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Bridal Beauty: Should I Have a Facial for My Wedding Day?

Short answer: yes. Longer answer: yes, yes, YES! But you need to know a few important things before you book your appointment.
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Juanita Koo_should I have a facial before my wedding day?

Lovely bridal client Juanita Koo and her new husband.

I don't care what any dermatologist or beauty expert (other than me) tells you: if you're wondering whether you should bother with a facial before your wedding day, the answer is yes. In fact, it's yes, yes, YES! But you need to know a few important things before you book your appointment.

what did you do??

Forgive me if you've heard this story before: Years ago when I started doing makeup, I'd just begun a bride's foundation application and with the first stroke of sponge against skin (this was before foundation brushes!) knew instantly that something was different. The makeup trial had been a couple of weeks earlier, and had gone well. The bride -- let's call her Sarah -- had good skin, even-toned, unblemished. But today, on her wedding day, her skin felt different, as the makeup literally glided on and practically blended itself.

"What did you do??" I demanded.

"I had a facial last week," Sarah answered. And since Sarah, I tell everyone: a facial is a must pre- any special occasion you want your makeup to look like extra-special you, not cosmetics just sitting on your skin. I couldn't stop staring at Sarah after we finished. Her makeup just looked like a genetically blessed her.

when to have a facial

If you've never had a facial before, have one right away so you know how your skin will react. Get recommendations from friends, from your favourite blogs, from magazine beauty-editor blogs, from makeup artists. I tell clients to find a salon that carries Dermalogica; estheticians who work with that line have excellent extra training, and the line is really good, too.

The ideal finish is skin that feels cool to the touch and looks smooth, dewy and evenly coloured -- no red blotches. If you have sensitive skin, you may have some redness, but it should fade quickly.

If you're happy with your results, then schedule another one with the same facialist for no less than the week before the Big Day. I usually suggest a refresher facial without extractions to avoid risk of redness or breakouts.

types of facials to consider

No matter what anyone tells you, traditional spa facials are great for making skin a better makeup canvas. They're all about buffing away dry patches and hydrating skin so it's soft and smooth. That's what you want so your makeup looks like you, not paint.

Some people like microdermabrasion -- make sure you go to a place that does them properly. Once I did not, and I'm still kvetching about it, although I've been kind in not identifying the salon/spa that did it. Just note: after your appointment, your skin should be no more than a bit pink, and that pinkness should fade within about half an hour.

Light chemical peels or laser treatments are other considerations; again you want to make sure you leave your appointment with glowing, even-toned happy skin, without any redness.

And then there's the Intraceutical Oxygen Facial, which leaves skin looking positively radiant without any discomfort whatsoever.

where to go for derm-strength facials

If you've never had microdermabrasion, a chemical peel, laser treatment or an Intraceuticals facial but want to try one, hit a dermatologist's office, not a spa. Yes, some spas are good at these kinds of treatments, but many are not, and you just don't want to take that chance.

Why not? At a professional-looking "medispa" in my neighbourhood, a staffer tried a new laser on a co-worker -- the victim's poor face looked like raw meat for weeks. That's BIG damage -- trauma, actually, and can take ages to heal. It also raises the risk of disfigurement.

If you go to a derm office, you know the doctor or the technician has been properly trained, and in the remote event of an oopsie or undesireable reaction, they can handle it on site immediately.

Are you getting married soon? Had you considered, or are you considering a facial?

Image courtesy of Juanita Koo, Sweet Things; photography by