The Ultimate Pre-Wedding Bridal Haircare Guide

You can never start too early when it comes to wedding prep. And if you’re tying the knot in summer/autumn 2017, now is the ideal time to begin getting your hair and skin in optimum condition for your big day.

Typically, you need to start at least six months in advance when it comes to perfecting your bridal haircare routine and discussing options with your stylist. We caught up with top Bridal Hair Specialist, Leanne Nolan of Vow 2 Wow, who gave us her expert guidelines to achieving super luscious locks in the run-up to your wedding.


Depending on your natural hair texture and styling habits, your mane will be in various states of distress. The key to improving condition and manageability is using the correct products. It is best to invest in salon shampoo and treatments at this point in your bridal prep  – you really do get what you pay for here and the results will prove it.

Choose products for your specific hair type, if in doubt a very good all-rounder for improving dry and damaged hair is Joico K- Pak Shampoo. If you have dry ends, combine with K- Pak Revitalux treatment and in the case of extremely damaged ends, K-Pak Deep Penetrating Reconstructor is my go-to product. Now we know what products to use, lets have a look at your routine.

Always comb hair while conditioner is in, and please, Please, PLEASE… only pat or gently squeeze wet hair with a towel. Do NOT rub vigorously or tear a brush through it! Be gentle, you are damaging and dulling each strand with heavy handedness!


The general rule of thumb here is DON’T! Yep I hear you! –  ‘but I can’t possibly leave the house with this unruly mop’. Well, if you want to have fabulously shiny hair for your wedding day, then sacrifices must be made! Instead, gently blast dry your hair and use clips to control it. Back away from your Ghd or curling wand and god almighty, don’t even consider picking up that backcombing brush! Console yourself with the fact that on your special day, people will be even more ah-mazed by your crowning glory.

Oh and if it’s split – CUT IT! A broken nail won’t repair itself, and neither will broken strands of hair. While you might claim you want the length, all you’re really getting is tatty dull hair – keep it trimmed regularly for optimum condition.


The ideal time to touch-up your colour is two weeks before the wedding, at this point we are simply topping up an already perfected hair colour.

But what should you consider when choosing the perfect colour for your big day? Well, first things first – stick with what suits you and is true to your style. Do NOT, for any reason, decide on a dramatic change of colour before your wedding as you simply won’t look like yourself!

Ideally, your colour will need to be tweaked six to nine months in advance to get the perfect balance of lights and tones. Remember your hair will be photographed from every angle, so here’s how can you make sure it is looking fabulous from every viewpoint.

  • If your hair is blonde, make sure there are low-lights added to your colour, this will give it additional texture and depth in photos which helps define and enhance your chosen style. A key point to note here is your particular shade of blonde. Consider this; your hair will be sitting on the backdrop of a white dress. I’m sorry to reveal ladies, but this means that some blondes will show up yellow against the gown! So you might need to consider adding extra ash or pearl toners to your highlights to ensure you have a lovely clean blonde, talk to your stylist about different options at least six months in advance as it may take trial and error to get the perfect shade to suit you.
  • For darker hair, the problem is that your tresses will not show up texture and detail in the same way blondes do. To get the best shine and texture in your hair, use a conditioning Quasi colour through the ends. I would also recommend you add in some very subtle variations of caramel or chocolate lowlights, especially through the ends. Think low maintenance and subtle (we are not looking for dramatic Balyage looks here)! This will add depth to the hair and help define the details of your upstyle, giving your locks an added glam look for the big day. For consistent and reliable results, always go to experienced haircare professionals for your colour treatments during the run-up to your wedding.

Extensions – Yay or Nay?

This really comes down to how your natural hair lines up with your desired wedding style. If your hair is naturally healthy, thick and long enough for your chosen style, then lucky you! The use of lightweight padding and fillers should be sufficient to help you achieve the look without any need for extensions.

If you really love voluminous hair, but have fine or very straight hair, then you may need additional hair to get your desired look. Most often extensions will be required for wearing the hair down or any of the romantic fuller bodied upstyles that are so popular on Pinterest right now. The pros of extensions being that they add volume and will hold curl where natural texture might not, the disadvantage being additional expenses and the discomfort of wearing them all day long. But hey, beauty means pain!

A question I’m often asked is which extensions are best. Really this is down to you and your stylists personal preference. I myself like clip in hair wefts, they have substantially more volume than the individual strips and are fairly easy to use yourself in the future. My least favourite are bonded hair extensions as they cannot be back combed (which is required for style stability), they are super expensive and can make an upstyle very uncomfortable for the bride as the hair clips may pull on bonds.

If you do decide to opt for extensions, it is best to go in-store to ensure perfect colour matching and don’t forget to bring them along to your hair trial to get used to how they feel before the day. Finally, always choose real hair as synthetic hair cannot be heat styled and can have a tell-tale plastic shine in your wedding photos.

Visit award-winning Bridal Hair Specialist Leanne Nolan at for more inspiration or to inquire about availability for your wedding date.

Image Credits: By Leanne Nolan of Vow 2 Wow Bridal Hair.

Social Team

The Social Team lives for Weddings.

WeddingDates Contributors
A true family wedding at Shamrock Lodge Hotel

Real Wedding: Doireann & Ian's true family wedding at Shamrock Lodge Hotel.