Wedding season is upon us! Only three short months until we are in the thick of it. This means that, for the brides and grooms to be, now is the time to implement a pre-wedding skin care routine if you don’t have one already! Most skin care products will start to show some results after about a month, so with three months to go until wedding peak season there is no time to lose!
On my wedding day, I knew I wanted my make-up to remain minimal. I am not one to contour or lip-line. I like my makeup to be simple yet effective, like most French women. This meant that I needed my skin to be in the best possible shape so there would be not much to hide. Therefore, I introduced new products ahead of the big day which really helped my skin and fixed some problems I had, and I think I looked quite alright on the day.
Below are the key products I introduced into my bridal beauty routine. I have started using that skincare regimen in late 2014 and I still follow it today! I think four years of testing should be enough to prove that it works.
The pleasant, the efficient and the ugly, I am sharing it all!
Exfoliate your skin with acids
A first step is to stop exfoliating your face with physical scrubs! Those are very aggressive to the skin and can potentially scratch and damage it. Also, microbeads are destroying marine life so you may as well bin them now. Instead, start using acids, the name may be scary but these will gently exfoliate your skin.
Make sure to also pick the right acid for your skin! Beta hydroxy acids (BHA) are great for oily and acne-prone skin. Alpha hydroxy acids (AHA) are great to exfoliate and reduce fine lines.
I have combination skin, my T-zone can get oily, my pores are fairly visible. Yet I am starting to show first signs of ageing and the rest of my face can get dry, so I had to find the right balance between AHA and BHA. My favourite AHA is REN Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask, it is a fantastic mask which will get rid of dead skin and give you a lovely glow in only 10 minutes once a week. For my T-zone, I use CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid each morning as a serum after washing my face. It has done wonder to my large pores which look clearer (yum! I told you I would share all the details!) and therefore appear smaller (pores don’t shrink). My occasional acne spots have also almost completely disappeared since starting using it.
Start using a retinol
If you haven’t already, make sure to start using retinol as soon as possible. This ingredient will do wonder for your skin as it is the only proven efficient anti-ageing skincare product. Be aware that the first few weeks of using retinol, your skin may break out a lot more than usual and start peeling a bit. This is completely normal as the cell renewal process is accelerating and your skin is purging all the nasties out. Make sure to introduce the retinol gently into your routine, using it once a week and increasing usage to every other night over a month.
A great retinol to start with is La Roche Posay Redermic R, it is gentle and efficient. This was the first retinol product I used and I could see real improvement in the texture of my skin without any breakout or peeling. As I have been using retinol for four years, I have increased the strength, first with SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.3, and now with The Ordinary Retinol 1%. I even converted Andrew to retinol and he is using The Ordinary Granactive Retinoid 2% which is very gentle for beginners.
Vitamin C will give you the glow
As I mentioned above, I use retinol every other night as an evening serum, which means that on the alternative nights I use a Vitamin C serum. Vitamin C is a fantastic antioxidant which will help your skin fight pollution and UVs. It can be used in the morning too but needs to be followed with an SPF.
My favourite vitamin C serum is the outrageously expensive SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic. The price tag would make anyone cry but the results are really worth it, IF you can afford it. If you cannot justify spending such an amount of money on skincare, I am currently testing Vichy Liftactiv Fresh Shot Anti-fatigue Concentrate which is new on the market but so far has done the job well! Plus it smells a little like the Skinceuticals serum (it stinks!) which I assume is a good sign!
Use sunscreen every day
Seriously, do wear sunscreen every day! I haven’t been without SPF since 2014 and I have to say my forehead lines are less deep than a lot of people my age, or even younger! Sunscreen is all you really need to keep your youthful glow a little longer.
I use sunscreen as a day cream after my CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid serum and a hydrating serum. My favourite SPF day cream in the winter is Avene Hydrance Optimale Light UV SPF20 which hydrates while protecting. In the summer, I like to use Biore UV Aqua Rich Watery Gel SPF50+ which I get in Japan, but you can find it on Amazon too. Finally, if it gets really hot or if I am on vacation somewhere exotic, I use Avene Cleanance High Protection Emulsion SPF30 to combat the oily glow on my forehead.
Get rid of all the spots
Now, this is a little embarrassing to share, but we are all friends here, and I promised to be honest and open. I get small pimples on my chest very easily when it is hot or if I am stressed. I am not sure why but my cleavage can look like a teenager’s forehead at times. My wedding was at the end of May, in Alsace. It was 28 degrees Celsius that week, and with the added stress my chest was covered with teeny-tiny pimples by Wednesday, and I was getting married on Saturday. My dress had a deep V-neck at the front and was backless which meant that these little red-dots could have been on full display. Not really the type of necklace I was planning to wear…
Luckily, knowing my skin, I knew this could happen and I had tested products to fight this issue in the months leading up to the wedding. On the big pimples (yum!), I used a sulfur paste and left it on overnight. My favourites are Mario Badescu Drying Lotion and Malin + Goetz 10% Sulfur Paste. In a couple of nights, the spots went from ugly to flat fainted marks easy to cover with a bit of concealer. For my chest and shoulders, I thoroughly applied Boots Back Spray after each shower, the Tea Tree oil worked like magic and kept my skin fresh preventing other pimples to show up to the party.
Dry brush your body
I suffer from keratosis pilaris, also known as ‘chicken skin’, on the back of my arms and my thighs. It is a very common condition yet it is impossible to get rid of it. The only treatments available help manage the condition but won’t cure it. I knew that regular exfoliation and hydration were my only options to reduce it enough so it would be barely visible.
Dry brushing is known to be really good for the skin, helping the vascular blood circulation, lymphatic drainage, and – in my case – reducing keratosis pilaris. I did it thoroughly before each shower during the month leading up to the wedding and my skin looked really good on the day, including my arms! I use one of the basic body brushes from Boots, but you can find some fancy ones on Amazon too!
So brides and grooms to be, follow these six principles and I can guarantee you will be glowing on your wedding day, and long after if you keep using these products!