I've had quite a few brides get in touch now for their weddings this coming summer and fall, and all I can say is they are very smart. Smart to get going on their skincare routine and making any adjustments to help put their most radiant clear face forward on their big day. The truth is, your skin actually needs about six months to truly show any improvements from consistent product use or treatments. Most brides don't know that and expect to transform their skin the month or two before their wedding day. For any of you who are getting married this summer, I am writing this post for you so you can get the products and treatments you need roped into your routine now and actually benefit from their effects.
I pretty much put all of my brides on this purifying cleanser from Tracie Martyn. It is gentle enough to use daily and contains a natural salicylic acid from willow bark that helps to clear up any spots and keep things in check. It is also wonderfully brightening because of the potent amla berries which contain 7x the amount of Vitamin C of citrus, and helps to protect the skin.
If you skin is very dry or sensitive, I would recommend a cleansing balm. The one from BeautyCounter is amazing. Apply to face with a touch of water and then remove with a clean wash cloth that has been run under hot water first.
Side note: if you wear a lot of makeup daily, I would suggest a one-two combo with both of these cleansers. Start with the balm (which will break down all the makeup, including mascara) and follow with the gel cleanser to remove any residue. Double cleansing has been popular for sometime, and if you wear a full face of makeup on the regular you warrant the double treatment.
If you aren't yet using a serum, now is a good time to start. Serums are often thinner consistency formulas that pack a powerful dose of plant enzymes and antioxidants. They are an additional layer of potent ingredients that help to feed and protect the skin. They also work with your moisturizer to drive it deeper into the dermis- making it more effective. I recommend serums that brighten and even out skin tone, balancing any hyperpigmentation. One of my favorites is the Juice Beauty Green Apple Serum. It is well suited for skin in its 20s and 30s.
Find a serum that speaks to you and use it night and day under your moisturizer. It takes time to see the effects, but you will notice your skin is more hydrated and plump as well as glowing.
It is so important to make sure your skin is getting moisture- even if you have oily skin (just choose an oil-free one). Moisturizers help to seal in moisture and nurture skin. Nowadays, many contain boosting ingredients like hyluronic acid (which naturally exists in our skin and lessons over time as we age) and protein peptides to help skin retain its youthful structure. Choose a pure moisturizer that has effective natural ingredients (antioxidants, rosehip oil, shea butter, etc) and apply twice daily after your serum. I suggest clients mix a pure face oil with their moisturizer (especially at night) to boost the hydration (so necessary in the winter months).
If you are a young bride, the suggestions I made above with products will be enough. Your skin is young and likely won't need much more. If you are over 25 and have spent any time in the sun, you will want to incorporate some treatments to get your skin looking its absolute best. I start brides off with a natural fruit acid peel from Juice Beauty. If your skin is sensitive, choose the sensitive formula, other wise go for the full strength to reap more potent results. Doing this peel once a week will help increase cell turnover and circulation- both of which impart a lovely glow. It will also start to lift hyperpigmentation and even skin tone.
If you have a lot of hyperpigmentation (sun spots) to contend with, I would recommend you undergo a few laser treatments. IPL laser treatments are done at the Dermatologist's office and unfortunately not covered by insurance. Yet, it is one of the proven effective ways to lift sun spots and shrink any broken capillaries under the skin that are showing up as red spots. Sometimes one treatment is enough to see a difference, but I would recommend two or three. Though, you do have keep out of the sun for four or five days following the treatment so you don't damage your skin, and you will need to plan accordingly. There are many great side effect to IPL: it firms the skin, it kills off any bacteria and helps clear up acne, it reduces light wrinkles, and it encourages cell renewal so your skin looks young and healthy. There is, however, often a peeling stage a few days after a treatment, so you need plan and I would say do your last treatment a month before your wedding date to be safe.
The other thing I would suggest is using a retinol. Known as the movie star's best friend, Retinol encourages cell turnover and keeps the face looking young and fresh. I suggest this for any brides who are in their 30s, and this is a product you will likely want to stay on after the wedding and just incorporate into your everyday routine. There are many forms. You can get a prescription Retin A from your Dermatologist or look for face creams and oils that contain retinols. Start slow and use it every third night before bed. Then work your way up to every night if your skin can handle it. Retinols can make skin a bit drier and more sensitive to the sun, so always wear broad spectrum sunscreen and use a good moisturizer.
Scientifically speaking, the jury is still out on the direct effect of diet on your skin, but I can attest to personal experiments that prove there absolutely is a correlation. There are a few 'golden rules of skincare' that will help clear up your skin and help it look its best.
1. Stay hydrated by drinking water. A recommend 8 glasses a day is a lot but try to get close to that mark. It will keep your skin plump and heathy as well as work from the inside out to rinse toxins from your system.
2. Supplement. I am not a doctor or registered nutritionist, so take this with a grain of salt, but I find three things make a difference for my skin: probiotics, Vitamin C, and omega oils. Find what works for you and get guidance from an expert if you don't know where to start.
3. Cut down on sugar. You don't have to 100% give it up, but be mindful of how much your normal diet allows for and make small adjustments to cut down on it. (Alcohol is basically sugar and puts a lot of stress on your system to run it through your body and detox it out, so think about limiting your alcohol intake too.) There is research that shows sugar breaks down collagen and that is something we don't want.
Other than that I would say try to eat a heathy and balanced diet. This isn't a total overhaul on what you've been doing for years and what you find your body likes, it is just a couple of tweaks to help make sure your skin is getting what it needs.
I hope you find this post helpful and that you will share it with other brides-to-be. And please, please share other tips you've found in the comments below.