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Skin Rehab Tips Straight From Fashion Week

Models are genetically gorgeous, sure. But by the time they've been through New York and Europe, with tons of makeup put on and wiped off multiple times a day, running on little sleep, their skin looks sort of haggard.

September 30th, 2013

Courtesy of Pat McGrath (@patmcgrathreal) via InstagramModels from S/S '14 shows (Paco Rabanne, left; Christian Dior, right) in Paris, after McGrath's handiwork.
Skin Rehab Tips Straight From Fashion Week

While New York Fashion Week has come and gone almost a month ago, some models haven't stopped strutting down catwalks for the past month. After the New York shows come London, then Milan and, for the grand finale, Paris, bien sur. Many models work the entire globetrotting circuit, which may sound glamorous, but the truth is that it's exhausting and wreaks havoc on their skin.

"I definitely notice the difference between working on a model in the beginning versus the end of the season. They're constantly putting on and taking off makeup and the excessive heat and lighting from backstage can break out their skin," says makeup artist Pat McGrath, who is the lead makeup artist for many shows throughout the fashion show season, including Anna Sui, Dolce & Gabbana and Calvin Klein. Redness, breakouts, dark under-eye circles, dry flakes—these are all signs of dehydrated, abused skin.

MORE: 3 Surprising Makeup Tips From Fashion Week

So how can you make travel-weary skin look fresh and radiant for a final fashion show? "I carry a whole pharmacy of products!" says McGrath. First, cleanse and tone the skin for a smooth start. Next, use a very light scrub to remove dry skin and boost glow. McGrath likes Laura Mercier Face Polish, $30.

Next comes one of her biggest must-haves: SK-II Facial Treatment Mask, $125 for a box of 10 masks. "They look like paper masks with holes cut out for the eyes, lips and nose, but they’re actually cloths saturated with Pitera essence, which is SK-II’s magic bullet. It transforms skin in a matter of minutes by plumping and smoothing the surface so fine lines and dryness disappear. Any foundation that’s applied after this treatment goes on like a dream," explains McGrath.

Next, it's important to prep skin with moisturizer. McGrath swears by NYC dermatologist Dr. Orentreich’s prescription skincare creams, which are custom compounded based on skin needs. "I've used them from the beginning. They help treat models that may have serious skin issues," she says. A more accessible option she recommends: Olay Regenerist MicroSculpting Cream, $26, which has glycerin, niacinimide and peptides to hydrate and strengthen tired skin. If breakouts are a main concern, look for a cream that contains zinc. "Zinc really helps to calm down breakouts and control oil production," says NYC facialist Joanna Vargas who was backstage at the Milly show prepping models' skin for makeup. Try Joanna Vargas Daily Hydrating Cream, $75.

Once skin is soothed, exfoliated and moisturized, concealer and foundation will glide on and blend easily. McGrath uses CoverGirl + Olay Eye Rehab Concealer, $11, to cover dark circles and instantly brighten the eye area, followed with CoverGirl & Olay Tone Rehab 2-in-1 Foundation (their version of a CC Cream), $15, to even out skintone and give it another shot of hydration. Voilá! Glow on, gorgeous.

MORE: BB, CC, DD—What's the Difference?

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