How to Prep Your Skin for Wedding-Day Makeup

An expert shares the best day-of skincare routine.

bride doing her own makeup

Photo by Kristen Marie Parker

It's safe to say that finding the best makeup artist for your wedding day is a pretty big deal. However, makeup application without a clean canvas is like painting your house without priming it first; so, no matter who you choose to do your glam, having a proper skincare routine leading up to the big day should be a top priority.

Not only that, but it's also important to properly prep your skin the morning of your wedding. Whether you’ve been getting regular facials in the six months leading up to your nuptials or you’re low-maintenance and limit your skincare routine to a couple of steps, if you don't put the time into day-of prep, all your efforts may go unnoticed. That's why, we enlisted the help of esthetician Cristina Simon to share the best tips on how to prepare your skin for your wedding day makeup. Read on to learn more.

Meet the Expert

Cristina Simon is a master esthetician at Kate Somerville Skin Health Experts Clinic in Los Angeles.

Wedding Day Skincare Steps

While day-to-day beauty practices may seem intimidating to some brides, when it comes to your wedding day skincare routine, the beauty lies in its simplicity. Below, we've listed five skincare steps to complete the morning of your wedding to ensure that your makeup maintains a beautiful complexion from the ceremony to the reception and after-party.

Regardless of where you are in your bridal beauty journey, be sure to implement this routine at least one month before the wedding. This is to guarantee that you have all the right products needed to effectively prep your skin for your makeup artist.

Step One: Cleanse

Starting your morning routine with a cleanser may seem self-explanatory, but on your wedding day, Simon says that your cleansing should focus on hydration. We recommend finding a product that is fragrance-free, and one that nourishes the skin with hyaluronic acid to make it "plump and glowy."

Step Two: Serum

Next up: serum. Simon emphasizes the use of hydrating serums and highly recommends "something water-based, preferably something with hyaluronic acid." What's more, brides with oily skin should also focus on water-based hydrating serums during this step. According to Simon, "it is definitely possible to have oily-type skin but still have surface dehydration (i.e. lack of water). In fact, oily skin can be due to your skin naturally responding to dehydration by producing more oil, which is why keeping hydration in mind is so important."

Step Three: Moisturize

Once you've applied your serum, you should lock in its benefits by using a moisturizer. Simon advises brides to use a lighter "daytime" moisturizer, since "you don’t want to put [on] anything super heavy before makeup," she shares. 

Avoid using face oil the morning of your wedding. A nice face oil is fine to apply the night before, but it should be avoided when prepping your face for your makeup.

Step Four: SPF

Whatever you do, don’t skip the SPF. Even if you're having an evening or indoor wedding, SPF is absolutely necessary to protect your skin. And for those afraid that their sunscreen may cause a white cast or "bounce back" in photos, Simon recommends using a chemical-based SPF rather than a mineral-based one.

Step Five: Primer

Last but not least, finish your pre-makeup routine with primer. Brides with dry skin should opt for a hydrating primer, while those with oily skin should consider a mattifying serum or anti-shine primer. Be sure to consult with your makeup artist, though, as some experts prefer to apply the primer themselves.

Wedding Beauty Extras

If you want to up the ante on your wedding morning routine, Simon advises brides to consider a chilled, gel under-eye mask. Additionally, you can opt to Gua Sha, as "it’s great for just getting rid of any puffiness. It's also just great for calming down mentally because it feels really good," she adds.

What to Avoid the Morning of Your Wedding

Simon emphasizes that brides should absolutely avoid exfoliating the morning of the wedding. Instead, she says that it's best to exfoliate at least two days before the big day. You should also avoid using sunless or self-tanner the week of your nuptials, and should not try any new skincare products the morning you plan to say "I do."

Airbrush Makeup Considerations

Airbrush makeup is all the rage in the wedding beauty scene, but it requires a slightly different skincare prep with regard to facial hair. Since airbrush makeup adheres best to faces that have natural hair growth, brides should avoid dermaplaning when taking this route.

Although still relatively niche, dermaplaning is an aesthetic procedure that exfoliates your skin by removing vellus hair, better known as "peach fuzz." And since this procedure should only be done by a professional facialist, be sure to let your aesthetician know that you'd like to skip this step when getting your pre-wedding facial.


A Guide to Bridal Skincare

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