Celebrity Facialist Melanie Grant’s 9 Secrets To Your Best Party-Season Skin Ever

While enjoyable in the moment, festive-season excesses, late nights and over-indulgence can dramatically impact the skin. Here, MELANIE GRANT, who delivers party-proof complexions for Victoria Beckham, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Cate Blanchett, tells MALENA HARBERS how to create and maintain an enduringly luminous complexion throughout a full social calendar

Melanie Grant

Maintain a routine

“We’re all tempted by later bedtimes, richer party foods and an extra glass of wine or two during the festive season, but rather than feel guilty, my advice would be to embrace it and enjoy yourself,” says skin expert Melanie Grant. To minimize the after-effects – which can show up as dullness, dehydration, fine lines and wrinkles caused by a breakdown of collagen and elastin – she advocates following a strategic and consistent skincare routine, to keep skin balanced and functioning at its best. “During the day, focus on prevention, starting with a gentle cleanser, followed by an antioxidant serum and an SPF. In the evenings, a corrective regime is key. Begin with a double-cleanse, then apply an exfoliating or hydrating lotion, followed by a targeted treatment such as a retinol, and finish with a nourishing cream to lock in actives and support your skin’s own repairing processes while you sleep.”

Supercharge your glow

“An enzyme mask or treatment is my go-to for fast results before an event. Not only do they metabolize dead-skin and cell debris, so that hydrators and creams can penetrate more effectively, but they stimulate blood flow, which gives you a beautiful temporary flush. Once this dissipates, skin looks radiant. It’s that healthy glow you get after a sauna or workout – without having to go to the gym.”

LED is key

“I love LED light therapy before an event, too. It promotes circulation and gives the skin a youthful, healthy glow. I also try to stay consistent with bi-weekly LED-light-therapy treatments, no matter how busy my schedule gets. I’ve been working with LED for over a decade now and, to this day, I am still impressed with the results it’s capable of. It truly creates a permanent change in the quality of the skin by building skin density and elasticity, reducing inflammation and boosting circulation and hydration.”

Counteract a late night with ice

“Face icing the morning after a late night can help reduce inflammation, irritation and puffiness in the skin, by constricting blood vessels. It’s also a great way to energize your complexion by gently boosting circulation, flushing stagnant fluid and leaving you with a rosy glow,” affirms Grant. “Two of my favorite at-home cryotherapy treatments are ice sculpting and ice plunging. Ice sculpting involves taking a cube and gliding it gently over any areas of concern. I usually focus on my eye area, jawline and cheeks after cleansing, using the contours of my face as a guide. An ice plunge is a cure-all. It’s great for puffiness, fatigue and dullness, especially if you didn’t sleep well the night before. Simply empty a tray or two of ice into a bowl, cover with clean water and submerge your face in and out of the water in 10-second intervals for a minute. It’s quick, painless and always delivers.”

Always double-cleanse (even with the same formula)

“We’ve all gone to bed once or twice with our makeup on after a late night, especially during party season,” says Grant. “Since our bodies go into repair mode overnight, producing collagen, replacing old and damaged skin cells with new ones, and discarding toxins and waste, a double-cleanse is a must in the evenings – to remove anything that will impede these functions. I recommend using a gentle oil-based cleanser first, to dissolve makeup, grime and SPF, which is quite tricky to remove, followed by something a little more active, with AHAs or enzymes to really deep-clean the pores. You can also keep your routine streamlined and use the same formula twice – it’s just as effective. Often, I use my oil or balm twice or my gel twice. The key is in the two cleanses, so that the first removes everything on the surface, and the second goes that little bit deeper.”

Exfoliate strategically

“As a general rule of thumb, exfoliating two to three times per week in the evenings only will usually suffice,” says Grant. “It’s important to pay attention to your skin ­– so, if you’re experiencing any redness, tightness, dryness or creping, pare it back. Keeping your barrier functioning at its best is just as important as keeping your cells turning over.” The type of exfoliant you use also makes a big difference. “To revive skin before an event, I prefer enzymes, which promote circulation, so they leave skin with a healthy glow; or AHAs, because they smooth and refine the skin gently, too,” says Grant. Try Augustinus Bader’s The Essence, which pairs phytic acid, a wonderfully gentle AHA, with hyaluronic acid for an excellent hydrating skin refiner.

Go gentle with active ingredients

According to Grant, when choosing active products, look to new-generation formulas with slow-release technology. “Slow-release formulas don’t shock the skin with a big, sharp dose of ingredients. With retinol, for example, your skin will tell you when it’s not happy. Walking around with a red face because you’re trying to adjust to your retinol is just impairing the barrier. You’re better off using a low-dose retinol, or other actives, consistently, rather than using something harsh once a week and stopping and starting it.”

Sleep in a firming cream mask

When it comes to keeping fatigued skin plump and healthy, Grant advocates boosting your night-time routine with a dedicated mask for lifting and firming. “You want to replenish the skin’s lipids without more effort on your part. Let the mask infuse for 15 minutes and tissue off the excess before hopping into bed.”

Factor in facial massage

“In the lead-up to party season, one of the best things you can do is a DIY facial massage. It flushes stagnant lymph, lifts and sculpts, floods the tissues with nutrients and improves skin oxygenation,” advises Grant. “You don’t need to add an extra step to your regime – a minute or two is more than enough.” She suggests working your hands upwards and outwards, using enough product for slip, so you don’t tug or drag at the skin. “Always work against gravity and use your facial contours as a guide, focusing on any areas of tension, such as the brows, jawline and neck.”