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The Bridal Beauty Timeline
Compliments of Gail Pearlstein, RN, MS
Owner of Complexion Perfection and Metrowest Laser and Skin Center
Natick, MA

When several of my friends and I were getting married many years ago we hauled ourselves off to a local department store where we spent hours with a cosmetic specialist. She created special looks for our weddings and easily sold us lots of makeup. Even then, as a graduate student, I was a “makeup junkie”. I had a wonderful time experimenting with all my new goodies, adding some of my old makeup to the mix. Two weeks later, when heading home for Thanksgiving to rendezvous with my fiancé’s family for the holiday and for our engagement party, the aggravating itchiness that had been developing around my eyes went into full bloom: swollen red eyes that rendered me that wonderful “raccoon “ look! My mother whisked me off to a doctor who administered cortisone injections, but it was too late: the damage was done and I wore the consequences to the engagement party.

Now I am a Laser and Esthetic RN and a professionally trained Make-up artist working in tandem with another RN and an Esthetician/ Make-up Artist. We see many brides and their families in our medical esthetics and make-up artistry practice. We share my story and lesson with them, while explaining that the “Glowing Bride” with the perfect skin and “look” does not happen overnight.

All bridal magazines, websites and, especially, planners explain to you the value of months of preparation and a timeline guide for that big day. Your are advised to pick out a venue as much as two years in advance, book a caterer, plan invitations and color schemes, etc, etc., but what about your special look, the look that will describe your day for decades to come in those wedding pictures. This is not something you wing at the last minute! No one can wear a gorgeous formal gown and go with an un-made-up look. Your face will disappear! And are not the gown, veil, and flowers all chosen to highlight your unique beauty?

From the day you become engaged, you should begin thinking about the look you want to create and be remembered for. How much time, energy and money you decide to invest in this will depend on your chosen goal. I am a believer in the “you cannot start early enough” school of thought. This may be rooted in my healthcare and nursing background. Most services that help you look your best will help you feel your best. Good and healthful habits should start now and carry into your wedding days and beyond.

The most obvious place to begin is with your body. Everyone longs to look fabulous in her wedding gown. With a wedding more than a year away, you might want to postpone shedding those extra pounds that will allow you wedding gown to slide over your svelte figure. But why wait? With that kind of thinking, you will lose weight only for that day, not for a lifetime. Consulting a professional about healthful diet and exercise advice will be a “jump start “ advantage. Fruits, vegetables, whole foods and healthy liquids along with a sustainable exercise program will not only improve your body and it’s bones, hair, teeth and circulation, but will show up on your skin. Elasticity, tone, and color will become more even, acne will improve, and you will receive a bonus burst of energy that will carry over to your emotional state as endorphins are released.

Next, take survey of yourself in relation to your wedding day. It can be daunting to think about this alone, so we are there to help you sort through the pieces .Our Bridal Beauty Package begins at least six months prior to the wedding. (More time if you want more improvement). We will ask you how your skin responds to stress because all stress, including wedding induced stress, will have physical outcomes. Do you break-out, find that your Rosacea is aggravated, lose sleep, develop dark circles, lose or gain weight?? Might there be other factors that contribute to the normal wedding stress? Two weeks before my own wedding, I graduated from graduate school and faced a move to Boston! Talk about stress!!!

You must also consider the time of year you have chosen for your wedding date and how the season may affect your appearance. Will your skin be August oily and sweaty, or January rough and dry? A series of facials with products targeting oil control and deep cleaning, or extra moisture will help balance your complexion well in advance. The makeup we prescribe may have an oil-control additive or add the glow that you may be missing.

Decide what do you realistically want to achieve for your wedding day and if this goal requires an intervention? Perhaps you want to wear your hair up off your face, but your skin needs some work. This motivation might lead you to the kinds of laser work I do for improving skin, removing hair, and decimating acne. Laser treatments usually require multiple visits and should not be performed within five days of the wedding events. Remember that many medical esthetic treatments (laser, peels, photofacials and resurfacing) may require downtime and you should allow appropriate recovery time. Cosmetic dentistry will also require several visits. And of course, plastic surgery should be undertaken well over six to nine months ahead of your events.

You might want to try a variety of new products at this time. Try them one at a time so you will know which ones (if any) might cause an allergic response. If you are trying a new intervention or product before the wedding, you will want to experience it at least two or three times prior and many months ahead. Allergic responses sometimes occur after a couple of exposures as the skin begins to sensitize. You will not want to have to face getting back to baseline only two weeks before your day. Do not have a facial the day before your wedding and make sure that you know the esthetician and her product line and are confident from experience that neither has negatively impacted your skin.
With this guide to Advance Planning, your Bridal Beauty Timeline will coincide seamlessly with your selecting of your site, menu and dress. With your skin, body and look all determined, your wedding day will be as stress free and enjoyable as possible!

Bridal Beauty Timeline:

· Engagement: Congratulations!! Start now with good eating and exercise habits. Consult with a Nutritionist (did you know that most health insurances cover at least one visit?) and a good Physical Trainer to motivate you in your goals.

· One to Two Years Prior to the Wedding: Setting the Date: Do your “Self Survey”. When is the wedding? Do you know how your body and skin will react to that time of year? How might the weather, season or expected life changes impact your stress level and appearance then? Do you want to change anything about how you look? Consult the Specialists: Make appointments with your Esthetic team, fitness people, and the appropriate doctors and dentists to get the ball rolling. Make a baseline visit to your internist and gynecologist to ascertain good health and to ask any questions about any intervention you may be planning especially cosmetic surgery. This will all go in tandem with your venue site, caterer, florist, band and wedding gown and accessory search.

· Nine Months to Six Months Prior to the Wedding: Start your new regimen of skin renewal and maintenance. Begin with non-invasive procedures, monthly facials, hair removal or treatment of spider veins and surface imperfections. You may want to test Botox or Restylane injections to see what a difference they make for a fresher appearance. If you are planning to undergo any type of deep peel or cosmetic surgery, do it now, so all vestiges of redness and scarring will be gone. Try new products with the advice of your Esthetic team for the optimum improvement. Make notes of any reactions to your sequential usage of each new product.

· Two to three Months Prior to the Wedding: Make sure that you have a fresh supply of your tested and true products. Plan your wardrobe and makeup color schemes. Toss old and non-useful products that may harbor bacteria and irritants.

· One Month to One Week Prior to the Wedding: Have the last of any intensive treatments. Laser and photo resurfacing will require longer healing time than light peels or microdermabrasion. . Schedule a trial make-up and hair styling a month before to determine your desired look.

· One Week Before the Wedding: A light peel and a facial should be scheduled for clearer, glowing skin. Book cuts and colors for the week before for the best results. Do not try out a radically new cut or color at this time!

· 1-3 Days Before the Wedding: Get a manicure and pedicure and any waxing done. Remember that the day before the wedding, you will have scheduled activities that include the rehearsal dinner, so do not schedule too much in that time slot. Have your chosen gown and accessories and all rehearsal dinner and Honeymoon clothing all organized in garment bags so you will not have to search for anything when time is of the essence. Pack your suitcase! Ask your Esthetic team for smaller sizes of products for your trip.

· Wedding Day: All you should need is your hair styling, your make-up and a smile, and you will be “Good to Go”!!

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