BRIDAL PREP

So you said yes right? You're getting married, yes? You're about to go down the rabbit hole of wedding planning yes? I'm engaged too and planning a wedding so I know how much attention that can take but it's important not to forget yourself in this process. You know how your wedding books tell you that you need to have your dress picked by... so you can have it altered by... You need to have your venue booked by... and all that jazz. I'm not a wedding planner so I can't guide you on that but I am all about beauty so here's a timeline you should follow for your bridal beauty preparation:

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BROWS - 6 months out start growing them out! Find a great brow girl (if you have a Nordstrom near by see the Anastasia Brow Studio for your initial guidelines). Then make sure you get your final wedding clean up 2-3 days before the wedding.

FACIALS - 3 months out at the very least. Take really great care of your skin during this time and if you plan on changing products or your routine, you don't want to do that too close to the wedding in case you react negatively to the new ingredients. Plan to get you last facial a week to ten days before then use a gentle exfoliator (like a pumpkin enzyme or AHA) frequently to keep up the facialist's results.

HAIR - Most brides I meet started growing their hair out the day they got engaged but that isn't always necessary. CUT: If you regularly get your hair trimmed then you stop for months and months, the likelihood of your hair being crappy and damaged looking by your big day is really great. If you're planning on an updo then yes, settle down with getting a lot of layers cut since those tend to make some braids and updos a little challenging. COLOR: I love my dark hair but I will say that highlights do make your hair look fuller and bridal styles have more dimension so even if you only want to commit to baby lights that's enough. Your color should be touched up within 3 weeks of the wedding so it can settle in. EXTENSIONS: If you want to wear your hair down work on keeping it healthy all the way to the tips and don't panic, chances are you will want length and thickness added so you can always pop in extensions (I make them by the way - look in the more. section). If you have a great stylist, take them with you to your hair color appointment to make sure they match or can be colored to match your hair.

MAKEUP - Whether you are hiring a professional makeup artist or not, I suggest you investing in a great foundation that not only matches you flawlessly but also you know that it photographs beautifully (meaning, test it out in different lights and with different cameras ahead of time). Your makeup artist might keep limited shades and formulas and if you are like me, I break out over any change so I'd rather know that what is being used is guaranteed to not bother me.

So darling... add these to your massive TO DO List in your wedding binder and make sure you don't neglect YOU during this hectic time!

xoxo

Prep & Prime

I find it interesting how many women I meet that skip the priming step in their makeup routine... For me if I am going to take the time to put on my makeup every morning, it better last until I'm ready to take it off and frankly, without prepping my skin accordingly, it just doesn't cut it!

Prep and Prime Blog
Prep and Prime Blog

Right now these are the steps and products I'm using to prep my face for my makeup.

Step 1

Clinique Pore Refining Solutions Stay-Matte Hydrator is the ONLY moisturizer that I have repurchased  - wait for it - 4 times!  I've never repurchased a moisturizer more than once.  This gives me hydration and keeps me matte! #LOVE

Step 2

Philosophy Time in a Bottle for Eyes which if I'm honest is the only step in this regimen that I sometimes skip.  I can't really see a difference when I use it and when I don't but I'm trying to stay the course since I'm getting older :/

Step 3

This winter has been havoc on my lips and not much has helped however I now add this Fresh Sugar Lip Serum into my morning routine to hydrate my pout while I finish the rest of my dace so they will be ready when I'm ready to put on my lip color.

Step 4

Blink Gel Tears is a must for me but if you don't have chronic dry eye you can skip this step.

Step 5

NARS Smudge Proof Shadow Primer is just perfection!  I seriously can't say enough about it.  I have the oiliest eyelids of anyone I know and I will crease the uncreaseable but not this my friend!  Plus its wicked thin so it doesn't mess with the integrity of my shadows.

Step 6

Now ever since I switched from using my Smashbox Photo Finish Primer and refuse to repurchase the one and only Mineral Primer from Hourglass due to the sheer price, I haven't felt loyal to another primer so right now I'm using the Clinique Super Primer because I have it.  I don't think I would repurchase but it doesn't break me out and I don't mind it!

If you do a majority of these steps you will definitely be removing your makeup looking the same as it did in the morning when you put it on.

The moral of the story is if you want it to last... don't skip the prep & prime steps!

Winter Skin Must Haves

I've spent the last 13 winters in Florida so I haven't really had to alter my skincare routine for cold months until I moved to Texas of all places!  Who knew the winter here would be quite bitter, dry and chappy.  I finally have a system that has been helping me defeat the effects of winter so if you are in frigid temperatures right now, some of these suggestions might be useful to making the chilled months more tolerable. Winter Skin Must Haves

Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Oil is a bit heavier than my favorite Tatcha Camellia Cleansing Oil that I have decided to reserve for summer months.  It rinses clean and seems to do a great job at removing all traces of makeup and the size of product for the money is quite a value.

Origins High Potency Night-A-Mins I use a few times per week to keep my skin hydrated so I can still use Retin-A on alternate days.  I find I am extremely sensitive to high concentrations of vitamin C but this light cream doesn't seem to bother me at all.

Pixi Glow Tonic is a gentle way to add daily exfoliation into your regimen without stripping your skin.  I still exfoliate in the shower a few times per week with my Laura Mercier Face Gommage (which I have been loyal to for 10 years) but since my skin gets a little flaky in the winter, swiping this over my face in the morning on a cotton pad makes my foundation go on smooth every time.

Clarins Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster (the name is bigger than the bottle, just FYI) is a great way to add a little glow to winter white skin without having to use a separate self tanner or even worrying about your face being darker than your neck.  I just add about 3 drops to my daytime moisturizer 3-4 times per week and I feel like that helps me to look healthy in the cold months.

Deborah Lippmann Steppin Out cream for my feet is a must have every night before bed!  I have awful circulation due to a long time thyroid disorder so my feet (and hands) get wicked cold and I generally sleep with socks on so it makes sense to hydrate my heels nightly.  Even though you may not be showing off your toes for months, I hate it when my feet feel rough and this luxurious cream seems to help when applied regularly.

Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream is a cult favorite and I purchased it last winter, shelving it for the summer but have religiously used it again this winter on any super dry areas like my lips, cuticles and heels.  I find that it protects my cuticles much better than the Josie Maran Oil I had been previously turning to.  I also respect it as a multi-function product so when traveling I have 1 tube that does the job of 5 products saving space and time.

Saving the lips for last as they have proven to be my biggest challenge this winter.  I have finally found a combination that keeps my pout from cracking and believe me, it wasn't easy or cheap.  I invested in just about everything from Burts Bees to La Mer and this is what seemed to do the best job...

Fresh Sugar Lip Polish a few times a week in the shower.  This is far oilier than I would like and I can say I won't be repurchasing it next winter (I have my eye on the Sarah Happ version) but I do think it helps rid my lips of the dry skin.  I do recommend applying it before your facial cleanser so you have the chance to wash off all the oil it leaves behind.

Fresh Sugar Lip Serum which doesn't take the place of your daily lip balm but it does add that extra bit of lightweight moisture with added repairative benefits.  I apply this before I start my makeup in the morning so my lips are soft for my color of the day.  I also apply it at night before my lip balm.

BITE Agave Lip Mask is my night time go to.  I'm not sure I am convinced that it is a lip mask but I do like how thick it is since I believe that aspect allows it to last longer over night.  I have the original packaging which isn't awesome but the company realized that and have since started selling it in a much more consumer friendly tube.

I hope these product recommendations help you fight off the effects of bad man winter.  Good luck and remember, diligence is key to keeping chappy at bay.