It looks like spring is finally sticking around for a while, and for all its scenic and stylish benefits — an al fresco rehearsal dinner, an outdoor ceremony, a backless chiffon dress — the change of weather has prompted a symphony of sneezes and sniffles for thousands of brides-to-be who suffer from allergies. Chances are your seasonal allergies are nothing new, but after chatting with the pros, there are some fresh ideas and precautions you can take that make itchy eyes and irritated skin a little more bearable if your dream is to have a spring wedding. Here, they share their go-to tips.
Get a good night's rest.
Resting well aids a healthy immune system to fight off allergens, says NYC nutritionist Christy Maskeroni, MS RD, but it's more than simply hitting the sack at a reasonable hour. "At home, change your sheets every week, vacuum every week and keep windows closed," she advises. "Get a humidifier and/or an air purifier for the bedroom or the hotel room you're staying in the night before the big day to keep the air and your lungs moist." A clean, dust-free environment will make those eight hours of beauty rest more effective.
Before the getting-ready festivities begin, consider starting the day off with an indoor workout (or outdoors in the early morning when the pollen count is low) to get your blood moving. "Exercise can help lessen some allergy symptoms since it improves circulation and rids your body of toxins and allergens. Just make sure to breathe through your nose, instead of your mouth, so you're not inhaling irritants," suggests dietitian Tara Ostrowe, MS RD.
Sit in the steam room at your hotel spa.
Or, create one in the shower to clear your nasal passages and detox, says aesthetician Mila Moursi, owner of Mila Moursi Skin Care Institute & Day Spa. "If that's not an option, I recommend taking a bowl of hot water and mixing in three drops of eucalyptus essential oil, three drops of thyme essential oil, and three drops of pine essential oil, which you can find at a health food store. Create a tent over the bowl with a small towel, lean in, and deeply breathe in the soothing scent for as long as [you're] comfortable."
Switch up your skincare routine.
Since skin may be more sensitive and dehydrated during allergy season, spring is a smart time to switch over to a milder cleanser and a healing, extra-soothing cream to diffuse redness around your nose and eyes. "Ren Evercalm Gentle Cleansing Milk followed by Biologique Recherche Masque Crème Vernix are gentle, crazy-moisturizing options that are perfect for irritated skin," says aesthetician Joanna Czech, owner of Joanna Czech Dallas. ("Evercalm" gentle cleansing milk, $28, Ren available at Sephora; "Masque Crème Vernix" cream mask, $179, Biologique Recherche)
Take care of your eyes.
Between scratching, rubbing, puffiness, and, later, tears as you walk down the aisle, your eyes take the biggest beating during a spring wedding. "Before putting on your makeup, slather on Yon-ka Phyto-Contour eye cream, which contains rosemary to help drain fluids from the tissue. Then grab La Mer's Illuminating Eye Gel from the fridge (the cooling sensation is soothing) and apply it using lymphatic drainage movements to help minimize the appearance of redness and puffiness. Just use your thumb and index fingers and start at the base of your brows to squeeze and release pressure to the ends. Use the same technique under the eyes, between the brows and under the cheekbones, pressing longer once you get to the sides of your nose," says Czech. ("Phyto-Contour" anti-fatigue eye cream, $56, Yon-ka; Illuminating eye gel, $145, Le Mer available at Nordstrom)
Be strategic with your makeup.
"Your first instinct might be to coat your watery eyes with waterproof mascara, but I've seen allergies heighten with the chemicals they use to make mascaras last all day long," says makeup artist Joanna Schlip. "Look for words like hypoallergenic and fragrance-free on your eye makeup packaging, or draw attention to the other areas of your face by defining your brows or swiping on a bright poppy pink lip. A lightweight BB cream tends to be more settling for your base, but if that's not enough coverage, green primers and concealers cancel out the redness around your nose and eyes."
"Foods rich in vitamins C and D, omega-3s (salmon), whole grains (quinoa), quercetin (red berries, onions, apples) and probiotics are natural immune boosters and can help lower your histamine and inflammatory levels," says Maskeroni. "Avoid processed sugar and flour, dairy, and gluten, anything you've been sensitive to in the past, which can intensify during allergy season," adds Ostrowe. Drinking more water than usual can improve symptoms like headaches, redness and fatigue. Try alternating every glass of champagne or wine with a glass of water to make sure you're staying hydrated.
Slough off dead skin.
"Dry brushing before hopping in the shower sheds off allergens and pollutants while leaving behind baby soft skin," says Moursi. Use circular motions on dry skin for the best results.
End your day the way it started.
"As tired as you'll be after the wedding, try to squeeze in a quick shower before bed to rinse off the dust and pollen from your hair and body," recommends Czech. "Eucalyptus, lavender, and mint shower gels are great for opening up the sinuses. Malin & Goetz has amazing, relaxing options. Their peppermint shampoo and cilantro conditioner smell wonderful and both work as decongestants at the same time so you're fresh and rejuvenated for your day-after wedding brunch." (Peppermint shampoo, $36, Malin & Goetz; Cilantro conditioner, $40, Malin & Goetz)