2017 has been a year of super-easy skincare and anti-aging tricks. Here is the wrap-up of my absolute favorites!
I’ve got a few foundational things I use regularly, so I’ll start with them. The others change as new products come on the market. This is the most current list of the best beauty secrets I know (and personally use):
- Retin-A (tretinion). It’s a form of vitamin A that helps the skin with significant exfoliation. It’s what many would refer to as a chemical exfoliant (versus a physical one like a scrub brush or apricot scrubs). What this exfoliation does for you is limit the build-up of cells that can block pores, and continues what beauty insiders call “constructive destruction”. This keeps the skin building collagen and other youthful agents. Early usage of tretinion will limit wrinkling, create a much smoother appearance, and allow other topical creams (like lighteners) to be absorbed. It also helps prolong the benefit of botox. definitely worth starting at age 30. I’ve had friends start in their 20’s and they look amazing in their 40’s. This is by prescription and unless you have severe acne you’ll pay full price for it. It’s generic now, so a 45g tube of .1% should cost around $50. Using on face and neck nightly, this 45g tube will last 3-4 months.
- Hydroquinone. Simply, it’s a skin lightener. Used as a hack, it provides a super smooth and creamy look to your skin and will minimize freckling and skin blotchiness. Available by prescription only, a 4% cream in a 20g tube will run about $50 and last about 3-4 months when used every other day. Yes, you can mix the tretinion and hydroquinone in your palm prior to application. A pea size of each will cover your face and neck. It has an odd smell (based on a sulfur component to the compound.) No worries about the smell. Yes, you can find 2% products available over the counter, and they are better than nothing, but I highly recommend getting the prescription strength (4%). This way you know what you’re getting and can mix based on your needs. I use it every three to four days, but many use it daily or every-other day. Start by using it daily until you achieve your desired results then cut back.
- Botox. I’ve been getting botox in the glabella area (between your eyes) since my mid-thirties and highly recommend it to everyone. There is nothing worse than those deep wrinkles that make someone look like they’re chronically confused or stressed. The “11” wrinkles. I’ve seen women 15-20 years younger than me look drastically older due to this simple fix. If you start before the wrinkles appear (like I did) chances are you may never see them. Yes, genetics play a part on how your skin ages, and I have great genes. Yet this simple, and inexpensive hack can take years off your face and prevent a look that’s much harder to hide in your 40’s. I am complimented daily on my skin and thank God for tretinion, hydroquinone and botox. You now know my biggest secrets 😉
- Sunscreen (and moisturizer). If you’re a client of mine you know I’m not into “make-up”. No judgement here… I’m just lazy. I have no desire to spend time on it. However, moisturizer with sunscreen is an absolute *must* for me. Beach living requires it… but everyone, no matter where you live, will experience much better skin by using these daily. My favorite is a combination of facial sunscreen/moisturizer and a bronzer. Why add a bronzer? I only use mineral-based sunscreens (not chemical). These minerals do their thing by actually blocking out the harmful rays. These are huge molecules, and because they’re reflective they’re easy to see… they make your face look white. Very white. Like ghostly dead white… or clown white. Some are less whitening, but it’s basically chemistry… more minerals used, the more white you’ll look. But a bronzer solves for this. Most bronzers are think and make-up like. But my favorite (so far) is Dr Hauschka Bronzing Tint. This is meant to be added to stuff, like moisturizers, or used to add a translucent glow over make-up. So it doesn’t have any coverage properties of its own. Love it. I put a pea-size of my sunscreen in my palm, and a half-pump of bronzer, mix with my finger, and apply. Add more or less bronzer based on your personal complexion. You’ll look amazing, glowing, without any make-up. If you need to cover something up, use a concealer and dot a tiny bit on, and blend. My (current) three favorite sunscreen/moisturizer are Beauty By Earth, Etude House, and (only at Target) Pacifica.
- Lastisse. Yes, this works, and it works amazingly well. In just a few weeks your eyelashes will be longer, thicker, and darker. Use nightly until you achieve the desired effect, then every-other night. This is prescription, but they just came out with a generic. It’s about $50 for 5ml. Use GoodRX to get the best price where you are. Use just one of the included brushes and cut it down to just a few bristles. Just a tiny drop per eye. Put it on the lid where the lashes and skin meet, or on the lashes themselves. I do both.
- Lip Balm. Nothing looks worse than cracked lips. Well, maybe there are things that look worse, but cracked or dry lips are pretty bad. And they hurt when they’re dry. Fatco Fat Stick is amazing. This puppy is huge, but still fits into my tiny purse. I have a dozen of these sticks around the house and in my purse. Mainly used for lip balm, they’re also great for under the eyes, cuticles, or anywhere else you need some moisture. With lavender and peppermint essential oils infused within cacao butter, you get an amazing scent coupled with long-lasting moisturizing power.
- Clinique Sonic Facial Tool. Although Retin-A exfoliates, it’s a chemical exfoliant. Adding a physical exfoliant helps with the flaking and “glow” of the skin. I’ve tried so many different devices. Most are awesome, until they fail. Clarisonic used to be a favorite, but they seem to have a very short life, and without a way to replace the battery, they’re an expensive option. Clinique’s system is just as good, and under $90. They have one in black marketed for men… I bought that one 😉
- French Manicure Set. Not a “must-have”… what nail polish is? But I do keep my tootsies pedicured. I do not go to salons for fear of cleanliness. Clean and easy is the goal for pedicures, so this set works really well. I would not recommend buying this online. It’s much less expensive at Target (or any drug store), and you can see how old the package is. Nail polish does thicken with time. You want somewhat fresh polish. You don’t even need to use the tape guides, just a steady hand for the pen. A pedicure polish takes me less than ten minutes for white tips, base pink, and clearcoat cover. They look great and last 3-4 weeks.
- Other items/tools. Tweezers that are slanted and come together without gaps; nail file and nail clippers that cut and file without needing much force; leave-in hair moisturizer for all hair lengths; body lotion (use 1-2x a day), Anti-inflammitory supplements; sonic toothbrush; night moisturizer. These are things I cannot live without.
There are a lot of other things I use, like cleansers. If you want to know what I’m using now, ask. Things like shampoo, conditioner, body-wash, etc. change frequently due to the biohacking tests. There are a few items I use regularly, but not worthy of the list… meaning, I can find replacements in a pinch. Aside from the polish, the items above are “desert island” items. God forbid I’m asked to choose one.