Attention men with faces, we’ve got some bad news for you: the next few weeks and months are going to be tough for your skin.
Aside from being battered by bad weather, party season is on the approach, bringing with it one big boozy, bloated blur, punctuated by bad sleep patterns (and yet more booze).
Fortunately, we’ve collated all the gear you need to ensure you look great on a night out (or five). And, when you don’t look so great the next day, we’ve also got the potions you’ll need to resurrect yourself from the dead. Consider this your party season survival guide.
The Day Before
Give Your Skin A Pep Talk
The ultimate low-effort, high-reward grooming move, exfoliating is the fastest and most effective way to freshen your skin for a night out. By removing dead cells that sit on the skin’s surface to expose fresh, plump ones beneath, you’ll automatically look healthier and perkier.
Apply a coin-sized amount of facial scrub to clean, damp skin and gently massage across the face using your fingertips, focusing on the forehead, cheeks, chin and nose, but avoiding the delicate eye area.
The other advantage of exfoliating before a night out is that you will be left with a smooth, polished surface on which to apply the rest of your appearance-enhancing regime while swerving the risk of redness. Remember to carry ID.
Cut To It
Appearing fresh-faced for an event goes beyond what’s front and centre. A new haircut can dramatically change your overall style, making party season the perfect time to try out a new trim.
While a ballsy buzz cut will add some edge to a suited look, more classic up-dos along the lines of a quiff or pompadour play into the VIP feel of the season. And it works more casually during the day if you switch to more textured styling products.
Whichever you go for, always seek the advice of a barber, who will be able to suggest a guaranteed head-turner based on your lifestyle, the events in your calendar and, most importantly, your face shape.
Don’t Forget The Details
Face on fleek? Polished shoes on point? Well, it could be all for nothing if you overlook the smaller aspects of your appearance when heading out.
At this time of year, few minor details can make or break a party season look like your fingernails. When you’re not throwing shapes, chances are you’re throwing back drinks or food, which means your digits are on constant display.
As well as ensuring your nails are clean and neatly trimmed, don’t forget about the rest of your handcare, which shouldn’t resemble a builder’s (even if you are one). Equally, pay attention to your breath (which can smell like a can of dog food when dehydrated by alcohol) and rogue ear and nose hair (which should be kept in-check year-round).
Turn Winter Skin Into Summer Skin
With vitamin D a distant memory, there’s a chance you could use a little colour on that milky pallor of yours. Fortunately, just as summer bodies are made in winter, so too can summer skin be. Enter: the sunless tan.
A far healthier alternative to sizzling yourself on a sunbed, achieving a healthy self tan is as simple as smearing on a bronzing serum in the days running up to an event and letting the active ingredients subtly darken the skin.
Of course, you’ll want to exfoliate first to avoid any patchiness, and moisturise daily so that the tan fades evenly over time. Or you could take the lead of Mr David Gandy and consult a professional to do the work for you.
The Day Of
Photoshop Your Face
Instagram filters and editing tools can only do so much. If you want to present the equivalent of a live Tinder picture on a night out, getting camera-ready starts with the bathroom cabinet.
In the last few years men’s skincare has come on by leaps and bounds, and there are now plenty of undetectable skin perfectors on the market that essentially act like Photoshop for your face.
As well as moisturising skin, the most useful products contain ‘mattifiers’ such as tapioca starch (to absorb excess oil and reduce shine), light reflecting particles (to improve the overall look of skin), and adaptive pigments (to give a healthy glow). All handy when you’re still going strong at 5am.
Freshen Your Hair
Around Christmas, most office dos are desk-to-dancefloor situations, perhaps with a pit stop for a pint of Dutch courage along the way. That means you’ll need to perfect getting ready in a pinch if you want to look your best.
No longer the preserve of festival goers, dry shampoo has become increasingly popular with men who want to give lank, greasy hair a new lease of life.
Ideal for creating a fresh base for styling products and absorbing excess oil when you don’t have time for a shower, just spray at the roots and create your desired look as normal. Then, step out of the office co-ed toilets like it’s your regular barbershop.
We’re pretty sure the term “sod’s law” was invented for the very purpose of describing the unique phenomenon of waking up the day of an event with a giant spot on your forehead.
In this situation, even the fastest-acting zit-busters aren’t going to cut it. So unless you want people to ask “Who’s your friend?” all night, park your fragile masculinity at the door and pick up some concealer.
Easier to use than most men think – apply a small amount to the tip of your ring finger and pat onto the offending blemish. For bonus points, look for a concealer that tackles the spot “head-on” with skin-saving antioxidants to reduce redness while hiding the offending flaw at the same time.
Spray To Play
When you’re out all night, you need a fragrance that will last as long as you do. Aside from knowing which concentrations will stick around longest (parfum, followed by eau de parfum and lastly eau de toilette), it’s also worth selecting your ingredients wisely.
Certain notes, such as vetiver, oud, sandalwood, musk, patchouli and amber are prized for their longevity and thankfully appear in plenty of classic scents like Terre d’Hermes, Givenchy Gentleman and Creed Original Vetiver.
Where you spray the fragrance can also amp up its endurance. As a general rule, avoid the neck and wrists, which are warmer and therefore burn the scent off quicker. Instead, apply it to your chest, back or biceps, trapping it between your skin and shirt.
The Morning After
Post-Party Skin Savers
Despite all your best pre-party efforts, dehydration, a lack of sleep and that 3am takeaway will still take their toll on your appearance.
In the unlikely event you’re still in possession of all your faculties when you get home, slathering on a night cream before hitting the sack can help minimise damage by jump-starting the regeneration process during the skin’s critical repair phase.
Following the much more likely scenario where you fell asleep on the sofa next to a kebab, reach for an antioxidant-rich moisturiser as soon as you wake up. Those featuring vitamin C are well-known in well-groomed circles to be one of the best hangover tonics since a fried breakfast.
Hydrate The Hangover Away
Hangover cures are generally a myth, but there are ways to lessen the feeling of enduring a slow, painful death by looking to the science.
Alcohol is a diuretic, which means that it helps the body get rid of fluids. That’s why the most common advice to hide a hangover is to drink lots of water. You can also help this along by adding rehydration salts into the mix.
When it comes to saving face, look for products packed with hyaluronic acid, a hydrophilic (water-loving) molecule found naturally in the body that’s capable of holding up to 1,000 times its own weight in water. Sip in the knowledge that all will be better soon.
Get A Wake-Up Call
Dragging yourself out of bed in the morning is hard enough at the best of times, let alone when it feels like Satan himself is trying to escape from your every pore.
It’s likely that overindulgence the night before caused your body to increase its core temperature overnight in an attempt to sweat out the sauce. So for your sake (and everyone around you), hit the showers.
For a water-based wake-up call, opt for a body wash containing citrus oils, a proven mood-booster; black pepper, which increases circulation; or peppermint, to feel instantly more alert.
Ditch The Bags
We’ve all been there. Staring at ourselves blankly in the mirror of the staff toilets wondering how we’re going to hide the fact that we’re hungover. But while it’s easy-ish to conceal a pounding head and a cement-mixer stomach, puffy eyes and dark circles are a dead (man’s) giveaway.
Throughout November and December, hoard eye products everywhere: in your desk drawer, in the stationery cupboard, in your bathroom, next to your bed, in your shoes. Okay, maybe not in your shoes.
Creams tend to be better at dealing with fine lines and wrinkles, while gels are better at banishing eye bags. However, a roll-on can deliver a much-needed cooling sensation. Apply morning and night to help stimulate the drainage of toxins and chill in the fridge beforehand to make it even more refreshing. Don’t worry, 5 o’clock will come. Eventually.