The big day is around the corner. The florist is putting the finishing touches on the arrangements. The final alteration on your dress has come and gone. RSVPs have been tallied and final deposits made. As the clock winds down towards the moment you say I do and your to-do list dwindles, you’d think the stress levels might deplete, but for many brides, the anxiety just gets higher and higher. If there was ever a moment when you desperately needed some “you” time to decompress, this is it.
The upside is that this particular time lends itself well to self-care. After all, you’re going to be the center of attention in a short while. Odds are you’ll have never had your picture taken so many times from so many angles. In other words, if you ever needed an excuse to indulge in some spoiling, this is it. Here are a few ways you can primp and pamper before those wedding bells ring.
Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize
Stress can take a major toll on your skin, and nothing kicks stress into high gear quite like a wedding. It can make your skin more sensitive and slow to heal. It can cause your body to excrete more cortisol, leading to oilier skin and breakouts. If you’re prone to conditions like eczema or rosacea. It can make things much worse. None of these are good things when you need your skin to be picture perfect on the big day.
While there are a number of things you can do to prime your skin for your close up, ranging from facials to pore strips and beyond, the most important skincare component you can focus on is moisturizing. That might seem counterintuitive, particularly if you’re struggling with breakouts, but keeping your skill well-moisturized makes your skin healthier, better balanced, and less susceptible to things like acne. Drinking lots of water, using gentle cleansers, and consistently applying moisturizers formulated for your skin type can help make sure you’ve got a healthy glow when you go to walk down the aisle.
Give Your Hair a Break
Generally speaking, we aren’t very good to our hair. Too frequently washing it, drying it, brushing it, and styling it can cause serious damage. Stress can also have a significant impact on your hair. As stress builds in the body, it pushes hair follicles into a sort of resting period, causing it to shed and your hair to appear thinner. That’s not exactly the look most brides are going for on their wedding day.
Ahead of the wedding, it might be time to give your hair a bit of a vacation. Skip the shampoo for a few days. Try not to expose the hair to water that’s too hot, which can strip the hair of natural protective oils. Avoid tight rubber bands that can cause hair to break under pressure. Put the flat iron, curling iron, and hairdryer away unless absolutely necessary. Skip hair styling products if possible to keep hair from getting weighed down, but use leave-in conditioners to keep the follicles nourished. If you can do this for a couple weeks before the wedding, your hair will be in much better condition when those wedding bells are getting ready to ring.
Step Away from the Booze
When anxiety has you tied in knots, a large glass of wine can sound very tempting. In many ways, especially in the U.S., drinking is almost a cultural expectation during periods of stress, and this is particularly true in the days leading up to a wedding. Whether you’re talking about a bachelorette party, wedding shower, or rehearsal dinner, alcohol is typically free-flowing. It’s also not helping your beauty routine.
Alcohol is a dehydrating agent that can wreak havoc on capillaries and dull your complexion. Though we often associate it with relaxation, alcohol doesn’t actually help with stress reduction, often only intensifying anxiety. If you can swap out some of the liquor for nutrient-rich juices, though, your skin, hair, nails, waistline, and mind will thank you for being kind to your body.
Whiten and Brighten in Advance
The tradition of the white wedding makes for a light, elegant affair, but it also sets the scene for unflattering contrast. The white of the dress, the flowers, and the bright lights can be beautiful, but if your teeth aren’t ready to match pitch with the heady mix, you might find the photo evidence from that day more than a little disappointing.
One way to prepare for this is to get a whitening routine on lock well before your photographer starts snapping candids. Start with a trip to the dentist. It’s best to begin the whitening process on a clean slate. While you’re there, chat with the doctor about what he or she might recommend. In some cases, professional whitening months in advance (to hedge against a possible negative reaction throwing things into a tailspin right before the wedding) could be indicated. In others, at-home remedies may be all that is required. Maintaining those results with healthy habits like eating vegetables, using an appropriate toothpaste and mouthwash combination, and avoiding foods and activities (like smoking) that can stain your teeth will give you the megawatt grin you want the camera to see.