12 easy ways to add radiance to your skin

There are many ways make yourself look younger, fresher and brighter – and not all of them come in a jar

Words and Styling: Tracey Strange Watts

“Beauty is the only thing that time cannot harm,” wrote Oscar Wilde. He is right. Of course he is. Ageing is just a state of mind. Truly. Except for those rare times when you look in the mirror and wonder if the expression “ageing gracefully” isn’t just a tired old oxymoron. Watching your face mature isn’t always the most fulfilling of spectator sports.

So what to do? The truth is that beauty can be bought. Should you have the money, pop over to the Centre for Advanced Facial Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery in London’s Harley Street. There, your features will be computer mapped according to the Greek golden ratio of beauty phi and then nipped and tucked to perfection. Thanks. But no thanks. Reshaping your features based on an exact and ancient equation for determining beauty is just a bit too Stepford Wives. The aim is to look like you – only slightly glossier than you did when you woke up this morning.  Here’s how:


Shine up that smile
A good dentist has become as essential to cosmetic beauty as a skilled facialist. Laser whitening, veneers and crowns, dental implants, resin composites (similar to veneers) and alternatives to amalgam fillings are now commonplace. So too are specialist aesthetic dental practices such as Auckland’s The Tooth Company, which can correct anything from ugly fillings and discolouration to irregular gum lines and broken or missing teeth.

Teeth sorted. How about the lips? According to the experts there are seven key signatures to the perfect pout that nature either provides or appearance medicine can improve on.

These are: a well-defined lip border; a Cupid’s bow; an absence of lines around the mouth; symmetry of the bottom lip; balanced proportions of top and bottom lips; lips that are smooth in texture and even in colour; and a lack of droop at the corners of the mouth.

“But modern appearance medicine isn’t about imposing a one-size-fits-all solution,” says Dr Teresa Cattin, a cosmetic physician whose FaceWorks clinic specializes in a range of facial rejuvenation techniques. A past president of the New Zealand College of Appearance Medicine, she says “perfection” is rarely the end goal. The best use of cosmetic injectables such as Botox and dermal fillers like Juvederm is to enhance rather than change.

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“Think softened and refreshed rather significantly altered,” she says. “The top practitioners make subtle ‘tweaks’ – they don’t do anything radical. The idea is to look like you, only fresher.”

Give yourself a head start
Ever gone to sleep with slightly damp hair and woken to find your limp locks miraculously voluminous? The volumizing benefits of going to bed with damp hair are gratifying but they are greatly maximized if you lightly apply a nourishing treatment like hair oil before you hit the sack. It’s the same with the skin. Slapping on a hydrator last thing at night is good for many reasons (predominantly your body is in repair mode and ingredients like retinol, hyaluronic acid and botanical anti-inflammatories work best when they also don’t have to battle with UVs and pollution).

But not all night moisturizers are created equal. Some, like Dr. Hauschka’s Night Serum, $75, have been specifically formulated to bolster the skin’s natural renewal processes while you sleep. Suitable for all skin types, it’s a water-based hydrator that harnesses the regenerating goodness of rosen apples and is recommended for after-hours use only. Another, the antioxidant-rich Prevage Anti-Aging Overnight Cream $265, is promoted as being in sync with the skin’s sleep cycle, all the better to support its natural moisture and repair processes. And Dermalogica’s Age Smart Overnight Repair Serum, $119, is packed with peptides to deeply nourish and shore up the skin while you dance with the Sandman.


Treat yourself to the future
Needles aren’t news when it comes to beauty. Botox, after all, was originally tapped for use in the 1960s. Facial needling – the process of using needles to create a controlled skin injury – has also been around since the 1990s. But lately the use of needles to help the skin renew and rejuvenate itself have been getting more attention. For that we can blame the Kardashians, specifically Kim. When she posted photographs of herself on Instagram after a treatment in which platelet-rich plasma from her own blood was injected into her face, the beauty world went loco. (Her face all red and bloodied, she did indeed look a sight.) A few years later, however, and Kim’s “vampire facials “(known within the medical profession as PRP treatments) are relatively commonplace.

A similar procedure, and one also available in New Zealand, is Redensity. Designed to prevent and treat the signs of premature ageing, increase skin thickness and boost skin radiance, Redensity does involve multiple micro injections but the substance injected into the skin isn’t the patient’s plasma but instead a cocktail of skin-benefiting ingredients including the hydration wonder-worker, hyaluronic acid.

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“I first saw Redensity in Paris last January at an international conference and was immediately impressed with the clinical evidence and science behind it,” says Teresa, who offers the treatment at her clinic.

“With age and sun exposure our skin thins, losing collagen and elasticity, becoming dry and dull with uneven pigment and red veins. Redensity helps in many ways – thickening the skin, increasing elasticity and hydration and restoring a healthy glow.” A course of three Redensity treatments at FaceWorks costs from $1370.

Buff your brows
Perfect arches make your eyes look bigger, your features more defined, and your face somehow “cleaner” and more balanced. A well-shaped pair will certainly make you look sharper (and arguably younger since fading colour in brows, lips and hair is a notable sign of getting older). But like anything worth having, good brows take effort.
One of the latest solutions for wonky or thinning brows is microblading, a semi-permanent kind of tattooing that involves “drawing” on individual strokes with a special microblading pen that implants pigment under the skin. The result is a kind of trompe l’oeil for the face. Naturally, the success of treatments like brow tattooing and microblading is hugely dependant on the talents of the practitioner so choose yours wisely. Word of mouth (and the shape of the therapist’s own brows) are often the most reliable indicators. Costs vary but expect to pay about $500 for the required two sessions.

Blades and needles aren’t for everyone however. And for those who choose to DIY, pencils and powders are still the best options. The key of course is to avoid the Sharpie-esque results of a heavy hand. First fill in any gaps with a pencil that’s two shades lighter than your hair if you’re a brunette or a taupe pencil if you’re blonde or a redhead. (Tip 1: Use short angled strokes in the same direction as brows grow.) Now, using a small angled brush go over the pencil with powder, which helps set the pencil and blend the pigment. Finally, brush hairs upward with a clean spoolie brush to remove excess colour and soften the lines. (Tip 2: Never pluck greying hairs. Tint them instead.)







NZ Life and Leisure This article first appeared in NZ Life & Leisure Magazine.
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