A glowing bride – or groom – might be a cliché but you want to look amazing on the day, right? Not least because the photos will last a lifetime. If you have concerns about your skin or just want to enjoy indulging yourself in the run-up to your wedding, think ahead about your best skin prep.
If you plan to go down the treatment route and you’re doing it for the first time, make sure to do your research and have some trial sessions well in advance so you can see how your skin reacts, assess the results and make any adjustments necessary. Plus, with some procedures a course of treatment can be advisable as the effect is cumulative.
Visitors at the Westgate Centre in Oxford have been keeping Thérapie Clinic busy since it opened in March last year. In addition to an extensive range of non-surgical cosmetic procedures, including laser hair removal, body sculpting, fillers and micro-needling, they also offer HydraFacials which suit every skin type as each appointment (30 or 60 minutes) is tailored to individual need with add-ons to target specific concerns.
I went to try the Deluxe version which, as well as the standard deep cleanse and hydrate, also uses LED light therapy. Be aware, this is a world away from candlelit rooms, gentle music and soothing spa-vibes. While there’s no doubt you’ll leave feeling rejuvenated, the experience is not designed to relax; it’s brisk and business-like. Clinical, you might say.
First up comes a double cleanse to remove every scrap of dirt or residue, even out tone, and boost radiance. This is done by hand and then the HydraFacial Machine is used for the next step; exfoliation, in which a wand with interchangeable heads dispenses a consistent stream of product as it is drawn across your face. It scrapes and sucks as it goes and if this sounds unnerving, I’m sorry. Don’t be alarmed; you’ll feel it as a very mild scratching which isn’t unpleasant, especially if you take the time to reflect on the fact your skin’s natural 28-day turnover is being kickstarted to help enhance your radiance.
Next up comes a chemical peel using 7.5% glycolic acid: enough to pack a punch when it comes to results but not so much that it adds to the downtime of the treatment – you can leave the salon without feeling self-conscious. Again, you’ll probably feel it as a light tingling on the skin and then this step is followed by an extraction to remove blackheads, whiteheads and sebaceous filaments. Yes, if you ask nicely, you can check out the gunk once it is removed.
Once skin is thoroughly prepped, that magic wand is used to pump a peptide-rich formulation deep into the pores. Peptides are teeny proteins that penetrate to plump and soften, stimulating cell regeneration and skin repair while also working to firm and tighten your face. Once mine had been utterly drenched and thoroughly quenched, the final stage was the LED light therapy; either red light to stimulate collagen production or blue which works to minimise inflammation and reduce acne-causing bacteria.
Peptide eye cream and Skin Theory’s Vitamin C Day Cream SPF30 was applied before I left the salon feeling refreshed, lifted and squeaky clean. You may experience the dreaded ‘purge’ the next day as the skin has been prompted to expel impurities (ie you might get a breakout) but the benefits should become apparent after three or four days and the full luminous results could last for up to four weeks.
Seven New Products to Try at Home:
The hugely popular personalised skincare brand Skin + Me have launched a range of morning serums which have been over a year in the making. With three different formulations to tackle fine lines and wrinkles, dark spots and hyperpigmentation, or acne/rosacea-related inflammation, redness and blemishes, the Brighten + Boost serums all protect against daily damage and environmental aggressors. Existing members can add it to their daily routine and non-members can buy online.
£19.99/8 week supply skinandme.com/shop
If you’re intrigued by LED therapy or have tried it in clinic and want to continue treatment at home the BeautyPro LED Wand would be a great first step. This clever device packs five benefits: red and blue LED light treatment, microcurrents to tone and tighten, sonic vibration for more efficient cleansing and thermotherapy which can be used around the eye area to soothe puffiness.
Aesthetic dermatologist Dr Levy is focusing on issues around pigmentation with his latest launch, Pigment Control Drops. Combining red algae, tranexamic acid, niacinamide, and concentrated vitamin C with antioxidant benefits conferred by the alpine plants found around his Swiss laboratory, this powerhouse of ingredients works to safely disrupt the pigmentation process from within the epidermis. Patience is key as it can take up to three months for dark patches to be reduced, although benefits could be visible after three weeks.
If your skin is generally feeling parched and in need of hydration, pick one of Hada Labo’s moisturising creams or gels next time you’re at the pharmacy. The range punches far beyond the price tag and suits most skin types. Straightforward and very effective, due to the generous concentration of Super Hyaluronic (the brand’s own blend of four gentle acids which work together to deliver intense hydration).
One of the gravest skincare misconceptions is that oily, blemish-prone skin doesn’t need hydrating. Without some emollient, those little sebaceous glands get worried about where they are supposed to get their oil from causing them to go into overdrive producing excess sebum to compensate. Think of Bubble’s Overnight Sleep Mask as a light blanket to keep skin cosily balanced, soothed and protected. Use a couple of times a week.
Ren’s latest offering is a two-minute facial in a tube, which uses pomegranate extracts and PHA (gluconic acid) derived from prickly pear. PHA is a gentle, non-stripping acid, suitable for sensitive skin. Pomegranate enzyme from fruit pulp works to break down dead skin cells, pomegranate seed powder particles (an upcycled by-product from the commercial juice industry) buff, and the naturally derived vegan PHA works on refining texture. I’ve been using it two to three times a week in the shower. I massage it on to damp skin, leave it to do its thing for a couple of minutes while I wash my body, then rinse it off and my face is pleasingly baby-soft, ready for the rest of my skincare routine.
£34 renskincare.com from 1 March
Celebrity MUA Monika Blunder has added skincare to her eponymous beauty offering and the Dew Better Face Oil is a deliciously treaty cocktail of botanically sourced oils and extracts. In addition to sweet almond and argan oils, the formula includes Monika’s signature edelweiss and arnica, both of which feature throughout her range. Press a few drops over face and neck and this genius blend absorbs straight into the skin leaving it dewy but never oily so it is ideal to apply just before makeup to maximise the gorgeous glow.