The look of love
When it comes to life events, preparing for the happiest day of your life can be one of the most stressful. It's not just about the dress, flowers, catering and venue; the pressure to look flawless is high.
'Every little detail has its importance,' says Emmanuel Faipoux, founder of organic and natural hair salon emmanuel f. 'With enough time, we can prepare and help the bride get the best out of her hair so that when the day comes, she feels relaxed.'
Ka Lam, of Kalamakeup, says that while most brides approach her six to 12 months before their wedding day, some contact her 18 months prior. A make-up artist since 2004, Lam has helped more than 300 brides with their looks. 'For the Year of the Dragon, there are definitely a lot of requests,' she says. 'Last year, there was also high demand, especially for Chinese brides, as they want to have Dragon Babies.'
Lam suggests brides bring in images of make-up styles they like (and dislike). During the first trial, she takes into consideration the bride's facial shape and features, her personality and the dresses she will be wearing. Lam uses a variety of brands but in particular likes Becca for its long-lasting foundation, Benefit for blush colours and NARS for high-quality cream shadows and powders. She trials two looks - day and evening - and repeats it before the day so that everyone is happy.
Getting organised early not only means you will be less stressed but will also have time to work on the health of your skin and hair, making your hairdresser and make-up artist's jobs easier.
At The Strand in Central, co-founder and facialist Brigitte Niederberger suggests brides-to-be start facial treatments at least a few months before the wedding. 'In general, regular exfoliation to remove dead skin cells will result in a smooth and brighter-looking complexion and keep the pores clean, while hydration keeps the skin looking plump and fine lines less visible.'
She especially recommends The Strand's Vitamin C Illuminator by Dr Murad, which helps to even pigmentation, the AHA Rapid Exfoliator for a brightened glow and the Caci non-surgical facelift programme.
The healthier the complexion the better, particularly as the trend is moving away from heavy make-up. 'Natural make-up tends to be more timeless and classic,' Lam says. 'Plus they can still look like themselves while feeling very comfortable and confident.'
Advising a bride to 'look like themselves' is not as bizarre as it sounds. During consultations at emmanuel f, Faipoux also reminds brides that the photos and video last a lifetime. Women who often experiment with different styles can be bolder, while others should go for something more subtle.
Given enough time, Faipoux focuses not only on colour and style but also on hair health, using mostly organic and natural products that repair the hair for a natural shine. At the last minute, however, he can apply a semi-permanent colour, closely matching the bride's own colour, for depth and shine and perhaps a few highlights around the face for emphasis.
Just as high a priority for almost every bride is looking trim. Some turn to boot camps and nutritionists, but spas can also help slim the silhouette. At The Strand, Niederberger offers an array of slimming and firming treatments best when taken in a series of at least six.
'We provide seaweed body wraps, which break down fat cells and cellulite,' she says. 'Each treatment starts with a full body scrub to remove dry skin cells and to prepare the skin to receive the active ingredients. A slimming massage with vacuum cups is performed before the seaweed wrap is applied.'
While the bride is focusing on skin, make-up and hair, her groom can pop into Gentlemen's Tonic, where pre-wedding grooming days are becoming popular. Head barber Kem Mehmet agrees that an early start is important.
'Men should get a haircut a week before the wedding so that it's more settled in for the day.'
He also suggests those wanting a clean-shaven look should trial a wet shave beforehand as men with difficult skin may experience a reaction. 'On the morning of the wedding, we can give them a shave and restyle their hair as in general a lot of guys have trouble styling their hair.'
Facial hair is becoming more acceptable on wedding days, and styling a beard can 'make the difference between a mess and a neat look that goes well with a suit', Mehmet says. Gentlemen's Tonic also offers targeted facials, manicures and pedicures, and even eyebrow shaping.
'Grooming is one of those things that once you start doing it you realise a difference in your appearance,' Mehmet says. 'It affects your confidence and your self-motivation, and can all come down to a quality haircut, good set of eyebrows, clean shave or well-groomed beard.'
And feeling like a million bucks is surely what it's all about on your wedding day.