By Brigid Anderson
There are quite a few things I wish I could travel back in time to tell my younger self: don't date that guy, take that trip to Buenos Aires, don't take that 7th shot of tequila, and take better care of your skin. As I near my mid-thirties it has become painfully obvious that the havoc I wreaked on my skin has contributed greatly to the battles I now fight daily. Think of your skin like karma – what you do to your skin now will come back to bite you in your crows feet. I wish I had paid more attention to the advice bestowed upon me by magazines, GeoCities websites, and my grandmother. Sit back, get comfy, and get ready to learn from my mistakes.
#7: Wearing Makeup More Than You Need To
Don't worry, just breathe. It'll all be okay. I promise. Here's the thing – in an age where it's become the norm to go to class looking like you just came from a photo-shoot, it can be difficult to ascertain just how necessary a full face of makeup actually is. Of course, we all want to look on point, but let's keep the days we go full blown Kardashian to a minimum. Let your skin breathe and embrace your natural beauty! Trust me, your skin will thank you later.
I'm not saying that you should go au naturel when you've got shizz to do. Sometimes spot correcting or choosing a tinted moisturizer over a full coverage foundation is a better option on days you don't need to get all glamazon with it. Pick high-quality makeup suited to your skin's needs and don't settle for products with nasty ingredients. The more conscientious you are about the ingredients you put on your skin now, the better your skin will look and feel in the future.
#6: Pulling On Your Eyelids To Apply Liner
This one is pretty self-explanatory, and I think we all know that this is a big no-no. I'm including this in my list because I vividly recall times where I did it anyway, knowing full well that it is one of the worst things you could possibly do to yourself in the name of a perfect cat-eye. Once you do it, you'll do it again. It may not seem important now, and it may be easily justified in the moment, but I'm begging you - don't listen to that little voice that says, “I'll deal with the repercussions later”. The skin around your eyes is thinner and more sensitive than anywhere else on your face. Once that skin starts to lose its elasticity (which it will), there's no going back. The gentler you are with your eye areas now, the less likely you'll ever consider an eye lift.
Skip the anti-aging creams for now as they may contain ingredients that will leave your skin more susceptible to environmental damage. Instead, invest in a gentle eye cream. Use it nightly by tapping it into your skin with your ring finger. Keep clay masks and other drying masks that tighten up as they dry away from your under-eye areas at all costs.
#5: Forgetting About Your Body
Skincare doesn't just begin and end with our faces – the rest of our body needs our attention as well. Using a body lotion from top to bottom once daily, preferably after a shower, will not only make your skin glow like a goddess – it will keep your epidermis in tip-top shape. As we age our collagen and elastin production slows more...and more...and more. By using a body lotion daily you'll be ahead of the game. Just remember - this too shall sag.
Choose lotions with skin firming ingredients like CoQ-10, caffeine, guarana, and Vitamin C to promote circulation. If you're pressed for time use a wet skin body moisturizer before exiting the shower. Choose body washes that are free of sulfates and other stripping ingredients. As good as it may smell, they'll leave your skin literally itching for moisture. Don't forget to keep hydrated from within either - keeping your body healthy on the inside will keep it looking stellar on the outside.
#4 Ignoring Your Neck
My grandmother knew what she was talking about when it came to two things: how to cook a Thanksgiving turkey...and skin care. As a model in advertising in the 1950's and as someone who was constantly mistaken for Elizabeth Taylor, I really should have listened to her when she taught me one cardinal rule of skin care, “Whatever you do to your face, do to your neck”. This is a little nugget of wisdom you should remember from this point forward. “You can always tell how old someone is when by their neck”, my grandmother said, “that's why it's important to take as much care of your neck as you do your face.” Unfortunately, this is something I didn't take to heart until my late 20's when deep set lines started to rear their ugly head. It may not be as bad as it could be, but I know if I had taken better care of my neck sooner it would be a better state of affairs.
When you cleanse and moisturize your neck, work your products gently in an upward motion. You never want to pull the skin downward. Like your under eye area, keep tightening, drying masks away from areas below the chin (I don't care what YouTube says). Use a moisturizing cream mask (an old-fashioned cold cream works too) from your collarbone up to your jowl and jawline (don't forget the sides!). Do this twice a week to prevent your neck from ending up looking like my grandmother's delicious Thanksgiving turkey.
Let's be real, we all love the way our skin feels after a good exfoliating sesh. Our skin feels smooth, looks bright, and the grit and grime that has been giving our pores a less than flawless appearance has been scrubbed away at last. Sorry to burst your bubble, but so has the protective layer of your skin.
When we exfoliate our skin with abrasive materials we are scrubbing away a layer of the skin that helps protect itself from the environment. In turn, this exposes our skin to elements like dirt, dust, and UVA/UVB rays, that cause more problems in the long run. When we over exfoliate we inadvertently give aging a head start. So...put down the Mia, your Apricot Scrub, and back away slowly.
Keep exfoliation limited to 2 times per week. Choose the gentlest exfoliant that gets the job done. You may find you don't need hardcore exfoliants in the long run. Try a product without abrasive ingredients such as those formulated with strawberry, lemon, honey, or oatmeal. If using an abrasive scrub, limit exfoliation to 5-8 seconds per area to avoid over exfoliating and causing more flaky patches once your skin has healed.
#2: Sleeping In Your Makeup
You knew this was coming. Don't worry, we've all been there. Out at a club, shutting it down, cocktails coursing through our veins. All you wanna do when you get home is eat leftovers before passing out... face first...half undressed. The last thing you're thinking about is taking off that blinding highlight and glitter shadow. I feel you. I really do. Not only do we wake up looking a hot mess because our mascara and eyeliner have become one entity smeared halfway down our faces, our skin is dry, our pores are clogged, and we may even notice the beginnings of a breakout.
It's true that makeup + sleep is awful for your skin, and face wipes don't constitute a cleansing. However, there are two little miracle workers that exist today that I wish I had at those points in my life: The first, is the micellar solution. The second, is microfiber “magic” makeup remover towels. If you can get to a bottle of micellar solution to remove your makeup before passing out, do it. If you can grab your magic makeup towel to take off your makeup quick-style, even better. If you're just sleeping in your makeup because you feel like it...I don't even know what to say to you other than STOP! You will regret it when your skin rebels and starts what I call “The Cycle of Destruction”. We break out, we cover it, we make it worse, and it scars. The more we do this to our skin the more damage is left behind.
Don't forget to wash your pillowcases. Godspeed.
#1: Not Using SPF
I don't care if your makeup has SPF, get in the habit of applying an SPF before you do your makeup. Get in the habit of doing it now because you're going to do it for the rest of your life. Don't worry about “flashback” in your Instagram photos, and limit going sans SPF to nights out. Nothing is more damaging than the sun. Nothing.
Tanning via the sun was a huge thing when I was in my 20's. I cringe when I think about all the times I got in a tanning bed or went to the beach with my girls and tanned for hours on end...with no sun protection. I know! It's insanity. Well, I learned from my mistakes - big time. I have hyperpigmentation spots on one side of my face from over-exposure, and my most blinding highlighter barely shows up on that side due to texture issues. This makes me sound like the Crypt Keeper, I know, but my goal IS to scare you with this one. The sun is not a joke and not only will it age you, but it can do some serious damage to your health, and potentially cause death. An estimated 9,730 people will die this year from Melanoma in the US alone. Let that sink in with your sunblock.
There is no excuse for not wearing sun protection. Ideally, you want to stay between 30 and 50, since studies have shown that SPF protection maxes out at 50. Higher SPF is a marketing tool to get you to buy the more expensive product. Don't fall for it! Try a few, see how they react with your skin, and decide if you prefer chemical or physical sunscreens. I'd explain the difference now, but that's a post for another time...we'd be here all day.
Mistakes Are Not The End
There are going to be things you wish you had done differently when you reflect on the past, but the real trick lies in how you perceive them. Instead of looking at these instances as regrets, see them as experiences that have contributed to your growth and wisdom. I wouldn't have had the opportunity to share my mistakes with YOU if I hadn't made them, and hopefully, none of them end up on your skincare mistakes list. Through patience and trial and error you'll find what works for you...in skin care and in life. Have fun with it! Find your own way of doing things. You have the time to figure it out. Whatever you do, never take that 7th shot of tequila.
Giveaway: To kick off our new blog redesign launch - We'll be hosting giveaways in each of our featured blog posts! Articles that were written by Brigid or Kali will be open for a giveaway to win a pumpkin enzyme masque! To enter: Just comment below something that you learned from reading this post! We'll pick a winner at the end of the day! No Spam posts!
Brigid Anderson has been a makeup addict for over 15 years and has worked as a freelance makeup artist and stylist for fashion labels and music videos. When she isn't writing about and using beauty products, she enjoys spending time with her husband and their dog Ivan, hoarding vintage clothing and vinyl records, and binge watching 'Game of Thrones'...repeatedly.