About a month into planning the wedding, I made the definitive decision to do my own hair and make-up. I partially hated the idea of giving up hours in the middle of that precious day to a formal appointment with strangers when I could spend that time with Adam and my family/closest friends instead.. and I also was frankly still traumatized by having my hair/make-up done at previous weddings and feeling so overly “done” that I didn’t even recognize myself in photos afterwards. I wanted to look back on the moments from that day and – even if I didn’t look totally glam or filtered to perfection – feel like I saw an accurate reflection of myself. In seeing the early photos, I’m so happy I stuck with that decision.

That being said – I did want to make an investment in both my skincare leading up to that day and also properly stock my make-up bag – for admittedly the first time in my adult life. I’ve tried a lot of new products in the last three months but below are the ones that I found to be truly fool proof (this coming from a 30-something woman who had to google “at what step do you put concealer on?”) and have been singing the praises of ever since. I will absolutely be restocking all of the below when they run empty.

1. Elemis Resurfacing Pads*: My face never feels better at night then when I’ve washed it and used one of these resurfacing pads. They are like a toner plus light exfoliant all in one so my skin feels truly clean and smooth afterwards. I can’t say it’s these for sure but I swear I don’t think I’ve had a single break-out since I’ve started using them a few times a week.

2. Saie Dew Blush in Poppy: A soft foamy applicator and a bright, coral color (a little goes a long way) that made me feel like an actual *blushing bride* for the daytime hours. I wear now whenever I feel like I want a brighter, livelier splash of color on my cheeks.

3. Charlotte Tilbury Lipstick in Wedding Belles: I wanted a simple, soft pink/neutral lip color for daytime for the wedding and this aptly named one was perfect. I started with a matching lipliner and then added a touch of gloss too and it felt fresh and not too heavy. I’ve been wearing the same combo often since then. Not just for wedding days my friends!

4. John Frieda Lightening Shampoo*: Purple shampoo can be hit or miss for me, but I love this brightening shampoo for keeping my blonde super light and cool in tone without being a heavy, staining purple and also actually feels like it nicely cleans my hair. Plus – I like that I can pick it easily at my local drugstore.

5. YSL Lash Clash Extreme Mascara: I’ve been routinely using the Merit Mascara for about a year now (the one decent thing previously in my makeup bag) and it’s fantastic for a really clean long lash for daytime. But I wanted a little extra volume and oomf for the wedding evening reception. I saw @stillintribeca share this on Instagram Stories and, since she has impeccable taste, figured I’d give it a try. I loooove it. Really glam big lashes but not overly clumpy or fake looking. It’s my official date night go-to now.

6. Anastasia Beverly Hills Precision Brow Pencil in Taupe: I have a fear of too dark brows with my light hair.. but also have more delicate eyebrows that need a little something extra or else my whole face feels lost. It’s a tricky balance. I’d heard good things about this brand and am so glad I finally tried it because the soft pencil end gives a smooth color and then the brush end fluffs things up – all resulting in a natural but fuller looking brow. Bingo.

7. Elemis Superfood Midnight Facial*: This nighttime face cream has the most delicious, plump smooth texture to it that magically seems to transfer to your skin’s texture overnight. Plus a subtle watermelon-y scent that seems like it would be too fruity or sweet but is mys Again – I can’t say for sure – but I think it’s helped to reduce some fine lines and at the very least makes my skin feel hydrated, softer and smoother.

8. Merit Highlighter in Cava: I swear this is like instant good lighting. Like you’re just come in out of the sun and are slightly glistening. I add to my brow bones, top of cheek bones and lightly on the tip of my nose. It’s fool proof though.

9. Jones Road Miracle Balm in Flushed*: As Taylor Swift sings “I don’t like anticipating my face in a red flush”.. but in this case I very much do like it. Flushed is the exact right word for how this lightly dewy balm looks on my cheeks, nose and lips. It’s buildable and lightweight and just feels.. good. It’s price tag is higher but the pot of this stuff is huge so I imagine it’s going to last me a long time.

10. Merit Concealer in Camel: A new MVP in my make-up bag! I’ve always been a little bit afraid of concealer because I thought it would look caked on or not be a good skin match.. it turns out when you find the right product that doesn’t happen. This battles sun spots, dark circles, redness, etc. like a true champ and never looks creased or cake-y.

11. Urban Decay Naked Heat Eyeshadow Palette: I love the range of neutral to rosy/warm colors in this palette (they all feel soft and romantic) and the color really stays. I tend to go with just a single neutral for day and then layer more shades for evenings out.

12. Lumineux Whitening Strips: I was skeptical when I saw influencers talking about these teeth whitening strips on Instagram, but I wanted to try something before all of the wedding photos.. and I wouldn’t lie to you – I found these to work really well! I love that they’re non-toxic and good for sensitive teeth (I can’t do Crest White Strips) – I have a few “bright spots” on my teeth directly after use, but I do them at night and by the morning they’re gone and my teeth have a nice even color. I’ve been doing 1-2x per week and truly my teeth are noticeably brighter! I’m going to keep up with them.

13. Living Proof Dry Shampoo: I’ve been searching for a new dry shampoo for what has felt like years. I heard Jen Shoop of The Fashion Magpie rave about these and, again as someone who I think have great taste, she didn’t steer me wrong. The formula is lightweight, the smell is lovely without being overpowering and it gives me an honest to god fresh blow-out look on second day hair. Consider it an auto buy.


*Indicates items generously gifted by the brand, but as always – I only share what I truly love!