Expert Tips to Help Your Skin and Hair Survive Halloween

Aly Walansky
candy skull halloween makeup

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With Halloween just a few days away, we’re prepping for a really fun weekend. Our costume, hairstyle, and makeup are primed to be photo-ready. But is our skin ready? What about our hair? We consult the experts on how to survive the hardcore makeup and hair product assault!

Allow Time For Prep
If you exfoliate before applying makeup, not only will the skin surface be smoother and the makeup application easier, but there won’t be any dead skin to flake into pores, says Roberta Perry, President of Scrubz Body Scrub. With heavy face makeup, the number one thing to do is wash it all off at the end of the night, and do it with an oil based cleanser that will truly cut through the grease paint. The principle is that “like cleans like” best.

Basic pimples are caused by three things: Dead skin, sebum (body) oil, and bacteria. If you eliminate these, pimples have a hard time beginning, so you virtually eliminate breakouts.

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Moisturize your skin before applying any Halloween makeup, reminds dermatologist Jessica Krant of Art of Dermatology in New York City. This will help keep the paint from staining your skin and will act as a protective barrier against some of the heavy waxes and greases that may be in the costume makeup.

Set the Scene
Use a high-quality primer as the first layer of makeup, suggests Kate Horvat, a makeup artist with HalloweenCostumes.com. This creates a barrier between your skin and the makeup. If going with a natural look, consider using a BB or CC cream rather than a heavier foundation. These can nourish your skin during wear and help protect you from whatever is coming next.

Be Gentle
When possible, try to use skin friendly makeup for Halloween. When the gore and ghoulish costumes call for skin-unfriendly makeup, use a face primer with mineral foundation first as protection for the skin.

Once you have your look completed, use a finishing spray like the Mehron Barrier Spray. This keeps all your hard work in place, and prevents you from needing to add more makeup later on for touch ups, says Horvat.

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Lashes
“False eyelashes are often the perfect final touch for your Halloween look. But, removing them incorrectly can have a negative effect on the delicate rim of the eye, not to mention the damaging effects harsh glue has on your eyelashes causing them to fall out,” explains Jellaine Ross, founder of Cherry Blooms Brush On Fiber Eyelash Extensions. Most false eyelashes come with lash glue, but not lash glue remover. You can find lash glue remover at any beauty supply store, and it’s a lot better for your own lashes than simply ripping the false lashes off! Remove your eye makeup first though — you may discover this makes the lashes come off on their own.

Go Legit With Lenses
In the United States, all contact lenses, even purely cosmetic ones, require a prescription. If cosmetic lenses are a part of your Halloween costume, make sure they have been prescribed and properly fitted by an eye care professional. Never borrow lenses from a friend or use anything other than recommended solution to clean your lenses. You’re asking for an infection, or worse!

“In my practice, I create specialty contact lenses for Hollywood films. A contact lens is a medical device, and all contact lenses, even purely cosmetic ones, require a prescription. Contact lenses are safe, comfortable and can totally transform your look, but they are not risk-free if you don’t follow instructions about safe wear and care. If you are interested in wearing contact lenses as a part of your Halloween costume, schedule an appointment with your eye doctor,” says Dr. Mitchell Cassel, O.D. of Studio Optix in New York, New York. For more tips and information on contact lens compliance check out this guide.

Face Cleansing and Makeup Removal
No matter how much fun you have, make sure to cleanse your face before bed, says Dendy Engelman, M.D., a board-certified Clearasil Dermatologist.  Heavy stage makeup can lead to breakouts, if not properly removed. Too beat to go through a full cleansing routine? Grab Clearasil’s Hydra-blast medicated facial wipes. These help remove face makeup and contain 2% salicylic acid to keep pores open and calm inflammation.

Removal of every speck of the Halloween makeup is the key to survival. Take off eye makeup with a gentle remover, but be sure that the remover is not too oily. “After a long night of Halloween revelry, it’s tempting to crash without fully washing your face. Force yourself not to give into temptation by leaving your cleanser out by the sink,” suggests Erica Bishop, Beauty Genius for Prescriptives Custom Blend.

To keep your skin clear and healthy opt for a post-Halloween mask. Look for a complexion clearing formula that purifies and illuminates, such as clay mask. Clay masks are known to help purge impurities from our pores and leave your skin balanced even after the heaviest of Halloween makeup, says Charlene Deegan, R&D Director for Borghese.

MORE: The Simple Girl’s Guide to Halloween Hair

Hair
As the Academy Award-winning hairstylist for Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Los Angeles-based celebrity hairstylist Mitch Stone is no stranger to hair horrors — even if they’re intentional. After a night out trick-or-treating, any quantity of paint, adhesive, glitter, and gummy worms can be easily removed by following a few simple tricks.

Stone recommends gently massaging a sulfate-free shampoo into the hair, rinsing, and then using a soft boar bristle brush to help with detangling. Follow that with a quality conditioner (about three times what you ordinarily would). “Massage starting at the ends and up to the scalp,” he said. “Grab a large tooth comb and delicately comb out until all the devil icky stuff looks like it’s clearly gone.

“Rinse repeatedly if need be, and when all the conditioner is out and the hair feels clean again, give it a blast of cold water to bring back the shine and close the cuticle. Your hair will look fresher and softer than ever,” says Stone.

When going from one style to another over a long weekend, dry shampoo will be your best friend to maintain your style in between washes by absorbing excess oil, while also adding amazing texture and volume to keep your look in place, says Herbal Essences celebrity stylist Charles Baker Strahan. If you’re wearing a wig, dry shampoo protects hair from oil that can be produced from wearing a wig, and can also be used to rebuild the shape and style after any kinks have been created.

Painful Blisters
When it is Halloween we often wear some intense footwear to finish off the perfect costume. Whether they’re sky high platforms that you borrowed or lace up boots that are just a little to tight, you’ll likely find your feet sore, aching, and blistered before the night is over. To prevent blisters before they form, layer your feet with petroleum jelly or baby powder to reduce friction that causes blisters to form in the first place, says Dr. Daniel Drapacz of New York Foot Experts.

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