Vogue’s Guide to the Ultimate Holiday Beauty Prep
About one week before your first big event, book a comprehensive facial that delivers lasting results. “This is the moment to reduce fine lines, boost hydration, and make skin glow. A combination of LED light and microcurrent energizes the complexion for a good 21 days,” says superfacialist Joanna Czech, whose LED therapy facial, offered at New York City’s Core Club and at her cozy Dallas treatment space, also includes a customized peel to slough off dead cells, a blast of oxygen for added rosiness, and some lip-plumping magic. If your skin is congested, or breaks out under pressure, New York City dermatologist Fredric Brandt suggests starting the season with a salicylic acid peel instead to head off disaster before it’s too late. He often pairs one with an Isolaz laser treatment, which combines vacuum suction that cleans out pores and bacteria-killing light.
SPOT TREAT WHEN NECESSARY
If time is of the essence, an abbreviated speed treatment can be surprisingly effective: At her self-titled New York City spa, celebrity facialist Ling Chan—whose client list includes Jessica Chastain and Erin Heatherton—has devised a 20-minute FaceBar express treatment ($50) that uses heat, far infrared light, and acupressure to brighten skin, reduce puffiness and boost circulation. Also on the menu: extractions for emergency spots ($10 per bump). On the West coast, the recently opened Face Haus spa offers similar one-off extractions, as well as half-hour facials featuring anti-aging peels, oxygen treatments, and deep pore cleansing ($45). And for those last-second invites that demand immediate action, Caudalie’s ten-minute Premier Cru Facial—offered at the French beauty company’s New York City and Venice, California retail outposts—involves prepping skin with a brisk cleaning, multiple masks, and massage, followed by a layer of tinted moisturizer and eye cream. Scribble on some liner, and you’re set.
FLASH FOCUS BELOW THE NECK
When you slip off your coat, make sure your skin looks as perfect as your plunge-neck jumpsuit or backless LWD. Using a daily body scrub (like REN Guerande Salt Exfoliating Body Balm) every morning to buff the skin and following with a dose of body oil (like Tatcha Gold Camellia Beauty Oil) will help. Swapping out your regular body lotion for one with lactic acid is another good strategy for dissolving rough patches “without irritating,” says Brandt.
If that’s not enough, seek professional help: Dermatologist David Colbert offers a comprehensive version of his signature Triad facial for the body. One session treats the face, arms, chest, legs, backside, and the tops of the feet ($2,500) using a blend of light microdermabrasion with laser toning and a gentle flower acid peel. For those who plan on breaking out the statement sandals, Colbert’s office also offers a foot-focused Medicure treatment, which uses TCA acid on the bottoms of the feet, plus microderm and laser toning.
BE STRATEGIC ABOUT YOUR WAX
“The safest time to get waxed is five to seven days before an event, especially for the lip, which is most unpredictable,” says Czech (who insists that clients include their toes if exposing their feet with a glittering party sandal). To minimize trauma, Czech applies a layer of oil—in place of baby powder—before waxing; afterward, she uses a gauze-wrapped ice cube to calm the skin and antibacterial high-frequency current to ward off bumps, as well as a “supersoothing, zinc oxide-rich diaper cream that you can only get in Poland.” Sweeping a washcloth over the area—daily, starting 48 hours after waxing—can help prevent ingrowns.
TIME YOUR HAIRCUTS—PERFECTLY
“Simple yet chic” is how the L.A.-based hairstylist Jen Atkin describes the vibe to strive for this season. It all starts with a good trim—nothing drastic—to eliminate any split ends that could derail the look of relaxed waves or an easy topknot. Book it now. (If hair is really fried, the standard trim may not cut it; get a deep-conditioning treatment, like Kérastase Masque Force Architecte, “but avoid protein masks, which can lead to more breakage if overdone,” says Atkins.) If applicable, she also suggests scheduling a bang trim with someone you really trust one week before a big event, to give hair that “neat but not freshly cut feel,” she says. Should you find yourself with time to sneak in a glaze while you’re in the chair, do it—the added shine will go far in giving hair a healthy, high gloss appeal. Otherwise, try Atkin’s mask recipe: Mix 2 tablespoons of coconut oil (microwaved for fifteen seconds), 1 tablespoon of honey, and half of a ripe avocado, work it through the hair with a wide-tooth comb, then shampoo out after 30 minutes.
MAKE YOUR MANICURE LAST
High on the list of polarizing beauty trends is the gel manicure. Still, love it or hate it, its durability is undeniable. “You can get two to three weeks out of one,” says Eleanor Langston, founder of SoHo’s Paintbox nail bar, so if you time it right, it can carry you through most of your holiday events. If you prefer regular polish, buy a shade with lasting appeal (like Chanel Dragon or Christian Louboutin Just Nothing) and bring it to your appointment. Since even a quality manicure will only hold up for a week or so, you’ll want to keep the bottle on hand for impromptu polish changes and DIY touch ups. (“Apply two coats over the chipped area, extending past the edge of the chip for blending, then go over the entire nail with top coat,” says Langston.) Twice a day, massage on a cuticle oil, like this one by Olan, and the night before your party, apply a shiny topcoat so nails look refreshed. Feet tend to fare better than fingertips, especially in winter when they’re less exposed, so the pedicure you get this weekend should serve you well all month. Just don’t let cracked heels ruin a good thing. Lightly buff them during showers, says Czech, and coat them in cream every night.
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