a woman applying skincare

The Splurge and Save Guide To Wedding Skincare

We wrote The Splurge and Save Guide to Wedding Skincare to help you create a customized plan and gorgeous skin, no matter what your budget.
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If you’re not already a skincare obsessive, you might be worried that the wedding skincare process is intensive and expensive. Look at how celebrities prepare for red carpets; are you also supposed to get regular facials, treatments, the works?

Well don't worry: we wrote this wedding skincare guide for you. Plus -- you'll need the little moments of self-care a great wedding skincare routine can provide. 

Whether you've created a line item in your budget for wedding skincare, or you've neglected to factor it in, this guide is for you. We wrote The Splurge and Save Guide to Wedding Skincare to help you create a customized plan and gorgeous skin, no matter what your budget.

A mix-and-match wedding skincare plan

The splurge method for wedding skincare, while being the most expensive, is also the easiest: make an appointment with a dermatologist, an esthetician, and a medspa and do whatever they tell you to do--buy the products the recommend, try the treatments they recommend, and work with them to design a perfectly tailored and custom wedding skincare routine.

If you have dollar signs in your eyes, don't worry: we're going to focus primarily on another approach: one that fully embraces at-home wedding skincare, with splurge and save recommendations so you can combine high-low products to design your perfect wedding skincare routine.

Wedding Skincare Timeline


Book an appointment with an expert

You may not be able to utilize expert advice throughout the entire wedding process, but if you can, try to at the beginning of your planning to start your wedding skincare on the right foot. 

Splurge: Book a facial and speak to your esthetician about your skin type, areas of opportunity, and product recommendations. Use their wedding skincare guidance at Sephora and the drugstore.

Save: Book an appointment with a dermatologist to get an assessment of your skin. Refuse the upsells and prescription suggestions and pay only the co-pay.

Establish a good wedding skincare routine

The key to beautiful skin on your wedding day is going to be consistency. If you've never been a ~skincare girlie~, now is the time to get into good habits so that your skin is well taken care of! 

At a minimum, we recommend cleansing, toning and moisturizing twice a day, every day. On this base you can layer in exfoliating, serums, creams, masks, etc. Your priority should be to build a routine you'll actually do, so simple is always better (and cheaper!).

Splurge: Create a morning and evening routine for everyday, and a more intensive weekly routine, and use products specifically formulated for each time of day.

Save: Create a simple, no frills routine you can do morning and night. Get products that will work for both day and night use, and throw in anything else as a treat, not a rule.


No new products

In the six weeks leading up to your wedding, you want to minimize risk -- the last thing you want is to breakout, or have any adverse reaction. At this point, your wedding skincare should be all about no frills, doing what works, and leaving the rest.

Splurge: Book another facial or a treatment that will exfoliate or remove dead layers of skin, like a peel.

Save: Skimp on your more expensive products -- use smaller portions so you can stretch them longer and lessen any harsh effects.


Go on a skincare diet

Remove any harsh products from your routine. Retinols, exfoliants, high potency serums should be put away and your priority should be gentle, hydrating care. 

Most importantly, reducing stress and increasing sleep will be the key ingredients to your wedding skincare this week. Prioritize your rest, and it will show in your glow!

Splurge: Book a gentle, hydrating facial to help you relax and prep your skin for the big day.

Save: Create a strict sleeping and self-care schedule that all others must abide. After all, it's for the bride!

The Basics: Toning, Cleansing and Moisturizing

In designing a suggested wedding skincare routine, we like a simple 3 step system will ensure that you are caring for your skin consistently.


A gentle cleanser for morning and night

To keep it simple, look for a cleanser that will do double duty: skin prep in the morning and makeup removal/sleep prep in the evening.

Splurge: Pai Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil, $49; Tatcha Skin-Softening Cleanser, $38

Save: CereVe Hydrating Cream to Foam Cleanser, $13; La Roche Posay Toleriane Hydrating Gentle Cleanser, $16


A targeted toner for morning and night

The right toner for you should be focused on your skin needs. Do you need something soothing for irritation or redness? Something exfoliating to save you a step in your wedding skincare routine?

Splurge: Paula's Choice Pore-Reducing Toner, $23; Biossance Squalane + Hyaluronic Toning Mist, $32

Save: Pixi Glow Tonic, $16; Rosewater Toner, $13


A hydrating moisturizer light enough for day & strong enough for night

If there's one word we want you to keep in your mind throughout your wedding skincare, it's hydration. Drench your skin to keep it soft, plump and glowy.

Splurge: Tatcha Water Cream, $69; Dieux Instant Angel $45

Save: Neutrogena Hydro Boost, $20; Weleda Skin Food $18

Adding on: Exfoliating, Serums and Masks

If you want to kick your wedding skincare up a notch, you're going to want to regularly exfoliate, and introduce some additional active ingredients that will hydrate your skin and make you glow.


A chemical exfoliant with potent active ingredients

A good exfoliant is an essential part of wedding skincare. We recommend reaching for a chemical exfoliant with active ingredients. You'll want to use an exfoliant after cleansing and toning, and tone after, before hydrating with serums and moisturizer.

Splurge: Sunday Riley Good Genes, $85; Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Exfoliator, $64

Save: Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant, $13; The Ordinary Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2% Exfoliating Serum, $8


Targeted serums safe enough to layer

Serums can be a vital part of wedding skincare because they deliver concentrated doses of vitamins and nutrients directly to the skin. We recommend using a serum right after exfoliating and before moisturizing, as this will provide maximum hydration for your skin all day long. 

In general you can't go wrong with hyaluronic acid and niacinamide, and there are some powerful serum combos that deliver all you need in one or two pumps.

Splurge: Dieux Skin Deliverance, $69; SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic $148

Save: The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $11.70; The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 $13.50; Paula's Choice CALM Repairing System, $39


Ultra hydrating sheet and clay masks for spa-quality skin

Use a mask as a last step before moisturizing on you weekly wedding skincare routine days. Masks are also a much-needed dose of self-care, and pair perfectly with some wine and a bath.

Splurge: Then I Met You Rose Resurfacing Facial Mask, $56; Summer Fridays Jet Lag Mask $49

Save: Yes to Cooling Jelly Mask, $14; Aztec Secret Indian Healing Clay, $15

All about Treatments

Treatments can include lots of splurge-worthy professional treatments, like the occasional facial, or dermaplaning, or laser resurfacing, but we'll save those for another article. Instead, let's focus in on a few treatments you can add to your at-home wedding skincare routine.


No-prescription needed superpowered multi-tasker

If you're in the skincare-o-sphere, you've probably heard a lot of people talk about retinols, and for good reason. Retinol can help fade dark spots, reduce acne, and reverse signs of aging, like fine lines and sun damage. 

Retinols are often in night creams or serums, so they can take the place of another product in your wedding skincare routine. 

Splurge: Charlotte Tillbury Magic Night Cream, $145; Peter Thomas Roth Retinol Fusion PM Night Serum, $65

Save: The Inkey List Retinol Anti-Aging Serum, $11; Glossier Universal Pro-Retinol, $35


Invisible UV protection light enough for everyday

While this is listed in the treatment section, sunscreen is less of a treatment and more of a requirement for healthy, glowing wedding skincare.You may have the best success using moisturizers and makeup with built in SPF protection, and that can help with your budget, too.

Splurge: ILIA Vitamin C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40, $64; Dr. Brandt Liquid Sun Shield Daily Brightening Mineral Sunscreen SPF 50, $65

Save: Black Girl Sunscreen SPF 30, $19; Supergoop! Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40 $36

At home facials

Tools for a more professional experience at home

There are so many tools these days to help you achieve your wedding skincare goals at home.

Splurge: Dr. Dennis Gross DRx SpectraLite FaceWare Pro LED Light Therapy Mask, $395; PMD Personal Microderm Elite Pro, $299; NuFACE Mini+, $245

Save: Skin Scrubber, $20; Facial Steamer, $39; Gua Sha, $13; Ice Roller, $14

Your wedding skincare routine

Once you have the products figured out, now it comes to the actual wedding skincare routine. 






Sunscreen + makeup


Remove makeup



Exfoliate (skip every other day)



Once a week, swap your evening routine with an at-home facial: