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  • Writer's pictureLauren O MUA

Special Occasion skin prep - in a snap!

If makeup is an art then your skin is your canvas - and the best way to make sure your makeup applies flawlessly and stays that way is to give yourself the best canvas to work on.

A brand-new skincare routine or skincare overhaul will take time to put into action, so I would always recommend getting skincare advice to tailor your routine at least 8 weeks before your big day, but whether you've had the time to give yourself a skin makeover, or you're looking for the best prep you can in a short amount of time these simple steps in the 7-14 days before your big event can help make a difference to your day!


The main thing that will affect how your makeup looks on your skin is your skin texture. Whilst skincare prep and priming can help keep oil at bay for the day, or add a cosmetic glow to dull skin, it can be very hard to stop skin texture showing through. Dehydrated skin, dry, rough or flakey areas might not even be obvious when the skin is naked, but can show through your foundation and lead to the skin 'grabbing' product, making it look uneven or 'clumpy'. Dehydrated skin can also tend to look a little more flat or lifeless - particularly in winter - and be more prone to congestion.

Dehydration is also one of the most common skincare complaints that I see, even when people aren't aware of it, as there are so many factors that can cut the water from your skin. Excess sun exposure in the summer to cold winter winds, air conditioning, central heating, harsh skincare products, lack of water in your diet.. there are so many reasons for your skin to lack the water it needs, and it can affect every skin type, whether you are dry, oily, sensitive or a mixture.

I'd always recommend talking to your makeup artist or visiting a skincare professional for a more personalised routine and product recommendations, particularly if you have specific skincare concerns you'd like to address. But whilst there's no such thing as a miracle fix, this 2 week routine is a fairly universal option that will help pretty much every skin type in the run up to your big event, by concentrating on two keys actions - exfoliation and rehydration. As with everything I use, all the product recommendations included are cruelty free!

Daily Do's

Check your cleanser - if your skin feels dry, tight, or itchy after you cleanse then you're using a product that is too intense for your skin. If your cleansing routine is drying out your skin you're already putting yourself on the back foot and will have to work even harder to get your hydration levels up. Avoid face wipes and harsh cleansers and look at investing in a more gentle product. Try out the Revolution Skincare Ceramides Hydrating Cleanser, E.L.F. Holy Hydration Cleansing Balm, or Beauty Bay Prebiotic + Avocado Oil Cleansing Jelly

Add a hydrating moisturiser into your daily routine - a light, water based texture will help rehydrate your skin and is easily absorbed. A few personal favourites are Revolution x Sali Hughes Gel Quench moisturiser or the E.L.F. Holy Hydration! face cream. If you already have a moisturiser that you love, or if you skin is particularly dehydrated, up the ante by applying a serum beforehand such as the SkinHit Hydrating Serum by Beauty Bay or Revolution Skincare 2% Hyaluronic Acid Hydrating Serum.

Pick Your Exfoliator

It's a very cheesy analogy but one of my favourites: if you're trying to water a plant in a pot, no matter how much water you put on it, if there's a layer of dead leaves lying on top of the soil absorbing the water, the plant won't get the benefit. Most skin types will benefit from exfoliation to help decongest the skin, remove dead skin cells and improve skin turnover, but the type your choose and how regularly you do it will depend on your skin type.

Daily Use

For sensitive skin or a first time exfoliator, pick a gentle daily option such as an exfoliating toner. It's the easiest way to add it into your routine for a beginner, and still a great option even if you add in a stronger exfoliator into your routine on a weekly or twice-weekly basis. Fan favourites are a glycolic acid toner - for sensitive skin or a new user pick a 2.5% version like the Revolution Skincare version, or if you've used glycolic products before try the Acid Trip 5% toner from Beauty Bay. If you don't get on with glycolic acid look for more gentle variations such as natural fruit enzymes, or lactic acids.

2-3 Times A Week

If you're more prone to breakouts, blocked pores and congested skin, using a stronger exfoliator every few days will help improve your skin texture and give your skin a better chance to absorb your serums and moisturisers. One of my favourites is the Revolution Skincare Charcoal Powder as you just mix a small amount with either water or your usual cleanser. It's a gentle scrub that will both exfoliate and detox the skin - you don't want anything that feels too rough on the skin, a mild friction is all you need.

Last Minute Super Boost

In the last few days before your event, or if you've got a last minute do and need a quick fix, bring out the big guns! Whilst I wouldn't recommend using a product you haven't tested before only a few days before your big day, now is the time to use a slightly stronger exfoliation and hydration combo to give you the freshest, softest skin.

2-3 days before: Several brands do treatments that are designed to quickly exfoliate the top surface of the skin using a combination of AHA and BHA acids - these are once-a-week only products and you should always follow the instructions (including a patch test if you have sensitive skin) but personal favourites are the Revolution Multi Acid Peeling solution (they do a moderate or an intense version) or the Beauty Bay Peeling Solution Drops. If this feels like too much for you, go for a brightening or energising face mask that will have similar ingredients on a more gentle scale, for a quick fix.

Avoid any masks or treatments that use words such as 'detox' or 'clarifying' as these can often be used to help bring out blemishes - great when you have a few weeks to go and want to clear your skin, but not something you want to aim for with only a couple of days to go!

The day before: exfoliate your skin and then treat yourself to a hydration boost with a hydrating mask or overnight treatment.

The morning of: use your gentle cleanser to remove any residue from the night before and ensure your skin is clean for your makeup appointment. If your appointment is early in the day and your artist is applying skincare you can probably skip your moisturiser or serum to avoid layering too many products, but for a later appointment make sure you put your skincare on to keep your skin hydrated until it's time to get ready!

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