My mother chose a soap that vowed not just a promise-but actual proof from 36 leading skin care specialists that Palmolive soap facials can bring new complexion beauty to two out of three women who washed their face THREE times a day.

Every night she used Ponds cold cream…although only once, ignoring the ad’s suggestion she applied it THREE times before bed. Much has changed in the beauty industry but to me an ever growing array of potions, like the rehydration creams they advertise, simply do not hold water.  “Clinically proven,” “dermatologically tested,” and “regenerating” sound like the baffling lexicon of pseudo science. And yet…

            I admit I know as much about skin care as your average ninety-year-old man. A recent ad in the Sunday Times touted plant based elixirs backed by science and driven by nature and promised clean food for beautiful skin. Huh? Not helpful.

My skeptical gut is reinforced by new research that states only 18 percent of all claims made in commercials for cosmetics prove to be trustworthy. Nearly one in four wrinkle removal claims were found to include “outright lies.”

We buy the intangibles…marketing and brands and patents and licenses. Yet I cannot deny that my fashionista daughter and my friends with the most glowing skin have sifted through the hype and found a plan that obviously works. One that requires daily cleansers and toners and serums and moisturizers and eye creams. I figure I can’t be the only ignorant woman on the planet. With apologies to those for which these basics are old hat, this, distilled, is what I learned.

  1. The process starts with a cleanser…the word milky seems to be trending high right now. Seems it’s best to massage it into the skin in a circular motion, rinse well, and give it a final swipe with a sponge or baby washcloth.
  2. Next comes toner, preferably alcohol free, and even if it comes in a spray bottle, wiping is more effective than spritzing it on. Toners are designed to remove cleanser residue as well as salts, chlorines and chemicals found in tap water.
  3. On to what’s called the multivitamin for the skin…serum. Serums contain a bunch of good-for-you ingredients that clear clogged pores, fade brown spots and soften lines and wrinkles. Don’t just smoothe it on, pressing it into the skin helps release the active ingredients. It is suggested you wait about five minutes for your serum to soak into the skin (that might be a deal breaker for me…) before applying…
  4. Moisturizer. Which, sigh, has been my step one. I’ve been advised to remember that the neck and throat area are extensions of the face and are in need of moisturizing as well.
  5. Eye cream. To keep the delicate skin under your eyes supple and soft. Apply a touch of cream to your ring finger and tap it around the eye in a small circle.

    And repeat at night. And drink a lot of water. And take warm, not hot showers. And get a good night’s sleep.

Jeez… Throughout my life the extent of my regimen involves taking off my makeup at night and putting on a moisturizer with sunscreen each morning. When I had a facial on a recent vacation, the esthetician recommended $312 of products to counteract my neglect.  On the wall was a quote by Coco Chanel, “Nature gives you the face you have at twenty; it’s up to you to merit the face you have at fifty.”  It reminded me that skin has a memory and perhaps I should be treating it more kindly. Like exercising and diet, skin care demands a commitment of time and effort. And maybe a satin pillowcase.

5 Things I Learned About Skin Care From My Daughter was last modified: by

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