Momentous and magical occasions, weddings rarely come cheap. But in these tough times, many couples are finding sensible ways to trim extra expenses. Sure, maybe you’d forgo the favors or your favorite band, but no bride-to-be wants to sacrifice a premium personal beauty plan. Not to worry. Here’s how to achieve seriously upscale style without a colossal time commitment or cashing in your 401(k).
Simple, classic coiffure
A good rule of thumb for both ease and affordability is to avoid any style in which the hair is entirely up, like buns or pin curls, as they typically involve a lot of work, says Elizabeth Martinez, a stylist at Salon Pop, a Bumble and Bumble and Wella salon in Long Beach, Calif. “These styles require a really strong foundation to last the entire duration of a wedding.” Instead, opt for eternally elegant, vintage-inspired down-dos like loose Lana Turner waves or the half up/half down ’do quickly becoming a modern classic on the red carpet. These looks cost less at the salon but also are simple enough to be done at home. “But sometimes all a bride needs is a good blow-out and a carefully placed flower, decorative clip or comb to give it a timeless touch,” Martinez says.
Even if you’ve got the hairdo handled, visit your regular stylist as soon as you set a wedding date, as you may need to adjust your current cut or color to ensure your “raw material” is at its best on your big day. And to avoid any last minute laments, make sure you do a trial run well beforehand.
Makeup made easy
The best bridal faces are time-honored looks that emphasize a single color theme and either the eyes or mouth. New York-based Lancôme Celebrity Makeup Artist Daniel Martin has four favorites: ’40s Glam with a crimson lip and subtle eyes; Bronze Bombshell with a luminous complexion, shimmery eyes and neutral lip; Pretty in Pink with rosy cheek and lip and lots of lashes; and Subtle Smokey Eye using tones of amber, gold and copper, paired with a glossy, neutral lip and sculpted cheeks.
Before you blow your entire budget on one item at a high-priced makeup counter, pay a visit to your local drugstore. “Waterproof mascara is a must for brides, and Maybelline Define-A-Lash is amazing!” says Martin. He’s also a fan of Aveeno’s skin-care products, RoC Lifting and Firming Eye cream, Revlon Beyond Natural Smoothing Primer, Physician Formula: Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Blush and CoverGirl Outlast Lipstains.
For silky, manageable hair, Ion Color Defense Intense Moisture Hydrating Treatment, available at beauty supply stores and online, is affordable and great, says Martinez. Keep in mind that many high-end products often come in convenient – cheaper – travel sizes.
Consider these services a two-for-one deal: silky, radiant skin plus serious stress relief.
Six months prior, commence beautification with deep scrubs to cleanse and polish the entire body and algae wraps or purifying mud masques to detox and firm skin, advises Cornelia Zicu, chief creative officer of Red Door Spas. As you get closer to your wedding, start limiting the extraction included in your facials to reduce risk of irritation, and switch to lighter massage to avoid lingering soreness. A week before, treat yourself to a soothing herbal soak or milk bath, eliminate extraction completely, don’t use new products and slather on an extra-hydrating lotion.
This also is the time to apply your favorite, tried-and-true self-tanner – just be sure to thoroughly exfoliate beforehand so that the color goes on evenly. Fans of waxing can go up to the day before. “It shouldn’t sting for more than an hour and you’ll feel smooth and sexy for your honeymoon,” says Zicu.
The secret to both a naturally luminous complexion and makeup that lasts for five-plus hours of festivities is a combination of gentle exfoliation to revitalize dull skin and deep hydration to minimize pores. Zicu shares her favorite all-in-one at-home treatment:
Layer 1: Separate one egg and set the white aside. Add two to three drops of olive oil to yolk and beat into a mayonnaise consistency. Massage on to face, neck and décolletage with upsweeping movements. Allow it to dry.
Layer 2: Add two drops of fresh lemon juice to the egg white and beat until foamy. Apply on top of the yolk mixture and allow to dry (approximately 10 to 15 minutes), then splash your face with warm water to soften the treatment and begin sweeping it away with your hands. The masque will melt off, leaving you with a gorgeous glow.