If you’re in the midst of planning a wedding and want the best skin of your life, now is the time to reassess your skincare regime. And it doesn’t have to mean spending a lot of money or aimlessly trialing a bunch of products. Just ask Sophie McMullan of Beautisserie.
As a makeup artist by trade who specialises in bridal beauty, Sophie regularly works with clients to not only create their perfect bridal beauty look, but also help them see the best results from their skincare. And she’s now offering this 'Bespoke Beauty' service to everyone.
“The idea came from working with brides. Often when I was doing their makeup trial I’d ask them what skincare products they were using. And because I’m working with their skin, plus I use a whole range of products and brands, I’m able to offer personal recommendations, which my clients really love,” explains Sophie. “It’s now grown to a service I offer everyone. Clients can do everything from Whatsapp me questions about the best products to buy, or more often than not, after visiting them at home, I go out and do the shopping for them.”
So what would a beauty industry expert recommend brides do in the lead up to their wedding?
"And if you’re going to invest in one product, make it a serum. You pay for the molecule science and the ingredient delivery quality,” says Sophie.
For more advice, we asked Sophie to share the essential beauty products brides should use in the lead up to the big day.
Without a doubt the most important part of a skincare routine. If you’re not cleaning your skin properly, you’re wasting your money on other skincare products. One of the biggest mistakes people make is being too simple about it. It’s not enough just to wash your face and go. At night especially, you need to perform a double cleanse. First you need to remove your makeup and SPF with a micellar water, and then I would say a cleansing balm is the most effective as it will melt everything away, even deep into the pores and fine lines.
When to use it: at night
The investment option: I love Emma Hardie's Moringa Balm. Not only does it smell like a spa, but it melts away impurities and leaves your skin feeling hydrated. It also comes with a duo layer cloth; one muslin side for exfoliation and the other, a micofibre side for smoothing. It is an investment, but a little goes a long way and so it will last you ages.
Cleansing Balm With Cleansing cloth, £47, Emma Hardie
The affordable option: Clinique's Take The Day Off Balm has zero fragrance so even if you have the most sensitive skin, it’s a really great option.
Take The Day Off Cleansing Balm, £24, Clinque
An Acid Toner/Exfolilator
Exfoliating your skin is important but I don’t believe you should be doing it with a physical exfoliator like a scrub, as this can scratch the skin and cause damage. Especially if you’re sensitive or have skin issues. Acid exfoliating is really popular at the moment because you’re using a liquid to melt away the top layer of your dead skin, impurities and pollution. Plus acids can also tone and balance the ph level of your skin.
When to use it: at night
The investment option: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 is a cult product for a reason. It speeds up your epidermal's natural exfoliating process, promotes skin's cell turnover, regulates sebum secretion and maintains the ph level of the skin's epidermis. There are four options depending on you skin type so I’d recommend visiting a Biologique Recherche expert to get assessed and advised properly.
Biologique Recherche Lotion P50, from £61, Embassy of Beauty
The affordable option: Alessandra Steinherr's new Pollution Solution Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads for Primark. Within the pads are Lactic Acid, Polyhydroxy acid and super ingredient Niacynamide, so they're fantastic bang for your buck.
Alessandra Steinherr Pollution Solution Dual Texture Exfoliating Pads, £5 for 60 pads, Primark
A Vitamin C Serum
Everyone wants that glowing bride-to-be look and the key to this is Vitamin C. When you apply it, it gives you an instant glow, so it’s great for applying in the morning, after you wash your face and before you moisturise. Over time it also brightens the skin, evens out pigmentation and promotes collagen.
A Retinol Serum
A derivative of Vitamin A, retinols exfoliate and renew the surface level of the skin, so they're amazing for improving fine lines, wrinkles, pigmentation, plus blackheads and clogged pores. It is a product you need to be careful with though. If you’ve never used a retinol, start on a low percentage, avoid applying to 'open' and delicate areas such as around the eyes, nose, mouth and neck. When you see it working you’ll notice your dead skin starting to flake a bit, you can get rid of it by gently sloughing it off with a microfibre cloth. After this, your new skin is very exposed so always use a high SPF the following day.
When to use it: at night. How much you use it depends on your skin type, but as a guide most people use it around 3 times a week.
The investment option: Dr Dennis Gross Ferulic + Retinol Wrinkle Recovery Overnight Serum, £88, Space NK
The affordable option: The Ordinary's 1% Retinol is a great option to start on because they’ve 'diluted' it with Squalane.
Retinol 1% in Squalane, £5.80, The Ordinary
SPF is the biggest anti-aging action you can do for your skin, and the latest formulations mean it's getting better and easier to use than the chalky creams of old. I recommend using at least 30 or even 50 SPF daily, because the higher you go, you’re not only protecting yourself from the sun but you’re protecting yourself from any environmental aggressors too.
When to use it: in the morning, after moisturiser
The investment option: Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops are SPF 50 and great because they can be mixed with your moisturiser. It also contains Vitamin E & Beta-Glucan providing further protection & cell regeneration.
Dr Barbara Sturm Sun Drops, £105, Cult Beauty
The affordable option: Heliocare sunscreen SPF50, £18, Amazon]
A moisturiser that does it all
Your skin type will determine what type of moisturiser will work best for you, but if I was to recommend just one though that does it all, it’s Augustinus Bader, The Cream (£205, Cult Beauty). Developed by world-leading stem cell and biomedical scientist, Professor Augustinus Bader, this skin hydrator is a result of his 30 year research into the body's self-healing process. The price is high but it's incredible formula is an investment into your skin that you can use in the morning and at night, that delivers visible results.
The affordable option: Weleda Skin Food has been in my kit for as long as I can remember. It's multi-use and so integral to prepping my client's skin that I'm happy to say they've extended the range. Now available in a 'Light' version as well as a lip balm and body cream. It dreamy scent and organic ingredients cushion the skin with hydration, I just wish they made a bigger tube!
[/b] Weleda Skin Food, £7.95, Weleda
A facial massage
I perform an intensive facial massage on all of my clients prior to applying their makeup. Not only is it incredibly relaxing for them, but it helps to prep the skin by increasing circulation and stimulating collagen. This is something I highly recommend all brides-to-be do at home when applying moisturiser. You can either do it with your hands or invest in a massage tool like Sensse Facial Contour Definer (£39.99, Amazon).
For more product recommendations, contact Sophie for her bespoke beauty service.