Plan to start your beauty routine long before your wedding day.

This story first appeared in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Columbus Weddings, published in June 2018.

To the newly engaged, the days of hair and makeup trials are a long way off. And while beauty goals certainly don’t rank high on the list of immediate priorities, like setting a date and a budget, the savvy bride would do well to start thinking about them early in the planning process.

“We love it when brides come in and say, ‘I just got engaged!’ ” says Dina Maynard, an aesthetician and director of medical aesthetics at The Sullivan Centre. That amount of lead time, she explains, allows a bride to work with her aesthetician to identify goals and develop a plan to achieve them.

“It’s really looking at the skin as an organ and making sure that as a whole, it’s going to be beautiful in your dress,” Maynard says. “Most women … are wearing sleeveless, strapless, open dresses, and we want to make sure that the skin of the face, the neck, the chest, the shoulders and the back all blend beautifully together.”

Brides often opt for a multiservice package that starts with a chemical peel, she explains, which is followed four weeks later by a microneedling treatment. Four weeks after that is an intense pulsed light treatment. Combined, those services reduce acne scarring, fine lines and brown spots—the three main skin concerns for most women, according to Maynard.

Another popular pre-wedding procedure for brides is microblading, the new, semi-permanent brow tattoo technique. Microbladed brows are designed to fade in six months to two years, so you can keep up with evolving brow trends. (Compare, for example, the pencil-thin brows of the ’90s with the fuller styles favored today.)

“What I tend to do for most people is what we call ‘blade and shade,’” says Maynard. “We start out creating the structure of the brow, creating strokes. And then as that heals and we can see how your skin is responding to that pigment, at the following appointment we do shading.” She says clients typically wait four to six weeks between the two appointments, and she recommends that brides come in for their initial consult about six months before the wedding. That gives the skin time to heal after the final shading appointment, which gives a soft, powdery finish to the brow.

Squeamish about the idea of a brow tattoo? Don’t be; Maynard says anyone who can handle tweezing or waxing should be able to get through a blading procedure. “Your first pass is just a little scratchy,” she explains. “Then we’re going to apply a numbing gel, and that reduces the sensation.”

Whether you’re looking for a simple facial or a more intense, months-long regimen, the key is to get an early start on a personalized treatment plan. “The great thing about our office is that we have many options,” says Maynard. “We are not an advocate for a treatment. … We are an advocate for our patients. We want each patient to have a customized directive.”