Shine bright these holidays.
It’s that special time of year again when the work calendar has started to slow down and the social calendar seems to be busier than it has been all year. With beauty appointments getting penciled in, wardrobes seeing a festive shift and more beauty looks than normal, it’s time we prepare our skin for the festivities. Putting our best glam forward, we called upon the expertise of celebrity facialists Joanna Vargas, Melanie Grant and Shani Darden to share their complexion diaries, tips and recommendations for the best skin prep ahead of the party season.
Target In-Clinic Treatments
“Now’s the time for clean, clear and radiant skin,” says Sydney facialist Melanie Grant. “After so many months indoors over winter and in lockdown here in Australia, it’s time to have fun and enjoy ourselves. Save corrective treatments with associated downtime—like laser resurfacing and depigmentation peels—for the new year. Instead, focus on treatments like microdermabrasion, LED light therapy and radiofrequency skin-tightening that will give the skin an immediate boost.”
Celebrity esthetician Shani Darden says preparing your skin for the festive season is all about oxygen, “An oxygen treatment can smooth and plump up the skin for more hydrated, glowing skin. It’s a really great treatment that I always recommend right before a big event because there is no downtime and you walk out glowing. The dome pumps oxygen in to reduce inflammation, increase product absorption, and support healthy circulation to give your skin an amazing glow. I have my clients lay underneath the dome with a mask on to help the mask be absorbed deeply into the skin”. For a hit of hydration at home, the SK-II Facial Treatment Mask is a must.
The Pre-Party Peel
“Peels before party season are great because they boost your glow and resurface the skin,” says US-based facialist Joanna Vargas. “At the salon we do peels in conjunction with LED light so there aren’t any downsides to doing them professionally and if you are afraid of peels because you think they might be too harsh for your skin, then I would recommend a combination product like my own Exfoliating Mask which has pineapple enzyme and lactic acid in addition to pumice for scrubbing the t-zone. So even though it’s a scrub you can scrub and then leave it on the skin for 10-15 minutes.”
For peels generally, the pre-party season isn’t the time to try something intense or new—instead a lactic acid peel is also recommended by Darden, or a “gentle AHA and enzyme peels are a great option for the festive season.” Grant agrees: “They refine and brighten while promoting collagen and encouraging circulation, so they’ll offer a healthy glow and the impression of restful sleep, even if you had one too many cocktails the evening before.”
Grant adds: “Keep it simple. Use products you know work well for your unique complexion. Go slow and steady with anything new—or too active—to avoid redness or a reaction before an event.”
Facial Treatment Countdown
As for when to have these treatments? Here, Grant breaks down a general step-by-step protocol for the weeks leading up to your events.
“Each treatment plan will be shaped by the unique complexion at hand. Though generally speaking, in preparing for a special event, I’d start with incorporating treatments such as laser or IPL at the three-week mark. From two weeks, gentle peels and hydrating boosters will help infuse the skin with vital nutrients and metabolise any pigment that has surfaced”.
“LED is a must a week out, as is microdermabrasion and sonophoresis infusions of custom actives to really enliven the skin. The night before, a plumping mask paired with a firming massage will yield great results.”
For the benefits to translate at home, “ensuring you’re facilitating cell turnover with a gentle exfoliant two to three times per week will really enhance results and using actives in your serum each day like multi-molecular hyaluronic acids, antioxidants and squalene will do a lot of the heavy lifting for you.” Grant adds: “It may not seem like much, but the little things we do each day really make a difference in the long run.”
For devices, Darden recommends Vibration Therapy which was developed for in-clinic but she has created an at-home device that works wonders just the same. “My Facial Sculpting Wand uses acoustic soundwaves to target wrinkles below the skin’s surface along with boosting circulation for smoother, firmer, more glowing skin. This is a great treatment to perk up your skin before a big event!”
In terms of ingredients, Vargas stands by “using a retinol at night which is great for all skin types and using a Vitamin C serum for the day as a brightening agent. I like a hyaluronic serum for the day and night, to boost hydration and everyone also needs a scrub in their lives to do a mini facial at home.” Try her cult-favourite brightening serum or Darden’s Retinol Reform serum in your routine.
An Holistic Approach
We know healthy and radiant skin is more than just treatments and skincare and is also aligned with your diet and digestive responses. Vargas says: “I would also strongly suggest avoiding sugar, dairy and wheat. All of those things are hard to digest and lead to breakouts even in adult skin! Most people don’t realise that skin directly correlates to our digestive system. If we eat something we can’t digest or have trouble digesting, there are consequences!”
Vargas says to “substitute the afternoon coffee for a green juice—it will do wonders for the face by decreasing puffiness in the eyes, improve dark circles and even help to oxygenate the skin, which means the skin will be better able to rid itself of impurities and bring in nutrients.”
Enjoy the holidays!