According to one study, the effects of the festive season can last on our skin for up to four weeks. Hardly surprising, when research shows that we knock back five glasses of wine per get-together and lose over 30 hours of sleep. Meanwhile, our sugar intake skyrockets. Throw in an increase in heat styling, central heating and biting winds, and our hair isn't looking too happy either. We spoke to the experts on how best to save face.
The problem: tired skin
Late nights left your skin looking dull as week-old snow?
You need: antioxidants and hydration
There's a reason we call it beauty sleep ? take it away and the repair processes our skin performs overnight are disrupted, halting healthy cell turnover. Meanwhile, sugar-packed alcohol dehydrates and puts a strain on the liver's ability to cleanse. The result? Parched, tired skin. After a late night, recharge your hydration levels with an overnight mask. Consultant dermatologist Dr Justine Hextall recommends Manuka Doctor Apinourish Overnight Lavender Mask, which contains lavender oil to promote a restful night's sleep. Glycerin and Persian silk tree bark help lift a dull complexion by protecting the skin's protein structures. This, in turn, reduces under-eye bags, plus Manuka honey boosts hydration and elastin.
Come morning, treat a skin hangover with antioxidants. 'I'm a big fan of antioxidants to mitigate against the free-radical damage that comes from alcohol and smoking,' says Dr Hextall. 'After a late night of partying, these are your skin saviours.' Trilogy Rosapene Radiance Serum is enriched with a blend of rosehip oil, powerful antioxidants and sea algae to boost radiance.
The problem: dark circles
Gone to rub off your panda eyes, only to find they don't budge?
You need: concealer and vitamin K
'When concealing under eyes, peach tones counteract the blue tone of dark circles,' says cruelty-free make-up artist Justine Jenkins. 'But it's best to use a layering technique to build coverage, rather than applying one thick product that will crack and sit in lines, especially if your skin is dehydrated.' Start with a thin, light-reflective product and pat in with your ring finger, Jenkins advises. 'Then, if you have very dark circles, blend in a tiny amount of corrector, on the darkest areas only. As a final layer, use a highly pigmented concealer all over the area and pat in until the product has disappeared.'
Nutritionist Helen Bond recommends a dietary approach. 'Often, broken capillaries leak deoxygenated blood to form dark circles. Vitamin K strengthens capillary walls,' she says. Try to eat leafy greens, yoghurt, prunes, aubergines and leeks throughout the party season, and look for eye creams containing ingredients high in vitamin K ? green tea, avocado and pomegranate are all safe bets.
The problem: overprocessed hair
Constant heat styling and hairspray build-up left your locks frazzled?
You need: pre-wash treatments and heat protection
'Winter can leave hair lacklustre, frizzy and unruly,' says Anabel Kingsley, trichologist at Philip Kingsley. 'And increased heat styling has a tendency to dehydrate strands and make them hard to manage.' To restore moisture to the hair shaft, Kingsley recommends trying a pre-shampoo conditioning treatment. Pre-wash treatments are perfect for troublesome strands as they leave hair nourished but not weighed down. 'They plump the hair shaft with moisture to restore elasticity and bounce, and also smooth the cuticle to create shine and reduce fly-aways,' she says. Apply to damp hair and leave for 20 minutes.
'To help guard hair from damage, apply a heat-protective spray or serum to towel-dried hair before styling,' says Kingsley. Practical measures like detangling from the ends, avoiding over-drying and choosing the right brush go a long way, too. 'Avoid spiky bristle brushes, and instead use a vented brush with rounded, flexible plastic prongs ? these allow heat to dissipate when styling and they are kind to the hair and scalp.'
I've got? a booze-related breakout
Overindulged and the results rearing their ugly heads?
You need: cleansing and exfoliation
'The first rule: don't go to bed with your make-up on,' says Dr Hextall. Jenkins agrees, adding, 'If you don't cleanse your skin, it can become clogged, with breakouts and blackheads forming. After a heavy night, you'll want efficiency and speed in a make-up remover, so a cleansing oil is perfect ? they loosen all make-up, including waterproof mascara.' Jenkins recommends trying a cleansing oil, while Dr Hextall favours a gentle cleanser, saying, 'It's vital that the regime is ultra-gentle to protect the skin barrier, our first line of defence.' Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser uses chamomile and witch hazel to soothe and purify.
The next morning, awaken your skin with Trilogy Gentle Facial Exfoliant, which is formulated with tiny beads of jojoba to gently remove dead skin. 'Exfoliation is really important when you've been wearing a lot of make-up,' says Corinne Morley, in-house skin expert at Trilogy. 'Polishing away old skin cells encourages cell turnover and reveals new skin underneath ? it's essential for restoring a radiant glow.'