Celeb aesthetician Lord Gavin McLeod-Valentine shares seven easy ways to refresh your skincare regimen.
1. Cleanse Your Skin Properly
Between cell damage caused by pollution and the daily wear and tear of makeup, our skin is facing more threats than ever before, and we may not be doing enough. “Cleansing thoroughly at the end of the day is the most important step,” says Lord Gavin McLeod-Valentine, whose clients include Mandy Moore and Kim Kardashian West. His advice: Try double cleansing. Start with a cream cleanser to remove makeup and flush clogged pores, then follow it with a light gel formula to remove any remaining dirt or bacteria. “Once all the blockages and barriers are removed, then our serums and creams can do what they do effectively.”
Biologique Recherche Lait VIP O2, $98, biologique-recherche.com;
Fresh Soy Face Cleanser, $42, fresh.com
2. Invest in a Gadget
Why go high-tech? “Gadgets are like a boot camp for our skin,” shares McLeod-Valentine. “Similar to pro treatments, they help lift and firm while enhancing the results of products.” In addition to giving all his new clients a Nuface microcurrent device, he’s also a fan of the LightStim and ZIIP tools because of their ability to defy gravity and minimize hyperpigmentation. “The only caveat is that you have to use a device regularly and consistently to see results, but it’s worth the time and energy.” LightStim for Wrinkles, $249, lightstim.com;
NuFace Trinity, $325, mynuface.com
3. Banish Blue Light
Americans spend an average of seven hours per day on phones and computers, exposing our eyes and skin to cell-damaging blue light. “I see 20-year-olds with crow’s-feet, tech neck and a less-than-firm jawline,” says McLeod-Valentine. “In this modern age, part of everyone’s skincare routine should be using a protective screen on all our devices to shield against these dangerous rays. It’s just as important as using a serum or eye cream, if not more so,” the pro says.
EyeJust Blue Light Blocking Screen Protector for phones, $35, eyejust.com
4. Switch to Serums
The most potent skincare products right now have a superlight texture, almost like water. Case in point: the new Retouch line by Intraceuticals. “These serums contain goal-targeting peptides that work on a cellular level — not just on the surface of the skin — to effect real change,” reveals McLeod-Valentine of the brand he works with and its deeply penetrating formulas. “They can be mixed together or used alone to create a custom-tailored routine that works just for your skin.” Intraceuticals Retouch Serums, $69 each, intraceuticals.com
5. Make Sure to Mask
Most of us live busy lives, but self-care plays an important part in how youthful we look and feel. McLeod-Valentine makes masking one of his top priorities. “I’m a big fan of doing a purifying mask once a week,” he notes of his regular ritual.
“It helps remove all the dead cells and cleans out the pores so we can have healthy skin function. That’s the goal, after all.” Boscia Luminizing Black Mask, $34, sephora.com
6. Repair Skin While You Sleep
Our bodies go into rest and recovery mode when we sleep. “Using products rich in vitamin A [like retinol], antioxidants and collagen peptides at night works with our circadian rhythm to repair daytime damage and boost the skin’s ability to protect and renew itself,” says McLeod-Valentine. Pixi Skintreats Overnight Retinol Oil, $24, pixibeauty.com
7. Shop Smart
Beauty consumers are more educated about skincare than they’ve ever been. Still, some ingredient lists can be harder to decipher than hieroglyphics. When it comes to shopping for new products, McLeod-Valentine offers these easy tips:
• SET A GOAL
Start by figuring out what your skin needs. Do you want to get rid of your wrinkles? Minimize sunspots? Banish under-eye bags? Knowing what the goal is will help guide your search.
• DO SOME INVESTIGATING With new, powerful ingredients being introduced every day, like bakuchiol, the natural alternative to retinol, you may need to go online to familiarize yourself with the latest options to target the issue you want to address. Then narrow down your specific needs and choose the best formula containing the ingredient that’s right for you.
• CHECK OUT WHAT THE PROS USE Given the number of products on the market, shopping for skincare can be overwhelming. When in doubt, look at the lines sold at your dermatologist’s office, advises McLeod-Valentine. “Those are generally the products that deliver quantifiable results.”