While your wedding day hairstyle and make-up are probably at the forefront of your mind, having perfect nails should not be an afterthought, because there’s only so much a pre-wedding polish can do. No one wants to be lifting a chipped, red raw finger when it comes to the exchange of rings
Ideally, you’ll be looking after your hands, nails and cuticles for weeks, if not months before your wedding (the nail plate can take six months to grow from root to tips), the polish just being the final ‘lick of paint’ to finish the look.
- If you’ve committed nail no-no’s like over-cutting (or cutting at all, according to some experts) or other sins, you’ll want to allow longer to prep. If you’re a nail-biter, consider having acrylic or gel nails for a couple of months in advance, to allow your nails to heal, and whatever you choose for the big day will be far more photogenic.
- For normal nails that just need a tidy-up, 1 or 2 manicures before the big day.
- Hydrate! The quality of your wedding day manicure (how good it looks and how long the polish lasts) depends no the quality of your hands and nails before you get painting. If cracked, ridged or dehydrated, chipped nails will be as inevitable on your wedding day as the groomsmen’s questionable dance-floor moves. Apply hand creams and nail/cuticle oils in the lead up to the big day, as often as you remember. I like this Essie Many Many Mani Intensive Hand Lotion. If you have particularly dry hands, a masque will work wonders, and Butter London Nail Nosh Strengthening Serum is delicious for cuticles while boosting nail growth.
- Apply cuticle oil every night before bed to give your nails on overnight nourishing treat.
- Always keep nails protected with a polish or at the very least a nail hardener or strengthener. If you have weak nails, a few weeks’ use of Lauren B. Beauty’s Nail Serum is perfect to fix weak, thin and brittle nails (splurge) or Seche Plus Fortified Strengthener (save).
- If you’re wanting something other than a simple polish, head to an expert – my expert is Heather Vette – or else you risk having a messy mani. Earlier this year I reviewed Jamberry, but I didn’t seem to have the skills to pull it off/it’s not as easy as it looks. Honestly, though, I’d steer away from anything other than simple – nail art dates, and wedding photos are forever. If you must, a light ombre or little sparkle will do (or have nail art on your toes!)
- Gel nails are the easiest way to ensure you’re chip-free on the day, but if you’re over budget in every other way, of course you can give yourself a tidy home-manicure, or have all the bridal party help each other out. Of course, if you’re wearing peep-toes or heading off for a jandal-clad honeymoon, you’ll also be wanting a pretty pedicure, which you might as well do yourself.
- First, soak your finger or toes, use a foot file on your hard skin, exfoliate your whole body including cuticles and then gently push back cuticles with a towel. Apply body moisturiser all over hands and feet. Now just wipe over nails with nail polish remover and apply your base coat, polish and top coat.
Celebrity nail-artist Deborah Lippmann makes a great base coat (and 79 shades of polish to choose from…)
- Take care of the bridesmaids too, set aside an evening (preferably the night before the wedding day) and have a polish party with your ‘maids. It’s fun to match the colour scheme, but if you want to keep everyone happy, the a classic French or modern nude or pink.
- Colour-wise: soft pink has always been the most popular shade for brides, however, the colour of the bride’s dress, shoes, flowers and make-up influence the nail shade choice. Cool tones and colours should be reflected in the polish selection. If you’re holding red roses in your bouquet, you might even want to have red nails.
- If you’re going for the classic, pretty pastels for the chapel… (of course you don’t have to be chapel-bound to appreciate these shades, the new Essie Bridal collection of six new colours is very pretty, and I have a feeling you’ll be very very happy to win them, which is exactly what you could do if you enter your email address below!