The Skin Care Advice I Would Give To My 20-Year Old Self

Zoë Foster Blake
Less than 3 minutes / March 31, 2022
The Skin Care Advice I Would Give To My 20-Year Old Self

In my years as a beauty director, I tested zillions of products. It was my job to use, review and decode skin care, makeup and hair products, then communicate all of this in a fun, understandable way for the reader so he/she/they could quickly comprehend when to use Vitamin C (AM) and when to use Vitamin A (PM), as an example.

I started that role at 23, as a complete beauty rookie, and quickly discovered there were many things I could be doing for my skin to ensure it was in good health now, and 20 years down the track. I got to learn this on the job, from the best in the field, using every kind of product, which was A) a ludicrously privileged position to be in, and B) an excellent template to go on to start a skin care line, so let me impart some of that good stuff.

1. Wear SPF every day, please.

And sunglasses. And hats. You live in a country with very intense, really bitey sun. Daily sun protection is the easiest way to prevent premature (‘unnecessary’) ageing and skin damage, as well as skin cancer. Also: UV doesn’t quit just cos it’s not summer. Ask any snowboarder. SPF every day please.

2. Research, and ask questions about skin care.

Leave trend-led buying to makeup and fashion. Skin care demands more respect and consideration, and while some of it is universal and age-proof (cleansers, exfoliators, moisturisers and SPF) most is wildly personal. Take time to learn what works for you, your face, your day, your needs and your concerns. Research and learn about which products are useless and overpriced, which are underpriced and incredible, which will help with your skin type and goals, and which are essential (not eye cream, for the record). And listen to what your skin is telling you, always.

3. Invest in a few good products.

Things that are will really look after your skin, rather than strip it and harass it and make it wig out. (Chances are your skin is already wigging out at 20, so let’s calm it down with nice oils and creams, yeah?) Protection and prevention is always, always better than repairing. Not many 20-year old faces need 12-steps or super high-strength actives, in fact, those will do way more damage than good. (Fun fact: I am 41 and rarely use retinol. If you are 21, do you really need retinol?! I reckon no.. Gentle skin renewal from AHAs will be much better, long-term. Also: Keep something in your toolbox for your 40s/50s/60s!) Keep focus on good quality essentials, protection, hydration and gentle exfoliation.

A suggested generic skin care routine if you’re in your 20s:

AM
Cleanse or rinse
Vitamin C/Antioxidants
Daily moisturiser with SPF

PM
Cleanse/remove makeup
Chemical exfoliant (AHAs) 2-3 times a week
Hydrating face oil or serum
Antioxidant-rich moisturiser (down to the boobs)

4. Skin care is an act of self-love! Have fun with it.

Use products you like, and which work for you, and which you enjoy using. It’s just lotions and potions after all, and you’re gonna do it every day regardless, so why not actually enjoy it?

5. See number 1.

Enjoy all that gorgeous collagen, you supple cutiepie. Bye!

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