This year, 2.6 million couples will live their happily ever after. Weddings are not only back after a two-year hiatus, but according to The Knot, it’s the biggest wedding boom we’ve seen in 40 years. So, it’s time to get ready. As we learned from model Josephine Skriver for her April nuptials, she treated the event like a Victoria’s Secret fashion show, with prep starting months in advance, including revamping her skincare routine and introducing regular pre-wedding facials. But we’re not looking at the lead-up. Here, we’re focused on the night before the big day. What should the bride and groom — or anyone prepping for a special event, for that matter — be doing to look one’s absolute best?
Meet the Experts
Felicia Graham is a New Jersey-based makeup artist that specializes in wedding makeup.
Cynthia Franco is an aesthetician at her namesake clinic in Beverly Hills, CA.
Beauty I Dos and Don’ts
With all eyes on them and a gazillion photos being taken, most brides want to look their best on their wedding day. However, there’s only so much that foundation and concealer can do. “Makeup is a great tool to enhance a woman’s natural beauty, but if you don’t take care of the canvas, it makes it more challenging for a makeup artist to work their magic and create a flawless look,” explains Felicia Graham, New Jersey-based makeup artist. So what products will help that canvas the night before the big day? Cynthia Franco, an aesthetician, recommends a gentle cleanser or mask, followed by acids for exfoliation, considering skin type: “Dry or sensitive skin can use lactic acid; medium to oily skin can use glycolic.” (Try: Sunday Riley Good Genes, available in lactic and glycolic options.) Graham recommends brides use a vitamin C serum, moisturizer, and face oil the night before to get skin super hydrated and supple. “Your skin will thank you for it in the morning,” she says. Try the Sunday Riley suite of C.E.O. products: Brightening Serum, followed by Afterglow Gel Cream and Glow Face Oil — this combination infuses skin with vitamin C that will plump, hydrate, and even skin tone. Don’t forget your lips, says Franco, who advises doing a sugar lip scrub to exfoliate dead skin and nourishing lip serum to keep them nice and smooth for the big day.
If you’ve never used retinoids before the eve of your wedding, Franco recommends avoiding them or any strong acids. This is the same rule of thumb to follow for any new products. “Only use products that have been tried and true at this point,” she advises, to avoid the risk of an allergic reaction, redness, or other irritation. That goes for products on the body as well — don’t try anything for the first time the night before the wedding. For body pampering and prep, Franco recommends: “A gentle dry brushing for lymphatic, a nice body scrub (Sunday Riley Charcoal Smoothie Body Scrub instantly refines bumpy, rough texture), and body serum or oils (like Sunday Riley Fairy Godmother Shimmering Body Oil Gel) to soften the skin.”
Treatment I Dos and Don’ts
Josephine Skriver revealed that she and her now-husband loved getting facials using Sunday Riley products leading up to their nuptials. But Graham warns that if you haven’t done this regularly with the exact skincare products, you may want to forego the day-before facial. Other treatments, including lasers and peels, should be done a week before the wedding, as they could cause irritation and redness. “I also tell my brides if they are getting their eyebrows threaded or waxed, it should be done a good three to four days before the wedding day.” So what can you do treatment-wise the day before? Franco recommends “Incorporating an at-home device such as micro-current or LED mask,” which are gentle and stimulate lymphatic drainage and cell renewal. (Keep in mind they work best with consistent, long-term use.) You can also use your existing skincare routine to make a “mini facial” at home or in your hotel room. Light candles, place a hot washcloth on your face to loosen up dirt and toxins in your pores, and take extra time massaging your products.
Eat, Drink, Sleep
A rehearsal dinner might be tempting to party with friends and family, but it’s not the time to throw caution to the wind. A big night before the wedding will show on everyone—puffy eyes, dry, sallow skin, and bloat. So go easy. “Stay away from sodium-laden food and alcohol,” says Franco. “If you imbibe, drink plenty of water to offset the alcohol. And try to avoid foods you know will make you bloat and cause stomach issues the next day.” In the same way, if you don’t want to try new products or treatments, the rehearsal dinner is not the time to test if that peanut allergy has faded or if beer still makes your eyes puffy.
Water is not just to counterbalance champagne. Graham says it’s essential and urges her brides to chug the day before: “Drinking water hydrates you and leaves your skin looking fresh for the big day.” Try to consume three liters or more throughout the day.
Shuteye isn’t solely important for your mental wellbeing. “Sleep will help rejuvenate your cells and lessen the appearance of bags under the eyes,” explains Graham. “Your skin makes new collagen when you sleep, which prevents sagging, so it’s pretty important.” Franco recommends a “wind down routine” to help you relax and encourage the body to rest for eight hours. She says a sauna or bath with magnesium oil will help you sleep.
Any final words of advice? Remember that stress can show on the skin. “Try not to worry about what can go wrong,” says Graham. “Things happen!”
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