you should be stocking up! Most of the tips below are for daily or several times a week application. With this high rate of use, you will absolutely use up the product, so don’t get nervous about acquiring a mini stockpile of goods.
Now onto the 25 tips! And don’t miss out on the guest contributor tips from Tommy, an amazing makeup artist working in fashion, beauty, and red carpet in NYC.
1 – Deep Conditioning Treatments
Deep conditioning treatments give your hair moisture, prevent damage, promote strength, and add shine and luster. There are many options on the market. Some hot oil treatments only take 1-5 minutes on your hair. Other cream treatments you leave on upwards of 30 minutes. I like to do a deep conditioning treatment once a week. I base the kind I am going to do on how much time I have that day. I see a visible difference in a blowout after a deep conditioning treatment.
2 – Enriching Shampoo and Conditioner
If you don’t already do it, begin to read the labels. You should be using something nourishing and vitamin rich. Don’t over-shampoo, as this tends to dry out your hair. Don’t put conditioner on your roots, as this will leave your hair more oily and require more frequent washing. Chemicals to avoid on the labels include Sulfates, Parabens, Triclosan, Polyethylene Glycol, and “Fragrance” as an ingredient.
3 – Just a Dusting
If you are trying to grow out your hair before the big day, then I would recommend the lightest of haircuts, which I refer to as “a dusting.” Haircuts promote hair growth. I know that sounds totally backwards, but keeping your ends healthy from splitting is the way to lengthen your hair. The dusting will take just enough off to promote hair growth without you losing length. I know I’m not the only person who has gotten a haircut before and asked for “one inch” off but they took off six. When I tell my hairdresser I want a dusting, they know just how serious I am that I want a barely-visible difference in hair length.
4 – Cut the Heat
The time to stop over-processing your hair IS NOW! If you regularly straighten, blow dry, or curl your hair, try to refrain. Wear your hair natural more, or try to extend the amount of days between styling. Constant heat will make your hair dry and brittle, which will cause breakage and split ends. When you do style with heat, make sure to use a good thermal protectant product. I have naturally curly hair and almost always blow it out. The year leading into our wedding, I began wearing my hair curly with a bit of curling cream. My coworkers could not believe I had naturally curly hair. This small change made a big impact in helping my hair grow long.
5 – Skincare Routine
Until being engaged and beginning my best practices beauty research, it had never occurred to me that I needed a skincare routine including daytime lotion, nighttime lotion, and under-eye cream. I would often be told from a Sephora rep, or a department store beauty rep, that I needed several products. I thought they said that stuff to up-sell me. Folks, you DO need all these products. My daytime lotion includes SPF to protect my skin from sun during the day. My nighttime lotion is stronger and repairs my skin overnight. My under-eye cream turns back time and reduces any fine lines that may be forming. On the cusp of my 30s, y’all, and the struggle is beginning to be real. The key is to determine what kind of skin you have. You may want to invest in an anti-aging system, dry skin system, or oily skin system. I am a SeneGence distributor, so I use their SeneDerm DayTime Moisturizer, SeneDerm Evening Moisturizer, and EyeCrème. Because I committed to a routine, within that year my skin totally transformed.
6 – Dermatologist
If you have sensitive skin, questions about your skin, spots, or other skin conditions, one of the first things you should do is schedule a dermatologist appointment. Even if you have never seen a dermatologist, this is a great time to start. I had never seen a dermatologist before, but leading into the wedding I had a few questions I wanted answered before I began a new skincare routine. I had this one recurring pimple at the same spot on my chin every few months. I also had really sensitive, dry skin. We were able to discuss those two issues as well as a general best practice skincare routine.
7 – Décolletage Cream
Probably the most neglected area on your body is the décolletage: skin from the chin to chest and also the first place to show signs of age. This sensitive skin should be receiving a twice daily application of some kind of firming or anti-aging serum or moisturizer. Don’t wait till you see visible signs of aging. Be proactive in this zone.
8 – Body Cream
You should be applying cream to your whole body every day right after your shower when skin is still damp. Your skin at this moment will soak up the most moisture. You can also follow up later in the day as part of your bedtime ritual. I recently found an affordable all over body cream that I love. I have dry skin, so this may not work for everyone, but if you have dry skin then you should consider Dove Cream Oil for extra dry skin. This stuff is wonderful.
9 – Full Face Masks
Face masks can be worn daily or every few days, depending on the strength. I did a few masks a week while engaged. They make masks for every skin condition: too dry, too oily, wrinkled, tightening, redness—you name it and they probably have mask for it. Sephora and Victoria Secret sell a plethora of options, but they can become costly at $5-$6 per individual mask. You can find affordable mask box sets at T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and even Costco! I stocked up when Costco had them on sale. They came out to about $1 per mask for a mixed pack. I like variety. The other benefit of these masks is that you can’t really talk while you are wearing them. So for that 15 minutes, you can just sit back, unwind, de-stress, and meditate. Don’t underestimate the power of 15 minutes of peace during wedding planning.
10 – Specialized Zone Face Mask
My other favorite masks are under-eye and lip masks. I wear these at the same time because they don’t interfere with each other. Under eye masks usually tighten or brighten the under-eye skin. Lip masks plump up dried out lips. I feel like a new human after I do this double combo treatment. Sephora does sell these, but I always buy them from T.J. Maxx or Marshalls. The box will come with 4-5 masks for less than $1 per mask. The brightening under-eye masks help me to not look as tired and reduce my dark circles. I’m a chapstick-addict, but after a lip mask I could go two days without feeling the need for chapstick. LOVE THESE!
11 – Acne Stickers
*Insert angelic singing here* This, my friends. This. Is. Everything. Specifically the Peace Out brand of Acne stickers are the bomb. I have tried other more expensive brands, and those don’t work as good. Peace Out really, really works. When you start to feel like a pimple is coming, or you already have one, you put one of these small stickers on your zit before you go to bed. In the morning, you peel off the sticker and the zit is visibly reduced, the gunk has released itself from your skin, and you are on your way to clear skin. I won’t say that overnight all your pimples will be gone, but for me, that was basically the case. After 1-2 nights, I couldn’t see it anymore. I buy mine at Sephora. The box includes 20 small circular stickers for $19. If you catch the pimple at an early stage and it’s small, you can probably cut the sticker in half which will make them more cost effective. Even if you get irregular one-off pimples like me, you should have these in your house for emergencies.
12 – Sun-Kissed Glow
If you aren’t already naturally blessed with beautiful, healthy-looking tanned or dark skin, then you may want to consider getting yourself a sun-kissed glow for the big day. I was never a proponent of spray tans or tanning salons. I lived in Florida most of my life, so I got my natural glow from the great outdoors. However, moving back to New York and living half my year in darkness from winter and tall skyscrapers shadows, I have learned that you need an aid to help with that mid-winter pale sallowness. Hubby and I are pale as paper without that aid, and our wedding was in April (end of winter), so we invested a little money into tanning bed sessions. We didn’t need to go too many times to achieve that beautiful sun-kissed skin we grew up with. I do recommend tanning salons as a quick fix for winter or early spring weddings. Be wary of spray tans coming out orange, staining your hands and feet, and rubbing off on your white dress or white dress shirt collar. You need a few days between a spray tan and actual wedding day. If you go for the tanning beds, then don’t overdo it and end up pink or red either! Also take extra care to protect your eyes. But I guarantee that a sun-kissed glow makes a difference!
13 – Regular Manicures and Pedicures
Keeping a few coats of polish on your nails will protect them from breakage. If funds are tight, then you can absolutely do at-home nail care and save the nail salon appointments for those special occasions (engagement party, bridal shower, bachelorette party, wedding day). Make sure to cut or push back your cuticles and keep the edges even and shaped. I put a fresh coat of polish on every Sunday, and that lasts me the whole week if I’m not too hard on my hands. You can also pamper yourself at home with a daily enriching nail soak. Household items like olive oil, coconut oil, orange juice, or lemon juice mixed with warm water are a great soak to promote nail growth. A daily foot scrub with a pumice stone will keep the feet soft and calluses-free. If you are interested in the foot peel socks, then make sure you read the directions and don’t apply them too close to wedding day. It takes several days for your dead skin to begin peeling off, and another day or so for it to fully shed. You don’t want to look like you have a skin condition on wedding day!
Hair / Skin / Nails Combos
14 – Vitamins
The most important ingredient in hair, skin, and nail vitamins is Biotin. I prefer pills to gummy options, as gummy have unnecessary sugars and usually less biotin. Take one pill daily. This is definitely not an overnight fix, but over time you will see a difference. While hair, skin, and nail vitamins focus on nutrients important for hair, skin, and nails, they don’t necessarily cover all essential daily vitamins, so I like to also take a general multi-vitamin daily.
15 – Jello / Gelatin
The most important ingredient in Jello is gelatin, as it promotes healthy hair, skin, and nails. You don’t actually have to eat jello though. There are flavorless gelatin powders you can add to a cup of hot tea to drink. You could also add the same powders to your shampoo and conditioner to make them more protein rich. I opt in for sugar-free raspberry jello as a healthy snack. If I make a double batch and put them into small Tupperware, hubby and I have jello all week.
16 – Whitening Toothpaste and Mouthwash
Brush and rinse with products that aid in teeth whitening. If you don’t already use one, invest in an electric toothbrush, as they give you a better clean. Also floss twice a day. Foods that are dark in nature (coffee, soda, wine, tomato sauce, etc.) all work against teeth whitening and health. Foods such as apples, baking soda, broccoli, carrots, celery, cheese, milk, nuts, onions, oranges, pears, pineapples, raisins, seeds, strawberries, water, and yogurt all promote teeth whitening. Other tricks you could try are drinking through a straw, which will help to remove food contact on teeth, and drinking water after every meal, which will help to remove anything leftover. Brush after every meal!
17 – Professional Teeth Whitening
While engaged, my dentist mentioned two options we had for professional teeth whitening. He said there was a one-time in-office procedure that was strong and an at-home tray product I could purchase and do over the period of a week (only available through your dentist). I have sensitive teeth, so we opted for the at-home process that took more time but was less harsh. Hubby and I both did the kits and our teeth were so much whiter! Hard to believe when you use whitening products daily that your teeth can get that much whiter. Bonus was that we didn’t feel the hot and cold sensitivity we normally feel with over-the-counter pharmacy whitening strips.
Overall Body Care
18 – Eat Well
Eating well is important. Try to maintain a balanced and healthy diet. Before we were engaged, I went on a health journey with Weight Watchers. The program taught me foods that were actually good for me and foods that seemed good for me but weren’t. I don’t think everyone needs to opt into a program like this, but you should be conscious of what you are eating. Small changes you could do that will make a big impact:
- Don’t eat after 7pm or three hours before bed.
- Water is life. Cut all juice, sports drinks, and soda from your diet.
- Stay hydrated. Drink a glass of water before each meal.
- Always pick fresh fruit over dried or canned.
- When you cook at home, portion out dinner and lunch servings before you start eating. This will help you from overeating.
- Cut out unnecessary sugars.
- Limit carbs and only eat them during breakfast and lunch. Avoid them at dinner, as your body doesn’t have enough time to process them before bed, so it will store them as fat.
19 – Drink Lots of Water
Drinking eight glasses (minimum) of water a day will improve your skin by removing toxins, reducing tightness, reducing under-eye puffiness, and providing you with a radiant glow. You may also experience positive changes in your mood, energy, alertness, and reduced hunger.
20 – Detox or Cleanse
I believe in a good detox every now and then. A cleanse to me is a fast fix to shed a few pounds. But it does work. I most recently did a cold press juice cleanses (non-solid food cleanse) and loved the experience. I had to fit into a bridesmaid dress, and this cleanse did the trick. My advice would be to wean yourself back onto solid foods over a few days. You can’t end a cleanse and go right into a beautiful wedding cocktail hour and reception meal. You will be VERY sick. Additionally, after a cleanse your body needs less food to feel full. A Detox tea is a great less-extreme option you can drink daily. You consume the regular foods you would normally eat, and the tea will help you use the restroom. For both of these, you will most likely be in the restroom more frequently. So if it’s a busy week at work, it’s probably not the best idea to do it then.
21 – Exercise
You don’t have to join a gym or get a personal trainer to exercise. I’ll admit that I hate to exercise. I’d much rather go on a diet to lose weight. However, yoga and Zumba classes are my jam. Figure out what you enjoy, and then cater an exercise plan that you can stick with to that.
Mental Health Care
22 – Eight Hours of Sleep Minimum
There are many long-term effects of getting proper sleep, such as heart health and cancer prevention. But leading into your wedding, eight hours of sleep a night can also help alleviate stress, reduce inflammation, help with alertness, improve memory, promote weight loss, and repair your body. I love to sleep. I also love a good nap. So I have no problem in this area. But if you suffer from insomnia, or your regular sleep less than eight hours a night, then you may want to consider a sleepy time tea or soothing bath before bed. There are also special soaps with lavender, jasmine, or chamomile scents that help too.
23 – Me Time
Pencil in alone time too. As much fun as hanging with your fiancé(e) and friends is, you should also have yourself some “me time.” You are about to close out a chapter of your life as a single person. That’s a big deal. De-stress with meditation. There is a good app called Headspace. Take a relaxing bath. Book yourself a spa day. You deserve it. Treat yo’ self.
24 – Fun Time
Don’t stop living just because you are wedding planning. Maybe funds are tight, or you have a mountain of DIY projects, or you spend every weekend in vendor meetings. Guess what? Your wedding is one day of your life. I hope it’s the best day ever (like it was for me), but you can’t turn your life into living for your wedding. Don’t forget the FUN. Plan a date night with your significant other. It doesn’t have to be extravagant. It can be a movie or a picnic in the park. Plan get-togethers with friends. Ensure you are building in time to do things not wedding related. You need time to decompress from your own wedding build up.
25 – Be Extra Careful of “Bride Brain”
In the two weeks leading up to the big day, I badly broke a few nails while driving (bless my nail tech for having the skill to fix them) and badly burned the top part of my hand in the oven (not so easily fixed). I was a hot mess! I bashfully accredited this to “Bride Brain.” I had wedding on the mind, and the rest of my motor skills were lacking. The most basic of chores were becoming dangerous for me. All I can say is to ask for help. It’s a stressful time. Your mind may be racing with all the last-minute things to do. Don’t be afraid to delegate chores, order in versus cooking, throw stuff in the “F*ck it” bucket, and do things at a slower pace. I learned the hard way that I just needed to slow down. I was going 100mph and was burning myself out (and burning my skin literally!). Don’t waste all those months of beauty hacks to fudge up your hands like I did!
In addition to the 25 tips above, I also highly recommend scheduling make-up trials with your wedding-day makeup artist. These professionals usually have excellent beauty regimen suggestions to have you prepared to look your best on the big day! My own wedding-day makeup artist, my amazing friend from high school and guest contributor to this week’s blog post, Tommy, works in fashion, beauty, and red carpet in NYC and recommends these great tips:
I believe in elevating my brides’ “beauty lifestyles” and accentuating their existing signature looks. It all starts at the makeup trial, where everything from treatments to what-where-how-and-why are matched and elevated to my rolodex of knowledge from years in the beauty industry, and to the two beauty bibles: The Routines Cheat Sheet and The Cleansing Cheat Sheet by aesthetician Caroline Hirons.
I like to think of the makeup trial as beauty therapy and fun. Supply your makeup artist with as much knowledge and imagery as you possibly can about your regular beauty and health routines, but also about your wedding dress, accessories, floral arrangements, and location. The mark of a good makeup artist is one that listens to the client to create a timeless, best version of them.
Finally, a key component of every beauty lifestyle is diet. The books and teachings on digest-aging and the four essential diet-eliminators by iconic naturopathic doctor and aesthetician, Dr. Nigma Talib, provide an approachable guide to mindful living that will set you up not just for your big day but for life.
Wishing you all a beautiful wedding and wedding-day look!
In closing, it’s important to reiterate that good beauty, health, and mental health regimens don’t happen overnight. I hope that these tips on healthy hair, skin, nails, teeth, eating, exercise, and mental care help you to be the best you on wedding day and every day.
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