Ring in 2016 with your best skin

After a two week Christmas/mental health break, we are back in action just in time to kick off 2016 with some real rich girl skin. I’m excited to begin this year with increased content and some awesome new features such as expert tips and interviews with some of our favourite women. I’ve really appreciated your feedback and suggestions so far. Thank You!

Give a gorgeous welcome to 2016

I'm sure some of us had a great year, others an OK year, and for a few of us, a tough one. In the end, we're all here together and forward is the only direction to go. Now we say "goodbye" to 2015 and "oh, hello" to our cheeky new paramour, 2016. So with a bit of glamour, gorgeously glowing skin, and our heads held high, let's do this!

I spoke to Phanie Meehan, an all-over amazing lady and licensed esthetician with 10 years of experience, to get her top 3 steps to fresh, sexy party skin.

Step 1: Exfoliate

If you’re like me, most of your skincare regime (and self-discipline in general, let’s be honest) have dropped off a bit the last two weeks, and your skin may be in need of a serious shake-up. Accumulation of dead skin cells, especially during dry and dark wintertime, causes dull sallow skin. Basically the opposite of what we’re going for here in the house of #richgirlskin. The best answer to skin that’s lost its brightness is good old exfoliation:

Physical exfoliation: When? Minimum 12 hours, and up to 1-2 days ahead of show time

That exfoliation is the first step to greatness is no surprise, it’s the type of exfoliation you need to pay attention to. Up to 12 hours (or 1-2 days ideally) ahead of your party is the right time to use a more aggressive, physical exfoliant. Stick to products and treatments that you know your skin can handle at this stage, in order to avoid irritating your skin right at the moment you need it to look its best! When searching for a physical exfoliant, you can look to a product with micro buffing granules within the liquid formula, or you can use most types of regular smooth cleansers, but apply them using a Clarisonic brush or rough muslin cloth.

The added bonus to physical exfoliation, beyond banishing sallow skin, is that it gets your blood flowing, bringing colour and life to the surface of the epidermis. Phanie recommends doing any physical exfoliation before bed, as it’s best to give your skin space to recover rather than trying to apply makeup to a pink post-treatment base. She also warns that leaving time between a physical treatment and your event is key in order to allow any adverse reaction to subside before you’re in front of a crowd and a camera!

Some product ideas are the Dermalogica Multivitamin Thermafoliant (I use this one), Ren's Micro Polish Cleanser, and Clinique's Exfoliating Scrub

Enzyme exfoliation: When? Anytime up to a few hours before your party

Phanie explained to me that for last minute preparation or for sensitive skin, chemical - in particular “enzyme”  - exfoliants are a winner. Enzyme exfoliants are perhaps lesser known than their traditional physical scrub counterparts, but they are just as effective. Enzymes work by breaking down the bonds keeping the dead skin cells in place within the upper layer (stratum corneum) of the skin.

Additionally, natural enzymes have the added advantage of containing antioxidants and peptides, which actually work to feed and plump the skin. You’ll find most enzyme exfoliants come in the form of masks or "peels" (which, in the at-home treatment context, is a fancy word for mask). You can also look for the keywords "resurfacing"  or "retexturising" on the label, which refer to the smoother, more even complexion that results from the enzymes' clearing away of dead cells.

In her work, Phanie favours products containing pumpkin or papaya enzymes, as she’s witnessed great results with these. Other popular natural enzymes are derived from pomegranate, pineapple, cherries and grapes, amongst others. To be safe, it’s advisable to do a small patch test with a new enzyme mask or cleanser before applying to you entire face, in case you have a reaction or allergy.

Three enzyme treatments from brands I like are the Ilcsi Sour Cherry Gel Mask, Susanne Kaufmann's Enzyme Peel, and Peter Thomas Roth's Pumpkin Enzyme Mask.

Step 2: Hydrate

Hydration is another golden rule of skincare, and the idea before a big event is to give your skin an injection (figuratively, not literally) of super-duper hydration to give it a youthful bounce. For a quick supercharge of moisture, I would recommend a hydrating mask. It’s not rocket science but it makes all the difference, and a great moisture mask does double duty as a calming agent to recently exfoliated or treated skin.

Three moisture masks that come highly recommended from ladies I trust are the Tata Harper Moisturising Mask, Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Masque and, if you're prepared to forgo a good portion of your paycheck for the ultimate hydrating product, the famed Sisley Black Rose Cream Mask.

Step 3: Plump

“Plump”- a word endearingly reserved for cute old grannies and well-hydrated skin. I’ve probably never used the word “plump” as much as I have while writing this article. But seriously, plump, hydrated skin is just so gorgeous that it’s worth focusing our last step on it.

In order to achieve that plumped up rich girl skin effect, steps one and two get you most of the way there. However, if you fancy yourself ready to up your skincare game up a notch or two, then now is the time in your party prep to layer a moisturising peptide serum onto clean, damp, buffed skin. As Phanie explained to me, serums are amazing because they are formulated with lower weight molecules that are able to penetrate deeper into more layers of your skin. Thus, a serum filled with antioxidants and plumping peptides can result in noticeably better looking skin.

Three hydrating serums packed with the right active ingredients are Kiehl's Hydroplumping Retexturising Serum Concentrate (mouthful!), Pixi's Hydrating Milky Serum, and Odacite Hydration Serum Concentrate (Pomegranate + Rose Geranium).

Follow these steps with your regularly scheduled program of facial oil and moisturiser and you are in business! Did I mention that a glass of champagne is a key component to any pre-NYE party preparation routine? Because it is. HAPPY NEW YEAR and all my best wishes to you and yours!!

By Renee Parker

Special thanks to Phanie Meehan!