Your social calendar is healthy this month — you have a chic soirée to attend most nights‹but the effect it’s having on your hair and skin is another story. How to get back to gorgeous after indulging in late nights and a steady diet of cosmos and canapés? We checked in with the experts for their top tips on getting back on beauty track.
Skin problem #1: Dehydrated skin
“Burning the candle at both ends during the holidays, and all of the drinking and nibbling will affect your skin,” says Danielle Edwards, education manager at the International Dermal Institute in Toronto. This, along with the cold weather outside, intense heat indoors and the lack of moisture in the air, can all suck moisture from your skin.
Skin care treatment: To start, if you haven’t changed your skin routine from the summer, Edwards recommends editing your regime during these colder months. “Apply masques more often — once or twice a week,” she says. She suggests using one that contains hyaluronic acid (“It’s a powerful humectant”). Also key to rehydrating your skin? Exfoliate weekly — this will slough off dead skin cells so that your masques can better penetrate the skin.”
Skin problem #2: Dark under-eye circles
Puffy eyes plaguing you? In terms of concealing dark circles, though, you’ll want to begin by ensuring the delicate under-eye skin is well moisturized, says Joelle Boucher, a professional makeup artist based in Montreal. “If the skin is dry, its texture will make any concealer you apply have a cake-y effect,” she says.
Skin care treatment: Make sure as much is absorbed as possible before you start applying concealer (any residual moisture will also make the skin less stable for application). Boucher recommends doing all of your makeup first, before applying under-eye concealer. This way if you have to clean up any stray eye makeup, you’re not removing concealer you painstakingly applied, forcing you to apply it yet again. Using a shade of concealer that is one-quarter to two-thirds lighter than your facial skin tone (“This is so the concealer doesn’t appear grey and it’ll seamlessly connect the skin from your face to your eye area,” says Boucher), dab the product wherever there is darkness to your skin, and blend it out. Don’t dab it on with your fingers, though. Use a synthetic brush. “You’ll waste less product, as you’ll have greater control, and when you use your finger, the concealer warms up. A brush allows you to maintain the temperature of the product,” says Boucher.
How to fix an acne flare-up and brittle hair on the next page…
Skin problem #3: Acne flare-ups
Everything from the stress of the holidays to poor diet suppress your immune system from working optimally. And since you’re busy with shopping for gifts and going to holiday get-togethers, you’re likely exercising less often, which studies have shown will also contribute to a weaker immune system, which may play a role in making you more prone to acne flare-ups, says Toronto-based dermatologist Benjamin Barankin.
Skin care treatment: To clear up your skin, “start with over-the-counter products. Look for a facial wash that contains salicylic acid, which penetrates pores to help get rid of blackheads and whiteheads.” If you’ve got a big, red pimple, “a benzoyl peroxide product is particularly effective,” he says. And if neither strategy is getting your skin under control, see a dermatologist who can prescribe stronger, more effective creams and lotions.
Hair care problem #4: Brittle hair
You’ve been blow drying, flat-ironing and colouring your tresses way more often during the holiday season, which has dried out and damaged your hair.
Hair treatment: Conditioning regularly with a rich moisturizing conditioner is exactly what your hair needs, says Justin German, co-owner of Shagg Salon in Toronto. Look for conditioners labeled as hydrating or deep penetrating, and stay away from balms and conditioning rinses (“This means it’s a light product and you need something heavier than a balm or rinse,” says German). For an even richer treatment that’ll get your hair back to its shiny former self, he suggests adding a few drops of serum (he recommends Pantene Pro-V Smooth Serum) to your conditioner, and leaving this conditioner/serum blend on your hair for 20 minutes with a shower cap on. “Your natural body heat will allow the treatment to penetrate even further,” says German. Repeat this treatment every two weeks during the winter months.
For the latest in fashion, beauty and culture, sign up to receive ELLE's bi-weekly newsletter