Gong Xi Fa Cai! Chinese New Year is the perfect excuse to eat and drink more than you normally would, because – hey – it’s only once a year, right?
All that excess snacks and drinks don’t just affect your waistline, though. They also work their nasty ‘magic’ on your skin. High-calorie fried food, sodium-loaded savoury nibbles, the prerequisite beer or whiskey during reunions…
And it sucks if you’re looking worse for wear, because there will be lots of cameras around, and god forbid a bad selfie be taken or shared on Instagram. Assuming the worst case scenario where you get an unexpected zit on your chin from all the peanut-munching, or paper-dry skin from a night of binge-drinking with your long-lost schoolmates (as the writer often succumbs to), here are some tips to stay in tiptop shape throughout the festive week:
Always stay hydrated, internally and externally.
If you’re going visiting, bring a bottle of water with you in the car. If you’re going drinking, sip water between drinks. Also, don’t forget to mask every night before going to bed. Had a long night? Do it in the morning after waking up. Cleanse well, apply a generous amount of hydrating serum and slap on a sheet mask. I tend to cheat by going to bed with the mask on and removing it just as I’m about to really fall asleep. If you’re more disciplined, remove the mask before you sleep and follow with a layer of sleeping mask. Your skin will glow with suppleness the next morning.
Try: Banobagi Vita Genic Jelly Mask, which doesn’t drip like other sheet masks do. And the jelly essence left over is enough for an extra wash-off mask application the next day.
Prep your skin with a radiance-enhancing product
Instead of trying to hide dark circles and skin dullness with extra amounts of concealer and foundation, fake a good complexion by mixing a pearly liquid or cream highlighter with your sunblock. This step is inspired by Japanese women’s makeup products – their primer is second to none, often containing unnoticeable traces of radiant shimmer that makes skin look healthy. Concentrate the radiance primer around the eye area and dab a smidge more on the cheekbones, nose bridge and chin. The difference won’t be too drastic, but when you’re having your photos taken, you’ll notice a marked improvement in brightness, and the finish is definitely more believable than a powder highlighter.
Try: The Body Shop Instaglow CC Cream In Bright Glow, a white colour corrector that subtly improves your complexion without making you look like you painted your eyes with liquid paper.
Book yourself a detoxing facial and massage
Massages help to facilitate the removal of toxins from your skin, especially if you’re prone to bloating or poor circulation. A good facial helps to get rid of skin impurities like pimples, blackheads and whiteheads. I like to opt for an exfoliating facial (usually AHA), followed by a hydrating treatment to lock in moisture. Sometimes I switch the hydrating treatment with a brightening one, depending on the advice of my facialist. For a cheaper massage option, visit the Thai or Chinese ones that are almost everywhere along the shoplots of SS2, Kota Damansara, Kuchai Lama and more. Check the internet to make sure they don’t offer ‘extra services’ like ‘happy endings’, though! Some of the massage places I’ve been to have really good female masseuses who are incredibly skilled, and a 2-hour massage only costs slightly north of RM100. A really good deal, if you ask me.
Try: Murad AHA Rapid Exfoliator Anti-Aging Facial, which uses glycolic acid to gently remove dead skin cell buildup. It also has brightening, refining and softening benefits.
(Images: 9gag.com, beautiliciousworld.nl, groupon.hk, thepetalumamassage.com, pinterest.com, chinadaily.com.cn)