Taking care of your skin can feel like a full-time job: One minute, you’re a teenager washing your face with Clean & Clear cleanser and calling it a day; the next minute, you’re approaching 30 and ready to drop at least $50+ on yet another product to add to your already-extensive skincare regime. At least that’s what happened to me. Between the bevy of indulgent products on the market and doing constant research for work, I’ve become a skincare fanatic. But, these days, it seems quantity ranks higher than performance, at least according to social media. When it comes to maintaining good skin, the emphasis is on the latest and greatest products, rather than good practices, which I believe are the backbone of flawless skin. So what does that mean exactly? Essentially, I believe that your complexion will only look as good as your habits, whether you spend $40 or $400 on your products. Here, my 10 tried-and-true, holy-grail secrets to achieving smooth, glowing skin.
Tip #1: Less is always more
I don’t think you need to have a 20-step routine in order to achieve a flawless face. Instead, you should have a few go-to products that you use every morning and night, then add in new formulas a couple of times a month. My skincare staples: cleanser, toner, exfoliator, some type of serum, moisturizer, eye cream and SPF.
Tip #2: Dairy isn’t your friend
No, I haven’t given up pizza quite yet, but I will admit that dairy is absolutely horrendous for your skin. Cow’s milk is made for baby cows, not full-grown humans. Even if you’re drinking organic milk, it still contains hormones that your body doesn’t know how to process, resulting in inflammation and those lovely bumps on your face. My advice? If you’re experiencing acne, cut out dairy for a month. I promise that you will see a difference!
Tip #3: Tomatoes and sweet potatoes work miracles
I recently read the book Feed Your Face by Jessica Wu. M.D. and I must say that it was totally eye-opening! One thing that I found interesting was the benefits of tomatoes. They not only act as a natural sunscreen thanks to an antioxidant called lycopene, but they also provide anti-aging properties, repair cellular damage and brighten the skin. Similarly, sweet potatoes are also packed with nutrients, namely, beta carotene, which converts to vitamin A (aka RETINOL— the same stuff you put on your skin). Sweet potatoes also stimulate collagen production and fight free radicals.
#4: Always double cleanse
I don’t care how powerful your cleanser claims to be—you will never be able to get your skin totally clean unless you remove your makeup first. Think of your pores as small “holes” in your face: If you only cleanse once, you’re only removing the top layer of makeup, preventing you from cleaning the “holes” and reaping the actual benefits of your cleanser. Instead, use a makeup remover, such as micellar water, cold cream, cleansing balm or makeup remover wipes to get rid of all your makeup, then use your cleanser to give your skin a deep cleaning.
Tip #5: Exfoliate often
The secret to achieving a J.Lo glow? Constant exfoliation! If you aren’t removing the dead skin cells, then your skin will look dry, lifeless and patchy. Frequent exfoliation is key to keeping your skin smooth, bright and baby soft.
Tip #6: Sugar = Premature signs of aging
Another eye-opening fact I learned from Feed Your Face: Sugar basically makes you look older. Yup! Sugar spikes your insulin, causing inflammation that produces enzymes that break down collagen and elastin, two major players for youthful-looking skin. (Also, that insulin spike is likely responsible for breakouts as well.)
Tip #7: Ice-rolling is your friend
I seriously can’t say enough about ice-rolling. (I even wrote a whole blog post on it!) But seriously though, ice-rolling reduces puffiness, adds tone and prevents wrinkles and signs of aging. Check out my blog post on all the benefits here.
Tip #8: Hydration is key
No amount of skincare products will provide as much hydration as drinking the proper amount of water every day. Water not only rids the body of acne-causing toxins, but it also helps your skin maintain elasticity, prevents signs of aging, brightens your complexion and balances oil production levels.
Tip #9: Stay out of the sun and apply SPF daily
I’ll admit, this one is especially difficult for me. I LOVE to be out in the sun, soaking up all that vitamin D. But, I know just how damaging the sun’s rays can be to the skin, especially to your face. I apply SPF daily, and I always cover up my face with a pair of oversized sunnies or a baseball cap when I’m taking a walk or at the park with my son.
Tip #10: Cherish your skin
Though my skin isn’t exactly where I’d like it to be, it’s definitely improved. I used to experience breakouts all the time due to a hormonal imbalance and improper cleansing. Though I still get breakouts, my face is finally feeling back to normal after having a baby. I treat myself to facial mask and/or a DIY facial at least 1-2 times a week. I give myself mini facial massages every so often and I never tug on my skin when applying products. Also, I let my skin “breathe” as often as possible—I don’t wear makeup every day, I cleanse my makeup brushes weekly and I wash/change my pillowcases 2-3 times a week. I’ve also learned to embrace my oily skin; it’s definitely going to help slow down the aging process, hopefully helping to keep my skin glowing and soft for years to come!
What are your most coveted skincare tips? Share in the comments!