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11 Steps to Perfect Skin

A La Mode perfect skin image

By Danielle Fontana , New Beauty Editorial Assistant 

More times than I’m willing to admit, I catch myself staring at women with perfect complexions and wondering how in the world they do it. Is it their moisturizer? Their cleanser? Sick of guessing what it could be, we decided to reach out to some of the top skin care experts in the country to get to the bottom of perfect skin and how to get it. Here are their top 11 tips. 

1/11 They don’t use heavy moisturizers at night.

“I have always been a big believer in serums to be used twice daily under your moisturizer. In the evening, however, use only the serum instead of a heavy moisturizing cream,” explains celebrity facialist Mamie McDonald, adding that nighttime moisturizers stay on the surface of the skin and are not easily absorbed while sleeping (they just stain the pillow!). “Skin repairs itself while we sleep, so let it happen as naturally as possible, with just a little help from a serum.”

2/11 They hydrate both internally and externally.

“We naturally lose moisture while we sleep, which can result in puffy eyes, dark circles or a lackluster complexion,” says celebrity aesthetician Kate Somerville. “It’s really important to hydrate both internally by drinking plenty of water during the day and before bed, and externally by using products that contain hyaluronic acid, which carries 1000 times its weight in water.”

3/11 They believe in using masks before bed.

“I emphasize nighttime skincare,” says celebrity aesthetician Joanna Czech. “Your skin is about 60 percent more potent to absorb everything at relaxation time, and this is also the most regenerating time. Two or three times per week, I use a mask either in place of my moisturizer or right before my moisturizer.”

4/11 They eat their way to better skin.

 “Eat a clean diet. What you put into your body shows on your skin,” says dermatologist Whitney Bowe. “Drink at least 8 ounces of water a day and eat a diet full of lean protein and fiber. It’s also important to eat foods that are anti-inflammatory and contain lots of antioxidants such as blueberries, and green leafy vegetables such as kale.”

5/11 They give themselves facial massages.

Celebrity aesthetician Natarsha Bimson says that a facial massage increases blood flow, soothes nerve endings, helps to relax muscles, tones, contours and reduces puffiness. “Using an oil, cleansing oil, cleansing balm or cold cream, apply to dry skin with dry hands, work it into your skin (including over the eye area), loosen up all of that gunk from the day, take a few deep breaths and give yourself a quick five-minute face massage. Finish your massage-cleanse by steaming off the oil/balm/cold cream with a hot wash cloth. Use a clean one every day—this will provide your skin with gentle manual exfoliation without being abrasive or causing microlacerations that are caused by many facial scrubs on the market today.”

6/11 They use retinol.

“Retinol is my favorite anti-aging ingredient,” says aesthetician Shani Darden. “You should use retinolnightly (or even every other night) if your skin can tolerate it. It decreases fine lines and wrinkles, boosts collage in the skin and helps make skin glow and look tighter and younger.”

7/11 They thoroughly cleanse skin.

“I always tell my clients to remove their makeup every night before bed, either with a cleansing milk or an eye makeup remover, depending on how heavy their makeup is that day,” says top Hollywood facialist Cristina Radu. “I also tell them to exfoliate every single day. The cleaner your skin is, the cleaner the canvas is to apply all sorts of different ingredients.” Radu explains that when skin is exfoliated, products (serums, moisturizers) are able to penetrate much deeper (and faster) into the skin because there is no longer a barrier of impurities or damage created throughout the day.

8/11 They always use a toner.

“A crucial before-bed step would be to take the time to use a quality treatment toner to remove not only the remnants of your cleansing product, but also the mineral deposit from the water, body salts, makeup and environmental pollution,” advises celebrity facialist Biba de Sausa. “By toning your skin, you are virtually removing the day and preparing the body and skin for the nighttime repair processes.” De Sausa compares toner to “Windex for the skin,” explaining that if this crucial step is skipped, you’ll most likely wake up with a blotchy complexion due to the aforementioned ingredients still being left on the skin surface, causing tightening, irritation or acne breakouts.

9/11 They ingest good-for-your skin nutrients.

“Since I’m crazy about keeping skin clear and healthy, I always suggest that my clients ingest proteolytic enzymes just before going to bed,” says aesthetician Julia March. “They are anti-inflammatory and positively affect the health of our whole body, especially the liver, thus promoting a healthy, glowing complexion.” 

10/11 They “double cleanse.”

“The double cleanse process removes ALL makeup, loosens impurities, circulates blood flow, stimulates muscles and helps with collagen production,” explains holistic aesthetician Erika Yamaguchi. “The first step is to massage an oil cleanser onto dry skin for about 30–45 seconds, rinse, and follow with a foam cleanser.”

11/11 They properly moisturize.

 “I always abide by my L.O.C. theory,” says Los Angeles facialist Marc Edward, adding that the acronym stands for “Liquid, Oil, Cream” and consists of apply liquid spray first, then oil, and finally a cream. “It is three layers of moisture versus only one, and delivers much more moisture to the barrier of the epidermis. Each step helps to penetrate the next and allows for more moisture retention. Skin will become more plump and youthful if it is properly hydrated.”