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Save your skin during party season

  • Story Highlights
  • Don't sacrifice your looks when you party
  • Add drop of sweat-proof sunblock to foundation
  • Match glass of alcohol to glass of water to avoid dehydration
  • Always clean your face before hitting the bed
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By Elizabeth Einstein
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( -- The best parts of the holiday season (late nights, excessive eggnog) can take quite a beauty toll. To avoid puffy eyes, splotchy skin and other telltale signs of a packed social calendar, use this round-the-clock guide. We guarantee you'll look gorgeous in the evening and fresh the next day


5:30 p.m: Before you go out -- prep skin

Dry winter air means parched skin, says Katie Rodan, a dermatologist in San Marino, California. She recommends applying a soothing mask to "restore a little glow."

Makeup artist Charlie Green uses Astara Activated Sea Mineral mask on models at shoots because "it makes their skin as radiant as possible." To top off the pre-makeup treatment, apply a hydrating primer. "It moisturizes and makes skin even, so foundation glides right on."

Astara Activated Sea Mineral mask, $42; Smashbox Photo Finish Foundation primer, $36;

6 p.m.: Apply makeup -- make it last

To keep liquid foundation from fading, Clarins makeup pro Nick Barose mixes it with a drop of sweat-proof sunblock in his hands, then smooths it on: "This helps it last all night, even if you dance up a storm." To make cheek color lustrous and long lasting, apply a mousse blush (try Lancôme's) to apples of cheeks, followed by a powder blush in the same shade (Barose uses Clarins powder blush, $26;

Keep it simple

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Skip fussy tricks like smoky eyes, liquid liner and precise lip pencil. Not only will that spare you touch-up trips to the bathroom, it will also save time later when you need to remove your makeup.

A glamorous shortcut? "Fake lashes are great and easy to take off," says makeup artist Carmindy. "Buy the full strips, then cut them into pieces. They're much easier than putting on those little individual ones."

To deepen lips, brush on a stain; it will deliver a burst of color and won't leave a print on your cocktail glass.

Lancôme Magique mousse blush in Pink Parfait, $29; Vincent Longo Lip & Cheek gel stain in Baby Boo, $23; Ardell Fashion lashes in black, $4; at drugstores.

8 p.m.: Hit the party! -- drink light

This goes for both color and quantity. Generally, the darker your drink, the more you'll regret it, says John Brick, a biological psychologist specializing in alcohol studies. Since they're less filtered, "darker drinks are more likely to contain impurities [called congeners] that will give you a hangover."

For minimal damage, sip a white-wine spritzer or a vodka and soda, limit yourself to one cocktail an hour, and alternate every alcoholic drink with a full glass of water to stave off dehydration.

Snack smart

It's a good idea to eat while drinking. "Having food in your stomach will slow the alcohol being absorbed into your bloodstream," says New York City nutritionist Lisa Young. "But don't just nosh whatever's in front of you. Do a lap around the party and see what's available." To keep blood sugar stable, look for lean protein (chicken satay, shrimp cocktail) and complex carbohydrates (like carrot sticks). Avoid sauces (even cocktail sauce, which is loaded with sugar), starchy carbs and salty foods; they tend to cause water retention.

Touch up

To keep blush and lip colors vibrant, slip a well-edited makeup palette into your clutch. Benefit's contains shimmery blush and bronzer and two shades of lip gloss.

Benefit 10 Bronzing and Highlighting palette, $28;

12 a.m.: Get to bed

Gulp it down

To counteract the dehydrating and inflammatory effects of alcohol, John Brick suggests drinking lots of water before bed and swallowing one or two aspirin. Don't take a sleeping pill; combined with alcohol, it can be dangerous. A midnight pizza won't prevent a hangover if the alcohol is already in your bloodstream. Instead, try nuts (for protein) or a Fudgsicle (if you crave sweets).

Wash your face

Resist the impulse to dive straight into bed: "If you sleep with makeup on, you're more likely to break out," says dermatologist Heidi Waldorf.

First, take out your contacts. If you leave them in, they'll dry up overnight and make eyes red and itchy.

Next, Carmindy recommends wiping the entire face with makeup remover. "Make Up For Ever Sens' Eyes gets everything off, including the waterproof stuff," she says. After, eliminate any traces of the remover by washing with a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil ($8; at drugstores). Finish with moisturizer.

Make Up For Ever Sens' Eyes eye cleanser, $23;

Sleep well

Before drifting off, fill a glass or two with water to guzzle when you wake up in the middle of the night -- which you will.

"Alcohol initially makes you fall asleep faster, but as it leaves your system, the withdrawal effect causes lighter, shallower sleep," says Nancy Collop, medical director of the Johns Hopkins Sleep Disorders Center.

Then, pile up the pillows: "Propping up the head keeps fluid from pooling around eyes while you sleep," says dermatologist Katie Rodan. And don an eye mask -- even tiny amounts of light, such as that emitted by a digital clock, can disrupt sleep.

8 a.m.: Rise and shine

De-puff and de-pink eyes

To alleviate swelling, place a cold compress on eyes for 5-10 minutes, then pat on an eye cream or gel (right) that's been stored in the fridge. If eyes are red, break out the Rohto V eyedrops ($7;877-470-2982) before putting in contacts. "They whiten eyes instantly and feel cooling," says Nick Barose.

Michele Green Intensive Eye Repair, $55;

Treat skin gently

Skin can be sensitive after a late night, so avoid exfoliators, toners and astringents, advises Heidi Waldorf. Instead use a gentle cleanser and soothing lotion. Charlie Green swears by Weleda Skin Food, a lotion that contains chamomile, an anti-inflammatory: "It smells of oranges and makes skin glow all day."

Weleda Skin Food, $17; 800-241-1030.

Refuel and re-energize

Avoid the siren call of the greasy spoon. "Fat has no effect on the alcohol in your body," says John Brick. Instead try a slice of whole-wheat toast with a boiled egg and some fresh fruit. "Eating simple sugars like fructose increases the rate at which alcohol is eliminated from the system," says Brick.

9 a.m.: Face the day

Warm up skin

To bring a pallid complexion back to life, layer a tinted lotion like Du Wop Revolution Face ($29; over your soothing Weleda moisturizer (above). Then sweep a gold-peach powder, such as the Balm's Hot Mama, over brow bones and cheeks. "The shimmery shade makes you look healthy but not glittery," says Green.

Brighten eyes

Use a creamy concealer to hide under-eye circles. "Lancôme has a waterproof one (Effacernes Undereye concealer, $26; that lasts," says Carmindy. To open up eyes or if eyes are bloodshot, stroke a light-reflecting formula (like Benefit Eye Bright) along the inner rims and outer corners of eyes.

Wear soft makeup

Dense lip color is too severe for the morning after. "A hint of berry will pop some life back into your mouth," says Green, who likes Kiehl's tinted lip balms. Keep eye shadow neutral: "Stay away from bruiselike shades of brick, blue or purple they exacerbate dark circles." Finally, curl lashes and apply mascara to look "more alert and awake in seconds."

The Balm Hot Mama blush, $18;

Benefit Eye Bright, $18;

Kiehl's lip balm SPF 15 in Hue No. 58B, $9;

Lazy-girl bedtime tips

Stumbling home in the wee hours calls for an abbreviated bedtime ritual: Slather on Albolene, a cleansing lotion that also removes makeup. "Wipe it off with a cloth or cotton pads, and any residue left behind acts as a moisturizer," Waldorf says.

If you're too tired for a two-step process, sweep away makeup with pre-moistened towelettes or pads (try Neutrogena's Deep Clean cleansing pads). "Wipes make it so easy, you can even do it in bed," says Charlie Green. As a fail-safe measure, place a package (along with two aspirin and a bottle of water) on your night table before going out.

Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating cleansing pads, $8; at drugstores.

Albolene Moisturizing cleanser, $12; at drugstores. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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