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6 Surprise Beauty Products Every Budget Bride Needs

Seriously, no one tells you this stuff.

By Sarah Rufca Nielsen October 31, 2016

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Image: Shutterstock

There is no lack of things to worry about when you're planning a wedding, including how not to hemorrhage money from every pore of your body. So while Vogue recommends a beauty regimen of regular facials starting six to nine months before your big day ... it also recommends walking down the aisle in Vera Wang.

Props to all the Vera Wang brides with dedicated facialists—I look forward to drooling over your impossibly perfect weddings on StyleMePretty—but this is a guide for the rest of us. 

Jergen's Natural Glow Moisturizer

Let's say, hypothetically, that you go on a 20-mile bike ride with your fiancé six weeks before the wedding and forget to re-apply sunscreen. Congrats, now you have dark tank top tan lines that are going to look hella awkward with your strapless dress. Luckily Houstonia has already done the research on the self-tanners that look natural, so I knew what to grab and bonus: it's less than $3. It only took 2-3 days of targeted lotion application to even out my skin tone (yay!) but it will fade in the same amount of time, so just keep up with it for even, slightly tan skin to set off your white gown.

Tony Moly I'm Real Sheet Mask Set

Back to the facials: they are a great idea, really, but if your wedding date has snuck up on you, it's a risk to try out any intense skin treatment within 60-90 days of a big event. You just don't want to change too much about your routine at that point. In that case, you can still give your skin some extra TLC. My love of sheet masks is certainly no secret, and this multi-pack is not only a serious value (at less than $1 a pop) but it lets you to give skin a weekly (or biweekly) boost in whatever area you feel like it needs, whether it's tea tree to calm outbreaks or avocado for moisture and elasticity. Pro tip: save the brightening mask for the morning of the big day.

Crest 3D Luxe White Strips

Truly, I hate the dentist, so even if I had time and money to squeeze in an extra trip for a professional whitening treatment, I'd still probably pass. Maybe that's why my teeth are usually a little less white than I'd like—well, that or all the coffee. There are other strips on the market, but this product—make sure you look for the word 'Luxe'—earned the highest marks from Good Housekeeping and a Best of Beauty Award from Allure. I'd try to use them at least 18 hours apart if you have sensitive teeth (do not, I repeat, do not try to squeeze two treatments in a single day). I'm only about halfway into the 20 strips that come in a box, and my teeth are at least a couple shades whiter. At around $50 for a box, it's not cheap, but it's way cheaper than the dentist, and there's nothing easier than wearing them for 30 minutes while walking the dog or taking a shower.

Clean & Clear Persa Gel

I struggled with breakouts for a good part of my 20s before I re-discovered the same drugstore treatment that worked for me in high school: Persa-Gel. Since counting down the days until your wedding can easily lead to stress breakouts, this stuff is a lifesaver. Did I mention it's literally $7? Smooth a thin layer over your problem area and the benzoil peroxide will proactively zap zits before they show on your skin. If you have drier skin, you might use it instead as a spot treatment, but I just make sure to follow it with a moisturizer.

Foot Petals/High Heel Cushions

You hopefully gave a nod to practicality when you picked out your wedding shoes, as you'll be wearing them for (at minimum) several hours, not to mention walking and dancing in front of a crowd. It wasn't until a dance lesson that I noticed I've now worn my wedding heels enough to slightly stretch out the fabric, which means my heel will occasionally slide out of the back of the shoe—which is hard to fix while wearing a fancy dress. I've used the heel pads that go under the ball of your foot for comfort, but these foot pads that go behind your ankle are genius, especially if your feet are slightly uneven (yup) or you're prone to blisters on the back of your heel (me again). 

Vitamin E Oil

With a lot of photo-ready events in your calendar, this is a great time to splurge on gel or Shellac manicures, but the downside is that these can weaken your nail enamel, causing nails to peel and break—not what you had in mind. The easiest way to combat this (when nails are bare) is by rubbing Vitamin E oil into your nail bed and cuticle nightly—it will add softness and moisture to your hands or other patches of dry skin, too.

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