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8 Foods For Seriously Pretty Skin

Get smoother skin

Want smoother, younger-looking skin? Add these antioxidant-rich foods to your diet. Studies show that the vitamins and minerals they contain can do everything from speeding cell turnover (to reveal healthier skin underneath) to protecting skin from the sun’s damaging rays. Here, eight foods that are loaded with age-defying nutrients—plus fast, delicious recipes you’ll want to try today.

Red bell peppers

These brightly colored veggies are a treat for your skin. A half-cup of chopped red pepper will give you more than 100% of your dietary reference intake of wrinkle-fighting vitamin C. Researchers in the United Kingdom looked at vitamin C intake in 4,025 women and found that those who ate more vitamin C had less wrinkling and dryness.

Blueberries

Free radicals are particles that can harm skin cells and reduce collagen, making skin more wrinkle-prone. You can offset free radical damage by consuming antioxidant-rich blueberries. “With 1/2 cup of blueberries, you can just about double the amount of antioxidants most Americans get in one day. If you want to slow down the free radical aging process, blueberries are the leader of the pack,” says Ronald Prior, PhD, head of the USDA Phytochemical Laboratory at Tufts.

Salmon

Salmon is rich in anti-aging ingredients, including omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s contain alpha-linolenic acid, which decreases dryness and keeps skin soft, smooth, and supple. Fatty fish, like salmon, also reduces inflammation and may help ease chronic skin problems, like psoriasis flare-ups.

Avocado

Get plenty of moisturizing vitamin E in this creamy fruit. Not only does vitamin E ease dry skin, but studies also show it may reduce free radicals and protect against damaging UV rays. It’s the perfect excuse to have chips and guacamole!

Onions

Onions aren’t just for adding flavor to food—they’re also rich in quercetin, an antioxidant that protects against wrinkles. Studies show that it may save skin from harmful UVB rays, so sneak these veggies into soups, main dish meals and onto pizzas.

Sweet potatoes

Eat this skin favorite year-round! Sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene, which produces vitamin A. Vitamin A increases cell turnover and protects the integrity of our skin. In fact, it’s so important for healthy skin that its derivatives, called retinoids, are found in many skin care products. But you can get skin-boosting benefits by adding this sweet, hearty veggie to your weekly meals.

Pomegranate

Packed with vitamin C, this tart fruit contains more antioxidants than red wine and green tea. It will keep your skin looking bright and wrinkle-free and may even reduce your risk of skin cancer.

Whole grains

Colorful fruits and vegetables aren’t the only foods that keep your skin looking young. Whole grains contain polyphenols and carotenoids that fight the aging process. If you’re choosing whole grain cereal, use soy milk instead of regular milk—it contains isoflavones that may add to the anti-aging benefits

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11 Reasons To Put Argan Oil On Your Face

Argan is a golden, smooth oil traditionally used in Morocco for both culinary and beauty purposes. With a rich blend of essential fatty acids, antioxidants and the all-important skin nutrient vitamin E, word of argan oil’s skincare benefits have recently spread!What’s more, research now provides a scientific basis for the centuries-long knowledge of argan oil’s beneficial effect on the skin.In 2007, a mere two beauty products on US shelves contained this middle-eastern emollient. In 2011, that number shot to 111 – a figure that has rapidly risen as our appreciation of all things argan continues to intensify.So what makes argan oil so special?  Why is it so effective in everything from lipsticks and eye creams to facial wipes and washes?

Keep reading to find out:

1. Naturally Moisturizing
One of the most common uses of argan oil is as a moisturizing lotion. Being a natural oil, it hydrates, softens and protects the skin.

If you’re worried about your skin feeling greasy, give it a go – you’ll be amazed. It’s absorbs quickly and is light enough to use as a daytime facial cream yet so hydrating that it can be used as an overnight treatment too.

Remember, this is a high quality product so a little goes a long way. After cleansing your skin, warm a single drop of the oil in the palms of your hands. Using circular motions, apply it to the face and neck.

At night time, in the winter months or in dryer climates, you may need to apply a second drop for added hydration and protection.

2. Good for All Skin Types
No matter what your skin type, argan oil can work for you.

Like we’ve seen, those with dry skin can benefit from the fantastic hydrating effects of this oil, which can also reduce itching and flakiness.

Even those with oily skin will find argan oil a safe product to use. This light balm is non-greasy and won’t clog your pores – meaning it shouldn’t be a cause for concern among those who suffer from blackheads. If you deprive your skin of oil, it can start to overproduce sebum, its own natural oil. By applying argan oil to the skin, you are balancing and neutralizing your innate oil production levels.

Those with sensitive skin can rest safe in the knowledge that using 100% natural argan oil shouldn’t irritate their delicate epidermis (although always conduct a patch test on any new products first).

Finally, argan oil benefits combination skin by hydrating and balancing the oil production – thus reducing the differences between the dry and oily areas of face.

3. Gently Tones The Skin
If your toner is drying out your skin, or causing a little irritation – as most toners can – then argan oil may be just the solution you are looking for.

You can add a few drops of argan oil to your regular toner, shaking well before use, to offset its harsh effects.

Or, if you prefer a more natural approach, make your own toner minus the astringent ingredients of alcohol and parabens found in conventional beauty products.

Leave a green tea bag to steep for 10 minutes in a cup of boiling water. Remove the tea bag and allow to cool before adding two drops of tea tree oil and two drops of argan oil. Seal in a clean glass jar and use morning and night after cleansing (shaking before each use).

4. A Natural Eye Serum
Because it’s an all-natural product, argan oil is perfectly safe to use around your eyes – the most delicate part of your face. Its vitamin E content can even help to reduce fine lines in this area.

While one drop of argan oil gently massaged into the skin will cover both eyes, you can also combine it with other natural ingredients to make an even more effective morning eye serum.

This blend of oils will pep up tired eyes, address early signs of aging and eliminate dullness. Fill a small container (0.5 oz) to the halfway point with jojoba oil. Then add in equal parts of argan oil and evening primrose oil to fill the bottle just over three quarters of the way. Finally, add in 10 drops of carrot seed oil (a natural UV protector) and 10 drops of vitamin E oil.

Store in a cool, dark place and use daily for rejuvenated eyes.

 

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14 ANTI-AGING WRINKLE CREAMS THAT WILL MAKE YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES

Whether or not we’re ready for it, aging happens and wrinkles appear. It’s impossible to avoid Mother Nature forever, but we can prolong her arrival with any of these anti-aging correcting creams that protect your skin from external damage and unwanted marks.

  1.  OLAY REGENERIST MICRO-SCULPTING CREAM

Give this anti-wrinkle cream by Olay a spin for line-free skin. The fast-action formula starts reducing wrinkles instantly with a blend of hyaluronic acid, vitamin B, and amino-peptides, so if you’re in a rush to reduce age marks, Olay has found the way.

2. THE BETTER SKIN CO. BETTER SKIN MIRAKLE CREAM

The Better Skin Co. Better Skin Mirakle Cream

Miracle workers aren’t a myth. The Better Skin Co.’s all-in-one cream literally does it all — from firming and tightening the complexion to stimulating circulation and offering a burst of hydration to the skin. Crafted with best-of-the-best ingredients like beeswax, algae extract, coconut oil, and shea butter, it smooths away fine lines and wrinkles, so you can be proud of the skin you’re in. The best part? It’s all-natural, enhanced with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, green tea, jojoba oil, and shea butter.

 

3. NEUTROGENA HEALTHY SKIN ANTI-WRINKLE NIGHT CREAM

 

Wake up with fewer wrinkles, thanks to this nighttime cream from Neutrogena. The vitamin-enriched moisturizer with a fantastic formula has been clinically proven to rapidly reduce wrinkles for more youthful-looking skin.

4. BODY MERRY RETINOL SURGE MOISTURIZER

Body Merry Retinol Surge Moisturizer

We’d expect to pay more for results this legitimate, but Body Merry’s budget-friendly deal is all about performance over profit. Capitalizing on anti-aging’s most sought after ingredient, Retinol Surge Moisturizer addresses wrinkles, fine lines, and uneven skin tone, providing the kind of long-term results you’d expect from cosmetic surgery.

 

5. DR. DENNIS GROSS C+ COLLAGEN DEEP CREAM
Dr. Dennis Gross C+ Collagen Deep Cream

When it comes to youthful-looking skin, collagen is going to be your BFF. Implement Dr. Dennis Gross’s deeply penetrating cream into your skin care routine to postpone age spots and wrinkles. The intense concentration creates a stronger skin barrier with sunflower, rice bran, and camellia japonica seed oils that also work to increase moisture retention.

 

6. LANCER THE METHOD: NOURISH
Lancer The Method: Nourish
Lancer’s new anti-aging product is costly but effective, according to reviewers. A highly potent balm loaded with avocado, olive fruit oils, and a proprietary oxygen-boosting complex, the formula deeply penetrates into skin to smooth over wrinkles and dull fine lines.
7. FRESH LOTUS YOUTH PRESERVE FACE CREAM WITH SUPER 7 COMPLEX
Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Face Cream with Super 7 Complex

Defy Mother Nature with this moisturizing formula. Featuring seven super-charged supplements that work to protect skin from wrinkles and lines, this Fresh cream gives your natural beauty a boost.

8. ALGENIST GENIUS ULTIMATE ANTI-AGING CREAM

Algenist GENIUS Ultimate Anti-Aging Cream

If you’re looking to make an investment in skincare, this brilliant blend from Algenist might be worth your buck. Its intense formula features the brand’s patented alguronic acid to combat aging by firming the skin. In addition, a blend of collagen and microalgae oil brightens and improves elasticity to soften fine lines and wrinkles.

 

9. SUNDAY RILEY GOOD GENES ALL-IN-ONE LACTIC ACID TREATMENT
Sunday Riley Good Genes All-In-One Lactic Acid Treatment

Put Sunday on repeat with this clarifying treatment that makes dark spots brighter and loose skin tighter. Formulated with exfoliating lactic acid, licorice to counteract hyperpigmentation, and lemongrass to improve radiance, regular use guarantees a plump, more youthful-looking complexion you’ll want to show off.

10. GLAMGLOW DREAMDUO OVERNIGHT TRANSFORMING TREATMENT
GLAMGLOW DREAMDUO Overnight Transforming Treatment
GLAMGLOW everything is amazing for your skin, but to reduce signs of wrinkles, we recommend incorporating this two-for-one balm in your beauty regimen ASAP. It mixes together an anti-aging cocktail of the brand’s patented DREAMSERUM — made from green coffee and green tea leaf TEAOXI — and DREAMSEAL, which has hyaluronic acid and mozuku green algae to moisturize and plump skin. This dynamic duo night treatment de-stresses aging skin and reduces all signs of wrinkling.
11. TATCHA THE ESSENCE PLUMPING SKIN SOFTENER
Tatcha The Essence Plumping Skin Softener

Tatcha’s beauty essence features exotic properties. No, it’s not a cream, but it is derived from Japanese superfoods to ensure yours is the best skin to be in. A combination of green tea, rice, and algae offer anti-aging benefits, smoothing elements, and a plumping effect that work together to keep the complexion soft and supple.

 

12. CLINIQUE SMART COSTOM-REPAIR SERUM
Clinique Smart Costom-Repair Serum

Spoil your skin with a custom-repair serum you know works wonders. This powerful mix from Clinique will erase wrinkles and completely change your complexion.

13. DR. JART+ PREMIUM BEAUTY BALM SPF 45

Dr. Jart+ Premium Beauty Balm SPF 45

Makeup should not only beautify, but also revitalize skin, and this formula from Dr. Jart+ — made from a blend of Bio Peptide Complex and white gold — will smooth, support, and save skin from premature signs of aging.

14. SHISEIDO BENEFIANCE WRINKLERESIST24 DAY CREAM
Shiseido BENEFIANCE WrinkleResist24 Day Cream

This 24-hour wrinkle cream by Shiseido protects skin throughout the day from external damage that could potentially result in premature signs of aging. Made from a mix of extracts and smoothing supplements, your skin will feel safe and look sultry.

 

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9 Amazing Benefits Of Hyaluronic Acid For Skin Care

Take a walk through any beauty isle. What do you see? Rows and rows of products catering to the skin care needs of each individual. Lip gloss, eye shadows moisturizers, you name it and it is there! But what is the common factor that ties all these products together? Well, they all contain Hyaluronic Acid! Hyaluronic acid is a naturally occurring plumping and moisturizing substance in the body that is used in moisturizers, soap, and makeup and also as injectable filler. It is a substance that softens and plumps the skin.

It is an open secret that the beauty industry loves a good buzz word and when they find a new ingredient that the public responds to; well, you can be sure that every product will contain a trace of this so called ‘magical’ ingredient! So it is no surprise to see the skin care products with hyaluronic acid.

What Is Hyaluronic Acid?
Hyaluronic acid is a non-sulphated glycosaminoglycan, which is distributed widely throughout the body in the epithelial, connective and neural tissues. It is one of the main components of the extracellular matrix and contributes significantly to cell migration and proliferation. The average person has approximately 15 grams of Hyaluronic acid in their body; out of which one-third is utilised and replaced daily.

The layers of the skin are supported from below by columns of fibres made up mostly of collagen. This network of fibres forms the molecular sponge known as connective tissue. Hyaluronic acid is a viscous, gooey substance that helps in lubricating the joints and sustaining their shape. It is used as an injectable because it naturally occurs in our skin.

Hyaluronic Acid for Skin Care:
These spaces within the sponges are filled with a composition of water, complexes, protein and Hyaluronic acid. This complex transports important nutrients from the bloodstream through the capillaries in the skin. Hyaluronic acid attracts and holds water that plumps the skin in order to decrease visible wrinkles and lines.

It has a lot of beneficial properties that helps in:

  1. Curbing premature wrinkles.
  2. Increasing hydration.
  3. Boosting skin’s elasticity.
  4. Keeping skin smooth and moist.
  5. Enhancing the elasticity of the skin.
  6. Nourishing healthy skin.
  7. Promoting cell growth.
  8. Supporting healthier joints.
  9. Promoting firmer skin tone.

Instead of beautifying the skin from outside, why not beautify it inside out? Drinking 8 to 10 glasses of water daily will help to keep the skin well hydrated and nourished. Hyaluronic acid is one of the chief components for moisture retention and moisturization and you need to drink plenty of water to replenish the diminishing stores of Hyaluronic acid in the body. Luckily, you can enhance the absorption of Hyaluronic acid by taking an inexpensive, natural nutritional supplement. And the added bonus: it helps in supporting and promoting healthy joints!

Though benefits of Hyaluronic acid in skin care are numerous, it also has some side effects that should not be overlooked. Some of the side effects of injecting Hyaluronic acid are as follows:

  1. Bruising,
  2. Redness of the skin,
  3. Pain,
  4. Itching,
  5. Swelling,
  6. Allergic reactions,
  7. Necrosis, that is, death of tissues,
  8. Acne.

Although there are numerous studies on the injectable form of Hyaluronic acid into facial skin and knee joints, there are no human trials evaluating the benefits of Hyaluronic acid. You can spend hundreds or even thousands of rupees every year on topical moisturizers which help in softening your skin.

But if you truly want to give your skin the moisture it needs to minimize wrinkles and age spots, maintain elasticity and strengthen collagen, it is a good idea to enhance your levels of Hyaluronic acid. Even though it is not proven, it does make sense that a natural substance like Hyaluronic acid might help. If maintaining a beautiful and healthy skin is important to you then you should definitely give Hyaluronic acid a try!

 

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10 Benefits of Vitamin C Serum

If you want to look like a 20-something well into your 40’s, do something more than pray that your youthful good genes kick in. Follow the road many a celebrity like Victoria Secret models Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio have taken, and commit to using anti-aging vitamin C serum to help maintain a healthy, youthful complexion long into the future.

Ideal for women of all ages and skin types, the skin care benefits of vitamin C serum are numerous, beginning with the most popular – it helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines/wrinkles.

Promotes Collagen Production

The bane of any woman’s existence are fine lines and wrinkles. But rather than give into the abyss of aging, the regular use of vitamin C products can combat their very appearance because of their concentrated levels of antioxidant-rich vitamin C, which helps boost collagen production, filling in fine lines and wrinkles. As a result, you may find that you have more youthful looking skin without the need for any expensive and potentially risky cosmetic work!

Protects Skin From Sun Damage

In addition to its anti-aging benefits, topical vitamin C is also great for protecting your skin from damage—especially from the sun’s UVA and UVB rays. That’s because vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it naturally helps to strengthen your skin and repel things that could damage it. Of course, topical vitamin C should not be considered an alternative to wearing sunscreen, but when combined with regular sunscreen application, it can really work wonders for your skin.

Reduces Under-Eye Circles

Vitamin C has also been found to help even out skin tone and reduce the appearance of under-eye circles. This is great for those who are tired of trying to conceal the dark circles under their eyes and want to enjoy a more youthful, bright, and vibrant appearance.

Speeds Up Healing

Studies have also found that high levels of Vitamin C can help to speed up the body’s natural healing processes. This makes it ideal for use on the face and other areas of skin, as it can help to heal small cuts, acne scars, and other blemishes more quickly and effectively.

Reduces Skin Discoloration

If you suffer from skin redness or other discoloration of the skin, then a quality vitamin C serum may also be able to help you achieve a more uniform skin tone and better complexion. Specifically, vitamin C is great for reducing embarrassing redness. With just a few uses, you may find that you have a more even skin tone.

Keeps Skin Looking Younger

No matter what your age, it’s always a good idea to be preemptive about avoiding wrinkles, sagging skin, fine lines, and other signs of aging. Vitamin C can help your skin look younger for longer, not only by stimulating collagen production, but by evening out your skin tone and brightening your complexion as well.

Improves Hydration and Moisture

If you suffer from dry skin, vitamin C is a must. This is especially true if you have tried using moisturizers and cremes in the past, only to find that your skin is still dry and flaky. With topical vitamin C products, you can enjoy the high concentration of vitamins that your body truly needs to improve moisture content and overall hydration.

Creates Brighter, Healthier Skin

In addition to improving your skin’s overall complexion, vitamin C can brighten otherwise dull skin, allowing it to look healthier and more vibrant. Strong concentrations of this vitamin leave the skin looking and feeling replenished and revitalized.

Reduces Inflammation

It has also been found that vitamin C, in high enough concentrations, has inflammation-reducing qualities. This is ideal for people who tend to wake up in the morning with unsightly puffiness around the eyes or other areas of the skin/face. A little bit of vitamin C serum can go a long way here.

Speeds Up Healing of Sunburns

Finally, in addition to protecting your skin from sun damage, vitamin C can also be effective in helping to speed up healing of sunburns. Apply some after you have been sun burned, and the vitamins will help to promote faster healing so you can get rid of redness and find relief from itching, burning, and other symptoms associated with sunburn.

These are just some of the many benefits of vitamin C as it pertains to your skin and face. And while it’s easy to go out and find lotions, cremes, and other moisturizers at your local drug store that claim to contain vitamin C, it’s important to realize that your skin needs a very high concentration of this vitamin in order to see results. This is why you’re encouraged to use concentrated serums rather than a basic creme or lotion.

About Vitamin C Serum

Vitamin C is an essential vitamin that the body needs for a number of reasons. However, it proves most beneficial to the skin—particularly around the face. For this reason, many people these days use skin-care products that contain vitamin C, such as concentrated vitamin C serums that are designed for use on sensitive facial skin.

Essentially, vitamin C serum is a oil- and water-based liquid that contained highly concentrated amounts of vitamin C. Serums are different from cremes and other products with vitamin C because of the significantly higher concentrations, which allow people to get the most out of the product and see more noticeable results.

Why Use It?

Many people opt for topical vitamin C as opposed to other chemical serums and skin care products because vitamin C serum is completely natural. There is no concern about how your skin is going to react because there are no harsh chemicals or other questionable ingredients. As a result, vitamin C serums are formulated and infused to be gentle enough for everyday use. The same simply cannot be said of many other skin care products on the market.

How to Use It

The best way to use a topical vitamin C is to simply apply a small amount of it once or twice a day (depending on your skin type) to clean, dry skin. It should be applied before you begin applying your makeup (give it time to dry), but after you use your daily facial toner (should you choose to use one). From there, simply continue with your regular makeup and skin care routine.

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HOW TO CHOOSE THE BEST FACIAL MASK FOR YOUR SKIN TYPE

As if finding a daily skin care routine isn’t difficult enough, adding face masks to your routine can be a real challenge. With DIYs and hundreds of products that all have great marketing around what you think you might need, how do you know what to choose?

When we help people make their mask decision, we always go back to the basics. We start with questions like, “what is your skin type?” and “what are your skin care goals?” That lets us get moving in the right direction.

It might be really obvious to you what your skin type is, but it might not (especially if you’re experiencing several issues.) What we would suggest is to test your skin type! Wash your face and don’t put any products on for a few hours or overnight. After a little while, touch your face. You can also press a tissue over your face and visually see where you’re oily and where you’re not.

A facial mask for oily skin and clogged pores

The goal for oily skin is to remove the excess and balance the oils on the skin. A lot of time (but not always) oily skin comes with clogged pores so we look for ingredients that help to pull out impurities along with drying up that excess oil.

A clay mask is awesome for this! There are a lot of different clays you can choose from when you’re looking into choosing the right mask for you and it’s all about doing the research to find what’s right for you. Some of our favorites are rhassoul clay, rose clay, and green (bentonite) clay.

We love them because they’re accessible, effective for pulling out toxic agents from the skin that can cause clogged pores and they’re absorbent of that extra oil while being mineral rich (you know, because they’re straight from the Earth.)

We use both rose and rhassoul clay in our Purifying Mud Mask to give it extra potency. It’s a powder so you get to create your own consistency for your mask. Play around with the consistency you like, but in general you want it thin enough to mix and spread comfortably, but not so thin that it’s watery. Make it extra thick for an awesome spot treatment.

A facial mask for normal and combination skin

If you have combination skin, you already know that it can be difficult to find the perfect products. The clay masks dry out the dryer places but the moisturizing masks can cause impurities on the oily parts. The key here is hydration and balance.

While combination skin is the most complicated, it’s easy to make an effective face mask! For this skin type, we suggest working with a mixture of things that are natural humectants and nourish your skin but that don’t have too much of an effect on the oils in your skin.

A raw, local honey mask for normal, combination, or sensitive skin is absolutely top notch. Honey is jam-packed with minerals, provides a calming sensation, and helps increase hydration in the skin. A little bit of turmeric powder or matcha green teawith it is next level nourishment.

We like adding the Ayurvedic Facial Scrub to it because it’s a gentle exfoliant, great for bringing the skin into balance, and the horsetail and fenugreek are high in silica and other important minerals that infuse your skin with protective botanicals.

The best part is that this face mask recipe is so easy to make. It’s just one part raw, local honey to one part Ayurvedic Facial Scrub mixed together. Layer it nice and thickly onto the skin and let it sit for 15-30 minutes. As you rinse it away, rub in gentle circles for the exfoliating effect. Finish up with your favorite serum and moisturizer!

A facial mask for dry skin

Oh, the dry skin sufferers. Masks are especially helpful for you! If you feel like you’re using the most moisturizing products you can get your hands on but you’re still feeling dry by the end of your day, supplementing with a nice, nourishing mask could be the ticket to smooth skin.

In the masks above, we suggest adding in powdered herbs but for dry skin, we want to steer clear of adding anything that could be too pulling or drying for the skin because the key to great skin is a mixture of moisture and hydration. That means using a mask that has both rich moisturizers and natural humectants. Our favorite (and the yummiest) humectant is raw honey and you want to mix that with a moisturizing oil like jojoba or extra virgin coconut oil.

Our Coconut Honey Mask is formulated specifically for dry skin, it has a little bit of beeswax in it, just to add to the hydrating factor and leave the skin feeling super smooth! Our favorite way to use this is to work with a nice exfoliant first to get rid of any buildup and then spread your mask on nice and thick. Leave it for 15-45 minutes and then rinse with warm water (you can also use a warm, wet towel, whatever feels good.) Pat your skin dry and follow up with your hydrating serum and rich moisturizer.

General mask guidelines to follow in your beauty routine

Regardless of your skin type, there is a list of general guidelines to follow when you use a facial mask:

  1. Make sure to always wash your face before you use a mask, putting a mask on a dirty face can trap impurities in the skin.
  2. Pat your skin dry, don’t rub. The skin will naturally be a bit more sensitive after all that absorbing and/or pulling so you want to make sure to treat it with some extra TLC.
  3. Pay attention to how long you leave it on. With clay masks, if they get too dry they can dehydrate your skin leaving it too dry and with moisturizing masks leaving it on for too long can clog pores. We usually suggest at least 15 minutes but never longer than an hour.
  4. Follow up with products that work for your skin type. After a mask, the skin tends toward being more absorbent so following up with products that nourish your beautiful skin in the way it deserves.
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How to Choose (and Use!) the Best Facial Serum for You

If you are the proud owner of a medicine cabinet stocked with serums but have no idea on what the skincare product actually does or how you’re supposed to use it, you’re not alone. Like a non-absorbent makeup sponge, serums are full of contradictions: they’re moisturizing, but shouldn’t replace your moisturizer, and some formulas are oily, but they’re not classified as face oils.

Confused? Us too. We turned to dermatologist Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, MD, CEO to break down what serums are, how the product should be used, and what formulas are best for your skin type.

So, What Is a Serum?

Serums are like a shot for the skin. They’re packed with potent anti-aging ingredients like retinol and vitamin C, and blended with non-oil based agents, which is what makes formulas moisturizing. “Facial serums employ synthetic substances such as silicone and glycerin to produce the thin texture and slippery feel of a serum without utilizing pore-clogging, heavy, ingredients such as shea butter or jojoba oil,” says Dr. Jegasothy.

How Do You Use Serums In Your Skincare Routine?

Treat serums as the grand finale in your skincare routine. Dr. Jegasothy says to apply them after the rest of your products, right before you start on your makeup. “If you are applying other skincare products over serums, your face may start to appear too shiny, particularly as the day goes on,” she says.

To apply serums, Dr. Jegasothy recommends using clean finger tips as you would with other products, and adopting light upward strokes. As with eye creams, she says to pay careful attention when using serums around the eye area. “Applying anything to the eye area should be done very gently, in a patting method,” explains Dr. Jegasothy. “Do not ever rub creams or serums into the eye area as it can break delicate capillaries situated under the thin eyelid skin, which can then cause under eye circles later.”

How Do I Pick the Right Serum?

When serum shopping Dr. Jegasothy recommends considering brands that have good reputations, clinically test their products, and divulge their ingredient list. If they have high ingredient concentrations, the better.

In terms of actual ingredients, if you have oily skin she suggests choosing a serum with salicylic acid and/or glycolic acid. For dry complexions, look for formulas that incorporate hydrating proteins such as hyaluronic acid that attract water to the skin. While aging, dull, or combination skin will benefit from serums with both vitamin C and retinoids.

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These Common Skin Care Ingredients Should Never Be Used At The Same Time

These days, it seems there’s a skin care product out there for everything. Want to reduce the look of fine lines? Reach for the retinol. Looking for a moisturizer that will keep your skin looking supple and glowy? Try something with hyaluronic acid. Looking to fade dark spots and brighten the skin? You need a vitamin C serum.

With so many active ingredients, figuring out how and when to use these products can get a little confusing, especially when you’re trying to pin down a skin care routine for yourself.

We’re here to help. We spoke to three dermatologists about mixing active ingredients like vitamin C, acids and retinol, and asked them to share their expert advice.

“Alpha hydroxy acids (like glycolic acid), beta hydroxy acids (like salicylic acid), retinols, and vitamin C are some of the most common active ingredients recommended by dermatologists,” Dr. Y. Claire Chang of Union Square Laser Dermatology.

Of the three doctors we spoke to, all of them recommended the use of sunscreen, vitamin C and retinol for a basic skin care routine. (Remember: Before using new products, you can and should consult a dermatologist to see what is best for your skin type.)

Here are the do’s and don’ts of how to incorporate them into your daily regimen:

DON’T COMBINE: Vitamin C + Retinol
Vitamin C products work as antioxidants that can help fight skin damage caused by the sun and other environmental pollutants, Chang said. Vitamin C can also help lighten dark spots and build collagen to reduce the look of fine lines.

“Retinol and retinoids are vitamin A analogues that can lighten brown spots and improve fine lines over time,” Chang said, noting that they can make skin more photosensitive.

“Vitamin C and retinol work optimally in different pH environments, and thus, should typically not be combined,” Chang said, nothing that “vitamin C products are formulated to be at a low pH of less than 3.5, while retinol works best at a pH of 5.5-6.”

In general, she said to avoid combining the two ingredients. She recommends using a vitamin C serum in the morning and retinol cream at night “to ensure full efficacy of both ingredients.”

DO COMBINE: Vitamin C + Sunscreen
“Vitamin C and sunscreens work well together.” Dr. Melda Isaac at MI Skin Dermatology Center in Washington, D.C., adding, “I recommend applying vitamin C in the morning prior to sunscreens.”

“What I tell everyone is the most important thing you should do is a vitamin C serum in the morning, then sunscreen, and then a retinol cream at night,” said Dr. Samer Jaber at Washington Square Dermatology. (Our editor Kristen Aiken swears by the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic vitamin C serum.)

DON’T COMBINE: Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids + Retinol
When it comes to skin care products, alpha hydroxy acids include glycolic, lactic and citric acid, while beta hydroxy acid generally refers to salicylic acid.

“Alpha and beta hydroxy acids are typically used to exfoliate the top layer of the skin and help improve color irregularities over time. Retinols are used to treat acne and to help improve brown spots, fine lines, and wrinkles,” Chang.

When the two active ingredients are used together, they can cause excessive dryness, redness and irritation. Because of that, Chang recommended using them at different times of the day or different days of the week.

Similarly, Jaber said, “If you’re going to use an acid ― lactic or glycolic or any type of exfoliating acid ― I would typically recommend you do that in the morning and retinol cream at night.”

DON’T COMBINE: Benzoyl Peroxide + Retinol
When retinol products are combined with benzoyl peroxide products, their effects can cancel each other out. As Isaac, these two ingredients are not compatible.

“I advise patients to apply retinol in the evening and beta or alpha hydroxy acids in the morning,” Isaac said.

Retinols should also not be used with other potentially irritating products, such as anything containing acid, and should be avoided if you’ve recently had a chemical peel or resurfacing laser procedure, Chang said.

DON’T COMBINE: Benzoyl Peroxide + Vitamin C
Chang advised against using a combination of vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide products, as they can counteract each other’s effects: The benzoyl peroxide can oxidize the vitamin C.

However, Isaac explained that if you have oilier skin, combining a benzoyl peroxide product, like a toner, and a vitamin C product could work for you, though she advised waiting a few minutes between using the two.

COMBINE WITH CAUTION: Alpha and Beta Hydroxy Acids + Vitamin C
“Vitamin C and hydroxy acid products could potentially be used together, as they both work in acidic environments,” Chang said, adding that “because both are made in acidic formulations, the combination can be more irritating for the skin.”

Isaac noted that in the case of vitamin C and salicylic acid specifically, the combination could work for those with oilier skin. Just as she advises for vitamin C and benzoyl peroxide, she recommends waiting a few minutes between the application of each product.

Chang, however, suggested using them separately. If you’re unsure if this combo will work for you, speak to a dermatologist.

JUST REMEMBER: Always Wear Sunscreen.
All three dermatologists agreed that sunscreen is the one product we should be using every single day.

“The single most important skin care product for all skin types is sunscreen,” Chang. “I recommend a physical sunscreen, containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, with SPF of 30 or greater for optimal protection.”

One thing to note is that “diluting your sunscreen with a moisturizer will likely reduce your application of SPF,” Isaac said. “Apply a separate moisturizer first then sunscreen on top.” (Moisturizer with hyaluronic acid was among Isaac’s staple recommendations.)

Finally, as Jaber told, “It doesn’t matter how much money you spend on oils or retinol and vitamin C. If you’re not getting good sun protection, you’re wasting your money.”