The Secret Beauty Side Effect of Coachella

What does a weekend of chill debauchery do to your skin and hair? Not what you think.

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When I touched down in Palm Springs last weekend for Coachella (thanks, Tag Heuer!), I was pale, blotchy, and had a patch of congestion on my chest that just wouldn't clear up no matter how much Kate Somerville HydraClear I administered. When I left—after three nights straight of staying out far too late, redeeming drink tickets like there was no tomorrow, and not really eating anything that had once been alive—I felt like I could take Sara Sampaio on in a head-to-head casting and win. What strange alchemy was this?

not me, but this is how I felt
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Even if you've never been out to Indio specifically, you can probably surmise that a music festival is where you go to "lose your pretty," as a PR pitch I got right before I left put it. But it's not—it's where you go to find it.

Maybe the dry heat forces you to drink more water to compensate, thus plumping your skin. (Also, what a gift to not have to worry about what the humidity will do to your waves.) Maybe the walking-10-miles-a-day-across-a-field rate of exercise really does help with circulation/getting things moving internally. Maybe I got enough vitamin D for once. Maybe pool chlorine and the Ace Hotel's conditioner is all you really need for the chunkiest, most like-it-was-crimped-but-not beach hair ever.

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Wish u were here (to witness maybe my first tan ever)

A photo posted by Chelsea (@chelseapeng) on

Or it could all be psychosomatic—when the most pressing problem in your life is finding reception to call your friends or deciding between your Marysia swimsuit and your Ward Whillas (I know, I know), how could you *not* look like the chillest, happiest, prettiest version of yourself?

So that's how I found the beauty Holy Grail 2,000 miles away from home. I can't move there because acclimation = the magic wears off, but I really should return soon. Because almost immediately after I landed at JFK at 2 a.m., I felt a cold sore coming on. Sigh.

This is the stuff that got me through Coachella. You'll like it.

1. Fresh Sugar Sport lip treatment (SPF 30), $25, sephora.com.

2. Tweezerman brow mousse, $13, neimanmarcus.com.

3. J.Crew shoulder-tie French bikini top, $44, jcrew.com; J.Crew seersucker bikini boy short, $46, jcrew.com.

4. Tag Heuer Connected watch, $1,500, tagheuer.com.

5. Glossier Stretch Concealer, $18, glossier.com.

6. Kiehl's Activated Sun Protector™ sunscreen, $29, kiehls.com.

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