Planning a wedding is no small feat—so at the very least, figuring out your wedding beauty timeline should be easy. What with finding vendors, picking a venue, and deciding on the perfect cake, any sort of beauty prep for the day you say “I do” may fall through the cracks. We’re talking about all the beauty treatments and small things you can do to look and feel your best as you make your way down the aisle. Pedicures and manicures are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the variety of treatments you can get done before your wedding. There’s Botox, waxing, teeth whitening—the list is endless.
While there’s a plethora of decisions to make, remember that making time for a little self-care is important too. We spoke with some of the best doctors—from cosmetic dentists to dermatologists and plastic surgeons—to give us some insight on different treatments and regimens you can invest in up to 12 months from your big day.
Ready to look and feel your best? Read on for your ultimate wedding beauty timeline.
12 months ahead
Any treatment that requires a longer period of time to see results should start as soon as possible. Los Angeles-based cosmetic dentist Rhonda Kalasho, DDS, says 12 months before your wedding day is the perfect time to straighten out your smile if needed. “The absolute minimum amount of time necessary to achieve any predictable and visible results is six months, but to be sure you get the most ideal outcome, it is safer to have a consultation a full year prior to your wedding,” she says.
The 12-month mark is also the time to make an appointment with your dermatologist to address any skin, hair, or nail concerns to ensure you can treat it in a timely manner. If you have a particular laundry list of concerns, meeting with your doctor sooner rather than later is always ideal.
Interested in getting a wax before the big day? Start getting waxed 12 months out from the wedding and stick to a consistent regimen. If you’re used to shaving, it will take a handful of waxing sessions to ensure long-lasting smoothness while regulating your hair cycle. If you’re already a regular at your local waxing place, keep up with your normal routine.
6 months ahead
Around the six-month mark is when things begin to get real. The wedding is just around the corner and almost everything is in place; it’s the perfect time to really indulge in your self-care ritual. Facials are something you should start getting to keep your skin in shape and invest in some me time.
Dermatologist Adrienne O’Connell, DO, doctor of aesthetic medicine at Laguna Beach Aesthetics in California, says getting acquainted with a facialist to set up a game plan to address any of your skin concerns prior to the wedding is important for glowing and healthy skin.
“I recommend starting facials at least six months before the wedding day. This gives your skin time to respond to the facials and for your aesthetician to see how your skin reacts,” Dr. O’Connell says. She recommends an oxygen facial, an LED facial, or a high-frequency facial. All of these will benefit your skin in different ways leading up to your wedding.
Your skin will thrive on any extra care between now and the day of the wedding. Incorporating a retinol into your skin-care routine at this time will reduce fine lines and wrinkles by increasing the production of collagen. Dr. O’Connell points out that it takes several weeks and sometimes months to start seeing the positive effects of retinol. Six months out is ideal because retinol can often cause dryness and mild irritation, and this interval will give your skin ample time to get adjusted.
Elective eyelid surgery
Board-certified oculoplastic surgeon Christopher Zoumalan, MD, says that there has been a tremendous uptick in eyelid surgery the past two years, especially with the WFH lifestyle and being on Zoom calls all day. “With wearing masks, people are becoming more aware of the changes with aging around their eyes,” he says. This procedure is certainly elective and not necessary, but it will help those who have noticed sagging and loose skin on their eyelids. It’s done in-office under local anesthesia, and the recovery time is around three months, with swelling reduced in two weeks.
4 months ahead
When you’re four months out from your wedding, it’s officially crunch time. This time period is perfect to look into injectables. Dr. O’Connell says it’s very important for filler and Botox to settle and for swelling to subside, which can take several weeks. It’s also important to be able to visualize the impact injectables can have on your appearance, which is best done months prior to the wedding. Injectables can be great for both the bride and the groom.
If you are considering injectables, you should know the difference between the options available to you, as well as what may work best for you. Fillers can add back volume and youth to the face but can leave you with some swelling and bruising that can last up to two weeks.
“Sculptra is one of my favorite injectables; it’s not a filler but instead a bio-stimulator,” Dr. O’Connell says. It will give you a very natural, youthful appearance but is usually done in two sessions about six to eight weeks apart, and results are not immediate. She recommends starting Sculptra at least four to six months before the wedding day.
Lip filler can plump your natural volume. If you’re interested in adding a little extra to your lips, ensure you do it four months prior to the wedding and possibly two to three weeks later if you need a minor touch-up. If you’ve had lip fillers between six to eight months before your wedding, it’s best to leave them be and only get a touch-up if needed.
3 months ahead
The wedding is literally right around the corner, which is the perfect time to start experimenting with teeth whitening. You’ll most likely be in a thousand or more pictures, so taking the time to achieve results you’ll notice is ideal around three months or sooner.
Kalasho says that at-home kits, depending on the chemical composition and concentration of the products, should also be introduced into the routine three months prior to the wedding to allow for enough time to achieve the necessary results. You can opt to get your teeth professionally whitened on a consistent schedule leading up to the day of the wedding, or you can try out any at-home remedies. Whitening strips, sticks, and toothpaste may take a little longer but are worth the try if you’re sticking with a budget.
Chemical peels have a variety of benefits to the skin, such as improving acne, smoothing fine lines, and evening skin tone. The recovery usually lasts about one to seven days, with minimal irritation and redness.
During month three, you should keep up with any facial treatments, injectables, waxing, or other beauty regimens you’ve incorporated in your wedding prep.
1 month to a week ahead
Along with continuing with your teeth whitening, a month prior to your wedding is the perfect time to get your teeth cleaned. A cleaning will ensure that your teeth will look the best they possibly can and allow for any gum inflammation to be addressed during the visit. “Plus, healthy gums can make or break a perfect looking smile,” Kalasho says.
About a month before the wedding is when you should consider additional fine-tuning, like getting waxed, getting a facial, and having any other treatment that doesn’t require a long recovery.
Day of the wedding
Dr. O’Connell says that the only treatment she recommends on the day of the wedding is a rejuvenating IV hydration drip. “I would include Glutathione, which is the ‘wonder drug’ for skin brightening and antiaging. Glutathione is an antioxidant that decreases wrinkles and increases skin elasticity by fighting off free radicals,” she says. “It also decreases pigmentation in your skin by inhibiting an enzyme involved in making melanin. It leaves your skin feeling brighter and more refreshed.”
Play the day of your wedding simple and safe. If you’re going to be outdoors, make sure you apply your favorite moisturizer and a little SPF. Keep the water flowing to help with hydration and keep your skin plump throughout the day.
Originally Appeared on Glamour