The Secret Wedding Beauty Guide

wedding bouquet


At Secret Spa, we have a huge amount of experience preparing brides for their special day, from the run up of beauty treatments to the hair and make-up on the big day.

We want to share with you some of our top tips that we’ve learned to fast-track your way to bridal beauty expertise. Remember, you can always contact our wedding concierge at for answers to any of your questions.



The Trial: 4-5 months before the wedding

Good preparation is key to ensuring your wedding makeup goes to plan. The make-up trial is imperative to ensure that your makeup is perfect on the day. To make the most out of your trial, ensure that you do a full run through of a few beauty looks before deciding on the one you want to go for.

You should mimic the conditions of the wedding as best you can. For instance, book your tan appointment a couple days before your trial so that your makeup artist knows the skin tone and look to work towards. Wearing white will also help the make-up artist to understand your colouring and produce a look which will work with your dress on the day.

Use references of celebrity red carpet looks and wedding magazine shoots, alongside your Pinterest boards, to give your makeup artist a feel for what you want. When seeking inspiration try finding a make up look on somebody with similar colouring and features to yourself. This way you can be sure the look will suit you. Don’t be afraid to ask them to change something – it’s your day and you need to be comfortable with how you look. Make sure to take copious amounts of photos with and without flash, in both natural and unnatural lighting, to check that your makeup is photo-compatible in all situations.

The Base

It is worth spending time getting your base right so that you really feel your best on your wedding day. Make sure to fully hydrate your skin in preparation for a long day of excitement and alcohol. We love using Charlotte Tilbury’s Magic Cream on brides to get a perfectly moisturised base for your foundation to last all day. Foundation type is an important choice for a bride; you should opt for a long-lasting foundation with maximum durability to make sure you’re looking just as good at 11pm as you were during the ceremony. We recommend Estee Lauder Double Wear for a flawless base or MAC Face & Body for a more natural look. Use one of these alongside the Hourglass Ambient Light collection for natural bronzer and powder.

Make sure your artist uses a setting spray such as Urban Decay’s All Nighter to increase longevity and decrease the shine in your pictures. Check that your foundation and base products don’t contain SPF of more than 10 to avoid any white flashback from the camera (powder can also help to avoid this). Remember that the camera will often wash you out, so natural flushes of colour will be beneficial in achieving a lifelike glow in photos.  Another top tip is to check makeup is applied to your ears, neck and any other area of skin on show to create a uniform, natural base all over.

The Eyes

Start with an eyeshadow primer to ensure your makeup lasts all day. Pick timeless, light, neutral colours with a flick of black liner for definition (like Illamasqua’s Liquid Eyeliner). Waterproof mascara is a must have for the bride and congregation due to the emotional nature of weddings. We’re fans of Illamasqua’s Waterproof Raven Masquara which offers smudge free, tear-proof mascara for 12 hours. Alternatively, applying individual lashes will give you a fanned out flutter, more natural than strip lashes.

The Lips

Any lipstick must hold up through the kiss, so applying layer after layer after layer of lip pencil (blotting thoroughly in between) and then a layer of liquid lipstick, both in soft shades, will give you the lasting power you need. Our top pick is Tom Ford’s Lip Color in Pink Dusk, a soft bridal pink which gives natural definition and colour. Some brides even opt for just a lip balm to avoid the hassle of reapplication throughout the day.

The Instant Look In A Palette from Charlotte Tilbury is ideal to carry with you on the day of the ceremony for speedy touch ups, and it includes a huge mirror!


The Choice: 2 months before the wedding

There are so many different styles of lash looks to consider for your wedding. More natural brides will opt for just mascara, while others will want a subtle lift with LVL or a lash tint. Some will go for eyelash extensions for long lasting flutter, while others will want strip lashes which are temporarily applied on your wedding day.

Check out Secret Spa’s definitive guide to lash extensions here to help you make your decision. Make sure to keep oil at bay on your eyelids to help the longevity of your lashes. Use a cotton bud soaked with toner, and an eyelid primer. Try the Urban Decay Primer Potion to ensure your eye shadow stays in place all day and night.

The Prep: 6-8 weeks before the wedding

Whatever lash treatment you go for, make sure to get a trial run of lashes 6-8 weeks before the wedding. Patch tests are also very important to undergo to check against allergies if you are having lash tinting or LVL. Remember to check that the style and feel of your lashes go with your wedding look and are comfortable and durable enough for you to wear on a long day.

The Big Day

If you already have lash extensions, use an oil-free mascara to define from the middle to the ends of the lash, adding volume and darkness without disturbing the lash join. Remember if you are having LVL or any other lash alteration, you need to do this at least 48 hours before your wedding as you can’t get them wet. If you choose to just wear mascara, we love Benefit’s They’re Real lengthening mascara – and it’s oil free.


wedding hair



The Alterations: 6 months before the wedding

Start thinking about how you would like your hair to look at least 6 months before the wedding to allow for growing time. Remember that timeless looks will work best on the big day, so try to avoid going for anything out of the ordinary unless that’s your signature style. If you are going shorter for your wedding, be sure to complete this in stages to ease yourself into shorter hair.

Consult a specific colourist to work their magic in getting you to the colour of your dreams over the course of the months before your wedding. Make sure to colour your hair 2-4 weeks prior to your wedding day so that the colour has had time to settle in, but roots have not grown through. Try to keep up with trims every couple of months – it will leave your hair healthier in the long run, with less split ends.

The Treatments: 6 months before the wedding

Hair masks are your best friend when it comes to getting your hair ship shape for your wedding, so look for products with Keratin and Olaple to enhance shine and strength. We recommend Kérastase Elixir Ultime Mask treatments to restore your hair and make it easier for your stylist to work with. Remember that good hair comes from within, and Vitamin B rich foods will help to beautify your locks. Focus on consuming fish, nuts and eggs and treat yourself to a scalp massage in the shower to encourage hair follicles to grow. If you have opted for the added volume from hair extensions, we love the Hairapeutix masks for restoring them to their former glory if you fancy a little boost.

The Trial: 4-5 months before the wedding

Again, book your Secret Spa hair styling trial around your makeup trial to check that the looks are compatible. We have a whole host of stylists on hand, ready to create the style of your dreams. This could range from soft, tousled Victoria’s Secret curls, to intricate and delicate braided up-dos. If you’re going for an up-do, make sure to leave it in all day and test it thoroughly; dance around the house and see how easily it will fall out. It’s important that your stylist strikes the right balance between hold and the natural flow of hair, so be sparing with the hairspray. At the end, be sure to photograph all sides of the hair to ensure you are perfect from every angle.

The Big Day

If you are having an up-do, don’t wash your hair on the day, make it second day hair so that it holds a style better. Use serums and shine sprays, such as the Moroccan Oil Luminous Spray, to achieve flowing, fairy tale locks.



The Prep: 3 months before the wedding

Keep a hand cream and nail oil on your desk at work to massage in every time you wash your hands to replenish moisture. Make yourself a DIY hand scrub using sugar and oil (re-use your lip scrub) which can be used to slough off dry skin.

The Manicure: 3 days before the wedding

Go for timeless colours which will translate through the years in photos. A soft neutral pink such as CND’s ‘Blush Teddy’ or ‘Nude Knickers’ will complement most bridal looks. For dark or olive skin you can go for a more white colour such as Gelish ‘Tan My Hide’. If you have porcelain skin sheer shades like Essie’s ‘Madmouselle’ are great. Lilac is a colour that works for all skin tones, we love Essie’s SLL. Remember to check that your nail colour matches your bouquet!

Secret Spa can provide you with a luxury manicure to make sure that your hands are in perfect condition to be photographed. You can choose between normal polish and gel polish. The last thing you want to be worrying about on your big day is chipping your nails so we would recommend going for gels. They provide a longer lasting, shinier finish with less chance of chipping.

The Big Day

Your hands will probably get more attention today than ever before so they need to be manicured to perfection. Rub cuticle oil into and around your nail beds to make them shimmer and continuously moisturise your hands so you are always prepared to show off that ring. If you don’t have gels and are worried about chips, carry the polish in your wedding survival kit for emergency touch ups.



The Prep: 6 months before the wedding

All makeup will sit better on perfected skin, so a healthy and hydrated base will always look better in photos. Ensure you up your water intake to at least 2 litres a day for the 6 months before your wedding, and increase your fruit and veg intake for a clearer complexion. Green tea is also great for detoxifying and fighting inflammation, alongside reducing breakouts. Try to avoid too much sun before your wedding to avoid tan lines or burning. Once a week exfoliate lips with a sugar scrub (you can make this at home with sugar and olive oil) to keep them kissably smooth. Layer on thick lip balm overnight to increase their moisture levels.

The Facials: 3 months before the wedding

Facials are a fail safe tool to ensure glowing, red-carpet skin as you walk down the aisle. The key to this technique is to incorporate a facial massage to enhance lymphatic drainage alongside blood circulation in your skin surface. Book one of our experienced professionals for a BEA Skincare Medi-facial which you can rely upon for gorgeous skin. Make sure to start going for facial appointments at least 3 months before the wedding to avoid any skin disturbances. This will also help to gradually exfoliate the surface to leave a smooth base for makeup.

The Routine: 1 month before the wedding

For a month before your wedding do try to avoid trying any new skincare products, eating anything too unusual or going anywhere which may cause breakouts. You want the clearest skin of your life, so control any variables which could cause spots by taking care of your diet and exercise regime. The run up to your wedding is a stressful time, so incorporate some me-time into your routine to help you wind down.

The Big Day

Use a gentle facial exfoliator which you have experience with so you know that it’s compatible with your skin. We love the Pixi Glow Tonic for a skin boost. Remember to steer clear of any unknown treatments close to the big day to reduce the risk of redness or inflammation and to keep a clear complexion.


wedding spray tan



The Trials: 4-5 months before your wedding

Have at least two trial spray tans, aiming for a different shade in each. One should go to a very light natural tan, and the second slightly deeper. Assess how well these colours work when you wear white and see which day after the tan you like the colour best. Often people opt for day two of their tan to give the most natural look however, this completely depends on personal preference. This is also a great day to schedule a makeup trial to help your artist find your perfect foundation colour while planning your makeup look.

The Prep: 2 days before the wedding

A natural and even spray tan comes from good preparation of the skin beforehand. Exfoliation is a tan’s best friend when it comes to providing smooth skin as a base the colour. This also helps to prolong the tan so your tan will stay looking fresh for longer. Check out our full guide for prolonging a spray tan here, for all the vital tips you need to know.

You could throw a spray tanning party for your bridal party a few days before the wedding to de-stress and bronze up at the same time! Secret Spa can tailor a group tanning package towards your party’s needs, at a discount! Remember to do manicures, facials and exfoliation before your final tan as this can affect its colour. Most importantly, always schedule a wax at least 24 hours before a spray tan as the waxing will leave you with open pores which never looks good with a tan!

The Big Day

Don’t worry, the guide colour has been washed off already so there is zero chance of orange marks smudging onto your dress. If you feel you want to intensify your glow even more, rub a little body shimmer over any showing skin to add a healthy sheen. If you need to intensify your tan further, add bronzer or use a waterproof body foundation a few shades darker than your natural colour. We love MAC Face & Body because it sets and won’t transfer onto your dress.

The Aftercare: 1 day after the wedding

Be sure to moisturise after every shower you take and avoid using oil based products as these can affect your tan. Start to gently exfoliate 3 days after your tan so it will begin to fade it out evenly.

The Colour

Wearing white can easily be draining, so ensure your wedding day colour is natural and specific to you. Work with your Secret Spa spray tanner to choose the correct level of tan, while remembering that all tans are more dramatic when wearing white. All our spray tanners use luxury brands, such as Fake Bake and Sienna X to ensure a naturally bronzed look (definitely not orange!).



The Prep: 3 days before the wedding

Make sure to wax at least 3 days before the wedding to allow the skin time to relax and ease any redness which may occur. If you are planning on having a spray tan, make sure it’s done at least a day after your wax. A pro tip is not to drink alcohol before your wax as it tightens the pores and makes hair removal more difficult. Grow your hair out to a quarter inch in length to allow for optimal hair removal. Exfoliate your skin to remove any dead skin cells and allow for an even wax. Keep your skin well moisturised to retain as much water as possible. You can book in with a trusted Secret Spa therapist for all your waxing needs in the comfort of your home.

The Aftercare: 1 day before the wedding

Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water. Gently exfoliate the area after about two days and continue to do this once or twice a week to avoid ingrown hairs.


Just remember

Secret Spa is always here to help you achieve your dream wedding look and draw a tear from every eye in the room. We can create bespoke beauty packages tailored to your personal needs using our expert therapists and makeup artists. Let us take the stress out of wedding beauty by calling us on 02070 960 506 to start planning.

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