Great makeup starts with great skin. Aside from following all the usual strategies (eating well, fitting in workouts, getting a good night's sleep), I swear by proper skin-care products. However, with so many on the market, it's tough to figure out what to choose. When I shop for creams and serums, I feel like I'm back in high school chemistry class! Anti-agers are loaded with ingredients that promise to improve your skin; some claims are based on solid evidence, while others may be stretching the truth. Here are a few of the must-have skin-care ingredients that I love and believe in.
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Your skin's knights in shining armor: antioxidants, including vitamins C and E. They act as a powerful defense against damaging free radicals (aka oxidants) caused by pollution, smoke, ultraviolet light, toxins and other environmental factors. Unchecked, free radicals harm the skin and lead to visible signs of aging. These days, you can find antioxidants in everything from cleansers to serums to daily moisturizers. Consuming antioxidant-heavy foods and beverages, like green tea and vitamin-C-rich produce such as oranges and red peppers, may also have an age-proofing effect.
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Generally used in cleansers and moisturizers, glycerin is nothing more than a super moisture magnet. It instantly plumps, smooths and refreshes skin, diminishing dullness and enhancing your complexion's luminosity. In my opinion, there is nothing more beautiful than a woman with glowing skin.
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I know what you're thinking: I thought I wanted to get rid of fat! Not these fats. In skin care, the term refers to the good-for-your-face fats that are found naturally in our skin and help keep moisture from escaping. The ones to look for: Linoleic acid, cholesterol and ceramides, which are in many creams and lotions. They help replenish and reinforce the skin's protective barrier to maintain moisture balance.
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Oils are hot for a reason. Jojoba, avocado and grapeseed extracts help stave off drying and provide skin with rich emolliency and cushion, all without clogging pores. In cleansers, these natural oils help break down makeup and remove impurities.
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Shea and avocado butters are extremely gentle and soothing for skin. They provide maximum moisture and prevent dryness. I can't get enough of these ultra-hydrators.
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Vitamin B5 softens and conditions your skin so it's primed for the next treatment step. Applying a product with the vitamin (it's found in certain gels and moisturizers) on your face not only increases hydration but also improves softness and elasticity, helping to rehab dry, rough skin.
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The same power ingredient that gives you a boost in the morning can perk up your complexion. Caffeine is an anti-inflammatory that soothes and comforts troubled skin. When found in skin-care products with brightening benefits, caffeine aids in minimizing discoloration. In eye creams, it reduces the appearance of fine lines.
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This potent mushroom (yes, mushroom) extract helps skin cells restore their natural energy, ultimately strengthening the repair function and protection mechanisms. With recharged energy, your skin is able to prevent collagen degradation, barrier dysfunction and moisture loss. What does this mean for you? Fewer signs of aging on your face.