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Skin care do's and don'ts for brides-to be

The pre-wedding days are the ultimate self pampering days for women. It is THE day! Deep inside we all want the guests to go "wow" in their heads. That bridal glow! During the ceremony you will so badly sing to your man, the Black Eyed Peas lyrics "All eyes on us, they're watching us, they're looking at us."

But let me tell you, you cannot expect your few days pampering to make much striking differences. Ofcourse even a few days of caring can make you feel nice but preparations must start way earlier for the better.

NOTE: What I am about to list is my honest personal experiences and that I've witnessed from close kins. I am by no means a professional beauty expert, so go ahead and research further if you feel the need to do so.

1- Face care

Not all of us are born with features that a sculptor carves. But it is not about the little imperfections we want to discuss here.

The bridal glow comes with two things.

> Emotional well being - A happy bride makes a beautiful bride! No matter what you wear or how you have done your hair, the inner joy reflects your ultimate beauty.

>Skin care - That we all ensure to do before the wedding!

So I am going to give my personal tried tips for the latter point.

a) You do not have to go for facials! It is a marketing scheme that drives so many young girls to book appointments for gold facial, diamond facial, and what not coming under "bridal packages". Understand that doing these for a couple of months before your wedding simply clears some money off your pocket. If you are of a very young age (below 26) and if you have no big skin issues like acne for example, all you require is a basic clean up to clear out your pores and remove blackheads and so on. Do that atleast once a month for keeping the skin well maintained. That itself gives you an adequate purification and you also don't end up being fooled. (If you have acne or other skin problems consult your dermatologist before anything)

b) Opt for natural goodness: As much as possible stick to natural, herbal and homemade stuff. The best leave in moisturizer for you face is fresh aloe vera gel. Slice a piece and rub the clear gel onto your face for the rest of the day. It is one of the purest moisturizers, perfect to get the glow. You can even wear make up over it a few seconds later after it has dried. Get an aloe vera plant if you don't have one, it is very low maintenance and is also not too expensive. I will soon be publishing a detailed blog on the best natural facepacks for lovely facial skin.

c) Avoid make-up as much as possible from months before the big day: Most girls these days can't do without make up, you think you look like zombies, but trust me in a week's time you will get used to your natural face and so will everyone else. It does make a difference to the texture of your skin when the chemicals are kept at bay for a couple of months. Let your skin breathe, let it rejuvenate. I personally did not use make up for a whole year except a few couple of times when I had some event to attend.

d) Use a cleanser twice a day: Especially if you do not use make up, you don't need a harsh facewash. A light cleanser will do to keep it oil free and then moisturize after. I highly recommend Cetaphil brand for both moisturizer and cleanser. Aloe vera is an even better moisturizer for day and night.

e) Do not try new experiments: The face has sensitive skin and any negative reaction will be difficult to conceal unlike on other body parts. Unless you are completely sure it is safe, or you have tried it previously, do not opt for any serious treatments such as chemical peeling and so on as it can leave scars on certain skin types which will be very difficult to remove. Even if you want to opt for a laser treatment start sessions atleast 6-12 months prior to the big day.

2- Body skin care

a) Go for regular Moroccan bath (Hamaam al Maghribi): This will be the best investment you can make on your skin. Especially for girls in Arab countries, it is very easily available. Choose a good spa and make sure the technician is Moroccan lady because no one can do it like they do just as how no one can do a Thai massage just like the Thais. It is only after you go for a Moroccan bath will you realise you had so much dirt on your body, no matter how many times a day you scrub yourself with soap under the shower. Literally gets your skin breathing! Make sure you do it once in two weeks and two months before the wedding do it every week. The black soap they use, along with the steam and that loofah scrubbing makes a huge difference in the quality of your skin. Also don't forget to tell her you are soon going to be an "AROOS" (bride) because there are more exotic applications post scrubbing for the bride-to be! It is no wonder the Moroccans have such supple skin!

b) Body scrubs and masks: You can buy these from stores, but make sure you choose good quality ones. I highly recommend the scrubs from Lush, the scrubs from Body Shop made no difference to me at all. Or you could even make them at home. I will be adding that to the facepacks blog soon. Check out more organic brands like Rivage for really good quality body masks, like the mud mask. Also use a good quality loofah, preferably the gloves type for better effect.

c) Moisturize: The Lush body conditioner is an all time must have for lazy girls. You literally finish your moisturing work under the shower. Body butters work better than lotions for hydrating your skin. The best moisturizer in my experience is by Ameliorate that you need to order from their website based in UK. If you find that expensive, body butters from The Body Shop works just as well, choose depending on your skin type. Pure Vitamin E oil is an excellent addition to mix with your body butter for those who suffer from really dry skin. If you are from a culture like mine that has special bridal procedures pre-wedding, such as herbal body masks, oil massages and so on, do it religiously.

d) If available opt sugaring instead of waxing: Sugaring also known as Halawa is a hair removal method very common in the Middle East. Unlike the normal waxing this method does't burn your skin and gives you a silkier finish. Besides the best part is that the hair growth is considerably reduced over time and it helps remove dead skin too. Many girls are able to make their own sugaring mixture at home and can do it themselves. But although this slightly costs more than regular waxing (because it is done using fingers and not with the wax strips, so more effort) the results are worth it. Safe to use for any body parts.

#beauty #bride