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The Beauty Memo

Your six-week bridal beauty countdown

When you have just six weeks to go until your wedding, making small, simple changes to your skin, hair, exercise and nutrition regimens will ensure you look and feel your best on the big day. LISA NIVEN-PHILLIPS asks the experts for their most effective tips


Six weeks to go

If you haven’t already had a test with your hairstylist, now’s the time. “Try to book your test for a similar time of day to when you need it on your wedding day, so you can see how the style fares over the same period – because you need longevity,” says celebrity hairstylist George Northwood, who styled Meghan Markle’s hair for the evening reception of her wedding. “Bring along any hair accessories you plan to wear, to replicate what it will look like on the day.” Any sudden, last-minute desires for a total transformation in cut or color are strongly inadvisable, though: “Don’t do anything drastic this late on. You would be surprised by the number of people who do.”

New York-based dermatologist Dendy Engelman says that six weeks ahead is the perfect time for powerful skin treatments. “A month or two from the big day, I recommend intense pulsed light (IPL) on the face and chest to target areas of redness or hyperpigmentation,” she says. Chemical peels should be done no later than now, to avoid redness on the day. If you’re planning on getting hyaluronic facial fillers before your wedding, now’s the time to get them, too. “Results are immediate, but even better is the fact that they encourage collagen production, so you can see anti-aging benefits anywhere you inject them,” says Engelman.

Exercise-wise, six weeks ahead isn’t too late to tone up. “You’ll probably want to do no less than three days a week of either fitness classes, training or physical activity,” says Jin Zhen, a trainer at New York’s Dogpound gym. “If you prefer a lean and toned physique, without the bulk, a combination of HIIT, aerobic cardio and weight training is suitable. It’s important to pick a physical activity that you enjoy, though.”

Four weeks to go

Focusing on good nutrition is a great way to boost skin, hair, energy and general wellbeing ahead of your wedding. “With all my brides, I’m always aware that the final weeks before a wedding can be stressful, so we want to be supporting the adrenals while also keeping blood-sugar levels strong,” says Dr Simone Laubscher, a nutritionist and formulator at WelleCo. She recommends consciously upping your water daily, eating as many different-colored fruits and vegetables as possible and taking supplements – WelleCo’s Super Elixir Greens are a great all-rounder – to ensure you’re getting your essential vitamins and minerals. “Rather than detoxing or dieting, you need to feed your body with goodness,” says Laubscher.

This is also a great time to incorporate some extra fitness moves into your day-to-day life. “You can perform quick exercises with light weights, bands or your body weight during commercial breaks or while waiting for a meal to cook,” Zhen says. “Try plank push-ups, chair tricep dips, split squats and cable bicep curls.”

Two weeks to go

Now is the time for your pre-wedding facial, to get your skin into its most glowing state for the big day. Engelman recommends incorporating LED treatments to brighten skin and smooth texture: red light boosts circulation, blue kills bacteria and yellow stimulates collagen and elastin. And don’t forget often-neglected areas: “It can be easy to forget the neck, arms and décolleté, but chances are one or all will be showing on the big day. You can use specific products to help thicken the skin, or use the same products you’re using on your face for your neck and décolleté,” advises Engelman.

It’s also time for your final haircut and color appointments (although, again, nothing spontaneous, please). “Two weeks is good because it gives it time to settle in – people tend to like their hair most about two weeks after a cut,” Northwood says. “Particularly if you’re having a looser up-do, as it gives those wispy bits at the front time to feel a little less box-fresh and more natural.” If your hair tends towards dryness, you could also treat yourself to a new mask around this time.

One week to go

“Drink green juices to fill up on beautifying nutrients,” says Amy Shapiro of New York-based nutritionist practice Real Nutrition. “Stay hydrated and continue to eat three balanced meals a day with complex carbs from vegetables, lean protein and heart-healthy fats. Try to fill half your plate with vegetables at every meal,” she continues. Laubscher recommends cutting out alcohol at this point, and limiting caffeinated drinks to one per day.

While you might feel like you should ramp up your workouts in the last week, Zhen says it’s more about being clever with how you use your time: “Now we’re at the week of the big day, there’ll be a lot going on, so you may not want to stress your body out more. Make it quick yet worthwhile – for example, a 30-minute circuit workout would be great. You’ll feel like you got a great workout done, yet have lots of time to finish up any wedding planning.”

On the day

It’s your wedding day! Shapiro recommends kicking things off with a good breakfast to keep blood sugar balanced and hunger at bay. “I’m a huge fan of eggs with arugula or spinach, olive oil-based dressing and some avocado,” she says. Laubscher advises getting some carbs in, too, especially if your wedding is later in the day. “You may end up not eating or drinking until about 3pm or so – and one of the first things you might have is a glass of champagne!”

In terms of hair, leave things in the hands of the professionals. “For up-dos, washing your hair the night before can be good for texture; however, I always say to brides: if you want to wash your hair in the morning because it makes you feel clean, then do it. Just use your usual shampoo and conditioner and leave the rest to your hairdresser,” says George Northwood.

For skin, this is where your prep pays off. Engelman says a sheet mask can be a good way to boost glow and hydration, while a jade face roller is a nice way to relax, as well as tackling any puffiness along the jaw line and under the eyes. “An eye cream containing caffeine is also good for puffiness and dark circles,” she adds. Most importantly, now is your time. “On the day, I would advise taking five minutes for yourself – whether that is for meditation or some belly breathing,” says Laubscher. “Breathe, light a candle, take a moment and see yourself in the dress, see yourself walking down the aisle, with everything in the right place. Take a moment to be mindful and to de-stress so that your mind, body and spirit are in flow for your big day.”