Don’t Let This Happen To You – Common Grooming Mistakes

It is common knowledge  that everyone wants to look good for their wedding and that good grooming is  a must. While grooming typically refers to bathroom activities such as  cleaning and styling the hair, getting body, face or groin hair removal and getting nails done, some people become so over-obsessed with grooming that they go a bit too far. How could taking too much care of yourself possibly be a bad thing?

Mistake #1)Mother of the Groom – November 2000. Weeks before her son’s wedding my friend wanted to look her best so she began tanning (tanning bed) and planned a quick trip to Florida to add some sun to the tanning bed color of her skin. My friend also thought this would be a good time to rejuvenate her skin a little and invested in some light Botox treatments. Sounds okay, right? Actually, she came to her son’s wedding unrecognizable. Her dark brown skin was extremely puffy, blotchy and there were spots of mis-shapen skin around her eyes.  There was no solution, there was no way to disguise her awkward appearance and this is still the only thing I remember of her son’s wedding to this day. The problem: too many different treatments too close to the wedding. To avoid this:  decide which is more important – tan or wrinkles!

Mistake #2) Groom – July 2005. About six weeks before the wedding, the groom decided to thin out his eyebrows a little. He figured this would be enough time to decide whether or not this was right for him and also be able to return to the salon before the wedding for a touch-up. The initial visit went great, his eyebrows were thinner and looked more controlled but not too severe. A week before the wedding, he went for his touch up and came out looking like Joan Crawford. Again, there is no solution since you cannot re-grow hair in one week. The problem: he went to a different stylist who was not familiar with what he wanted and went too far. To avoid this: always see the same stylist and take pictures of what you want to look like. Leave nothing to the imagination. This can happen to women, too! Remember  whether you are shaving, plucking, tweezing or threading, it will take a month to re-grow to their natural state. Of course everyone is different and it could take longer or never grow back at all. 

Mistake #3) Bride – October 2008. The bride  decided to go for a salon makeover just days before the wedding.  Unbeknownst to her, she had very sensitive skin and for whatever reason the products did not agree with her. She came home looking great and loved the makeup but, the next day when she awoke she was puffy, red and completely covered in bumps. With only two days to calm her skin down, the solution included a trip to a dermatologist and a prescription. The problem: trying out new cosmetics only days before your wedding. To avoid this: never do anything new to your hair or skin or nails within two weeks of your wedding. If you are going to try new skin care products or makeup, do it at least a month in advance. All makeup is not created equal and the price is not always the problem.  Plan early and have a makeup trial as far in advance as possible.

Mistake #4) Bridesmaid – July 2010. Not wanting to look pale and pasty on her BF’s big day, a well-intended bridesmaid decided at the last minute (literally hours before the wedding) do do a little self tanning. She sprayed self tanner all over her chest and face and arms and then immediately dressed and prepared  for the wedding. She was streaky, orange, smelled of product and (according to her) stained the lapel of at least one male guest who hugged her. The only solution in this case is photoshop for the pictures.  The problem: self tanners are messy and hard to apply properly, they have a distinct odor and should never be tried out this close to an event. How to avoid: Don’t bother with self-tanner. Ask any professional photographer and they will tell you that dark tans do not look good in wedding pictures. Self tanners last  about five days and spray tans can  last up to 2 weeks so, if you get the wrong color, it will require some effort to remove it from your skin. Ask the spray tan specialist  for  the best color for you. Specialist is the operative word – ask the manager or owner or another informed consultant at the salon.

To comlpetely avoid any and all grooming diasters, here is the  best advice you will ever hear :

Don’t try anything new less than a month before your event.



Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago

Tan for a Day – Which method works best for you?

Tanning is one of the most controversial topics related to skin care and beauty. Most people believe that they look ‘healthier’ with  sun-kissed skin, and in most cases it is true. However, you will always encounter the types who go a bit far and all you can see is the whites of their eyes.  They are missing a key point here: sun-kissed, not baked to a crisp. That means a light glow on light skin…. even the Bain de Soleil lady is a few shades lighter than she used to be.

There are so many more options now than there used to be. Whether you choose a self tanner, spray tan or a tanning bed is up to you; there are pros and cons to each option. It is best to be forewarned.

Tanning Beds-Tanning beds use UV rays that are up to 100 times stronger than direct sunlight. This is important to remember since some people think that this is ‘safe’ tanning when it is not. If used in moderation and for the right reasons, tanning beds can be safe and effective. Most tanning salons have limits to how long and how often you can tan, you need to follow their rules and do not try to get all your tan in one day, this is dangerous and stupid. Make sure the salon is clean and the beds are completely  cleaned after each use. There is some speculation about how the UV rays affect your vision a nd eye health so you should always, ALWAYS wear goggles.  If you are still not sure about tanning beds, try another option.

Self – Tanner – Everyone I know has at least one really funny self-tanner story and it seems that for every story, there is a new ‘streakless’ product on the market. I have my own self tanner story and it ends with me having to wear gloves on my son’s first day of Kindergarten….. in August. Experts recommend practicing on your legs and also starting out with a light shade and layering it. DO NOT try to self tan for the first time the night before your wedding. This is a recipe for disaster. Fortunately many of the products now come in a mist form which is much easier to apply than the lotions. In my opinion they are still kind of messy and unreliable.

Spray or Airbrush Tan –Probably the fastest and easiest  method of darkening your skin. The spray tan lasts about five days and is basically safe. I only say ‘basically’ because there are 40+ chemicals used in these sprays and only about 11% of them have ever been tested and/or approved by the FDA. Of course there are dozens of products available so you can find one you are comfortable using. The difference between spray and airbrush is that the airbrush tan is applied by hand by a professional and the spray tan is usually done in a booth with nozzles turned on and off in intermittent cycles. 

 ALWAYS exfoliate before any type of tanning treatment.

ALWAYS protect your eyes.

ALWAYS ask questions if you are unsure.

 NEVER use any lotions or perfumes or other products on your skin unless they are recommended by the salon for the type of tanning you are using.

NEVER attempt any new skin procedures less than two weeks  before an event.

AVOID obvious tan lines by keeping your neckline in mind. 
AVOID any type of artificial tanning if you are pregnant.

If you decide you are fine with pale skin, you are not alone, Nicole Kidman and Madonna both  speak out strongly against tanning and many more celebrities are opting for less color. There also is the hope that the lack of pigment in Robert Pattinson’sskin in all of the famous Twilight movies might just prove a new trend… unless I’m wrong – which happens a lot. One fact is true – tanning ages your skin and makes you appear older than you are. Moderation is the key, use it wisely.

-Penny Frulla for Bridal Expo Chicago