Lord knows I've been around the block a few times (and around, and around, and around). My point is I have had enough time to expose my skin, hair and body to so many "beauty routines" that I could be an approved FDA laboratory. Or toxic waste dump, whichever.
Fortunately, I learned a few good rules early on that I credit my "you-look-younger-than-your-age" appearance. Beauty trends come and go, mostly dependent on what they're trying to sell you, but avoiding these 5 common mistakes will pay big dividends down the road!
- Exfoliate: Often! Now I don't mean your face should be tomato red after harshly scrubbing it. There's a big difference between scrubbing your skin to the point of scratching & damaging your dermal layer vs removing the excess dead skin layer. I have also heard women say that they don't want to exfoliate because they feel their skin is already too dry. To their surprise they need to exfoliate MORE often! Why? Because as we age our skin does not turn-over as quickly, dead skin cells accumulate and our moisturizers are less able to penetrate to be effective.
- SPF 30+ : Yes, and none of this wimpy SPF 4 or 8 stuff. If you're serious about an anti-aging routine it needs to start with your fight against the #1 wrinkle producer: the sun! AND this needs to be applied every day, preferably reapplying during the day. Reapplying cream or SPF make-up could be time consuming, but there are good SPF powder based formulations that make your touch-ups a snap! There are many sunscreens being sold at SPF 50 or even SPF 70 but there is little additional advantage above SPF 50. I have been using sunscreen daily since I was 26 and I credit that with 80% of my anti-aging success.
- Going to bed without cleansing your face: I can remember doing this in my early twenties but this is simply gross! Your body and skin rejuvenate during sleep and if your keep your pores dirty & clogged you are robbing yourself of your body's natural beauty regimen. Sleeping represents nearly a third of our life so don't underestimate its healing powers. Think of it this way - your night time skin routine provides dermal nourishment, your day time routine targets protection (SPF/sun).
- Applying your products in the wrong order: Beauty companies love to sell you a dozen different products claiming they each do separate, miraculous things. I'm not here to dispute any claims but generally products can be put into four categories and should be applied in this order:
- #1 - cleansers and, if desired, toners
- #2 - nourishing serums which are normally water based for quick absorption & penetration. These products are generally best for anti-oxidant treatments, enzymes, vitamins such as C, A and E, and other active ingredients such as CoQ, polyphenols in green tea extracts, proanthocyanidins found in grape seed extract, and chlorogenic acid found in honey suckle extract.
- #3 - moisturizers in the form of lighter lotions. These are typically thinner in consistency, not thick like body butter. You want this product light enough to allow for proper application while allowing maximum absorption. Less is definitely more in this phase.
- #4 - It's time to seal the deal! By this I mean you want to seal #2 & #3 in to do their magic. This is typically your heavier cream, often sold with descriptive terms such as "night time" cream or has the word butter in it. This layer prevents trans-dermal water loss. Please just be careful with your product selection because many manufacturers use petrolatum based ingredients such as paraffin. If your skin tends to be very oily or blemish prone you may opt to skip #4 because a sealant is more likely to clog pores.
5. Over-Cleansing Your Hair: Having had oily skin and hair for as long as I can remember, I used to wash my hair every day with a standard, over-the-counter shampoo. There are actually two mistakes here - too frequent AND the wrong product. Forget all the sodium laurel sulfate based shampoos! Also known as SLS, this ingredient is added to shampoos because of its ability to create lots of lather. After all, haven't we all been brainwashed to believe that more lather equates to better & cleaner? Well, along with all that lather you're washing away your hair's natural protective sheen, gloss, and strength. A cleanser with milder surfactants applied just at the root is more than sufficient! To the remainder of your hair apply a creamy conditioner that keeps your hair shaft sealed and smooth. Your goal is to protect the hair shaft because once it's split or broken there is no such thing as "hair repair".
There you have it! Not rocket science or advanced chemistry, just simple guidelines that offer a solid foundation to your beauty routine. Keep calm and glam on!