Last Minute Big Event? Here’s How to Fix Your Skin

When you’re one week out from a big event (think prom, a wedding, or a high school reunion) and your skin is looking less than impressive, there’s no time to learn about retinol and lasers!

Everyone just wants to know the secret to immediately flawless skin on short notice. What do you do when you’ve had to prioritise other things and now it’s the last minute?

While truthfully we all know that you need to be performing a consistent skin care routine to achieve your dream skin, there are some closely guarded secrets to looking your best on a big day with short notice.

Let’s get into the tips and tricks for pre- special event skin care.

The big secret: Hydration is everything

Great last-minute skin is all about getting your skin as hydrated as you can. Seriously, that’s it! Why?

It’s simple: water is a key component of our skin and everything looks better on a hydrated base. Proper hydration will reduce irritation and redness, meaning you can put less makeup on while having a natural in-built glow. When your skin’s surface is moist and properly prepared there’ll be less dry patches so foundation goes on smoother and lasts longer. When you’ve traded your peeling lips for plump ones, lipstick looks better and stays put without peeling off.

You should be hydrating your skin from all directions. This means doing things to increase water levels inside the skin as well as upping your moisturisation routine to the max.

What not to do to your skin before a big event

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 things you should be doing to your skin prior to a big event.

My favourite pre-event hydration steps:

The week before:

  1. 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! As skin is one of the least vital organs, if you’re chronically dehydrated it will begin to show there first. When there’s no water deep in the skin, there’s often not a lot products can do to help. So get chugging!
  2. Drop the over-drying cleansing routine. Try to switch out to a richer, creamier cleanser to avoid stripping your skin dry. Something like Neutrogena Ultra Gentle or CeraVe Hydrating. Make sure you’re not overwashing your face.
  3. Exfoliation is a godsend. It encourages your skin to be fully clear of debris and able 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 unless you’re already using them (in which case, ramp it up!). For the rest of you, 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.
  4. Especially if you life in a desert climate, turn on a humidifier in your bedroom every night. This will help prevent reduce water loss from your skin while you sleep.
  5. If possible, moisturise immediately after you wash your face. Don’t let your skin dry out first. This helps trap a little bit of extra water underneath your moisturiser.
  6. Use watery lotions like my favourites Cezanne and 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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. I personally use 2-3 layers of moisturisers every day, and even more before a big event!
  9. Incorporate oils to soften the skin and improve surface texture. While not technically hydrating, they’re an emollient which helps improve flexibility and bounce, making the skin look smooth and healthy. My favourite oil more general recommendation is Squalane because it’s lightweight, odourless and great for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
  10. Wrap up 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!
  11. 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. If you’re planning on wearing a bright lipstick, go ahead and spend some time on a full lip care routine.

The day of:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. Don’t go in with super thick silicone-based blurring primers all over – if you must, just apply these to the most texturally challenging areas of your face.
  3. 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.

And that’s it! These secrets will make sure your neglected skin doesn’t steal any attention away from your big day. Of course, all these steps would also be great to utilise in your everyday routine too! If you look glowing, people will notice that more than anything else! So good luck and get hydrating!

Essie