[By Belinda Ong]

Beauty is as much bred as inborn. With a little dedication and a dose of beauty smarts, you can ensure that you look your absolute best now and in the future. Instil good skin habits now and they will go a long way in helping you slow down the ageing process, saving you time, money and heartache on your fiftieth birthday.

Looking your best doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, either. Experts say most of us really only need to pay attention to a few basic beauty secrets – essentials that can help you look and feel great without spending a lot of time or money.

To help you find the beauty tips that really work, we talked to top skin care and beauty experts, who shared their top beauty tips for looking great and staying young.

Beauty Tip 1: Never Underestimate the Power of Moisturizer

Whether your skin is dry, normal, or even oily, if you can only afford one skin care product, experts say, your dollars will be well spent on a good moisturizer. Experts believe that a good moisturizer and a mild cleanser can take years off your face. Here’s why: when skin is dry, every wrinkle is accentuated, making you look older, says Dr Low Chai Ling, from The Sloane Clinic.

Keeping your skin hydrated can protect your skin from premature ageing. So what exactly is a “good” moisturizer? It’s a product that will do anything from gently adding moisture, to sealing in the moisture you’ve achieved, to helping your skin produce more moisture — and which type you choose should be based on your skin’s individual needs. For instance, if skin is normal to dry, look for moisturizers containing alpha hydroxy acids. They can help skin produce more moisture on its own. If skin is very dry, try products using a technology called vesicular emulsion which uses microscopic spheres that are alternating layers of moisture and water to slowly release hydration throughout the day, giving your skin continual moisturization. Try CeraVe for dehydrated and very dry skin types.

If skin is oily, look for a light, gentle moisturizer – but don’t skip this step, cautions experts. Oil is not moisture, and even if you have excess oil you still need moisture. Go for something lighter such as iS Clinical’s Hydracool serum.

Beauty Tip 2: Sunscreen Is Your Best Anti-aging friend.

To stave off that trip to the plastic surgeon for a facelift, think “prevention” and lather on some sunscreen. “Sunscreen should be the most important step in your morning regime” says Dr Tan Wang Theng, The Sloane Clinic.

While most of us know it reduces the risk of skin cancer, did you also know it’s an amazing beauty secret that can help keep skin looking young? The reason is that sunscreen blocks out the sun’s damaging rays which accelerates ageing in our skins.

In fact, without the protection of sunscreen, just a few minutes of daily sun exposure over the years can cause noticeable changes in how skin looks and feels. Not only will you see more wrinkles and fine lines, but also more freckles, age spots, and spider veins. Skin itself can look rough and leathery or loose and slack – all thanks to the sun. Never underestimate the power of the sun’s rays, even a few minutes of exposure as you run to the supermarket can add up over the years. Choose a sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher because chances are, you will be applying less of the product than recommended, so getting a higher SPF ensures you still have adequate protection. Furthermore, sun breaks down the sunscreen’s effectiveness over time, if you’re going to be in direct sunlight for an extended period, reapply every hour or two.

Sneaky trick: Try BB cream which is a sunscreen cum tinted moisturiser to replace your usual foundation. Then, for touch-ups, use a light, translucent mineral powder with SPF such as Sloane Inc BB powder  to add extra protection throughout the day.

These powders contain a natural sunscreen, and since they generally don’t build up on the skin you can keep adding protection all day long.

Beauty Tip 3: Choose Your Cleanser Wisely

Some may be proud to declare they are but a “soap and water” kind of gal, but studies have shown that regular soap may be too harsh for facial skin; you may want to rethink your skincare strategy. Experts unveil that one of the best beauty tips around is to use the gentlest cleanser you can find – and use it sparingly.

Many of us are tempted to do just the opposite, and wash our face several times a day especially if our skin is oily. The truth is that not only will over-cleansing not help you, if you’re using a harsh product — particularly soap — you could be harming your skin. Over-washing of your face can damage the natural lipid barrier, the protective mantle of lubrication that keeps skin looking and feeling healthy. Once that protection is lost, and the integrity of the skin barrier disrupted, skin becomes dry which may lead to flaking, itching and sensitivity.

The solution: Wash skin no more than twice a day and choose your cleanser wisely.

Beauty Tip 4: Throw away your makeup every 12 months

If you walk into your high school reunion and hear a chorus of “You haven’t changed a bit,” run, run, RUN to the nearest beauty salon! While your pals may mean well, the truth is that you are probably wearing the same hair and makeup over the years. If you can’t even remember the last time you changed your hair and makeup, it’s way overdue!

To keep your image young and fresh, aim to update your makeup and hair every 1-2 years, sooner if the styles change dramatically. By keeping your look current, you also look younger and more modern. Nothing dates a woman more than outdated hair and makeup, even if her facial features are gorgeous.

The other reason as to why you should throw out your makeup every year is to keep your makeup fresh and hygienic. Most makeup have an expiry date of a year or less, using makeup which has long expired can result in rashes, outbreaks and other skin problems. To avoid these skin woes, keep your makeup new by changing them every year. This way, you can also aim to revamp your colour palette and makeup style.


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