The Pre- And Post-Party Grooming Guide
Rave, refresh, repeat: how to survive the season through to New Year’s Day
The holidays are certainly jolly. In fact, they’re probably a little too jolly and the jolliness can be difficult to keep up with, especially for your face. Fortunately, the endless choice of grooming unguents on the market means that, this festive season, there is no reason why your skin should reflect the sorry state of your liver, though no cream is going to do anything for that. Please drink responsibly, dear readers.
If you do overindulge, however, we have devised two three-step strategies so you can weather seasonal excesses with grace and an air of sobriety. The pre-party routine is designed to both prep and pep skin, ensuring you arrive looking your best and offset at least some of the inevitable damage that will follow. The second routine comprises antidotes to deal with the gruesome aftermath. Alas, neither will be of much use when it comes to explaining the evening’s “quarry incident”.
Before: brighten and boost
One surefire way to brighten skin instantly is to sand away the dull layers on the surface that contain dead cells and microscopic debris. What lies beneath is a virginally fresh and deceptively sober complexion. Professional treatments such as microdermabrasion can correct trickier conditions such as pigmentation and acne scars, but exfoliating at home is just as worthwhile.
You have two options: a satisfying mechanical scrub, such as Grown Alchemist Pink Grapefruit & Glucomannan Extract Facial Polishing-Exfoliant, or a chemical exfoliant, such as Dr Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Ultra Gentle Daily Peel, which is formulated from fruit acids that weaken the connection between dead skin cells and speed up the normal shedding process without disrupting the skin’s integrity. Make exfoliation a twice-weekly routine to keep skin fresh and pores clear.
Exfoliating will brighten skin, but for maximum retina-melting luminosity, you’ll need to up your game. A professional LED treatment would be ideal, but, since time is of the essence and you’ll need to repeat this step several times over the season, the next best thing is a sheet mask.
Pre-soaked masks made from cotton or cellulose deliver active ingredients far more efficiently than a traditional face mask and give your skin a much needed upgrade in about 20 minutes. Best of all, you have free rein to practise your finest Hannibal Lecter impersonation while your skin marinates in potent ingredients.
111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Masks are infused with 24-carat gold (no, really), rose extract and silk amino acids to make skin glow. Less extravagant but equally potent is the Erno Laszlo Lighten & Brighten Hydrogel Mask, which relies on avocado, camomile, peony and vitamin B3 to counteract pigmentation.
03. Turbo hydration
It has been said that the best defence is a good offence. And, since alcohol is a diuretic, you’ll want to ensure your face is able to retain as much water as possible before you start on the aperitivo. Well-hydrated skin looks plumper, firmer and, er, glowier.
This is where hyaluronic acid comes into play. Polysaccharides are a major component of the skin’s framework and a single molecule can hold up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. This causes skin cells to swell with moisture and fill out fine lines.
There are several kinds of hyaluronic acid – sodium hyaluronate, hydrolysed hyaluronic acid and sodium acetylated hyaluronate, for example – but few are as effective or water-attracting as Dr. Barbara Sturm’s proprietary formula. Just be sure to layer the non-greasy Hyaluronic Serum with a cream so that moisture is drawn into the skin and held in place.
After: rehydrate and repair
01. Sleep it off
In an ideal world, your rehabilitative routine would start the moment you stumble through the front door. If memory and co-ordination allow, make your way to the bathroom to cleanse and then apply an overnight product.
Skin metabolism is at its highest during the wee hours, meaning you’ll reap the benefits of a premium skincare product while your body is resting rather than when it’s defending itself from UV rays, pollution and environmental aggressors.
Perricone MD Multi-Action Overnight Treatment is a comprehensive night product in that it employs the benefits of alpha-lipoic acid and DMAE to reverse ageing, offset free-radical damage and rehydrate skin. In doing so, it allows you to capitalise on what little sleep you manage to get and ensure you will be able to greet your own reflection in the morning without having a nervous breakdown.
02. Eye repair
The eyes never lie, especially when it comes to revealing how toxic your major organs have become since the start of December. Drops will help the whites of your eyes, but the skin that surrounds your peepers is paper thin, making it a prime area for wear and tear.
ADH is the hormone that controls the body’s water equilibrium and its sudden inhibition at the behest of Żubrówka Bison Grass vodka means moisture and minerals leak from the upper layers of the skin into subcutaneous tissues. This causes puffiness and dehydration. In order to reduce bloating, apply 111Skin Sub-Zero De-Puffing Eye Masks (store them in the fridge) and pray the tetrapeptide and marine complex will take down any swelling before your morning meeting.
03. Calm down
As an added bonus to all that dehydration, alcohol also dilates blood vessels. Depending on the severity of the reaction, this can make your cheeks look pinched and rather fetching. If your face looks like it’s been glove slapped, however, you’ll need to convince those capillaries to contract once more. A cryotherapy facial will do this, as will a good old ice cube or, for the extremists among you, plunging your face into a sink of icy water.
If your flushed face is irritable as well as inflamed, then the good Dr Sturm has another solution. Her Calming Serum soothes reactive complexions while boosting the skin’s natural defences by way of purslane, a common garden weed packed with antioxidants, and more omega-3 fatty acids than fish oil.
NB, if gin blossoms are a permanent consequence of partying, you might be one of the few people with a gene mutation that leads to permanent DNA damage, according to esteemed medical journal Nature. Merry Christmas!