Updated 09/28/21. In addition to giving you a pounding headache, drinking too much alcohol can severely dehydrate your skin. In fact, water loss is one of the five major ways alcohol affects the skin. That’s why, when you wake up in the morning after a long night out, your skin can look and feel dull, tight, and puffy. If this happens to you, don’t despair. Keep reading to see my best hangover skincare tips to get your skin looking and feeling better in no time.
1. Wash Your Face and Perform Your Morning Routine
Depending on what time you got in the night before, there’s a chance you may have not washed your face. If you didn’t, head straight for the sink when you wake up, as clean skin looks instantly refreshed. Plus, if you slept with mascara on, your eyes will feel so much better without that sticky, clumpy, and smudgy product all over them.
I suggest using the Mint Renewal Cleanser. It contains peppermint oil, so it’s very refreshing. It can brighten sluggish skin and provide some clarity to a less-than-awake brain. The lactic acid and biodegradable jojoba beads can gently clear away dead surface cells and flakiness from dehydration. Panthenol provides moisture to keep the skin’s moisture barrier intact.
2. Dunk Your Face in Cold Water to Reduce Puffiness
Cold temperatures shrink capillaries and stimulate drainage, resulting in less puffiness, which is why this is one of my favorite hangover skincare tips. Adding witch hazel to the water provides additional skin benefits since it has natural soothing and puffiness-reducing properties. (It might also provide some relief for your headache.) However, if you don’t have witch hazel on hand, cold water will work just fine! Here’s how to do it in three steps:
- Fill your bathroom sink with cold water and toss in about 15 ice cubes.
- Pour 1/3 cup of natural witch hazel into the water. I suggest using one that is alcohol-free such as Balancing Skin Tonic.
- Dunk your face (don’t splash!) in and out of the cold water 10 times.
3. Use Hydrating Ingredients to Deliver Water Back Into Thirsty Skin Cells
When experiencing tight, parched skin, most people tend to reach for a heavy moisturizer. This won’t do much good if you’re dealing with dehydrated skin due to a hangover. That’s because alcohol depletes water, not oil. So, your focus should be on putting water back into the skin with hydrating skincare ingredients like sodium hyaluronate and sodium PCA. These ingredients can quench thirsty skin cells. Find these ingredients in water-based products, such as serums, alcohol-free toners, and gel masks. Use any and all of these products. Trust me, when it comes to a hangover, your skin can’t get enough hydration!
To learn more about the difference between dry and dehydrated skin, watch this video. You’ll see what dehydration looks like.
4. Massage Your Under-Eye Area
When people are hungover, their eyes usually look tired and puffy and they have dark circles. If this sounds like you, try massaging your eye area. This will stimulate stagnant blood flow, reducing the appearance of darkness and puffiness that’s caused by fluid retention. Simply dab a small amount of eye cream around the area and gently massage it in circular motions with your fingertips.
5. Rehydrate Your Body with Fruit-Infused Water
Overindulging in alcohol depletes your body of water. It also depletes your body of essential vitamins. While it’s true that drinking water isn’t the best way to hydrate your skin, I still think it’s important to replenish your fluids when you’re dealing with a hangover. My favorite way to do that is through fruit-infused water. All you need is a tall glass of water and some fruit for a boost of antioxidants (and flavor). I have a few go-to combinations I use when I need to rehydrate. They make me feel better and they also taste great!
My Favorite Fruit-Infused Water Recipes
- Strawberry + Mint + Lemon
- Lime + Cilantro + Jalapeño slices (I’m in Texas. We put jalapeños in just about everything).
- Blueberries + Raspberries + Strawberries
- Watermelon + Lemon + Orange
Ideally, you would prepare these fruit-infused waters ahead of time so they’re ready to go in your fridge. You can also drink pressed juices for a much-needed nutritional replenishment. I usually get mine from Whole Foods.
Bonus Tip: Next Time, Re-Think Your Drink
To reduce the chances of experiencing a hangover, choose your drink wisely. A bartender once told me that the healthiest drink to choose is vodka or tequila with water and a few lemons squeezed in for flavor. She believes that cocktails with less sugar (and in this case, virtually no sugar, aside from the natural sugars in the lemons) may result in a less intense hangover. She told me that sweet drinks tend to mask alcohol’s flavor, which inadvertently encourages you to drink more. Regardless, less sugar means fewer calories, and technically, you’d be hydrating your body with water, right? That’s why this is my go-to drink when I go out. In addition to choosing my drink wisely, I try to follow every drink with an 8 oz glass of water to mitigate dehydration.
There you have it. I’m wishing you a quick recovery! Hopefully, these hangover skincare tips will get your skin back on track.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”