From the makeup tips that actually work to the skin care tips that really deliver, we asked a duo of beauty experts to separate the anti-ageing facts from the wrinkle-fighting fiction.
Whether it’s the best anti-ageing foods or the makeup swaps that make a noticeable difference, finding the best facials or the habits in need of a product overhaul, here’s our guide for spotting the most common 15 beauty blunders and our experts’ top tips for spending your time, money and energy on a beauty regime that really works.
1. Masking skin with heavy foundation
Often at the sight of a wrinkle, spot or blemish, our knee-jerk reaction is to slather on the foundation. However, the end result could end up looking more clown-like than clever cover-up. “Invest in good anti-ageing skincare and a primer to hydrate your skin and smooth out lines,” recommends makeup artist and Get The Gloss Expert Florrie White . “As a result, you will then use less foundation and then can pinpoint any age spots with concealer. This will create a more youthful and illuminated look.”
2. High starch diets
“Most people will have realised by now the harm eating a diet which is high in sugar can have on not only their body but also on their skin,” says Dr Stefanie Williams, Dermatologist and Medical Director at Eudelo . “Eating too much sugar causes blood sugar and insulin levels to rise quickly, which can be damaging to the skin by causing micro-inflammation, the release of free radicals and cross-linking important proteins such as collagen in our skin. A high sugar diet is also known to aggravate skin conditions such as acne.”
“However, in a well-intended attempt to reduce their sugar consumption, many health conscious women inadvertently shift to eating more starch and grain-based foods,” she adds. “What most people don’t know is that starch is simply nature’s storage form of sugar! As soon as we eat starch, our body cuts it down into sugar. In fact, the starch molecule is chemically just one long string of sugar molecules. So while reducing sugar intake is critical for anti-ageing efforts, it is also important to moderate your starch and grain intake if you really want to keep your skin in top condition.”
3. Using too dark an eyeliner
When it comes to ageless eyeliner, brown is the new black. “As skin ages around the eyes, opt for dark brown eyeliner instead of black,” recommends Florrie. “You can still achieve an intense eye, but it won't be as harsh a contrast to the skin tone which can emphasise laughter lines and also look too severe.”
4. Over-cleansing the skin
“Many women tend to over-cleanse their skin these days, using harsh cleansers, double and triple cleansing, scrubs, chemical exfoliants and various brushes, cleansing cloths and other aids on a daily basis,” comments Dr Williams. “Yes, twice daily cleansing is very important not only to remove dirt, excess oil, pollution remnants and makeup from the skin surface, but also to prepare the skin for subsequent skincare application. You see, with all that gunk on top of the skin, our skincare’s active ingredients wouldn’t penetrate very well.
“However, don’t go overboard with cleansing, as the flip-side is that over-cleansing may remove too much of our natural skin oils and disturb our skin's natural barrier function. With an impaired barrier function, our skin loses too much water, which may lead to dry skin and even micro-inflammation! Cutaneous micro-inflammation contributes to premature ageing over time.
“So make sure you use a suitable type of cleanser for your skin, exfoliate not more than 2-3 times per week and when using a cleansing brush, choose one specially designed for sensitive skin.”
5. Neglecting your eyebrows
“If brows start to fade, make sure you modernise your technique for filling them in,” recommends Florrie White. “Instead of drawing a graphic line, use a powder brow set and fill in any gaps with a small flicking action to recreate the illusion of hairs.”
6. Poor stress management
“A high-paced city lifestyle is really bad for your skin,” says Dr Williams. “High levels of stress and sleep deprivation can result in levels of our stress hormone cortisol remaining high throughout the day (normally cortisol is only high in the morning and then quickly dies down), which contributes significantly to our skin ageing prematurely. Try to moderate your stress levels wherever possible and make enough sleep one of each day’s priorities.
“To help, I have actually created an anti-stress kit to help people manage their stress levels containing a book which reviews the research on stress and skin ageing to help people really understand the impact stress can have on their body and skin. The kit also features an exclusive online stress management course which guides the reader week-by-week through the difficult process of moderating their stress levels. Most importantly, the kit contains a high tech meditation CD which can reduce cortisol levels within 20 minutes of listening.”
The Future Proof Stress Kit is £162 and is available to buy online here .
7. Low fat diets
“In the past 30 plus years, we have all been brainwashed into thinking that a low fat diet is a healthy way of eating ,” says Dr Williams. “There has been so much in the press about the dangers of eating saturated fat that many people now think that all fats are bad for them. This is not true!
“There are highly beneficial fats such as monounsaturated fats - think olive oil - which also contain polyphenolic antioxidants. However, even saturated fat has been demonised unfairly. Good quality saturated fat is not a problem. In fact, saturated fats are highly stable, great for cooking and even our cell membranes mainly consist of saturated fatty acids. Studies have confirmed that eating a diet higher in overall fat content, but even higher in saturated fat is associated with higher skin elasticity and less wrinkling of the skin.
“So make sure to include plenty of good fats such as avocados, nuts (macadamia nuts are particularly good), olive oil, omega-3 rich fatty fish, coconut oil, but also organic animal fats in your diet, as they are all important for healthy skin,” she recommends. “What you want to avoid on the other hand are unstable, pro-inflammatory, omega-6 rich vegetable seed oils such as sunflower oil, soya oil and corn oil.”
8. False eyelash faux pas
“Instead of replacing lost or thinning lashes with a strip of eyelashes, curl your lashes which will make them look longer and apply a conditioning mascara,” recommends Florrie. “Otherwise, invest in getting some eyelash extensions applied for a special occasion.”
For a more wide awake flutter, try Eyeko's Cushion Lash Curler , £18, which includes a travel size Lash Alert! mascara (a GTG favourite).
9. Using skincare products that are too rich
“Another common myth is that the richer a moisturiser or cleanser is, the better it is for the skin and this simply isn’t true,” says Dr Williams. “Yes, over-cleansing can damage our skin’s barrier function. However, I also often see patients in my clinic who trigger breakouts, inflammation and acne by over-using moisturisers or using too lipid-rich moisturisers (or using oily cleansers for that matter).
“You see, with the highly advanced sun protection products we have today, most women really don’t need an additional moisturiser in the morning. And as for the evening, your anti-ageing serum might be perfectly sufficient on its own. By adding an additional moisturiser, many people could end up clogging up their pores unnecessarily. Everybody is different though, so make sure to seek advice from a specialist dermatologist, who can advise which skincare products are right for your skin,” she adds.
10. Wearing the wrong shade of dark lipstick
“Dark lipstick can make thinning lips even thinner,” explains Florrie. “If you like wearing darker shades, opt for more berry and plum tones and also lipsticks that have primers or moisture-boosting ingredients.”
When it comes to moisturising lipsticks that promise high colour payoff and high hydration, Revlon Ultra HD Lipsticks , £8.99 are pretty hard to beat.
11. Starting anti-ageing regimes too late
“Prevention is better than cure and it really is true that the earlier you start to use good skincare, the better your long-term outcome will be,” says Dr Williams. “It’s the same with aesthetic treatments and procedures. Don’t leave it too late, as little ‘tweakments’ over a longer time will get you the best results.
“Many women think that they should not start aesthetic treatments until they see significant signs of ageing on their face, often fearing that if they start too early the treatments will somehow lose effectiveness over time. It’s actually far from it! The chances of keeping your skin looking at its very best are much, much better, if you start early enough. Of course, the types of treatments have to be adjusted to your age (or let’s say your skin age for that matter…) and your goals, but make sure you don’t miss the boat by waiting too long.
“A good starting point for everybody are regenerative treatments, which I recommend to my patients having once per month (think of it like joining the 'Skin Gym’ to keep your skin fit long-term). Examples are regenerative dermatology grade facials , plus occasional courses of mesotherapy, platelet rich plasma (PRP) or medical needling.”
12. Not giving your makeup a makeover
“Make up trends age, so make sure you are not stuck in a time warp with your favourite look from the 80s,” cautions Florrie. “You can still enhance the same features, but modernise your makeup bag with new formulas and shades.”
13. Overdoing the Botox
From frozen faces to wind tunnel cheeks, going overboard on the Botox can end up looking, well, just a little bit strange...a few clever tweaks here and there can make a noticeable difference however, there’s a lot to be said for making the most of a good skincare regime instead. “I take responsibility for what I have put my skin through over the past years: extreme sunbathing in the 90s and the occasional late night,” says Florrie. “But I try and compensate with a good beauty routine, great anti-ageing products and SPF every day. I definitely feel I wear less makeup as I age, although I still want to look my best - healthy with a natural glow - so I probably use just as many products but different ones with different effects.”
14. Booking in for the wrong facials
If you suffer from a particular skin condition, the key to tackling it in both the short and long-term may not lie in a spa, but rather in a dermatologist’s office. “Having a facial treatment on the high street or at a spa can surprisingly be a really bad idea for your skin as these treatments haven’t been developed by dermatologists who really understand the skin’s needs,” warns Dr Williams. “This is particularly dangerous for people with problem skin such as acne or rosacea breakouts, who really need to make sure that they are receiving the right treatment for their skin type.
“To clarify, there are three different types of facials: the lowest level is a high street or spa facial, which is mostly about relaxation and hydration of your skin. If that’s what you are after, go for it (unless you have problem skin that is!). However, if you want more long-term benefits for your skin, I recommend choosing a medical grade facial (medium level) or a dermatology grade facial (highest level), depending on your commitment and budget.
“Dermatology grade facials are offered in dermatologist clinics and have been developed by a specialist dermatologist in order to achieve maximum benefits for the skin, aid optimal skin regeneration and slow down the ageing process on a cellular level. They are suitable for healthy skin as well as problem skin.”
15. Using too much self tan
“Using self-tanning skincare products can be a double-edged sword in my opinion,” says Dr Williams. “On the one side, no doubt they are better than actually tanning in the sun (or using sun beds of course), as all dermatologists will tell you, you should not only avoid burning but also tanning. Tanning in fair skin types is actually a ‘cry of help’. Your skin is telling you that it has been damaged on a cellular level and is producing more pigment to try and protect itself from further damage. So my advice is to avoid burning AND tanning if you are fair skinned.
“My first reservation about self-tanning products is while they are no doubt better than actually tanning in the sun, they perpetuate the notion that tanned skin is more desirable no matter what and something we should all aim for, even if it’s not our natural skin type. What I would much prefer is seeing a shift in perception. I would love to see more and more people celebrate their natural skin colour: fair skin is beautiful when it’s light and black skin is beautiful when it’s dark (and all shades in between!). Using self-tanners however are reinforcing wrong objectives and don’t help changing our society’s view on artificial tanning long-term.
“Even more importantly though, while self-tanners will make your skin look browner, this darker skin colour offers no significant UV protection. Despite this, many people believe that as they are ‘tanned’ their skin will be more resistant from the sun, but this isn’t true. Exposure to the sun without adequate sun protection is one of the biggest causes of premature skin ageing (and skin cancer), so it really is important to make sure you apply your SPF every single day.
“Last, but not least, the reaction that produces the brown colour in self tanned skin (the so-called Maillard reaction) actually involves the generation of free radicals, again not something I would be aiming for.”
Try these body makeup products for a safe, temporary sunkissed glow.