Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it is up to you to merit the face you have at fifty. – Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel
Coco Chanel’s edict speaks the truth, and any of us who skimped on sleep, indulged in too much sun, and missed the memo on de-stressing know it. Even if we’re only 27, we see the toll today’s lifestyle takes on our face.
Everyday, we face aging environmental assaults outside of our control – pollution, extreme weather conditions, and dehydrating heat/air systems to name a few. Layer on our controllable lifestyle factors like dieting, lack of sleep, alcohol consumption, and stress, and we’re left scrambling for more forgiving lighting. In fact, skincare pundits conjecture 80% of our aging results from the environment and our lifestyle.
So, do we throw our hands up and let our faces fend for themselves? HELL, NO! There’s a reason the cosmetic industry’s anti-age category sits as the fastest growing in the beauty business – it’s because the market (meaning us) demand it. According to an infographic from Rodan and Fields,
By 50, the average woman will spend $300,000 on their hair and face, and the average female uses 12 cosmetic products daily.
Now, some of you may argue that the industry created this demand by playing on women’s insecurities, and I might nod in agreement. (Please see Is Lip Gloss a Feminist Issue? for more on that topic.) However, I find something empowering about the choices available to me. And, I’m giddy with the ability to correct some of my past skincare sins! So, sue me.
But, I digress.
In a category with so much choice comes confusion. Lots of opinions, urban myths, and flat-out nonsense abounds. So, let’s step back and start with the basics. The following list comprises what I consider the must-have knowledge for maintaining the best skin possible:
- For the love of God, people – take your makeup off at night, and that includes your mascara. Ulta (the beauty retailer) claims your skin ages seven years for every night you sleep in your makeup. Even if that’s hyperbole, it prompts one to pause and think “Ick.” Consider facial wipes for quick removal. I love Yes to Cucumber Facial Cleanser Towelettes, plus you can’t beat the $5.99 price point. If you wear heavier eye makeup, then consider adding Lancome’s Bi Facil Double Eye MakeUp Remover.
- Invest in a good eye cream. Eyes, throat, and hands show signs of aging the fastest. Use it morning and night. You will thank me in ten years. TRUST ME! For a solid all-around product try Origins Eye Doctor Moisture Care for Skin Around the Eyes. Need something with more kick? Opt for Allure’s Best of Beauty choice, Shiseido’s Future Solution LX Eye and Lip Contour Regenerating Cream.
- Exfoliate two to three times a week. Piled up dead skin cells get in between you and the benefits or your products. Dried, dead surface cells act like dry oatmeal flakes. They suck up your product, so they never let the product make it any further into your epidermis. (Ever wondered why your skin looks and feels dry after loading on moisturizer?) As a reformed non-exfoliator, I bear witness to this truth! I adore Rodan and Fields Microdermabrasion Paste. If you shy away from “physical” exfoliators, then try Amore Pacific’s Treatment Enzyme Peel.
- WEAR A (Facial) 30+ SUNSCREEN EVERYDAY. Go ahead – roll your eyes, whine, throw a little fit, and then USE IT! You must protect your skin against the number one aging factor. This is one of my few beauty absolutes! If you want a tan, use a self-tanner, or buy a bronzer, but suck it up and use a sunscreen daily. Buy La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid SPF 50 Face, or if you need something more emollient, try Rodan and Fields Reverse Broad Spectrum SPF 50+ .
You might notice I skipped over what Clinique calls the basic 3-Step Program (cleanse, tone, moisturize), which is deliberate on my part. I tuck that topic away for next week because it deserves a more robust discussion. Until then, humor me and take your makeup off tonight.