5 Tips For Going Makeup-Free On Your Wedding Day

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
By Maddie Eisenhart

There’s a weird false dichotomy in both the fashion and the beauty industries. There's an assumption that if you’re not into hair, makeup, and other forms of upkeep, then you must not care about how you look at all. This lazy femme will never understand that. This belief, of course, is particularly strong in the wedding industry. If our recent open thread on wedding beauty expectations is any indication, it’s pretty clear that our culture has ideas about what your face ought to look like at your wedding. In other words, even if you don’t normally wear makeup, your wedding should be the one day when you make an exception (whether you like it or not) and go full glamazon: airbrush foundation, false lashes, the works (because, pictures). Which, no.

While you obviously don’t need to do anything involving makeup for your wedding (and that is 100% fine and nobody should tell you otherwise), what if you want to do something beauty-related before the wedding, but not a full-on beauty makeover?

Today, we’re bringing you tips for taking good care of your skin before your wedding, as a happy medium between doing beauty-queen makeup and not wanting to do anything at all (which, for the record, is still an option). While it’s not required, sometimes I just want to do something extra for special events. Even if that added thing is just putting on lotion.

Plus, taking care of your skin is just plain good for your health (and a nice thing to do for yourself during a time otherwise marked by lots of people-pleasing and, subsequently, lots of stress). We asked San Francisco makeup artist Shana Astrachan of Fox & Doll hair and makeup (who also makes her own good-for-your-skin cosmetics) for her best pre-wedding skin-care tips. Of course, you can take all this advice and run with it, or just work some of it into your daily routine. Any self-care is good self-care.
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Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
Number one is drink lots of water. I can’t stress this enough! Just keep drinking it. Get yourself a fancy new water bottle to carry around, or a new water filter if that is what it takes, but just keep drinking water like it will make you the most beautiful person in the world…because it will.

Related: Should You Cover Your Tattoos For Your Wedding?

Start From The Inside Out
Add some additional supplements to your diet. My favorites for healthy skin are: probiotics, B-complex, and fish oil or omegas. Incorporate foods that are high in vitamins C and E, like fresh fruits and veggies (for C) and seeds and nuts (for E). Plus, get your healthy dose of antioxidants! Think grapes, blueberries, cherries, strawberries, green tea, tomatoes, dark green veggies, and kidney beans.

All of these are good for your regular health, and leading to great skin is basically just a bonus. If you’re prone to pimples, try a zinc supplement, which helps clear up breakouts and prevents future ones from coming on. Plus, it keeps you from catching a cold. How's that for a triple whammy?

Bonus tip: If you tend to flush when drinking wine, you can take a Pepcid AC or Complete (or similar product containing famotidine) 45 minutes before drinking to reduce the redness. Of course, consult your physician and do a test run in advance with a glass of wine. (Are we twisting your arm here? Sorry.)

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Don't Wait, Exfoliate
Start doing daily, gentle exfoliation by using a 100% cotton washcloth when you wash your face. Here’s my method:

1. Apply face wash onto your skin (take time with this step; treat it like a massage).
2. Add water and continue to massage product and water into your skin.
3. Rinse the cloth with hot water (but not too hot) and wring out, then wipe away the cleanser.
4. Repeat this rinse and wipe three to four times, then finish by drying your face with a clean, dry towel.

This gentle exfoliation method does a great job of removing all traces of makeup and gets rid of the dead skin cells on the surface, revealing a brighter complexion. If your skin is dry, switch your cleanser to a cleansing oil. For all other skin types, a non-foaming, creamy cleanser is generally both nourishing and effective. (Pro tip: Switch out your cloth every few days for a fresh one.)

Remember: You don’t have to stop with your face. I recommend exfoliating your lips two or three times a week to get rid of dry skin. To make your own lip scrub, mix up equal parts brown sugar, honey, and olive oil, or you can purchase pre-made scrub here. In addition to exfoliating, switch away from lip balms that are waxy or medicated. Look for ones with ingredients like shea butter and cocoa butter, like this one.

Wear SPF
Duh.

Extra credit: If you want something with a little more oomph, you can try an at-home mask or peel. Shana says this one can help with dark spots and discoloration and brighten hyperpigmentation. And this moisture mask makes skin hydrated and soft (it’s the one she uses herself).

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
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Moisturize
If you want one of my best insider tips that doesn’t cost much, get a hydrating spray (like this one here). Spray all over your face, and while skin is still damp, add any moisturizers, serums, and oils to your face. If you’re on the lookout for some killer moisturizing products, look for things that have antioxidants and vitamin C in them.

Make sure you take your time when applying products, massaging them into your skin, ensuring full absorption. I also recommend dropping your expensive department-store skin-care brands and shopping in the natural-food and beauty markets for skin care. You’ll get much better products for your money. (Whole Foods is good for this, but if you don’t have one nearby, try Pharmaca online.)