We’ve redefined skin care. The words “antiaging” and “younger” have been banished to a beauty-marketing black hole. We’re no longer suckers for every so-called breakthrough brand, miracle ingredient or 14-step exotic regimen of products. Instead, we just aim to look healthy, well rested and fresh. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for mature skin for two good reasons. First, grownup complexions — like our hair (quality, texture and color) and bodies (shapes, sizes and proportions) — do differ. Second, your complexion’s not shy now about revealing the effects of genes and your history of sun damage, smoking, poor diet and lazy skin maintenance. Here are 10 things for all to know, get into and avoid
7. Serums are regimen extras, but their benefits are hard to ignore
Serums are not moisturizers. They are super-concentrated treatments designed to deliver specific problem-solving ingredients deeper into the skin, thanks to a smaller molecular structure. Serums contain a higher level of an ingredient. For example, that might be hyaluronic acid (for hydration), vitamin C or antioxidants (for brightness), retinol (to smooth lines), peptides and niacinamide (for firmness). Apply a serum to damp skin before moisturizer. It takes just a drop or two for the entire face.
8. Skin oils are team players or stand-alone solutions
Oils are not the same thing as serums but can work with them — serum under moisturizer, oil over moisturizer for a radiant look. Face oils have essential fatty acids that help keep the skin’s outermost lipid barrier layer strong and supple to prevent water loss. You can use them in place of a moisturizing cream or primer, or to spot-treat areas. If layering an oil, it goes after moisturizer and sunscreen but before makeup … or as a final step at night. Pat an oil into your skin — don’t blend it around as you do a cream. Oils of argan and maracuja are two of the most popular for parched, dehydrated or sun-damaged skin.
9. Avoid being a product junkie
Ignore exaggerated claims and also check product reviews for specific info — even from peers. Every woman does not need the same number of products. Only you know your skin and its history. Don’t underestimate the appeal of going back to an easier, straightforward routine. The more products you layer (please ignore those YouTube videos), the more chemical overload. Fewer products — but the right ones — can deliver your best-quality skin. Maybe it’s just cleanser, serum and moisturizer with an SPF upon waking, and then a makeup remover, cleanser and moisturizer or oil in the evening. Done! And for those who want actual researchers and scientists to do the homework, sticking to one brand is the most reliable way to go.
10. Is it working?
That’s really all we want to know for sure. You didn’t get wrinkles, dry skin, discolorations and dull skin overnight, so give your skin products a chance to do their stuff. Expect weeks of use before you begin to see a change. The only immediate difference will be in how easily a product is absorbed or how it feels on your face. Giving up too soon (unless, of course, you are experiencing signs of irritation or breakouts) is what beauty marketers count on. It’s partly responsible for the constant cycle of skin-care trends and claims. Don’t get fooled, either. Read the packaging and the ingredient listing. Sometimes “new” products are just repackaged old ones with a change of one ingredient, or a different texture or delivery system (for example, a pump dispenser instead of a jar, or a gel-cream instead of a cream).