There's something about a professional facial that makes your skin exude youth and radiance almost instantly. So what is it -- and more importantly, how can you get it at home? We asked top facialists to share their best anti-aging secrets.
Instead of slapping on your face cream, make the application process more like a mini massage. Here's why: "Upward, gentle circles on the cheeks, forehead, and neck will help fight the natural, downward pull of gravity," says Robin Jones, spa director at Lake Austin Spa in Austin, Texas. Plus, it boosts circulation (hello, healthy flush). Even better: Lie flat as you do it.
To prevent wrinkles, treat them from the inside out with high amounts of water intake, says Mila Moursi, an esthetician in Los Angeles who works with celebrities including Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox. "Drink your weight in ounces," she says. (So that's why they're always offering water at the spa.) On the outside, apply products that contain hyaluronic acid, which holds water in the skin, giving it a nice plump look. Try Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum Fortifying & Soothing 24 Hour Hydrating Concentrate ($36.00; ulta.com).
Staples in your kitchen can get you fresh-from-the-spa skin, stat. Joanna Vargas, a New York-based esthetician, who has A-list clients including Karlie Kloss and Rachel Weisz, suggests this DIY masque to revive parched skin. Mix two tablespoons each of honey, avocado, and olive oil and one mashed mango. The honey is hydrating. “Avocado is loaded with omega-3 fatty acids and B vitamins, which are incredible for your lymphatic system and restoring the skin’s lipid layer,” Vargas says. Mango is rich in skin-brightening vitamin C, and olive oil is anti-inflammatory and reverses the signs of sun damage, she says.
It’s time to let go of the idea that oil-free products are better for your skin. “When skin lacks high levels of natural oils, it looks dehydrated and bland,” Moursi says. You can replenish these lost oils by putting them back into the skin topically, she says. Look for products that contain a mix of natural oils. Or, use food-grade oils of almond, olive, or coconut before bed. Jones is a big fan of coconut oil. “It’s known to soften and shrink wrinkles and protects against sun damage,” Jones says.
Dry brushing, a prebody treatment ritual at many top-notch spas, is said to exfoliate dead skin, stimulate circulation, and eliminate toxins -- all essentials for healthy skin, Moursi says. She suggests doing it three-to-four times a week before showering. Try The Body Shop Round Body Brush ($12). In a pinch, use a loofah or exfoliating glove, Moursi says.
Spa fare is usually heavy on the veggies -- and for good reason. “My number one tip for glowing skin is to drink a green juice every day,” says Vargas, who recommends swapping out your afternoon coffee for a veggie drink. “It helps oxygenate the skin and stimulate lymphatic drainage, so it's depuffing, too,” she says.
You might reserve rich shea butter for dry, winter skin, but Vargas says it's an important anti-aging ingredient to include in your routine year-round. "Shea butter as a moisturizer has been clinically proven to reverse the signs of aging," she says. Find it in her Daily Hydrating Cream ($75; joannavargas.com) or Boots Botanics Organic Face Super Balm ($9; ulta.com).
"As you age, it's important to care for your neck," says Renee Rouleau, a celebrity esthetician in Dallas, Texas. And that includes regular exfoliation. Rouleau says don't do it with acids, which are too strong for the thin skin. Instead, use a smooth-beaded scrub a couple times a week in the shower. "As you apply it, look up so the skin is pulled really taut," she says. "It makes it easier to roll the scrub across the skin." Try Olay Total Effects Refreshing Citrus Scrub ($8.29; target.com).
Dealing with dull, dehydrated skin? It might be your cleanser, Rouleau says. As you get older and skin gets drier, you need to move away from the foaming formulas and use a hydrating, creamy cleanser, she says. “It works even better if you apply it to dry skin,” Rouleau says. “Water dilutes it.” Try Garnier Clean + Smoothing Cream Cleanser ($6; walmart.com).
A pro facial almost always includes steam -- which helps boost the moisture content in your skin. At home, let the steam in your shower work its magic. "Turn off your bathroom fan," Rouleau says. "It pulls the moisture out the air." Then once you hop out of the shower, apply your facial moisturizers within 60 seconds to seal in the steam, she says.
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