Experts know best. That’s why you pay a fortune for a make-up artist and hairdresser for your wedding day. You’ll do trials, pick looks and put yourself in their experienced hands. You’ll probably do fine.
But how will you tackle those "show off the bahu" lunches, the endless fittings, the stacks of swatches and the "informal dinner for 17"? It’s going to be you against the hair dryer, blush brush and BB cream – additional stress you can do without. Better get help now.
Get a bridal consultation
Clinique’s Trousseau Box service may seem expensive (it’s a hefty Rs 15,000) but the price not only covers skincare and make-up worth that amount, but the infinitely more invaluable services of a bridal colour specialist. Think of her as a skin specialist, makeup guide, DIY guru, advice giver and someone who’ll answer every dumb question about how and why you should be taking better care of your skin.
Box of goodies: Clinique’s bridal consultation is worth its price in skincare and cosmetics
Book an appointment two months before your carnival starts, spend two hours learning what to do, how to do it right and how to do it yourself.
The specialists will talk you through it all: skin analysis ("Do you get oily by mid-day?"), product picks ("Is your skin oily or actually dehydrated?") and blunt advice ("Lighter foundation won’t make you look fairer – even skin tone will look better").
Also read: Get, set and glow on your D-day
Best of all, they’ll do step-by-step instructions for a make-up face that suits you and can be executed by you. What does well-matched foundation look like anyway? Is there any hope for your dark circles? Where on Earth do you place blush? Isn’t primer and toner a scam? What matches this pink lipstick? When should your brush make feathery strokes and when is that hovering motion needed?
By all means, take notes (they have face charts to help) and ask away. If you’re going to tackle your life’s suspicious and mental blocks about looking good, what better time than for the wedding?
"The days before and after the wedding are key," says Samaantha Dwivedi, the make-up artist behind the blog Zuri. "All eyes are on the bride and she has to glow. But as a bride, you have hazaar things to think about already, so your kit really needs just the essentials."
'I Do’ it myself: Samaanta Dwivedi says brides need minimum make-up for post-wedding events as there’s lots else to adjust to.
This means just three kajals: black, cobalt blue for the day and green for the night ("and open yourself to the idea of brown too," Dwivedi says). Red, orange or fuchsia lip colour are adequate, so long as you pair them with just nude, shimmery copper or bronze shadow and black liner. "Nothing gold, nothing sharper," Dwivedi warns.
Still think lip liner is a waste? This is the time it will be your best friend. “You’ll be eating and drinking at most functions and the first thing to disappear is your gloss, followed by your lipstick,” Dwivedi says. “Lip liner will leave you with at least a stain at this point.”
All the liner and high-priced products in the world won’t help if you’re using them wrong. “Practice your looks so you wear them with confidence,” Dwivedi says. “Test foundation for a day before you buy the right match, talk to artists who care about training to use a product rather than just buying it.”
And don’t forget moisturiser – even oily skin needs it. “In the days after the wedding, you’ll be so fed up of dolling up, you’ll want to wear less, so your skin needs to look good.”
Figure out this perfect hair business
Afreen Khan, technical head at Dessange, recommends taking the hard work out of taming waves or frizz with a keratin treatment that will last through the days before and after the wedding. It will hold up in India’s humidity and also look less obvious when it grows out.
Or just straighten the front triangle, which never looks good when it is frizzy.” Get a haircut. Short hair is easier to manage and style (remember, you can always clip on extensions for length but long hair is hard to minimise).
Save time and money by doing your own deep conditioning with a shampoo and conditioner made for colour-treated hair (which tend to offer a higher level of care).
"Shampoo, towel dry, apply conditioner to the ends and halfway up and do your housework for 30 minutes before you rinse off," says Khan. "Then comb with a kanghi, not a detangling brush." For everything else, look to YouTube for videos on how to section, backcomb and blow-dry your own hair. "Life is too short to fight with hair tongs."
Most casual events for the evening call for what Toni & Guy’s global hair ambassador Mark Hampton calls "opulent and outward waves. With thick, dark hair, most Indian women can pull off this gorgeous look". For the sangeet, messy braids are easy to carry off and look best when the braid has some added texture for impact.
And if you’re the smart bride who’s doing her own hair for her reception, he recommends a classic low bun or smooth ponytail, depending on the length of your hair. They are elegant, sophisticated and match the solemnity of this occasion."
Fix your skin concerns
Unless you’re eloping, your bridal skincare regime is best started a few months before your big day. Why? Because managing the preparations in addition to work and inputs from all and sundry is stressful, and stress shows up on your skin
Plus, as Shiseido’s Za beauty expert Megumi Mitsui says, “The urban environment isn’t exactly very helpful for a bride’s health or beauty”. There will be pre-wedding dinners (rich food everywhere!), after-work fittings (no peace, no sleep) and endless decisions (hello, frown lines!).
Start with simple tricks, Mitsui says. “Refrain from seconds and take small portions of food.” Squeeze in at least a 45 minute workout a few times a week, and keep a gap between salon treatments and the big day so you can recover from any reactions. Yes, cleanse, tone, moisturise and protect.
“Skin is reborn everyday so it is important to repeat these steps. You will be surprised how perfect your skin looks,” she says.
As more brides marry later, they’re realising the need of anti-ageing skincare. “We start seeing the signs of ageing start as early as 25,” Mitsui says.
Happily ever after is for skin too. “Many brides breakout just after the wedding as a result of stress, heavy diet and lack of rest,” says Mitsui. “Continue your regime during and after the wedding, even on your honeymoon, family functions or other commitments.”
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From HT Brunch, November 16
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