Linda Wells, the editor of Allure, wrote Confessions of a Beauty Editor. Jean Godfrey-June wrote about her unlikely rise to the top of the moisturizer section of the masthead at Lucky in Free Gift with Purchase. Alexia is making me write this skin care tell-all.
Throughout my tenure at the now-shuttered Luxury SpaFinder Magazine, where I wrote a section called “Beauty and Brains,” I tested hundreds of products, spa treatments, and the patience of many a beauty marketing person by demanding studies, proof, and ingredient source information. I wrote for thinking women who wanted to know their retinoids from rip-off ingredients, and I revealed in print when things couldn’t possibly do what they claimed and asked why a cream or a facial cost more than $300. Hey, I still do!
What follows are the skin-care tips and tricks I’ve learned from being a science-minded beauty editor, almost all of which I practice myself. They’re in logical order of my own skin-care routine. They might not work for you, skin being that often fickle thing, but I really hope they do.
Here are my 7 top skin-care tips:
- No soap; facial cleansers. I use a milky lactic-acid cleanser in the morning and a clarifying one at night (because I have combination skin). Both are free of the waxes and junk you’ll find in Cetaphil, which I have lambasted previously. The goal is not a dry tight feeling when you wash; it’s the opposite. Sometimes I do like a Parisian woman and just splash my face with cold water in the morning. At night I’ll often use a 2-in-one cleanser with exfoliating enzymes in it for the exponential benefits of clearing my pores and sloughing off dead skin gently.
- Use high-quality facial oils. I’ve waxed poetic on this before, so I won’t again. But if you’re afraid of applying oils on your face, don’t be. Your skin will drink them up like water in a desert. I’ve seen plumper, firmer, heartier skin and a dewier complexion that’s legitimately healthy.
- Exfoliate! Slough off your dead skin cells, and do it often. By boosting the rate at which your cells turnover naturally (about a 28 day process, which slows with age), you reveal new smooth cells beneath, even out your skin tone, help pores stay clear, and stimulate collagen. Newly revealed cells reflect light better and can better absorb your pricey skin-care products. Follow?
- Peels or scrubs? I use both chemical exfoliants (gentle AHAs, lactic acid, and fruit enzymes that break the glue that bonds cells together) and physical exfoliants (the scrubs) just on my T-zone. There’s nothing else that can shrink my pore size and get rid of blackheads (well, the visible part) in 10 minutes. Exfoliants are great prevent-and-treat products for acne (particularly chemical exfoliants) and anti-aging. Who’s skin doesn’t fall into one of these camps?
- Illuminate now. I love tinted moisturizer with light reflecting particles. The early 20th-century film stars put Vaseline on the camera lens. Mica, a mineral added to moisturizers, particularly the tinted ones with sunscreen, create the same luminizing glow. About 99 percent of the time I get a complement on my skin, I’ve either very recently had a facial or I’m wearing a tinted moisturizer with light reflecting particles.
- Sunscreen isn’t just for the sun. Women come up with every excuse under the sun NOT to wear the one beauty product that can prevent nearly all skin-care woes—dark spots, fine lines, lack of firmness, you name it. I wear sunscreen about 360 days a year. It’s the number one anti-aging product and it prevents skin cancer, so why wouldn’t I? I typically wear sunscreens and moisturizers with zinc and Mexoryl because they catch the broadest range of UV rays.
- Two cents on eye cream. I’m still looking for an awesome eye cream that can do something for my dark under-eye circles (aka the visible hemoglobin that shows through the really thin skin around the eyes). Vitamin K, arnica, and circulation stimulators like caffeine are supposed to do the trick, but so far I’ve found that lymphatic drainage during a facial is the only thing that works better than concealer. I just wish it lasted longer than a few days.
And finally, here is a skin-care factoid: Lack of oil glands means eyes will show your age first