In my mid-20s I decided that I needed to start a skin care routine in order to fend off crows’ feet and forehead lines. Because Botox is expensive – and yes, I’ve had a limited amount of Botox a few times in the past couple of years. I’m Italian so I’m expressive with my face (and my hands) More on this later.
Before I get into it, I would like to point out that genetics also plays a key role here. I’m no expert in the matter but I’m observant. Cindy Crawford hasn’t aged in 30 years! Why? Certainly her skin care line has a lot to do with it, but her mother looks pretty damn good too. So have a look at your own parents to figure out what you might experience.
Here are my tips, observations and considerations for skin care maintenance.
Sun protection, or avoidance altogether, is probably the best piece of advice I can offer! And the fairer your skin, the more importance to place on this factor. I wish I had learned this earlier in life. Unfortunately, I have hyper-pigmentation on my face resulting from sun exposure (and sun burns, frankly) from my teens and early twenties. Now I use foundation with SPF built in or I layer sunscreen under my makeup. And I am OBSESSIVE about using sunscreen when exposed to the sun for extended periods (for example, on vacation). My family pokes fun at me about it. Literally I use SPF 60 for my face, neck, shoulders and décolletage and apply it every few hours.
The second key with skin care is routine! Doing it day in and day out. Even when you’re tired. Even when you go on vacation. In many cases, the ingredients in these products need to be applied regularly in order to work. In commercials for face creams, have you noticed they often say something along the lines of “visible results in 28 days”? This is why – it requires you to use the products daily for those 28 days to see initial results – and then beyond to maintain the results.
Consider having a skin analysis done by a trained professional. Do you have dry skin? Oily skin? Combination? Acne? Sensitive skin? The answer will dictate the products you use. When I first decided to introduce a skin care routine into my life, I went into Caryl Baker Visage at the mall and had them evaluate my skin. Then they suggested products to address my needs and concerns. I used Visage products for many years thereafter.
Do some research especially if you are looking for no animal testing, organic/natural ingredients, or vegan/vegetarian products. Read up on various lines, products and ingredients. You probably hear words like retinol, hyaluronic acid, collagen, vitamin C, fish oil, etc. associated with skin care products. If you’re not sure what these ingredients do for your skin, Google it.
Update the products and routine periodically – approx. every 5 years – as your skin needs different attention as you get older. Recently, I changed my products and routine to address different issues as I’m getting older. This included switching to a dual cleansing process, using first an oil and then a cream cleanser. Game changer! I was skeptical at first with the oil but now I’m loving it!
This brings me to my next point: the routine and products may change with the season. For example, winter products should have heavier moisturiser to combat the dry air, and summer products should be lighter weight and pore minimizing to offset the effects of humidity. I have also introduced a night routine over the past few years. I use different products during the day than at night. Day products are lighter weight so they don’t cause my makeup to crease or become greasy, whereas night products are a little thicker.
Exfoliate regularly (at least weekly) and get professional facials from time to time (every 2-4 months), including masks in both cases. As much as I enjoy going to spas for my facials, it can get pricey so I only do that a few times a year. In between those appointments, I do mini-facials at home. I start by cleansing my face, then exfoliating and then applying a mask.
Select the right products. Choosing drug store brands vs. specialty lines is really a function of your budget and your preferences. Drug stores brands aren’t bad. However, consider that they are generally more affordable because they have less volume of and fewer active ingredients. Of these brands, there are certain items that produce better results.
One thing you can absolutely buy at the drug store are sheet masks! They are ~$5 each, come in a bunch of different types and are quite lovely.
About fragrance… personally, I much prefer products that are fragrance-free, including body wash and lotion, because I find that my nose is very sensitive. Plus I wear perfume daily so I don’t want the scents to mix.
Quick word of warning: don’t fall prey to products labeled anti-aging. There is no such thing. Aging will happen no matter what. Have you ever noticed that ads for skin (and hair) products always say things like “younger looking”, “healthy looking”, “reduces appearance of…”, etc? This is because most of these products target the surface of the skin (the epidermis), rather than the source of the problem.
Hence… Botox. I’m certainly not against cosmetic enhancements, including plastic surgery. But I do think it should be subtle. Your face should not be totally frozen!
- Rinse face & neck with warm water and dry thoroughly
- Clean face & neck with toner on cotton pad (Currently: Murad Hydration Hydrating Toner; Previously: Visage – Ginseng toner in winter; Citrus toner in summer)
- Apply eye serum (Visage emerginC Vitamin C Eye Serum)
- Apply vitamin C serum (Skinceuticals C E Ferulic)
- Apply face cream to face & neck (Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream)
- Apply eye cream (Visage emerginC Hyper-Vitalizer Eye Cream)
- Apply sunscreen (Skinceuticals SPF 50)
- Wash face with warm water and cleanser (Currently: Biossance Squalane & Antioxidant Cleansing Oil with Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cleanser Gentle Formula; Previously: Visage – Botanical in winter; Citrus in summer)
- Every other night, wash face using my oscillating face brush to help exfoliate (HealthPro, Amazon)
- Apply spot corrector (Skinceuticals Colour Corrector)
- Every other night, apply retinol (Skinceuticals Retionol 0.5)
- Exfoliate face and neck 1-2x per week (Guinot Biological Peeling Gel; Visage Papaya Enzyme Scrub)
- Apply mask (cream or sheet)
- Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Face with Helioplex
- Look for products that are non-greasy, sweat/water resistant, oil free, etc.
- Elmwood Spa Essentials Facial
- Elmwood Spa Brightening Vitamin C Facial
- Beauty Bar Clinics HydraFacial
- Caryl Baker Visage Microdermabrasion Facial