Here are some simple steps you can take on your own to prepare and nurture your skin in the weeks, days and hours before the big event.
One Month Before
“Fresh skin takes time,” said Dr. Kristina Goldenberg, a dermatologist and an owner of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York.
At this stage, the goal should be to first remove dead layers of skin. Dr. Goldenberg says that it typically takes at least 28 days “for new cells to come in and old ones to be sloughed off.”
Brides will also need this time to prepare their skin, she said, “to receive, accept, and recover from these more aggressive treatments and ingredients, which are helping to even out tone, lighten dark spots and reveal a fresh glow.”
EXFOLIANT Offering impressively high levels of AHA (alpha hydroxy acid), 25 percent, and BHA (beta hydroxy acid), 2 percent, among other ingredients, Drunk Elephant’s T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial is a smart choice for cleaning pores and ridding skin of dead cells. Matcha tea, apple fruit and milk thistle soothe, while hydrating sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer and plant oils moisturize and nourish the skin. Brides with sensitive skin should use just once a week; others can opt for twice. $80
SERUM For a highly concentrated, oil-free serum that improves the appearance of dark spots, promotes even skin tone, adds radiance, and reduces the appearance of acne marks and scars, try Vinoperfect Radiance Serum by Caudalie. $79
POWDER Become a mix-master by blending Vitabrid C12’s FACE Brightening Powder into your existing moisturizer or serum. This 12-hour delivery system with vitamin C complex brightens the skin as it minimizes fine lines and wrinkles through collagen synthesis. $60
SUNBLOCK During this stripping/rebuilding process, sun protection is crucial. Stick with a breathable block of SPF 50 that has UV (ultraviolet) protection, but also moisturizes and soothes. Dr. Jart+’s Every Sun Day SPF 50 Sunscreen does the job, thanks to calendula, aloe vera and hollyhock, plus it has a pink-beige tint to help skin look brighter. $34
One Week Before
“One of the benefits to superficial exfoliation, which you’ve been doing over the past few weeks, is that it prepares your skin for better penetration of the topical products you’re going to use now,” said Dr. Lee Ann M. Klausner, a facial plastic surgeon with a practice in New York.
But as with any new products you’ll be introducing so close to your wedding date, play it safe and do a skin-patch test first before applying to your face. Dr. Klausner suggests testing on the inner wrist. “The skin there is thinner, less exposed to the sun,” she said, “and is similar to the skin on your face.”
CLEANSER PÜR Joystick Exfoliating Deep-Pore Cleanser is an exfoliating cleansing stick — with charcoal and Moroccan red clay to help detoxify — that foams on contact to remove pore-clogging dirt, oil and impurities. Double the job by leaving it on your T-zone area (forehead, nose and chin) for several minutes to create a mask before rinsing off. $26
SERUM Eliminate surface shine and minimize pores with ZO Skin Health’s Ossential Instant Pore Refiner, a lightweight, dual-action serum. Because it offers the time-release antioxidant complex ZOX¹², it prevents breakout-causing congestion. Rosa canina fruit extract, salicyloyl phytosphingosine and ZO-RRS² ingredients provide long-term defense against inflammation and protect the skin from free radical damage. $60
MOISTURIZING MASK Erno Laszlo Hydra-Therapy Memory Sleep Mask, created with NASA-inspired memory gel texture, offers 24-hour “Smart Hydrators” that repair and replenish lost moisture, while brightening and strengthening skin while you sleep. Prickly pear, green ginger and mugwort extracts moisturize, omega-3, 6 and 9 fatty acids boost skin’s collagen and elastin. $90
The Night Before
“Stress shows on your skin, which can lead to dryness, flakiness, blotchiness and acne,” said Dr. Melissa K. Levin, a dermatologist in New York.
The culprit is cortisol, a steroid produced in the adrenal glands that is elevated by stress. Cortisol breaks down collagen, weakens facial elasticity and increases inflammation and oil production, among other unwanted effects.
“Pampering yourself with low-impact, mini-like spa treatments the night before is a good way to naturally lower cortisol while taking a moment to be good to yourself and focus on your skin,” Dr. Levin said.
HANDS For silky, smooth, ring-worthy hands and nails, use Masqueology Moisturizing Hand Masks, which are packed with coconut oil, shea butter, aloe vera and anti-aging properties. $15
MASK Glow Recipe’s Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask is pillow-proof, so it won’t rub off in the middle of the night as you toss and turn — that is, if you actually do fall asleep. As a radiance-raising hybrid hydrator, it’s formulated with soothing, amino acid-rich watermelon extract, hydrating hyaluronic acid, and pore refining AHAs that exfoliates and clarifies. $45
EYES Refrigerator friendly, Sonya Dakar NutraSphere Eyeposuction contains Nano Apple Stem-Cells, red yeast and white lilies to drain excess fluids underneath the eyes that can cause fat deposits, puffiness and dark circles. In the morning, eyes will appear perkier. $175
The Wedding Day
You’ve already done all the hard work. But sleeplessness and stress can look terrible on anyone.
“That’s why there are temporary instant helpers and hiders that cheat the shot,” said Dr. Rosemarie Ingleton, a dermatologist and owner of the medical director of Ingleton Dermatology in New York. “Look for products that give a perceived glow by constricting blood vessels, tightening skin, relaxing facial muscles and filling in lines. It’s show time, after all.”
PAMPER PREP Seven minutes is all you need with Dermarche Labs’ Roloxin Lift Gold Instant Wrinkle Smoothing Mask to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and pores while adding a bright, smooth, luminous look. Gold particles (24K) deflects light while Silicalifttm technology promises 24-hour lasting power. $33
EXTRA BOOST Two drops of NIP + FAB Viper Venom Fix Blurring Shot added to your moisturizer or foundation creates a temporary Botox-like effect while hiding pores, smoothing out lines, and offering the appearance of a retouched finish. It can also be used on its own, applied directly to the skin. $24.95
SERUM Brighten skin and improve cell turnover with Joanna Vargas Daily Serum. It contains chlorophyll to oxygenate, hyaluronic acid to provide moisture, and galactoarabinan to make you glow. $85
EYE CARE Remove dark circles, dullness, and reveal brightness, in 15 minutes, with Shiseido Benefiance WrinkleResist24 Pure Retinol Smoothing Eye Mask. $65
*This article was first published in The New York Times on 21 September 2017, written by Alix Strauss.