If you’re planning on celebrating your nuptials in a faraway destination, you may hit a few bumps along the way, especially when it comes to your skincare and beauty routine. Here, writer and editor Astrid Taemets shares her own bridal journey and breaks down how she handled the Italian heat, mastered her own makeup, and made it through her wedding day without the help of a professional. Plus, she shared some helpful tips for anyone thinking of doing the same.
Every bride wants to look her absolute best on her wedding day, and I am certainly no exception to the rule. However, getting married in week five of your European summer holiday certainly throws a spanner in the works, and that spanner is hyperpigmentation. You know those brown patches, dark marks and unsightly splotches that randomly appear on your face after a glorious day at the beach? That’s hyperpigmentation. And it’s my firm belief that an uneven skin tone—not wrinkles—are what makes the skin look aged. So when you’re spending an excessive amount of time gallivanting around the Amalfi Coast right before your big day, you better have a contingency plan in place to ensure your skin is glowing—not glowering—when it’s time to say your ‘I dos’.
Trust me on this one. If you focus on removing (or seriously fading) dark spots and making your skin look as bright and luminous as possible, you won’t need to hide that radiant skin under a layer of thick makeup (nor will you want to, FYI). I promise! Such is the power of even skin tone. And that, my friends, was the sole focus of my wedding prep.
In The Lead-Up
Despite my love for tanned skin, I am also fully aware of the dangers of spending time in the sunshine without protection, so for me, it was absolutely crucial to apply a layer of physical sunscreen religiously throughout the day. And since I’m no spring chicken, skin protection is without a doubt, of the utmost importance. My face, neck, and decolletage were the priority, and not a speck of skin was left un-slathered. To prevent burning. To stop sun damage. Premature aging. And to halt that pigmentation in its tracks. Invisible Zinc Tinted Daywear SPF 30+ ($27) is the OG of Holy Grail physical sunscreens, and was my trusty sidekick throughout Europe, doubling as a tinted makeup for my face (the less makeup in that sweat-storm of summer, the better!). The finish is dewy and leaves your skin with an effortless glow. Bellissimo!
Next up in my get-wedding-ready repertoire, the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant ($80). When activated with water, this clever skin brightening powder complex improves the balance of an uneven skin tone while removing dead skin cells for a soft, clear and fresh complexion. I assure you, that this stuff is dynamite for adding a boost of brightness, especially after a day spent swanning about outdoors, racking up those UV hours. In the lead up to the wedding, not a day went by that I didn’t use this, morning and night, and my normally dehydrated forehead felt smoother than a baby’s behind. Honest.
Finally, the piece de resistance was Alpha-H Liquid Gold ($60). This literally transformed my skin, no doubts about it! Pigmentation disappeared before my very eyes, I swear it! The glycolic acid-based formulation works like an overnight facial to revitalize your skin in ways you never dreamed possible. Each alternate evening, I’d apply the resurfacing treatment (post aperitivo, of course) and would wake to see radical changes. Brighter skin. Less sun damage. Faded pigmentation. My skin was fresher, firmer, and radiant under that glorious Mediterranean sky. I felt so confident about my skin that I could have walked down that aisle a bare-faced woman. That is the power of Liquid Gold.
On The Big Day
I wish I could say I didn't do my own hair and makeup on my wedding day, but truth be told it was going to cost a lot, and my budget was tight. So I forged ahead sans the pro and painted my own face. And not to toot my own horn, but it turned out fabulous. Ladies, don’t be afraid to do the same. Firstly, it helped that I’d done the legwork and worked on getting my skin up to scratch, so five points for me. Then, I kept the makeup minimal, fuss-free and completely me.
I always start with La Mer's The Renewal Oil ($325), whether I’m heading to the shops for a loaf of bread or, in this instance, getting married. It gives my skin a super hit of hydration and helps the rest of my makeup glide on like a dream. Next went on the Stila Stay All Day Beauty Balm ($57) (applied with fingers) for the perfect natural-looking and luminous coverage. Despite my diligent efforts to keep my face out of the sun pre-matrimony, I did develop a slight tan and gained a few extra 10,000 freckles, so the Nars Laguna Bronzing Powder ($58) was applied, though very lightly. For my eyes, I splashed out, because why not, and used the Tom Ford Cream & Powder Eye Colour ($65) in Young Adonis for a soft, smoky effect and finished it with a slick of Stila Liquid Eyeliner ($31) which is waterproof (necessary) and a generous coating of Diorshow ($30) on my lashes. Kevyn Aucoin's Precision Brow Pencil ($37) turned my caterpillars into a work of art, and my signature Mac Velvet Teddy ($36) was applied onto my lips. To finish, I applied the Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Pressed Highlighter ($38) to the bridge of my nose, cheekbones and brow bones, and a wisp of blush was applied to my cheeks. FYI, the secret to finding your perfect blush shade is one that matches the natural color of your lips, so for me, this is Nars Liberte ($44). And that was me on my wedding day. All prettied up thanks to my own, somewhat surprising makeup skills.
As for my hair, several weeks in the sun gave me the most enviable highlights even a hairdresser couldn’t create. To show off my sun-kissed color, I wore my hair in loose waves created with my one and only hair tool, the Muk Curl Stick ($119) (get one, you won’t regret it). To give my hair a bit of bounce, I sprayed Kevin Murphy Doo. Over ($43) over my strands, and brushed it all out with my Mason Pearson ($120).
And lastly, to match my dream citrus theme, I doused myself in Pulp by Byredo ($245). A fresh, ripe, and fruity scent that’s laced with bursts of bergamot and a red apple.
Tips for Anyone Looking to Do the Same
Be diligent with your skincare prep, and don’t slack off, even for a minute. No matter how many Aperol's you’ve had, always clean and hydrate your skin before tucking yourself into bed.
Learn how to put false lashes on. I didn’t, and I’ll always kick myself for that.
Pack a lot of blotting paper. Don’t and you risk your face running down your wedding dress. Not chic.
Practice your look and narrow your products down. Don’t over-pack your makeup bag, that will only confuse and complicate things. You have enough to worry about already without the stress of choosing between eight different shades of brown eyeshadow.
Stay away from the hotel day spa. Avoid new treatments and products, they’re a gamble, and the dice might not roll in your favor.