Originally published for the Denver Style Magazine blog, Dec. 3, 2016
The holidays are here! Tis the season for holiday shindigs and gatherings galore. With so much going on, it can get easy to neglect your skin, but you still want to look and feel your best before hitting the party scene. Here a few of my favorite skin care hacks, to keep you looking radiant into 2017.
Exfoliation for the win
If your skin is looking dull, often the culprit is a buildup of dry dead surface skin. In winter months and when our skin is drier, cellular turnover can be thwarted by a lack of moisture in the skin. A good face scrub might be all you need to do the trick, but look for gentle exfoliants such as jojoba beads. You can even tone it down by mixing a little scrub in with your favorite cleanser.
Too harsh of a scrub or scrub brush can damage your skin and leave it irritated or inflamed, so avoid heavy exfoliation right before an event. Got a little more time? A professional exfoliation such as microdermabrasion, dermaplaning or a light peel, is a great way to jumpstart your skin for the season.
Exfoliation helps restore your natural radiance by getting rid of that top layer of old dead skin and exposing a layer of fresh healthy skin. It also helps stimulate circulation to the face, giving you a rosier appearance. This works for the whole body. It even works for the lips. Don’t neglect to exfoliate your pout, before putting on your favorite festive lip color.
Mask it up
Masks are a wonderful way to treat your skin this time of year. They are also great for targeting specific issues. Whether it’s a light enzyme mask for brightening or a heavy duty moisture mask, these concentrated treatments can quickly and effectively get your skin party-ready.
There are about a million different masks on the market, which are suited to different skin types and conditions. Be sure to choose a formula that is appropriate for your skin and your individual concerns. Also make sure to give it a test run, if it’s a new mask and you aren’t sure how your skin will react. When in doubt, opt for a good moisture mask before a big night out. You can even layer your favorite serum under the mask to drive more nutrition into your skin and leave it looking dewy.
Also consider masking the morning after a long night out. A good purifying mask can help your face detox and keep you looking fresh for the next occasion.
Toner is magic
Toner is an often-neglected step in skin care, but it has huge benefits that can keep your skin fit for a night of partyhopping. Toner helps rebalance your skin after cleansing and exfoliating, helping PH levels return to normal and allowing for more effective penetration of your other products. A good smoothing toner can help astringe and prep the skin. You can also opt for a nutrient or hydrating toner to help lock moisture into your skin.
Toner can be be used to freshen up your face mid-day or even mid-event, if you need a little spritz. It can even be used to help prime the skin for makeup or set it, after finishing your evening look. If your skin is feeling puffy or bloated, try sticking your toner in the refrigerator. The chilled product can help reduce inflammation.
Spot treat and move on
Breakouts seem to pop up when you least want them to – i.e. the day before you have to see all your nearest and dearest. When a big old pimple shows up for the party, you might be tempted to pop it or pick it, but trust me when I say this will only make it worse. Squeezing your pimples can often lead to more breakouts as it makes the skin angrier and may even spread more bacteria.
Exfoliating, toning, masking and even moisturizing can all help soothe a breakout. But if you’ve got a situation on your hands and still need an emergency fix – try spot treating with tea tree oil or an acne gel. Only apply in the areas that need it, so you don’t risk drying out your whole face and causing more irritation. You can also apply an icepack or ice cube to inflamed areas to get the red out.
Get a facial the week before, not the week of
Few things will get your skin resplendent for the holidays like a good facial. Getting a professional skin care treatment incorporates all the elements mentioned above in one pop, leaving your skin refreshed and refined. Pampering also helps you de-stress, which can help your overall appearance.
That said, many people make the mistake of getting a facial days before or even the day of a big event. This is ill-advised unless you are regularly in the habit of getting facials. A facial treatment can be very stimulating for the skin as it incorporates lots of potent products, exfoliation and massage. These things increase circulation to the face, which is great for anti-aging but can leave you a bit pink or even red for a few hours following a facial. The skin tends to look its best 3-7 days following a facial, so plan accordingly and you’ll be much happier with your results.
The eyes have it
The holiday season is when we often liked to get glammed up with our favorite shimmery shadows and liners. Make sure the focus is on your eye makeup and not on under eye circles. If you find yourself with extra baggage, there a few tricks you can try. A pair of spoons chilled in your freezer, cucumbers or cold tea bags work wonders for temporarily reducing puffiness.
The under eye area can be a problem area for many. The skin under your eyes is extra delicate and loses moisture fast. This is the time of year to invest in a good eye cream and apply morning and night, for best results.
An ounce of prevention
Last but not least, you can easily circumnavigate common skin woes by taking preventative care. Having a good skin care routine that you practice on the regular keeps your skin healthy and happy, meaning you’ll have less problems to fix last-minute.
This time of year, one of the best habits to incorporate is drinking lots of water. Healthy water intake will help flush out toxins from excess food and alcohol, boost your energy levels, counteract dryness in the environment and keep your skin hydrated as well. Other good goals are exercising regularly, adding in lots of leafy greens, using a heavier moisturizer and getting enough rest. Although this is a challenging time of year to fit in self-care, making it a priority will keep your stress-levels in check and your skin will reap the benefits!