The night before, it’s all, “Cheers!” and “Prost!” and “Salute!” but come the morning after a long night of too many cocktails, it’s more like “Advil!” and “Pepto!” and “Gatorade!” It happens—hangovers do not discriminate, from college to adulthood, they can sneak up on anyone.
Here’s hoping you have the day to relax and recover, but if you do need to be out and about, or even (gulp) at work, there is a way to look fresh when you are perhaps, most likely, or definitely hungover.
It’s not as easy as just washing your face and getting ready; you’ll need to do some extra steps to defeat the puffy, dry, tired, and redness that alcohol (and dehydration) imparts on the skin. Alcohol doesn’t do the skin and body many favors come morning time, so here’s the routine I’ve learned in the two-plus years of being a beauty editor.
Ice, Ice, Baby
With each passing year, I find that salty foods or cocktails make my under eyes puff up more and more. Does it stop me from consuming copious amounts of guacamole and a few margaritas? Never, but it does mean a guaranteed express trip to Swell City, population my two damn eyes.
There are a handful of remedies for swollen eyes, but arguably none are more effective than the free version: Splashing ice cold water on your face. Celebrity esthetician Renee Rouleau suggests stepping it up a notch by filling your sink with cold water and adding about 15 ice cubes. Then, add about a third of a cup of alcohol-free witch hazel to the ice bath. Now, the fun part (jk): Dunk your face about 10 times, hanging out underwater for about five to 10 seconds each time, if you can. “The combination of cold temperatures with witch hazel stimulates drainage and reduces puffiness,” says Rouleau. “It also might provide some relief for your headache.”
Still swollen? Take an ice cube out of the fridge, wrap it around a tissue (so you don’t become soaked in the cube runoff) and dab it around your face for a few minutes.
Do all of these DIY remedies sound like too much when you’re hungover? If you’d prefer to lie horizontally for an additional five minutes while you massage something cool on your face, this Stacked Skincare Ice Roller, $30, is for you. The large roller has liquid inside the roller, so once it’s frozen, it stays chilled for 15 to 20 minutes while you roll it around your face.
To reduce the appearance of dark circles, massage under your eyes with your fingertips, using a small amount of eye cream. Simply work in tiny circles, massaging gently around the eyes. You can even (very softly) tap with your fingertips to stimulate stagnant blood flow.
If puffiness and dark circles are still loitering, bring in the foolproof option, aka Joanna Czech Facial Massager, $189. Facial swelling stands no chance against this aluminum and zinc alloy roller, which boosts circulation, drains swelling, and sculpts the face. After five minutes of massaging with this, my face is always nearly back down to normal.
“Moisture is the essence of wetness, and wetness is the essence of beauty,” said Derek Zoolander in the 2001 Zoolander film. The screenwriters meant it as a joke to mock Zoolander’s character, but the joke is on them because moisture really is the essence of beauty, or more appropriately, the essence of not looking hungover.
First, rehydrate the surface of your skin with a quick face mask. Rouleau’s Rapid Response Detox Masque, $63.50, is a great choice because it has soothing and healing benefits and works to fight puffiness. “Hyaluronic acid, sodium hyaluronate, and sodium PCA are all great ingredients to drench thirsty skin cells and restore them to a healthier state,” she says.
Or try Talika Bubble Mask Bio-Detox, $10, which foams up with thousands of oxygen microbubbles for our own little oxygen facial. Plus it looks hilarious on, so you can have a little chuckle to yourself and forget how terrible you feel for a few minutes.
If I’m still not looking 100 percent, I call in my ultimate secret weapon—111Skin Rose Gold Brightening Facial Treatment Mask, $25. The mask is known to be a pre–photo shoot staple among celebrity facialists and makeup artists. It imparts a rosy glow that will cover all sins from the night before.
On a deeper level, you need to hydrate your body, of course. I down a glass of Dr. Gundry Vital Reds, $69.95, which gives the body a blast of 34 unique polyphenol extracts for more energy and “healthier-looking skin,” says Dr. Gundry
When in doubt, drink a fresh green juice, put on some lipstick, and watch puppy videos on Instagram—that’s my version of “hair of the dog.”