A Christmas Crash Course in Seasonal Skincare Survival

Thom Watson (Manface)
Latest posts by Thom Watson (Manface) (see all)

With less than a week until the big day, get ready to endure the toll Christmas takes on your skin. Sweets; drink; chocolate; cakes; rich delicious meats and pastries; trifle (oh, my grandma’s trifle); drunk relatives; racist jokes from the elderly – get ready to have your skin destroyed by holiday treats and your nearest and dearest.

So in celebration, here’s my rundown of how to keep your skin festively fit and baublingly bright (a tortured stretch but I’m having that one) this holiday season so you don’t end up out for the count on New Year’s.

1. Exfoliate

99.999% of the most common skincare concerns are due to a lack of exfoliation. A thick crust of surface dead skin cells fall away unevenly, block pores and trap spot causing bacteria forming anything from a blackhead, to a big juicy pustule.

If you’re sensitive or spotty (more than 3 at any one time) use a chemical exfoliator such as REN Clarifying Toning Lotion or La Roche Posay Astringent Lotion. Use only a small amount of the product on a cotton pad and wipe over the whole face, avoiding the eyes, and not going over the same area twice. Twice a day. Job done.

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If you’re not sensitive or spotty and would like something a little tougher, try gently using a beaded/grained exfoliator such as Clinique For Men Face Scrub as it’s tinglingly mentholated and really digs deep or Bobbi Brown Buffing Grains that you mix with a small amount of water in the palm of your hand and can make as strong/light as you want (also try mixing it in with your cleanser/wash).

In both cases, moisturise afterwards with a moisturiser designed for your skin type to ensure those newly revealed cells are kept fresh and juicy.

2. Target

When you’re stressed, what bothers you about your skin? Do you break out? Do you dry up? Does your skin go red and flare up? We all react in different ways so if you know something is impending, be prepared.

For spots and blemishes, look to L’Occitane Iris Angelica Sublime Essence Serum a unique serum designed to combat and treat outbreaks on a deeper level and calm the storm before it starts. For dryness, something nourishing  such as La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 will hydrate, protect and defend the skin against winter coldness, stresses and strains. For redness, Clinique Redness Solutions Daily Relief Cream is unmatched in its ability to calm a rise-up of redness, itchiness and sensitivity with it’s deeply-rich yet oil-free formulation.

3. Eyes

For guys, the eyes are the window to how old or wrecked he is and it’s a problem that’s easily fixed. I mean I should be telling you to drink water; sleep more and all that other crap but for those of you living in the real world, there’s some great cosmetic tips and tricks to get you sorted.


Lymphatic drainage (ooft, fancy I know) is how you can reduce the appearance of bags and puffiness under the eyes which is basically just a build of something called lymph fluid. Using a product such as Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector or Crème de La Mer The Eye Concentrate, both of which come with metal applicators, you can boost this process through quick and simple massage using these products designed to target and correct imperfections around the eye area.

Starting on the side of the nose-bridge, press firmly but gently and sweep down under the eye, slide back to where you started and then down to the side of the nose. Repeat this a few times and then pat any excess in using your ring finger. Easy, huh?

Afterwards, apply a little Yves Saint Laurent Touché Eclat under the eye and around the nostrils to brighten the face. Make the product undetectable by brushing it on in one quick stroke, then patting it in with your ring finger, pulling  outwards as you do so. Don’t use too much otherwise you’ll look mad and oddly, from a distance, like you’re squinting. Remember, it’s not makeup, it’s just a highlighter (that’s what I tell my straight/dubious mates anyway; seems to work).

So there you go… Maybe it’ll be a hellish Christmas filled with crap gifts; drunk relatives; family feuds; getting fat and over-dramatic ‘coming outs’ but at least you’ll be serving good face (I’ve got to stop watching non-stop RuPaul’s Drag Race) and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. Merry Christmas!

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By Thom Watson

About Thom Watson (Manface)

Thom Watson is an Accredited Skin Specialist, Level 3 Beauty Therapist & Writer of one of the UK’s biggest grooming blogs, Manface. Working with some of the world’s most renowned beauty brands, he writes about men’s skin care based on results, accuracy of promise and quality of ingredients, bypassing marketing hype to ensure you get the facts. Google+