The Party Season Survival Guide

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The Party Season Survival Guide

Words by Mr Ahmed Zambarakji

8 December 2016

Can’t face the morning after? Neither can your face. Here’s the essential guide to make it to the New Year unscathed.

The power of the festive period is such that even the most disciplined of men find themselves seduced by seasonal bingeing. Memories of September’s mini-detox and the autumn gym push are long gone. The tolerance of one’s liver becomes superhuman – if only for a few weeks – as spare tyres inflate on the midriff and pectorals start to sag.

Couple the inevitable cheese-eggnog-turkey marathon with questionable sleep patterns and December becomes one big, bloated, riotous blur. In order to accommodate a demanding social calendar and all that entails, we have compiled a survival guide to help you make it into the New Year looking (if not feeling) smugly sober.

Finding the will to get up in the morning is doubly difficult when you have reduced daylight, it’s Baltic outside and you have commitments working against you. Once you muster the strength to drag yourself into the shower, we suggest reaching for a peppermint-laden product to help you to shake off any seasonal lethargy and hotwire your nervous system. Studies based on the power of scent suggest that peppermint is tied to greater cognitive stamina, motivation and overall performance. Most importantly, the oil itself is a potent remedy for tension headaches.

Malin + Goetz Peppermint Shampoo and Body Scrub both contain peppermint extract and deliver an invigorating zing on application. They also do a fine job of washing away the remnants – but perhaps not the memories – of the office party.

Signs of overindulgence are likely to show up first and foremost around your eyes. This is because the skin that surrounds your peepers is paper-thin (0.3mm to 0.5mm, as opposed to “normal” facial skin which is 1mm to 1.6mm) and lacking in sebaceous glands that maintain the integrity of its protective barrier.

When blood vessels dilate – or, worse yet, start to leak – as a result of too much alcohol, they can become visible through the delicate skin in the form of dark circles. This is not something that can be fixed in a matter of hours, so your only viable solution before tonight’s dinner party is to camouflage the panda effect with a concealer.

Tom Ford Beauty’s Concealer Stick comes in three shades; logic would suggest that you opt for the one that matches your skin tone. Experience, on the other hand, dictates that you’ll need to go up a shade or two if you’re attempting to lighten dark patches. Be sure to apply an eye cream first (we recommend Aesop’s Parsley Seed Anti-Oxidant Eye Serum) to avoid any telltale caking and then simply dab the concealer on with your finger until it blends in seamlessly with the surrounding skin. The product contains caffeine, which will help reduce any puffiness, too.

Alcohol, you’re likely to have discovered at some point in your life, is a diuretic. That means it strips the body of moisture, leaving you not just hungover, but with skin that’s sunken and dry. In addition to offsetting your impending headache with a dose of electrolytes, you’ll need an industrial-strength moisturiser to get you through December.

Hyaluronic acid is the gold standard in rehydration. This is because the molecule acts like a sponge, holding up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. In spite of the synthetic-sounding name, hyaluronic acid is found everywhere in the body – it’s the stuff that lubricates everything from your joints to your eyeballs. Unfortunately, levels decline with age, and that’s precisely why we advocate topical application by way of Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Ampoules and Serum. The short- and long-chained forms of HA found in its formulas won’t just deliver more moisture to the skin, they’ll also plump out any fine lines or wrinkles.

Among the many benefits of sleep – improved memory and physical performance, reduced inflammation – is healthier skin. This is because the skin has its own circadian clock and the nighttime presents a critical opportunity for repair. Given that the skin isn’t busy trying to defend itself from the various environmental aggressors it encounters during the day, cells and tissue can go about the job of rebuilding themselves without any interruptions.

Alas, a decent snooze is unlikely until after Boxing Day and you therefore run the risk of acquiring an ashy and worn complexion during the party season. An intelligent overnight product, however, can help capitalise on what little sleep you do get so that you wake up looking rested (even though you’re enduring a slow, painful death on the inside).

Dr Sebagh’s antioxidant-rich Supreme Night Secret employs a “chronobiological cell stimulant” to jump-start cell turnover and thus eliminate signs of festive fatigue by morning. A more organic approach can be found in Dr. Jackson’s innovatively titled 02 Night Skin Cream, which is packed with (no joke) frankincense oil, a potent healing extract that accelerates the regeneration process.

Illustrations by Mr Nick Hardcastle