Once upon a time, getting ready for a wedding (whether or not it was your own) meant endless salon trips and overpriced beauty treatments. As COVID-19 changed literally everything to do with modern celebrations, it makes sense that the global pandemic would royally f*ck up a bride’s beauty plan. While some salons have reopened, that doesn’t mean all brides have the option to go about the traditional pre-wedding glamming ritual. Whether your finances are all out of whack thanks to lost wages or you’re in a position (whether physically or morally) where you don’t want to risk spreading the virus, you’re probably wondering how tf you can still feel like a plucked, pruned, and polished bride the day of.
As someone who hated leaving her home even before the pandemic hit, I’m here to tell you that it’s totally possible to indulge in some hardcore beauty prep before the big day without ever setting foot outside your door. From teeth whitening to manicures, self-tanners to Botox, you can make all of them happen from home (yes, even the Botox). While it might not seem as glamorous as the prep plan you had back when the world wasn’t a dumpster fire, just think: If you film the process as you get ready, that’s content for TikTok.
Myth: You have to be an influencer-level #girlboss to utilize teeth whitening kits. While they are the bread and butter of sellouts on Instagram, a teeth whitening kit is an easy way to up your look without doing things like exercising or leaving your house. Some kits take a few days while others take 30, so time it out to ensure your best results line up with the big day. A kit like Colgate’s version of those IG LED light whiteners is a great option since it only takes 10 days, you only have to use it for 10 minutes a day, and it doesn’t cause sensitivity like a lot of other products/strips do.
Colgate Optic White At-Home Teeth Whitening Kit
If you’d rather go the most classic route, these Crest Whitestrips have over 15K reviews on Amazon (with a majority of them being positive). Just make sure to use toothpaste for sensitivity during treatment to avoid discomfort if you’re not down for the whole “beauty is pain” thing.
Crest 3D White Professional Effects Whitestrips
If you feel the need to ditch the razor to eliminate any cuts or bumps on the big day (still, as someone who shaved hunched over in the shower, painfully hungover the morning or her wedding, it’s really nbd), waxing a few days before your wedding will ensure you’re stubble-free for your wedding night. For smaller areas (like the lip, fingers, toes, and even brows), simple wax strips will get the job done. Opt for something created for sensitive skin like these strips which are dermatologically tested, hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and cheaper than bottomless brunch.
TOPNaturePlus Hair Removal Wax Strips
If you’re looking to do larger areas like your legs, arms, or your (peace be with you) bikini area, depilatory wax (aka what the salon uses) is the answer. To make things simpler, a hard wax kit that doesn’t involve strips streamlines the process. This kit from Amazon is $35 and works like a charm. Just know that it will take much longer than however long you would spend shaving in the shower, so block out a good chunk of your day if you plan to go from “Corona au naturel” to hairless from the ears down.
Bella Verde Waxing Kit – Home Wax Warmer
Having a ~glow~ is something most brides crave to make the white of their gowns pop. While spray tanning might give you flashbacks to the scene in Bride Wars when Anne Hathaway turns orange, not all of the options out there yield secondary color results. St. Tropez is one of those brands everyone seems to universally love, and for good reason. The products are high-end yet affordable and they don’t turn your skin orange. Snatch up the wildly popular bronzing water mousse which will give you more of a medium glowy tan that’s shockingly easy to apply.
St. Tropez Self Tan Purity Bronzing Water Mousse
While the bronzing water is ideal for anyone wanting a medium tan, there are other options depending on what level of baked you’re looking for. If you want a dark tan, opt for the bronzing mousse, or if you just want an “I hung out at the pool and responsibly applied sunscreen” sun-kissed look, the gradual tinted body lotion will get the job done. Whichever you choose, make sure to use an applicator mitt to avoid telltale streaks and give you even coverage.
Manis & Pedis
Even the most laid-back bride usually opts for a mani and pedi on her wedding day. With plenty of ring shots, having at least polished nails is a simple way to feel put-together on your big day. If you want something quick and simple, swipe a polish on your nails the night before or morning of the big day after a quick shaping sesh with a file. Sally Hansen Insta-dri is great if you want a rich color and are notorious for smudging your mani. While it doesn’t actually dry instantly, it does dry faster than anything else out there (just keep your coats thin). Just make sure to use a top coat, obvi.
Insta-Dri Sally Hansen Finger Nail Polish
If you want a thicker, more salon-quality mani (and have the time/patience to do something more than a few swipes of traditional polish), consider getting a powder dip kit. While it will def help to watch a few YouTube videos before you accidentally spill blush-colored powder all over your bathroom, the results are just as good as a $50 mani after a bit of practice.
Acrylic Dip Powder Nail Color Kit
oVertone Golden Brown Healthy Color Duo
While home hair coloring is a gamble, there’s a way to get rich hues without going to a salon or drying your hair out with box dyes. oVertone offers a variety of shades from traditional colors like brown, black, and ginger to vibrant ones like pink and blue. The semi-permanent dyes are great if you want to add some warmth or depth without the commitment or damage of a permanent dye. Try out a few options in the months leading up to your big day to figure out what feels right. If you’re looking for just a subtle change, the color conditioners add some richness without a full-blown color change.
Deep Hair Conditioning
Deep conditioning to hydrate your ends and eliminate frizz is Beauty Prep 101. While most people have their tried-and-true deep conditioner selections, now’s the time to up your game because uh, even if there’s a global pandemic, it’s still your wedding, dammit. And by God, you deserve to feel pampered AF. First, grab a deep conditioner or hair mask to soak into your follicles and soften all of your “I can’t f*cking believe I had to postpone my wedding twice” damage.
It’s a 10 Haircare Miracle Hair Mask
From the end-all-be-all line that makes your hair looks like you haven’t been swimming in split ends for months, It’s a 10 Miracle Hair Mask is under $30 yet still more high-end than the old bottle of Suave in the corner of the shower. After rinsing, spray some It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In product on your damp hair and get yourself married with silky, “she didn’t just live through a pandemic, did she?”-worthy locks. Oh, and in a few days when your hair feels brittle and dull after drinking champagne and eating cake for an entire weekend, repeat the process and thank me later.
Whether or not you plan to rock a wedding day tan, having smooth, sleek, hydrated skin will not only photograph better, but it will also give you a glow no matter your skin tone. In the days leading up to your wedding, lather on some hardcore moisturizer to glisten the day-of. CeraVe’s famous Moisturizing Cream is dermatologist-approved, gentle on skin conditions and your wallet, and wins tons of awards year after year.
SOL DE JANEIRO Brazilian Bum Bum Cream
If you want something a little less “everyday” and a little more special, Sol de Janeiro’s Brazilian Bum Bum Cream combines a blend of cupuaçu butter, antioxidant-rich açaí, and coconut oil which wakens dry, dull skin. Oh, and it smells like a tropical vacation, which will 100% up the exotic vibes day-of, even if you’re getting married in your backyard.
Whether you have baby-thin hair that tangles in the slightest breeze, decided to give yourself a DIY cut during quarantine and lost more inches than you care to admit, or you just dream of rocking mermaid locks for your wedding photos, extensions are the key to getting those hair-envy wedding looks. If you’re forgoing a professional stylist and plan to do your own hair, however, selecting extensions that are easy to utilize by yourself is key. If you plan on wearing your hair down, Hidden Crown extensions are by far the simplest solution out there (and great for half-up half-down styles). Instead of clips or tape (which are tricky to perfect on your own, no matter how many YouTube vids your watch), Hidden Crowns are full crowns of hair that are secured with a piece of wire kind of like a headband. This means the chances of you throwing it across the room in frustration are greatly reduced.
If you’re looking for something even simpler and plan to wear your hair in either an elegant pony, some sort of bun or updo, or get all boho with some braids, the Insert Name Here ponies are quite literally the simplest hair accessory I’ve ever used. You put your natural hair in a bun or ponytail, and then you just wrap the velcro of the pony extension around your elastic. It takes five minutes and gives enviable results. Add some Baby’s Breath or clips for an additional elegant pop.
No, I am not advising some back-alley at-home Botox injectables. If you’re looking for neck wrinkles and crows feet solutions for your bridal portraits and don’t feel like that’s a valid reason to leave your home and go to the doc for a non-essential visit (RESPECT), you can still have that “I’ve never squinted at my computer screen for 12 hours straight” wrinkle-free look. Firming creams and serums are literally everywhere, so don’t be afraid to test out products to see what works (bc wtf else are you going to do right now?). If you want a famous celeb-endorsed option, The Athena 7 Minute Lift cream is one of those products you’ll probably try once and then buy for the rest of your life. It’s all-natural, plant-based, and smooths out lines on the face, neck, and décolleté. Yes, it’s pricey, but it’s cheaper and less invasive than actual injectables, so it could be a solution for your wrinkles even after the world opens back up for good.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you prep for your wedding. 2020 is a whole new era of nuptials, so when it comes to prepping, do what makes you feel best. Whether that’s an entire home pampering day or just rolling out of bed and saying your “I dos” in your pajamas, as long as it’s with the person you love (and as long as you throw a kick-ass party when Corona is over), you’ll still make plenty of people jealous. And at the end of the day, isn’t that the point of weddings in the first place?
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Images: Elena Taranenko on Unsplash; Giphy; Amazon; Sephora; Ulta; oVertone; Alex Gaboury / YouTube; Hidden Crown Hair; 7 Minute Lift
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