QUICKLY TACKLE YOUR BEAUTY GOALS
Tick through your ENTIRE SELF-CARE TO-DO LIST thanks to these easy-peasy tips from the best in the biz. Spoiler: You’re going to look amazing— and feel even better—when you’re done.
Self-care pros share no-fuss guides to full hair, clear skin, and more
1 Nourish Your Hair
BRUSH BETTER Brush after conditioning wet hair. Fewer tangles equals less breakage. Curly girls already know this—dry brushing is a no-no. If you do need to run a brush through dry curls, Frédéric Fekkai, CEO and founder of the hair-care brand Fekkai, recommends spritzing both your hair and the brush with product to encourage springiness in coils. We like DevaCurl Mist-er Right Curl Refresher Spray ($20; devacurl.com).
DEEP CONDITION To combat damage from heat styling and dyes, apply a rich mask before showering. Supercharge it by mixing in a few drops of hair oil, Fekkai says.
SNIP, SNIP While exact timing depends on your style and texture, aim to get a trim every three to four months.
2 GET ADULT ACNE UNDER CONTROL
Despite what we wished for at our sweet 16 parties, pimples don’t vanish, even when we’re grown-ups. But with age comes the knowledge of how to treat a breakout. “Sometimes less is more,” notes Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, MD, founder of Entière Dermatology in New York City. Rather than panicking and throwing everything but (the toothpaste in) the bathroom sink at it, she suggests paring down your routine to these basics.
A gentle cleanser, like Aveeno Calm + Restore Nourishing Oat Cleanser ($9; at drugstores).
An active treatment, such as a retinoid, benzoyl peroxide, or salicylic acid (but not all three). We like No. 7 Laboratories 2% Salicylic Acid Acne Spot Treatment ($20; at Walmart).
A mild, oil-free moisturizer,
like Summer Fridays Cloud Dew Oil-Free Gel Cream Moisturizer ($42; sephora.com).
Sunscreen to mitigate postinflammatory hyperpigmentation (the dark spot left behind after a whopper). Olay Regenerist Mineral Sunscreen SPF 30 ($29; at drugstores) won’t clog your pores and send you back to square one.
3 Establish an Anti-Aging Skin-Care Regimen
If you’re overwhelmed by all the lotions and potions out there, you’ll be relieved to learn that an effective routine consists of just three steps. Levin recommends starting with these products, listed in order of importance.
“The best anti-aging product is sunscreen, worn 365 days a year, whether you’re indoors or outdoors,” Levin says. Sun exposure poses the biggest threat to skin—causing dark spots, wrinkles, and loss of elasticity. And it’s never too late to start mounting your defense. REAL SIMPLE PICK:
Habit No. 41 Mister ($30; habitskin.co) doesn’t leave a white cast, and it comes in an easy spray format so you can reapply without touching your face.
A RETINOL OR OTHER VITAMIN A DERIVATIVE
If vitamin A were a superhero, its power would be time reversal. This ingredient is heralded for its ability to turn back the clock due to its exfoliation properties, which also help nix breakouts and stimulate collagen. REAL SIMPLE PICK:
Skinbetter Science AlphaRet Overnight Cream ($125; skinbetter.com) is one of the least irritating formulas we’ve found. Start by using it once or twice a week at night, then gradually build up.
AN ANTIOXIDANT, LIKE VITAMIN C
Most derms recommend wearing a free-radical-fighting serum under your sunscreen. A vitamin C formula is a fave because it helps treat premature aging and reduces sun damage and discoloration. While some sunscreens come spiked with the booster, Levin prefers the potency of a stand-alone serum.
REAL SIMPLE PICK:
In the morning, put on L’Oréal Paris Revitalift Derm Intensives 10% Pure Vitamin C Serum ($30; at drugstores) before your SPF.
4 DEFUZZ YOUR FACE
There’s a thin layer of hair—peach fuzz—on your face, and there are benefits to shaving it off. Yes, you read that correctly. And no, not the same razor you use on your legs: Grab a Dorco Tinkle Eyebrow Razor ($3 for 3; tinkleusa.com), which is made for fine hairs. Hold your razor at a 45-degree angle and make short, downward strokes, says Joey Healy, a brow expert in New York City. In addition to removing hair, the blade helps slough off dead skin so your face feels silky and makeup goes on more evenly.
5 Schedule a Derm Appointment
Before summer, get a full-body skin check. Here’s how to prep for it.
The doctor will examine your skin from head to toe. That includes your nails—a sneaky spot where melanoma can hide—so remove polish before your appointment.
Don’t bother wearing makeup or putting your hair up, Levin says. The doc will ask you to remove any cosmetics and let your hair down so they can thoroughly look at your skin and scalp.
Be vigilant at home and keep an eye out for any skin changes.
This appointment is your chance to alert your provider to anything suspicious. Have a “pimple” that’s lasted over a month? Julie Russak, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, says it can’t hurt to point it out.
If you’re not comfortable going to an office, see if you can do a virtual consultation. Up the ante with DermLite Hüd Home Dermatoscope ($100; dermlite.com), a device that attaches to your phone, magnifies skin, and captures images a doctor can use to make a diagnosis.
If you’ve been thinking about injectables, ask the doctor for a consultation (make sure the practice you visit does both medical and cosmetic dermatology). Levin recommends bringing a pic of yourself from 10 years ago so the derm can see how you’ve changed with age.