The Best Beauty and Skincare Tips, According to Bartenders

Bartending is not an easy job—and it’s definitely not easy on a person’s body. Long shifts behind the stick have bartenders constantly on their feet, washing their hands, handling acidic citrus and sweating. Yet somehow they manage to look put together from happy hour until last call. It’s not just genetics. Over the years these pros have amassed an arsenal of products that relieve, heal, protect and last.

From ultra-hydrating hand creams and facial moisturizers to soothing chapstick and long-wearing eyeliner, here are the best bartender-approved products to help you step up your self-care routine.

Hand Moisturizers

“There are a couple of barrier creams that we have in Australia that have worked for a lot of bartenders, but when I was behind the stick full time, I used Aesop cedar atlas hand cream (really expensive but really good) or the Neutrogena hand creams. Always found it worked for me.” —Sam Ng, Four Pillars Distillery

“I have O’Keefe’s Working Hands. It works really well for bartending because it’s not as oily as most lotions are and it completely absorbs into your hands. I try to keep some of that around and use it when possible. My grandma always preached the lotion with gloves on over it at nighttime—but the other reality is that we’re not going to have soft hands. We need the calluses and we need the roughness to shake and everything else. It can’t be too fine and dainty.” —Pamela Wiznitzer, Seamstress

“One go-to product is Trader Joe's Head to Toe Balm. I wash my hands a million times a day and handle a lot of citrus. This is a non-greasy, quick absorbing moisturizer that can be used for everything from soothing my hands to chapstick or even in a pinch, as a hair defrizzer.” —Sierra Kirk, Hale Pele

Coconut oil is the jam! I use it everyday to stave off bar rot and keep my hands silky smooth.” —Ray Sakover, Slowly Shirley

“My hands are so dry. They crack, peel and flake because of the constant water they are in, night after night. At Dutch Kills we cut ice daily and chip/crack ice to order and it is so rough on my hands. The Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter from Lush is my savior. It has beeswax, shea butter, cold pressed avocado oil and fresh lemon in it. It softens my dry, cracked cuticles and brightens my skin. I pair this with the Lush Helping Hands cream which is perfect for people that work with their hands and suffer from dry, chapped skin. Calming chamomile, cocoa butter, soothing honey and moisturizing oils help and protect hardworking hands. I apply both of these before going to bed at night so that they can heal overnight while I sleep.” —Natalie Jacob, Beverage & Creative Consultant

Aquaphor for dry anything.” —Jane Danger, Mother of Pearl and Cienfuegos

“For lotion, we keep coconut oil at the bar. It is deeply moisturizing and doesn't have an offensive or strong smell. I shy away from perfume or scented lotions when I'm working because smell affects taste, and people can be really sensitive to different scents.” —Anna Mains, Rockford Cocktail Den

“I have a lot of dry skin, and working in our industry just exacerbates that—it’s the wetness and dryness of the hands. Cocoa butter helps that so much. The brand I use is Palmer’s—it’s great. I put it on my hands and feet at night.” —Ranjini Bose, Dear Irving and Seamstress

Facial Moisturizers

“I use Perricone MD Pre:Empt Series Brightening Eye Cream twice a day—when I wake up in the morning and before going to bed. The long hours and late nights take a toll on your skin, especially your delicate under-eye area. People are always asking me how I take care of my skin and keep looking young with my crazy schedule and the answer is moisturizing. It is the most important thing you can do for the largest visible organ you have. When your skin is dry and tired, it will wrinkle and fine lines will appear faster. The way I look at it is like a plant. If you don’t water a plant it will shrivel and die. Your skin will wrinkle faster without moisturizer. This eye cream is slightly higher in price but so worth it for the results.” —Natalie Jacob, Beverage & Creative Consultant

Lip Products

“For lips, I've been super into Lime Crime—it’s vegan and cruelty free. The colors are true and long lasting.” —Jane Danger, Mother of Pearl and Cienfuegos

“I love NARS Audacious lipstick in Audrey. It’s moisturizing, but lasts through a shift.” —Anna Mains, Rockford Cocktail Den

“All Glossier Balm Dotcoms—it’s such a good base [for lipstick] or stand alone. I use the cherry on my cheeks.” —Jane Danger, Mother of Pearl and Cienfuegos

“There’s an Asian brand that I swear by. It’s the only lip balm I’ve found that works properly and quickly. It’s called Mentholatum Lip Ice and, yes, it’s super cheesy, but it’s legitimately amazing.” —Sam Ng, Four Pillars Distillery


“I have been wearing liquid eyeliner for years, and recently my best friend turned me on to Sephora's Classic Line 24HR Felt Eyeliner. It is easy to apply and stays on with no smearing, transfer or fading for my whole shift! It is also easily removed at the end of the night, which some others I have tried are not.” —Sierra Kirk, Hale Pele

“I try to just wear Bare Minerals Mineral Veil through a long shift. It’s light, and doesn't make me breakout. Other foundations and powders usually end up causing breakouts because of the sweat and long hours wearing. I also love NARS The Multiple in Orgasm. It highlights and gives color and because it’s cream, it lasts. It’s also easy to re-apply with just a quick swipe—no mirror needed if you need to just run to the prep room and add some more color.” —Anna Mains, Rockford Cocktail Den

Spa Treatments

“I really love Lush Bath Bombs. Sometimes at 3 a.m. the only way to unwind is with a hot bath—physically and mentally. I love the Butterball Bath Bomb from Lush, because it’s vanilla scented and soothing.” —Anna Mains, Rockford Cocktail Den

“If you’re not getting pedicures once a month—and this is for guys or girls—it’s going to be bad! When you’re on your feet for a shift, they get banged up so badly. You have to go and get the foot scrub. It’s so worth it. I don’t know about other cities, but in New York, it’s so cheap to get a manicure and pedicure. You get the massage and you get the scrub and it helps.” —Ranjini Bose, Dear Irving and Seamstress