Want party-ready skin, pronto? We show you how to get a flawless complexion in record time.
CleanseHot weather, perspiration, a build-up of products and pollution can all play havoc with your complexion, making it important to wash your face thoroughly before you apply your party make-up, and especially when you get home at night. "The main aim of cleansing should be to remove dirt and make-up without stripping the natural oils from your skin," explains dermatologist Dr Elizabeth Dawes-Higgs. It's best to cleanse your face twice before bed – once to remove your make-up and then again for a deeper clean – and to choose a formula based on your complexion concerns. If your skin is sensitive, try a mild, soap-free lotion, such as Garnier Skin Naturals Clean Sensitive Gentle Cleansing Milk. Or, if you're prone to oiliness, try a lighter texture such as a foam or a gel that won't leave an oily residue, like Nivea Visage Aqua Sensation Invigorating Cleansing Gel.
ExfoliateImprove the texture, clarity and luminosity of your complexion before summer celebrations get into full swing with the help of regular exfoliation. A twice-weekly scrub not only reveals radiance and improves your skin’s health, but also enables your moisturiser or serum to penetrate more effectively, says Dr Dawes-Higgs. Look for a scrub with small, round granules, such as Avon Anew Clinical Micro-Exfoliant, and apply it in circular motions to help slough away dead skin cells. Or, consider chemical exfoliators that contain ingredients like glycolic or alpha hydroxy acids, such as Skin Doctors Rapid Peel. You’ll also notice your foundation will glide on much more smoothly afterwards.
HydrateNever underestimate the importance of moisturiser. The better the condition of your skin, the less time and make-up you’ll need to create a perfect base, explains celebrity make-up artist Napoleon Perdis. The right cream should not only nourish, but also create a barrier to protect your complexion from environmental hazards like sun damage and air conditioning. Come the warmer weather, trade your regular moisturiser for something lighter. For a refreshing option that's perfect under make-up, try Olay Total Effects Advanced Daily Moisturizer with Cooling Essence, or a water-based formula, such as Biotherm Aquasource Moisturiser, to provide hydration without clogging your pores.
TreatLate nights, lack of sleep and alcohol can all negatively affect your complexion. While drinking enough water, getting adequate rest and maintaining a healthy diet are the best remedies, treatment masks are also a great topical option to give your face an instant boost. Choose a formula that suits your skin type and take time to apply it once a week. For blemish-prone skin, a clay-based formula that absorbs impurities and excess sebum, while soothing irritation, is a smart idea. We like Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque. Alternatively, to give yourself a glow before a night out, try a rejuvenating treatment, such as Kiehl's Soothing Gel Masque. And to pep up tired eyes after a big event, look for an overnight eye mask – we like Talika Eye Dream.
Beat shineOily skin and high temperatures can be a tricky combination. Thankfully, a shiny complexion can be easily managed with products that absorb or reduce the production of sebum. Start by washing with Neutrogena Deep Clean Long-Last Shine Control Daily Scrub. Then, consider a weekly mask, such as Dr. LeWinn’s Puressence Purifying Masque. For a daily hydrating boost, apply Shiseido Pureness Mattifying Moisturizer. And carry The Body Shop Tea Tree Blotting Tissues in your handbag.
Shield your skin"SPF is the single most important factor when it comes to skincare," stresses Dr Dawes-Higgs. She advises wearing high-level sun protection daily underneath your make-up. We like L'Oréal Paris UV Perfect Daily Moisturising Lotion SPF 30+, and Invisible Zinc Environmental Skin Protector SPF 30+. Or, if you're after coverage plus protection, try a tinted moisturiser, such as La Mer The SPF 18 Fluid Tint in Medium.
PrimeExtend the life of your make-up look with a primer. It helps prepare your complexion for products and ensures “foundation not only has a smoother landing, but will last the distance and stay colour-true”, says Perdis. Apply a thin layer under your base using a foundation brush. For an even surface, try a pore-minimising option, such as Becca Resurfacing Primer. Or if redness is a concern, choose a formula with a green tint – we like NP Set Calming Pre-Foundation Primer. And if your complexion is looking lacklustre, try a light-diffusing option, such as Sisley Radiant Immediate Lift.
Brighten"A luminising lotion with multiple tones is one of the best ways to fake a radiant glow,” enthuses Perdis. He advises applying before your foundation, as "the highlighting touches won't look obvious and you'll get that beautiful, backlit effect". For the most natural results, he suggests avoiding your T-zone and instead concentrating on your cheekbones, cupid’s bow and brow bones. Or, if you need a pick-me-up before heading out, mix a little liquid illuminator, such as Issada Jewel Mineral Liquid Luminiser in Fresh Water Pearl, with your daily moisturiser.
PerfectFor a flawless face, forget loading up on mask-like products. Perdis suggests swapping thick foundations for lighter options, and advises “evening out tonal imperfections [such as redness or pigmentation] with careful concealing rather than full-coverage formulas”. Begin by applying your foundation with a brush from the centre of your face outwards, and blending to your jaw and hairline. For a fresh, dewy look, consider a lightweight formula, such as Napoleon Perdis Sheer Genius Liquid Foundation in Medium. Or, if you want your look to last, opt for a long-wearing base, such as Chanel Perfection Lumière Long-Wear Flawless Fluid Makeup SPF 10 in Beige.
ConcealBlemishes and dark circles always seem to appear at the most inconvenient times. To help fake a party-perfect complexion, enlist the help of a clever concealer. Always apply using a fine-tipped brush – never use your fingers – and choose options tailored to specific concerns. To brighten tired eyes, use a light-reflecting formula, like Estée Lauder Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator. Or to camouflage dark circles and smooth fine lines, look for one infused with hyaluronic acid, such as Rodial Glamtox Eye Pen. If you need heavy-duty coverage, opt for a thick, matt formula, like Revlon PhotoReady Concealer SPF 20 in Light Pale, or for breakouts, consider an antibacterial option – look for ingredients such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide – to hide and heal. To set your look, apply a light dusting of powder, such as Lancôme Teint Miracle Bare Skin Perfection SPF 15 in Beige Diaphane, across your face, concentrating on your nose, forehead and chin.
A dusting of a luminous, pink shade, such as Dior Diorskin Shimmer Powder in Rose Diamond, on the apples of your cheeks will add a natural flush to any party look.