Wedding prep can leave you feeling antsy, as the long list of things to do and the pressure to look perfect take over your lives. If you’re in search for ways to calm those frazzled nerves and look your absolute best for your big day, keep in mind these expert-approved pre- wedding rituals—as advised by Dr Kiran Sethi, a Delhi-based skin and wellness doctor and aesthetic, and Dr Chytra Anand, a celebrity dermatologist from Bengaluru.
Nutrition and Health
Opt for infused water
Ensure that you drink plenty of water. Though it would be even better if you switch to water infused with different fruits and vegetables. “I love hibiscus water, cucumber water and pomegranate water. It is advised that you drink at least 10 glasses a day,” says Dr Kiran. Start this cleanse at least three months before the wedding, though six months earlier is advised.
Cucumber, hummus, small portions of fox nuts (makhana) and dry fruits, baked beetroot chips, fruits and guacamole with sourdough are a few delicious guilt-free snacks to consider. Healthy smoothies are also a great option. Try this appetising and truly nourishing one with half an avocado, one apple, half a cup of pomegranate seeds, five to six leaves of spinach, one teaspoon of spirulina powder for protein, milk (optional), water and honey. “Start adding one glass of coconut water a day to your diet as it contains electrolytes that help with intracellular hydration and get glowing skin,” says Dr Chytra. Also go on a juice cleanse once a month to detox the body and skin.
Foods for glowing skin
Citrus fruits are your skin’s best friends. Add oranges, grapefruits and limes to your daily diet. Watermelon, apples, kiwi, berries, pomegranates and bananas make excellent add-ons to your breakfast. Make it a point to include nuts like almonds and walnuts and raw salads (think carrots, cucumber and tomato) to your diet, along with vitamin B and D supplements. Make these additions at least two to three months before your special day for their effects to reflect.
Say no to caffeine
This one’s a tough habit to break but take small yet consistent steps towards lowering your caffeine intake whenever you can. Reducing your caffeine consumption is advised in the days leading up to the wedding. Brides need at least a week to detox, but as it’s a drastic change that can make them miserable, a slow reduction over three months is suggested. One should also avoid caffeine after 4 pm as it is known to dehydrate the body.
Stick to a sustainable diet
Cut out sugar and high glycemic foods and reduce your dairy intake. Bear in mind that sugar and dairy products are stress triggers that can wreak havoc on your hormones and also lead to acne. Eat four times a day—3 meals and a snack. Steer clear of food from 8.30 pm. Cut out alcohol or keep your intake to a minimum. Refrain from going overboard with carbs during the day. It’s also best to avoid whey, casein or milk-based protein powders as they are known to cause acne and hair fall. Take oral antioxidants but do consult your physician first.
Avoid chemical treatments
For a few months before D-Day, say no to blowdrys, wet combing, highlights or keratin treatments. All of these can cause hair fall and breakage. Try gentle oiling with warm coconut oil. Allow your strands to soak it all in for 2 to 12 hours. Do this for your hair at least twice a week. And if you plan to colour your hair, do it at least four weeks before the wedding to be able to nourish your locks after it’s done.
A must-try DIY
Mix avocado, coconut oil and egg in a bowl to create a mask. Apply throughout your scalp and lengths and leave on for 20 to 60 minutes before washing. Make this a weekly cleanse to treat dry, limp and frizzy hair. For a homemade pack, this one does wonders in bringing back lost lustre and softness, especially for hair that’s often heat and chemical-treated. You see visible results within the second use, so try this out at least a month before the wedding.
Time your treatments
Facial glamorisation is common these days. If you plan to undergo procedures like getting fillers or botox, complete these at least six weeks before the wedding. This will give you enough time to recover from any bruises or swelling.
“Consult with a dermatologist or cosmetologist at least six months in advance and let them guide you. Don’t go by Instagram trends, as those are personal, anecdotal bits of information that can cause more harm than good,” warns Dr Chytra.
Go easy on your skin
Use a pH-balanced cleanser in the morning. Soap and scrubs are a big no. A ceramide-based moisturiser is ideal for brides-to-be as it repairs the skin barrier. Avoid routine make-up trials as they can be disastrous for the skin. Sunscreen is non-negotiable. Choose a serum suited to your skin type: hyaluronic acid for dry skin, licorice serums for pigmented skin and those with niacinamide, salicylic acid and retinol for acne-prone skin.
A nightly routine
The skin repairs itself while we sleep, and this is when it needs maximum nourishment. Removing your make-up and cleansing is vital before bedtime. Double cleanse if you use long-wear make-up like mascara and eyeliner. Apply a skin correcting serum but consult your dermat first. Those with dry skin should try hydrating masks. Don’t forget your nutrient supplements. Start this routine at least three to six months beforehand for the best results.
To clean-up or not
No, you do not need clean-ups. But if you are prone to acne, try hydra facials. Peels help younger skin stay acne-free and fight signs of ageing. Other therapies that provide great results are oxygen facials, platelet-rich plasma (PrP) treatment and focused micro needling.
Apply papaya pulp around the eyes once a week to brighten the skin. Cleanse at night with milk twice a week to gently exfoliate and settle skin pH balance. The holy grail of all DIYs is ubtan. The turmeric in it has anti-inflammatory properties; the sandalwood calms; the milk exfoliates; and rose water always soothes. Use as a face mask or body scrub. A mix of sea salt or granular sugar is another recommended body scrub.
Exfoliate the right way
Remember, Indian skin needs five-step exfoliation. 1. Cleanse with micellar water or a gentle cleanser; 2. Use a chemical exfoliate solution (glycolic acid for glow, lactic acid for dryness, hyperpigmentation and spots, salicylic acid for acne); 3. Use facial oils to improve circulation; 4. Apply a dermat-approved serum; 5. Finish it up with a mask.
Get into the habit of monthly facials. You can also try DIY facials at home. And, once in three weeks, rejuvenate your face and body with chemical or enzyme exfoliants for smooth texture and skin tone.
Bleaching your face is harmful for the long run. The hydrogen peroxide in the bleach dehydrates the skin and causes damage. The best alternative to skin brightening is a good AHA, hyaluronic acid or vitamin C mask that helps improve the overall texture and health of your skin.
Cold showers and dry brushing
Swap hot showers for cold and give your body a good dose of dry brushing. These are good ways to shrink pores. Ironically, dry brushing or using a pumice stone helps to reduce the dryness of your skin, smoothens overall texture, and boosts lymphatic drainage. Try to get regular facial massages to improve skin moisture and elasticity and also keep muscles toned. Use cocoa butter, coconut oil or Vaseline for these massages. Petroleum jelly is the holy grail for dry skin (if you’re not acne-prone).
Wellness and Fitness
Mind your sleep
No beauty trick can replace a good night’s sleep. It’s critical to detox the body and mind. While it’s great to stick to the eight hours a night sleep mandate, maintaining a consistent sleeping pattern is equally important. Make it a point to sleep by 11 pm and wake up on time. Following your circadian rhythms will help lower stress. Avoid gadgets an hour before bedtime to ensure deep sleep. It is only during the deeper stages of one’s sleep cycle that the body can heal.
Get routine massages
Start getting body massages with oil once every two weeks. The body oil will nourish the skin, while the massage will boost circulation and detox at the same time. The process helps the mind relax and reduces stress.
Mandatory ‘me time’
Meet your friends, go for a walk, practice yoga, read a book or listen to a podcast, but ensure at least an hour’s worth of ‘me time’ to keep your mind off your to-do list. Also, meditate for at least 10 minutes a day to keep calm and handle stressors. Meditating regularly can help lower cortisol levels.
There are no hard-and-fast rules on picking any particular form of workout. Just be regular! “Perhaps the only rule in exercising is to do what makes you happy—walk, practice yoga, or dance, but do it daily,” advises Dr Kiran. Workout for a minimum of 20 minutes a day to start with and gradually increase it to 45 minutes a day. Five days a week is ideal. Be consistent. Try to incorporate yoga and pranayama into your schedule once or twice a week to up the oxygen flow in your cells. Working out is a fabulous way to release those endorphins, flush out toxins, and regularise the sleep cycle.
This has been translated for the website from a story that was originally published in HELLO! India’s October 2021 issue. Get your hands on the latest issue right here!