I’ve lived in New York for almost three years, and have quickly realized that New Yorkers are a very special breed of people—mostly because they all love to torture themselves just by living here. My friends and I joke about our existence in New York, where summers smell like hot garbage and winters feel like 24/7 forced cryotherapy and having a washer-dryer in unit is just as much of a reason to date someone as whether or not you actually like them. Don’t get me wrong—I love New York deeply in an obsessive, borderline-unhealthy way, but that doesn’t change the fact that life, for the most part, is just harder here.
As such (and maybe more than slightly related), New Yorkers also love to take the edge off with an alcoholic beverage, or several. I’m sure there are lots of people out there who tend to their gardens and choose Kombucha over Cointreau, but I’m talking about the majority of young twenty- and thirty-somethings I’ve met who are working hard and playing hard in the city, riding high on the buzz from that potent cocktail of exhaustion, stress and adrenaline. New York’s version of Miley’s Cyrus’s song D.R.E.A.M (Drugs Rule Everything Around Me) would be renamed S.C.R.E.A.M: Shots and Cocktails Rule Everything Around Me.
But here’s the thing—New Yorkers might imbibe a lot, but they’re also exceedingly good at not letting it get in the way of their day jobs. Part of this might be luck—I have one friend who never gets hungover and can down several drinks the night before, then go to Barry’s Bootcamp at 8 a.m. and take a client meeting right after—but part of it is because some savvy people have just gotten really good at hiding their hungover state. This, I believe, is an incredibly useful and important life skill, and one that should be shared for the greater good. Because though we’d all like to be responsible adults, sometimes things just happen—like getting innocent happy hour drinks with coworkers then somehow ending up at a Bushwick rave at 2 a.m., or the end of a first date when you realize you’ve accidentally polished off the bottle of Sancerre by yourself (oops).
There’s no worse feeling than waking up the next morning, bleary-eyed and frazzled, and realizing you have approximately 30 minutes to turn yourself from a crusty shell of a human to a respectable professional. Instead of calling in sick (which no one will believe, because you posted an Instagram story last night of your third margarita with the hashtag #TequilaTuesdays), why not utilize some smart tips from some very fun New Yorkers who’ve mastered the art of hiding a hangover? I called up eight of my most social friends and coworkers—all of whom are thriving in their respected professions and all of whom enjoy a good drink (or two, or three)—and asked them to tell me their secrets for making two hours of sleep look like eight. From ice-water plunges to under-eye masks, keep scrolling to find out their secrets. Cheers!
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
"There's something mildly alarming about waking up the morning after an accidental (or purposeful) bender feeling like a straight-up Sun-Maid Raisin. You know, when you smack your lips together and rub your tongue against the roof of your mouth desperately trying to produce saliva, wondering if there's any moisture left in your body? For me, it's happened enough times that I've developed a foolproof hydration plan of action. First, I immediately go into the kitchen and drink a big glass of water. Then, if I have it, I drink an entire box of coconut water too, as it has the potassium and electrolytes that I wouldn't get from plain H2O.
For my skin, if I've slept in my makeup (which, after countless glasses of wine, is likely), I'll wash my face, exfoliate with a Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peel Pad ($88), then hydrate with a hyaluronic acid-rich serum and a ceramide-rich moisturizer to lock everything in. (I love iS Clinical HydraCool Serum ($90) and Make P:Rem Hydrate Me Micro Tension Cream ($30), respectively.) If my skin looks particularly sallow and broken out, I'll spot-treat with GlamGlow's Supermud Clearing Treatment ($59) in place of exfoliation, then rinse it off before serum. This routine mixed with continued internal hydration brings me back to life and takes me from raisin to grape, if you will." — Lindsey, senior beauty editor
Give Yourself a Flash Facial
"Freelance life hasn't been kind to my 401k or healthcare plan, but it's done wonders for my hangover recovery. Since I no longer have to worry about puking into my tote bag on a packed subway car as I race to make a company meeting (it only happened once, okay), I can put all my attention toward repairing the damage wine and tequila have done.
First, I chug a Tangerine La Croix and try to choke down a handful of frozen berries. That doesn't help my appearance; it's just necessary. Then I start my three-part skin routine: I smooth on a thick layer of hyaluronic acid serum—if it feels like an ultrasound gel, you're doing it right—before running the Skin Inc. Optimizer Voyage Tri-Light++ ($295) over my face in upward, circular motions for 10 minutes. It's an LED light device that seems gimmicky, but with consistent use actually helps to soothe inflammation and make me look fresh and awake (I like the purple setting best). I finish with moisturizer, but on my roughest days, only one does the trick: IT Cosmetics' Confidence In A Cream Rosy Tone Moisturizer ($48). Not only is it super-rich and nourishing, but its pink tone also gives my skin the kind of glowing, natural flush that could convince others I'm feeling healthy enough to have just gone for a brisk jog—like, outdoors, not from the couch to the toilet bowl." — Alix, freelance writer
Use an Under-Eye Mask
"Two words: eye gel. The most triggering side effect (and the telltale sign) of a hangover is having two puffy eye bags looking back at you when you finally make it to a mirror. I swear by the Meaningful Beauty Revive & Brighten Eye Masques ($52). I keep them in the refrigerator of course, so they zap the bags almost immediately and bring my entire face back to life." — Tyler, fashion publicist
Take an Ice Water Plunge
"Charlotte Tilbury told me a trick that she uses on her clients if they’re puffy from a flight or a big night out. She fills up a deep bowl with water, slices cucumber and adds ice cubes, then plunges their entire face in and out of the bowl. It sounds very dramatic but it works better than anything I’ve ever tried. It wakes you up and de-puffs your face in minutes. So… if I’m awake with enough time to do this, then it’s the first thing I do. If I don’t have time for the ice plunge, then I will use eye patches or a coffee-based de-puffer. I love the Yes To Cucumbers Cooling Under-Eye De-Puffer ($10) or the Milk Cooling Water Eye Patches ($22); I always keep a stack of them in my fridge. I’ll put them on and do a very quick facial massage using my jade Gua Sha tool.
My final secret to a hangover in the office is red lipstick. I learned this very early on in my career and unfortunately, I’ve told too many people, so now when I wear red lipstick in the office I always get asked if I’m hungover! I wear Fenty Beauty Stunna Lip Paint ($24)—it’s the best. Red lipstick distracts from the rest of your puffy, crusty, dehydrated face and dark under-eye bags and makes you look like you’ve made more effort than you have." — Bec, beauty director
Spritz on a Face Mist
"If I'm running late and need to take off last night's look, I'll reach for M-61Fast Blast Cleansing Cloths ($24). I dab Dr.Jart Cicapair Color Correcting Treatment ($52) all over my face to cover any redness, then sweep Laura Mercier Candleglow Sheer Perfecting Powder ($38) across my face using a powder brush. I also put a touch in the inner corners of my eyes to look more alive. I finish by spritzing Mario Badescu Rosewater Face Mist ($7) on my face throughout the day to stay awake." — Taylor, beauty publicist
Exfoliate and Moisturize
"First things first: find the biggest Powerade Arctic Chill possible! Then I put on one of those frozen gel mask—very American Psycho. It helps with the headache too! I take a cold shower and wash my face with Kiehl’s Calendula Deep Clean Foaming Face Wash ($30) and exfoliate with the Ultra Clean 3-in-1 Charcoal Scrub ($8) from Garnier. Then, a Dior Dream Skin 1-Minute Mask ($75)—a rec from my gal pal at Byrdie. I rinse it off then follow with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Moisturizer ($22)and Facial Fuel Eye De-puffer ($20) (perfect for travel days too!), seal it in with the brand’s Daily Reviving Concentrate ($73) for a little dewy shine, and hit the road!" — Ryan, wholesale regional visual manager
Try a Facial Massage
"My nights of drinking have become far more difficult to hide as I've gotten older—but I've still got some tricks up my sleeve. First, purchase two coconut waters on your way home (the Harmless Harvest version has two sizes). Drink the big one before bed and keep the smaller one in the fridge for the morning.
That said, for me, the biggest giveaway is hangover skin. Think: dehydrated, dull, and inflamed. I wash with a cooling cleanser (Tata Harper's Clarifying Cleanser, $72, is great for this) and give myself a bit of a facial massage. Then, rinse and pile on calming, comforting formulas. I like Skinceuticals CE Ferulic ($166) for added brightness and Dr. Barbara's Sturm's Calming Serum ($250) for a milky cloak of comfort. Then on to moisturizer—my favorite in these situations is May Lindstrom's Blue Cocoon ($180) because it's so, so soothing. It's balmy, thick, hydrating, and very literally offers up ingredients to calm anxiety and inflammation (two things synonymous with my hangovers). Once that's applied, I give myself another facial massage. Massage your skin in circular motions upward. Start at the base of your neck, on the sides where your arteries are, and massage in gentle circles towards your jaw, up the sides of your face, and around your eyes. If you must, take an Aleve and spritz on a facial mist that smells good and feels even better. I love anything with rosemary, eucalyptus, or both.
Oh, and, leave the office a little early. You’ve done your due diligence making it through the day, and you don’t want to subject your co-workers to your foolery any longer. Take a nap and have a big meal." — Hallie, senior beauty editor
Have a Healthy Breakfast Smoothie
"Through a lot of trial and error, I've realized that for me, a greasy breakfast is the wrong way to go. Instead, I opt for a berry smoothie with lots of greens in it. I have a theory that the sugar from the fruit helps with the hangover and the greens make me feel like I’m doing something good for my body. I also am a firm believer in mind over matter when it comes to hiding a hangover. Fake it til you make it—or at the very least, until you can go home and sleep. I make sure to thoroughly wash my face and hydrate it with an ultra-rich moisturizer—Eve Lom’s Moisture Cream ($150) is great. I also swear by Skyn Iceland’s Hydro Cool Firming Eye Gels ($30)—they de-puff and smooth out eye bags in just a few minutes." — Kelly, senior social media editor
Click here for the 7 foods that will eliminate your hangover in record time.