Nowadays, sightings of celebrities like Chloë Sevigny or Pamela Anderson and postcard-perfect beaches are only part of the lure at Palm Heights in Grand Cayman. The other draw at Instagram’s current favourite hotel–the one whose ubiquitous yellow-and-white striped umbrellas and towels are all over your social feed–is its spa (yes, it’s also highly Instagrammable), where, among other things, you can experience customised skincare treatments by Cynthia Rivas. The in-demand New York-based facialist is also the go-to for models Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge (who made a pre-Met Gala stop at Rivas’s Upper East Side studio), along with make-up artist Hung Vanngo. This September, though, all eyes won’t be on Rivas’s many high-profile and fashion industry clients, but on Rivas herself as she walks down the aisle. Naturally, a big part of the planning for Rivas’s destination wedding in the Amalfi Coast (which, she says, will be a modern and chic oceanfront affair incorporating many local elements and flavours, and plenty of pops of colour), is skin-focused.
Prepping for a wedding is a task she is well-versed in. “Coming up with an ideal customised skincare plan is something I do for brides all the time,” says Rivas, adding that while make-up can work wonders to cover up redness and discolouration, texture is very hard to conceal. Collaborating with make-up artists has helped her understand that even more. “Smoothing texture and really hydrating the skin is important to get the skin photo-ready,” says Rivas, adding that this is especially true for weddings involving travel—and the dehydration that goes with it. “From there, you can add other treatments for lifting, sculpting or de-puffing, all depending on the individual person.” For her wedding day skin, she wants all of the above.
Since diet and lifestyle can have ripple effects on the skin, Rivas has been particularly attuned to the choices she’s making in the year leading up to her wedding. She’s been limiting alcohol, dairy, refined sugar and processed foods; swapping coffee for green tea, which gives her caffeine plus antioxidants; incorporating lots of inflammation-reducing ingredients like turmeric and ginger; and, most importantly, sleeping as much as possible. “Lack of sleep always shows on my skin, especially around my eyes, so I take a magnesium supplement to help me relax, and I try to get eight hours every night,” she says.
Just as Rivas crafts skincare strategies for many engaged clients, she did the same for herself. Here, her 12-month plan ahead of her September wedding.
Six to 12 months before
“A year out, it’s important to find your beauty people: your facialist, make-up artist, hairstylist, and a dermatologist if you want some minimally invasive treatments. Starting a year out with a facialist will give them enough time to get to know your skin and plan treatments for you. Some skin goals can take longer than others to reach, so giving yourself enough time to get there is key. Also, it’s very important to start a consistent morning and nighttime skincare routine now.”
Six months before
“Consistency is key. Being consistent with your at-home skincare routine and getting facials every single month right up to the wedding will make a difference. You’ll start to notice what treatments make your skin look its best and some real changes in your skin at this point.”
Four months before
“This is when I’m starting Clear & Brilliant treatments. This helps refine pores, smooth skin texture, and build collagen and elastin over time to address fine lines and wrinkles. It’s also excellent for hyperpigmentation. I’ll also start microneedling treatments at this point too. To soothe skin post-microneedling, iS Clinical Pro Heal Serum and iS Clinical Shield Recovery Balm are both excellent.”
Three months before
“This is when I would start RF (radio frequency) skin tightening treatments, because sometimes you don’t see the final results until three months later. I love this treatment for sculpting the jawline and tightening the skin. I’ll also be starting my regular microcurrent treatments now to lift and sculpt the face. What’s most important with microcurrent is not so much the device, but consistency: even a great device won’t work if you don’t commit to regular use. At home I recommend using your device at least three to four times a week minimum, and if more, amazing! For professional treatments, follow your skincare expert’s guidelines for a microcurrent series, whether that’s monthly or every few weeks. After your series is completed, regular monthly treatments to maintain the results are key, including you using microcurrent at home.”
Two months before
“If you decide to get Botox ahead of your wedding, this is when I usually recommend people do it. Everyone is different, but you should time your Botox to when you feel it looks perfect after getting it done. For me, that’s about two months after: since Botox takes about two weeks to fully kick in, two months out gives me time to make sure it’s perfect and go back for a touch-up if needed. I’m also doing two months out because if for any reason I feel too frozen, I have time for it to wear off a little bit. Never ever try Botox for the first time right before your wedding. I’ve had Botox done by a few different doctors, and the results have all been a little different, so it’s important to find someone whose work you really like and to have had it at least once before with that same person. I see Dr Shereene Idriss in New York and Dr Jason Emer in LA. I’ve known both for a while and really love them both. They have very different styles, but are so talented and true experts in their fields.”
One month before
“I’ll be having my last Clear & Brilliant session and last microneedling. Anything that has some downtime should be stopped one month out from your wedding. Also, at one month out, I’m not doing any new treatments or skincare. At this point you should have had a few facials, and your facialist will know what treatments make your skin look its best.”
One week before
“This will be my last deep cleansing facial. Full extractions are done here so you have a week for any slight redness to subside. Also, I’ll get a microcurrent treatment and will be using eye patches (either MBR Awake and Lift Eye Patches or Chanel Le Lift Firming Eye Patches) every day. I love to store them in the refrigerator so they’re nice and cold when I apply them.”
The day before
“Because diet really affects my skin in particular, I’m avoiding alcohol and anything salty, and only eating foods that won’t cause bloating or water retention. Consulting a nutritionist (I use the MELA health team) can be very helpful to find out what foods are best for you to avoid during a mini-cleanse, if needed. For topical treatments the day before, it’s going to be sheet masks, eye patches, cryo therapy and microcurrent for final lifting, hydrating, and de-puffing. Cold therapies are very in right now, and so effective. There are so many cryo devices and cryo sticks out there and most are the same; just make sure you keep them in the freezer so they are really cold. I like to use them while cleansing my face or while I have on eye patches and face masks. Then, the night before, I’ll use these exfoliating pads that I love (iS Clinical’s Active Peel Pads), and a hydrating lotion.”
The day of
“Cryotherapy, eye patches, more microcurrent, and focusing on hydrating serums and a very light moisturiser (I like Restorsea Rebalancing Lotion, Chanel N1 De Chanel Revitalizing Lotion, and iS Clinical Hydracool Serum). Make sure you discuss your skincare with your make-up artist so they know exactly how your skin is prepped. And since my wedding and all the events surrounding it will be outdoors, making sure my make-up artist has an SPF they also like to use under make-up is key (I like Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46).”
This story was originally published on British Vogue.