The beauty world can be an overwhelming place, one where you’re flooded with countless products that all make big promises. All these options make it hard to navigate what the must-haves are for your skin and what you can do without.
To help you figure it out, Anne-Cecile Curot, Aesthetician and Spa Director at Marc Harris salons in Boston, has shared her list of product essentials that should be in everyone’s beauty cabinet.
Whether you wear make-up or not, it’s crucial to invest in a quality cleanser. Every night, you should wash your face AND neck to create a clean surface for your moisturizer. Cleaning the skin allows it to absorb your moisturizer better. Pick a gentle cleanser (especially in winter so that it doesn’t strip your skin). You can determine whether you’ve chosen the correct cleanser for your skin type by seeing if your skin feels tight or comfortable. If the cleanser is working well on your skin, your face should be comfortable and clean – not tight or dry.
Moisturizer with SPF (day time)
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of wearing a moisturizer with sun screen (even if your make-up has SPF)! You need to keep your skin protected from the sun rays (UVA and UVB). Pick a moisturizer that includes zinc oxide and titanium dioxide (physical sun blocks). Avoid the chemical sunscreens like Banana Boat (in particular, ingredients like Parsol 1789) because while they are cheaper, they will often make you break out or develop a sun rash. Most of the local drugstores carry sunscreens that are not broad spectrum, but when choosing a day time moisturizer, you’ll want to look for one that has the most coverage as possible so your skin is protected against both types of rays.
Anything that has smoothing antioxidants in it is an added bonus! For everyday use, I’d recommend SPF 15 or 18, but if you work outside, you should invest in an SPF 30 or higher. The SPF should be applied to your face and neck – and if you work outside, even your hands!
Moisturizer (night time)
Look for an anti-aging cream with specific ingredients like retinol, peptides, hyaluronic acid, L-ascorbic acid (vitamin C), minerals, stem cells, vitamins and antioxidants. The texture of a night cream is usually thicker, so don’t be intimidated if it feels too heavy for your skin. Apply all over the face and don’t forget the neck!
When you start to age, it shows first on three key areas: your hands, neck and eyes. I recommend different eye creams depending on the person’s main issue. If you have puffy eyes, bags or wrinkles, the best way to try to prevent and fix any “problems” is to look for a cream with peptides that strengthens blood vessels’ walls and improves lymphatic drainage. As for dark circles, if you are born with them, it’s genetic and probably impossible to get rid of them. If you have dark circles the come and go, try to get more sleep, stay hydrated and use a serum or cream with Arnica in it, day and night, all around your eyes. This will increase the blood flow and diminish the shadow around the eye area.
MORE: Best Eye Creams
You will see a huge difference when you exfoliate your skin. It prevents breakouts, clogging, evens out your skintone, smoothes skin texture, diminishes lines, reduces wrinkles and prepares the skin to absorb the ingredients of a future mask application or cream.
Which type of exfoliators should you buy? Scrubs using the ingredient Benzoyl Peroxide (provides an anti-bacterial, bleaching effect) offer a quick fix, but do not solve all acne or breakout issues. Your skin is an organ and it needs balance. Exfoliating once or twice a week is important to keep your pores clean, however you don’t want to disturb the skin barrier. The skin’s surface is covered with hydrolipidic film, which is formed of water and oils and protects us from germs and free radicals. If you strip it down too much, don’t be surprised to have irritated, itchy, swollen skin! Less is more with exfoliation!
What are your favorite skin products? Tell us in comments!