Shani Darden knows over-40 skin. She knows what you're doing right and wrong with your midlifer face.
The renowned facialist whose celeb clients include Jessica Alba, Minka Kelly and Mandy Moore is a master at anti aging secrets.
She's also one of the leading skin care experts in the US.
That's why I tell her my plight: I want to look younger, but I'm afraid (downright chicken) of filler. What can I do topically in the name of anti-aging?
Shani, who is recovering from the flu when she does this interview, insists that she's not a fan of the shoot 'em up with stuff look. "I'm not really big on fillers myself. I understand Botox. At some point, you might want to try it," she says.
"What I am big on is Retinol. I tell clients to start Retinol early. It's honestly the only thing that will reduce and prevent fine lines," she says.
Looking younger is easy...and so is getting that Hollywood glow. Read on.
Q: So, you're saying that I should start Retinol – stat?
A: "Retinol is really the best way to go. I know some people might not want to do it. It's drying and you can get red and peel. But I'd suggest starting with an over the counter one instead of a prescription Retinol. It's a way for your skin to build up prescription strength. It's really the answer to prevent fine lines, reduce pigmentation and wrinkles, plus it helps to boost collegian in the skin. You can even use the weaker forms under your eyes. It does take a while for some to build it up. But I promise you it makes such a difference."
Q: Is there a way to reverse old sun damage?
A: "You can't completely reverse all the damage you've done from the sun, but again Retinol is a way to reduce the damage."
Q: What's the biggest mistake that women over 40 make when it comes to skincare? In other words, how can I have great skin over 40?
A: "I think people – women and men – waste a lot of money on skincare. All this new stuff comes out and it's the same stuff. You should find what works for you and stick with it. Also, I've seen a lot of laser work. Yes, in your 40s, you will start to get growths and need to get them lasered off. I would use the laser for that type of thing. Otherwise, try good skincare that's pretty simple."
Q: What should be your morning skincare routine post 40?
A: "In the morning, you should cleanse with a milky cleanser. Don't use a harsh cleanser. You will typically get a little drier at this age and that's why you should use the milky cleanser. I'd also suggest a great vitamin C serum. It will help reduce free radical damage and help your skin deal with the UV rays. Next, you should use a really good eye cream followed by a great moisturizer. Depending on your skin type make sure you're using the right moisturizer. It helps to ask a professional."
Q: What's the best nightly skincare routine after 40?
A: "Again, cleanse with a milky cleanser and then use a great retinol. Not every night. Use it a couple of nights a week. On the nights you don't use Retinol, you can try an exfoliant depending on your skin type or a home peel followed by a moisturizer."
Q: There is so much conflicting information about exfoliating. How often should a woman over 40 do a facial scrub? Daily? Weekly?
A: "A lot of women get more sensitive when it comes to their post 40 skin because your estrogen level drops. A scrub might not work for you. Instead try a home peel if your face is sensitive. I believe exfoliating every day makes your skin sensitive and is too harsh. If you do exfoliate every single day you will never have that glow. I think women in this age group should exfoliate once or twice a week, especially if you're someone who gets facials. If you exfoliate too much you will end up stripping your skin. Everyone is scrubbing their faces too much."
Q: Do I need a monthly facial post 40?
A: "A facial every month is great, but it's not realistic for a lot of people. A facial is a lot stronger than what you can do at home. If you can't afford it do a facial, try a professional strength peel. It will definitely make a difference with your skin."
Q: How does the average woman get that Hollywood glow to their skin?
A: "I think that glow honestly has to do with the celebs getting a lot of facials. If that's not possible then use the right products and stop all that scrubbing every night with an exfoliant. Even if you use a cleanser with a scrub in it, you will lose that glow because your skin will get really dry and dull. Plus, all that scrubbing your skin might produce more dryness and even blackheads."
Q: I've heard great things about rose oil for your face. Are you a fan?
A: "I like it a lot and it does help to hydrate the skin. But if you're looking for a great anti aging product that's not it. It will give you a nice glow."
Q: Any diet tips for great skin?
A: "Limit the sugar and caffeine. It's just not good for you or your skin. So, limit the diet soda and the coffee. Many clients I see don't drink diet soda, but I can always tell on their skin when they drink a lot of caffeine through coffee. They have very dry skin. You don't have to cut it out, but just limit it. The same goes with sugar."
Q: Do you berserk when you see women smoking?
A: "I can always spot a woman who is a smoker. They actually get blackheads all over their faces at every age including on their cheeks and later they get broken capillaries. Of course, my clients who smoke never tell me the truth!"
Q: Before we let you go give us one more great tip.
A: "Don't forget about your neck, but most likely you've ignored the skin on your neck your entire life. I can tell how old a woman is by her neck. Be careful when putting certain products like Retinol on your neck because that neck skin is really sensitive, but you should use your moisturizer on your neck."
To book an appointment with Shani: ShaniDarden.com