Pre-Wedding Skin Prep


Big Day Skin Prep

A few weekends ago, I had the great honor of being a bridesmaid for one of my best friends Jaimie. Bright and early on Saturday morning, the bridal party began the age old tradition of getting ready. Jaimie hired the wonderful Yuri Sinata and her team to be our official glam squad, and they did an amazing job beautifying us!  What I realized as we all got our makeup done was that A). getting my makeup done transports me back to my wedding day (hence the barrage of my prep photos on this post!) and B). heavy makeup actually accentuates dry skin because all the loose powder cakes in between facial wrinkles. So in addition to my AM and PM routines, I suggest the following night before and day of routine to prepare your skin for professional makeup. Whether you’re the blushing bride or a member of the bridal party, follow these tips to have glowing beautiful skin the entire day (and even at the afterparty!).


The night before

1. Remove your makeup using the double cleanse method – oil first and then foaming face wash. I personally love using the Clarisonic Mia at this point to get all the gunk off!

2. Wash your face. Remember, there is a correct way to wash your face, according to the American Academy of Dermatology!

3. Exfoliate. Get those dead skin cells and debris off your beautiful face! I personally love the Skinfood black sugar mask.

4. Toner. This step helps to balance out the pH of your skin. Try to stay away from toners with astringents which will overly dry the skin. Pat the toner on with a cotton pad and spread it all over the neck area as well. I personally use the Neutrogena alcohol free toner, which is affordable and works well.

5. Essence/Ampoule. Sadly, I haven’t found my favorite essences or ampoules yet, as I am still unfortunately trying to use up a large bottle of SK-II Facial Treatment Essence (read my review of the scientific literature behind this product here).I’m excited to try the Missha Time Revolution First Treatment Essence and its accompany Missha Time Revolution Night Ampoule next, as I’ve read many rave reviews about this product line. This step helps to increase cell turnover so you get brighter, younger, healthier looking skin. This step cannot be skipped!

6. Sheet mask/Eye mask. My favorite part of the routine because you can watch TV or read or just generally zone out while enjoying a mask. I love the super thin and light Innisfree it’s real squeeze masks for the face and the Shiseido Benefiance Eye Mask for a boost in hydration.

7. Eye cream. Pro tip: place your eye cream in the refrigerator after you use it the night before, so that on your big day the nice cold cream will help reduce any swelling and puffiness in your eyes! I love using my Shiseido Benefiance eye cream at this step.

8. Night cream. More moisture = less wrinkles on your big day. For a regular day I use the Shiseido Benefiance Wrinkle Resist 24 night cream, but before big days when I need really hydrated skin, I recommend a thicker cream like the Nature Republic Steam Cream.


The big day

1. Wash your face! Using cold water will not only wake you up, it will also help to tighten pores.

2. Toner. Same thing as above!

3. Eye cream. Get your pot out of the fridge and remember to dab on gently with your 4th finger so you don’t crease and wrinkle the skin. If you’re prone to having dry skin, my makeup artist taught me to bring the eye cream to the makeup session and apply it 10-15 minutes before you start the makeup.

4. Facial moisturizer. Don’t forget to cover the neck area as well, since your makeup artist will likely apply foundation there if you’re in a lower cut dress.

5. Sunscreen. Use SPF 30 and above; if you’re going to be in direct sun all day, I say go with SPF 50 and above. And before you start wondering which products are safe to use, remember my recent post on sunscreen safety! I would recommend against my usual Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer on these special occasions because the makeup artist is about to apply much heavier foundation, and you don’t want your face to look cake-y.

6. Primer for face and eyes. THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP. The primer is an essential barrier between your skin and heavy makeup. As my makeup artist put it, the primer creates an even canvas for you to start painting on. The Smashbox Photo Finish foundation primer has a cult following and is good to use before heavy duty makeup. The primer from Smashbox contains silicone, which is a favorite in the makeup industry for filling in wrinkles, pores, acne scars, you name it, this hides it. It even comes in different colors such as lavender and green to help with color correction.

A lighter primer for everyday use that has received awesome reviews is the Benefit Pore-fessional, which specializes in – you guessed it – minimizing pores. I bought the Laura Mercier foundation primer in Radiance because I love the tinted moisturizers from that brand; however, I want to warn you that the primer has a shiny finish, so if you’re prone to oily skin, then this one is not for you. My go-to eye shadow primer of all is from Urban Decay; I have been using this one for years and it does a great job at preventing your eyeshadow from creasing.

And that’s it! You’re ready for the makeup artist to apply some magic and doll you up into the glam diva you are inside!

Note: of course, the more makeup you put on, the more you need to carefully clean all the makeup off at the end of the day. Make sure you thoroughly remove all traces of makeup with makeup removing wipes, cleansing oil, and a foaming cleanser.

What was your skincare regimen before your big day? Would love to hear any tips and tricks you have heard or used!

7 Comments on Pre-Wedding Skin Prep

  1. Sarah @ Savoring Spoon
    August 5, 2015 at 12:47 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Joyce! I really enjoyed this post. Do you have a favorite eye makeup remover you like to use? I have tried a few different ones but find that there is usually mascara residue left on my lower lid even after using the eye makeup remover. So far I found the Neutrogena makeup remover wipes and Almay eye makeup remover wipes of similar efficacy, and the Lancome liquid eye makeup remover slightly better. But with all three, I still get a little bit of black residue left over if wearing mascara that day.

    • Joyce
      August 5, 2015 at 11:13 pm (2 years ago)

      Sarah, that’s a great question! Mascara and eyeliner can be so tricky to clean thoroughly, leaving trace residue on the thin skin. Because the skin is thin around the eyes, you never want to scrub hard or pull at the skin here to clean it because you risk irritating the skin and causing wrinkles! I like using the Nature Republic Forest Garden Chamomile Cleansing Oil on a cotton pad first to wipe off all my eye makeup. This does a great job at removing tricky mascara or eyeliner even if it’s drawn on the inner lids. After that I use the Neutrogena makeup remover wipe to remove any remaining eye makeup and foundation. I find that after using the oil first, the Neutrogena wipes do a good job as a second step. After this step, I find that my fresh soy face cleaner has good enough makeup removing properties to take off any leftover makeup residue.

      Hope this helps!

      • Sarah @ Savoring Spoon
        August 7, 2015 at 3:26 pm (2 years ago)

        Thanks Joyce! This reply is super helpful, thanks for the suggestions about not rubbing the eye skin too much (wrinkles!) and the product suggestions too!

  2. Hillary
    August 14, 2015 at 9:08 am (2 years ago)

    Hi Joyce! Thanks for this post. I don’t wear makeup (and thus won’t be wearing it on my wedding day), but I’m looking for ways to reduce the size of my pores as well as eliminate under eye circles. Thanks!

    • Joyce
      August 15, 2015 at 11:11 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Hillary, good for you that you are so comfortable in your own skin and will have a natural look on your big day! Getting rid of pores and dark circles under the eyes are both tough. Dark circles can be made worse through fatigue and alcohol, so make sure to get plenty of sleep and stay away from dehydrating substances before the wedding, but a lot of it is genetic. Allergies can also worsen dark circles so if you have seasonal allergies, make sure to take an antihistamine. Fillers and laser treatment are the most effective ways to reduce dark circles, but they come with side effects such as bruising and swelling so if you consider those at all, make sure to do the treatments well before your wedding day.

      Pores are hard to get rid of because dilated pores are essentially due to blocking of oil glands and subsequent inflammation and irritation, which is a process that occurs over time. You can try exfoliating, using a cleanser containing salicylic acid which reduces oil production, and/or using a retinol cream which decreases oil production, exfoliates, and boosts cell turnover and skin renewal which unclogs pores. I recommend getting a prescription strength retinoid product, because the over the counter products with retinol aren’t usually powerful enough.

  3. Janet
    September 1, 2015 at 12:25 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Joyce! I am about to run out of my Clarisonic brand cleanser…do you think it’s special/specific enough to buy more, or do you think any other face wash gel will do the trick?

    • Joyce
      September 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm (2 years ago)

      Hi Janet, I was in the same boat just a few weeks ago! I ended up scouting out a few foamy facial cleansers and ultimately picked the Cerave foaming facial cleanser. I ended up with this one because I’ve developed a facial skin allergy to something since moving to NYC (still trying to figure out what it is!) so I’m sticking to dermatologist approved products that are good for sensitive skin. So far this has worked well with my Clarisonic!


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