• Neonín O'Neill

Wedding Day Flawless Complexion

On Christmas Eve 2012, Tom got down on one (pretty wobbly) knee and asked me to marry him! We chose our date in October the following year and with 10 months to organise, I didn’t have a clue where to start! I had always looked after my skin and had a really good diet but I wish I knew then all I do now about skincare and finding a makeup artist that would reflect my style. So, I thought I would sit down with the award-winning, bespoke, bridal makeup artist Charlotte Joy and put our heads together to come up with a 12 month bridal beauty countdown to ensure your skin glows on your big day and you feel confident and happy!

N: A recent article in Vogue recommended a 12-month bridal beauty countdown. Would you agree?

C: I think you can prepare well within 6 months, but of course a healthy lifestyle 12 months before will reap the beauty benefits too. I would recommend a minimum of 6 months, eating well, drinking plenty of water, less alcohol and sugar and leaving enough time to have any skin treatments and a skincare regime that your skin has time to benefit from.

N: I’m passionate about the role of diet and its effects on skin health so although I’m vegan, I really can’t emphasise enough the evidence supporting a balanced Mediterranean diet and exercise for overall health. How would you describe your bridal makeup style?

C: Modern and bespoke, flawless yet natural!

N: Where were you when I was getting married!! Your bridal portfolio is so beautiful and is so much like the style I love! What do you think are the most important factors in providing a flawless base for makeup application on your big day?

C: Great skin prep!

N: I really feel that is the most important factor too!

C: Makeup is only as good as the skin underneath. You will be able to achieve a long lasting, flawless, glowing base with less need to wear a heavy foundation if your skin is in great condition. Ideally for the perfect base, skin should be hydrated, balanced and exfoliated. I can't stress enough the importance of looking after your skin for makeup to sit well.

With around 12 months to go we would recommend you start thinking about any big changes and to take some time to envision how you want to look and feel like on your big day.

N: I guess this would be the point you should consider committing to a good skincare routine. Starting now means you can consider treating problematic areas like acne scarring, rosacea or adult acne and you can assess what products work best with your skin and tweak your routine so that your skin glows on your magical day. If you want to consider treatments like anti wrinkle injections or fillers for profile enhancement, then I’d recommend you make an appointment with a qualified and skilled practitioner for assessment. I thought I’d go through my skincare routine which has changed the texture of my skin so much and helped reduce pore size also, which was quite problematic for me.

N: The most effective skincare routine, for me, includes:

Cleansers :

My daily skin care routine starts in the shower with a cleanser. I use a combination of AHA’s/BHA’s to exfoliate and decongest the skin. A good antioxidant serum is also a must. In the evening, I do a first cleanse with a gentle cleanser to remove my makeup. A second cleanse with a face wash to thoroughly cleanse the skin follows and it varies depending on my skin needs. I take time massaging it into my skin of the face and neck. I tend to go for an AHA/BHA exfoliating cleanser if my skin is congested or I’ve lots of skin comedones (little white bumps). A simple, gentle daily cleanser will suffice if everything is under control.


AHA (glycolic and lactic), BHA (salicylic) and vitamin C are important for decongestion, skin brightening and fine line reduction. Prescription strength retinols are also hugely beneficial if the skin is particularly congested or there are lots of comedones. Application of a moisturiser which is light on the skin is a must.


I apply a SPF daily, without fail, with both UVA and UVB protection prior to putting on my makeup. I spend the majority of my day at a computer and there’s increasing association of skin damage with prolonged screen usage.

Add on’s:

Once weekly I do a superficial peel to brighten my skin and target blemishes or congestion. Once a month, I have a deeper chemical peel to remove dead skin cells as well as anti-ageing benefits.


Vitamins C & E work together and are powerful antioxidants. Vitamin D is vital during the winter months. Vitamin A deficiency can lead to abnormalities such as pigmentation, sun damage and ageing. Finally, omegas for the high fatty acid content which can help repair the skin barrier and improve texture. I use a fantastic brand called Cytoplan which offer a mainstream and organic line also.

N: Now is the time you need to start researching makeup artists who reflect your style. My sister-in-law did my makeup for me and I went for a very simple look as my dress was quite understated too. How far in advance do you recommend booking with a makeup artist? Is looking at their portfolio on social media enough to get an idea of their makeup style?

C: I would recommend booking an artist as soon as you have booked your date if their books are open! Popular artists get booked up very quickly. These days, I do think social media is a great way to see makeup artist's work, they should have a range of looks and not the same look for everyone so you know you will be getting a service tailored to you. If you want a really natural look and there are no natural looks on someone's page or vice versa then it is unlikely they will be the right artist for you. It is worth taking the time to read reviews, and ideally a professional artist will have a website too which will help explain more about them and their experience.

N: Normally at 6 months to go you’ll have found your dress and have an idea of the look you’d like to achieve. Does it make it easier if the bride can come along to the trial with a similar colour top to their dress to see how their makeup looks against it?

C: Absolutely! I also recommend coming with a similar colour top and not wearing a high neckline. This way I can colour match accurately and see what tones suit the individual to complement the dress too. Having pictures of your dress handy, along with decor style, hairstyles etc help me get to know your style and what makeup would suit it too.

N: I was so disorganised now when I look back and left everything to the last minute! Tom had an excel spreadsheet for everything and was definitely the more organised of us both! You can tell he’s a Plastic Surgeon! For those brides who would like to do their own makeup on their wedding day, do you think they should consider taking a class or attend a workshop like those you offer and bring along the make-up products they intend on using?

C: It can be really useful to do this! I would say this would be better to do if your preferred artist is unavailable than to choose someone else for the sake of it. You will get the chance to ask plenty of questions and with the right lesson, feel confident enough on the day with the right products and an uncomplicated look which will suit you but still be flawless!

N: I think I probably went for a heavier foundation than I needed and didn’t allow my skin to shine through like I wish it did. What are your go to makeup products that allow the skin to glow through but give good coverage and no flashback?

C: I really love the Becca cosmetics skin love hydra-mist. A water based to start the makeup application to add hydration and refresh the skin which smells like cucumber! The product can also be used over makeup through the day to keep skin looking fresh and glowy!

I love glowy skin and also love the Laura Mercier radiance primer. Used on high points of the face with a sheer foundation over the top leaves skin looking naturally glowy and youthful.

To set makeup I also use Laura Mercier translucent powder. The powder is finely milled and you only need a small amount to set the makeup without making skin look dull or dry.

N: There really is no need for a heavy layer that masks the skin. The skin should do all the talking with a glowy makeup look to compliment it!

At about 3 months to go, I felt things were starting to get a bit stressful! I think this is a good time to double down on your self-care routine, focusing on eating well, exercising, drinking plenty of water and making sure you’re getting enough sleep. I am such a big advocate for exercise as part of your weekly routine, whether it be going to the gym, pilates, or even just a walk. Carving out the little bit of time for self-care is so important! I love listening to an endless list of podcasts (Tom rolls his eyes!) but it is that little half hour to hour of me time! Alternatively, I go to the gym and it has become ingrained in my weekly practice of self-care now!

A follow up appointment with your Aesthetic Practitioner now will give you lots of time to have any anti-wrinkle injections or facial contouring to allow for any swelling to resolve. I had some anti-wrinkle injections prior to our wedding and I also bleached my teeth in the run up to the wedding, one of the perks of being a dentist as well!

Sarah Chapman, the go-to facialist of the Duchess of Sussex recommends allowing a minimum of 3 months for regular facials, having a treatment every four weeks. This is also the time to commit to a definite skincare routine and stock up on favourite products to minimise the chances of your skin reacting close to your big day.

With about 1 month to go, there’s that amazing mixture of total excitement and the odd little nerve thrown in for good measure! At this point I would consider a session of microneedling which will increase collagen production and provide you with more plumped, youthful skin. Repair can take up to 7 days so be mindful of that. I wouldn’t change any products at this point either, in case your skin reacts badly.

N: Would this be the perfect time for brow lamination or LVL lashes?

C: Yes, fresh brow and lashes can make a huge difference to how you feel and keep things polished but natural. If you are opting to wear false lashes on the wedding day, I would avoid LVL...opt for one or the other as lashes can be very difficult to apply and look good if someone has a lash lift. Lash lift without lashes is a beautiful alternative to opening up the eyes if you don't want to wear false lashes though.

N: I had lashes for the first time, for my wedding and I did love the look. Now I go to Charlotte for my brow lamination ( 8 weekly lamination with normally a little top up for tint and waxing in between). It really does help define my face but looks so natural too.

C: Brow lamination will help keep brows uniform and in place through the day and helps minimise the need for much brow makeup too, again leaving a more natural look.

N: My last recommendation would be to book in for your last facial and ensure you have enough of the beauty products you need for your big day with a few back-ups on standby!

Neonín O’Neill is a director of NüForm Medical Aesthetics based in The Vale of Glamorgan.

Charlotte Joy is a multi-award winning, bespoke makeup artist in South Wales specialising in bridal makeup.

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