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If you’re not ready for a lift, injection or overall tweak to your complexion, advancements in skincare formulations and ingredients mean that there are plenty of viable topical alternatives you can add into your skincare routine that rival in-office treatments geared for lifting, plumping and smoothing the skin. We sat down with Dr. G to learn more about how to obtain that youthful-glowing complexion without any needles.

If you don’t want to try injectables yet, what sort of effect will products alone have?

Anti-aging, plumping, filling serums will cause the skin to feel tight, fuller and diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. A topical serum is a great place to start of you’re unsure about getting an injectable.

Why do you think some women are still choosing to find results from their product over injectables? What are the pluses when it comes to products?

Many of my patients over the years have been afraid of needles or simply putting anything foreign into their bodies. This lead to creating our Needle-less serum. The pluses from choosing to use a topical product versus an injectable are anxiety, foreign ingredient in the body, price, bruising, possible over use of an injectable resulting in a frozen or, waxy or “overdone look”. In rare instances allergic reaction may be a deciding factor. However, for the most part injectables when performed by a professional are very very safe and allow people to look and feel their best. For optimal results in targeting fine line and wrinkles, I would recommend both anti-aging injectables and topical products. Topical products will help with maintenance between treatments and will allow the effect to last longer.

How long do you need to use them for to see results?

Topical products generally take 6-8 weeks to see the result. These products have a cumulative effect and need to be used very consistently, usually twice a day. I always recommend using these in conjunction with exfoliation as the newer the skin the better the results.

Is there a type of delivery system that’s particularly effective?

There are many wonderful products/delivery systems on the market, but Needle-less serum is a water based serum which delivers Acetyl Hexapeptide and Hyaluronic acid directly to the surface of the skin. With continued use, your skin will reap the benefits of looking younger, feeling smoother, and appearing more radiant. Ideal for all skin types.

What ingredient should you look out for if you want lifting/firming/smoothing/plumping?

  • Acetyl hexapeptide-3 is a powerful wrinkle-reducing peptide that works by hindering a signal protein called catecholamine that triggers muscle contraction, thereby relaxing your facial muscles.
  • Hyaluronic Acid helps skin to  feel plump, appear firm and diminish the appearance of fine lines and deep creases. Both found n Needle-less serum. CoQ10 is another powerhouse ingredient which helps protect skin from free radical attack and damage and my help the skin appear fuller and balanced.
  • Vitamin B3 is one of the most effective ingredients in reducing collagen breakdown while simultaneously increasing fibroblast production. Vitamin B appears in just two main forms: nicotinic acid (also known as niacin) and nicotinamide (also called niacinamide).
  • The ability of vitamin C to revitalize aging skin is largely due to its beneficial effects on collagen. Collagen is a tough, fibrous protein that is relatively inelastic and very strong. It supplies the basic framework that gives your skin its form, firmness, and strength, while elastin provides flexibility. Fortunately, topical vitamin C has been scientifically proven to help stimulate collagen synthesis. It also helps block the production of enzymes the break down collagen, making it one of nature’s most effective anti-aging nutrients.
  • Plant-based stem cells contain high levels of active proteins, which work topically to regulate the stem-cell division in our skin cells. They essentially act as a massive protective barrier for the skin to allow our cells to regenerate at a healthy speed without being compromised by external factors including pollution and UVA/UVB rays. They aid in the reduction of the appearance of wrinkle depth, the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, an even complexion, plumper appearing skin and the longevity of healthy human skin cells. Some of my favorites to formulate with (found in our proprietary PURFLORA complex) are Raspberry Leaf Extract, Comfrey Stem Cells, White Tea Leaf Extract, Garden Crest Sprouts and Birds of Paradise extract.
  • Retinol is a form of Vitamin A. Retinol can improve the appearance of lines and wrinkles and increases collagen production. Retinol delivers an overall tighter, firmer, plumper appearance to the skin.

Is there anything especially preventative you can do instead of filler/Botox etc?

  1. Protect your skin. The Sun is the number one environmental damage for skin.  Both UVA/UVB rays are harmful. Protect yourself by wearing a hat and sunglasses. Shielding your skin, head and eyes can help with sun damage and pollution-based aging. Always wash you face to remove the residue and makeup from the day.
  2. Eat a diet high in anti-oxidant rich foods such as leafy greens and berries and foods high in essential fatty acids (salmon and almonds). Stay away form foods that can encourage and cause Glycation. The Glycation process, which is basically, sugars (from food and alcohol) breaking down the collagen fibers in the skin and therefore speeding up the aging process. Foods that feed Glycation and cause inflammation in the body and the skin are carbohydrates, fried foods, sugar, fatty meats and alcohol.
  3. As you grow older, the rate of skin cell turnover slows down dramatically. Dead cells on your skin’s surface hang around much longer, a fact that tends to accentuate those fine lines and make your complexion look dull and lifeless. By removing these dead skin cells, exfoliation helps make up for the gradual slowing down of your natural skin renewal process, improving the tone and texture of your skin.
  4. Facial massage, gua sha, micro current, lymphatic drainage all can help the skin’s appearance.

Jamie Greenberg is a Los Angeles-based makeup artist. Her expertise ranges from iconic red carpet looks, to natural makeup and real beauty. Jamie always has an incredible list of celebrities on rotation and we love her videos (make sure to check out her YouTube channel ) as she is beyond talented, so real and offers so much insight into the beauty world – beyond just products – that she is literally our go-to for learning about the best tips and tricks out there. We had the absolute pleasure of sitting down with her to learn more about her career, inspiration and her self care routine.

What lead you to start a career as a MUA? 

I always loved art, makeup and creative people. I would watch my mom do her makeup when I was little and it looked like so much fun, but it ended up just being something I did for friends on the side as I got older. I studied film and photography in college, then did some improv and stand-up comedy, but it just felt like something was missing! I wanted to be around people more, so one of my many odd jobs was working at Ulta. Even though I made no money, I realized that I loved being surrounded by makeup and, most importantly, helping people with their makeup and skin. I honed my skills there and through working at department stores, and finally I became a freelance makeup artist! 

Do you strive to inspire others through your craft?

Absolutely. What I’ve learned as a makeup artist is that beauty is an amazing and interesting gateway to wellness and happiness. I try to inspire people to use this form of expression to find what makes them feel their best. Makeup and beauty isn’t about being something else, it’s all about being exactly who you are, whatever that means to you. I try to share my process on social media so that everyone can see how much fun my clients and I have while expressing ourselves. That’s how I hope people look at makeup and skincare – do what makes you feel great, confident, and unabashedly yourself. 

Why does skincare play such an important role in your work as a makeup artist?

Great skincare isn’t even an option…it’s like drinking water. EVERYONE NEEDS IT! Half of a good makeup look comes from prepping the skin beforehand. Cleansing, hydrating, using SPF…all of that contributes so much to the looks you see on red carpets or Instagram. On top of that, the better your skincare routine, the less makeup you need to achieve that gorgeous glow we all strive for. It’s a no brainer…take care of your skin! 

What does your daily beauty ritual look like?

This may be unexpected, but the most important step in my beauty ritual is water!! I start my day with water and keep a water bottle with me at all times. 

As far as my skincare goes, I always do a deep face cleanse before some sort of hydrating or exfoliating mask, depending on the day. I’ve been using NuFACE micro current skincare for 10-20 minutes lately because it totally wakes up my skin. Next I apply a serum or oils (I love trying different products, so these tend to change). Finally it’s time for moisturizing, and I apply an eye cream (oh my GOODNESS, I can’t get enough Goldfaden Bright Eyes) and a hydrating cream, usually with SPF. Then I use a primer before going in on my makeup! 

Throughout the day I freshen up with facial mists like the Goldfaden Mist RX.

Who are some of your beauty idols/icons?

Kevyn Aucoin was a huge influence for me. His book ‘Making Faces’ was one of my entry points into makeup! I also started working for Jillian Dempsey early on, and she’s a mega-artist who totally inspired me. 

What is one makeup step you don’t leave home without (i.e. lipstick, mascara, blush, etc.)?

Hard to pick just one!! I love any multi-task product…is that cheating? Lip/cheek tints or a tinted moisturizer with SPF is amazing. I also love to take a moisturizing facial mist with me to wake up my skin if it needs it. 

Can you reveal your favorite artist tip to reveal glowing skin?

Prepping your skin with a hydrating face mask makes a huge difference. I also find that people don’t take enough time with eye creams or moisturizers – it helps so much to use your ring finger (the lightest touch of all your fingers) or a jade roller to rub the cream around your eyes. This decreases puffiness and promotes blood flow to your skin. Give yourself that little face massage! You deserve it!

How does clean beauty impact your career?

I love that we’re moving toward more clean beauty all throughout the industry. I have a monthly Swag Bag subscription where I send out my favorite products once a month (check it out on jamiemakeup.com!). So many of those subscribers care deeply about clean beauty, so we always try to include those products. In my own life, I love brands I can trust. I may be developing some makeup of my own soon 🙂 and keeping my products clean will definitely be a priority. 

How do you like to wind down and make sure you’re taking care of yourself?

Meditation is a big part of my routine. Especially since my schedule as both a makeup artist and a mom can be incredibly sporadic, mindfulness helps me stabilize and hold on to a grounded perspective. Skincare also plays a big part in my wind down routine, of course!! I love face masks (big love for the Goldfaden Facial Detox!!!) and I use LED light therapy at night – it’s great for your skin and helps you fall asleep. 

 

With your optimal daily regimen identified, it’s time to take your skincare to the next level. Any tried and true skincare regimen demands a shake-up now and then to help us keep your skin GLOWING. We enlisted Dr. G to help us with upping the ante on our regimen.

How can I make my cleanser work harder for even better results at home?

Cleansing the face should happen at least once a day if not twice. Upon waking, washing the face will remove the residue from the applied night regimen. If you choose to cleanse in the AM, make sure to use a cleanser that won’t strip or dry the skin (i.e. Alcohol Free). Cleansing the skin at night is a must! No exceptions. The skin is exposed to a variety of environmental stressors and pollutants. Soot, car exhaust, sun, second hand smoke and many others can wreak havoc on the skin leaving a layer of dirt and free radicals. Makeup also needs to be removed no matter what. Sleeping in makeup is one of the worst things you can do for your skin. Clogged pores will lead to break outs and or rashes. By cleansing at night the skin is ready to receive and absorb any applied serums and creams.

***The skin has a very thin protective layer on the surface called theacid mantel. This layer is comprised of sebum from sebaceous glands, lactic acid and amino acids (from our body’s sweat). The ideal ‘balanced’ level is around 5.5, slightly acidic.

A great idea to make your cleanser work even harder is to mix it with your physical scrub. By mixing these products together you maximize on the effectiveness of both and also save a step in your regimen.  Using a facial tool or brush with your cleanser can also help deliver better results.

Is there one texture of cleanser that’s best to use for a deeper cleansing treatment?

Texture is highly dependent on skin type and personal preference. When choosing a cleanser it is important to pay attention to ingredients. While some people prefer a cleansing balm, pay attention to ingredients, as these balms can be heavy and are not for every skin type. If you’re not sure where to start, try a gentle cleanser appropriate for all skin types. Our most popular cleanser is a gentle gel based cleanser, ‘Pure Start’. If you are typically dry or sensitive you have to be careful what types of ingredients you choose, stay clear of astringents, acids, sodium lauryl sulfate and alcohol. Over cleansing is never recommended as it strips the skin of natural oils which can cause an over production of oil/sebum and thus a breakout.

Should exfoliation always come after cleansing?

We believe exfoliation should always be the first step of a regimen. On non-exfoliation days (we recommend exfoliating 2-3 times per week depending on skin type) you can simply cleanse or use a targeted acid based cleanser (AHA Clarifying Wash). We recommend exfoliating first so that the exfoliation vehicles (crystals or acids) are able to remove and lift the dull, dead lackluster skin then the cleanser can wash it all away.

What’s the best most effective way to exfoliate?

Everyone should exfoliate their skin two to three times a week, unless they suffer from rosacea or eczema. Depending on the season and climate, exfoliation can be increased or decreased. Both manual and chemical exfoliation is recommended and dependent on results desired. If you are using a scrub (manual), you can cleanse after, which will ensure all the crystals are removed. Our Doctors Scrub’ is an exfoliator that cleanses and aids in cell renewal by polishing away dead surface cells, leaving skin brighter, clearer and younger-looking. Formulated with line-filling Hyaluronic Acid, whichdelivers long-lasting hydration, Seaweedto nourish and Organic Red Tea Extract to provide antioxidant protection.

 

How can I use a mask to best effect? Should I layer them or is targeted masking a good idea? How often should I use a mask?

This is dependent on skin type and desired results. Look for multipurpose masks, which treat and soothe or hydrate. A purifying mask (Facial Detox Mask) works to draw out dirt and pore clogging debris to reveal skin that looks clear and appears flawless. These types of masks can be used all over the face a few times a week (for oily, acne prone skin), a few times a month for dry and sensitive skin or as a spot treatment whenever you feel a breakout coming.  In clarifying masks look for ingredients, which soothe and calm such as Zinc Oxide, exfoliate and unclogs pores, such as Sulfur and a natural astringent to draw out oils such as Camphor.

We created an all in one mask, The Skin Balancing Mask to take the guesswork out of masking. This mask is a triple-tasker, which mimics the most popular facial treatment in our dermatology practice. A botanical-rich treatment mask, Skin Balancing Mask features a multi-peptide and enzyme blend that refines pores and helps to improve skin elasticity and increase collagen production. Ginseng, Honey, Flower Extracts, Jojoba Oil and Vitamin E infuse moisture, vitality and nourishment back into the skin. This mask exfoliates, treats and hydrates all in one.

Is there a way of applying my serum and moisturiser to boost their efficiency? Any techniques or additional tools?

Serums should always be applied first and left to dry. If you are using two types of serums apply the targeted serum first and then the overall antioxidant or Vitamin C serum over it. Moisturizers are then applied over the serum. Applying serums, moisturizers and oils while the skin is a little damp can be beneficial for holding moisturizer on the skin. Massaging skincare products is also beneficial and will help with circulation and blood flow.

 

Any tips to boost product performance in any of the steps – for example, damp skin vs dry skin, massage technique, mixing more than one product together, leaving on for longer than usual etc.?

  • Mixing cleaners and exfoliators
  • Applying serums, moisturizers and oils to damp skin
  • Facial massage
  • Warm showers in the winter NOT hot (as they will dry and strip the skin)