Hello folks, Claire here!
So, as Autumn feels like it's officially descended this week (it feels like just yesterday I was walking down the beach in Barbados) I've been finding myself dreaming of balmier climes.
As you might remember, a few months back, I took part in the Bridal Blogathon. A pretty awesome trip to the Caribbean with Elite Island Resorts and Kuoni, testing out honeymoons and checking out what destination weddings in Barbados and Antigua have to offer (yep, it was a pretty sweet gig!).
But while I was standing on a breezy beach, with the sun on my face, and humidity doing it's job on my hair, I did get to thinking…
How can brides and grooms prepare in advance, and on the day, to ensure they still look their glowing gorgeous selves for their wedding (rather than the patchy-skinned/frizzy-haired person I often turn into on holidays!).
So, as always, if we don't have the answers, we consult the pros… Destination wedding hair and skincare gurus in fact!
The Hair: Ten Tips for a Gorgeous Destination ‘Do
We all know hot weather can wreak havoc on our hair, from dulling our dye jobs to turning wavy tresses into full-on frizz, and when it comes to a destination wedding, it's more important than ever for your holiday hair to play ball.
So, we spoke to amazing Anna Baker, Senior Stylist at Errol Douglas Salon, in Knightsbridge (and am-ay-zing place to get your hair done in London FYI!) about how to prep, protect and style your hair for honeymoons and destination weddings.
1. Fight Frizz Before You Fly
Book in salon for a ‘conditioning’ cut & blow dry the week before you fly. This will focus on tidying up dry and wispy ends in your style that can become a frizz magnet.
Invest in great quality products that hydrate hair to fight frizz, the Kerastase Oleo Relax range has a great variety for fine to thick hair textures.
I’d advise the incredible smoothing Nano Keratin Treatment offered at the Errol Douglas Salon.
Book one week prior to flying, Keratin Complex Blow Dry works by infusing your hair with keratin, smoothing out unwanted frizz and coarseness leaving hair silky and easy to both blow dry with a brush or air dry naturally in the sunshine.
2. Products To Pack
Most salon product ranges stock travel size minis ideal for taking away. Moisture-based shampoos and conditioners are an essential to combat the heat.
Add a foundation styling product like a smoothing balm, Kerastase Nectar Thermique is incredible for hydration and makes hair quick and easy to blow dry.
A mini hairspray like the travel size Moroccan Oil Medium Hold Hairspray will help you to create different hair styles that will last all day.
3. Pump Up The Volume
Fine limp hair can always struggle in hot climates, particularly as hot scalps can diffuse even the slightest fullness.
Go for a volumising mousse like Kerasatase Mousse Bouffant, this strong hold product is more reliable to stand up against heat and retain fullness in your style.
4. Tame Afro Tresses
Leave-in moisturising products are superb for easy control of afro hair, like Affirm Leave In Conditioner. It’s helps to retain hairs suppleness and flex for styling with.
Beautiful plaits and braids can look stunning and can fuss free to look after so you can spend more time poolside.
5. Trends for the Tropics
Where your wedding destination will be, holds key influence over the range of style trends around.
Soft beachy waves with flower accessories can suit beach weddings so well, whilst city destination brides can enjoy high polished glamour with sophisticated hair ups with clean finishes.
I always tend to look to bridal catwalks, all fashion week shows and red carpet events to inspire me on future trends that can be adapted and personalised to my individual bride’s look.
6. Hot Weather Hairstyling
If you commit to good hair care routine and prep your hair texture with nourishing products, most hairstyles will work well in hot weather.
Short to medium length locks can be worn down with texturizing finishers such as Kerastase Couture Styling Short Mania, a light paste that brings out movement within your hairs shape effortlessly.
7. What To Avoid
In hot weather, work to your hairs natural texture to its best.
Unruly curls may initially look great blow dried straight but if your skin hots up even the smallest beads of sweat will coax out those curls again and make your look messy.
For guaranteed long lasting looks in the heat, aim for updos to keep hair cool and elegant.
8. For Blooming Brides
Fresh flowers can look stunning for sunshine brides.
Speak to your florist to pop extra flower buds in with your chosen wedding bouquet delivery, your hairdresser can then gently push pins into the flower bases and fix in place with ease.
Always add in flowers once all hair products have finished being applied, this ensures sprays etc. won’t wilt on discolour your flower accessories.
9. Your Do & Your Dress
My top tip to destination brides is to work in partnership with your hairdresser and be realistic in what compliments your gown with your hairstyle, they should work together not outdo each other.
For example, should you choose this new season's elegant silk, open backed gowns loose tumbling waves could pair beautifully and not be too hot. Structured heavier detailed gowns might retain your body heat so ultra-cool chic updos will be much more comfortable.
10. Poolside Protection
Sun, sea and poolside fun can dehydrate your hair and dramatically fade your colour.
Pack protective hair care just like sunscreen for your skin. The Kerastase Soleil Range is the best on the market with lightweight conditioning from Lait Richesse that can be applied to washed hair and left to dry naturally, or the water resistant Aqua Seal spritz is ideal if you wish to sleek back you hair into polished ponytail or bun for beach bride beauty.
Schedule an appointment after your holiday to refresh your colour and return its true tone and shine.
The Skin: Ten Tips for Beautiful (Blotch-Free!) Big Day Complexions
Skin can add serious stress to your pre-wedding prep, even at the best of times. Add in long flights, pre-wedding worrying, heat, sun, and lots of lotions, and you have yourself a recipe for break-outs, sun-burn, dry skin, and severe shininess!
We've consulted the team at Ultrasun (whose skincare I used in Barbados and Antiqua, and was so impressed with, especially the Glimmer SPF, which really makes your skin glow!) to give us some of their tips for avoiding common skin mishaps for your destination wedding.
1. Pre-Flight Preparation
Keeping the skin exfoliated and regularly hydrated is a great way to invest in the overall condition of the skin prior to travel. For additional preparation, the Ultrasun Pre-Sun Tan Optimiser has a great following for its moisturising and tan-optimising results.
In essence, it’s skin care for a faster, more intense lasting tan and a beautiful hydrated skin. I recommend applying it daily two weeks prior to travel for perfectly prepped skin.
2. Double Up With a Protective Primer
A good primer with sun protection will certainly help make-up stay in place for longer, again check for UVA and UVB protection (that means not just an SPF).
Pick a product that absorbs quickly, protects and leaves a really good surface on which to apply make up.
Ultrasun Face 30 and Face 50+ both have a cult following as an under-make up primer year round.
We’ve had many say that Ultrasun is for those that don’t like sun cream, because it doesn’t sit on the skin and eliminates usual bug bears around a chalky or greasy finish. It’s been particularly popular with destination brides needing to both protect and apply their big day look over it.
3. Avoid Getting Sun-Cream on your Wedding Outfits
It’s all in the formula: To work, a sun cream needs to be applied properly and it needs to stay put. Ultrasun’s patented liposome technology gives photostabliity – it stays on and stays working, even after repeated water exposure – yes for once all day really means all day!
Regardless of brand chosen, any application in direct sunlight (IE when you’re already on the sun lounger) increases evaporation before it’s had a chance to bond with the skin, reducing its power to protect.
As a rule of thumb, use a teaspoon of sunscreen for each arm, leg, front, back and face (including neck and ears).
4. Calm Pre-Wedding Sunburn, Stat
Stay out of the sun to support the skin’s recovery and select calming products. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, a key part of the skin’s recovery tool kit.
Ultrasun specifically address post-sun exposure and this year launched a first in facial skin repair too: Ultrasun Overnight Summer Skin Recovery Mask gives facial skin the extra hydration it needs after increased sun exposure. It’s a targeted deep treatment overnight.
5. In-flight Beauty Regime
Hydrate the skin frequently in flight, particularly from the inside out with water.
Our customers tell us that their secret weapon is the Ultralip – they use it on the lips (of course!) AND because of its sensitive formula, around the eye area too.
It’s turned into an in-flight handbag essential!
6. Banish the Break-Outs
Remember it may be a holiday for you, but it is your skin's most traumatic time!
We’re back to formula – look for one that’s light and has really hardworking proven absorption qualities. Try to avoid fragrance, preservatives and oils as these can upset sensitive skins especially when you are exposing to UV rays and your skin has enough to cope with.
At Ultrasun our we use patented lipsome technology, across the whole range and we’re the only brand to use this in sun protection products.
The product binds with the skin allowing the skin to breathe. This means that the clogging that can cause break-outs is avoided from the get go.
7. Grooms, Don't Forget Your Heads!
For the groom and his party, the no-nonsense Ultrasun Sports Gel SPF 30 transparent gel, is a great option, delivering very high, all day protection with just one application.
The non-greasy, clear liquid is really easy to apply and it’s gentle enough to use on the scalp (ideal for thinning or receding hair)
8. Add Some Sparkle
A special mention for the award-winning Ultrasun Glimmer SPF20 which is especially suitable for the bridal party.
Multitasking tiny golden glimmers (shimmer mica) help to raise sun protection by deflecting the sun’s rays as well as adding a sophisticated subtle glow to the skin, ideal for protecting and highlighting when wearing strapless dresses.
9. Start High
Prepping for the #BridalBlogathon!
Nobody wants to think more than they have to on honeymoon after the excitement and also hectic schedule leading up to and on the wedding day, BUT a few moments to do just this prevents a potentially distracting burn.
The biggest mistake, caught up in the moment, is not starting with a high enough protection factor (UVB rays – SPF measured) and not checking that the product you’ve chosen has a high UVA filter (ageing and cell changing rays). Check both carefully.
We recommend starting with a higher factor and perhaps lowering the factor the second week of a two week honeymoon, especially if you’re off to an exotic location that your skin is not used to.
10. Don't Be Reckless
Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
High protection isn't a licence to bake: Using high sun protection factors can encourage holidaymakers to increase their time in the sun, ironically risking over exposure and thus burning anyway.
The level of protection used should focus on skin type and time recommended in the sun with it.
You’ll still get a tan with a high protection sun cream – it’ll be slower with less risk and guess what? – it’ll last longer!
So many awesome tips. It's great to get product recommendations that really work, especially for destination weddings (you really need to be prepared for everything!)
So if our expert advice has inspired you to plan your own tropical elopement or destination wedding, check out the past Bridal Blogathon posts for more tips and ideas.
I took part in the Bridal Blogathon with some other fabulous wedding bloggers, read more about the idea behind it here, follow all our musings on Twitter and check out how the others got on too, by following Kelly at Boho Weddings, Claire at Bloved, and Sonia at Want The Wedding for more on their Caribbean adventures.
Need post-wedding getaway ideas? Check out our Honeymoon A-Z.
Disclaimer – I was invited to take part in the Bridal Blogathon by Elite Island Resorts & Kuoni but, as always, all opinions are my own and Elizabeth and I will only ever share products and services on Bridal Musings that we love and that we think our readers will find helpful and/or inspiring too.