The Christmas decorations may still be shining brightly but you've well and truly lost your sparkle. Sound familiar? The party season can really take its toll on our appearance. All that rich food, endless bubbly and sleep deprivation can really set off the January blues when you look in the mirror.
Add to that the fact that recent research by Adonia Organics revealed winter ages a woman's eyes by nearly five years, as vitamin D and happy hormones levels drop.
Thankfully, there are numerous beauty saviours to cheat a glow to rival Rudolph's nose over the holiday season, and keep you looking as radiant as celebs like Kelly Brook, who manages to maintain her perfect look all the time. So until that detox begins, give yourself the gift of faux festive radiance.
SANTA'S SACK EYES
The area under your eyes is 10 times thinner than facial skin, so they're always the first giveaway of a particularly wild festive season.
The fat pads around the eyes will either disappear to create a hollow effect or protrude to cause bulging bags. Make-up artist Eryca Freemantle says a camouflage cream such as Keromask is your most effective route to looking bright-eyed.
"To cover dark under-eye circles, use a technique called stippling -- dabbing the brush and cream on the area. The cream can also be dabbed onto the back of the hand before applying to the face to reduce the build up on the brush."Once the area is covered, ensure you blend the edges into the skin for a more natural application," says Eryca.
- Keromask Camouflage Cream, Pounds 14.99 (01634 673 335/ www.keromask.com)
If your complexion has the texture of sandpaper and appearance of a stale mince pie, it's likely all those festive tipples have seriously dehydrated your skin.
While it can be tempting to reach for a richer moisturiser, often a facial oil or serum absorbs into the skin quicker to nourish and hydrate.
"Make sure the skin is moist," advises Alan Pan, Estee Lauder's global make-up artist.
"I suggest using Advanced Night Repair underneath your usual moisturiser, to give skin a glow. My favourite product to use on top is Even Skintone Illuminator -- it instantly creates the look of radiant, even skin tone."
- Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, Pounds 41; Idealist Even Skintone Illuminator, Pounds 46 (www.esteelauder.co. uk)
All those glam party dos may well have left your hair looking like dried-out pine needles. After all that heat, tugging and teasing, your tresses and scalp need a festive holiday from the rigmarole of styling.
"We tend to change our hair habits during the party season; many people wash their hair less and use styling products more," says Dr Rene Rust, head&shoulders scientist.
"All this coupled with the lifestyle we lead in the run-up to New Year can take its toll, making itchiness, tightness and flaking more common at this time of year."
- DGJ Organics Hangover Hair Shampoo, RRP Pounds 4.99
Uh oh! If relentlessly putting on your party face has resulted in breakouts, don't panic. Neat tea tree oil is great for pesky spots and pimples -- it dries them out and kills off any bacteria.
"Many of my clients suffer from breakouts and dehydrated skin after the festive period, so decongesting clogged pores and replacing lost moisture is essential for rejuvenating skin to premium health," explains facialist Una Brennan.
"Many women in their 30s or 40s also have the additional concern of treating the signs of ageing, so SkinCeuticals Blemish & Age range is the ideal way to address both issues."
- SkinCeuticals Blemish + Age Solution, Pounds 27 (www.skinceuticals.co.uk)
Ten too many Quality Streets? Add that to the festive gorging, when we're said to consume an extra 3,000 calories a day in the run- up to Christmas, and it's Santa bellies (and bums) ahoy.
Geraldine Howard, co-founder of Aromatherapy Associates, says: "I would recommend dry body brushing to kick-start the lymph then gently massaging our Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil over the stomach area before stepping into the shower.
"This invigorating blend contains the essential oils of pink grapefruit which encourages the elimination of toxins, rosemary which helps to support effective digestion, and juniper berry which can help with excess fluid retention."
- Aromatherapy Associates Revive Morning Bath & Shower Oil, Pounds 37 (020 8569 7030/www.aromatherapyassociates.com)
Let's get this straight, red should be reserved for Santa's coat and festive jumpers -- not the face.
Sadly, for some, the combination of too much make-up and too little sleep results in unsightly red patches.
"Following the endless make-up and glitter required for festive parties, skin can often flare up and become sore," says Hilery Dorrian, co-founder of Barefoot SOS.
"Try using Barefoot's SOS Face & Body Rescue cream to instantly soothe the weakened skin barrier, leaving your face looking cool and calm so your hangover goes unnoticed."
- Barefoot SOS Rescue Face & Body Cream, from Pounds 5.95 (www.barefoot-botanicals.com)
TRIED & TESTED
Eyes showing signs of festive fatigue? Our testers ease their tell-tale party peepers with a soothing gel:
- Naked Skin Looking Good Soothing Eye Gel, Pounds 7.49 (Superdrug)
This lightweight gel sank into my skin instantly with a cooling sensation that instantly refreshed my tired eyes. Those looking for a cream to help with under-eye circles should look elsewhere, though -- this gel doesn't zap those away.
- Nivea Visage Q10 Plus Anti-Wrinkle Refreshing Eye Roll-On, Pounds 10.85 (nationwide)
Brrr, a roll-on pen that delivers an icy blast with instant cooling effects. Calming down the puffy tell-tale signs of a few heavy nights, it's one to stash in your handbag.
- The Body Shop Natrulift Refreshing Eye Roll-On, Pounds 12
An under-eye wonder with wrinkle-softening qualities to boot. This refreshing lightweight roll-on is a great quick-fix to make those dark circles disappear.
PICK-ME-UPS TO PUT THE PERK BACK
Need to get your holiday season halo back quick-smart? Try these beauty wonders:
- Everything you need to look human again after a big night out: Korres Party Survival Kit, Pounds 18 (0870 850 3868).
- Send dark circles and puffy eyes packing with Adonia's Eye Therapy, Pounds 37 (www.adoniaeyetherapy.com).
- You'll be ready to glow in no time with one squeeze of The Body Shop's Vitamin C Facial Radiance Capsules, Pounds 15.
- Wave a magic make-up wand over your face with Pixi's Fake Awake Kit, Pounds 19 (020 7287 7211/www.pixibeauty.co.uk).
- Perk up a partied-out complexion with A'kin Multi-Fruit & Willow Bark Instant Radiance Facial Masque, Pounds 22 (www.eco- essentials.co.uk).