Sunday 17 December 2017

Hibernating Help to revive your skin after Christmas indulgence

Maybe you're only fit for holing up indoors, says our expert, but you can always look good while staying in

Pictured, from left, Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate; Hand Chemistry Pro-Repair Skincare for Hands; Shu Uemura Urban Moisture Hydro-Nourishing Double Serum; Clarins Booster Energy; SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque
Pictured, from left, Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate; Hand Chemistry Pro-Repair Skincare for Hands; Shu Uemura Urban Moisture Hydro-Nourishing Double Serum; Clarins Booster Energy; SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque

Sarah Caden

So you're not going out. That's OK. In fact, that can be better than OK at this time of year, when you've seen enough of everyone, and even seen enough of your own visage in the mirror, getting ready, yet again, to show the world your party face. There's such a thing as too much of a good thing, and you most likely reached saturation point last weekend. Now it's time to stay in, take stock and be nice to yourself in a quiet, battery-recharging kind of way.

Chances are, you're showing all the signs of needing a hibernation break. The drink, the food, the non-stop central heating of the Christmas and New Year break will have taken a dehydrating toll on your skin and hair. The thing is, though, that you won't want to go too easy on yourself in this hibernation period. It would be nice to feel, at the end of January, that you will emerge as a made-over, much-improved version of yourself. The party face was great, but what you'd like to see now is some well-tended, stripped-bare beauty, and that is easily achieved in the comfort of your own home. This week's hibernation helpers will clear, comfort, replenish and revive your skin, hair, body and soul. And leave you ready to face some February nights at month's end.

Best overall

Eucerin Hyaluron-Filler Concentrate, €34.99, available nationwide

Hyaluronic acid is an ingredient that shows up everywhere these days, and with good reason. It's an element that occurs naturally in the skin, and holds and attracts water to the skin cells, thus making the surface look more full and plump. The effect is temporary when you use it in a skincare product, but it's impressive stuff all the same, as well as easy and painless to use. Our top tip is to apply it to damp skin, so it seals in the water already there. "These are like a hyaluronic super boost," one panellist said, "and had the effect of an expensive facial at a fraction of the price."

Best Helping Hand

Hand Chemistry Pro-Repair Skincare for Hands, €9, Boots

Even if you're good at putting on your gloves, the weather will take its toll on your hands. And the hands, as we know, are one of the first places we notice signs of ageing, such as loss of elasticity and patchy pigmentation. A hand-cream habit cannot hurt, and this particular hand cream promises visible results in 11 days. "Reassuringly rich, and a little goes a long way," a panellist said. "It sinks in nicely and noticeably improves softness and spring-back-ability. It's a pity there's no SPF, though."

Best Mane Event

Shu Uemura Urban Moisture Hydro-Nourishing Double Serum, €40, salons nationwide

This serum will be kind to finer hair types that are really frazzled post-party season, but only if you're desperate. For the thick-haired, it's a new all-year best friend, though. It contains ultra-moisturising moringa oil and vitamin-rich red algae. You shake it up to mix the oil and water elements, then apply it to damp hair and see soft and bouncy results immediately. "Brittleness banished," said a panellist. "My hair was dull and best cut short after Christmas. A week of this brought back shine and softness. I'd nearly consider getting out the heat-straighteners again. Soon."

Best Oil Advantage

Clarins Booster Energy, €39, Clarins counters nationwide

Ginseng is the key ingredient in this skin treatment, which you can use as often or as irregularly as you like, as an addition to your regular routine. The ginseng is supposed to re-energise and banish fatigue. In an oil base, a few drops of this does what it says, and boosts whatever else you're using. It has the advantages of a face mask, without the muck. "I love the no-hassle of this," said one panellist. "If I forget to put it in my face cream, I add it to my foundation for added dewiness."

Best All Clear

SkinCeuticals Clarifying Clay Masque, €65, for stockists, see

If all the rules went out the window last month as regards removing make-up every night, then your pores are likely to need a bit of attention. This clay-based mask does good work on clogged complexions, while hydroxy acids refine and exfoliate, and camomile calms. Oilier skins will get away with regular use, but other types could do weekly as an emergency effort. "I love the old-school way in which this dries out and feels a bit tight," said a panellist. "I like obvious work being done and obvious benefits, and this offers both."


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