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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(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

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?

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(Image credit: Tyler Joe)

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.

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.

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(Image credit: Design by Katja Cho)

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

2. Tweezerman brow mousse, $13,

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

4. Tag Heuer Connected watch, $1,500,

5. Glossier Stretch Concealer, $18,

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

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Chelsea Peng
Assistant Editor

Chelsea Peng is a writer and editor who was formerly the assistant editor at She's also worked for The Strategist and Refinery29, and is a graduate of Northwestern University. On her tombstone, she would like a GIF of herself that's better than the one that already exists on the Internet and a free fro-yo machine. Besides frozen dairy products, she's into pirates, carbs, Balzac, and snacking so hard she has to go lie down.