SKIN: Swap-out red and white (wine) for green (juice)
Why: Because vino is such a world-class dehydrator, capillary-breaker and radiance-robber, downing endless glasses is one of the biggest crimes against complexion brides-to-be commit, says Vargas. If you’re not up for teetotaling, at least cut back and substitute that Bordeaux or Sauvignon Blanc with liquefied leafy greens. “Green juice is great for skin because it’s oxygenating and contains vital minerals to help stimulate the lymphatic system and drain out puffiness,” says Vargas. “One a day is great.” (For Vargas’s easy kale and romaine-spiked recipe, visitJoannaVargas.com.)
When: 3 months out
SKIN: Prone to stress-induced redness? Look into LED treatments
Why: Ironically, gently blasting your face with light emitting diodes (LED, for short) is one of the most effective ways to treat the “bad” kind of rosy cheeks. “Generally speaking, redness or broken capillaries are the result of too much sun exposure,” says Vargas. “I think younger women tend to discount how damaging even walking to work in the morning without sunscreen is for the skin.” Enter her go-to treatment, LED light therapy. “It reduces inflammation and speeds healing by 300 percent.” Product-wise, Vargas likes the CV Skinlabs range (try the Calming Moisture, $49). If you’re into more natural solutions, nab a bottle of skin-soothing arnica oil the next time you’re at the healthfood store.
When: 3 months out
SKIN: Time your last facial so your skin has a chance to calm down
Why: The good thing about facials is that, when executed well, they bring any and all imbedded gunk to the surface. The bad thing about facials? Ditto. Once a simmering pimple has been set free by your aesthetician, it might just take this opportunity to erupt. So build in time for that to happen. Also bear in mind that this isn’t the moment to experiment with some newfangled facial or to add any pros to your beauty Pposse. “I would never want a bride to get a new facial with a new facialist close to her wedding date,” says Vargas. “Anything could go wrong.” Since you’ve already done your due diligence and found your trusted aesthetician way back at month six, that won’t be happening, right? Good girl.
When: 10— 7 days out
SKIN: Hit the “skin gym” (or de-puff with DIY facial massage)
Why: Whether it’s the 700k YouTube fanatics obsessing over makeup artist Lisa Eldridge’s facial massage video or beauty-junkie New Yorkers flocking to the “skin gym” FaceLove Fitness, applying light pressure to your forehead, cheeks and chin is the stress-busting de-puffer du jour. For best results, set the stage with a few drops of face oil or — Eldridge’s favorite — a rich, buttery cleansing balm. “Facial massage for pre-wedding prep is key,” says Linda Thompson, founder of cult face oil brand Olie Biologique. “It stimulates circulation for that lit-from-within, Olivia Palermo glow.”
When: 6 months out
BODY: Add dry-brushing to your daily routine
Why: Clocking in at under $20, a body brush might be one of the best engagement beauty investments you make. According to Engelman, dry-brushing yields major skin benefits, including exfoliation and increased blood circulation (i.e. a healthy glow). From an overall wellness standpoint, it also revs up the flow of lymph, the all-important fluid that whisks toxins out of our systems. “Lymph relies on muscle movement to pass through the body, so if you’re not an active person, dry-brushing is a wonderful tool to rid the body of waste,” Engelman notes. “There’s real science behind it, and it really works when you commit to it.” Start with three dry-brushing sessions per week, building up to daily, and sure to slather on some type of moisturizer afterward. “I love to do it before the shower,” says Engelman, “and then hydrate with body oils before toweling off.” Tool to try: Earth Therapeutics Purest Palm Body Brush, $10.
When: 1 year out
BODY: Blast brown spots and rough skin on your chest with extra-strength skincare and microdermabrasion
Why: Not only is it a notorious sun-magnet, but the décolleté is also prone to wrinkling for another reason, says Beverly Hills dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer: Tissue-thin skin. “The skin of the neck and chest has a very different structure than that of the face and body,” he says. “The décolleté is an area with significantly less ‘fat padding’ and is generally more delicate than facial skin.” Translation: To look banging in that plunging gown, you might need to put some extra effort in here. Start with an OTC retinol product, and move on to prescription if your derm deems it necessary. If you’re still seeing spots, or redness, consider adding microdermabrasion to your treasure-chest repertoire. These treatments gently “sand” the skin, removing roughness.
When: 1 year out for retinol; 6 months out for Rx retinoid; 3 months out for your first of 2— 4 microdermabrasion treatments
BODY: Pony up for a pricier body lotion
Why: If NYC-based skin expert Dangene had her way, brides would give their bodies as much TLC as their faces. “Stop and think about the way we treat our face,” she says. “We use exfoliators, toners, serums, hydrators. And that’s exactly what we should be doing for the body.” If you’re not down with a multi-step bodycare regimen, at least trade up to a high-tech lotion that firms and tightens. (Try Nerium Firming Body Contour Cream, $110, or Prtty Peaushun Skin Tight Body Lotion, $39, available at Dermstore.com). For bods that have spent too much time baking on a beach, Los Angeles dermatologist Peter Kopelson offers a lotion laced with antioxidant vitamins A, C and E and 15 percent glycolic acid. (Try Kopelson Clinic De-Luxe 15 Body Lotion, $45.25). “The glycolic acid thickens the stratum corneum,” says Kopelson, “so it helps with skin that gets crinkly on the arms and legs.”
When: 9 months out
BODY: For stubborn back-of-arm bumps, scrub up and get a humidifier
Why: After chiseling your upper body to perfection, the last thing you want to do is ruin the effect with patches of unsightly red bumps on the backs of your arms. The condition, called keratosis pilaris (KP for short) is caused by excess keratin, which forms a plug at the site of a hair follicle. “Unfortunately we don’t know what triggers the buildup of keratin,” says Engelman, who notes that KP often affects people with other skin conditions, like eczema. Triggers can include cold temperatures (resulting in a lack of moisture in the air), hormonal changes, food allergies and a bride’s arch nemesis — stress. While there’s no cure for KP, Engelman says you can treat the symptoms by exfoliating with a product like DermaDoctor KP Duty Scrub, $46, to unplug the trapped keratin and dead skin cells that cause the bumps. “Introducing moisture to the air via a humidifier can also help.”
When: 9 months out