Twenty-six. Twenty-six, people. I promised myself I'd age gracefully - never showing shock or suprise as the candles on my birthday cake ever-increasingly become a fire hazard. Well. At the time I was four million light years away from thirty, and was in no position to be making guarantees on age-related maturity.
Twenty-six is big. Sure, twenty-five has a more show-pony sheen to it, but twenty-six is when morality hits you like hangovers once did when you were slicking back Cranberry Archers like it was San Pellegrino. And I know, I know, it's probably in my head, but I could swear that I woke up on my birthday this year with freshly-made fine lines under my eyes. Happy birthday to me, I guess.
Now when you've been young your whole life, turning such a truly adult-sounding age is terrifying, 'cause you realise you're on your way off the pedestal that you've been placed on by every pop culture artifact, like, ever. Young is in, as you know, but now you're out. That's new. And it hurts. In a I-know-in-the-grander-scheme-of-things-the-world-has-much-bigger-problems-but-this-still-sucks kinda way.
And putting aside all the shitty social expectations that follow your late twenties, just having your body change on you is a big deal. People don't really tell you this stuff when you're a teenager. You always hear that being an adult is hard but they always chalk it off to something like taxes. They never capture or adequately explain the brutality of change in one's life. The hundred or so thousand frequent little scares that feel like you've missed a step going downstairs.
Gorgeous travel yogi, youtuber, and actress, Sam (@Slkaye on Twitter ), put it wonderfully the other day: 'My baby sister's Matric dance is in April. I suddenly feel like I'm on a merry-go-round that's being spun too fast by someone bigger than me.'
How pretty is that in a forlorn type way? So, anyway - getting older, and having your body change accordingly can be tough. Even more so when you have to react with an appropriate (and expensive) skincare routine that you're expected to know the ins-and-outs of by what, osmosis or something? But having given it the deserving thought of a rampant neurotic, I've come to the conclusion that my skincare routine is my gift to my future self.
If my early- and mid-twenties were about writing cheques I'd have to cash later, twenty-six and beyond is about investing wisely - like someone who studied something useful like accounting, and didn't think, 'You know, writing looks like it's definitely going to pay rent - I'll do that.' All of this, of course, was a roundabout way of introducing you to our post on anti-aging in your 20s, in partnership with local anti-aging royalty, Beaucience. Scroll down to start the first day of the rest of your skin's life. Or something that sounds less creepy. Whatever. It's so hot today, you guys.
From what I could gather, anti-aging in your 20s circles around two important steps: 1) establishing a consistent skincare routine, and 2) wearing sunblock like your very life depends on it.
Like, every day. Whether you're in Norway or the DRC, regardless of skin tone or religious cover, you have to wear sunblock every damn day - rain or shine. I know, right? Listen, I don't make the rules. Scientists do, and they've said that UVA rays from the sun penetrate your skin and mess it up, resulting in premature (read 'unnecessary') aging. These rays can penetrate clothing (although some more than others) and also affect people with dark skin tones. So, please don't avoid a broad-spectrum sunblock if you're a niqab-babe, or dark-skinned honey.
As far as SPF goes, it's the higher the better. And it's best used on its own or in a moisturiser, 'cause an SPF in your foundation or powder isn't enough. If you're worried about walking out the house with a SUPER shiny face, do like Pop Sugar and wear a mattifying primer.
Back to step number one, you want to choose a skincare routine and stick to it for a good chunk of the month. Your skin's needs may vary over certain periods in your hormonal cycle (drier skin over ovulation if you menstruate, for example), which might have you limiting or leaving out certain products as you need to. But for the most part, you want to be cleansing, toning, and moisturising every day (oh, and applying sunblock - like we could forget). Then between once and three times a week, you'll need to give yourself an exfoliation with a gentle scrub.
If you don't already have familiar brands that you love, you might have to go through a trial-and-error period to see what works for your skin. Good to know then, that a lot of local and international skincare companies offer trial kits or sizes (SKOON's are particularly dreamy). Just keep in mind that it takes around a month to see any results, and you might actually break out while your skin adapts to the new routine.
I've got sensitive, oily skin that's prone to breakouts, so I make sure to include a gentle cream cleanser, a calming toner, a good serum, and a nourishing moisturiser every morning and evening. There's a variety of products that I use within these parameters (a vitamin C day cream for morning, and a richer consistency at night, for example), but those are my go-to better-looking skin heroes.
This shit can get a bit higher grade though, cause you need to make sure you put your products on in the right order. Easier when you're just working with a cleanser, followed by a toner, then moisturiser. But then there's pre-cleansers, serums, essences, and eye creams (a good option for women over twenty-five, btw), and no two beauty editors agree when the hell these should be put on when or how. If there ever was to be a civil war in the beauty industry, it would be fought over whether serums go on before or after moisturisers. I'm not picking sides.
The solution? If you're not interested in doing tons of research but you want your products to be as effective as possible, buy a range from one brand and stick to it, as these are likely to feature products meant to complement one another. Otherwise, without much reading, you could use different brands in one routine if you're okay to risk lowering effectiveness. But also consider that some ingredients neutralise one another (like retinols and benzoyl peroxide), and that layering some others brings on irritation and inflammation (looking at you, citric acid). Your very best bet is to spend some cash on a visit to your closest dermatologist. Sure, it's a lot right now. But you'll be saving potential thousands on products that don't work. Just saying...
Keep your face gross-free with Beaucience's Hydrating Cleansing Gel (R75), but be careful if you have sensitive skin. In that case you might wanna sub the gel for a Hydrating Cleansing Milk (R227). Follow it up with a Gentle Toning Lotion (R218), and an SPF-packing Moisturising Day Cream (R165). Once a week, treat yourself with a kaolin clay Masque (R105). and softly exfoliate with an Exfoliating Cream (R80). If you have oily skin, you might want to amp up the exfoliation to two or three times a week.
On the latter side of twenty-five? It's a good time to introduce a separate moisturiser for your beautiful eyes, and the hella-thin skin around them. Try the Eye Resque Gel (R120) from Beauscience, featuring yummy antioxidants like green tea.