With COVID-19 restrictions slowly lifting throughout the country, and the ever-so-anticipated start to wedding season upon us, brides-to-be everywhere are looking for inspiration for their big days. From glowy, skin-first makeup looks to tresses that are sure to stand the test of time, read ahead for some post-quarantine bridal beauty tips that will be sure to have you stepping into your special day looking absolutely flawless.
Skincare: A Perfected Base
After numerous wedding cancellations in 2020, many brides took the nationwide quarantine period to perfect their skincare routines. This time spent loving their skin will certainly pay off on the big day. “My goal for brides (and most of my clients) is to have a lit-from-within glow without causing too much trauma on the skin, so consultations and getting their home care regimen tailored to their goals is the biggest key,” Chicago-based esthetician, content creator and Dermalogica expert Ashley White tells ESSENCE. “What a client does day to day has the biggest impact on their skin”.
Now that we are nearing a true post-pandemic society and schedules are, once again, quickly filling up, some brides may not have as much time as they once did to really focus on their skincare routines—especially from the comfort of their homes. However, you can still achieve your own personalized skin regimen with the help of a qualified professional. Ashley recommends that “brides-to-be start collaborating with any esthetician of their choice at least 4-6 months before their big day to have a customized regimen curated for them and to also have a series of in-clinic treatments performed so that there are no surprises leading up to the big day. This gives estheticians time to troubleshoot any acne triggers like stress, hormonal fluctuations and dietary concerns”.
While 4-6 months may seem like a pretty long time to keep regular appointments with an esthetician, Ashley shared a few products and ingredients safe for at-home use that will definitely help to achieve and maintain wedding skin, the first being a non-negotiable: sunscreen. An “investment in the protection of the skin” according to White, long-term sunscreen use helps to lower your odds of skin cancer and even also helps to make your skin look more youthful by protecting against the UV rays that cause wrinkles and discoloration. Yes, contrary to popular belief: Black can crack, but let’s do our best to prevent it! Ashley raves about and wholeheartedly recommends the brand Black Girl Sunscreen, and they recently came out with a matte version of their famous SPF for oily/combination skin types.
Also recommended is an epidermal growth factor serum (EGFs) such as Herbal Skin Solution’s EGF Cellular Activator. EGFs stimulate keratinocytes (epidermal cells that produce keratin), which are responsible for our moisture barriers and they can become impaired over time due to genetics and environmental factors. Using EGFs helps to slow the aging process and retain your skin’s firmness and elasticity and is a must for bouncy, radiant skin!
Lastly, Ashley recommends Azelaic acid, which can be found in PCA Skin’s Pigment Bar, another of her wedding-ready skin favorites. With many Black women often dealing with hyperpigmentation in some form, this multifaceted ingredient not only targets hyper-pigmentation but also acne and uneven skin texture. It even helps with managing rosacea because of its anti-inflammatory properties. We love a multipurpose product!
Makeup: My Skin But Better
Not only does gorgeous skin enhance a bride’s self-confidence going into their wedding day, but it also serves as a flawless canvas for the wedding day glam. In 2019, bridal makeup leaned toward heavy, mask-like coverage—but today, we are seeing a post-pandemic shift indicating that brides are doing a complete 180 in their preferences for wedding day makeup. Lori Taylor-Davis, Global Pro Lead Artist for Smashbox Cosmetics, says after seeing how many women spent time digging into their individual skin needs during COVID lockdown, perfected skin was and remains her “number one prediction for bridal makeup” moving forward. Taylor-Davis, who has 20+ years of experience as a makeup artist says post pandemic, the trend for brides is now to show off and embrace flaws in a way that shows off their “individuality” and their “real selves”. Brides, she says, are moving away from layers and layers of matte, full coverage, full glam makeup to looks that are “glowy, warm and healthy”.
From her experience with post-COVID brides, Davis says that many are actively choosing “tinted moisturizers that enhance the skin, warm natural tones that are skin-like but provide a pop and the look of emphasizing an individual part of the complexion i.e., glowy skin, highlighted cheekbones or a very subtle shaping for the face and cheeks for a “my skin but better” approach to their upcoming nuptials. For the brides who enjoy taking a bit more risks, she has also noticed “very defined eyes, lush lashes and pops of color for the lips and cheeks” are being used to make an attention-grabbing statement. Davis also says, however, that the majority of her brides all want “a feeling of effortless beauty that conveys that they were not trying too hard”. A statement in and of itself, brides are using their makeup looks to subconsciously send the message that they are embracing themselves as they are and have always been, a beautiful sentiment going into new chapters of their lives.
Hair: Timeless and Chic
Aside from skincare and makeup, there is one aspect of our beauty routines that Black women play absolutely zero games with: our hair. Add an occasion like a wedding to the equation and the pressure for perfection can be daunting. Yene Damtew, owner of Aesthetics Salon and hairstylist to our forever first lady, Michelle Obama, says that now more than ever, brides are going for glamour, with Hollywood waves being one of her most requested services this year. With weddings still being relatively small in scale, brides are taking this time to truly shine and what better way to stand out than to have beautiful waves completing a bridal ensemble as they walk down the aisle?
The increased preference for chic, timeless hairstyles definitely makes sense as Damtew says that post-pandemic, more and more women are looking for classic, regal looks for their wedding days. Another popular favorite? A classic Chignon. The elegant hairstyle features an intricate bun, typically at the nape of the neck, with wispy curls framing the face. Damtew’s brides often experience the hairstylist putting her own spin on the look with her signature side swept Chignon, a fun take on the style for the brides that like a bit of a flare. For brides that really want to have some fun on their wedding days, Damtew says that she has been asked to do everything from ponytails to match a wedding gown, to hair accessories for the bride to truly shine on her way down the aisle.
While Damtew, who has 15+ years of experience as a hairstylist, is truly a master of her trade, one tip that she has for brides is to “hire a stylist that has a design aesthetic that matches your desired look. You never want to hire a stylist whose portfolio doesn’t look like the style you’re trying to achieve.” In other words, brides should be extremely selective about the stylist that is chosen to do their wedding day hairstyles and should not be afraid to look around until every expectation has been met. You deserve the hairstyle of your dreams on your big day!
Whether it be the journey to gorgeous glowing skin, the indecision surrounding wedding day makeup, or the pressure to find a hairstyle that is sure to wow — weddings can be stressful. Be sure to take time out of what is sure to be one of the busiest seasons of your life to enjoy the journey to the altar. Then, when the day comes, use the tips from our industry experts mentioned above to slay your special day. Happy wedding season!