Since I will be in the same - albeit less regal - shoes as Kate Middleton in seven months, I have already laid down the groundwork for my get-pretty plan. But if you're like Kate and have less than a month until you face the crowd, cameras, and crunch of your wedding day, then there’s no time like the present to take stock of your personal perfection wish list. Even if the opportunity to finally get in shape or to grow voluminous eyelashes has passed, last-minute adjustments can make all the difference in how you look and feel at your wedding.
If you’ve toyed around with the idea of trying Botox before and can’t stand the sight of your stubborn wrinkles, then now might be your best chance to bite the bullet. Wrinkle-removing injections (i.e. Botox, Juvederm, Perlane, Radiesse, Restylane) cost between $500 and $1,000 and last up to six months. Keep in mind that if you have sensitive skin, irritation or bruising can occur at the injection site, but side effects typically fade after a few days. The greatest selling point of these procedures is their immediate results. Most require no recovery time, allowing you to fill in wrinkles within a week of your wedding.
As a New York Times article reported, bridal parties these days are indulging in dermal fillers and cosmetic enhancements as a means of bonding and beautifying en masse. A group trip to the nail salon seems almost quaint in comparison. Personally, I would rather conceal wrinkles with good old-fashioned moisturizer and makeup, but I am also not terribly offended by the hairline creases that have developed around my eyes and the slight grooves etched on my forehead from making expressions. In ten or so years, I might think differently. However, I don’t think a Botox party would ever be in the cards for my bridesmaids. To each her own.
In the weeks leading up to your wedding, you should stick to tried and tested products that have proven to work for your skin in the past. No experimenting with mysterious treatments or squeezing your pores in front of a magnifying mirror. For me, that means taking a hiatus from sampling new products for TIA. Sad, I know! My personal fallbacks for getting glowing skin are Luvalla’s Age Defying Day/Night Cream, Olive’s Organic Botanicals Facial Replenisher, and Lather’s AHA Facial Therapy. These moisturizers have never failed to make my skin look plump, youthful, and radiant. I have relied on them in the past to normalize my skin when it was acting up and will continue to count on them for peace of mind before the big day.
For the full month leading up to the wedding, focus on healthy lifestyle changes like getting plenty of sleep and cutting back on belly bloaters like alcohol, salt, and sugar. These key changes will also alleviate dark circles and puffy bags under the eyes. My secret weapons for waking up my eyes after a night of champagne guzzling are a good eye cream (i.e. Dermophisiologique Optyma 24-Hour Eye Cream or Belli Eye Brightening Cream), under-eye concealer, and mascara. Keeping your eye area well-moisturized will minimize the appearance of lines .
Regular exfoliation is important for turning over dead skin cells and keeping fine lines at bay. While monthly microdermabrasion appointments are excellent if you are getting the royal treatment like Ms. Middleton, you can get similar results at home with a glycolic or exfoliating product. To that end, Reviva Labs Glycolic Acid 5% and YBF Prep Microdermabrasion are TIA-approved. For added radiance, I plan to splurge on a microcurrent facial a few weeks before my wedding. If the stress of last-minute planning materializes as a full-blown breakout, you might want to try a professional light therapy procedure to zap acne-causing bacteria.
Besides reinvigorating my skin care routine, I will rely on makeup to highlight my assets and heighten the drama above my everyday look. Since I am not particularly adept at painting my face, I’ll leave that to the pros. At a friend’s wedding in January, I had a dry run with airbrush makeup and individual eyelash extensions. My skin looked practically flawless and felt like it could actually breathe under the lightweight airbrushed layer. I thought that it looked much more natural than mineral makeup, and the best part was that it never budged, even after four hours of dancing. With the help of the extensions and a hearty dose of mascara, my naturally small eyes and skimpy lashes took center stage on my face. I will definitely be requesting these tricks of the trade before my own nuptials.
The latest beauty gossip from the royal wedding rumor mill is that Kate Middleton will have six hairstylists on hand to tend to her chestnut locks before her I-do’s. Some of us commoners can’t spring for that kind of back-up, but even if you’re doing your own ‘do, one month is plenty of time to get your hair in tip-top form. Once a week, apply a deep conditioning treatment at home (I’m using a Restorative Hair Mask by MoroccanOil) or book an intensive salon conditioning treatment if your hair is particularly parched. A trial run with a new hairdresser should happen at least one month prior to the wedding to leave time for alternate appointments if the first one doesn’t click. Wait until one week before the wedding to have your hair trimmed, colored, or highlighted so that it will look as fresh as possible.
If your hair is dark and sprouts up in places better left bare, you are already familiar with the importance (rather, necessity) of facial hair removal. While waxing is the more well-known procedure for evicting upper lip and eyebrow hairs, threading is a much safer option when the wedding is in sight. The downsides to waxing are that it can severely irritate sensitive skin and clog pores. Based on my own adventures in waxing south of the border and the hot-red pain that ensued, I wouldn’t let hot wax anywhere near my face’s sensitive skin. Both waxing and threading last an average of six weeks and should be avoided the day before a wedding-related social engagement.
Many of my friends swear by eyebrow threading as the most painless, inexpensive way to get shapely brows. Because of my naturally blondish hair, I 've always been able to get away with plucking, only suffering an occasional ingrown or follicle scab. But it’s always a good idea to get a professional’s input. I’m going to give threading a try to see if it lives up to the hype and makes a noticeable difference. If you’re considering waxing or threading for the first time, book your appointment at least six weeks before the wedding, just in case your practitioner is trigger-happy. If you end up with a shape you don’t like, six weeks will be enough time for your hair to grow back in. Then, you can take hairy matters into your own hands. If it’s too late for a trial run, consider visiting a trusted salon for an eyebrow consultation to determine the best way to frame your face. Remember to tweeze carefully!
With all the focus on your hair and face, it’s easy to neglect the rest of your body. Unless you’re Amish, at least some part of your arms, back, and feet will be exposed. Be sure to treat “backne” or other areas prone to breakouts (mine is the chest) with a salicylic acid treatment (such as Burt’s Bees Acne Solutions line). On the rest of your body, use a scrub or body polish in the shower and follow up with a rich cream. I take extra special care of my nails now by rubbing vitamin E nail oil into them before bed. Besides moisturizing regularly, treat your hands and feet to some TLC at the nail salon the day before your wedding. Whether you like your hands or not, they will inevitably be a point of focus during your ceremony and in your photos.
Ultimately, your wedding is just one day, so don’t break your back (or the bank) trying to achieve perfection. It’s a good idea to kick up your routine a notch, but don’t sweat the small stuff when it comes to every last beauty wish on the big day. As long as you feel happy, your inner glow will shine through. At least that's what I keep telling myself!