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Beauty Archives - New Orleans Weddings - Reception, Venue & Planning

How Mothers of the Brides Can Fake Flawless Skin Instantly

 Beauty, Hair & Beauty  Comments Off on How Mothers of the Brides Can Fake Flawless Skin Instantly
Mar 272014
 
Mother

Photo: Kate Webber Photograph

The bride is the star of the wedding, but it's a big day for the mother of the bride, too! Which is why it's important for the MOB to look just as picture-perfect as the girl in the white dress. After all, once guests have feasted their eyes on the happy couple, all eyes lock on the MOB according to Andrea Robinson, author of the new book Toss The Gloss: Beauty Tips, Tricks & Truths for Women 50+. An industry legend (she pioneered the neutral makeup trend and ran both Tom Ford Beauty and Ralph Lauren Fragrances), Robinson has so much mother-of-the-bride makeup scoop to share that we're dividing it into two parts. Today's lesson: How to get a perfect complexion using just foundation, concealer, and highlighter.

Primer Is Non-Negotiable: Applied over clean skin, primer is the ultimate insurance policy — even if your daughter is getting married in outdoors in a hot locale. "Not only will it bind with your foundation to give skin a smooth look, primer keeps it in place and makes it last longer," says Robinson. During the wedding, "An opportunity may not present itself to retouch, and you want to look good in every photo."

Match Concealer to Your Foundation: Working with the world's top makeup artists has taught Robinson a shocking little trick: Contrary to popular belief, concealer should never be lighter or darker than your foundation, but instead blend seamlessly into your base. "It makes perfect sense," she says. "Who wants to look like a raccoon?"

See More: Expert Secrets for Getting A Wedding-Ready Body

Go for the Golden: No matter whether you have cool or warm undertones to their skin, every MOB can benefit from a slightly more golden foundation. "When women go through menopause, skin can take on a faded, less-vital quality," says Robinson. "When you move to a more yellow tonality, and away from pink-based foundation, it automatically gives skin the look of vigor, glow, and health."

Liquid and Cream Formulas are a MOB's Best Bet: Think moisturizing — not matte. "Lightweight liquid foundations with transparency are ideal," says Robinson. "Moisturizing cream foundations from a jar can also be 'sheered-out' with a silk sponge and look great. I myself mix a Dr. Hauschka tinted moisturizer with a Laura Mercier cream foundation. It looks glowing and natural."

See More: Super-Stylish Mother-of-the-Bride Dresses!

Dab Highlighter on Spots You Want to "Lift:" To lend a lift to drooping lips and eyes, use a cream highlighter at least two shades lighter than your foundation and dab and blend in these key spots: at the outer edges of the lips, the side of the mouth, and on the outer edges of the eyes at the side of the upper lids. "Highlighters, used subtly, can transport us to Never Never Land," Robinson writes. "Don't underestimate the magic lurking in petite swipes of this versatile product."

And one last piece of advice from us: We recommended giving these tips a trial run before your daughter's big day! Practice makes perfect.

How to Pick the Perfect Red Nail Polish

 Beauty, Hair & Beauty, Wedding Beauty  Comments Off on How to Pick the Perfect Red Nail Polish
Mar 122014
 

Unlike edgier, more fashion-forward nail polish colors, red is at once classic, feminine, and intensely glamorous. There's just one problem: The wrong shade can make your hands look ruddy and blotchy — not the best backdrop for that stunning engagement ring you're sporting! But don't fret. With these pro tips, you'll be wearing the right red in no time.

Nail the "cool vs. warm" thing, once and for all: There are seemingly endless ways to determine whether your skin has cool or warm undertones (like that "green veins, blue veins" trick, which we still can't figure out). Luckily, Sally Hansen nail ambassador Tracylee has a much easier method figured out. "Lighter skin has cool undertones," she says. "Darker skin has warm."

After that, it's all about blue-based or orange-y reds: Light skin with cool undertones looks best in blue-based reds. (We love Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure in Red My Lips.) Tomato-y shades, which are sprinkled with a dash of yellow, are most flattering on darker skin with warm undertones.

See more: The 5-Step Plan For Softer, Prettier, Ring-Worthy Hands

When you've narrowed the field, test-drive your top contenders: At the salon, don't be shy about asking your manicurist to paint a few nails with different shades of red. Trust us, she'd much rather do a trial run than see you unhappy with the finished product. After all, engaged girls get lots of manis!

Keep red nails short and well-shaped: Yes, loooong red "stiletto" talons are having a moment, but brides-to-be should keep it classy. "It's best to follow the natural nail shape, which is oval or rounded," says Tracylee. "And the length that is most flattering for red is just past the fingertip. That gives nails a longer, sleeker look."

The 5-Step Plan for Softer, Prettier, Ring-Worthy Hands

 Beauty, Hair & Beauty  Comments Off on The 5-Step Plan for Softer, Prettier, Ring-Worthy Hands
Feb 282014
 
Tips for Softer Prettier Hands

Photo: Getty Images

Lucky you—you've landed the partner of your dreams, and now there's a gorge engagement ring adorning your left hand. But about those hands... Courtesy of that dazzling diamond, they're in the spotlight 24/7. Time to take them to the next level with these expert tips and tricks. Think soft, smooth, and utterly rock-worthy.

1. Step away from the hand sanitizer (and get some rubber gloves!)
Certain lifestyle habits—like digging around in your purse for that teensy bottle of sanitizer 90 times a day—can wreak havoc on your hands. Sure, you're a germ-a-phobe, but that's no excuse for dousing your poor digits with high-test alcohol. "Too much sanitizer, not wearing gloves to clean dishes, and skipping sunscreen and hand cream can all contribute to rough skin," says Tracylee, Sally Hansen Nail Ambassador. Stick to gentle soaps, preferably sulfate-free.

2. Whip up a sweet scrub
Though YouTube is chockablock with videos for DIY sea-salt hand scrubs, Tracylee isn't a fan. "Salt is too rough—it actually pierces the skin," the celebrity nail guru says. "I much prefer a sugar scrub, which is gentler." Her recipe: Mix 1/2 cup refined sugar, 1/2 cup oil (coconut or vitamin E), and 1/2 fresh lemon. Apply, rub into hands to exfoliate flaky skin, rinse and pat dry. "I see a lot of clients rubbing their hands roughly on a towel to dry them," she notes. "Hands should be patted, not rubbed."

See more: Our Favorite Celebrity Engagement Rings

3. Fade those pesky freckles
A smattering of freckles across your flower girl's sweet little nose? Adorable. Brown blotches on your grown-up, ring-bedecked hands? Not so much. To fade them, Debra Jaliman, author of Skin Rules: Trade Secrets from a Top New York Dermatologist, recommends a daily application of a cream containing the bleaching ingredient hydroquinone—and patience. "It takes about six to eight weeks to see results," Jaliman says.

4. Slather on serious protection
Now that you've lightened up, don't risk any new freckles and spots. "Use SPF 30 on your hands every day," insists Dr. Jaliman. Yes, every day; even when you're trapped inside, chained to your computer with your wedding Excel spreadsheets—UV light can penetrate glass.

5. Embrace DIY mani-maintenance
It's no secret that a salon manicure makes your hands look instantly, infinitely better. But the key to lasting softness, says Tracylee, is diligent upkeep at home. In addition to a high-powered skin-soother (we like Sally Hansen Smooth & Perfect Hand Creme), be sure to stock your home stash with a vitamin E-laced cuticle oil and nail strengthener to prevent chipping and splitting. A wardrobe of pretty, ring-flattering polishes (nudes, pinks, a few bold brights) will inspire you to hit the bottle on a regular basis.

We Heart Nail Art! Get This Sweet Valentine’s Day Manicure

 Beauty, Hair & Beauty  Comments Off on We Heart Nail Art! Get This Sweet Valentine’s Day Manicure
Feb 072014
 
Valentine's Day wedding nail art

Photo: Courtesy of JINsoon

Valentine's Day is just a week away, and we're already feeling the love!

Just in time for the most romantic day of the year (well, aside from your wedding day, of course!), we got our hands on a totally sweet, incredibly cool, Valentine's Day-inspired nail art design from celebrity nail artist Jin Soon Choi. There's no better way to accent your engagement ring, or just celebrate V-Day, by sporting a pretty manicure.

Choi, founder of the JINsoon Nail Lacquer line and creator of the super cute nail art seen here, gave us the step-by-step how-to, below, so you can nail the look yourself.

1. File and shape your nails in a natural square or roundish shape.

2. Apply a base coat like JINsoon Power Coat.

3. Apply a pink shade on the entire nail bed (shown here: Dolly Pink from Jin Soon's SS14 collection).

4. Apply JINsoon Coral Peony on one side of the nail, covering about three quarters of the nail bed and ending in a subtle curve to create half of the heart shape. Then repeat on the other side, taking special care to intersect the two sides at the center of the nail.

5. Apply JINsoon Coquette on one side of the nail covering about half of the nail bed and ending in the same subtle curve as you did when applying the Coral Peony. Repeat on the other side, again taking special care to intersect the two sides at the center of the nail.

6. Finish with a high-shine top-coat like JINsoon Top Gloss.

See even more Valentine's Day themed manicures in the complete slideshow.

We Heart Nail Art! Get This Sweet Valentine’s Day Manicure

 Beauty, Hair & Beauty  Comments Off on We Heart Nail Art! Get This Sweet Valentine’s Day Manicure
Feb 072014
 
Valentine's Day wedding nail art

Photo: Courtesy of JINsoon

Valentine's Day is just a week away, and we're already feeling the love!

Just in time for the most romantic day of the year (well, aside from your wedding day, of course!), we got our hands on a totally sweet, incredibly cool, Valentine's Day-inspired nail art design from celebrity nail artist Jin Soon Choi. There's no better way to accent your engagement ring, or just celebrate V-Day, by sporting a pretty manicure.

Choi, founder of the JINsoon Nail Lacquer line and creator of the super cute nail art seen here, gave us the step-by-step how-to, below, so you can nail the look yourself.

1. File and shape your nails in a natural square or roundish shape.

2. Apply a base coat like JINsoon Power Coat.

3. Apply a pink shade on the entire nail bed (shown here: Dolly Pink from Jin Soon's SS14 collection).

4. Apply JINsoon Coral Peony on one side of the nail, covering about three quarters of the nail bed and ending in a subtle curve to create half of the heart shape. Then repeat on the other side, taking special care to intersect the two sides at the center of the nail.

5. Apply JINsoon Coquette on one side of the nail covering about half of the nail bed and ending in the same subtle curve as you did when applying the Coral Peony. Repeat on the other side, again taking special care to intersect the two sides at the center of the nail.

6. Finish with a high-shine top-coat like JINsoon Top Gloss.

See even more Valentine's Day themed manicures in the complete slideshow.

A Teeth-Whitening System You Can Sneak In Before the Wedding

 Beauty, Hair & Beauty  Comments Off on A Teeth-Whitening System You Can Sneak In Before the Wedding
Dec 232013
 
Editor-Tested Tooth-Whitening System

Photo: Getty Images

Want a smile on your wedding day as dazzlingly white as your wedding dress? Of course you do. Willing to brave a session in the dentist's chair to get it? We didn't think so.

Pearly-white seekers, there's a new player in the teeth whitening game, and it's nothing short of genius. Enter Supersmile's 6 Minutes to a Supersmile system, which promises a whiter smile in less time than it took you to self address your save-the-dates. Six minutes, to be exact. We gave it a test drive and it delivers. The whole twice-a-day routine takes hardly any more time than the thorough brush, rinse, and floss you've already been rigorously practicing (right, ladies?). Only difference? We walked away with a fresher, brighter smile every time.

Six Minutes to a Supersmile"

Photo: Courtesy of Supersmile

The core system consists of just three products (the whole kit and caboodle is available at Supersmile.com). Each one has a pretty wow-worthy whitening factor when used alone, but together they make something miraculous: a three-step system that works instantaneously and keeps working for months.

Step one: Start by swishing the alcohol-free Whitening Pre-Rinse, which contains hydrogen peroxide but manages to avoid the icky aftertaste, for 15 seconds.

Step two: Next, swipe on the gel encased in the Professional Activating Rods, which come with absorbent cotton swabs for easy application. The gel mixes stain-removing sodium bicarbonate with hydrogen peroxide for an extra stain-removing boost before you brush. Let the gel sink in for one minute (so much more manageable than the half hour we've endured with other systems).

Step three: Brush it away with the Professional Whitening System, which consists of whitening toothpaste and a whitening accelerator. (Apply 'em side by side on your toothbrush.)

If you must cheat with coffee in the morning, we forgive you. Just pop a piece of Supersmile's Professional Whitening Gum ($5; supersmile.com), or try a swipe of Quickee ($18; supersmile.com), a minty on-the-go gel that dissolves on your teeth instantly, erasing stains all day. The best part? Even if you've had more root canals than you can count, you can rest easy. Every product in the system uses a proprietary whitening agent, Calprox, that lifts away stains from both natural teeth and caps or veneers.

Get started now and you'll get a brilliant grin with zero extra work. Could you ask for a better wedding present?

—Amanda First

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Edgy Nail Polish Colors That Will Take Your Engagement Ring from Sweet to Sassy

 Beauty, Engagement, Hair & Beauty  Comments Off on Edgy Nail Polish Colors That Will Take Your Engagement Ring from Sweet to Sassy
Dec 102013
 
Edgy Manicures for Engagement Ring and Wedding

Photo: Getty Images

It's engagement season! This means one very important thing: You'll need a gorgeous manicure to match and enhance your brand-new bling. We all love the traditional pale pink mani-pedi, but bold-toned nails and nail art have never been hotter. Whether your engagement ring is classic or a bit more unique, our pros have created a palette of edgy lacquer shades to complement your newest accessory and beyond! (Hello edgy manicure to mix up your wedding-day look.)

Oscar de la Renta Nail Polish Larimar

Photo: Yasu + Junko

Talk about something blue! Every model in Oscar de la Renta's spring 2013 bridal show sported this icy, enchanting shade.

Nail lacquer in Larimar, $22, Oscar de la Renta

MAC Nail Polish Soiree

Photo: Yasu + Junko

Metallic rose gold is unexpected—and wildly flattering, says Sally Hansen nail pro Tracylee Percival, who regularly paints Emma Watson and Nicki Minaj.

Nail lacquer in Soiree, $16, MAC

Estee Lauder Chaos Nail Polish

Photo: Yasu + Junko

Experiment! "Try a clear nail with a silver tip," suggests Percival. "I'm always happy to see brides break out of their box and have fun."

Pure Color nail lacquer in Chaos, $20, Estée Lauder

Jin Soon Risque Nail Polish

Photo: Yasu + Junko

Uber-manicurist Jin Soon Choi loves "a super-dark, glossy" nail with a white, fashion-forward gown. "It adds sleekness," she says.

Nail lacquer in Risqué, $18, JINSoon available at Sephora

Vapour Vernissage Scandal Nail Polish

Photo: Yasu + Junko

To modernize classic red nails, go for an "almond" shape. "It's slightly pointy," says Percival, "but with a rounded edge."

Nail lacquer in Scandal, $12, Vapour Vernissage

Sally Hansen Co-Bolt Nail Polish

Photo: Yasu + Junko

"Midnight blue really makes a statement," says Percival.

Insta-Dri in Co-Bolt Blue, $4.95, Sally Hansen available at Ulta

Sally Hansen Fog Nail Polish

Photo: Yasu + Junko

Want a hipper, softer take on white? Try this rosy, pearlized hue that teeters on the brink of gray.

Smooth and Perfect Color + Care nail lacquer in Fog, $5.99, Sally Hansen available at Walmart

Dior Diorific Nail Polish

Photo: Yasu + Junko

On a lighter note, nail superstar Sheril Bailey likes gold with an edgy wedding dress. "The woman who wears a fashion-forward and leggy dress is very secure," she says. "Gold is perfect."

Diorific nail lacquer in Diorling, $26, Dior available at Neiman Marcus

Lancome Gris Angora Nail Polish

Photo: Yasu + Junko

After making its mark on the runway circuit, gray is now a fashion fave. Gutsy but not too dark, this one is oh-so-modern.

Vernis In Love nail lacquer in Gris Angora, $15, Lancome

You Might Also Like:
11 Things to Avoid the Week Before Your Wedding
Brides Magazine 2013 Beauty Awards
15 Wedding-Day Beauty Emergencies and How to Solve Them

3 Beauty Secrets You Should Probably Keep From Your Husband

 Beauty, Happy Bride, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on 3 Beauty Secrets You Should Probably Keep From Your Husband
Dec 102013
 
Beauty Secrets to Keep from Husband

Photo: Getty Images

Last week, we talked about radical honesty in your relationship (could you practice it?), but in the beauty department, brides, we think there are probably a few things to keep on the DL. And here's what makes our list:

Waxing, plucking, bleaching: Whether your upkeep is done in the privacy of your bathroom or at the salon, does he really need to know that you need your upper lip waxed or bleached every seven days? Or that your one desert island item would be an pair of tweezers because without it, a uni-brow would so be in your future? No. We say, stay mum about the hair on your face and how you deal with it.

Self-tanner: Your gorgeous golden glow? Your husband doesn't have to know it comes from a bottle. Besides, most guys don't quite get self-tanner, and others we've talked to think it's a little fussy, so if you're a daily Jergen's Natural Glow girl, keep on glowing, and when he tells you he loves your skin, just grin.

Landscaping: Whether you wax, trim or shave down there, our tried-and-true rule is to leave the entire process to his imagination. Just as you might not be wild about seeing your guy in the thick of man-scaping, it stands to reason that this is a time to ...lock the bathroom door. Let him appreciate the results of your upkeep without the visuals of used bikini wax strips running through his mind.

Sarah Jio

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7 Beauty Products No Bride Should Ever Go Without
How to Treat Pre-Wedding Skincare Concerns
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What a Beauty Editor Learned About Hair, Makeup and Skincare from Planning Her Wedding

 Beauty, Carolyn Hsu, Real Brides, Real Weddings  Comments Off on What a Beauty Editor Learned About Hair, Makeup and Skincare from Planning Her Wedding
Dec 052013
 
Carolyn Hsu Beauty Editor Makeup.com

Photo: Courtesy of Carolyn Hsu

What do real brides have to say about the wedding planning experience? Well, it's not all happy tears at the bridal boutique and indulgent cake tastings. Over the next two months, guest blogger Carolyn Hsu, Founder of The Hsu Closet and Managing Editor at Makeup.com, will share the ins and outs of planning a New York City wedding, picking the perfect venue, crafting a day-of beauty look and finding inspiration in the strangest of places.

When I first started planning my wedding, I, like most brides, quickly realized there was a lot to learn about the world of weddings! For example, what's the difference between a florist and a floral designer? (More on that in a future post!) As a long time beauty editor, however, I knew that there was at least one place where I had a head start—my years and years of interviewing makeup artists, hair dressers and dermatologists, trying products, and advising others on how to look their best was about to pay off in a really big way. I had amassed a fair amount of beauty knowledge already, but whatever I didn't know, I had access to some of the best expert resources around to ask (all in the name of work research, of course). Here is what I discovered:

Carolyn Hsu Beauty Editor Instagram

Photo: Carolyn Hsu via Instagram

1. Know your skin.

I really can't stress this enough—in order to look your best on your big day, you have to know what works and doesn't work for you so you don't accidentally use a product that causes you to break out or have other adverse reactions. Through my years of trying beauty products, I've too often experienced the "but I reallllllyyyy want to like this" feeling, followed by "if I try this again, maybe it'll start working for me" thought. The lesson, as I learned is just "no." If you know a particular brand, or ingredient, or texture doesn't jive with your skin, do not be swayed into trying it before your wedding—it will still not work and it will give you extra hassles to worry about.

My advice is to find out as early on as possible what works for your skin and stick to it.

If you have sensitive skin, steer clear of anything with fragrances or harsh ingredients—I'm a big fan of products from Dermalogica, Simple Skincare, and La Roche Posay. If you have dry skin or are getting married in the cooler months, look for products that contain ceramide, an ingredient that helps your skin to keep moisture from escaping—I love Dr. Jart+ Ceramidin Cream, CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion, and Elizabeth Arden Ceramide Capsules. For oilier or combination skin (that's me!), stick to a lighter product and don't be afraid to use two different products—one for oilier parts and one for dryer parts. I love Kiehl's Skin Rescuer, which has an added benefit of helping reduce visible signs of stress on skin. If you have more delicate or mature skin, go for a really high tech product, such ones from Algenist, La Prairie, or Skinceuticals, which have potent anti-aging ingredients. And if you prefer green or natural products, check out the products from Joanna Vargas—they are some of the best that I've ever tried.

2. Sunscreen all day, every day + Antioxidants.

The number one piece of advice from every dermatologist I've ever talked to is that applying sunscreen that protects both against UVA and UVB rays daily is the best thing you can do for your skin. You probably already know that...but if you really want to get serious about your skincare for the ultimate glowing complexion, also add an antioxidant serum into your regime. Not only will antioxidants boost the effectiveness of your sunscreen, it protects skin in other ways and helps to reverse damage that has already been done. Two common forms of antioxidants are Vitamin C and Vitamin E and as it turns out, they're even more effective when used together. My favorite antioxidant products are Skinceuticals CE Ferulic and Dr. Dennis Gross Hydra-Pure Antioxidant Firming Serum.

Carolyn Hsu Beauty Editor Instagram

Photo: Carolyn Hsu via Instagram

3. Exfoliate, but not too much.

Exfoliating is the one thing that I know I should do, but that I don't always make the time. Leading up to your wedding however, proper exfoliation is key to keeping skin looking youthful and radiant. Don't overdo it by going for a harsh scrub—keep it to something gentle such as Pro Therapy MD Gentle Skin Polishing Exfoliator or Peter Thomas Roth Peeling Gel Exfoliant and use it a few times a week. Results from using an exfoliator regularly is cumulative and you'll see the pay off in the long run.

When it comes to body exfoliation (my backless wedding dress makes it a necessity)—I don't know about you, but scrubbing my own back in the shower is not my forte. This beauty treatment is best left to the pros. You have two options here—you can go to a spa that offers a body polish or you can get a little adventurous and go for a full on Korean body scrub. I tried both. A few months before my wedding, I went to the Cornelia Spa at The Surrey for a purifying back treatment that included full on pore extractions and a soothing back masque. A pampering treatment like this one is a good option if you want to relax before your big day. However, being the curious beauty explorer that I am, I also booked myself a traditional Korean body scrub (offered at most Asian day spas), which involved laying completely naked on a treatment bed and getting every square inch of your body scrubbed with a mitt until no more dead skin comes off. Sound intense? It is—and not the best option for the shy, but the results—baby soft, glowing skin from top to bottom—are completely worth it. Whichever option you choose, book your final body exfoliation treatment about a week in advance of your wedding so your skin has time to recover from any irritation or redness but the results are still at their peak.

4. Find a makeup artist who understands what "natural but better" means for you.

Every bride wants to look like the best version of herself on her wedding day, and the trick is to find a makeup artist who understands your facial structure and how to highlight your best features. I decided to go with a former colleague and friend of mine, Margaux Zion, who is also a phenomenal makeup artist. Since we worked together daily for almost a year, she was already familiar with how I liked to wear my makeup. She's also very passionate about makeup and knows her products inside and out which is a huge plus. When you're interviewing makeup artists, be sure to ask them what they think your best features are and how to highlight them as well as bring a few photos of how you usually do your makeup to go to work or go out so they can get a sense of your natural style. If there's anything you want "corrected"—for me, it was contouring to slim my face—let them know and ask to see previous work where they've done that particular technique. Clear communication and visuals are key.

While you should be very clear with what you want, also be open to listening to the artist's expertise. For example, I absolutely love a red lipstick and how glamorous the perfect crimson can look. Margaux, however, deterred me from going down that route—not good for eating or kissing, she advised. "Your wedding is not the time to go for high maintenance makeup."

5. Know what you want but be open to change.

For as long as I can remember, I've been convinced that my hair looks better down with romantic waves as opposed to an updo. So when it came to wedding hair, I knew that's how I was going to wear it—down with loose curls. After I picked my dress however, I realized that the intricate and somewhat unusual neckline required that my hair be pulled back in order to properly show it off. In fact, my ideal down-do just looked completely wrong with the gown! Needless to say, some flexibility was needed on my part to part with my dream hair. In the end, I decided to go with a low chignon that still give a little bit of length to the updo but opened up the neck and shoulder area. I realized that what I liked about that whole loose 'do was the natural volume and the way hair softly framed my face. Knowing that, I was able to have my talented stylist at the John Barret Salon recreate the effect by not pulling the hair too tight to the scalp and leaving a couple soft waves out to frame the face.

6. Time your treatments.

Most brides will want to invest in some professional treatments right before their wedding whether it's brow shaping, waxing, facial, teeth whitening, etc. In addition to the body scrub, I had three other big ones: hair removal, facial for some last minute skin help, and teeth whitening. As you know from my exfoliation experience, I'm pretty adventurous when it comes to beauty, so I used my wedding as an excuse to invest in some treatments that I always wanted to get.

First up, laser hair removal. After countless waxes, I decided that it was time to rid my body of those pesky hairs once and for all (or at least for a few years at a time). Turns out, many brides opt to laser their underarms before their big day for smooth, worry-free skin. My go-to place in the city is Beam Laser Spa, a boutique spa run by two Brazilian sisters, whom I became friends with during the course of my treatments. While I love a deal as much as the next person, laser hair removal is not the place for that. Make sure you find a place that has state-of-the-art facilities and modern technology, and knowledgeable specialists that you trust and feel comfortable around. My specialist, Andrea Young, recommends starting underarm sessions about six to eight months before the wedding date to get full results which takes about six to twelve sessions. She also recommends doing the last session roughly two weeks before the wedding in case to give time for any redness to disappear. Didn't plan enough time for all those sessions? No worries—Young says that even if you do just one session 2 weeks before your wedding, you would still be completely hairless and smooth on the big day (it takes about 6 weeks for hair that hasn't been killed from the treatment to grow back).

Next, teeth whitening. Once again, I preferred a more permanent solution so I opted for an in-office Philips Zoom treatment which can drastically whiten teeth in just 45 minutes. Unlike laser hair removal treatments, this procedure should be scheduled a bit closer to your wedding day recommends Dr. Jeffrey Rappaport of Lavaan Dental Spa, where I went to get my treatment. "The ideal time is about one week before your wedding so that any sensitivity you may experience has completely disappeared and your smile is still at its brightest post treatment." If you're concerned about sensitivity, make sure you brush with a sensitive toothpaste starting about two weeks before your treatment.

Finally, the facial. This was one place where I was not willing to get too risky and I would recommend not trying anything new or extreme before your wedding. I went to Joanna Vargas, an aesthetician in the city who is known for her holistic approach to skincare for a maintenance facial—some extractions, a generous application of serum, and an oxygen mask can do wonders for your skin even if it's just a week out.

—Carolyn Hsu

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5 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself Before the Wedding

 Beauty, Sarah Jio, Wellness  Comments Off on 5 Easy Ways to Pamper Yourself Before the Wedding
Dec 042013
 
5 Ways Brides Can Pamper Themselves Before the Wedding

Photo: Getty Images

With wedding stress looming, now's the time to pamper yourself more than ever. Yes, a spa day with your bridesmaids is grand, but consider these simple ways to treat yourself (and peel off stress and perk up in the process!).

1. Say yes to Epsom salts: True, you may associate Epsom salts with your grandmother's medicine cabinet, but they're also a best-kept beauty and wellness secret worthy of modern-day brides, too! Draw a hot bath and sprinkle in one cup of Epsom salts (which are inexpensive and available at most supermarkets), and get soaking. Not only will an Epsom-steeped bath help ease muscle aches and pains, but beauty experts tell us that it can also help reduce puffiness and bodily inflammation brought on by stress, a win-win for an overwhelmed bride.

2. Get juicing: If nutrition has fallen by the wayside during your mad-dash to the alter (hello soda for breakfast!), consider taking two or three days and loading up your body with fresh juice. Instead of coffee, soda, or other drinks, stop at your local juice bar or cafe and treat yourself to a spinach-apple-orange-carrot, and load up your body with energizing and healing, pre-wedding antioxidants. You'll feel better inside, and look better outside as a result.

3. Put on your mask: One of my favorite ways to feel like I've been to the spa and relax without paying a single dollar or leaving home is to pour a cup of herbal tea, slather on a mud mask (my favorite is Kiehl's Rare Earth), and zone out with a good book or magazine.

4. Bat your eyelashes: If you've considered getting false eyelashes, why not give it a go? They'll look great on your wedding day, and over the years, they've become less expensive to have done and more available at your favorite salon. Bonus: The half-hour to hour it takes to have them applied is a great time to close your eyes and sneak in a nap.

5. Invite the massage therapist over: In-home massage is not just for the Kardashians. In fact, do a search for local traveling massage therapists, and you'll find their rates comparable (and sometimes even more affordable) than those at your favorite spas. Best part: You can relax in your own home, and when the massage is over you can head straight to bed instead of tensing up again on the drive home.

Sarah Jio

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