There’s nothing quite like the build-up to a convention; you’re plastering your Facebook wall with giddy excitement about seeing your con friends, going into entirely justifiable histrionic fits over last-second costume emergencies, and counting the hours, minutes, and seconds until you’re on the road or in the air. Con is like our fan-gasm vacay, a getaway from the mundane. We hang out with friends we only see once or twice a year, we try to act calm and cool when riding in an elevator with Jason Momoa (true story)… it’s Vegas for the geek set.

But in all that excitement, it’s super-easy to forget about treating your skin right and adjusting your beauty regimen for the occasion. Let’s be honest: you’re about to spend the next couple days getting down with your geeky self and a giant bottle of Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka (uh, also a true story…) while trying to best your buddies at how late you can stay up to savor every single drop of Con.

Not to worry! I’ve been there, survived, and emerged triumphant with a whole whack of ways to keep you looking your best even when you’re awake at 4 AM to wait in a panel line-up for the next eight hours…

Travel in Style

It all starts on the plane (or in the car). Recycled air, miles upon miles between rest stops… it takes a toll before you even get there. Stock up on a few essentials to ensure you arrive rested and so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed that even Squirrel Girl will wonder how the hell you managed to look so good.

Rose water in a travel mister will help keep your skin quenched and has the added bonus of smelling awesome (but not perfume-y) in case the person you’re crammed in next to doesn’t. This goes for during the con as well. Evian also makes little travel-sized Mineral Water misters that help plump you back up in no time. Not flying first class? You won’t get a hot towel, but you can make your own cooling ones on the cheap. Rinse some super-soft baby wipes under warm water to get rid of that powdery smell — unless you like that sort of thing, then by all means, skip to the next step. Let them dry out, soak them in fresh-steeped green tea, wring out excess liquid and seal those babies up in a ziplock. Keep them in the fridge until it’s time to travel, and they’ll last about a day, which is about how long you’re probably going to be traveling, amirite?

Next: your favorite lip balm or chapstick – stock up on it so that when you inevitably leave one in the airplane seat-pocket, you’ll be good to go. If you can splurge a bit, I am a mad, raving lunatic for Dior’s Crème de Rose Balm. I’ve used it on planes for everything from my lips and under my eyes to dabbing it around my nose when the intolerably dry airplane air starts making me feel like the Grail Knight.

If you’re NOT like me, you’ll be asleep before take-off. For the rest of us poor souls who are practically incapable of managing more than fitful dozing, try tossing some melatonin in your carry-on – it can help your body regulate your sleep patterns which might just provide you with a more restful flight than you’re used to. (As always with supplements, please read the appropriate dosage and warnings!)

Putting Your Best Face Forward

You made it! And you did it looking pretty damn good! Now don’t lose the momentum – keep these tips in mind for the next few days, and you’ll have FB pics of your epic time that you’ll actually be glad to be tagged in!

Make-up wipes. Find a brand that doesn’t assault your face like a rasp and make them your best friend. Pack more than you think you’ll need. I promise, you won’t regret it when it comes time to wash your face in the morning and all you get is a hotel face cloth that has been bleached into a tiny rag of sandpaper. They are especially necessary if you’re changing make-up a lot between costumes. Even sensitive-skin face washes can aggravate when paired up with harsh hotel water and the scrubbing required while removing costume make-up. Unless you really need it, skip the exfoliating scrubs as well for the next few days. Even if you don’t wear any make-up at all, using a gentle remover wipe is just easier on your skin.

Next up – water. I’m not your mom, so I won’t harp on this for long, but… WATER. Drink a ton of it. Your skin will thank you (and repay you by looking uber-radiant), you’ll help keep the your liver in passable shape after any and all indulging you may engage in, and it’ll help stave off dehydration and headaches. I’m hoping most of this goes without saying, but I guarantee you won’t regret remembering to drink a ton of water. After all…


It’s all for naught, though, if your eyes are redder than Amy Pond’s hair. To stave off unwanted Hammer Horror comparisons, pick up a nude-toned eyeliner and (after liberally applying Visine) line the inner rim of the eye. It brightens up the eyes, neutralizes the redness, and makes you look super-alert and refreshed no matter how later you were up.

So far, so good? Awesome – you’ve been pampering your skin, and now you’ve applied your make-up… it’s the icing on the cake of the costume you’ve been slaving over BUT UGH NOOO WHY GOD WHY it’s threatening to slide down your face in the sauna that is the con floor like some kind of Walking Dead nightmare. You need some epic-level sorcery to keep everything in its place, right? Wrong. Grab yourself a bottle of Ben Nye Final Seal and spritz it on your freshly-applied make-up job. Nothing is going anywhere with this stuff until you want it to. Don’t believe me? Ask the Disney Princesses – this is the stuff they use when they spend all day in the sweltering heat posing for photos and hugging grubby kids, and still have to look perfect.

And if all else fails (it won’t) – swipe on some red lipstick and walk out the door. Nothing says geek-gorgeous like confidence and a perfect red lip, if you ask me!

So there you have it – with a well-curated toiletry bag and a few dozen bottles of Fiji on hand, you’re all set to look fantastic at con without spending every waking second thinking about it! Go forth and be radiant, geekettes!



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