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The bridal beauty countdown you'll want to bookmark

Bridal beauty
Already have too much to do in the months before you say 'I do'? Here's how to streamline your pre-wedding beauty prep...
When you're on the countdown to your wedding, the months can slip away all too easily, leaving you with just weeks (or even days) to get all your beauty appointments sorted. But not all treatments are created equal, and indeed some need to be scheduled in well before the week of your wedding. So what do you need to do and when? We've got you sorted. From one month away from the big day to just two days out, this is the ultimate bridal beauty countdown. We've even got tips from five hair and skin experts, who know just what it takes to maximise your big-day glow. 

One month out

Hair apparent

Think you can pull off a bold new style in the weeks before your wedding? Think again, says Stephen Caldwell, senior stylist at Rubi Hair. "If you're planning any kind of dramatic change, you need to talk to your stylist a good six to 12 months out." Once you've locked down your look, Stephen suggests booking your final hair appointment one month before your big day. "That way the cut and colour can settle, giving you a more natural look." In the week before your wedding, slip into the salon for a protein treatment. "If you're wearing an up-do, there'll be a lot of back combing, so you need to pack your hair with extra moisture and protein," says Stephen.

Secret weapon: With all that wedding styling, your hair needs to bring its A-game. Splurge on salon-quality shampoo and conditioner, such as the Keratase range. 

Wedding beauty makeup
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At least two weeks

Let there be light: laser and peels

At the top of most brides' beauty wish list is a clear, smooth complexion, says Melbourne dermatologist Dr Alice Rudd. "They don't want to look younger or wrinkle free, they just want to be flawless." Laser treatments are popular as they stimulate collagen production, resulting in younger, plumper, more radiant skin. But not all lasers are created equal. Some have major downtime (think Samantha's red-raw face in Sex and the City), while others let you return to work that day. "Ablative lasers essentially remove the whole top layer of skin, and while results are fantastic, these treatments carry significant downtime. They should be done at least a few months before the wedding," says Alice. This is no one-off wonder, either, requiring multiple treatments (up to six) to achieve the desired results.

"Which laser is right for you depends on your skin type," says Alice. She recommends brides seek out the services of a trained dermatologist at least six months in advance. "For peels, the best results are seen with a series of five to six peels, one to two weeks apart," says Alice. "But don't do any in the two weeks before you wedding as peeling can start a few days after the treatment, and last for up to a week."

Secret weapon: Alice suggests getting your home beauty routine in order before shelling out on expensive sessions. "There's no point in spending time and money on laster treatments if the skin's canvas is not cared for. A lot can be done with good skincare."

One week out

High brow

Regardless of whether you want the full Cara D or a simple shape and tint, don't start your brow regime too late. Diana at The Eyebrow Queen recommends penciling in your first appointment six months out from your wedding. "That way we have time to grow and shape the brows to suit your face, and regenerate any over-plucked areas," she explains. The latter is particularly true for those of us who first wielded tweezers in the '90s and early 2000s - if all that remains is your high, pencil-thin arch, get thee to your brow technician quick-smart. Once you've decided on a course of action (take note: the thick, dark bush is not everyone's friend), maintain monthly bookings with your brow whiz, and lock in your last appointment one week before your waltz down the aisle. "That will give the skin time to settle down from any waxing and colouring," says Diana.

Secret weapon: Every woman should have an Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil ($44) in her make-up kit, says Diana. Available in three shades, the waxy formula is perfect for shaping and filing in gaps.

Three days out

Wax on, wax off

Now's not the time for your first-ever Brazilian, says Lisa Hody, senior therapist at Sydney's ThaSpa. If you're new to waxing, Lisa recommends booking your first treatment five to six weeks out, followed by a final session three days before the wedding. "And remember, any waxing has to take place at least one day before your spray tan," says Lisa.

Secret weapon: If you've left it too late to wax, you have three options to choose from: trim, shave or embrace the bush. 

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Two days out

Best face forward: Hydrafacial

For time-poor brides looking for a quick pick-me-up, zero in on the Hydrafacial, a cleanse, peel, extraction and hydration treatment all in one. The 30-minute procedure uses a vacuum-based abrasion tip, loaded with a custom blend of potent serums. "It's a favourite for weddings and red carpet events as it plumps the skin and removes impurities so that your make-up glides on effortlessly," says procedural nurse Melissa Daniell of the Dermatology Institute of Victoria.

The session kicks off with a cleanse and exfoliation, followed by a gentle acid peel, extractions and hydration. The results are increased collagen production, unclogged pores and plumper, brighter skin - perfect face prep for your big day. Melissa recommends starting treatments six months out, but scheduling in your final facial right before your big day. "As there's no downtime, you can zip in and out in your lunch break, and get your final treatment two days before the wedding," she says.

Secret weapon: After a peel and exfoliation, it's essential to cover up with a good quality 50+ sunscreen. And that's a habit that should continue long after your wedding day.

Golden girl

When it comes to spray tans, Lisa books in her bridal clients two days before the wedding. "That way you have enough time to get rid of any excess and ensure it doesn't rub off on your dress." For the best results, exfoliate the day before your booking, and don't wear any moisturisers, deodorants or perfume to the appointment. For brides who've never had a spray tan before, Lisa suggests booking a trial one month out. "That way we can get the colour right and ensure the old tan is well and truly gone before we apply a fresh one."

Secret weapon: Invest in a top bronzer, such as Stila One Step Bronze ($52).

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