Everyone wants to know the secret to immediately flawless skin on short notice. Maybe it’s a best friend’s wedding, your graduation or a high school reunion and you want to look clear, fresh and glowing. What do you do when you’ve left your skin to the last minute? While truthfully you need to be performing a consistent skin care routine to achieve your dream skin, there is a secret to looking your best on the day with short notice. Here are my tips and tricks for special event skin care.
Hydration is Everything
It’s simple: everything looks better on a hydrated base. My secret to great last-minute skin is all about getting your skin as hydrated as you can. This means increasing water levels in the skin and upping moisturisation (See my guide to choosing a moisturiser if you’re still stuck for what to look for). When your skin is moist there’s less dry patches so foundation goes on smoother and lasts longer. When you’ve fixed your peeling lips, lipstick looks better and stays put. Hydration can also reduce irritation and redness. I truly believe that in the lead up to any important event, you should be hydrating your skin from all directions.
Now is not the time to go get a fancy new facial or a peel, however. If you’re only a few days out then there’s not enough time to account for any reactions that might give you. An allergic reaction or breakout is the last thing you need before a stressful day. Focus on the things you can do from home to boost your moisture levels.
So let’s look at the ways you should be hydrating prior to a big event.
My Favourite Pre-Event Hydration Steps:
The Week Before:
- Not necessarily for your skin, but for your whole body, you should be drinking an adequate amount of water. Use this guide to help you figure out what that is based on your age and sex. Start drinking plenty as soon as you can. By drinking lots of water, you reduce water retention which in turn reduces eye bags. Your eyes look clearer, your breath is fresher and you won’t get a dehydration headache!
- Drop the drying cleanser. Try to switch out to a richer, creamier cleanser to avoid stripping your skin dry. Something like Neutrogena Ultra Gentle or CeraVe Hydrating.
- Exfoliation will allow your skin to fully accept the hydrating products you’ll use. It’ll make your skin look smoother and foundation (if you wear it) will go on better. There are two kinds of exfoliation – chemical and physical. So close to a big event, it’s best not to try any new active ingredients on your skin, so I’d lean away from chemical exfoliants. I suggest using a Konjac Sponge for an awesome, eco-friendly and gentle physical exfoliant. Soak it before gently exfoliating your skin with circular motions once a day until your event.
- Turn on a humidifier in your bedroom every night. This will help prevent reduce water loss from your skin while you sleep.
- If possible, moisturise immediately after you wash your face. This helps traps a little bit of extra water underneath your moisturiser.
- Layer your moisturisers from thin to thick. Using several layers of moisture will ensure your skin is fully quenched. This technique allows for maximum ingredient penetration because your light products aren’t blocked by your heavy ones. For example, don’t put on a rich night cream and then try to put a serum on top. The heavier occlusive ingredients in the first will repel the lighter waterier ingredients in the second.
- Use watery lotions like my favourites Kikumasamune. These deliver lightweight hydration through water-binding ingredients to quench dehydrated skin. They also don’t contain and oils so they’re great if you’re worried about makeup longevity on the day. They soak into the skin quickly and contain great skin repairing ingredients too.
- Use a sheet mask (like the Black Pearl Mask from My Beauty Diary). These cotton sheets are placed onto the skin before heavy moisturisers and occlusives, and left for 20 or so minutes. They’re soaked with lots of nourishing and soothing ingredients that will boost your hydration levels for the big day. Think of it like a super-serum step. Plus, they look really freaky!
- Incorporate oils to soften the skin and improve surface texture. While not technically hydrating, oils help improve flexibility and bounce making the skin look smooth and healthy. My favourite oil at the moment is Squalane because it’s lightweight, odourless and hasn’t broken me out.
- Finish your routine each night with an occlusive. Occlusives stop evaporation, thus locking moisture into the skin. I have been using Vaseline in the lead up to a family wedding this weekend and it’s doing a great job!
- Exfoliate your lips using a lip scrub or a soft toothbrush to remove any dead skin. Follow with a thick lip balm at night to keep them soft and free from cracks.
The Day of:
- Moisturise heavily half an hour before you put on any makeup. It will help soften any remaining flaky areas on the day. This should soak in, but any excess can be tissued off before you go onto primer.
- Be sure to wear a moisturising primer if you’re going to be applying foundation. This will give your skin extra slip and glow. I enjoy Too Faced’s Hangover RX Primer.
- Set your skin with a spray like L’oreal Pro-Spray or NYX Dewy Finish. This removes any excess powderiness from your makeup and affords you that final bit of moisture.
Of course, all these steps would be great to utilise in your everyday routine. But I think hydration has the most potential to make a positive impact on skin that’s been a bit neglected before a big event. If you look glowing, people will notice that more than anything else! So good luck and get hydrating!