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8 Ways to Get Rid of Your Hangover Face

Photo: Albert Normandin/Corbis

Not sure if “hangover face” is a thing? Go to the mirror (if you can make it that far). I’ll wait right here, out of puking reach. Does your face look slightly puffier and redder than normal? Do you see dry patches? Are your eyes bluish-red? Congratulations, you had a great night out! And according to celebrity estheticians Joanna Vargas and Joanna Czech, your face is exhibiting the physical signs of a hangover.

“When people are hung-over they are experiencing inflammation,” explains Vargas, and that often manifests in the non-pretty signs mentioned above. But not to worry: Your hangover face can be fixed more easily than your pounding headache. Here are the best hangover beauty tips from a dermatologist, some celebrity estheticians, and a makeup artist, so you can put the physical effects of last night behind you. Read these while lying down, or get a kind friend with a quiet voice read them to you in a low whisper.

1. Try to get up.

Start by first removing your makeup from the night before. If operating the sink seems like too much of an effort, use a gentle makeup remover or a cleansing cream that doesn’t require water. Celebrity makeup artist Suzy Gerstein, whose clients have included Leighton Meester, likes using Orlane Royale Cleansing Cream. “It’s brilliant because it feels like silk and has a balmlike texture, which can be removed with water or lotion and tissued off, leaving skin-plumping ingredients behind.” Vargas, a Sofia Coppola favorite, suggests exfoliating to bring glow back to the skin, and dermatologist Dr. Elizabeth Tanzi seconds using a gentle exfoliating scrub to “wake up the skin” and get the blood moving. Try Omorovicza Refining Facial Polisher, which combines clarifying and tightening mud with tiny exfoliator granules, or Nude Skincare’s Detox Brightening Fizzy Powder, a powder cleanser that combines with water to create an invigorating soft, foamy, milk wash.

2. Touch your face a lot.

All the experts agree that the key to reducing puffiness is to massage your face. If Gerstein has a client come in hung-over, she’ll do a facial massage to boost circulation and encourage lymphatic drainage. The same goes for Vargas and Czech, who already do lymphatic drainage as part of their facials. Here’s how. 

3. Get your skin to drink some water.

Tone, mist, and mask. Gerstein creates a hydrating mixture combining Kypris’s Antioxidant Dew with their Beauty Elixir II, using a damp makeup sponge to apply it all over the face. She follows it up with an eye mask like Talika’s Eye Therapy Patch. Czech, whose client roster includes single-named stars like Sting, suggests using a balancing toner, followed by a mist and mask. Try Biologique Recherche’s P50 or La Mer’s “The Mist.” This Whamisa Organic Sea Kelp Mask from Glow Recipe, made of real seaweed, will have you feeling like Ariel. If you have the energy to DIY your own mask, Vargas suggests one with yogurt and honey because yogurt “reduces the effect of inflammation on the skin, while the honey hydrates.” It can also be good to sleep in a hydrating sleep mask, adds Czech — provided you can remember the night before. Try Amore Pacific’s Moisture Bound Sleep Recovery Mask, which seriously hydrates and doesn’t feel heavy on the skin.

4. Ice yourself.

Take the ice cubes out of the freezer and rub them over your mask, suggests Czech. She likes doing this to minimize puffiness and swelling. Dr. Tanzi also suggests using cold teaspoons to de-puff around the eye area. As a bonus, the old-as-dirt beauty trick with chamomile tea really works. Czech recommends steeping tea bags in hot water, letting them cool, and then putting one on each eye for ten minutes to look refreshed and de-puffed.

5. Take a bath.

Showering will probably seem like too much cardio at this point. Czech recommends decompressing by soaking in an Epsom salt bath with lukewarm or tepid water. “It improves circulation for the whole body,” she says. Try not to fall asleep in the bath. 

6. No glitter.

Although you’ll want to use an illuminating tinted moisturizer, which can help your skin look more luminous, avoid shimmery eye shadow. Try the classic Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer or Hourglass’s Hyaluronic Skin Tint, which comes in a broader shade range and illuminates while giving buttery, silky coverage to the skin. Gerstein explains, “Shimmery shadow can irritate sensitive eyes and draw attention to their puffiness.” If she does use shadow, she uses matte ones like Tom Ford’s Cocoa Mirage palette.

7. Put some color on.

If your skin is looking sallow, adding a bright color will perk up the skin and your face, much like bacon does to your spirits. Gerstein recommends a cream blush and tinted lip balm. “Avoid powders on dry skin as they can look dull and splotchy.” She likes L’Occitane’s Tinted Lip Balm, which can be used on the cheeks, isn’t too shiny, and adds a perfect, natural-looking rosy look. “The Rose Amber shade is my favorite and always gets compliments,” she says. You can also try Clinique’s Chubby Stick Cheek Color, which feels like a chubby toddler crayon, or Bobbi Brown’s Pot Rouge, which is one of the first and still best cream blushes I’ve ever tried.

8. Don’t overdo it on the under-eye concealer.

“It may seem counterintuitive but extra-full coverage concealer under the eyes can only make puffy eyes look worse.” She suggests using a moisturizing foundation, lightly using color-corrective concealer, and defining brows — a great way to draw attention away from dark circles. YouTube makeup sensation Wayne Goss turned me on to Bobbi Brown’s Tinted Eye Corrector in this video, and it’s still the first thing I reach for when someone remarks that I look “sleepy” (which is relatively often, since I am victim of Resting Sleepy Face).

Now put on your sunglasses, open the fridge, and get started on part two of your cure. Or go lie back on the couch and wait till the dreadfulness stops. You do you.

8 Ways to Get Rid of Your Hangover Face