Dana Wood, Brides Beauty Director, used running around during Bridal Fashion Week as an excuse to test out some new "miracle" beauty products. Here, she breaks down what worked and what didn't — from instant root fixers to face primers. Now, you'll know which hair and makeup items you can actually rely on throughout your wedding day.
Compared to ready-to-wear Fashion Week, which is made up of hundreds of shows, Bridal Fashion Week is packed into a weekend and a few days. Still, there's plenty of trucking around — and weird weather. It's held during October and April, when Mother Nature can't decide whether she wants us to freeze or hike around with a hand-held fan. (Kidding. No one does that. Though I did see a girl fanning herself with the Christos program the other day ...)
Anyway, we're in the midst of April market, and here are my current beauty-and-wellness woes: Roots and frizz in the hair category; melting makeup; and feet that are getting pounded by city sidewalks. Factor in the desire to look extra-spiffy in front of the competition, and you can see why I've decided to test-drive a few of the eight million beauty products piling up on my desk. As Beauty Director for Brides, it's my job to discover high-performance game-changers for our brides-to-be. So, let's find out what worked for me during Bridal Fashion Week, and what, sadly, needs to get sent back to the drawing board.
The "Why Didn't I Get My Hair Colored Before Market?" Root Fixer: Alterna Stylist Two-Minute Root Touchup in Blonde
Dilemma: Some months are just rootier than others, and I'm left counting the seconds until the next visit to my colorist. Unfortunately, this was one of those months.
Verdict: Why oh why did I cheat on my favorite powder root touch-up, Color Wow? The Alterna product was like glue. A lovely golden glue, but glue nonetheless. Maybe I used it incorrectly. Or maybe it's just lovely golden glue mascarading as root touch-up.
The "Just One More Day!" Blowout Reviver: Pantene Pro-V Blowout Extend Dry Shampoo
Dilemma: I have naturally frizzy hair — super horrible naturally frizzy hair, if truth be told. When there's zero humidity, I can get away with a beach-wavy vibe. For 99 percent of my life, I like to tip the deck in my favor with a blowout at a hole-in-the-wall salon near our offices. And then I try to stretch it out as long as possible by dabbing baby powder on the roots with one of those fluffy kabuki brushes. I know, I know; There's this stuff called dry shampoo.
Verdict: Despite the fact that I committed total blowout abuse on the second day of Bridal Fashion Week by going running before my first show, I'm utterly smitten with this stuff. It adds mad volume and it smells *insanely *good. Evidently it contains tapioca. Who knew? Tapioca: Great to eat, even better to spritz on borderline-filthy blowouts.
Dilemma: Whenever I see someone teetering around on sky-high heels during market, my first thought, meanly, is: "Amateur." Still, even if you're wearing quasi-sensible shoes (like my fave low-heeled boots), you never know when foot pain might come knocking.
Verdict: I road-tested two high-end foot relief sprays. First, the one that didn't change my life: Still Standing. On the first night of Bridal Fashion Week, I spritzed it on after a long day, and slid back into my low-heeled boots. Oh my lordy, my feet felt like they were on fire. Even worse, its mega-menthol scent wafted north. "I think I smell it," my colleague Beth said just as we were walking into a huge party our publisher was throwing to kick off market. Not good. But here's what *is *good: Sole Serum. Love it. It's laced with pain-relieving lidocaine, and it works like a charm.
The "I'm Staring Down a 15-Hour Day" Makeup Primer: Ramy Beauty Elixir Skin Conditioning Primer
Dilemma: Apart from a post-lunch swipe of lipstick, I'm categorically against public primping. But when you're on Hour 10, and about to head into your fifth or sixth show of the day, it's nice to know your once carefully applied makeup hasn't slid right off your face. That's where primers and setting sprays (if they're good) are a massive help.
Verdict: Full disclosure: I love Ramy Gafni, the brow whiz and creator of this product; he's just the sweetest guy. Still, if I didn't think his primer could help my about-to-be-hitched readers, I would give it the thumbs down. But once you layer it over clean, moisturized skin, your makeup isn't going anywhere until you wash it off that night.
The "I'm Staring Down *Another *15-Hour Day" Makeup Setting Spray: Laura Geller Set-N-Stay Makeup Setting Spray
Dilemma: I'm not complaining, because this past winter in New York was brutal. But on Day Three of market, it's a bit of a scorcher. And I want my (artfully painted) mug to stay fresh.
Verdict: Maybe it's overkill to test-drive a primer and a setting spray. But in my line of work, it's smart to have firm opinions about each. And here goes: If you find good ones — and I like this setting spray a lot — it comes down to personal preference. You certainly don't need both. Personally, I got a bit spooked when I sprayed this on over my bronzing powder and blush. It looked and felt wet, and I was living in fear that I'd be a smeary mess and have to do my makeup all over again. But then it dried. And here we are seven hours later, and I haven't reached for a makeup bag once.
See More: Brides Magazine 2014 Beauty Awards
The "Nineties Flashback-Cult Fave" Highlighter: Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Face Illuminator
Dilemma: I've been running myself ragged, and I could use a touch up. And since I totally loved it in the '90s, why not add a little luminosity with the newly-relaunched Skinlights? Better yet, why not tackle Revlon makeup goddess Gucci Westman backstage at Marchesa and ask her for a few application tips?
Verdict:: After Gucci told me exactly where to dab my Skinlights for optimal effect (right on the top of my cheekbones, sweeping just up around the outer corner of my eyes) I applied it on Day Three and forced my colleague Beth to inspect me in the semi-harsh lighting of the Kenneth Pool show. "Ooh, I like it," she said. Me too. Score.