Beauty Treatments Worth the Splurge (and Which Ones to Avoid!)
We reveal which beauty treatments are worth the splurge before the big day, as well as money-saving alternatives.



With an abundance of beauty treatments promising to zap cellulite, make your face look 10 years younger and whiten teeth to gleaming perfection, it’s tempting to set aside a beauty budget that likens that of your catering column. Lauren Lazaro, a celebrity makeup artist who is regularly featured on My Fair Wedding with David Tutera and Platinum Weddings, has given us the scoop on beauty treatments that are worth the splurge and which ones you should avoid.




Airbrush Makeup: Splurge or Save?
Price: $180-$300 per person


Lazaro let us in on a little secret—airbrushing is a fad! “A lot of girls think they need it but they really don’t … it’s just a trend,” she says. Though Lazaro owns an airbrush gun and can certainly mimic the Photoshop-perfected effect, she usually only does so when a bride has a tattoo, scar or type of defect that needs to be covered. “Overall, I personally prefer a detailed hand application, with high definition foundation and concealers,” she says. She reveals that many artists double the charge for airbrushing, when, in fact, it should be the same price if not cheaper. “There’s no difference [in the makeup] and if anything, a detailed application is harder because it takes longer.”

Eyebrow Shaping: Splurge or Save?
Price: $65 and up


Eyebrows shape your entire face, so both women and men should, at the very least, conservatively clean out the center so there’s no connection between the brows. And while your bathroom mirrors and tweezers are great for day-to-day beauty, it’s worth the price to groom your brows professionally for the big day. Lazaro recommends having this treatment done a few days before your wedding so redness has time to go down.

Eyelash Extensions: Splurge or Save?
Price: $250-$500


Unless you think you’re going to be crying hysterically during the ceremony, or want to have long lashes into the honeymoon, false lashes are a better, budget-friendly bet. Have your makeup artist apply day of (or practice to put them on yourself). Lazaro suggests using Duo’s black eyelash glue ($8 at Sephora) for application. “It’s my personal favorite and the only one I use,” she says. “You want to make sure you get black because when you put the glue on the eyelash, it actually dries completely black and looks like liner.”

For those who expect above-average waterworks, she suggests splurging, though recommends trying and testing the extensions out at least three months before the wedding to ensure there is no allergic reaction to the surgical-grade glue. She also warns of risks involved, “I think they’re great when they’re done properly. Unfortunately, they’re oftentimes not. If you don’t go to a reputable salon, you can really mess up your eyes.”

For a less invasive option, Lazaro recommends Latisse ($120), which is a prescription eyelash glue that she swears by, having used it for her own wedding and seeing results within two weeks. She does warn of its disclaimer for those with light eyes, as there’s a chance they could be discolored, though notes, “I’ve worked with a dermatologist on this and he said he’s never seen this happen—it’s typically very uncommon.”

Teeth Whitening: Splurge or Save?
Price: $225-$1500


You’ll be smiling for the camera all day so you want to ensure your pearly whites are gleaming. Today, teeth whitening kits are as effective as your dentist’s in-office bleaching procedures, so Lazaro recommends using Crest 3D White Strips ($57 at nationwide), a product that she used for her very own wedding.

Professional Shave: Splurge or Save?
Price: $35 and up


For grooms, getting a professional shave is not just about the aesthetics. It’s about relaxation, and an attempt to calm those nerves before walking down the aisle. Morning of, treat your groomsmen to a shave at a high-end salon or pamper you and your fiancé into bliss before the wedding chaos begins. “I think it’s a fun thing for the groom to do with his best men for a nice relaxing morning. Get a clean shave, maybe a little bit of back rub … it makes them feel just a little bit pampered,” says Lazaro.

Injectables: Splurge or Save?
Price: $300-$500


“A makeup artist is supposed to bring out your natural beauty, enhancing and highlighting your best features,” Lazaro explains. “There are a lot of makeup techniques that will fake an eyelift, contour and make you look 10 years younger.”

Lazaro has consultations with each of her clients, and is open to injectables if the bride or groom is older and she truly feels they can benefit from it. “As long as the doctor comes highly recommended and they’re conservative in the way they administer the injectables,” she adds. She prefers Juvéderm over Botox, as the latter is irreversible, but an additional injection can dissolve any excess caused by Juvéderm. If you decide to go the injectables route, it’s important to do so two to three months before the wedding so, if an allergic reaction does arise, there is time to heal.

Chemical Peels: Splurge or Save?
Price: $200


“Absolutely not,” says Lazaro. “It’s like putting makeup on someone with a really bad sunburn because the skin just peels right off … it’s awful.” However, she is a fan of gentle exfoliation in the months leading up to your wedding day. Her personal favorite is her own recipe (one teaspoon of raw oat meal, one teaspoon raw sugar and two pumps of Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser, available for $11.50 at nationwide), and recommends gently scrubbing your face, neck and chest in the shower. “Not only will you smell sweet like a cookie but your skin will be left feeling baby soft and invigorated!”

An electric facial brush, such as the Clarisonic brush ($195 at Sephora) is a splurge-worthy investment that gives similar results, without the harsh chemicals. The daily tool is a favorite of dermatologists, facialists and beauty editors, and gently exfoliates skin while it cleanses, leaving you with a natural glow.



Spray Tanning: Splurge or Save?
Price: $50


With horror stories of orange grooms and brown-streaked wedding dresses, Lazaro has seen too many tanning terrors to support at-home faux glow lotions, wipes or sprays. For a sun-kissed shine on your wedding day, go to a professional airbrush artist. “One who is willing to get very intimate with you—rubbing you down to make sure every crevice and crease is covered.” Because everyone’s body chemistry is different, Lazaro recommends going at least a week and a half before the big day to make sure the tanning spray has had enough time to soak in. “Someone may sweat more than the average person and when you sweat, you’re sweating out the tan and onto a white dress,” she explains. “So even if you’ve never sweated a day in your life, your nerves are going to be in overdrive the day of your wedding. If you start sweating and your dress comes up high under the arm, the likelihood of you staining your dress is very high.”

Laser Hair Removal: Splurge or Save?
Price: $75-$2500


According to Lazaro, if you allow yourself one beauty splurge, laser hair removal should be it. “Each one of my clients and family who have gotten laser hair removal has spent several thousand dollars but they said they would do it all over again because it changed their life.” Laser hair removal allows you to say buh-bye to razor bumps, ingrown hairs and irritation, but for a pretty penny. Prices begin at $75 for smaller areas (chin) and up to $500 for (legs and bikini). However, for complete hair-free bliss, multiple treatments are needed, adding up to a bill as high as $2500.



Hair Extensions: Splurge or Save?
Price: $400-$1200


For a glamorous updo, hair extensions may be required for those with shorter tresses. However, there’s no reason to fork out cash for the expensive extended-wear extensions when clip-ons work just as well. Lazaro recommends getting 100 percent human hair so it can be dyed to match your hair color. “A good stylist would be able to hide them perfectly and you will never be able to tell.”

Another, even cheaper option, is a DIY clip-on. “You can walk into a beauty supply store and ask for human hair to make your own hair extensions. They sell them on twine that’s netted together,” explains Lazaro. “Put them on your own clip and bring it to your hair stylist to have them play with it and color it to match your natural hair color. Extensions are expensive but there’s lots of inexpensive ways to go about it.”

Glaze: Splurge or Save?
Price: $35-$65


A great glaze will add a reflective shine, vitality and luster to your locks, recharging the color and adding silky vibrancy. “I recommend having a clear glaze put into the hair,” says Lazaro. “It’s not too expensive and will definitely give your hair natural body and shine!”

Shellac Manicure: Splurge or Save?
Price: $40


With so many close-ups on your new wedding bands, you want to ensure your manicure lasts the entire evening. To prevent chips and smudges, Lazaro recommends splurging for a Shellac mani, which is a new brand of polish that will keep your nails in tip-top shape for up to two weeks, leaving them in a beautiful mirror finish. “The cost is a little more expensive than a regular manicure but it’s worth it if you consider you won’t have to worry about a chip on your wedding day—it will even will last through the honeymoon!” Check with your local nail salon to see if they carry Shellac before making your appointment.

*Prices based on New York City salon averages

Photo:; Real Weddings Annie and Sylvia, photography by Rachel McCauley Photography; Real Weddings Sebastian and Fritz, photography by Rob Greer; Real Weddings Jenna and Christina photography by Alan Abrams Photography