The Bride's Guide to Beauty Treatments

From hair extensions to teeth whitening to microdermabrasion and more, learn about the most common beauty procedures.

Every bride wants to look (and feel) like the most beautiful version of her self on her wedding day, myself included. In order to help make that happen, I knew I had to grow my locks out, consume nutrient-rich foods for glowing skin, and schedule hair and makeup trials well in advance. But beyond those simple beauty commandments, it can be confusing to navigate all of the prettifying options that exist for brides: Do I need to get monthly facials? If I whiten my teeth, just how white could I expect them to become? How should I prep my hair for an updo come September?

The mental image of a couple hundred different gazes locked onto my every move motivated me to get a move-on and establish a beauty countdown plan. So, despite an already humongous to-do list, I made appointments with a few pros, including a dermatologist, “just in case of an emergency.” It turned out to be the best thing I could have done.

I was diagnosed with rosacea — which explained why my skin became red and blotchy after hot showers and exercising — and saw a vast improvement after using a prescribed cream for just two months. In addition, I decided to spring for at-home teeth bleaching trays and couldn't believe how easy they were to use. I felt like a movie star at my bridal shower. With a little guidance, I feel more camera-ready with just about four months to go!

Thinking of splurging on a beauty treatment for your hair, teeth, or skin, too? Read this first so that you know what to expect.

Hair Extensions:

Photo Credit: Shea Anne Portrait

Who they're best for: Everyone! Raphael Reboh, the master stylist and founder of Femme Coiffure Hair Spa in Miami, assured us that they’re weightless and discreet. “You can pull the hair up and back without seeing the bulk of clips or braids — the tape is translucent, so it’s not very noticeable.” He’s styled the tresses of A-listers like Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Lima, and Cameron Diaz.

There’s an array of extension options —  glue, tape, sew-in, braidless, clip-on, natural vs. synthetic — so talk to your hairstylist to determine the best one for your budget and hair type. Reboh uses natural virgin hair extensions at his salon. 

How they work: It takes about one to one-and-a-half hours to get the hair extensions placed in, depending on the length and volume. Reboh says that the process shouldn’t hurt at all, and they won't damage the hair follicles.

When to do it: Two weeks before the wedding. The extensions are applied as close to the root as possible, so after 14 days, the scalp has loosened up. Little maintenance is required of them; if the tape grows downward due to rapid hair growth, they can be reapplied closer to the scalp. 

What to expect: Hair extensions last about four months, depending on how slow or fast your hair grows, and they can be washed and styled daily. After you've gotten them, Reboh recommends that you use sulfate-free products and avoid heavy oils, pomades, or products with alcohol. 

Average cost: A half-head or strategically placed extensions (more length in the front, middle, and/or back of the head) start at $400; a full head can cost up to $1,500. “This is an investment, as you can custom dye the extensions and not ruin your hair’s natural health,” said Reboh.

Photo Credit: Photo Love Photography

Other treatments: Hair glossing is also popular with brides. It makes the hair look really fresh, shiny and healthy, without altering the color. It needs to be done about four to six weeks before the wedding. The process takes 15 minutes and starts at $95.

Hair Tips for Any Bride:

Avoid split ends (“they shouldn’t be invited to the wedding!” said Reboh). Get your hair trimmed as often as needed and book conditioning treatments to ensure healthy locks.

Keep in mind that not every treatment is right for you. Always schedule a consultation and listen to your stylist — they won't steer you wrong on the most important day of your life. "If we advise against something, it’s because we want to maintain the hair’s health.”

The most-requested wedding hairstyle: At Femme Coiffure Hair Spa, natural beach waves with really soft layers are in demand (think: bedroom hair). Want to wear a chignon or high ballerina bun, instead? Avoid a layered cut, which requires more work, product, and stress on the hair.

Next: Find the best teeth whitening treatment for you ►