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Party-Proof Your Skin: How To Prepare For An Event And What To Do After To Restore Your Skin Glow

Going to a wedding or a Halloween party? Here's a skincare routine to get your skin party-ready.
Shutterstock / Inside Creative House

Oh, the joys of a night out! Dancing, sipping cocktails, and chatting with friends—what’s not to love? But let’s face it, the morning after can often be a rude awakening for our skin. Puffy eyes, dehydrated complexion, redness, and an all-around tired look. Not the best start to the day, right? Fortunately, we can take a few steps to prime our skin for the big event and have it fully equipped to face all the challenges without breaking out. And let’s not forget about the post-party skincare routine, which is just as important to help your complexion bounce back from the damage and stress caused by those late nights.

How partying affects your skin

Parties can have short- and long-term effects on the skin, that believe me, you won’t like them. Think of the sweating after dancing, sleepless nights, direct and indirect smoking, and the alcohol in those cocktails. The combination of these factors can put your skin in big trouble, especially if you’re often exposed to them. In the short term, you’ll experience a tired, dull look and puffy eyes. However, if you’re a lover of late parties and have made them a weekly habit, expect to see some long-term effects, such as premature skin aging and increased risk of breakouts. 

While it’s true that excessive partying can have negative effects on the skin, occasional night outs are not going to ruin your complexion. So don’t be afraid to let loose and enjoy yourself every now and then. In fact, with proper care and a little preventative routine, you can party as much as you want while keeping your skin healthy.

Pre-party skincare routine

Going to a wedding or partying at a club with your friends? 

First things first, make sure you wax 24-48 hours before the event to avoid redness or irritation and still have baby-soft skin. You can also use a self-tanner 1-2 days prior for an extra natural glow—like L’Oreal Paris Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Facial Drops and Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi

Also, because you’ll most likely wear makeup, it would help a lot to exfoliate your skin before the event to create a smooth canvas and avoid clogging your pores and triggering breakouts. You can use a stronger peel like The Ordinary AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution one day before (at night) or an exfoliating cleanser on the day of the event. Both will do just fine at sloughing off the dead skin cells and cleansing the pores. It will also create a polished surface for your foundation, blush, and other makeup to glide on seamlessly and stay put throughout the night.

If your skin is congested and prone to pimples, use a BHA exfoliant instead (like Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting Liquid Exfoliant). It’s great at dislodging the gunk and bacteria trapped inside pores and preventing post-party breakouts. Then immediately after, slather a clay mask to draw all impurities out and reduce skin oiliness.

Another thing I do to give my skin some extra TLC is applying a nourishing sheet mask and a soothing eye mask the night before. Some people prefer to wait until the day of the event, but I find that letting the mask work its magic overnight gives me the best results. It’s like a little spa treatment for my face while I catch some beauty sleep, and when I wake up, I love how glowing and refreshed my skin is.

Other than that, stick to your usual skincare routine on the morning of the event but go easy on the harsh stuff. Take a break from potent acne medications, peels, and exfoliants that can bother your skin. It’s better to keep it simple with cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and sun protection. Moreover, you can apply a mild vitamin C serum to consolidate your skin’s antioxidant defense and have it ready to fight external threats.

A few hours before going out, cleanse your skin again, if necessary, moisturize, and apply makeup. Depending on the occasion, I use different makeup products. For example, I go with a BB cream with medium coverage if it’s a casual night out at a bar with my friends. It’s more breathable and easy to wear. However, for a wedding, I head towards something with more coverage and lasting power. That’s up to you, really, but use non-comedogenic products so they won’t clog your pores.

During the party

During the party, take a pause from alcoholic drinks and drink plenty of water throughout the night to keep your skin hydrated and flush out toxins from your body. Avoid touching your face, and try not to let sweat stay on your skin for too long. You can also spray a hydrating facial mist on your face when your skin feels rough and dehydrated.

When you get home

Don’t just hit the bed when you get home. Your skin is begging for some fresh air after being cooped up in those layers of makeup all night long, so take a few minutes to cleanse it properly. 

Start by removing your makeup using a gentle cleanser or makeup wipes. This is crucial to allow your skin to breathe and eliminate the toxins and impurities accumulated during the night. After cleansing, apply a hydrating moisturizer to soothe and quench your thirsty skin. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid, glycerin, or aloe vera to replenish your skin’s moisture barrier. You can also apply facial oil to lock in the moisture and give your skin a healthy glow. If you’re feeling particularly tired, use an under-eye mask to reduce puffiness and dark circles. Choose something with caffeine or green tea to awaken and energize the skin.

The morning after 

After a long night of dancing and drinking, it’s normal to wake up with a tired and dehydrated complexion. Luckily, a vitamin C serum in the morning can fix it in a matter of hours. Apply it after cleansing and toning, and seal it with a moisturizer after. Don’t be afraid to use heavy hydrating creams in the morning, especially if you plan to stay home all day. An emollient cream with ceramides and fatty acids can be particularly effective in recovering the skin and replenishing moisture. The next day, use a mild exfoliator to restore skin radiance. Finally, consider getting a facial to give your skin the ultimate post-party pampering. 

How to reduce post-party skin redness

It’s nothing unusual to wake up to a face full of redness after a big night. Here’s what you can do to restore your skin’s natural glow.

First and foremost, start by applying a serum with anti-inflammatory ingredients like chamomile or green tea extract. These are known for their soothing and calming properties, which can help reduce redness and irritation. Next, hydrate your complexion. Grab a gentle, fragrance-free moisturizer and slather it on your face morning and night. Preferably use a formula with restorative ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, ceramides, and fatty acids, to regenerate your post-party stressed skin. One to try is Aveeno Calm + Restore Oat Gel Moisturizer

You can also use a cooling face mask or cold compress to relieve inflammation. Finally, avoid harsh exfoliants or scrubs until your skin is fully recovered. Instead, opt for gentle cleansing products.

How to avoid breakouts post-party

I remember in my teenage years, I often woke up with breakouts after a late party. I then found out that the cause was a combination of sweat and makeup that congested my pores during the night and formed blackheads the next morning. That said, to avoid post-party pimples, give your skin a thorough cleanse and remove your makeup before you go to bed. I like to use a gentle cleanser followed by micellar water to ensure all traces of makeup are removed. Then apply an antibacterial ointment or probiotic moisturizer to reduce the chances of breakouts. Ever since I started doing this, I rarely experienced post-party breakouts.

Who wrote this?
Picture of Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu
Ana Vasilescu is the founder of Women's Concepts and a certified skincare consultant. She has over five years of experience working in the beauty editorial industry and over a decade as an acne sufferer. With a background in dermatological research, Ana brings a wealth of expertise to a diverse range of topics, from buzzy ingredients to anti-aging and acne advice. She holds a BA in Sociology and Political Sciences. Find her on LinkedIn or Instagram.
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