By: Sarah Kester
Growing up, there was at least one “it” girl in our lives who embodied every definition of ‘perfect.’ She had it all: perfect hair, perfect skin, perfect life. Whether she was real or simply oozed perfection through our television screens, we probably spent more time than necessary stalking her Instagram and wondering, what’s her secret?
While we could keep up this routine of obsessing over every glorious pore on these girls’ faces, why not learn from them? Perfection isn’t an ingredient in their secret to glowing skin. What it really comes down to is establishing healthy skincare habits. So, without further ado, here are the 10 rules girls with good skin live by.
Diet plays a huge role in our skin health, even if a lot of us forget about that while treating ourselves to a night in of takeout and wine. While situations like these are fine in moderation, it’s still important to be aware of the effects too much sugar has on the skin, explains Sarah Nicole Payne, an expert licensed esthetician, to Lively.
Diet is important. Too much sugar or cow's milk in the diet can result in dull, lackluster, troubled skin. (Or adversely affect the look and health of your skin.) "The more vegetables you consume and the less junk food you eat, the more your skin glows," says Payne, discussing how her shift to healthier eating habits led to a clearer, more luminous complexion.
Elena Duque, a master esthetician and Med Spa owner, agrees: “I recommend eating tons of dark leafy greens and fruits high in vitamin C, like strawberries. Green tea is very high in antioxidants as well.” But she doesn’t stop there, advising that people apply the skin-saving substance topically as well, to counter--in tandem with sunscreen, the effects of free radicals in pollutants. Her personal favorite product is CE Ferulic, which she says brightens the skin and reduces the appearance of dark spots.
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While it might seem totally backwards to be applying SPF when there’s still snow on the ground, it’s essential. Sun protection doesn’t take a day off; it needs to be done 365 days out of the year.
To get into the habit of this, Payne suggests finding a formula that you love: “If you hate [your formula], you likely won’t commit to daily wear. From there, always leave your SPF sitting on your vanity or a place where you’ll see it and remember to apply it.” It’s time to view sunscreen as important as daily cleansing and moisturizing.
Around the age of 25, our body’s natural collagen production begins to decline. Luckily, there are ways to support a collagen boost (i.e. Vital Proteins’ extensive product line!). “[Collagen] increases hydration levels in our skin, something I see people of all ages struggling with,” explains Payne. “Collagen is just a fantastic all-around supplement to incorporate in your beauty regimen and it’s so easy to add into your daily routine.”
Beauty sleep is a real thing. If you’re not on a sleep schedule yet, aim to get yourself on one that allows 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. And yes, that does mean ending that Netflix binge early.
But it’s not all about clocking in ZZZ’s. Your nighttime skincare routine is just as important. If you’re not accustomed to removing your makeup before bed, you may want to come to terms with the fact that this is actually sabotaging your skin. “Sleeping in makeup actually speeds up the aging process,” says Duque. “When you don’t wash your face before bed, all the dirt, debris, and pollutants break down collagen.”
We understand that life happens. Maybe you had a late night with your girlfriends and too many margaritas that caused you to pass out before giving your face a good wipe and cleanse. When this happens, Duque suggests double cleansing and exfoliating the morning after.
Another great way to make the most of your beauty sleep is to use products that work overtime while you sleep. There are tons of face masks out there designed exactly for this purpose. Nothing like a reason to hit Sephora!
Sure, some girls are blessed with naturally gorgeous skin but keep in mind that good genes only take you so far. “Women with great skin take the time to care for it. That’s what it comes down to, committing the time to care for yourself,” says Payne. “The actual length of time doesn’t matter so much, whether it’s 10 minutes morning and night or a more indulgent routine.”
She advises that we forgo needing to actually feel our products working, calling this “far from the truth.” Instead, we should be treating our skin with gentle products, even if our skin isn’t sensitive. “Stronger isn’t always better, let alone necessary.” says Payne.
Skincare and health truly go hand in hand. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: you are what you eat. And in this case: what you drink. “Staying hydrated keeps skin firm and glowing,” says Duque. If you’re struggling to guzzle down enough H2O each day, consider making it a habit to drink a glass before each meal. Or incorporate a flavored Collagen Water to your routine. “I cut up fresh lemons and oranges and keep them in your water pitcher makes for a refreshing twist without the calories of fruit juice,” Duque tells Lively.
Skincare trends are always changing, but one that has stayed in our good graces is the jade roller. This nifty tool has proven itself to be something every girl should have in her beauty arsenal.
“Jade rollers are a great, affordable self-care treatment that stimulate facial muscles and give your skin life.” says Duque. Use it after applying facial oils to help penetrate the product with every roll.
Turns out a lot of your mom’s old-school skincare hacks actually work—and girls with good skin were paying attention. There’s the cold spoon and cucumber slices trick to de-puff under-eyes. And how could we forget our mothers telling us not to pick at our skin since it causes scarring?
Another trick that works really well, but might be hard to actually go through with, is using cold water when rinsing our skin. That’s because “cold water tightens pores and seals them,” says Duque. “Hot water has a tendency to dry out the skin.” If you’re brave enough, give hot water a rest by opting for cold water instead.
You can’t cleanse your face once and expect glowing skin right away, just like you can’t do one squat and expect to have a booty like J.Lo’s.
“Having a good skincare routine can take you a long way,” Payne tells Lively. “You can’t expect to have great skin if you neglect it. That said, great skin is relative. You can have visible breakouts and still have healthy skin.”
Having great skin requires all of the above, plus choosing specific products. “Using retinoids or glycolic acid at night promotes cellular turnover, which leads to healthier, brighter skin,” says Duque. “Hyaluronic acid products keep skin wrinkle free. It’s basically a magnet for water and will lock in moisture and keep the skin nice and plump.” As for retinoids, which she calls the “number one anti-aging ingredient,” they are made of Vitamin A and help to promote collagen production.
Investing in skincare may also mean getting facials done regularly, ideally once a month since they help stimulate lymphatic drainage and increase blood flow.
However, facials aren’t exactly cheap. Duque advises balancing everything out by getting a facial four times a year or once per season, or even doing at-home facials. “I recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week and using a hydrating and pore cleansing mask 1-2 times per week, in addition to your daytime and nighttime routine.
In the end, though, we’re not striving for perfect skin. After all, that’s an impossible goal. “Great skin doesn’t always mean your skin is flawless. That’s unrealistic,” says Payne. “Great skin is healthy, vibrant, and glows even when it has wrinkles, pimples, or sun damage.”