We have all been there: It’s two days before the big holiday party where you’ll see everyone and possibly run into your ex-boyfriend or ex-BFF. You stop and get a look at yourself in an unflattering mirror and say, “Yikes! What happened to my face?” The good news is that you probably look fine, but there are quick fixes that don’t involve a needle or a scalpel. Below is an expert game plan for getting your glow back, softening lines and firming your face in just two days’ time.

Eat & Drink Strategically

Step one isn’t about how to spackle your makeup over any flaws; rather, it’s about attacking the problem from the inside out. Pretty simple, what you are or are not putting into your body can have a big impact on how your face looks.

The rules:

1. Focus on eating plants: kale, veggies and spinach. They provide nutrients needed to nurture skin, including protein, vitamins and minerals. Stay away from meat and dairy; they have been shown to be inflammatory to the body, causing your skin to look dull and dry.

2. Avoid sugar. It promotes a chemical reaction called glycation, which damages skin cells, decreasing firmness and elasticity and making wrinkles look more prominent.

3. No caffeine and no alcohol. Alcohol turns to sugar in the body, while caffeine causes inflammation.

4. Drink water. Hydrated skin looks more plump and supple, so wrinkles aren’t as noticeable. Watermelon works to hydrate as well.

5. No salt. It causes water retention and skin puffiness, making you appear older.

6. No spicy foods. They will aggravate rosacea, making your skin appear red, inflamed and aged.

7. Go nuts. Walnuts, almonds and Brazil nuts are rich in skin-saving potassium, iron, magnesium, selenium and zinc. A small handful each day is enough to nourish inside and out.

Winter Skin Care Tips

Invest in a Facial

The right facial can provide both instant and lasting effects on your complexion. Before big events, in-the-know New Orleanians book spa appointments designed to lift and firm. Book a noninvasive (no extractions) firming or sculpting facial with an aesthetician that understands the benefits of massage. Getting facials that utilize glycolic, alpha hydroxy or enzyme peels instantly will reveal newer, younger skin. And last, spring for the eye treatment add-on (usually a mask) as this is the area where aging is often most evident. If you have a big breakout you can go to the dermatologist and he or she can give you a shot of cortisone to get rid of it, or you can apply an acne topical cream on it overnight. Dr. Mary Lupo, Dr. Deirdre Hooper and Dr. Jeff Poole all are in New Orleans and have amazing aestheticians. There is nothing wrong with seeing dermatologists for ideas on how to freshen your look.

Use Targeted Skin Products

A tight deadline calls for topical ointments that deliver instant gratification. If dark circles are a concern, use Clinique Even Better Eyes Dark Circle Corrector, which brightens the eye area right away. Puffy? Try StriVectin-TLÔ 360° Tightening Eye Serum; it contains protein tensors for a noticeable lift. To plump lines and get a youthful glow all over, apply Rodial Dragon’s Blood Hyaluronic Mask and leave it on overnight. (Note: Dragon’s blood is sap from the sangre de drago tree. I love it, but spot test it first to see if your skin likes it, too.) Guerlain Midnight Secret is also a great option for overnight and is a staple with the red carpet crowd. In the morning, use Elizabeth Arden Good Morning Re-texturizing Primer to create radiance and smooth over imperfections.

Get Enough Zs

DVR your favorite shows, and your face will thank you. Sleep at least seven to nine hours a night; this will reduce stress hormones and free radicals that have damaging effects on your skin. Also many recommend the “Save My Face!” anti-wrinkle pillowette (it’s most often stocked in the offices of top cosmetic surgeons). The pillow is crescent-shaped at each end to cradle your ears, forehead and chin when you sleep on your side, preventing “pillow face.” On a regular pillow, your head puts up to 10 pounds of pressure on your facial tissue all night; which can stretch skin and cause it to sag.

Emphasize Eyes

Practice making the most of your face. Find a good makeup artist in store or freelance, and book an appointment to learn a few new ideas. Our skin changes, and so should your makeup habits. A trick I use is I tuck black liquid liner right into upper lash lines, applying it in little dashes and connecting it as a line as I go. It instantly opens up eyes. Using a very black-black mascara adds drama, as do faux lashes (use the thinner, more natural lashes if you want to look less faux).  My favorites are Ardell Lashes #110 Demi Black, #105 for a little more drama and #311, half lashes.

Chill Out

You know you look your best when you’re relaxed. Happy holidays!