Let’s be honest—if you’ve just pulled several consecutive 12+ hour work days, skincare is probably the last thing on your mind after. Until, of course, you’ve been running on empty for weeks and find yourself totally exhausted, overwhelmed, and dealing with a complexion that’s dull, flaky, or even broken out like a teenager’s.
It’s happened to me a few too many times, but over the years I’ve devised a plan that can be used both preventatively and during the chaos to keep your skin glowing. Trust me—if you’re committed, it really does work!
1. Eat (and Drink) Right
You’ve heard it before—drink lots of water, skip the coffee or alcohol. But realistically, we know working around the clock makes us crave our morning caffeine fix and evening vino indulgence even more than usual.
So here’s how to make it work without depriving yourself: For every alcoholic beverage you have, be sure to drink two glasses of water. Down a 12-16 oz. glass of water before your coffee in the morning, and bonus points if you squeeze lemon into your H2O—the extra vitamin C can’t hurt! While you’re at your desk, make it your goal to drink two (good) or three (better!) 16 oz. glasses of water.
Noshing on fruits and veggies is another excellent way to stay hydrated. Grab a salad with deep greens for lunch or reach for an apple instead of your afternoon bag of peanut M&Ms. Your body processes vitamins from food sources more easily than oral tablets, and the extra water will keep your skin happy.
And last but not least, don’t skip your vitamins! Be sure you’re at least taking a multivitamin, extra calcium, and omega-3s—these will keep your body functioning as smoothly as possible on little sleep, which will help keep your skin looking stellar.
2. The Right Night Routine
Properly removing your makeup is essential when you’re trying to keep your skin fresh during a rough work week. So however tempting it may be to crawl into bed with a full face—don’t do it! Your pores will clog, and with the added stress from work, that’s asking for a breakout.
Make it part of your evening routine to remove eye makeup, wash your face, and moisturize before bed. If you really struggle with this, keep makeup remover wipes on your nightstand—then you’ll have no reason not to at least “take your face off” before getting some shut-eye.
If you want to take this a step further, invest in a moisturizing night treatment and eye cream. Some of my favorites are CeraVe Facial Moisturizing Lotion PM, Rodin Olio Lusso (try Josie Maran if you want a great less expensive option!), and Lancôme Génifique Yeux Light-Pearl Eye-Illuminating Youth Activating Concentrate. I love using face oil under a night cream in the winter or when my skin is really dry for a super-moisturizing treat.
3. Give Yourself a Mini-Facial (While You Work)
Up late working? Kill two birds with one stone and try a face mask while you burn the midnight oil. Sloughing off dead cells, unclogging pores, and infusing nutrients will rejuvenate your skin, leaving you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (or looking that way, at least). Some of my favorites are Caudalíe Vinoperfect Enzyme Peel Mask, Lush Mask of Magnaminty, and Kate Somerville ExfoliKate.
And your skin absorbs moisture much better after a treatment, so follow your mini-facial with your favorite night treatment or face oil.
4. Make the Most of Your Makeup
It seems counterintuitive, but when your skin isn’t at its best, less makeup is more. You’re better off skipping foundation and concealer altogether if your skin is dry—flaky foundation looks much worse than under-eye circles or exposed blemishes. If you really need some coverage, choose a tinted moisturizer instead (my favorite is EltaMD’s SPF 41 Tinted Moisturizer).
If your skin is behaving but just looking tired, I suggest using a touch of brightener (like YSL’s Touche Éclat) as under-eye concealer, under your brow bone, between your eyebrows, in inner corners of the eyes, and on your cupid’s bow (where your upper lip dips). This will create the instant illusion of glowing, well-rested skin. If you want to look even dewier, try swapping your powder blush for a cream version (try Josie Maran) and dabbing the tiniest bit of face oil on your cheekbones, the middle of your forehead, and your chin.
Tell us! What are your best tips for keeping your tired skin looking great?