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The Do’s and Don’ts of Pre-Wedding Beauty Treatments

These are the pre-wedding beauty treatments you won’t want to skip before your big day - and when to book them!

As your big day approaches, a relaxing day at the spa probably sounds amazing - but which pre-wedding beauty treatments should you book before your big day? With a menu of options to choose from, selecting treatments that make you feel amazing (but don’t come with redness or extra down-time!) is crucial. After all, your wedding countdown is on!

We turned to beauty professionals to break down the do’s and don’ts of those pre-wedding beauty treatments you’ve been eyeing, so you can make an appointment and relax with confidence.

Do: Plan ahead!

“We recommend that a bride start a facial regimen eight to 10 months before the wedding,” celebrity esthetician Joie Tavernise of JTav Clinical Skincare in New York advises. “This will give you time to see a noticeable difference and improvement in  your skin as it takes around 28 days for skin cells to turnover.” Schedule a facial for every four weeks, so your skin cells can regenerate and your esthetician can exfoliate the old ones to prevent dullness and breakouts. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for some me-time in the heat of wedding planning!

Do: Celebrate your engagement with a facial. 

“If you’ve never had a facial before, use your engagement as an occasion to indulge,” says Kelly Mack, owner and esthetician at Absolute Precision Skin Care in Chicago. “From there, you can work with your therapist to figure out a facial regimen leading up to your wedding day and really address any issues or concerns.”

Don't: Cut it close.

You’re already under enough stress - don’t add worrying about the results of your treatment after a ‘quick fix’ to the list,” New York City- based cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Ariel Ostad says. “Instead, work out a plan that gives you ample time to see results and recover or correct if needed.”

Do: Note how your skin reacts. 

“Everyone’s skin is different, so gauge how long it takes for your skin to look its best after a facial and time your final treatments accordingly,” says Mack. “For some clients, that could be the next day, while others might need a week or two to see results.” Use this to nail down the date of your last pre-wedding beauty treatment, even if it’s as simple as gentle exfoliation, an amazing masque and facial massage.”

Don't: Force it. 

“We can definitely incorporate more aggressive methods like peels and deeper exfoliation in the months before the wedding, but starting pre-wedding beauty treatment farther in advance means we can use more gentle tools like dermaplaning, dermal infusion, HydraFacials, Laser Genesis, IPL, and LED therapy with great (and more gradual) results,” says Tavernise. “And remember, one facial will not give you lasting results or provide an instant fix!”

Don't: Go generic.

“Your facial treatment should be customized to your skin and your individual needs,” says Tavernise. “Everyone’s skin is different!” Your esthetician should help you choose products and pre-wedding beauty treatments that deeply cleanse, exfoliate, hydrate, clean, and soothe your skin, building on each appointment to help you achieve the best results.

Don't: Expect a ‘one size fits all’ treatment plan.

“The best pre-wedding procedures will always vary depending on your current skin condition and your age,” says Dr. Ostad. “Find a board-certified dermatologist who will be able to customize your pre-wedding beauty treatment plan so it is the best fit for you.”

Don't: Try something new right before the wedding. 

Refrain from any treatments you’ve never had before in the last few weeks before your big day,” says Jody Leon, owner of Dermaspace in Seattle. “I’ve seen too many allergic reactions and crazy hives in my career!” Remember that some of these services can be invasive, so it’s best to have them done well in advance so you have time to recover - and treat any issues if they arrive. “If you have a trusted esthetician who you see regularly, they’ll be able to cater your last facial to provide the right results without any issues because they know what does and doesn’t work for your skin,” Leon explains.

Do: Keep it simple. 

Facials aren’t the only way to unwind and look amazing on your wedding day! “More simple pre-wedding beauty treatments like body massage, manicures and pedicures, or some time in the sauna will help you feel fantastic, which absolutely translates to how you’ll look in pictures,” says Leon, “but they also avoid the risk of an adverse reaction to unfamiliar products on your face.”

Do: Have a hydrafacial.

“This is the only treatment I’d recommend for the week of your wedding,” says Dr. Ostad. “It helps with uneven texture, congested skin, and enlarged pores through three steps that cleans and exfoliate for a glowing complexion. There is virtually no downtime, and you can even have it done several times in the months and weeks before your wedding.” Hello, extra-glowy engagement photos!

Don't: Have last-minute extractions. 

“The best time to get a full facial is around one week before your wedding,” says Tavernise. “You’ll want a deep clean and to infuse your skin with healthy serums, but a one week buffer gives you time to recover from any post-treatment purging [i.e. those pimples that can pop up after a facial] and for you and your esthetician to address them without stressing.”

Don't: Peel at the last minute. 

“Any light chemical peels should be done at least 10 to 14 days (or more!) before your wedding,” says Garritano. “You may experience some pinkness in your skin, and might have some visible peeling, so this longer timeframe gives you time to heal and see results.” A light chemical peel will improve skin texture, decrease hyperpigmentation, brighten skin, reduce fine lines and breakouts, and help eliminate redness and inflammation.

Do: Start with Fraxel.

“If laser treatment will be part of your pre-wedding skincare plan, start with Fraxel treatments about six months before your wedding,” says Dr. Ostad. You’ll receive a total of three treatments three to four weeks apart, so this gives you ample time to see results. “The Fraxel laser targets deep skin layers to stimulate collagen production, resulting in smoother skin, shrunken pores, and a gorgeous glow. It should come before any fillers, as the lasers can actually dissolve them.” And don’t forget to consider Fraxel on your chest or back if you have a revealing neckline!

Do: Start fillers sooner rather than later. 

“Botox and other injectable wrinkle reducers are an effective, temporary treatment for visibly minimizing facial lines,” says Garratino. The results can take a few weeks to appear (and you’ll want to allow some time for any mild bruising or swelling to go down), so schedule an appointment for every three to six months, with your last pre-wedding beauty treatment six to eight weeks before your big day. “This also allows time for touch-ups or tweaks if needed,” says Garratino. But you don’t have to have deep wrinkles before you start! “Wrinkles are caused by repetitive movements of the skin, and neuromodulator injections can help prevent them from happening in the first place by slowing down the muscle movement. Think of it as a marathon - a series of small treatments over time, which will result in much more natural long-term results.”

Do: Restore volume.

“Dermal fillers, such as Juvederm and Restylane, add or replace lost volume to lips, cheeks, and under-eye areas, and can define your jawline,” says Garratino. “Again, prevention is the best treatment: Maintaining and restoring volume will help prevent the creation of additional lines and wrinkles.” If you’ve never had dermal fillers before, schedule your first treatment six months to a year before your wedding, allowing time for more natural results. Fillers typically last six months, so plan for your last treatment no less than six weeks before your wedding to relieve swelling and bruising, and allow the injections to look more natural on your face.”

Do: Consider cosmetics.

“In addition to hydrating facials, cosmetic treatments like brow shaping, brow and lash tintings, and lash lifts are great choices for the week of your wedding,” says Kristen Arcari, senior esthetician at Brad Duncan Skincare in Boston. “A tint is great if you don’t want to deal with lash extensions, and a lash lift is like a perm for natural lashes that creates length and curl.”

Do: Reduce your sugar and dairy intake. 

“After a final deep cleansing facial two to three weeks before your wedding, avoid ingredients that can cause excessive inflammation,” says Arcari. “You may not react on a normal occasion, but pre-wedding stress can cause a reaction that you’re not expecting.

Do: Think below your face. 

“Your neck will be just as visible as your face,” says Dr. Ostad, “and ultherapy is a non-surgical way to achieve a more youthful, tightened neck and jawline.” Ultherapy uses ultrasound to stimulate collagen, results that will appear over two to three months - so come in for your treatment about four months before your wedding.

Don't: Forget your back. 

“If your dress will reveal your upper back, make sure to have that area treated,” says Arcari. A back “facial” will help reduce acne, can address pigmentation, and ensure you’ve got clear shoulders for your walk down the aisle. “Start these treatments six months in advance (or longer if you can manage it) to see the best results, especially if you have persistent problems with your skin.”

Don't: Skip your hands. 

Your ring will be in the spotlight, too, so make sure your hands look great! “As we age we lose volume in the hands, which results in more prominent tendons, ligaments, and veins,” says Dr. Ostad. “Injectable fillers can address this volume loss for plumper, more youthful hands - schedule an appointment for about a month prior to your wedding for the most natural look.”

Don't: Go dramatic.

“A wedding should be one of the happiest moments in any woman’s life, where all women want to look their best,” says NYC-based plastic surgeon Dr. Norman Rowe. “And sometimes a visit to your plastic surgeon can help. However, the visit has to be planned in advance and the bride has to have reasonable expectations. Many brides visit my office and want a dramatic change or procedures done within days or a few weeks of the wedding. This is just not going to happen!” Instead, consult with a doctor well in advance of your wedding, and consider less dramatic treatments closer to your wedding day.

Do: Think about sweat. 

“Botox isn’t just for wrinkles on your face,” says Dr. Rowe. “It can also be used to prevent sweating, which many brides love for a summer wedding.” Check with your dermatologist to see if this procedure would work for you.

Don't: Choose needles right before your wedding. 

“Any procedure involving a needle, from Botox to a pimple treatment, runs the risk of bruising,” Dr. Rowe explains. “I would avoid this within 10 days of your wedding, especially if you take blood thinners like Advil or Motrin regularly.”

Do: Treat at home.

“I give my brides the Dermalogica Skin Hydrating Masque - you can’t over-hydrate!” says Mack. “I recommend doing one mask the week before the wedding, and one the night before for a lovely glow and plump skin.”

Do: Unwind when it's over. 

“Post-wedding or on your honeymoon is a great time for a massage,” says Arcari. After all that standing (and dancing!), your body will probably be a little sore! “Wedding planning can be so stressful, so it’s a perfect opportunity to really release that tension.”

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