Woman washing face

2 for 2: Wash & Exfoliate

If you have a chronically oily T-zone while other areas of your skin are dry, you probably have combination skin. Caring for combination skin requires a delicate balance between products that are strong enough to stop and control oil, while still being gentle enough to not cause irritation and further dryness to other areas of your face. Two of the most important steps in any skin care routine, but especially combination skin, are washing and exfoliating. Keep reading to learn what types of products you should be using and how to use these products on your combination skin.

Wash
Every good skin care routine begins with washing your face. When you have combination skin, it is important to use the correct cleansers to avoid aggravating dry spots or not properly removing oil. The key to washing combination skin is to use a gentle cleanser that removes dirt, oil and makeup in a mild way. Believe it or not, there is no single cleanser that works perfectly for each and every person that has combination skin, you will have to experiment a bit to find a formulation that works for your skin. If you have combination skin that leans towards the oilier side, check out gel-based or very mild foaming cleansers and if you have combination skin that is a bit drier, look for cleansing lotion.

Using the proper cleansing technique is also important in caring for combination skin. You want to begin with warm, not hot, water. Hot water will aggravate any dry areas of your skin because it strips moisture from your skin. Apply your chosen cleanser to your fingertips and wash your face using light pressure and circular motions. Aim to wash for about 30 seconds to one minute to allow the ingredients in your cleanser to fully penetrate your skin. Rinse your face completely using warm water, then pat dry with a clean washcloth. Although using a clean washcloth each and every time you wash your face can seem excessive, it keeps your washcloth from becoming a breeding ground for bacteria.

Exfoliate
Exfoliation is critical for healthy skin because it removes dead skin cells that accumulate on the surface of your skin. Your skin is constantly undergoing a process known as desquamation, or cell turnover, and the final stage results in dead skin cells on your skin. In order to reveal the healthier and more radiant skin cells, you need to remove the dead skin cells. There are two types of exfoliation – chemical and physical – and for combination skin, you definitely want to use a chemical exfoliator.

Alpha-hydroxy acids, such as glycolic and lactic acids, gently break up and dissolve the bonds that hold your dead skin cells together. When the acids break these bonds, the dead skin cells are sloughed away to reveal the newer and healthier skin cells your epidermis has been producing.

Caring for combination skin doesn’t have to be confusing and complicated. The main objective with combination skin is to keep it balanced. Consistent washing with a gentle cleanser and frequent exfoliation with mild exfoliants help keep your combination skin in balance and under control.

Woman exfoliating her skin

Why Exfoliation is Important for Good Skin Care

Simply put, exfoliation is the removal of dry, dead skin cells that rest on the surface of your skin. There are two ways to exfoliate your skin:

  • Physical Exfoliation – Uses washcloths, facial brushes, dry brushes or scrubs that use exfoliating ingredients like sugar or salt.
  • Chemical Exfoliation – Works by dissolving the “glue” that binds skin cells and sloughing them from the skin. The most commonly used chemical exfoliants are alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids, though retinol is also used in many anti-aging products because it stimulates cell turnover.

Why is Exfoliation Important for Healthy Skin?
Your cells naturally regenerate, but the process slows down considerably as you age. As these skin cells pile up on your face, you may notice that your face looks dull, feels rough and appears dry. Additionally, allowing these dead skin cells to accumulate can result in clogged pores which cause blemishes and acne.

Cleansing treatment

Without proper exfoliation, the ingredients in your skin care products are not able to penetrate the skin and be fully absorbed. Bottom line, your face products are less effective if you aren’t exfoliating and if you have dead skin cells accumulating on the surface of your face, you are inviting more skin care problems. Here are some of the greatest benefits to regularly exfoliating your skin:

  • Clear Breakouts and Acne – Skin that is acne-prone sheds more skin cells than any other type of skin, but these skin cells don’t fall away from the face. These skin cells stick to the surface of your skin and clog your pores and follicles which causes your skin to produce more oil that causes blackheads and other blemishes. Exfoliating your skin regularly reduces skin buildup and decreases the likelihood of blemishes forming.
  • Improves Skin Texture – When you exfoliate dead skin cells away, your skin’s natural renewal process is sped up which allows younger, healthier skin to take the place of the dry, dead cells. This will even out complexion taking it from dull to bright and rough to smooth.
  • Minimize the Appearance of Pores – Dead skin cells on the surface of your skin clogs your pores and can trap other dirt and debris in your pores which make your pores appear larger. Exfoliating your skin essentially decongests them and diminishes the appearance of your pores.
  • Reduce Visible Signs of Aging – Your skin becomes drier and less elastic during the aging process which results in visible signs of aging. As previously mentioned, regular exfoliation changes the rough texture of aging skin to a smooth texture. Exfoliating also reveals more luminous skin and can help to combat other signs of aging like discoloration from both age and sunspots.

Exfoliation is critical for healthy, youthful looking skin and it makes your skin care products more effective. You can exfoliate your entire body to see smoother, more even skin, but be careful that you don’t overdo it. Using harsh scrubs can cause damage, so it’s best to stick with gentle exfoliators. As a general rule, exfoliating two to three times each week is plenty to keep your skin free from dead skin cell debris, but some people that use very low concentrations of alpha- or beta-hydroxy acids may exfoliate every night. Start exfoliating today to reveal younger and healthier skin.

Portrait of smiling mature woman with white hair

Makeup Tips for Mature Skin

It is so easy to fall into a beauty rut, using the same cosmetic products decade after decade. However, your skin, as well as your features, change as you age, meaning that your makeup products and application techniques need to evolve too.

From foundation to lipstick, here are some guidelines when it comes to makeup for mature skin.

Start With Your Skin

The best-looking makeup begins with good skin, which is why this should always be your initial focus when evaluating cosmetics.

Before applying any makeup to your face, you need to ensure that your skin has been thoroughly cleansed. Exfoliating it will be a bonus, as this will clear away any dead skin cells and rough patches from the surface of your skin, giving you a blank canvas to work with when it comes to your makeup.

Immediately after exfoliating, you need to moisturize your skin.

This is even more important for mature skin…

Why?

Because one of the main skin issues that mature skin faces is a lack of moisture, as skin loses its ability to retain moisture as it ages. This can result in a rough and dry complexion, which will only end up being accentuated, rather than hidden, by your makeup.

A thick and rich moisturizer is best, and it should also contain plenty of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and resveratrol

Another bonus to moisturizing before applying any makeup?

It will give your face a smooth and dewy finish, meaning that your makeup will just glide effortlessly on afterwards.

woman applying primer or moisturizer

Primer

Primers are not strictly essential, but do have quite a few benefits, especially when it comes to mature skin.

Here are a few of the reasons as to why you should be using a primer:

  • Hides visible pores
  • Smooths and softens the skin
  • Gives makeup a base to grip on to, meaning it lasts for longer 
  • Prevents foundation from oxidizing and changing color

When choosing a primer for mature skin, you want the formula to be a lightweight and moisturizing one, without containing any shimmer. As with any product you use, try to pick one that contains added antioxidants. If your skin is sensitive, look for a primer that contains soothing ingredients, such as niacinimide or green tea. 

Foundation

When it comes to choosing a foundation for mature skin, thick formulas, or loose powders, are a big no.

woman applying powder foundation

Why?

These products will only end up settling into any creases in your face as your skin moves, making any fine lines or wrinkles so much more visible.

Instead, go for a light liquid foundation, or a cream foundation.

Wondering what the main differences between the two are?

Well, a cream foundation is more opaque, meaning that it provides better coverage if you have age spots or broken capillaries. Using a cream foundation means that you will likely need to use less concealer on any of these blemishes.

Another bonus to using a cream foundation formula is that these will usually be more moisturizing, making them great for drier skin types.

On the other hand, a liquid foundation will tend to have a lighter texture, and, if you only have a few minor imperfections, a liquid foundation will likely do the job.

When it comes to actually applying your foundation…

Begin at the center of your face, and use a foundation brush to blend this outwards.

Wondering how to stop your foundation from settling into any lines or wrinkles?

This is often inevitable, no matter which foundation you choose. When this happens, all you need to do is blot the area with a Q-tip, before fixing it up with some powder.

Alternatively, if you are dealing with fine lines rather than deeper wrinkles, try pressing a finger gently against your skin, rocking it back and forth in a slight rolling motion. This will help to disperse the foundation that has settled into your lines.

Don’t like using foundation but still want a bit of coverage?

Try a CC cream instead. These are actually perfect for mature skin, because not only will they disguise any redness or imperfections, but they will also refine your skin’s texture.

Concealer

While some may strongly believe that a concealer should be applied before a foundation, it should really be the other way round.

Why?

Because your foundation will already cover up quite a few imperfections, so you will only need to use the concealer on areas that actually need the extra coverage

Want to know the best way to use a concealer to hide blemishes?

Simply dab a small amount onto your blemish, and then use the tip of a brush to blend this into your foundation, until you cannot see it any more.

In addition to using your concealer to cover up any blemishes, you can also apply it in a way that will help to give your face more of a lifted appearance.

How?

Use your concealer to draw a triangle on your cheek, with the base of the triangle underneath your eye, and the other two sides pointing down towards your cheek. Then, blend it in.

woman using concealer under her eyes

So, how do you actually go about choosing a concealer for mature skin?

Well, just like with your foundation, liquid or cream formulas are best. Liquid is usually preferred by those with mature skin, as its lightweight texture means that it is less likely to gather in wrinkles and creases during the day. If you opt for a cream, you may need to set it with a powder afterwards to ensure that it does not crease.

You will also likely need two different shades, one for underneath your eyes and one for your face.

Here are some tips on choosing the two shades:

  • For underneath the eyes, choose a concealer that is one or two shades lighter than your natural skin tone. However, do not go any lighter than this, otherwise you may end up with an obvious light circle around your eyes
  • For the face, your concealer needs to perfectly match the shade of your foundation

Blush

While a cream blush looks great on bare skin, a powder blush tends to be the better option if you are also wearing foundation. However, in order not to dry your skin out, you need to make sure that you opt for a powder that has a fine and light texture.

When it comes to color, do not be tempted by strong and harsh shades. As the face ages, it becomes more angular, and stronger shades of blush will only make this seem hollow.

Instead, go for a softer shade, such as apricot or rose, making sure that it complements your skin tone.

Woman applying makeup

When it comes to actually applying your blush…

Many tend to apply this on the apples of their cheeks, but this often only ends up drawing attention to sagging skin.

What should you do instead?

Apply your blush to the highest point of your cheekbones, using a large brush to lift this upwards, making sure that you do not apply any color too close to your nose.

Eyes

Did you know that your eyes change shape as you age?

Your eyelids become more hooded, while wrinkles around the eyes can also affect their shape.

So, what is the best way to deal with this when it comes to eye makeup?

A subtle wash of a light colored shadow is really all you need, with satin finishes in particular helping to brighten up the eyes. Matte and sparkly shadows do not work too well on mature eyes, as these tend to settle into the fine lines on eyelids, making them looked creased.

If you do decide to go for a shadow with some sparkle or shimmer for a special occasion, keep this away from the outer corners of your eyes, as it will only emphasize fine lines. Instead, keep the sparkle for your inner corners, the center of your eyelids, and your brow bones.

What about eye liner?

This is great to make your eyes really pop, but a liquid or gel formula can sometimes be too harsh on mature eyes, making an eye liner pencil your best option.

Do you find an eye liner pencil difficult to apply?

This is a common issue, but an easy solution is to just make sure that your eye liner pencil is soft, so that the color comes out smoothly and easily.

When applying your eye liner…

Make sure that you apply more to your top lash line than your bottom.

Why?

Because this helps to prevent your eye liner from dragging your eyes down. Eyeliner on your lower lash line will also make your eyes look much smaller, and will draw attention to any dark circles. Try to also ensure that the line you draw becomes thicker towards the outer edge, because this will give you a lift in an area where mature eyes tend to droop.

Do not forget about your eyebrows either…

Eyebrows naturally thin with age, and filling these in can really subtract decades from your appearance. Use either a light colored brow pencil or a shadow, as you want the color to look subtle and natural. Make sure that you blend this in well, following your eyebrow’s natural shape and ensuring that they do not look as though they have been drawn on. 

Just like with your eyebrows, your eyelashes will also naturally thin with age…

Mascara is great for this, but do not be afraid to experiment with individual false eyelashes, as these are perfect for filling in any gaps.

Giving your eyelashes a curl before applying your mascara can also make a huge difference, as this will instantly open up your eyes, making them appear bigger and brighter.

When applying mascara to mature eyes, you would be best off staying away from your lower lashes, and only applying it to your top lashes.

Why?

Because mascara on your lower lashes will only emphasize any dark circles or crow’s feet, whereas a deep, black mascara on your top lashes only will make your eyes look brighter and whiter.

Lips

Your lips will change quite a bit as you age, becoming much thinner, with wrinkles appearing around them. 

This means that you will want to use makeup in a way that plumps your lips out, so that they appear fuller and smoother.

How can you do this?

With a sheer, moisturizing lipstick. Neutral shades are usually best, as you want to enhance the shape and color of your lips without drawing too much attention to them. The most flattering shades for mature lips tend to be a color that is only slightly darker than your natural lip color.

senior woman applying lipstick

Try to avoid dark or bright lipsticks, as well as those with a satin finish.

Why?

Because these often only end up drawing attention to thinner lips, as well as to fine lines.

Don’t forget about lip liner either…

This can be used to give your lips a slight boost in volume, while also preventing your lipstick from bleeding into any wrinkles or lines. All you need to do is trace the lip liner around the outside of your lips, so that you have slightly over-lined them. However, make sure that the shade of lip liner you choose matches the shade of lipstick that you are going to be wearing with it, and try not to be too heavy-handed when applying the lip liner

Wondering whether or not you should be wearing lip gloss?

The answer is no. While there is no denying that lip gloss can really help to plump up your lips, it will also highlight every single fine line that is on your lips, so is best avoided.

In order to really look your best as you age, your makeup needs to evolve in the same way that your face and features do. From your eyes to your lips, make sure that you are constantly assessing each individual feature, so that you can determine exactly what they need in order to really shine.