Aceing Ageing

16th June 2017

It’s not about looking younger: it’s all about looking good and feeling great. Lisa Botwright offers ten top tips for glowing grown-up skin…

1. Clarifying Cleansing:

You may have got away with a quick rub with a facial wipe last thing at night until now, but this won’t be doing you any favours. It’s even more important to establish a good cleansing routine as we age, not just to keep our skin clear, but so that products we apply can penetrate properly.

It’s so important that beauty experts are even recommending we do it twice. That’s right. Double cleansing is huge in the beauty world, epitomised by the latest offering from the Pixi and Caroline Hirons collaboration: Double Cleanse Solid Cleansing Oil + Cleansing Cream (cultbeauty.co.uk £24). Caroline, whose beauty blog has had an incredible fifty million page views, tells us ‘Cleansing is by far the most important step of your routine. I don’t care what anyone says, if you are consistently ‘cleansing’ (aka moving the dirt around your face) with wipes and then applying a really expensive serum/moisturiser on top, you are wasting your money. And your time.’

The process doesn’t need to be expensive or time-consuming; it just means using a separate product to remove your make-up first, before using your chosen cleanser on bare skin.

2. Treatment Tactics:

A good skincare routine can be narrowed down to three principles: cleansing, treating and protecting. ‘Treating’ means using products to target specific concerns, such as dryness or fine lines, which sounds simple, but in reality can be ridiculously confusing due to the bewildering choice of products out there. Should we be using facial oil, serum, cream, lotion? Or all of them for good measure?

Serums generally have a more watery consistency than a moisturiser, but their smaller molecules mean potent ingredients can be pushed more deeply into your skin. They also prep your face to soak up the moisturiser that you’ll layer on top. Facial oils can be used in place of a moisturiser, or in the case of really dry skin, on top, to really saturate and lock in moisture.

If in doubt when layering-up, just remember the mantra ‘thin to thick’ (ie watery serums to rich creams/oils).

3. Navigating the Scientific Spec:

Are you perplexed by peptides and flummoxed by free radicals? You’re not alone. The long list of scientific ingredients makes choosing the right products for us even more of a struggle.

Nonetheless there are a few key ingredients that experts agree really do work. Skincare guru Debbie Thomas swears by a ‘holy trinity’ of retinol, Vitamin C and hyaluronic acid.

Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, has been proven to partially reverse sun damage. Vitamin C is needed for the synthesis of collagen – protein in our bodies that gives skin strength and elasticity – and is also a powerful antioxidant, effective in neutralising free radicals (pesky airborne molecules damaged from pollution and UV rays, which wreak havoc on skin). Hyaluronic acid, like collagen, is found naturally in skin, but decreases as we age. It’s a clear, lubricating substance with a miraculous capacity to attract and hold vast amounts of moisture, whether applied topically or inside us within soft tissue.

And peptides? When collagen breaks down, it’s the job of peptides to tell your skin to generate more.

4. Extra Exfoliating:

As we age, cell turnover decreases and dead skin cells build up, meaning dull, rough skin and congested pores. It’s another barrier to getting the best out of your skincare. Remembering to exfoliate – another step in the ‘treating’ stage – once or twice a week makes all the difference. There are tons of products to choose from, but they can all be narrowed down to either chemical (often a liquid applied with cotton wool) or physical (a mildly abrasive scrub). If you like the former, look out for an AHA-based exfoliant – much better for mature skin than BHA (commonly known as salicylic acid) products marketed for younger or oilier skin. Pixi Glow Tonic (£18 cultbeauty.co.uk) is glowfully addictive.

If you prefer the feel of a face scrub, avoid those with nasty polluting microbeads, and choose a lovely gentle one such as Ren’s Exfoliating Cleanser (£15 renskincare.com).

5. Positively Protecting: We all know how important it is to wear sunscreen. A recent US Dept of Health report confirmed that ‘Solar UV radiation unquestionably is the single major factor responsible for skin ageing.’ Ultraviolet rays are around us all the time, even on a typically grey day – so don’t scrimp on this essential part of your daily routine. And remember to bring your SPF moisturiser down over your neck and décolletage. Don’t neglect your hands either.

6. Shaping Up:

If there’s one thing to add to your routine to bring your look up to date, it’s brow maintenance. Having your eyebrows professionally shaped can open up your eyes in such a flattering and inexpensive way that makes you wonder how you ever got by without it before.

And for those of us who covet thick and luxurious eyebrows – currently very fashionable – but are plagued by sparse or unruly eyebrows from years of over-plucking, help is at hand. The HD ‘high definition’ process, used by the likes of Amanda Holden, has seven steps designed to enhance and sculpt the eyebrows (beautyinhighdefinition.com).

On the high street, there are a huge range of easy-to-apply products that help to lift the brows and keep them in place, from a simple slick of clear gel (Brow & Lash Gel £10 thebodyshop.com), to Gimme Brow volumizing eyebrow gel which adds colour and oomph with natural fibres (benefitcosmetics.com £20).

7. Mindful Movement:

Exercise is a natural mood-lifter that releases feel-good endorphins, boosts your energy, protects your heart, and manages symptoms of illness or pain as well as your weight. It’s good for mind, mood and memory.

We’re all super-busy these days, which raises stress levels, and which is ageing in itself, but by carving out some you-time and finding an activity that you enjoy, whether that’s yoga, the gym or even gardening or walking, you’ll reap the rewards with glowing skin.

8. Sumptuous Sleeping:

Use a silk pillow! Possibly the most Marie Antoinette of all the suggestions, but bear with me. Silk regulates body temperature by drawing moisture away from the skin to prevent it from perspiring. It’s much better for your skin than cotton generally, and the best thing for mature skin is that the slippery fabric drags less on the skin, and stops us waking up with ‘pillow-lines’.

9. Savvy Sustenance:

All the wonder ingredients in the world won’t improve your skin if you’re only applying the good stuff outside, rather than thinking about what’s going on inside. A balanced diet, rich in fruit, vegetables, and healthy fats, will bring a glow to your skin better than the best serum, and will make you feel more energised too.

What’s going on in your gut also has a profound effect on your skin. Many of us suffer from dysbiosis, or an unhealthy gut, without even realising. Taking acidophilus, a probiotic supplement, will enhance the levels of good gut flora, resulting in healthier-looking skin, and an increased immune system.

10. Refreshing Your MakeUp:

Makeup is definitely our friend when we want to exude a youthful glow. It’s about creating plumped-up dewy skin, and a pop of natural colour in our cheeks.

Start by taking a good, hard look at your makeup bag. If you’re still using the same products from 20 years ago, then as well as risking looking ‘dated’, you might be missing out on some brilliant advances. Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge credits the revolution in pearl technology, for example, with bringing an impressively natural luminosity to foundations, tinted creams and highlighters: ‘They are so natural looking [now] that it’s as though the luminosity is coming from within, instead of just siting dully on your face.’ To get this effect, try NARS Sheer Glow Foundation (narscosmetics.co.uk £32).

And if you’ve never used one, consider investing in a primer: brilliant for creating velvety soft skin by filling in open pores and smoothing out fine lines, it also ensures makeup stays put all day.

For that flattering ‘bloom’, try blending a touch of liquid or cream blush into the apples of your cheeks. Top makeup artist Fiona Stiles recommends this over traditional powder blushers as ‘it looks more natural and doesn’t fold into lines or creases’.

Fabulous Prime

£21.50 • lookfabulousforever.com

Replenish Hand Cream SPF15

£8.95 • healthspan.co.uk

Pure Hyaluronic Serum

£36.00 • pestleandmortar.com

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