Women with pillow-soft, airbrushed skin don’t necessarily have a glam squad, but they do know a few tricks to keep their face and body smooth and glowing all. The. Time. The good news: There are no fancy machines or crazy rituals required to copy their good habits. Here’s what they do — and what you should follow.
1. They don’t touch their face.
This isn’t about bumps and popping pimples, which is obviously a huge no-no since it can cause scarring, infections, and dark spots. It means any touching — like resting your chin in your hand while you listen to your date talk about something you already forget, or tapping your fingers on your forehead trying to remember where you put your phone. You’re probably touching your face right now. According to New York dermatologist Melissa Kanchanapoomi Levin, clinical instructor at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, this mindless bad habit can transfer bacteria to your skin. Cue the breakouts and clogged pores.
2. They use SPF daily.
Sunscreen is something you need right this minute. For one thing, you don’t want a Rudolph-style nose if you’re out in the sun all day. But it’s not just about looking better (or preventing skin cancer — which is a major argument for daily SPF), the sun’s rays also dry out your skin. Sun protection is just as crucial on a daily basis as it is on the beach. “Wearing daily sunscreen without fail, even in winter, will prevent accelerated aging, rough spots, and different growths,” says Dr. Levin. Aim to apply a full shot glass of SPF from head to toe when you’re at the beach and one-quarter teaspoon just for your face on a daily basis.
3. They exfoliate weekly.
To give your skin some major love, you’ve got to help it ditch those dead cells. “Whether it’s with salicylic acid, glycolic acids, retinols, cleansing systems, or cleansing grains, exfoliation helps make skin soft and smooth,” says Dr. Levin. “But only in moderation and definitely not all at once,” she cautions, meaning once or twice a week. “Overdrying or overexfoliating the skin can cause more problems with inflammation, worsening acne or rosacea, and [creating] dry and flaky skin,” says Dr. Levin.
4. They prep before shaving.
Using a shaving cream or gel isn’t just something you do if you’ve got time — skipping it can lead to irritation. TrySkintimate Signature Scents Moisturizing Shave Gel in Raspberry Rain, which smells dreamy and will help the razor glide smoothly without pulling at the skin thanks to the moisturizing formula, which includes vitamin E and olive butter.
5. They pick razors with more blades.
A razor with multiple blades isn’t just for show — it actually gives you a closer shave with each swipe. “The first blade lifts the hair and the following blades cut each hair closer and closer to the skin,” says Dr. Levin. Some razors even come with hydrating ingredients built right in, like the Schick Hydro Silk Razor. It includes a water-activated serum, which keeps your skin moisturized for up to two hours after shaving.
6. They moisturize right after showering.
“Apply moisturizer when you’re barely dry from the shower so you trap water in the surface layers of the skin,” say Dr. Levin. “Put your moisturizer where you’re going to actually use it.” Translation: Keep it in your bathroom, so it’s literally right there when you get out of the shower. Look for humectants that draw moisture to the top layer of your skin, like glycerin, hyaluronic acid, urea, lanolin, dimethicone, and petrolatum, says Dr. Levin.
7. Then they apply oil.
“People are obsessed with body oils and there are some with moisturizing properties, but for the most part, they lock in moisture rather than providing the hydration,” explains Dr. Levin. The best way to moisturize, she says, is in layers. Start with lotion or cream first (with some of the ingredients above, obvi) and then follow up with oil last to seal in all the moisture.
8. They get their Zen on.
Try as you might to avoid them, stress and unhealthy habits can have a major impact on your skin. “If you’re doing a crash diet or not sleeping, you [can] get a surge of growth hormones called cortisol. This can lead to inflammation and worsen skin conditions, break down elastin and hyaluronic acid,” warns Dr. Levin. Try a meditation app like Headspace, make sure you’re taking regular short breaks at work, and (here’s one you can do right now) take deep relaxing breaths when you’re feeling the pressure. Just … chill.