I’ve worked in beauty for 35 years – this is what I know to be true


https://www.smh.com.au-By Stephanie Darling

The best anti-ageing product is simpler than you think.Credit:iStock

I have been a beauty editor for over 35 years. In that time, I’ve trialled rivers of product, done 378 road tests to date involving everything from equine therapy (pouring my heart out to a horse in the hinterland of Queensland), the Brazilian wax (the bush is back by the way), and a failed colonic irrigation (let’s not go there).

With each new cult product, celebrity haircut or viral trend, I have learned what not to believe when it comes to beauty hype. As the go-to person for friends, family and often perfect strangers for make-up, skin and bodycare advice, I’m also very aware of the misinformation out there. So, let’s bust some common myths.

Myth #1: You can shrink your pores

Sadly, you can’t actually shrink your pores because their size is pre-ordained and depends on the genetic makeup of your skin. Pores are great dirt – and oil – catchers and this may make them appear more pronounced. Using cleansers and masks to draw out impurities will make them appear smaller but not shrink them. You can also apply a primer before your foundation to smooth out the appearance of them. Here are a few suggestions.

Try: Paula’s Choice Pore Normalising Cleanser, $17, paulaschoice.com.au; Innisfree Super Volcanic Clusters Pore Clearing Clay Mousse Mask, $21, sephora.com.au ; and The Ordinary High Adherence Silicone Primer, $8.80, adorebeauty.com.au.


Myth #2: SPF foundation alone is enough to protect you from UV damage

I am often asked what is my go-to anti-ageing product and it is sunscreen every time. You need to be applying a broad-based SPF50+ 365 days a year – absolutely no exceptions – to protect your skin (this includes your exposed face, backs of the hands and decolletage) from damaging daily UV rays and to prevent skin cancer and ageing. Wear it on its own or blend it with your favourite moisturiser.

Try: Aspect Sun Envirostat Face, $38, adorebeauty.com.au.

Myth #3: Drinking lots of water is enough to keep skin hydrated

There is often confusion about the difference between dry and dehydrated skin. Dry skin has a lack of natural oils or lipids while dehydrated skin has a lack of water in the top layer of the skin. To test if your skin is dehydrated, pinch a small amount of skin on your cheek, hold for a few seconds and if your skin snaps back into shape quickly you are not dehydrated. To properly hydrate dehydrated skin, you need a hyaluronic-based moisturiser to add and also lock in moisture, as well as adequate daily water intake. The US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine determined the recommended amount is about 3.7 litres for men and 2.7 litres for women every day.

Try: Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel, $15.99, chemistwarehouse.com.au.

Myth #4: Toothpaste will fix acne

The concept of treating a pimple with a dab of toothpaste has certainly done the rounds. Well, just no. Ingredients in toothpaste like menthol and hydrogen peroxide can cause skin irritation and even more inflammation. So, avoid using a product for your teeth and try an acne-treating range like La Roche-Posay Effaclar. For over the counter products for acne prone skin, look for products containing ingredients like benzoyl peroxide that kills the bacteria that causes acne; salicylic acid, that helps keep pores clean and unclogged, and alpha hydroxy acids to help remove dead skin cells.

Try: La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo (+) Acne Moisturiser, $31.95, adorebeauty.com.au

Myth #5: More expensive skincare products are better than cheaper ones

In my experience in beauty, I have discovered that all brands have heroes and that includes high end products as well as affordable ones. The trick is to pick products that work for your skin type and also go on recommendations.

Try: Three of my personal favourites include: Avène SPF 50 + Face Emulsion, $20, chemistwarehouse.com.au; Augustinus Bader The Rich Cream, $370, skincareedit.com; and Ultra Violette SPF50 + Sheen Screen Queen Hydrating Lip Balm, $25, sephora.com.au. This comes in a clear or tinted version and should be kept close at hand at all times.

Myth #6: If you use the same shampoo and conditioner over time they will lose their effectiveness

Finding the perfect shampoo and conditioner for your hair can be a process of trial and error, but once you have found what works there is no proof that your hair will somehow grow tired of this combination. That doesn’t mean you have to be locked into the same products forever if you feel like switching things up. It’s always best to ask the experts (your hairdresser for starters) about what’s best suited to your hair. There are so many new products and formulations coming out that are greener or techier.

Try: Philip Kingsley Body Building Shampoo, $43 and Conditioner, $23.25, adorebeauty.com.au.

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Stephanie Darling

Sunday Life’s beauty director.



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