Don't let late nights and bubbly ruin your festive beauty mojo. Lisa Haynes reveals how to get party-perfect skin.
By Lisa Haynes
Just when your skin gets zapped by the onset of winter weather, it faces another cruel hit with the arrival of the party season.
All that drinking, dancing and pillow deprivation is a wicked concoction guaranteed to ensure you look one fine mess when the alarm clock calls.
That's all well and good when it's the weekend and you can hide under the duvet, but during the week that sallow, green-tinged skin needs to be brought back to life - and sharpish.
The good news is that you can fake a fresh glow so your boss doesn't clock on to your party animal ways.
Invest in some hangover heroics and have a ball minus the morning-after beauty scares.
:: Pre-bash beauty
If invites are mounting on the mantelpiece, take action now to avoid the inevitable partied-out complexion.
Prevention is better than cure, so if you're prone to spot outbreaks and lacklustre skin once the party season ramps up, start nourishing your face from the inside out now.
"To avoid seasonal breakouts, Omega-3 is essential for making the body less inflammatory. As well as eating oily fish, consider a supplement of fish oils," recommends Jo Givens, treatments expert at Liz Earle.
"You can also take a probiotic supplement to help normalise the balance of gut bacteria, as two thirds of the body's immune receptor cells are found there."
Kick off the party season with a rosy glow to rival Santa Claus by giving your skin a generous head start. Consult a skin specialist clinic, like sk:n or Destination Skin, and boost your complexion with a course of skin-refining treatments like microdermabrasion or glycolic peels.
:: Celebration night survival
There's no need to be a party pooper, but before you crawl into bed and wake up with a false eyelash stuck to your cheek, give your skin a fighting chance for the morning after.
If you're stumbling in from the dance floor, a rigorous skincare regime is going to be the last thing on your agenda - so prepare a speed cleanse kit for your return.
It's not ideal to use wipes on a daily basis but they're convenient after a night on the tiles to wipe away make-up and grime swiftly. You can even use them while tucked up in bed.
You may be dehydrated from the Christmas cocktails but your skin will be thirsty.
"Thanks to alcohol, dehydrated skin is the biggest concern during the party season," says Liz Pugh, professional make-up artist at Avon.
"Ensure you slather on a generous layer of moisturiser before you hit the pillow."
If you're really determined to look 'eight hours of sleep fresh', try using an overnight mask to re-hydrate skin.
:: Post-party SOS
Complexions need a radiance boost from the moment you wake from your hung-over slumber.
"Other than make-up, a simple tip for brightening up morning-after skin is to simply massage the face using your fingers," suggests Dr Ariel Haus, Harley Street dermatologist.
"Apply your moisturiser in firm circular motions to bring the blood to the surface, leaving you with a rosy glow. Exfoliating is also great as it rids skin of dead skin cells and removes excess grease - a common symptom of excess."
Eyes are the window to both your soul and lifestyle, so dark circles, puffiness and exaggerated fine lines will give the game away.
A teaspoon left in the fridge overnight or cold wet camomile tea bags are great quick-fix tricks for de-puffing those tell-tale party eye bags.
Cooling and soothing, eye roll-ons are also an instant pick-me-up and they're light enough to carry around in your handbag for regular SOS top-ups.
Tried & Tested
Pop them in your clutch to guarantee you're smelling sweet at the party. Our testers try out three purse-size fragrances:
:: Juicy Couture Viva La Juicy Duo Lip Gloss & Rollerball, £9.99 (Debenhams)
With a shimmering pink gloss one end and flirty fragrance the other, this is the perfect party essential for girly girls. The dinky rollerball applies easily to pulse points for perfume on the go.
:: L'Occitane Magical Leaves Limited Edition Eau de Toilette Spray, £14.50 (020 7907 0301)
A spray rather than a rollerball, this transportable 10ml fragrance is unisex and therefore fresh and zesty rather than overly feminine.
:: Viktor&Rolf Flowerbomb Duo Eau de Parfum Rollerball/Lip Gloss, £19.50 (House of Fraser)
Sheer nude gloss and sophisticated floral scent, this duo is ideal for glamazons with a penchant for designer labels. The rich, velvety eau de parfum is addictive.
Buy it now
Give the gift of education to disadvantaged children with The Body Shop's Schoolhouse gift. Priced £15, 4% of the income from every festive box goes towards the funding of social projects in Nepal (www.thebodyshop.co.uk).
:: Leather look
All eyes were on Alexa Chung as she accepted her British Fashion Award for the nation's favourite style icon. But never mind the outfit, she clutched her gong wearing Nails Inc's new coveted Leather Effect nail polish. The soon-to-be-launched Gothic varnish has already generated a 700-strong waiting list of eager talon customers. Nails Inc Bling It On Leather + Skulls launches on www.nailsinc.com on December 13, priced £19. Join the waiting list at www.nailsinc.com/leatherandskulls
Bag a free gift with a festive fragrance. Buy Red or Dead's Release Me 100ml fragrance (£38.50) and get a pink clutch bag, or purchase Marc Jacobs Dot 50ml (£46.50) and you'll receive a free floral tote. Both offers available now, while stocks last, at The Fragrance Shop (www.thefragranceshop.co.uk).