I have a secret strategy for good skin, one that I suspect I share with moms around the world. It is called I somehow find time to wash my face.
Once in a while I exfoliate, usually in the shower so I can multitask. Rarely, I’ll put on my mask, and it’s typically more for the purpose of entertaining my children than getting a glow (“Mommy is a ghost! Mommy is a ghost!”). The truth is, taking care of my skin isn’t up there on my endless list of to-dos.
Happily, as it turns out, there are some no-brainer strategies for getting amazing skin, the kind that looks as if you regularly get lots of sleep, shop at Bergdorf Goodman, and lounge at The Beverly Hills Hotel pool with Jennifer Aniston. Nobody knows this better than my friend Andrea Pomerantz Lustig, a beauty editor, columnist for Glamour and author of the new book How To Look Expensive: A Beauty Editor’s Secrets To Getting Gorgeous Without Breaking The Bank.
The book is packed with makeup, hair and skin tips and product picks, recommended by celeb pros and tried-and-tested by this working mom. “Despite all the products I try, I’m surprisingly low maintenance when it comes to my skin,” Andrea says. “I have three kids to get out of the house in the morning, so I’m all about quicky, easy, efficient skincare that really works.”
Here, adapted from the book, are Andrea’s simple, low-cost strategies for getting soft, smooth, glowy, fancy-lady skin.
1. Use the right kind of cleanser 1 of 10Go for cleansers without sodium lauryl sulfate, a drying ingredient. I especially like ones with natural, plant-based ingredients that do the dirty work. No need to overspend—you wash it right off! Some faves: Alba Botanica, Avalon Organics and MyChelle Dermaceuticals. Rub on in small circles with a soft washcloth, to mimic the effects of a deep-cleansing machine.
Photo credit: istock
1. Use the right kind of cleanser 2 of 10Go for cleansers without sodium lauryl sulfate, a drying ingredient. I especially like ones with natural, plant-based ingredients that do the dirty work. No need to overspend—you wash it right off! Some faves: Alba Botanica, Avalon Organics and MyChelle Dermaceuticals. Rub on in small circles with a soft washcloth, to mimic the effect of a deep-cleansing machine.
Photo credit: istock
2. Scrub (gently, please) 3 of 10Exfoliators slough off grime and dead cells, give you a fresh glow, and help products you apply afterward absorb better and work more efficiently. They can be used daily if skin is normal to oily, two or three times a week if skin is dry.
Photo credit: Flickr/Steve A Johnson
3. Moisturize every day 4 of 10"A good moisturizer is right up there with sunscreen as one of the best anti-aging products on the planet!" says dermatologist Ellen Marmur, MD, of New York City's Mount Sinai Hospital. "It acts as a layer of protection that stops your body's own moisture from evaporating, allowing skin to replenish from within naturally." (For your best kind, see slide 7.)
Photo credit: Flickr/The Campbells
4. Use sunscreen year-round 5 of 10Yes, even in winter. A no-brainer way to get it on daily: Get a moisturizer that contains it. I like the new powder sunscreens, with a built-in brush to swipe on like face powder (keep one in your car's glove compartment).
Photo credit: Flickr/bjaglin
5. Hel-lo, eye cream 6 of 10Your under-eye skin is the thinnest kind, why it tends to show wrinkles first. Blame it for dark circles, too; veins play peekaboo. Eye cream plumps up skin so you can't see veins and prevents moisture loss, a common cause of crow's feet. Dr. Marmur says the eye cream you use doesn't matter; the main goal is to prevent natural moisture from evaporating, and any eye cream can do that.
Photo credit: Flickr/neurotic camel
6. Try the skincare version of Spanx 7 of 10Your undercover skin secret weapons:
Need more glow? Try products with alpha hydroxy acids and beta hydroxy acids. Derived from sources like citrus fruits and milk, they gently exfoliate and expose a fresh layer of skin. Look for lactic acid, glycolic acid, malic acid and salicylic acid on labels.
Need to fight wrinkles or ban breakouts? Go for products with retinol. The prescription-strength version, Retin-A, is the only FDA-approved ingredient to diminish fine lines and signs of aging or clear up and improve acne. Its over-the-counter cousins: retinol, retinaldehyde, L-retinol AGP and vitamin A.
Need to soften dry skin? Try products with antioxidants, which help maintain moisture. Look for vitamins A, C and E; alpha lipoic acid; coffeeberry; pomegranate; or green, white and oolong tea on labels.
Photo credit: Flickr/sara helwe
7. Have a good morning/night regimen 8 of 10If your skin's normal to oily…
In the morning: Cleanse, moisturize and protect skin with SPF 30 or higher if your serum or lotion doesn't contain it.
In the evening: Cleanse, wipe with an exfoliating pad to unclog pores (some have salicylic acid for an anti-acne effect), and treat with a serum or lotion containing salicylic acid or retinols to help unclog pores. Optional: eye cream.
If you have normal to dry or aging skin…
In the morning: Skip cleanser and just freshen your face with water (what many female dermatologists do); use a serum, lotion or cream that contains antioxidants or retinols, along with moisturizing ones like hyaluronic acid or glyecerine; pat on eye cream (don't rub!); and apply sunscreen if your moisturizer doesn't have it.
In the evening: Use a hydrating cleanser or skin-hydrating wipe (once or twice a week add a gentle exfoliator, wipe or pad with alpha hydroxy acid to expose fresher skin). Apply your morning serum, lotion or cream or a night cream with the same anti-aging ingredients; finish with eye cream.
Photo credit: Flickr/tsmall
Get great skin all over! 9 of 10My favorite body-softening secret: a $5 can of coconut milk. Open and let solidify in the fridge overnight so it becomes a solid butter you can slather on. Store in the fridge and you'll get as much out of it as an expensive body cream… only it's natural, and smells beyond.
Photo credit: Flickr/Sing Chang
Consider cheap tricks that make you look like Kate Middleton 10 of 10To combat shine: Blot with a Starbucks napkin; something about their texture makes them the perfect face-blotters.
To nix a big zit: Pop an ibuprofen and apply hydrocortisone, both of which help reduce swelling.
To soften flakey patches: Rub in a bit of lip balm.
To lighten dark circles: Soak cotton pads in soy milk and apply to eyes pre-bedtime. Or go make yourself a soy lattÃ© and forget about the dark circles; you have better stuff to think about.
Photo credit: istock
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