Let’s be honest: In your lifetime, how nice have you really been to your hair?
If you’re anything like me, you’ve put your hair through the ringer. I’m talking…
…the ultra-hot flat iron that fried my ends (and sometimes, my skin!)
…the copious amounts of gel (L.A. Looks, anyone?)
… the pounds of bleach that I let my mom/sister/best friend/neighbor apply because I was too cheap to go to a salon (or better yet – that my stylist advised against because of the damage it would do to my hair, but I just HAD to be a platinum blonde that summer)
… and the list goes on.
Then one day, you wind up engaged. And now you realize it’s you – and your hair’s – time to shine!
These days, there’s countless images online for bride-to-bes to peruse on their mission to achieve THE LOOK.
Online you'll find incredible hairdos like this:
And suddenly, the thought strikes you.
“Can my hair ever look that good?”
Girl, we’ve all been there.
The good news is: Yes, your hair is capable of looking FANTASTIC on your big day.
The bad news is: It takes time, patience, and a little reality check.
Your hair is the material I get to work my magic with. The quality of that material depends largely on how you treat your hair before the big day.
Here’s 5 things your stylist wants you to do ahead of time so they can give you the look you’re longing for:
1. START EARLY
I advise clients to always treat their hair right, but sometimes life gets the best of us. No matter what condition your locks are in, the ideal time to start some serious prepping and pampering is 6 months to a year before your wedding day. If you’re already out of that time frame, then simply: the sooner, the better.
Your hair health takes time to improve, just as other aspects of your health does. You wouldn’t expect your body to show results after a week of dieting; you shouldn’t expect it from your hair, either.
2. TRIM, TRIM, TRIM
Everyone knows regular cuts help keep your ends fresh and your style on-point. A cut every 6 weeks is goal; every 8 weeks is realistic. I suggest scheduling multiple appointments with your stylist ahead of time to help stick to a regular cutting schedule.
A cut every 6 to 8 weeks might seem excessive to some, but it’s for the greater good. You don’t want to risk chopping off inches worth of dead ends a month before the wedding – which could affect the style you’ve already set your heart on.
3. GET YOUR HAIR CARE REGIMENT IN ORDER BY INVESTING IN SOME PRODUCT
Deciding on and investing in a hair care regiment is key to killer hair. Your stylist can always recommend what your hair needs most, but here’s some suggestions that will make any hair fab:
Olaplex: An intense conditioning treatment that repairs damaged hair. Perfect for really highlighted and over processed hair, but beneficial for all hair types. You can use it as much as once a week, but even once a month is worth it.
Kenra heat protectant serum: This blow dry serum will make your hair feel like butter. Use it on wet hair before blow drying, or even use a drop on dry hair before curling or flat ironing. I am OBSESSED with this stuff.
Pureology 21 Spray: This is my go-to product. It’s a heat protectant as well as a leave-in conditioner, made especially for color treated hair. The “21” represents the 21 benefits it contains. This is a great product to bring with you to the beach or the pool; simply spritz it in before and after going into the water. It also boasts a UV protectant.
4. BE DILIGENT (and realistic) ABOUT COLOR
Color is as important as style when it comes to deciding on your wedding day look. Make sure your stylist knows what color you’re aiming for as soon as you decide it, as it may take a few processes to get it right.
By the way - two months before your wedding day is NOT the time to decide you want to, say, turn your dyed black hair red. I rarely advise drastic color changes when there’s a wedding on the horizon, but if you’re determined to do so, start the process as soon as possible (refer to Tip #1.)
Which leads me to my final point…
5. USE THE SAME STYLIST
Hair carries some serious baggage. Everything that has been done to your hair in the past (particularly color) affects how a stylist should do your hair in the future. Because of this, it’s best to consult someone who knows your hair history. Personally, I write down EVERYTHING I do to a client’s hair so my work is always on-point.
Isabel and I started her hair prepping process just less than a year before her wedding day. Her wedding day 'do was ON POINT! Hair aside, she and her husband, Joey, are just so freakin' cute.
And besides, going to the same stylist makes the experience much more personal – and fun!
If your regular stylist and your bridal stylist isn’t the same person, it’s best to keep your regular stylist in the loop about what look you’re trying to achieve.
This may all sound like a lot of work – and it is. But it certainly beats spending an entire day in the salon, unsure of what hair you’ll be walking out with, right before your wedding. Getting married is stressful enough – don’t let your hair add to it!
~Sue Natale The Stylist
Sue Natale is a Long Island-based hairstylist and fashionista. Her work experience includes several salons on Long Island, including the world-renown Red Door Salon at the Garden City Hotel. Today, she works as a freelance hairstylist affiliated with Metamorphosis New York. Follow her on Instagram @suenatale_thestylist, or click here to book an appointment or consultation.