By Bill Michel
Each season brings new trends, but good skin is the best trend for everyone. As a former makeup artist for Christian Dior and a veteran of the beauty industry, I can confirm taking care of your skin is something that never goes out of style.
Having your skin retain a healthy glow and a smooth surface is never a bad thing. Rather than suggest certain brands of skin care products, I offer advice as to how each product will help you attain better skin.
Cleanser – This is a basic necessity. The important step is finding a product that matches your exact need. If you experience blemishes on a regular basis over a majority of your skin, an oil-free cleanser is the right choice. If your skin is drier and tends to get flaky, look for a cleanser that is oil-based or a cream cleanser.
Toner – Toner was originally a product that brought the skin back to a natural pH balance and removed any remaining impurities. Now, most cleansers have a toner-type product in them to save time and skip a step in the process. If you decide to use a toner, make sure it is not too harsh. Stripping toners (normally associated with acne-prone skin) are extremely harsh and should be used sparingly.
Serum – These are products that are aimed to giving your skin an extra boost of nourishment. A serum is applied after the toner and always before moisturizer. Serums can contain many different ingredients. Some have vitamins to boost brightness, while others have antioxidants to give an extra layer of protection. Anti-aging serums are also popular. It is never too early to start thinking about anti-aging products. Preventative care is always more effective than corrective care.
Eye cream – This is a step many people skip and shouldn’t. Eye cream is a concentrated moisturizer for the extremely sensitive skin around your eyes. It is formulated differently than other products so that it doesn’t irritate. The two types of eye area products are eye cream and eye gel. A gel is for hydration and will stay exactly where you put it. An eye cream is for moisturization and will creep into areas where it is needed. Therefore, creams should only be applied on the occipital bone around the eye and never in the hollow just underneath the lower lash line. Gels can be used closer to the lash line, but with caution. This is a product you should never go without. Getting into the habit of using eye cream now will benefit you for many years to come.
Moisturizer – The granddaddy of all skin care products, moisturizer is like a protective barrier for your skin. It can nourish, mattify, provide sun protection and hydrate. Look for a moisturizer that has an SPF of at least 15, but not greater than 30.
In warmer months, you want a moisturizer that is either oil-free or in a pump bottle. Two pumps of a moisturizer is normally the best amount to apply to your skin. Cooler months are when creams in a jar are appropriate.
Exfoliators – Scrubs are meant as a once-a-week option to aid in removing impurities that result from the environment and can clog pores. Best used in the shower, an exfoliator is harsh and gritty; therefore it is not necessary to add much pressure when using this product. Let it do its job.
When dealing with a scrub, man-made is the best option. A man-made scrub normally consists of tiny, round spheres that glide over the skin to smooth the surface. Try to avoid using natural scrubs whenever possible.
Masks – Clay masks are for deep cleansing and gel masks provide hydration. No mask should ever be left on the skin for more than 15-20 minutes. This is a good way to give your skin a treat. Although they are not necessary, masks do have great benefits and should occasionally be a part of your routine.
Masks can be messy. The best way to use a mask is to cleanse and tone your face at the sink, dry your skin, and then apply the mask.
After a brief wait, jump in the shower and rinse everything off completely. Then apply your skin care products as usual. The best time is shortly before bedtime, because your skin does most of its regenerating overnight. You’ll wake up the next day with that healthy glow you’ve seen on the pages of your favorite magazines.
One last piece of advice: Good skin is for everyone. Men can use all of the tips above as effectively as women. Looking good and feeling good are wonderful things for all. Remember that most skin concerns don’t happen overnight and will not get better overnight. Time and good practices are the keys to success.