We’re still in denial that the holidays are here, because frankly, we’re just not ready. The weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s are always jam-packed with parties, shopping and being pulled in a million directions—and this can take a toll on your skin. As far as your face is concerned, too much food and alcohol to too little sleep can translate to breakouts, lack of radiance, dark under-eye circles and fine lines and wrinkles that look worse than they really are. But if you follow these 5 pointers, we’ll bet you’ll be putting your best face forward for 2014!
1. Wash your face every night. Whether you’re out till the wee hours or you’re simply falling into bed after a long day at the office, if you do only one thing for your skin this holiday season, wash your face before you go to bed. Not only does this remove all the dirt, pollution and makeup that accumulate through the day, it increases your chances that you’ll apply at least one product that will deliver anti-aging ingredients or extra moisture while you sleep. We recommend buying some Neutrogena Makeup Remover Cleansing Towelettes now so you have them on hand for those late or lazy nights.
2. Start using retinol or a prescription retinoid. If you want a bright, radiant complexion, you need to get those dull, dead cells off pronto. If you’re new to this vitamin A-based ingredient, start slow with an over the counter retinol. (RoC’s products are great.) If you’re a regular at the dermatologist’s office, ask your doctor which one would be best for you. IBB Tip: To prevent the peeling and dryness that can come along with starting retinol, use it every other night and use a skincare oil in place of your night cream. We’ve found this keeps our skin comfy.
3. Make time for a mask. You don’t need to spend the night in to treat your skin to a mask. You can apply an exfoliating or circulation-boosting treatment before you get in the shower, and have a gorgeous glow when you arrive at your destination. Warning: That fresh-faced flush might have some people thinking you had a quickie in the coatroom.
4. Imbibe responsibly. Beyond potentially embarrassing yourself at the office holiday party, too much alcohol will do a doozy on your complexion. You can keep puffy eyes and sallow skin and sallow skin to a minimum by alternating each cocktail or glass of champagne with spring water or club soda. (Put a lemon or lime in there and no one will know you’re sitting that round out.)
5. Listen to your skin. Chilly weather and blustery winds can lead to dry, flaky skin—but if you make changes in your skincare regimen as dictated by your skin, you can get it back on track ASAP. A heavier moisturizer or hydrating serum like SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 Gel will fix dry, tight skin in a flash. And if your skin gets red and irritated, try a calming product like Murad Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum and lay off the exfoliation for a few days.