Skin Care Tips From Bobbi Brown
Skin care secrets
Bobbi Brown—celebrity makeup artist, beauty guru, and Health magazine columnist—knows that all skin is not created equal. Here, she answers your questions and shares her secrets about everything from moisturizer to sun spots.
How do I figure out my skin type?
— Susan Summers, Sun City, AZ
Bobbi: Just pay attention to how your skin looks and feels. Do you need powder 15 minutes after you wash your face? If so, your skin is oily. I suggest a gel-based cleanser and a light oil-free moisturizer.
If your skin is tight or flaking however, it's dry, s try a creamy cleanser and thicker moisturizer. I swear by creams and balms that are super hydrating— they're perfect for this time of year. Plus, they give a smooth, plumped-up look and feel good on your skin.
What foods should I eat to keep my skin looking young?
— Elizabeth Schneider, New York City
Bobbi: My derm told me that studies show people who eat vitamin-C-rich fruits and vegetables have fewer wrinkles—so load up on things like oranges, grapefruits, cauliflower, and broccoli. These foods are high in antioxidants to help fight the aging effects of sun, pollution, and time. She also said omega-3 fatty acids (think salmon and walnuts) will improve skin's elasticity. And don't forget to drink a lot of water; it's the number-one way I keep my skin looking its best.
I have oily skin. Should I moisturize my face?
— Ashley Lewis, Philadelphia
Bobbi: Yes. Drying out oily skin sends a signal to your body to produce even more oil. Plus, most women are oily only in certain spots (like the T-zone), so you risk drying out areas like your cheeks and chin if you pass on moisturizing. Look for an oil-free product and apply a dime-size amount all over your face. You'll get a healthy dose of hydration without making your skin look slick.
What's the best quick-drying moisturizer?
— Jordan Wentz, Boston, MA
Bobbi: Some moisturizers sell themselves as "quick drying" but contain alcohol, which makes them less moisturizing -not what you want. Instead, go with a nongreasy, water-based moisturizer with humectants such as hyaluronic acid and glycerin (ingredients designed to dry quickly while creating a moisture barrier on your skin). You can easily find one for less than $5!
My skin is so dry that my makeup flakes off. Help!
—Haley Shook, Tempe, AZ
My derm suggested asolution and it really works: layering onmoisturizers. I apply a lightweight hydrating cream, then I top it off with a thicker moisturizing balm.
Lightweight lotions are water-based,so if you followthem with a thicker cream, the heavier product will help seal in the moisture from the first lotion. Revive your foundation throughout the day by dabbing on a fast-absorbing face oil.
I'm in my 30s and already seeing age spots on my hands. Are they permanent?
— Ana Fernandes-Rodrigues, Newark, NJ
Bobbi: Let’s call them what they really are—sun spots. They’re caused by UV exposure (why sun worshippers may start seeing spots in their 20s). A foundation stick in your skin tone can hide spots, but to get rid of them, try an OTC lightener with hydroquinone or a prescription vitamin A–based cream like Renova. If that doesn’t work, ask your derm about laser resurfacing.
Will a facial make my skin look younger?
— Sarah Sobel, Charlotte, NC
Bobbi: Anything that exfoliates your face will make you look younger (by removing dead skin and uncovering fresher skin). You don’t have to go to a fancy spa to make your skin look better, though.
Once a month, I apply an exfoliating cleanser like Origins Never A Dull Moment to my face, then step into the shower (the steam loosens dead skin cells) for 10 minutes before rinsing.
Follow up with a hydrating cream.
I hate the feel of foundation. Any tips?
— Jessica Gargiulo, New York City
Bobbi: Nobody likes the feel of a heavy foundation against their skin, so I'll share a few secrets I've learned along the way. First, prep your skin with a moisturizer, then mix a drop or two of that moisturizer with your foundation in the palm of your hand.
Apply with your fingers for the sheerest coverage, then top with a loose powder, which will make the foundation feel more natural. Still not happy? Try a lightweight tinted moisturizer.
Estee Lauder DayWear Sheer Tint Multi-Protection Anti-Oxidant Moisturizer SPF 15 ($43; esteelauder.com)
My new cream blush is making me break out. Should I stop using it?
— Ally Betker, St. Louis
Bobbi: Before you throw it out, wait a week, then try it again. Your outbreak could be the result of other things (like washing your pillowcases in a new detergent or something you ate). If you notice any more bumps, though, skip that blush. And know it’s not a total loss—most cosmetic counters will take back a product if it’s causing you to break out.
My skin feels oily in the morning. Am I using the wrong night cream?
—Lara Mendizza, Boston, MA
Chances are, the cream may be too rich or contain an ingredient that’s not penetrating your skin. Look for one with humectants (like glycerin and hyaluronic acid), which draw moisture into the skin, as opposed to occlusive ingredients that seal in moisture (such as petrolatum). Also, make sure you’re not overapplying (follow directions on the package), and that you’re using the right product for your skin type.
Darphin Fibrogene Line Response Nourishing Cream ($80; darphin.com)
How can I make my feet look better in sandals?
— Carrie Jablonow, West Hollywood, Calif.
Bobbi: The best way to spring-clean feet is with a really good professional pedicure. But sometimes I just can’t make it to the salon, so I rely on home maintenance. Once a week, use a pumice stone to rub a mixture of coarse salt and olive oil onto your feet; rinse. Then, three times a week, layer on a rich moisturizing cream, followed by a barrier jelly like Vaseline; do this at bedtime, and sleep in a pair of old socks.
What's the best home remedy for dry skin?
— Pat Gillin, Broomall, Pa.
Bobbi: Salt! I keep kosher salt by my bathtub and mix it with equal parts shower gel before applying it with a pouf to dry patches on my skin. The key is to put the mixture on in the shower before you get wet. For super soft skin, I finish with a fast-absorbing body moisturizer.
EcoTools EcoPouf Cleansing Pad ($3; Target)
How can I make my skin look better in the winter?
— Michelle Symasek, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
Bobbi: Use a tinted moisturizer, which covers imperfections but has undertones to warm up your complexion. Next, apply bronzer—it's not just for summer! Dust some on your forehead, nose, chin, and neck, then rub moisturizer between your hands and press them gently over your face to create a skin-like finish that's less matte and more natural looking.
I've tried lotion and moisturizer, but my skin is still dry. What should I do?
— Lisa Wyatt, San Francisco
Bobbi: When you have tried everything and nothing seems to work, I suggest using olive oil on your body. If your face is dry, switch from a face lotion to a face balm, and make sure to use moisturizing makeup like cream blush (like Topshop Make Up Blush in Pinch, $12; topshop.com) rather than a powder. Finally, this may sound obvious, but you should definitely drink more water, because skin also gets hydration from the inside.
I drank too much last night, and my skin looks so dry. What should I do?
— Nadina Bourgeois, New York City
Bobbi: As soon as you wake up, hydrate! (If you find it hard to drink lots of water on an empty stomach, try a sports drink.) Next, apply a rich moisturizer, and let it sink in while you get dressed. When it’s time for makeup, apply a pink-cream blush ($26, clarins.com); the dewy finish and pop of color make you look refreshed—even if you don’t feel that way.
How can I make my hands look better and younger?
— Brooke Brokaw Ruddy, Johnston, Iowa
Bobbi: Regular manicures keep your hands in good shape; pick a sheer cream or beige polish instead of red hues, which can make hands look ruddier. I also suggest protecting your skin every day with a hand cream that has SPF. If your hands still look rough, rub on a little olive oil—it really works to moisturize and soften skin.
My face get itchy in the wintertime. What can I do?
— Lisbeth Trevisan-Stille, West Caldwell, N.J.
Bobbi: The problem is that your skin is getting really dry, which is why it's irritated and itchy. Before you go out, apply your regular moisturizer and let it sink in; then smooth on a face balm ($9; target.com). The lotion moisturizes, while the balm—which is thicker and more occlusive—creates a barrier against the cold and wind that prevents your skin from drying out.
Can my regular SPF moisturizer double as a night cream?
—Andrea Bartruff, Charlotte, N.C.
I wouldn't advise doing that regularly. The sun-protective ingredients in day creams create a barrier so UV rays can't penetrate—but the thing is, you want to let your skin breathe overnight. I like p.m. moisturizers with chamomile or lavender, which are calming and soothing. To get more out of your nighttime regimen, you might want to layer two formulas. If your skin is dry, apply a face oil—one of my all-time favorite hydrators—then top with your cream.