Unless you’re a Kardashian, most of us don't get facials very often, save when a kind family member gets us a spa gift card for the holidays (hint, hint!). So, it might come as a shock that top esthetician Angela Gorham at the Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Atlanta, says every six to eight weeks is optimal for a visit to your esthetician. “Facials provide a more effective treatment than home regimens since skin can change from month to month and estheticians can treat those specific needs. Also, facial massage helps release tension and puffiness, and improves muscle tone,” says Gorham. Duly noted. But thankfully, there are steps you can take at home to maintain great skin and extend the time between facials. Here’s what you need to know to upgrade your beauty routine.
Beauty Tool Basics
Your go-to beauty products should give your skin everything it needs to function at its optimum health between facials. According to LeAine Dehmer, founder of LeAine Dehmer Clinical Skincare and owner of Skinsations Spa in Orange County, Calif., the essentials include:
- A non-soap cleanser. Avoid the ingredient sodium lauryl sulfate, which can be too tough on your skin. “Choose a completely water-soluble cleansing system that leaves no invisible residues, so no harsh toners are ever needed. That’s what I give my clients.”
- The most amazing anti-aging serum you can get your hands on! “Serums are much lighter weight than any creams, allowing them to absorb faster and deeper into the skin’s tissue.” Dehmer suggests nourishing ingredients like vitamins A, C and E, a mineral complex and phospholipids. If skin redness and sensitivities are an issue, go for one with soothing lavender, chamomile or geranium. And for a little help in the tightening-up department, look for collagen-supporting ingredients like stabilized vitamin C and peptides.
- A multifunctional moisturizer. Similar to your serum, your moisturizer serves several—six to be exact, according to Dehmer—purposes. “It needs to protect from the environment, nourish your skin, soothe skin redness and sensitivities, have collagen support, firm and tighten, and increase your skin’s hydration support with ingredients like lipids, phospholipids, jojoba, hazelnut or shea butter.”
- An exfoliator. This is not only your number-one tool for clearing up problem skin; it’s also your number one anti-aging tool. “Dead skin cell buildup is many layers deep,” Dehmer says. “If you’re not exfoliating properly, this buildup lays over the outer skin like a blanket, clogging the pores/follicles, slowing the skin’s rejuvenation metabolism and hindering the penetration of your precious serums and creams.” She recommends exfoliants that have fruit enzymes like papaya and pineapple, or fruit and milk acids like pomegranate, lemon and lactic acid (sour milk).
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Never Skip These Skin Steps
The skincare step that every expert says not to skip is—wait for it—cleansing your face at night. Seems pretty simple, right? It’s definitely the easiest step of all, but then think back to all those times you fell asleep before getting around to it. “Cleaning your face at night is essential to remove all of the environmental debris and pollution from your pores,” says Tata Harper of Tata Harper Skincare.
- Sun-screening. Harper also cites applying a daily sunscreen as an essential step to protecting your skin from harmful UV rays that greatly contribute to the look of aging and weaken the structure of your skin over time. You can spend all the money in the world on anti-aging facials, but the most powerful skin-aging preventer really is your sunscreen.
- Eating right. Never underestimate the power of nutrients you put into your body. The healthier you eat and drink, the more you’ll see the benefits in your skin. “Drinking water with lemon juice provides a burst of complexion-brightening vitamin C,” Harper says. That H20 may have just saved you a couple hundred at the spa.