For good reason, I don’t wear the same things I wore ten years ago (thank god I went to high school pre-facebook). Likewise, your beauty routine has to change to suit your age. If your favorite moisturizer isn’t as hydrating as it used to be, or your cleanser doesn’t feel as effective, chances are you are ready for some upgrade.
In your teens:
Adolescent skin is prone to breakouts, but don’t buy that orange oil-free cleanser at the drug store! Harsh, chemical-based cleansers strip your skin of its natural oils, causing it to go into overdrive, ultimately resulting in more breakouts.
Solution: Always look for natural facial cleansers sans chemicals, and read the ingredients! For instance, Cetaphil, which markets itself as a “gentle” cleanser, has as its main ingredients Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (derivative of palm oil–read here why it’s bad for the environment) and parabens, which has been linked to cancers. Instead, look for deep cleansing cleansers made with natural oils and charcoal. I like this charcoal facial soap ($9) made with organic olive, coconut, and neem oils, cacao butter, exfoliating Dead Sea salt, and detoxifying charcoal from Caru Skincare.
And always wear sun protection! It might seem “cool” now to get bronzed, but sun can damage and age your skin in ways that seem unthinkable to you now.
In your 20s:
Skin in your 20s can be the best of both worlds–youthful and plump, and free of major issues. Or, it may not have gotten the memo you graduated high school ten years ago–and still giving you grief, especially with hormonal breakouts. Also, your acne scars last longer than when you were younger. (Sucks).
Solution: Cleansing with botanical oils can work wonders for balancing skin’s natural oil/hydration balance. Some of the favorites are: sweet almond, coconut, grapeseed oil (cosmetic grade), argan oil, etc. Just massage a small amount on your face in circular motion, and wipe away with an organic cotton round. Rinse with water (and cleanser, if desired) and dab dry. Personally, I’ve gotten great results reducing blemishes and hydrating my combination skin with almond oil. (Note: coconut oil can be comedogenic for some people, so avoid if your skin is very acne-prone.)
Amazingly, acne scars can be brightened with natural oils, too! Try moisturizing with organic rose hip oil, which is full of Vitamin C. And make sure to always wear sun protection. I like Josie Maran Argan Tinted Moisturizer with SPF 30.
Makeup: You can pull off almost any look in your 20s. Play with color on both eyes and lips, and different textures like matte, shimmer, and glitter.
In your 30s:
If you haven’t gotten to anti-aging care yet, it’s great to start adding some. Your skin might be thinner and less hydrated as you enter your 30s. You might also experience fine lines (totally okay, as long as they’re smile lines!).
Solution: Mainstream anti-aging products out there look miraculous–until you read the labels and see ingredients like collagen (animal-based) and harsh chemicals. Instead, look for antioxidant-rich products from vegan companies you can trust. Sally B’s Antioxidant Skin Boost ($36) packs in tons of brightening and anti-aging ingredients, and comes in powder form so you can mix into your existing night cream or serum.
Makeup: If you’ve relied on tinted moisturizers and BB Creams until now, it’s time to embrace a more refined finish with…foundation! Don’t be scared of looking unnatural. You don’t have to use a lot of foundation to achieve a flawless look–just layer with concealer where you need it. Embrace an elegant makeup look like rich berry lips (here’s a tutorial).
In your 40s+:
Mature skin is prone to dryness, uneven tones, and fine lines. Women over 40 can also deal with thinner hair.
Solution: A weekly deep hydrating mask is a MUST for mature skin and hair. I love Dr. Hauschka Rejuvenating Mask ($52.95) (yes, I’m not 40 yet but just hear me out!), made of nourishing essential extracts. It’s so effective, your skin feels plump, all rose-petal-y and hydrated afterwards. For hair, I recommend Aveda Dry Remedy Moisturizing Treatment Masque ($29).
Calm redness and uneven tone in mature skin with toners. Try rose water toners–but watch out for expensive, luxury brand rose toners that contain parabens and unnecessary chemicals. Instead, opt for all natural choices like Burt’s Bees Rose Water Toner ($10.99). We also like Ester-C Moroccan Rose Water by Shea Terra Organics which promises healthy (and vegan-friendly) collagen regeneration.
Makeup: It’s true that your skin loses elasticity as you mature, but don’t go for drastic measures! Instead, use simple makeup tricks to keep your look fresh and youthful. To look 10 years younger instantly, shape your brow (make sure the outer end extends well outside the outer corner of your eye) and fill it in with brow pencil. A rosy-pink blush will work wonders to lift your cheekbones and make you look bright-eyed. Apply it on the outer “peaks” of your cheekbones (rather than in the center of your face) and blend. Finally, for instant “face lift,” try a subtle cat eye.