Jenn Bartell Photography
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We gathered a panel of experts—a personal stylist, a makeup artist, a hairstylist and a f itness trainer—to talk about looking great on the Big Day. In a freewheeling conversation, they touched on everything from shedding for the wedding to eyelash extensions.
Let's say I just got engaged. When should I start making beauty preparations for my wedding?
Shana: When it comes to skin care, you should start preparing right off the bat. A lot of times, brides will try to cram it in a month before the wedding. The sooner you start, the better.
Sandra: For diet and exercise, you have to start six months out. You're not going to get results overnight.
Lisa: You have to set goals for yourself that can actually be attained. If you only give yourself two months, you won't have enough time to create a goal for your skin, let alone your body.
Tina: For hair, a bride needs time to undo any damage, correct any color mistakes, grow out her hair if she wants a long hairstyle, fix highlights.
Talk about the dress. What should a bride consider?
Sandra: It's got to be figure flattering. You can't change your body type. You've gotta work with what you've got. That's why you need a stylist to help you.
Lisa: I can't tell you how many girls want to branch out on that day and be somebody they're not. You're setting yourself up for failure.
What do you think of the strapless dress? It's everywhere, isn't it?
Lisa: It kills me. Every girl wants a sweetheart neckline and a strapless dress. Nobody will even try on a cap sleeve or a three-quarter sleeve.
Shana: I had a bride who wore lace sleeves because she had a big arm tattoo. I hear "Can you cover my huge tattoo?" a lot. I can do pretty good stuff, but it still looks like a covered-up tattoo. Let your photographer airbrush it out.
So you can't really cover up a tattoo?
Shana: I can, but you'll still see it. It will look muddy, like a bruise.
Tina: So many women have tattoos now—almost half of 20- to 35-year-olds.
Shana: They don't realize your style changes constantly. Someday you're not going to like it. I've had mine lasered off. I regret every single one of them.
Tina: If you do have one, you can cover it up with a wrap or wear your hair down your back.
Shana: I say embrace your tattoos.
Let's talk specifics, starting with weight and fitness.
Sandra: You want to do as much in advance so you can take time off from exercising right before the wedding. The worst thing is to try to
lose weight when you're under stress. You retain water and your body shuts down. It does not want to lose weight. The closer you get to the wedding, the more anxious you get.
Shana: I know a bride who ordered her dress two sizes too small. She was expecting to lose all this weight, but she didn't. Now they have go back in and add fabric. It's a nightmare.
Lisa: I used to consult for Bella Donna Bridal Salon. I can't tell you how many times a bride would say, "Take it in as tight as possible. I'm going to lose weight." You can take things in, but it's very hard to add. There's only so much seam allowance.
Sandra: Start working out twice a week. A group class is probably best for a bride's budget. I'd much rather see her spend her money on hair, makeup and photography.
Lisa: Aren't you sweet.
Sandra: Also, start eating well. Clean up your diet.
Tina: That will help your hair and skin as well.
What about skin care?
Shana: You need a good home regimen. The best anti-aging products are retinols, retinoids, Vitamin A, glycolics. Antioxidants, too, which help protect your skin. Then you can come in and have deeper treatments done. Peels are great. You can do a peel that's anywhere from a really gentle papaya enzyme to more aggressive TCA peels, which are amazing.
Tina: I like microdermabrasion, too.
Lisa: Do you know the skin care line Image? I feel like that changed my skin tremendously.
Shana: It's a pharmaceutical-grade product. It's very pure and it's meant to get results.
Let's discuss hair.
Tina: Don't do anything too drastic. You want to look like yourself. Don't do a box color just before the wedding. If you're going to get your hair colored, see a professional.
Lisa: All brides want to grow their hair out.
Shana: I had a bride with really short hair. She looked stunning. When we were done with hair and makeup, I was like, Wow. She was amazing.
Tina: The stiff updo is out. Hair is definitely a lot more loose and casual and sexy.
Do you use hair extensions?
Tina: Occasionally. Brides will use them to add to the thickness of their hair, rather than the length. Or they'll add some to their chignon. They don't want to look too fake. Where does a personal stylist fit in?
Lisa: I can help you figure out how to work with what you've got. When my friend Andrea got married, she asked me what kind of dress she should get. She's a very curvy girl with great assets. We put her in kind of a mermaid gown. Her ribcage is very small, so we highlighted that and her bust.
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