Heading into your wedding day, chances are that you’re making a whole bunch of different preparations. From your wedding venue to your menu, and your decor to your favors, each and every detail of your wedding is meticulously planned out. However, one detail that’s deeply personal is how you’ll choose to look on your big day.
Some brides prefer to be laid back, while others choose to pull out all the stops and really up the glam. Whichever route you choose to go—or maybe you opt for an entirely different vibe—your day-of aesthetic is crucial to pulling your entire event together. Not only do you need your look to match your setting, venue, formality, and season, but it also needs to let you still feel like yourself.
One of the most personal ways to do that is with your hair, which is why ensuring your hair is at its healthiest for your wedding day is essential. From your cut to your color to how you choose to style it, your wedding hair is a very personal choice, and it’s one way to really put your best foot forward for your big day, and all the celebrations leading up to it. To give you all the details about how to improve your hair health before your wedding day, we’ve talked with the professionals to bring you the best secrets in the industry. So, let’s grab our deep conditioner and dive in.
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For most women, their hair is very personal. It helps us express ourselves and feel confident, which are two things that most people want a lot of on their special day. While hair isn’t a make-or-break wedding factor—since the only thing that matters is that you feel beautiful—it’s a fun and easy way to boost your confidence and overall health, plus you’ll reap the benefits for way longer than your wedding day. Taking steps to get your hair celebration ready is one of the best things that you can do when prepping for the big day, and here’s why:
If you’re looking to grow your hair out for your wedding day, paying attention to your hair health is essential, and it’s usually one of the major reasons why brides look to increase the health of their hair. Not only will healthy hair help you grow out your locks, but you’ll have a healthier length that will, in turn, give you many more style options that are doable sans-extensions (which can actually cause more damage).
In addition to hair health promoting growth, it also helps in maintaining your hair’s shine and strength. The longer your strands get without splitting or breaking off, the longer your hair will be, but your hair will also appear thicker and more voluminous. Additionally, chances are that the healthier your hair is, the more lustrous it’ll look. If it’s conditioned and exfoliated long-term, it’ll naturally appear shinier.
Even though it might seem like healthy hair means expensive hair, in the long run, it’s actually not the case. Upfront, it may take a little investment, but whether you have a large hair health budget or are looking to up your hair quality cheaply (and maybe even with ingredients you have at home!), taking the time to nourish your locks can cut back on expensive rejuvenation treatments, products, and even extensions or pricier cuts.
While you can always add length or volume with extensions—and no matter how long or full your hair is, you might need it depending on your style choice—they can be expensive. Not only are extensions sometimes pricey, but depending on the type you choose, they can cause damage to your hair, especially if they’re used long term. That being said, some people want a length or volume that they can’t naturally achieve, and that’s okay! Even if you’re using hair extensions, ensuring both your natural hair and your additional locks are kept healthy will boost your own natural hair’s health, as well as the longevity of your extensions.
Regardless of whether or not you choose to rock extensions on your wedding day, healthier hair will give you more style options to work with. Perhaps you envision a head full of curls, a long, thick ponytail or braid, a chic, glossy pixie cut, or an elaborate updo. Whatever you decide, healthy hair will make your wedding hair vision easier to achieve.
Not only do you want your wedding style to look stunning when it’s completed, but you want it to hold throughout the celebration. Healthy, predictable hair will help you and your stylists know exactly what to do to ensure that your locks stand up through the duration of your day. That’s why working with your stylist early on will ensure that your hair is healthy and temperate to achieve the ideal wedding look. If you go into your trial and wedding day with healthy locks, you reduce the risk of breakage, accessories that don’t hold, and/or faded coloring that doesn’t photograph how you envisioned.
It doesn’t matter whether your hair is down to your waist or buzzed in a sleek and beautiful style—healthy and nourished hair (and scalp) can give you a confidence boost on both the ordinary and the special days. Taking the time to care for your hair is an investment that you’ll be thankful for heading into your wedding day, your honeymoon, and for a lifetime.
Now that you know all the reasons to get your hair in tip-top shape for the wedding, you’re probably wondering how! Here are a few ways to ensure that your hair looks its best and is ready for a day of celebrating:
While you might have a regular stylist for your cuts and colors (or maybe one for each!), when it comes to wedding styling, you need to ensure that the pro you choose is versed in bridal. “It's best to choose a stylist who has experience in wedding hair and styling,” says Bianca Rush, the founder of Sassy Hair Cap. “Your hairstylist should be familiar with working with brides and the itinerary of most wedding days. It's important to bring in a stylist who is quick and can switch your hair from the ceremony to reception, if needed.”
While it might feel a little strange, don’t hesitate to meet with or even have hair trials with a variety of stylists to find the best fit. And once you’re there, Rush says to ask plenty of questions, including how experienced they are in your hair type and the style you’re aiming for, as well as wedding timeline experience and what’s included in their service charge. “It's important to have a clear understanding of what you will be getting when you book them to ensure [that] there are no surprises come your big day.” Once you have a wedding stylist selected, you can—and should—ask for tips and product suggestions to ensure that your hair’s in tip-top shape, since they’ll have a better idea of what’s needed to achieve your look.
Once you have your wedding hairstyle and stylist selected, the next step is to create a plan with your hair care team. Think of everyone as part of your entourage, and combine all of their tips and tricks to determine the exact products and habits that you should utilize ahead of the big day.
Together, you and your hair care team can make up a detailed plan regarding your hair. This includes details such as what products you should and should not use, how often to wash your hair and do deep conditioning treatments, and when you should stop using heat tools, as well as the plan for how you should arrive at your appointment on the morning of your wedding day. Depending on the style, your stylist might prefer your hair to be wet and just washed, dry and just washed, or slightly dirty (since that can sometimes hold the style better). Again, this is what your pros are there for, so ask these questions ahead of time to ensure that you have the best bridal hair on your big day.
Depending on your plan, you’ll have a detailed schedule leading up to the celebration, but here’s a short and sweet guide that should give you a baseline idea of what the care will look like:
The months leading up to your wedding are the time to really buckle down and start using the correct products—including shampoo, conditioner, serums, and masques—based on your hair type. In order to do this, it’s essential that you chat with your hair care team to determine what you need (and don’t need to do). Blondes: This is extra important to avoid dull or brassier hair leading up to the big day.
If you’re making a big hair change for your wedding (such as a drastic cut or color change), you’ll want to do this six to eight months before your celebration, as this gives you plenty of time to not only get used to your new look, but also allow for any changes if it’s not how you envisioned. You’ll then want to just continue patience leading up to the big day with routine cuts and colors to keep your locks healthy and picture-ready.
It’s a good idea to use a clarifying shampoo to remove any buildup and do one to two deep conditionings during the week of your wedding. The night before your wedding—unless told otherwise—wash your hair with a gentle shampoo (that you’re familiar with, now’s not the time to try something new) and condition it from the middle down to the ends. It’s a good idea to avoid the roots since that can make the hair oilier, which can flatten it or cause styles to drop.
You’ll also want to absolutely avoid heat tools the week of your wedding. If you absolutely must use your curler, chat with your stylist to determine the best heat protectant and aftercare.
While it’s easy to just grab the cheapest bottle of shampoo at the store, when it comes to creating your healthiest style, quality products are key. “You want your hair looking healthy and shiny and at its best on your wedding day, so make sure [that] you’re using professional hair products and styling products so [that] it [cooperates] with your stylist to achieve the look [that] you’re going for,” says Gabby Monfils, a level 4 stylist at Mahalla Wild in Sarasota, Florida.
If you want some simple, at-home ways to upgrade your look, taking care of the overall will actually naturally improve your hair health. First and foremost: Don’t crash diet before your wedding. Not only is it unnecessary (you’re stunning as-is!), but when you deprive your body of nutrients, you deprive your hair, too. And one of the first things that suffers when you’re undernourished, is your hair.
So, you keep it healthy, eat plenty of protein—such as eggs, lean meat, fish, poultry, and beans—and get plenty of iron found in greeny, leafy veggies. This helps synthesize hair-cell proteins, which is what boosts growth. Additionally, to avoid dry brittle hair, you need to stay hydrated just like your hair. Aim to drink 100 ounces of water a day leading up to the wedding to not only help your hair and skin look radiant, but to help you feel better and more alert, too.
This doesn’t mean skipping out on washing, but be mindful of what type of shampoo you’re using and how much of it you lather on. Some shampoos can be overdrying, so it’s a good idea to aim to wash it only a few times a week. If you have to wash it daily, consider a more natural shampoo, or make sure to set aside some extra time for additional deep conditioning treatments and masks.
In the months leading up to your wedding, staying away from heating tools is essential. Since your hair doesn’t have nerve-endings, it can’t tell when damage is being done, which can result in dry, broken, and brittle hair, especially over time.
If you can’t stay away from the wand, the experts agree it’s essential to take precautions.“If you use heat on your hair, heat protectant is a must,” says Monfils. “An absolute must.” Heat protectants not only act as a barrier between your hair and the heat, but they often add additional shine to your locks.
You might not like the idea of getting your hair cut leading up to the wedding, but regular trims are essential to avoid damage and breakage. As your celebration gets closer, consider going once a month to get the dead ends removed, and then no more than two weeks before the big day to ensure that your ends are looking celebration-worthy.
As you get ready for the big day, you should take extra care of both your hair and your own well-being. Stress can be detrimental to hair, as the hair follicles tend to rest instead of produce hair when the body is anxious. That’s why taking time for yourself, whether that means journaling, meditating, or spending one day out of the week avoiding wedding planning, might be the ultimate key to the healthiest hair on your wedding day.
After the celebration is over and you’ve said goodbye to your guests, you might think the hard hair work is done. But, after spending so much time, energy, and money to get it looking just how you want it, a little TLC can keep it looking positively radiant. “Post-wedding hair care is just as crucial as pre-wedding hair care,” says the co-founder of Insert Name Here, Jordynn Wynn. “After the big day is over, it's time to rejuvenate your hair back to health.” Here’s how to care for your hair once the day is done.
Naturally, after your celebration, you’ll want to take all the pins and accessories out of your hair, and give it a gentle brushing. “Use a wide-tooth comb or vegan bristle brush and carefully brush your hair out starting at the ends” to avoid damage, says Wynn. Take it extra slow since there might be a lot of extra product, hairspray, and extensions in there that you’re not used to working through.
Between all the events, the products, the heat, and maybe a drink or two, your hair is probably feeling a little rough post-wedding. That’s why Wynn suggests using some TLC in the days following your celebration. “Make sure only to use gentle sulfate-free shampoos, hydrating conditioners, and maybe a detoxifying mask or nourishing serum, as well,” she advises. “To avoid any dryness, make sure to avoid any hair products that have alcohol in them.”
After all you and your hair have been through, one of the best things you can do is take some time to simply rest. Avoid heat tools, accessories, and products, and use super easy brush techniques to avoid pulling. Remember, post-wedding stress and blues can be real, which can affect your hair. Take each day one step at a time and give yourself plenty of grace as you navigate this new life milestone.
For some brides, the post-wedding chop is part of the process, while, for others, it’s just a nightmare they had while planning. Maybe just-married folks find changing up their look after the wedding to be liberating. Odds are that you grew your hair out, so why not opt for a shorter, easier-to-manage style now that all the business has passed? Or, maybe now’s the time to experiment with that fun, vibrant shade that you have been dreaming of but didn’t want to risk before the big day. Now’s the time to mix it up, and a new hair look can actually help your mind and body come to terms with a new chapter of your life starting.
Even if you don’t opt for a drastic change, Wynn still suggests heading to the salon post-wedding for a trim, especially if you didn’t get one just before the big day, since chances are that all the wedding beautification caused some new split ends to form.
When it comes to getting ready for the big day—from selecting your vendors to finding your dress to landing on a hairstyle—Zola is here to check off all the boxes. And when it comes to hair care, we’re passionate about every step of the process. Whether you’re trying to book the perfect stylist, looking for hairstyle inspiration, or searching for the perfect veil or hairpiece for the big day, Zola’s got you covered from “yes” to “oh my God, I love the ‘do.”