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Book a "trial run" with your hairdresser to try out a few looks. Ideally start about 3 months before. It is often a good idea to have mum or a trusted friend along for a second opinion.
This is your day to shine and look your very best. So don't be tempted, as many brides are, to look so different that they are hardly recognised as they walk down the aisle! Looking your best is all about bringing out your best features and flattering them, which you will hopefully be able to do with some of the tips and information we have included.
Getting your hair right:
Firstly we would like to thank Jacki Wadeson and Pat Dixon, for permission to use excepts from their book, Bridal Hair, published by Macmillan Press. A fabulous source of information for hairdresser and prospective bride alike, it really should be a must in the salon when discussing bridal hair. As we have discovered in compiling this report there are not too many good collections of bridal hair looks to choose from and this is one of them. The tips below are both our own and edited extracts from the book.
When you visit the salon, go prepared to answer all these questions which the hairdresser will want to know in order to make the right decisions about your hair. Don't worry if you have not made the final decision, as a hair consultation may help you make up your mind:
Your Dress Whether it is simple flimsy or full, how this works with your body shape and balances with hair/head-dress.
Neckline Certain necklines work with certain styles or lengths of hair.
Headdress Colour, style/length and weight and how it attaches all need to be discussed.
Fabric colours Hair and skin tones work with certain fabric colours: white, with ash blonde, medium brown or black hair; ivory/oyster, with strawberry, auburn or chestnut hair; gold, with brown chestnut or red; silver with dark blonde, blue-black, ash brown or ash blonde and pastels look best on fair hair.
Timing Day or evening?
Type of Wedding Traditional, modern, medieval or classic theme? Church or civil ceremony?
If you plan to try out several different looks, then taking a camera along is a good idea to help you.
Remember each of them and to be able to show them around for a second opinion.
If you are changing for an evening party, then your hair will need to go with both outfits so make sure this is also taken into consideration.
When booking your whole wedding party in to get their hair done on the day, make sure that the salon manager has it all under control. It is easy for someone not to realise who is in the wedding party and end up leaving them out!
If you want your bridesmaids to have similar hair, discuss a "theme" with your hairdresser rather than just telling them that "they must all have this". What suits one will not suit another and so use themes like 'soft and fresh' or 'sleek and sexy'. That way, each person gets to be themselves.
For your hair to be at its best you should begin a treatment and conditioning program a few months prior to the event. Ask your stylist to recommend the right products for you.
We have mentioned the headdress briefly above but it really is your crowning glory. If you choose one, it should form the focus of all hairstyle considerations. You can have them custom-made to go with the dress but if you do, make sure you have it finished in plenty of time so that you can get at least one trial with it.
Don't rely on the combs or fixings that are already attached as they are often not suitable or are incorrectly fitted for how the rest of your hair will be worn. Your hairdresser will be able to provide you with alternative clips, pins etc., but she will need time to get them.
The weight of the headdress is of great importance for comfort and it's ability to stay put. For example, if you have fine hair a heavy headdress will not stay in place.
Flowers are a popular alternative to a more formal headdress or in combination with a headdress. They can be secured in the hair by threading the stem through the looped end of a hairpin and then using a grip to keep the pin in place. Tiny braids against the scalp to which the stem is stitched is another option if your hair is fine and does not hold a grip well.
Veils work best when the style has some height, hence the popularity of hair-up for a bridal look. A general rule of thumb is that if you have a simple dress then use an elaborate veil. If you have an ornate dress, use a simple veil. You would normally fix them in place over your face and then flip it back. If wearing a tiara as well it should be inserted first.
Veil types include:
Bouffant: this just touches the shoulders and is quite fluffy and informal. Works with shorter hair.
Cathedral: very long, finishing 6 feet or a couple of meters after the train. These look stunning and work with any style of hair.
Church: still long, finishing a foot or half a meter beyond the dress.
Fingertip: ends where your fingers touch your legs. Works with styles that are curled or with ringlets.
Mantilla: a lace trimmed one-layer veil that frames the face. Great with smoother and dressier hairstyles.
Great Tip: To remove creases from a veil, simply hold it taut and use the hot air of a hairdryer to smooth over the surface. Spray starch can also be used with this method but only on modern veils.
Whether the design of the hat is plain or swathed in organza, lace or flowers, it needs a neat hairstyle to balance it. Short hair can be styled behind the ears, whilst longer hair is best slicked back and formed into a neat, smooth bun at the nape of the neck.
Having a make-up trial is just as important as the hair trail, even more so if you are not used to having your make-up done. Book one several weeks in advance so that you can follow any advice on getting your skin into shape prior to the day.
If your face feels like it will crack when you smile or is just plain, then speak up at the trial and get your make-up artist to try a 'more you' look. After all it's a lot easier for them once they work out what you don't like. If, on second application, it still doesn't work for you, find another make-up artist!
You will be given lots of advice but the one that throws most people is the belief that you have to "wear lots of make-up so that you don't look washed out in the photos". "Lots" of make-up seems to mean a heavy foundation. What you do need is a little 'contouring' as in blush, highlighter and definition in the eyes and a light application of powder to prevent shine. If still not happy then remember grooms always seem to look good in wedding shots and they are usually wearing no make-up at all!
A waterproof mascara is a good idea to prevent make-up migration during those teary moments. If you find it dries your lashes, apply a normal mascara first and then the waterproof version on top.
Lipstick is best for photographs in the gloss or shimmery variety rather than matte. With all the kissing that goes on at weddings, a long-lasting colour fast version is also good. Maybe you can remind your girlfriends of this too so that you don't end up with their lipstick all over your own cheeks too.
VirtualHairCare.com is the only place to find out everything you would ever need to know about your hair. From the latest looks and styles and how to maintain them, through to practical stuff like how to get the best out of your next salon visit, what products are best for you and medical conditions of the hair and scalp. For all the latest about hair, check out Virtual HairCare