The festive season can be bad for your skin but making small changes can make a real difference
The festive season and gorgeous skin do not go hand in hand. Late nights, too much alcohol, party make-up and zero exercise can leave your skin dull, irritated or spotty — which is hardly the look any of us have in mind for New Year’s Eve.
There is hope, though. Changing your ways now — even with this little time to go until the biggest party night of the year — can make a real difference. Just follow our experts’ six-day plan for restored radiance and you’ll be glowing by the time the bells chime in 2012.
TODAY: PUT AWAY THE CHOCOLATES
‘Festive feasting can play havoc with your skin,’ says nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston. ‘Too much sugar and refined carbohydrate can cause inflammation, uneven skin tone and irritation where there wasn’t before. Commit to six days of eating well and you’ll start to see changes.
‘Banish any less-than-healthy leftovers to the freezer and, instead, fill your plate half-full of green veg, devote a quarter to good-quality protein and a quarter to wholegrain starch. Poached or grilled salmon with brown rice and broccoli would be perfect.
‘Cut out wheat and dairy altogether if you can, as it will give your digestive system a rest, and improves skin tone. The old “water equals beauty” advice is right, but only when done properly. Drink plenty, just not at the same time as your food, when drinking can dilute your digestive enzymes and make digestion less efficient. Instead, drink 1.5 litres a day sipped between meals or at least 20 minutes before eating.’
Or, as an alternative to water, Yvonne recommends adding fresh ginger, lemon and a pinch of cayenne pepper to green tea.
TOMORROW: TWEAK YOUR SKINCARE REGIME
‘Get your glow back by stimulating your skin,’ says dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting. ‘This is best done using a chemical exfoliant, like glycolic or salicylic acid in a cleanser. Look for them in the ingredients lists. I like Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash, (£22, outlineskincare.co.uk).
‘This will gently exfoliate and help your skin absorb other products. Swap your night cream for one containing vitamin A to do the same thing as you sleep.
‘Eau Thermale Avene Ystheal+Emulsion (£22) from Boots is great. For day, I like the New Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturiser SPF15, (£9.99 aveeno.co.uk). It contains soy, which evens tone and boosts radiance.’
FROM LEFT: No 7 Blush Tint in Blossom, Eau Thermale Avene Ystheal+, Neostrata Foaming Glycolic Wash
WEDNESDAY: TACKLE REDNESS GENTLY
If you’re suffering from a mince pie and sherry-induced skin break-out, invest in a natural product to heal inflamed skin. Living Nature New Zealand Manuka Oil (£14.10 livingnature.com) is 20 to 30 times more active than Tea Tree oil and is gentle on sensitive skin. Manuka helps to promote natural healing, reduces redness and aids sore and itchy skin. Apply directly to troubled skin with a cotton bud.
THURSDAY: GIVE YOURSELF A PRO-STYLE FACIAL MASSAGE
Facialist Sarah Chapman recommends starting each day with a face massage to help to clear impurities and stimulate lymph drainage, thus reducing puffiness.
‘Making a loose fist, use your knuckles to massage all over your face, starting from the centre and working out,’ she says. Are your eyes still giving away that Bellini binge? ‘Get rid of puffiness by using your fingertips to gently drum all around the orbital bone around your eye socket,’ she adds. At this time of year, where we have a lot of central heating on, Sarah advises giving your skin a little extra help to stay hydrated.
‘Products containing hyaluronic acid are great for festive skin as it really locks in moisture and plumps, giving a dewy appearance.’
Melvita Orange Blossom Extraordinary Water, (£12, melvita.co.uk) is one of them. Very moisturised skin is the easiest way to cheat a fresh look.
FRIDAY: GROOM YOUR BROWS AND GET A GREAT NIGHT’S SLEEP
‘A well-shaped brow can transform your face fast,’ says brow shaper Tracie Giles. ‘Create an arch with its highest point two-thirds of the way along the brow: in line with the outside your iris. This will give an open and lifted look.’
FROM LEFT: Cherry Active, Living Nature New Zealand Manuka Oil, Melvita Orange Blossom Extraordinary Water
Sleeping in relatives’ lumpy spare beds over a succession of nights can leave you feeling exhausted and looking less than fresh. Ensure you drop off and stay asleep for as long as possible with a glass of cherry juice before bed. This sounds strange, but a recent study found people who had a glass before retiring for bed not only slept longer, but also better. This is due to high levels of melatonin in the cherries (Cherry Active, from £1.89, cherryactive.co.uk).
NEW YEAR’S EVE: NOW FOR YOUR PARTY TRICK…
‘Less is more,’ says make-up artist Lisa Eldridge. ‘Base is key, so start off with a great primer, which can do wonders. New Boots No 7 Airbrush Away (£19.50) temporarily fills lines and wrinkles and gives your skin a soft-focus look.
‘Keep foundation light, only put it where you really need it and on the cheeks. I like No 7 Blush Tint in Blossom (£10). Use a natural-coloured lip-liner over the whole lip to give your mouth colour extra staying power. Top it off with a slick of Vaseline to add a touch of moisture and counteract any drying. Wide awake eyes are easy to cheat with a couple of light coats of mascara. And a gleaming pale eyeshadow on your lids will open up the eyes even more.’
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