It's the festive season! And that means my nights are filled with catch-ups, dinners, parties, drinks... It's good fun, but it's taxing, especially when it comes to skin. Between the lack of sleep and the pasta and the gin martini's and the extensive makeup routines, congestion, puffiness and general loss of radiance are unavoidable. But it's also the time of year where I want to look my glittering best, so you see the conundrum?
I can't promise the best skin of your life, but I can share my advice for reviving skin the morning after (caveat, this routine is also perfect for party-prep). This is tried-and-tested by me — I can only hope it helps you survive December.
A clean slate
Whether you cleansed the night before or (ahem) did not, get up and wash your face, preferably in the shower. Start with a nourishing oil-based formula to melt away any residual makeup, and then go in with a milk or gel. Massage both in for a minute at least. Not only will this ensure your skin is purified but will help do away with facial bloat.
Personally I love the Augustinus Bader Cleansing Balm. It's so thick and buttery, you just know it's doing something special. It also emulsifies nicely and rinses clean (two features that are not always present where balmy cleansers are concerned).
As for gels, I'm a big fan of iS Clinical's Cleansing Complex. It's one of the few foamy cleansers I've used that doesn't dry me out. Plus it helps clear out pores, a big win. The Bioderma Sensibio Gel is also gentle enough for fragile skin, while being friendly on your wallet.
Scrub the evidence
On the topic of cleansing, there is something about exfoliation that feels like a delete button... a much-needed beauty reset the morning after. Facial scrubs are more gratifying than any chemical exfoliator, but they can also be abrasive. That's why I love a powdered enzyme like this one from Dermalogica. It polishes the skin without tearing at the already-compromised barrier. If you're struggling with too many steps, mix it into your cleanser. Otherwise it's great on its own, just add a little water, blend it into a paste and massage in for 30 seconds.
If you're up to it, try a scalp scrub as well (because we all know a morning after shower is not complete without a hair wash). There is just something about this step that feels incredible after a big night. I love Christophe Robin the most, but the Goop G.TOX Himalayan Salt Scalp Scrub Shampoo is also really nice.
Okay, you're clean. Now you need to de-puff, nix redness and wake the hell up. The best way to do so is with some cryotherapy. If you're the owner of an ice roller, use that (I have one that I bought on Amazon). Otherwise fill your basin with water and throw a few ice cubes in there. Plunge your face in and out until you feel very much awake, and not like you went out until all hours the night prior. The cool temps will stimulate lymphatic drainage as well as blood flow, while helping to constrict capillaries. You should look brighter, and feel refreshed.
Mask any symptoms
If time permits, now is the perfect time to call on a face mask. It's likely you're dehydrated (salty foods, air conditioning, travel, alcohol and dry temperatures all contribute), therefore I prefer to use something hydrating. Biologique Recherche's Masque VIP02 is my all-time favourite. It oxygenates the skin, meaning it restores clarity and signs of life. In just 15 minutes I always notice I look brighter and my complexion unified. Another top pick is the CHANEL Camellia Repair Mask. It's so creamy and plush, working wonders to restore lost moisture and prevent its evaporation.
Once you remove your mask, the final step is to pop on a great serum before locking all your hard work in with an excellent moisturiser. At this stage I'd say just reach for your daily favourites — mine are the Biba de Sousa The Plant Stem Cell Serum with Peptides (it's extremely juicy and plumping) or I'm currently enjoying The Ordinary's Soothing Barrier Support Serum (it's milky and comforting). Moisturiser-wise, I typically use Rationale's #2 Light Creme in the morning, or the La Roche-Posay Cicaplast Baume B5+ when I crave an extra dewy finish. Finish with sunscreen, concealer and a double shot coffee!