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Friday, 02 March 2012 14:43

Giving Skin a Foundation for Beauty

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Natural beauty remains the most timeless and sought after look of all. Women want makeup that enhances their own beauty without looking overdone. Makeup trends would not gain popularity unless the woman underneath has what it takes to motivate other women to copy the look. As a girl who has been in front of the camera and behind the scenes in the pageant and modeling world, I can attest to the fact that stunning transformations are made possible by healthy and nourishing skin care products that prime the skin. These are the steps to creating a strong foundation for beauty, starting with the skin on your face and enhancing eyes and lips…whether your aesthetic ideal is a flawless canvas for the latest makeup look or to go fresh-faced with confidence.

It all begins with moisture balance and regaining the skin's natural hydration. Layers of makeup applied to dry skin can add years to your appearance. The benefits of achieving and maintaining proper moisture balance are optimal for skin health and seamless makeup application. Picture a complexion free of flakes, shine and the threat of fine lines. An ideal moisturizer is balanced in all three sources of skin hydration: humectants, occlusives and emollients. Humectants are ingredients that attract hydration to the surface layers of the skin. Ingredients rich in glucoronic acid such as hyaluronic acid and pseudoalteromonas are some of the most effective forms of humectants. Occlusives are ingredients that help seal moisture in so hydration is not lost throughout the day. Invisaskin with rice bran triples hydration in the skin after one hour and helps seal in moisture for 24 hours. Emollients contribute immediate softening and smoothing to the skin. Oils, butters and vitamins A and C are common ingredients known to function as emollients. New peptides, can demonstrate both humectant and occlusive properties by enhancing aquaporin 3 expression, which is the process of facilitating the water flux from the basal layer of the epidermis to the stratum corneum, thus improving skin barrier function. After 56 days, hydration was enhanced by 131 percent for women with previously dry skin. Using products containing a proper balance of these ingredients provides the nourishment for beautiful skin worthy of enhancing – not concealing – with makeup.
Improving the skin's moisture level is a daily ritual, but regular weekly exfoliation (especially as one ages) will contribute to flawless makeup application. Similar to when one has dehydrated skin and slowed cell turnover, applying makeup over the resulting layer of dead skin cells can cause creases to look more pronounced. Properly executed mechanical and chemical exfoliation can be effective and non-irritating. Improving cell turnover will brighten and even out complexions, enhance hydration and smooth skin so that a luminous finish can be achieved from foundation application.

We have all asked our hairstylists for a "wash and wear" style. Have we not had the same order placed by our client's for their complexions? Imagine washing your face, patting your skin dry and being ready to face the day. Most women would not dream of leaving the house without makeup but when one stops to think about it, cosmetics were never intended to look like makeup. Their purpose is to create the illusion of a flawless appearance. The latest skin brighteners may very well be the answer to our dreams of becoming more comfortable in our own skin with less makeup or even – gasp – going makeup-free. Achieving a more uniform complexion sans layers of foundation begins with an effective hyperpigmentation corrector. Natural ingredients such as licorice, bearberry and mulberry will always be popular but may take more time in achieving the desired result. With the saturated skin care market to consider, the best results are attained from multifaceted pigment correctors. A skin brightener should not only inhibit tyrosinase production, but also interrupt the other various pathways that cause pigment, reduce inflammation, neutralize free radicals and contribute increased skin cell vitality. New actives such as Beta White (β White) and Chromabright are doing just that. β White is a newly developed brightening peptide that promotes skin brightness by inhibiting tyrosinase and interrupting the transcription factor that leads to melanin. Chromabright has been shown to be as effective as arbutin and kojic acid in tyrosinase inhibition but simultaneously supports cell vitality that reduces skin damage and irritation commonly seen in skin brightening products such as Hydroquinone. After achieving a more uniform skin tone, the goal is to maintain those results, which brings us to the next step in maintaining natural beauty – an effective anti-aging serum.

In a perfect world, skin is impervious to the insults of age and the elements. According to Seattle, Washington-based aesthetician, Kristina Kannada, "when navigating through the claims and creams, the sensible strategy is to choose a formula supported by the latest advancements in anti-aging technology." Kannada studied aesthetics at the Gary Manuel Aveda Institute and is the Director of Education for a cosmeceutical line. If peptides ring a bell as an age-defying ingredient, it is because they are the building blocks of collagen and skin. Skin is a complex network of structures that begins to crumble with age. The good news is that peptides support the maintenance of a youthful appearance by strengthening skin's foundation and multi-tasking to fight both acne and age. Second generation peptide complexes such as Aldenine and Matriyxl® 3000™ stimulate, repair and support multiple types of collagen for firmer skin and reduced appearance of wrinkles. Third generation peptides now exist that actually improve the dermal epidermal junction. These newer peptide complexes such as Syn-Tacks and Matrixyl Synthe-6™ help strengthen not only collagen, but reduce sagging skin by strengthening the chain links that hold skin layers together. Finally, peptides such as SNAP-8 and Syn-Ake deliver what their nickname implies, these "Botox-like" peptides effectively relax repetitive facial contractions. Lab-enhanced peptides continue to evolve in their ability to restore youthful qualities to skin. A high performance peptide anti-aging product enhances firmness, elasticity, a smooth texture, even tone and protection from blemishes. Our fast-paced lifestyles demand multifaceted skin care, however foundation and peptides should not be mixed. Peptides must penetrate deep into the skin while foundation remains on the surface. Kannada encourages her clients to "insist on peptides in your anti-aging serum, day moisturizer and night cream. Keep in mind that peptides are like a protein-rich diet for your skin. Skin needs to be continually nourished in order to achieve the best results." She also emphasizes that for optimal results, apply your peptide serum as the step immediately after pigment corrector in both your morning and evening skin care routines. For evening routines, follow with a peptide-formulated moisturizing cream. For daytime regimens, that same peptide cream can be used or a day cream should be applied as the step after serum and before makeup.

Sun protection is vital to a foundation of beauty. Ask any skin care professional and they will tell you the product they recommend most is sun protection. SPF should be applied over day cream and before makeup. Sun protection with an SPF score of 30 can cover 97 percent of UV rays. Kannada explains that the reason why products should be applied in the following sequence: pigment corrector, anti-aging serum, day cream and then SPF is because when applied in this order, the peptides and other active ingredients effectively penetrate the skin for maximum rejuvenation benefits. Choose an antioxidant-rich facial moisturizer containing SPF of at least 30. Antioxidants will neutralize free radicals within the surface layers while SPF reflects UV rays. Make sure your clients are generously applying their SPF product of choice to their face, neck and décolleté. It is better to double up on SPF by choosing a day cream with SPF and insisting on SPF in your foundation as well. Many of us are guilty of neglecting to apply sunscreen all year round for fear of the "white" sunscreen look. Nowadays, choosing not to protect our skin from photo-aging is simply inexcusable – the new facial sunscreens blend micronized titanium dioxide and zinc oxide with color-changing spheres for adequate sun protection and the light coverage of a tinted lotion.

Even the woman who is confident leaving the house naked-faced must admit she enjoys the thrill of a little beauty boost. A woman's facial features, in particular the lips, are indicative of her youth and beauty. Both the lipstick-shy and ultra lip-lacquered girl stands to benefit from the latest lip look. The new lip plumpers enhance the natural beauty of lips without the hassle of lip liner, lipstick and a layer of gloss. High quality lip plumpers contain key actives such as niacin and capsicum that facilitate blood flow to the lips for a pinker, poutier pucker that does not scream "Hello, I'm overdoing it!" For the prettiest, pain-free lip plumper, scan the ingredient list for Tripeptide 29 and Meadowfoam Estolide. Tripeptide 29 pumps up the volume for long-term results by facilitating natural collagen and elastin production while Meadowfoam Estolide quenches lips to perfection. Peeling and puny pouts are officially a thing of the past.

Wishes for lusher lashes have been granted – in the form of the latest lash enhancers. Foil the threat of mascara-induced raccoon eyes and wake up with stand-out lashes by adding a swipe of lash enhancer as the final step in your evening beauty routine. While beautiful lashes are now more attainable than ever, choosing the right formula is critical as possible harmful side effects can result from use of prostaglandin and bimatoprost-based formulas. Possible side effects of lash serums formulated with prostaglandins include stained skin around the eyes and skin irritation. Bimatoprost can cause macular edema (swelling of the retina) and uveitis (inflammation in the eye), which may lead to decreased vision. The key actives to look for in a safe and effective lash enhancer are Sympeptide 226, Sympeptide 235, biotin and folic acid. Sympeptide 226 helps to significantly increase keratin genes which support hair growth. Sympeptide 235 is a growth factor-mimicking peptide that makes lashes appear darker and protects hair follicles. Biotin and folic acid contribute to healthy hair, nails and skin by strengthening follicles against breakage. Lash enhancers are a time and money saving alternative to lash extensions and lash dip and can also be used to remedy over-plucked brows or to achieve fuller brows that frame eyes more beautifully.
Still baffled by the mystery of the woman who captivates the crowd wherever she goes? Take a tip or two from her surprisingly simple primping routine and outshine the bevy of buffed and bronzed beauties. Her beauty motto: work smarter, not harder … her look is legendary, but effortless. What's her secret? Now you know.

Elise Hamamoto is a model and beauty industry publicist. Although she believes inner beauty is the most important quality a person can have, she sees enhancing outer beauty as an outlet for creativity and boosting confidence.

April Zangl is the CEO of HydroPeptide, a fitness wellness management professional and mother of two. She takes pride in making information on the latest beauty industry advancements more accessible to women of all ages and interests.

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