The Perfect Bridal Beauty Guide

Bridal experts explain how to plan ahead to ensure your day is picture perfect -- no matter what!

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 05, 2007
7 min read

You were certain you planned for everything -- from the flowers on the tables, to the songs the band would play -- and everything in between.

But experts say if you haven't planned ahead for your bridal beauty and grooming routines you could end up with some wedding-day blues.

"In an effort to look and feel their best I've seen brides try to do too much a day or two before the wedding and not enough in the two to three weeks prior. And the end result can be a litany of problems that really could have been easily avoided," says Liz Seccuro, creative director of Dolce Parties, a wedding and event planning company in Greenwich, Conn., and New York City.

Securro says overloading on beauty and grooming routines just days before you say "I do" can not only leave you looking and feeling less than perfect, it can also increase your stress on the very day you want to look poised and serene.

The answer, say experts, is to plan ahead -- setting a schedule that anticipates some of your most important health and beauty needs. While ideally, experts say you should begin three to four months before your wedding, even 30 days is adequate for the most important self-care rituals.

To help you know what to do and when, WebMD asked several experts to help us prepare the following guide.

Perhaps nothing is more beautiful than the natural glow of happiness that becomes every bride. But to help that glow along, experts at Bridal Guide magazine say schedule a series of monthly facials beginning as early as six months before your wedding. To help ensure your skin looks picture perfect on your wedding day they advise your last facial to be no later than two weeks before the big day.

And while a professional facial is a fabulous way to pamper yourself, Seccuro suggests brides to do their homework before choosing a facialist.

"There is a misnomer that says if your face looks red and your skin looks bad when you finish a facial it means it worked -- but that's not true," says Seccuro.

To be sure your skin will look better -- and not worse -- Seccuro advises making your appointment in person and look at those leaving the salon.

"If their skin isn't glowing and they don't look great -- look elsewhere for your facial," she says.

Whether you treat yourself to professional treatments or do it on your own, Seccuro says to reduce the risk of redness, irritation, or even allergic reaction, avoid glycolic peels, dermabrasion, or anything chemical for at least one month prior to your wedding day.

As to those new "quick touch-ups" -- injectable wrinkle fillers like Restalyne or wrinkle relaxers like Botox, New York plastic surgeon Andrew Marc Klapper, MD, says the bride, her mom, and her attendants should never wait until the last minute.

"I prefer three weeks prior to the wedding, so there are no signs of residual bruising, "says Klapper.

Seccuro says other, less-dramatic procedures such as a cool touch laser -- used for hyper pigmentation, to tighten pores, fix tiny broken capillaries, and give you the look of perfect skin -- can be done as soon as one week before your wedding.

Experts say if you are already dealing with acne, and have attained some measure of control, keep on your regular treatment schedule. Also avoid new products -- including shampoos or makeup -- during the month before your wedding.

But what about that occasional pimple -- often caused by stress -- that pops out when you least expect it? According Mauro Romita, MD, medical director of the Ajune Spa in New York City, if a whitehead appears, a hot compress will reduce it, followed by a cold compress and "a tiny dab of benzyl peroxide to kill any bacteria."

If your skin is irritated from stress his solution is to apply cool cotton pads soaked in milk or chamomile tea, followed by an application of lukewarm water.

Celebrity makeup artist and bridal beauty expert Timothy Alan says his famous soap star clients have had great success with the "toothpaste zit zapper."

"If the blemish pops out the night before your wedding - or it looks like it's going to -- dab it with some toothpaste. But it has to be the paste type, not the gel type," says Alan, author of Two Faced: Confessions of a Soap Opera Make-Up Artist. This, he tells WebMD, will help shrink the pimple and dry it.

If redness persists in the morning, he says apply a drop of Visine (the eye care solution) on the pimple. "To cover up what's left apply a lighter shade of concealer on the pimple, then cover with your foundation, then dab on a tiny bit more concealer in a shade that matches your foundation," says Alan. To set the cover up, he says dust with finely milled face powder.

From plucking eyebrows to bikini waxing, from teeth whitening to self-tanning, experts say your wedding day is the time to splurge -- but not the day before you say, "I do."

"Many women don't realize that having their eyebrows done, for example, can cause swelling, sometimes a little bleeding, sometimes a little discomfort -- you don't want to have to deal with this the day before your wedding," says Alan, who has groomed more than 500 brides for their wedding day.

Ideally, he advises having brows shaped one week before the big day.

Experts at the Ajune Spa tell WebMD that body waxing should be done at least three days prior to your wedding - and earlier if you've never had it done before, or if your skin is very sensitive.

Alan says to have any facial waxing done a week to 10 days before the wedding to avoid redness or irritation.

When it comes to that picture-perfect wedding day smile, teeth bleaching can be a plus. But the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says always see your dentist before choosing an over-the-counter product since some may irritate gums and lips, and cause swelling.

To help whiten teeth naturally, they recommend eating raw veggies such as carrots and celery, which can help remove surface stains, or rubbing teeth with strawberries or lemons -- both natural whiteners -- and then rinsing with cool water.

You should also avoid drinking coffee, dark sodas, and red wine in the weeks leading up to your wedding to reduce teeth stains.

And while nothing makes a smile whiter or brighter than a tan, before you grab for that self-tanner -- or worse still head to the beach or tanning salon -- Alan says the rule of thumb is underdo not overdo.

"I've seen brides who try to get a little color on their face and body and end up either beet red or as orange as a pumpkin," says Alan.

Skin safety issues aside, Alan also points out that white dresses reflect light, so what you thought was a little color could look a lot darker in photographs.

The safest way to add some color to your wedding day face, he says, is with a cream or powder bronzer.

"This is the safest alternative because you can try out the look well in advance, and even if on your wedding day you suddenly decide you don't want it, you just don't use it -- or you use less of it," says Alan.

According to the, a survey of more than 2,000 brides revealed 85% plan to have their hair professionally styled on their wedding day -- while nearly half say they will try a new product or style.

While experts say a new hair do can inject your look with an instant note of glamour, Tim Rogers, spokesman for Charles Worthington London hair care products, advises brides not to get an attack of the "wedding ringlets."

"If your style is simple, don't let others bully you into a look you don't feel comfortable with just because they perceive it as being more glamorous," he says.

Seccuro tells WebMD that every bride should make certain to get a "trial run" hairdo and makeup session well before the big day.

"One of the most frustrating feelings is walking out of a salon on your wedding day feeling like you don't look like yourself," says Seccuro. To avoid those wedding-day tears, she advises having a hair and makeup "dress rehearsal" at least two weeks prior to your wedding, and make sure you bring your headpiece or facsimile to the hairdresser. Then, she says, take a digital picture to really see how you look.

"You'd be surprised how different something can look in a photograph, so it's always a good idea to check," says Seccuro.

The overall best advice, say our experts: Be yourself -- and you'll be beautiful.

Says Rogers: "It's you he asked to marry him, and it's you he wants to see at the altar."