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Forget any beauty fears that might be lurking at the back of your mind: skin that earns compliments is something that every woman at every age can achieve.
“For years people have asked me, ‘What is the secret to beautiful, glowing skin?’” says celebrity esthetician Renée Rouleau. “The answer is really simple: You have to be willing to do the work.”
The good news is that getting skin in shape is a simple and stress-free DIY job. Follow Rouleau’s five must-do daily steps and you’ll be glowing in no time.
DAILY MUST-DO #1: Wash with a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser morning and night
“What you wash your skin with is the most important part of your skin care routine,” says Rouleau, who explains that many foaming and gel cleansers are formulated with harsh surfactants that strip necessary oils from the skin. The unwanted result? “It pulls all the water out of the skin and creates dead, dry skin cell buildup,” she says. Instead, Rouleau recommends cleansing lotions or gels without water-robbing ingredients like sodium and ammonium lauryl sulfate.
DAILY MUST-DO #2: Always use an alcohol-free toner after washing
You may like the ‘clean’ and ‘tight’ feeling associated with using alcohol-based toners on the skin, but, says Rouleau, the products are a big no-no. “Trying to dry up oily skin can backfire, as stripped cell buildup traps oil and leads to breakouts and more oil production,” she explains. Instead, Rouleau suggests trying an alcohol-free toner, which will add moisture to skin, balance out pH levels and allow skin to maintain a natural barrier.
DAILY MUST-DO #3: Give skin a boost with a serum
“The active ingredients in a serum will penetrate deeper within the skin giving you better results,” says Rouleau of a favorite weapon in her beauty arsenal. Following toner and applied before your moisturizer, the vitamin-rich products defend skin with a potent dose of antioxidants that can fend off everything from wrinkles to discoloration.
DAILY MUST-DO #4: Apply sunscreen to the face and neck—every single day
Sure, you’ve heard it a thousand times, but the skin-saving effects of sunscreen really do stand up to the hype. And it’s casual exposure that will account for 78% of all sun damage in your life, according to research. “It’s all those times when you don’t think that you’re getting sun because you aren’t out there long enough to actually get a tan,” Rouleau says. Your easiest option? Make your products do double-duty by choosing a daily moisturizer with a built-in SPF.
DAILY MUST-DO #5: Wash your skin every night before bed
Your mind isn’t the only thing about you that regenerates while you sleep. “Your skin repairs itself at night, so removing makeup gives your skin a clean palette for applying your nighttime performance products for maximum absorption,” Rouleau says. Too tired to do it right before bed? Perform your nighttime skin routine around 7 p.m. or 8 p.m. “Earlier is better than never!”