As if a bride-to-be needs yet another task to add to her inflated to-do lists, there is one more wedding beauty detail that shouldn’t be overlooked leading up to the big day. That extra item: eyebrows. “A bride should start thinking about her brows well before her wedding day so they’re picture perfect,” says beauty guru Kelley Baker of Venice’s Kelley Baker Brows studio, who tends to the admirable arches of people like Zendaya, Shay Mitchell, Kourtney Kardashian, Lucy Hale, and Ariana Grande. “I personally recommend a bride come in for shaping six months prior so we can get them in the best shape for her special day.”
Like skincare regimens or bridal beauty bootcamps that start half a year out, anyone with complaints or qualms about their arches—too thin, uneven, too pale, mismatched—can make huge strides with enough time. The brows frame the face, especially the eyes, and so they’re an important element of a bride’s overall look. Too faint and they won’t show up in photos, too bold and they’ll take over her face. It’s a delicate balance—one that’s best reached with the help of a professional.
Says Baker, “Shaping your brows is not about changing your look, it’s about enhancing your natural beauty.” She advises women to do their homework and study the work of both their brow stylist and makeup artist beforehand. Most importantly, “always follow your natural shape, not the latest trend.” As we know, beauty fads come and go, but your wedding photos are forever.
Once you’ve found a trustworthy arch ambassador, they can help you formulate a plan of attack, which could means letting them grow out—sometimes temporarily unsightly, but necessary—to fill in holes. It’s also safe months out to play with things like tinting. Too close to the wedding day and “it could be scary,” warns Baker. “I would recommend knowing what the end result will be and not try to tint for the first time the week of your wedding.” The same holds true if you’re not someone who regularly waxes, since some formulas can cause a reaction or even a rogue pimple. Threading is an option worth testing out, too, but always in advance—like a trial run. One thing that’s not advisable before a wedding: microblading, a tattoo-like treatment that’s becoming trendy. (Way too much could go wrong before this all-important event.)
As for the last professional shaping (waxing or threading), it’s wise to do it at least three days before putting on your white dress. “Waxing can sometimes cause irritation and redness, so that’s something you want to avoid,” says Baker. On the day of, she adds, use a highlighter pencil underneath the brows (and smudge in with a brush) to add lift and brightness under the arch. “It keeps us looking fresh and well rested,” she says. Fill in brows with a pencil or powder—always one shade lighter than you think, says Baker—and make sure to finish with a clear gel (Baker’s new Clear Brow Setting Gel formula has great hold, as does NARS Brow Gel in Oural and MAC Brow Set). “It will keep your brows perfectly in place from the moment you walk down the aisle ’til you finish dancing the night away.”
See More: 40 Steps to Bridal Beauty