Skin Prep for Events
Updated: Apr 27
Whether it’s a wedding, gala, vacation or milestone, chances are there will be a camera capturing all the greatest and best moments throughout the day into the evening. Prepping your skin prior to your event is essential to achieving the best outcomes when it comes to makeup or even being your overall wellbeing! While we as makeup artists, can prep the skin prior to application, implementing a skin care routine is extremely beneficial beyond that event.
In addition to being a makeup artist, I am a licensed esthetician and rely solely on scientific evidence on how I approach skin- not fads or trends you see on Instagram. Below are some tips (with sources!) on how you can get your skin in tip-top shape!
You've heard it a thousand times- here's 1,0001- DRINK MORE WATER
Studies have shown that regularly consuming water long-term (30+ days), whether its drinking water or consuming foods high in water, provides beneficial changes to the skin's physiology. It doesn't hurt to drink lots of water the evening before your event- but it doesn't dramatically change or impact your superficial epidermis (top layers of skin) overnight. Making a habit of consuming water allows your skin to improve literally from the inside out. There is a debate whether how much you should drink- while there are no definite conclusions stating how much you should drink based on your gender, activity level, weight, etc. intake recommendations for water are available from various authoritative organizations (such as the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) generally range from 2–3 liters (8.5-12 cups) a day for adult females and 2.5–4 liters a day for adult males. I know that’s additional trips to the bathroom but the long term benefits certainly outweigh the inconvenience.
Start a skincare regimen NOW!
Whenever I put together a skincare routine, I always include the following very basic products:
- Chemical Exfoliant (Retinol/ AHAs/Glycolic)
Let's break down each item listed and why it’s important to start using them.
Yes, you need to wash your face every morning and evening- even if you don’t wear makeup. If you do wear makeup, you either need a cleanser that is formulated to remove makeup or implement a 2-step cleansing process- makeup removing oil and then cleanser. Why both? Because your everyday Cetaphil will NOT remove all of your makeup, which is comprised of oils and minerals.
What if your skin is oily? Find a facial cleanser that is gentle and does not damage the skin barrier or result in sebum overcompensation, which means that if you do strip the skin of its oils, the dryness will send a signal to the skin to product even more oil to compensate, leading to even oilier skin. Look for a daily cleanser that does not contain salicylic acid, which is an ingredient used to treat acne. Don’t get me wrong, this ingredient does work but should not be used daily (unless advised by your dermatologist).
Also, makeup removing wipes do NOT replace a cleanser. While they can be used in addition to a cleanser or after a workout, they will not 100% clean your skin on their own.
A good cleanser removes dirt and debris without stripping. A great website that breaks down ingredients, what to look for and how cleansers should work is https://labmuffin.com/how-to-choose-gentle-cleanser/.
Incorporating an exfoliant at least 2-3 times a week into your routine is crucial for glowing skin. The outer layer of your skin (the stratum corneum) is made up of dead skin cells. While they typically slough off naturally, they can build up and cause breakouts, dry patches and clogged pores. Incorporating either physical or chemical exfoliants to your routine can help prevent this from happening. I am personally a fan of chemical exfoliants because they are ideal for all skin types. Retinols are a bit more powerful and take some getting used to and should only be used in the evenings. AHA’s and Glycolic are gentler and can be used AM or PM (always with sunscreen).
While that’s just a baseline for a routine, you should add in products, such as a vitamin C serum or hyaluronic acid based on your skin type.
Truth of the matter is sunscreen is your savior. If you had to choose to follow ONE skin care step from this entire post, it must be sunscreen. Even if you live in Alaska and see the sun for a limited number of hours a day, you must wear sunscreen. I could write an entire post on sunscreen but that’s not why you’re here! Sun damage does not only lead to hyperpigmentation, fine lines and wrinkles- but it can lead to skin cancer. As someone who has worked in a dermatologist office, I’ve seen my fair share of skin cancer surgeries and it’s not a walk in the park. Best to avoid it at cost.
So, here’s the lowdown on sunscreen:
SPF stands for sun protection factor. It’s a rating of how much UV light will be blocked. One of my favorite podcasts, The Beauty Brains, does a great job of breaking down what SPF is, how its calculated and what to look for.
What’s ironic is that any SPF over 50 doesn’t really mean it’s better. The FDA recommends an SPF of 50 or higher for the body and a minimum of SPF 30 for the face. Most foundations come with a minimum of SPF 15- while its better than nothing, you should still wear sunscreen under foundation (and no, using multiple sunscreens does not boost protection- you’ll benefit from the highest SPF product you use). My favorite facial and body sunscreens are from the La Roche Posay Anthelios line.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg for skincare. I have also created a checklist that you can use the night before and morning of a big event! Visit the image below to download!