Time to take the dry skin test
It's more than a little likely that your usual glass of water will be swapped this silly season for a festive glass of punch.
As fun as it is at the time, a lack of water coupled with long hours in the sun will not only dehydrate your body, but your skin as well.
"A lot of us think we have a normal skin type but often it's actually classified as dry" says Chantelle Borsos of Clinique.
"Dry skin doesn't necessarily mean flaky or patchy skin, dry skin is much more common than you think", she says.
Borsos' hydration test will quickly tell you whether you're a sufferer or not. Hold out your index finger and place it horizontally along your cheek, just above your jawbone. Very gently lift your finger up and lift your skin with it.
Peer into the mirror as your do this - you may have to look closely. If you can see fine wrinkles on the area of cheek that you're lifting, you're suffering from dry skin.
Dry skin symptoms can include uneven skin tone, a difficulty applying makeup smoothly, fine lines and wrinkles, and can accelerate the signs of ageing.
Another misconception about dry skin is that it's never oily.
Even oily skin can still be dehydrated, as dry skin often works overtime, producing more sebum (oil) than your skin can comfortably handle.
There's a difference between oil and moisture, so it's important even for the oiliest skin types to use a hydration product of some sort. An oil-free moisturiser and oil-free hydrating masks are great for skin like this, and you may find that hydrating it will actually encourage your skin to produce less oily sebum in the long run.
Along with regular applications of a daily moisturiser, a hydrating mask once a week can give your skin a fantastic boost of hydration. Most hydrating masks are made to be left on, or simply wiped off with a tissue. The best time to apply a hydrating mask is just before bed; your skin will reap the benefits of the ingredients while you sleep, and you'll wake up looking incredible.
Hydrating masks to try:
Nellie Tier Hydrating Mask, $45
One of the most natural of hydrating masks on the market, Nellie Tier's Hydrating Mask is hand made in Auckland. Jam packed full of natural plant extracts and skin-loving oils, it contains aloe-vera, borage-seed oil for dryness, green tea and vitamin E for antioxidant protection, cucumber and jojoba to hydrate and soften, carrot seed oil and palmarosa to stimulate cell regeneration and tone, and rosehip, pomegranate and seabuckthorn to restore elasticity and rejuvenate the skin.
and Carrot Seed essential oils stimulate cell regeneration and promote toning.
Khiel's Ultrafacial Overnight Hydrating Mask, $58
The latest addition to Kiehl's famous Ultrafacial range, this hydrating mask utilises the water-retention properties of the Chinese fountain plant, and fragmented hyaluronic acid - which sounds scary but is simply a water-filling ingredient with a lower molecule weight that helps the moisture in the mask penetrate the upper layers of the skin faster than most products. Because of its potency it's normal to experience a slight warming sensation when applying this product, and because of this it's only recommended to be used 1-2 times a week.
Natio Ageless Hydrating Face Mask, $22.50
A nicely affordable product, this simple mask has rosehip and sesame oils which contain vitamins and antioxidants that energise the skin and hydrate, and papaya and aloe vera to refresh and soothe.
Nimue Super Hydrating Mask $102
This high tech product is designed to restore suppleness and moisture, soothe stressed skin and works to reduce the appearance of fine lines. Contains hydrating ingredients, Ubiquinone and Phytoceuticals, and hyaluronic acid - which like Khiel's Ultrafacial mask optimises and maintains the skin's hydration.
La Mer The Hydrating Facial, $545
The crème de la crème of skincare, La Mer's luxury line is loved by many celebrities. Packaged in individual product-soaked cotton masks, each pack comes with lower and upper zone masks that are designed to be worn together for maximum benefits. The masks contain the brand's famous Sea Moist Ferment green algae blend and cellular lipids, and each cotton mask is embedded with tourmaline and Mariponic Ferments to get the molecules kicking. It aims to soften and hydrate the skin, reduce fine lines and signs of ageing, and soothe sensitivities in the skin - practically everything, but you'd hope so with a price you just paid for it.