A Bride's Guide to Looking and Feeling Her Most Beautiful

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Wedding season is gearing up, and brides everywhere have but one thing on their minds: looking and feeling good on one of the most special days of their lives.

Actually, that's a huge lie. Brides have 8,659 other things on their minds, from the weather forecast, to the bridal party outfits, to the playlist you’ll be moving to. Every detail of the wedding runs through the bride's mind at one moment or another, so it's really a wonder that she has any time to take care of herself!

To help take the pressure off of seriously overwhelmed brides, I've pared down my favorite pre-wedding beauty pointers (all available in detail to brides who take part in a Beauty Is Wellness coaching program) for looking and feeling your absolute best on your wedding day—or at any big event. These tips are the foundation of glowing skin, an energetic body, your healthiest weight, and minimal stress as your wedding day approaches.

Here's the Eat Pretty approach to looking and feeling your best as you walk down the aisle:

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

A moment from My 2011 Wedding

1. See sugar for what it is. On your special day, no doubt you're going to celebrate with wedding cake, a plate of petit fours, a slice of homemade pie, or your favorite celebratory sweet. But in the weeks and months before your wedding, sugary foods are tied with stress as the #1 saboteur for brides. Refined sugar contributes to unwanted pounds, makes you more prone to acne, fine lines, dryness, and uneven skin tone, plus it takes you on a hormonal roller-coaster (as if you weren't experiencing enough drama as you plan your perfect wedding day!). If your wedding day goals include clearer skin or shedding extra pounds, cut out sugar as much as you can (try skipping it completely for 10 to 14 days to reset your cravings, if you have them), and find some healthier ways to deal with stress than sweet treats— think dinner with a friend, meditation, sweating in a sauna, or a long soak at the end of the day.

2. Make friends with ferments. Okay, not right before you say your vows, but in the weeks and months before your big day! Sauerkraut—along with other fermented foods like kefir, brined pickles, kimchi, and miso— contains beneficial probiotic bacteria that help amp up the digestion and absorption of beauty nutrients that happens in your gut after you eat. There are several times more probiotic bacteria in fermented foods than there are in store-bought capsules, so try eating your way to better gut health with a few forkfuls of fermented foods each day. Cultivate a healthy population of bacteria and you'll not only boost your immunity and moods and help out your skin, hair and nails, you'll stop bloating and gas (which is a great thing to avoid on your wedding day) before they start.

3. To slim down, eat. Eating to reach your healthiest weight can sounds counterintuitive, but trust me— it works. Starving or cutting too many calories slows your metabolism and dries up the stream of beauty nutrients that your skin, hair and nails need to glow—and grow. Forget dry salads, rice cakes and meal replacement bars; build your diet around beautifying proteins (think wild-caught salmon, lentils, hemp, raw nuts, sardines, pastured eggs, quinoa, etc.), healthy fats (avocados, raw nuts, coconut oil), and an abundance of fresh, seasonal veggies— and eat a combination of the 3 at each meal for your best blood sugar balance. While you’re at it, aim to eat less of the sugars, gluten-containing grains, dairy, and alcohol that can cause inflammation.

4. Don't fall prey to stress sabotage.  Brides, you know that stress is an inevitable part of wedding planning, so create a plan to shut it down before it takes a toll on your beauty and health. Stress, unchecked, can cause breakouts, weight gain and lackluster skin before your big day, not to mention make the entire experience a lot less joyful. Pick a stress-busting activity that makes you happy—it might be yoga, jogging, meditation, or taking a walk in nature—and practice it regularly. I also love supplements and teas like magnesium, lemon balm, lavender, and even CBD to support calm and relaxation.

5. Plan what you'll eat in the week leading up to your big day. You know that when you get busy, beauty nutrition goes out the window. So don't leave your wedding-week meals to chance. Take control of your meals and plan a grocery list of foods that will make your skin glow, rev up your energy and help you handle stress. Go for an anti-inflammatory menu filled with the foods mentioned in number 3, above. When your wedding day arrives, you'll be looking and feeling gorgeous—and you'll feel great about splurging on all of your favorite indulgences during your celebration.

6. Know that you're going to glow on your wedding day like no other day before! Whether or not science can quantify the radiant glow you get from being truly joyous and in love, it's there. Not only will you see it, but so will your partner, and everyone else in the room. Remember that you are gorgeous, and the happiness of this occasion will only amplify your glow beyond what you can imagine!

Bonus: if you're heading to a sun-filled honeymoon destination, you can help prevent UV damage by filling up on sun protective beauty foods that contain lycopene and beta carotene (think watermelon, red peppers, cantaloupe, tomatoes). You'll come home with memories, but leave behind the sun damage.

Tell me: what made you glow on your big day? I'd love to hear your own advice for wedding day beauty!

Would you prefer one-on-one coaching to motivate you to put these tips into action in your life? Contact Jolene to set up a free consultation to decide which Beauty Is Wellness coaching program fits your beauty and health goals.

Sunflower photo: Ivan Cabanas — Bouquet photo: Courtney Apple

Originally published July 2013/Updated April 2019

Glowing Skin Secrets from Hawaii

Hawaii is one of those places that you kind of can't believe is real. The air smells like fresh blossoms, you see rainbows daily, and the only thing more amazing than the ocean waves are the creatures that reside there— from sea turtles to candy-colored tropical fish. So it only makes sense that some of the most beautiful natural skincare products that I've tried in recent years come from the Hawaiian islands. This natural paradise produces a fascinating array of ingredients that make your skin glow, both from the inside and outside, from noni, guava, and kukui nuts to turmeric, macadamia, and pineapple. 

Hawaii and one of its many rainbows, in 2011.

Hawaii and one of its many rainbows, in 2011.

Ahead, I share three incredibly beautiful Hawaiian natural skincare brands, as well as a powerfully skin-nourishing smoothie that reminds me of my own trip there. I've been rotating these products and making the smoothie over and over for the last several weeks, and I can't wait for you to experience them. I hope you get inspired to take a trip, or give your skin a pick-me-up by adding some Hawaiian ingredients to your skincare regimen and your diet. 

Leahlani Skincare

Kauai is known as 'The Garden Isle.' I know this because it was six years ago this week that I honeymooned there. Even back then I was writing about natural beauty, and I looked around for products to bring home during my travels— but came up short. Apparently I didn't look hard enough, because Leah Klasovsky, Holistic esthetician, skincare formulator, and founder of Leahlani Skincare, was at that time already offering her dreamy line at local Kauai farmer's markets.

Fast forward to 2017 (she has since developed a major following for her Mermaid Mask), when I finally got to experience Leahlani. No exaggeration, I opened up my box and was instantly lifted out of a funk I happened to have been in that day and transported to a dreamy place (where I return every time I use one of the Leahlani products). Like Hawaii itself, these products feel almost too good to be real. They smell delicious, dessert-like, and exotic—and they are terrifically effective and a pleasure to use.

I adore the Kalima Coconut Cream Cleansing Powder, which contains a base of dried coconut milk (!) that you rehydrate in your palm, along with powdered antioxidant-rich fruit and flowers like hibiscus, guava, camu camu, and honeysuckle. Tangerine, mandarin, and vanilla essential oils give it a scent that is just, well...beyond. Being powdered, it travels easily. The Meli Glow Illuminating Nectar Mask is another product that makes me weak in the knees; added to its base of organic raw Hawaiian honey and rose clay is a lineup of tropical ingredients that exfoliate, soothe, and bring out your skin's glow. Think organic starfruit, strawberry, and guava, as well as sea buckthorn, avocado, and argan oils. It's my usual raw honey mask, Hawaiian style. Finally, I feel like I'm in Kauai getting a facial every time I apply Leahlani's Bless Beauty Balm, a super-rich, hydrating, + soothing balm of cold-pressed oils and flowers that is excellent in place of a night cream. It smells like two of its ingredients, blue tansy and orchid, and the scent makes me fall asleep happily every time I use it at night.

Testing Leahlani, so soothing visually and in its ingredients.

Testing Leahlani, so soothing visually and in its ingredients.

Honua Skincare

Sleek black bottles protect Honua's potent formulas. 

Sleek black bottles protect Honua's potent formulas. 

Beauty Heroes founder Jeannie Jarnot is herself Hawaiian, and you can feel her passion and love for her home come through in the June Beauty Heroes Discovery box featuring Honua Skincare. (For those of you who don't know Beauty Heroes, it's a monthly subscription box that features one 'hero' product from a natural or organic beauty line— and my favorite mail delivery every month!) The featured, hero product in this box is the Aloha Youth Serum, a super-light serum with a base of organic coconut water, rose hydrosol, and aloe—can't you just imagine how those ingredients float over your skin? The feel is silky, cooling, and lightly moisturizing (with kukui nut, tammany and chia oils)— exactly what my skin wants for summer. So well timed as usual, Beauty Heroes! I've been using this serum first, followed by a few drops of the other product in the box, the Olena Beauty Oil. Olena is Hawaiian for turmeric, which gives you a clue that this oil focuses on reducing inflammation in the skin with fresh, Hawaiian turmeric (this batch was picked and infused only weeks ago), as well as noni and cacao. I tried it on skin irritation even outside my face and saw quicker healing and soothing. Beauty Heroes suggests using traditional Hawaiian lomi massage (a flowing technique with long, sometimes circular strokes) to apply this oil.

You can buy products from this month's Honua Skincare box or subscribe to Beauty Heroes here

Mahalo Skin Care

I first introduced Mahalo Skin Care and its Rare Indigo Beauty Balm in a post last year— you can read all about it here. The 'garden' island of Kauai is also the Hawaiian home of Mahalo Skin Care and its founder Maryna Kracht. Since my initial post, I've spent time using Mahalo's The Petal mask, a hydrating mask with a base of raw and Manuka honeys, as well as rose and white clays, that simultaneously leaves your skin smooth and hydrated, with a little extra glow from increased circulation and moisture. It would be wonderful for acne-prone skin that needs moisture without heaviness. Another Hawaiian treasure!

Honeymoon Glow Smoothies, for two.

Honeymoon Glow Smoothies, for two.

Honeymoon Glow Smoothie

This smoothie gives your skin that honeymoon glow. Healthy fats from coconut and macadamia strengthen your skin's cell membranes and give your body the building blocks for hormone production, while beet supports energy and glowing skin. Maca also lends itself to energy and hormone balance, while fresh pineapple helps maintain a flat belly and give you a sweet boost of energy from fruit.

Serves 1-2

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 small roasted beet
  • Heaping 1/2 cup fresh pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk (I like coconut milk for this smoothie)
  • small handful macadamia nuts (or 4-5 Brazil nuts)
  • 1-2 dates, depending on your desired sweetness
  • 1/2 tsp maca root
  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract (optional) 

DIRECTIONS

Combine all ingredients in a high powered blender and process until smooth. Serve immediately.

Feeling inspired yet? Me too. I can't wait for the next time I'm called back to magical Hawaii; until then, these Hawaiian beauty secrets infuse my regular routine with a dose of tropical delight. 


NOTE: If you purchase a Beauty Heroes subscription, or one of the aforementioned Leahlani products, I will receive a small commission on behalf of these companies that helps to offset the cost of maintaining this site. My honest review and experience with Beauty Heroes and Leahlani was in no way influenced by my affiliate status.