You've been scrubbing and slathering for weeks, but the products you apply the night before your wedding can make all of the difference. Here, your must-try night-before routine from top dermatologist, Ellen Marmur.
Step One: Cleanse
You know how important it is to wash your face every night, but it's especially crucial the night before your wedding. Letting dirt and oil build up overnight can lead to dull, greasy skin at your wedding—or even dreaded blemishes. Keep them at bay with a salicylic acid cleanser, like Clinique Acne Solutions Cleansing Foam ($22, available at Sephora). Calm dry skin with a gentle cleanser like Cetaphil. You can even use a sonic cleansing brush like Clarisonic, or, Marmur says, a clean washcloth—it works just as well in a pinch.
Step 2: Tone
Even if you don't use toner daily, this extra step can go a long way to remove dead skin cells and brighten your complexion. For oily skin, Clinique Acne Solutions Clarifying Lotion ($17, available at Clinique) works wonders. If you've got dry skin, try a hydrating mist, like Mario Badescu Facial Spray with Aloe, Cucumber, and Green Tea ($12, available at Sephora).
Step 3: Exfoliate...If You're Used to It
If you're not already using a facial scrub once or twice a week, don't start. "It's never a good idea to introduce a brand new step into your skincare routine—especially something that can irritate your skin—the night before a big event," Marmur says. Exfoliation, especially chemical or mechanical, lends itself to a purging period after first time, or sometimes even multiple first, uses as it is bringing all of those deep-rooted impurities to the surface of the skin before sloughing them away. This can result in a period where it seems like the skin is breaking out, a major no-no for the big day. If you're already an exfoliation pro, use a gentle scrub to even out your complexion. We like Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub ($6.49, available at Neutrogena)—but don't forget to follow with moisturizer.
Step 4: Double Up on Face Masks
Clarifying masks are great for soaking up oil, and hydrating masks add an instant shot of moisture. So why not combine the two? Use the clarifying mask first—a charcoal mask like Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask ($24, available at Amazon) works wonders—then follow with an intensive treatment mask to smooth. Marmur's favorite? SkinCeuticals Biocellulose Restorative Masque($120 for a pack of 6, available at SkinCeuticals).
Step 5: Protect
Before you go to bed, finish with a vitamin-packed serum. Thick night creams can make young skin look greasy, and retinol can cause irritation if you're not used to it. Light serums, however, provide just enough antiaging and antioxidant power to make you look fresh-faced on the big day. For the under-35 set, Marmur suggests the SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum ($281; available at Amazon)—it won't cause breakouts but will work over time to even your skin tone.