When To Start Beauty Prep For An Event, According To The Pros

Grab your beauty bible, raise your right hand, and repeat after us: "I solemnly swear to stop torturing myself with beauty treatments the night before a big event." Whether you're getting ready for an upcoming milestone birthday or you RSVP'd "yes" to your friend's destination wedding, getting ready in advance will both cut stress from your life and help you see actual results in time for the big day.

In an effort to organize your prep work, we spoke to everyone from dentists to makeup artists to bring you this five-week game plan. Of course, we're not saying you need to follow it to a T or check off every step. But if you do want to work toward a beauty goal, this will break down when to start what. From using at-home tanning products, such as Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer, far in advance, to booking facials closer to the big day, consider this your go-to schedule for every event on your list.

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
5 Weeks Out: Keep Hair Hydrated

If you think you can plop on a hair mask the night before the big day and wake up to hydrated hair — we hate to break it to you — you're mistaken. If you really want to moisturize and strengthen your hair, it takes time. Hairstylist Rodney Cutler (of Cutler salon) suggests working hair treatments into your daily hair-care routine and being mindful of what shampoo and conditioner you use starting at least a month out." Avoid shampoos with harsh surfactants, and look for sulfate-free, cream-based cleansers," explains Cutler.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
4 Weeks Out: Try Out Lash Extensions

The most important factor to consider with lash extensions is comfort. So if you're a newbie, book your appointment at least four weeks before your event to make sure you can tolerate them. "Eyelashes are not for everybody," says Blink Brow Bar's brow- and lash-extension expert Sabah Feroz. "Come in advance for a patch test to see if you’re allergic to the glue and to get used to having lashes on." If you like the look and feeling of the lashes, go back three days before the event for a touch-up. Upkeep is pretty simple, says Feroz. Use a water-based mascara (or no mascara at all) to prevent the lash glue from breaking down, and tread carefully when washing or exfoliating your face.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
3 Weeks Out: Start Self-Tanning

Tanning is a tricky treatment that needs to be done with care. (No one wants a streaky mistake immortalized in group pics.) We suggest starting an at-home product that builds color over time, like Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer, three weeks before the big event for gradual color that looks natural. This particular product is made for easy application: Simply rub a dime-sized amount onto your arms and a quarter-sized amount onto your legs post-shower, when your skin is still damp. Then, pat dry and you’re ready to go. If you need a fast touch-up the day before your event, use an instant tanning product, like the Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Mousse, which will dry and show color the day of. And to maintain your glow, "Use a pH-balancing body wash and moisturize every day," says tanning expert Kristyn Pradas.
Jergens Natural Glow Wet Skin Moisturizer, $7.99 Buy
Jergens Natural Glow Instant Sun Sunless Tanning Mousse, $10.79 Buy
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
2 Weeks Out: See Your Derm

If radiant skin is what you seek, a chemical peel may be worth the investment. "Getting a chemical peel for micro-exfoliation will improve your overall complexion" by increasing cell turnover and removing dead skin cells, says dermatologist Dennis Gross, MD. Peels also provide you with a fresh, clean canvas free of bacteria, cosmetics, and sebum, so your skin will more easily absorb the active ingredients in your products. Dr. Gross recommends following up your in-office procedure with at-home alpha and beta hydroxy acid peel pads for upkeep. And as with all peels, make sure to use a sunscreen with high SPF to avoid sun spots.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
10 Days Out: Whiten Teeth

When it comes to teeth whitening, you have a few options — veneers, professional bleaching, or at-home whitening strips. Veneers are a more permanent option, lasting anywhere from 10 to 20 years, but they'll cost you a pretty penny. (We're talking thousands.) If you want something more temporary and affordable, professional whitening or at-home strips are the way to go. Professional whitening can give you immediate results for $400 to $650, whereas at-home strips cost between $50 and $200 and will take two to four weeks to show results. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Apa recommends avoiding red wine, espresso, curry — basically anything that will leave a stain — until the day of the event to keep your pearly whites white.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
1 Week Out: Wax Off

Waxing can cause major redness; to avoid looking like a lobster the day of a big event, schedule appointments at least seven days out. "[This] leaves your skin enough time to calm down from any possible irritation or inflammation," says Bliss Spa tech Nandi Wagner. Post-treatment, excessive moisture, sweat, or heat can cause flare-ups, so you might want to skip your spin or hot yoga sesh that day. And to avoid ingrown hairs, wait 48 hours to exfoliate.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
4 Days Out: Book A Facial

A facial is an IRL version of your favorite filter. "Regular facials and proper home maintenance can turn back the hands of time better than you think," says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas. For those who have a big engagement coming up, she recommends getting a microcurrent facial. "You’ll look naturally contoured, brighter, and glowing." As for upkeep, Vargas suggests laying off the exfoliation for a few days and, of course, always wearing sunscreen.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
2 Days Out: Get A Manicure

"Your hands and nails always look their best right after you’ve been to the salon," says celebrity manicurist Miss Pop. If you opt for a gel treatment, just make sure to apply cuticle oil and hand cream daily, as these manis temporarily dehydrate your nails.
Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
The Night Before: Treat Your Lips

Your lips may be the last thing you think about, but they deserve luxe treatments, too. Makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes suggests applying either a lip scrub or a lip mask the night before your event. A scrub will dissolve dead skin, so your lipstick will go on smooth and clump-free, whereas a mask will make your lips look fuller and more plump, says Hughes.