How to Recover From a Hangover, From Head(ache) to Toe

How to Recover From a Hangover, From Head(ache) to Toe

If you don’t have a hellacious hangover from a night of partying, did you even party?  Honestly, I don’t drink much anymore, but I can remember more than a few times in my early 20s when I woke up feeling like a resurrected mummy.

We all know about the old wives’ tales and hangover cure cliches, so I’ll skip telling you to take some Tylenol and pound Gatorade shots like you pounded those tequila shots the night before. Instead, I’m going to outline my tried-and-true hangover recovery plan that takes care of the inside and outside of your body, head-to-toe. Here we go!


But First, Hydration

Yeah, I know it’s trite to tell you to get some non-alcoholic liquid in your system, and I know I said I was going to skip the cliches, but trust me, it’s really important. Alcohol increases how much you have to pee (as you likely already knew), and that can quickly lead to dehydration. That’s why you might wake up with a cottony mouth, rolling tummy, or splitting headache. Some people even experience soreness or muscle stiffness after a heavy night of drinking.

I’m not saying that a bottle of Gatorade will fix your hangover, but step one of your total-body hangover recovery plan should definitely include something with minimal amounts of sugar and plenty of electrolytes. I’m not a fan of sports drinks like Gatorade, but I highly recommend Liquid I.V.! You can easily throw a packet into whatever purse, pocket, or bra cup is most convenient and then add it to a big bottle of water the next morning. You can also get just plain bottled water with added electrolytes, which I like.


Now You’ve Gotta Eat (Trust Me)

Sometimes I wake up hungover and ravenous, but other times I wake up hungover and nauseated. Either way, I do my best to feed my body at least a small amount of protein once I’m functional enough to manage food.

Unsplash/David Fedulov

If you can, try to skip the traditional greasy hangover breakfast, and reach for something more nutrient-dense instead. Protein-packed foods are usually best because they can help to keep your blood sugar at a more even level, and they can also help you feel less achy and sluggish. Every little bit helps, right?


Grab Some Herbal Supplements

As it turns out, scientists are sympathetic to your hangover plight. While there isn’t a ton of research into the efficacy of supplements as hangover recovery helpers, there is some evidence that herbs like red ginseng and prickly pear can get you feeling better faster. Thank goodness for science.

hangover recovery

I personally think that red ginseng would be great to have in your kitchen anyway due to all of its purported health benefits! If you’re curious, you can read about the red ginseng study here, and the prickly pear study here.


And Now, Let’s Take Care of Your Skin

Once you’ve done all of the internal maintenance, it’s time to move to the rest of your body!

1. Go wash your face

First of all, be honest. Did you sleep in your makeup? Mmhm, I thought so. (We’ve all done it, so no judgment from me.) After you’ve washed last night’s makeup off, I recommend doing some variation of the Fiddy Snails pore-clearing method to refresh and perk up your skin.

2. Give yourself a good exfoliation session

While you’re waiting for the pore-cleansing steps to do their thing, grab a dry brush or moisturizing sugar scrub and give your body an all-over exfoliation session. Be sure to use gentle, circular motions if you’re doing a sugar scrub, and if you’re dry brushing, remember to use short, firm (but not rough!) strokes. This not only helps to slough off all of the dull, flaky skin that can crop up when you get dehydrated, but it also stimulates blood flow. This can help you feel more awake, and it reduces that kind of sickly, “yeah, I had a wild night” look that your skin usually has the morning after you’ve had a few too many shots.

3. Hydrate from the outside in

If you don’t already keep a stash of hydrating hand and foot masks, I highly recommend adding a few to your skincare basket. After you’ve scrubbed, showered, and moisturized, it’s time to break out your best plumping, brightening sheet mask, slip on some moisturizing booties and gloves, and let your body recover.

If you have a jade roller or gua sha tool, stick it in the fridge for a few minutes and give yourself an extra facial massage while you have on the mask! Your skin will definitely thank you.

You can follow up your sheet mask with a hydrating mist and a lightweight occlusive to seal everything in. Be sure to put on some breathable cotton socks after your foot spa session, too.

4. Pull out all of your indulgent beauty tools

Depending on how crazy things got, this might be the perfect time to bust out your heated eye mask, massaging foot bath, or hot water bottle. Put a couple of hydrating drops in your eyes and let the steamy eye mask soothe your face (and headache). Add some aromatherapy bath salts into your foot soak, and put that hot water bottle on your stomach to help with any nausea or aching you might be feeling.

hangover recovery


Play Hard, Recover Harder

As long as you’re not making it a habit to wake up super hungover, it’s okay to get a little wild sometimes! We’ve all been there, but we probably haven’t had the necessary beauty knowledge to know how to fully recover from our hangovers, both inside and out.

Next time you have a big night out planned or even just feel like letting loose with a few extra shots, keep this hangover recovery guide handy so that you can get back to feeling like yourself in no time!


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