The holidays usually involve quite a few late nights, bold makeup looks, sweet treats, cocktails, and cheese plates galore. Fun? You bet. But taking part in the endless party circuit can also wreak havoc on your skin. And coupled with the inescapable cold, dry winter air in most places, the holiday season can be a nightmare for your poor, stressed complexion.
That doesn't mean you have to give up all of that eating, drinking, and being merry in favor of 9 p.m. bedtimes and makeup-free skin, though. After all, it is the holidays, and celebration with people you love is part of the deal — and it's even more fun when you're rocking a bold cat eye and red lip. But it does mean your face and body will need a little TLC to keep up with your social calendar.
Even if your skin care routine works perfectly well for you the rest of the year, consider being a little extra this holiday season (in more ways than one, come to think of it) by devoting a little more attention to your skin. Here are six steps to keep it in tip-top shape all season long, according to a dermatologist and a plastic surgeon.
1. Try A Double-Cleansing Method To Remove Heavy Holiday Makeup
Dermalogica Double Cleanse Set, $10, Ulta
"If you are wearing heavier makeup, you should spend a little extra time removing and cleansing the skin to remove any residue or dirt and debris on the skin," Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Dr. John Diaz, M.D. F.A.C.S, co-founder of Honor MD Skincare, tells Bustle. Leftover makeup can clog pores, leading to breakouts (which is the last thing you want in your New Year's Eve photos).
Traditionally, double cleansing is a K-beauty technique that starts with using an oil-based cleanser to break down makeup and debris, followed by a water-based cleanser to rinse everything away. However, you could also just start by using a makeup remover wipe before your usual cleanser (not one or the other), says Diaz.
Or, use a foaming cleanser followed by gentle exfoliation, board-certified dermatologist Dr. Craig Kraffert, M.D., president of K-Beauty skin care line Amarte, tells Bustle. It's worth noting that exfoliation is an important step even if you're using a different double-cleansing method, too.
2. Exfoliate To Get The Most Out Of Your Products
Amarte Daily ExfoliPowder, $37, Amarte
Speaking of exfoliation, it's one of the most important steps in a holiday skin care regimen. "Mild but thorough exfoliation is essential for optimizing skin’s health and beauty," Kraffert says. "The dry, scaly outermost surface of the skin must be gently lifted in order for topically applied skin care treatments to absorb well and exert their intended effects."
While it might seem counterintuitive to focus on exfoliation when your skin is already dry, it's arguably more important in the winter than in the summer because skin is so flaky, says Kraffert.
The key is not scrubbing away at skin — Kraffert likes Amarte’s Daily ExfoliPowder for a mild option. "It actually calms the skin as it exfoliates, leaving a soothed and polished smooth surface ready to soak up nutrients and moisture," he says.
If you really want to go the extra mile, you can head to your skin care professional for a more heavy duty treatment. "Gentle glycolic peels and Clear+Brilliant lasers are great options to reduce dry skin and reveal smooth glowing skin," Diaz says.
3. Use Moisturizer Twice A Day For Max Hydration
Honor MD Hydrate, $70, Honor MD
You already know you're supposed to be diligent about moisturizer, but it's doubly important during the holidays. "Because skin is drier, richer products, product layering and more frequent application are strategies that can be successfully used to keep skin moisture just right, despite cold and dry environmental conditions," Kraffert says.
Start the day with one with SPF (because UV rays are still a thing in the winter), and end your day with one that's thick and nourishing to make the most of your beauty sleep. "We love Honor MD's Hydrate, infused with green tea leaf, aloe extract, and hyaluronic acid to plump and nourish the skin," Diaz says.
It's also important to not only use facial oils in place of moisturizers during the winter, says Kraffert. "Skin needs both oil and water in order to resolve dryness," he explains. "If anything, layer a couple drops of oil over top of your p.m. moisturizer to help seal it in to the skin."
4. Pair Every Cocktail With A Glass Of Water
Yeah, yeah, this is good advice all the time, but it's particurly important when your skin is already stressed. Hydrating from the inside out helps avoid dullness and breakouts.
"During the holidays we tend to attend more parties, drink more alcohol, and stay up later," says Diaz. (And don't we all know it.) "The most important thing to do is to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day, and if you plan on drinking alcohol, make sure you drink a glass of water in between drinks." But really this time.
5. Relax With A Rejuvenating Sheet Mask A Couple Times A Week
Dr. Jart+ Water Replenishment Cotton Sheet Mask, $7, Sephora
If you need an excuse to kick back and take a breather this holiday season, think of this as the perfect opportunity. "You may want to use a nourishing sheet mask one to two times per week to bring moisture back into the skin," says Diaz. It's a little extra step to make sure your skin's hydrated, soothed, and glowy.
6. Make Your Showers And Baths Lukewarm, Not Scalding
Camellia Beauty Oil, $95, Tatcha
A super-hot shower or bath is tempting when the temperatures drop, but you might be doing more harm than good. "Cooler temperatures usually mean we like to soak in a super hot shower or bath which can actually dry out the skin even more," Diaz says. "Stick to lukewarm showers or baths for no more than five to 10 minutes, and follow up with a nourishing body and face oil."