You first heard about my skincare journey from normal to dry skin. Fashion Stylist and Author Kendall Farr was next, sharing how she cares for sensitive, freckled and combination skin. Today, we hear from my client Karen, who recently wowed YLF with her elegance, grace, style and extraordinary skin. Karen is a month shy of age 71, and I have yet to see skin as beautiful and as well cared for as hers.
It’s true that Karen was born with dreamy, flawless skin, and she thanks her Dad for that set of genes. But Karen has also taken her skincare routine very seriously for most of her life, and that to me is the crux of the matter.
Angie: What is your skin type? Has it changed over the years?
Karen: Starting in my 50’s, my skin turned from normal to dry. Just like your skin, Angie.
How did your Mother influence your approach to skincare?
My Mother did not influence me because she did not care for her skin. I don’t recall her speaking to me about it or being aware of her using any particular skincare products. I think that my fascination with skincare was a direct reaction to that. It had the opposite effect on me!
At what age did you start thinking seriously about skincare?
In college in 1959, at about age 18. I started subscribing to Glamour magazine and paid close attention to all the skincare and make-up articles. I kept on researching and researching all that I could about skincare. What I should do and what I should use. I remember spending time with girlfriends back in college, and when they were playing bridge, which I didn’t care for at all, I was trying to make my skin look better. In those days, it was all about fixing your hair and not so much about skincare. I also spent a lot of time fixing my hair, but unlike other girls I also paid attention to my skin.
Are facials part of your skincare regimen?
I’ve been disappointed in some facials, and they are expensive! But I do schedule two facials a year to receive a mild peel. The peel takes off the dead layers on the surface of your skin and rejuvenates the skin. I like to do the peels.
What is your current skincare routine?
I ALWAYS cleanse my face, morning and night. Over the last 70 years of my life, I have gone to bed without cleansing my face less than eight times. You NEVER go to bed without taking off your make-up. I use a very mild cleanser in the morning and a stronger one in the evening to ensure I’ve removed all my make-up. I rinse off my face with water at least 10 times to make sure that every trace of make-up is gone. I do not use toner because it dries out my already dry skin. In the morning, I also use a Vitamin C serum, then a moisturizer and eye cream. If I’m going outdoors I use SPF 40 sunscreen. In the evening I use a prescriptive retinoid product and a fairly heavy moisturizer on alternate nights, and again an eye cream. I have always used lots of eye cream.
How has your skincare routine changed over the years?
After age 60 I added the retinoid product, the Vitamin C serum, and a heavier moisturizer. My dermatologist suggested that I add the retinoid product for skin cell renewal, and I believe that it does work.
Were there any big sudden changes in your approach to skincare?
In my 30’s I developed melasma (brown spots) when I went into the sun. I looked like Gorbachev (my husband even said so). Because of that I started wearing big hats when in the sun. I looked a sight and it wasn’t attractive. It turned out that this problem had a silver lining because it saved me from some sun damage, as I wasn’t aware how damaging the sun can be at that time. You know, in those days we didn’t know that the sun was bad for our skin. People slathered on oil and baked in the sun. I couldn’t do that because of my brown spots, and now I am grateful that I actually protected myself from the sun.
What are the most important things that you have learned about skincare?
DAILY cleansing, moisturizing, and sunscreen DO PAY OFF. Never go to bed without thoroughly cleansing your face. I believe that sun protection, a healthy diet, enough sleep, and attention to skincare are evident on your face. I don’t drink much water, only two 8oz glasses a day because I’ve read that it doesn’t make much difference to the outer appearance of your skin. I see people who drink lots of water and they don’t have great skin. I don’t know. I drink lots of tea — does that count?
Where do you purchase your skincare products?
Apart from an expensive moisturizer with “lift” purchased from a department store that a sales assistant talked me in to, and a prescription retinoid product from the dermatologist, all my skincare products are purchased from a drugstore. Over the years, I think I have tried them all.
If time and money were no object, how would you improve your skincare routine?
I would have more professional facials and purchase some of the very expensive serums that are said to increase cell renewal.
What’s your number one skincare tip?
Always protect your skin from the sun. Include your neck and décolletage in everything that you do for your face. I also wished that I had remembered my hands in my skincare routine right from the start. My hands look old and wrinkled and there isn’t much that I can do about that now. Angie, your Mother who would have been my age today was so clever to teach you about that.
Karen and I also spoke a little about make-up. Karen says that in addition to nourishing her skin in a way that works for her, she also wears quite a bit of make-up to even out her skin tone. The key for Karen is to find a foundation colour that is very close to the colour of her skin so that her face is the same colour as her neck. Sometimes she adds concealer when she sees dark circles under her eyes. Karen does not use facial powder because it dries out her skin and ages her complexion. Karen believes that shiny skin is youthful skin, and that powdery skin makes you look older than you are.
As always Karen, your thoughts are wise and inspirational. Thanks for sharing your skincare journey and for the countless giggles that accompany our conversations. You are fabulous in every way.