Mix Your Own Skincare Products

Two easy recipes.

Cooking up beauty products in your kitchen is a fun and inexpensive way to care for your skin. Here are two easy recipes from Gail Duff's book Natural Beauty (Readers Digest, 1998) to get you started:

Oatmeal scrub for oily, irritated, or broken-out skin In a bowl, mix 2 Tbsp oatmeal, 4 Tbsp plain yogurt, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 Tbsp chopped parsley, and 1 tsp olive oil until it forms a paste. Massage into skin and allow it to sit for five minutes. Rinse skin with warm water.

Anti-wrinkle mask Beat 1 egg yolk into 2 Tbsp of milk and apply to freshly-washed skin. Leave on for five minutes, rinse with warm water, and follow with a moisturizer. --Lisa Kovalovich

Constance Marie's Glowing Skin

TVstar Constance Marie of George Lopez shares her regimen for great skincare. Do try this at home.

Perfect skin might be a gift from the beauty gods, but as Constance Marie, star of ABC's George Lopez will attest, even the godly can be improved. In fact, this vegetarian and exercise fanatic credits her healthy habits with keeping her skin -- which is constantly exposed to harsh TV lights -- in tip-top shape. A careful skincare regimen and the right makeup round out Marie's great-skin secrets.
She wasn't always so conscientious. "I used to get away with no-no's like sleeping with my makeup on, but now I can really see how it affects my skin," says Marie, 35. "Stress, too, is a real killer. I have dark undereye circles anyway. Stress makes them worse."
Dryness and breakouts add to her skincare woes, but Marie has found a way to fight back: "Whenever I get that dull, dry, flat look, I steam my face for five minutes," she says, adding that this simple ritual, consisting of just a bowl of boiled water and a towel, adds a pretty flush to her face that lasts all day. Even her makeup adheres better, she says. She cleanses every morning and night, uses a light moisturizer, and is faithful to her eye cream. On days off, Marie opts for just concealer, mascara, and lip gloss, and she admits to having particularly high expectations for her concealer. "It should match your skin tone, be thick enough to cover, but not so thick that it cakes up later," she says with a laugh. "I've researched them all!"

Top 10 Skincare Tips

We all dream of getting a miracle in a bottle. And so much ad copy leads us to believe it exists: An instant facelift. Zero pores. Paper smoothness. But our obsession with being flawless is absurd. Wrinkles happen -- adding character and depth to the face. Other changes occur as well -- features can become more pronounced and bone structure can become more angular over time. We get scars. We get freckles. And other dings and dents. Are these catastrophes? Or merely a map of our lives? Certain products can help to offset all this, but aging is a natural (and beautiful) process that happens to all of us. And acceptance, not denial, looks better on everyone.

A lot of product lines have gotten way too complicated -- aside from being costly, they take up too much time. You can keep it simple, and just as effective. Many of us overindulge our skin anyway -- if we're dry, we tend to overmoisturize; if we're oily, we tend to overstrip.

Great skincare, like makeup, doesn't have to cost a lot. A $100 jar of moisturizer? Forget it! Not many of us could afford a daily routine in that price range. So don't get caught up in the marketing madness and don't pay for pseudo science. Your endorsement is the only one that counts.

Here, my top 10 skin tips:
  1. Protect yourself from the sun -- use sunscreen and avoid direct sunlight between the hours of 10 and 2.
  2. Don't -- I repeat -- don't smoke. Your skin is a large organ and it needs a lot of circulation. Smoking impairs that dramatically. That's why smokers' skin looks dull and gray. Instead of having oxy-generated blood delivered to the surface of the skin, they're getting poisons and oxidants.
  3. Get adequate rest and nutrition.
  4. Protect yourself from stress -- both emotional and environmental stress.
  5. Wash your face twice a day and put on the proper treatment product. I'm amazed when women tell me they don't wash their face in the morning. A lot of icky stuff collects overnight -- dead skin cells, dirt, and dust!
  6. Don't neglect certain areas of the skin. Elbows, heels, neck, and decolletage need moisturizing, and your scalp and the tops of your feet need sun protection.
  7. Touch your face less and wash your hands more! Don't get too surgical on yourself. It's very tempting to pick, poke, squeeze, and scratch in front of the mirror. But the more you traumatize the skin, the greater your risk of scarring. Apply treatment products and let them work.
  8. Keep your makeup clean. Replace the sponges in your compact on a regular basis. Now and then, toss the whole works and start fresh -- the average shelf life for cosmetics is 6 to 12 months. Don't buy products so expensive that you'll be heartbroken if you have to throw them away.
  9. Exercise moderation. More is not always better. Moisturizer, for example, is the most overused product in America. We've been bamboozled by cosmetic companies into thinking every square inch of our body has to be slathered. And it's simply not true. Exfoliators are another thing to be careful with. Used too often, they overacidify and irritate your skin.
  10. Beware of counter girls. If it were up to them, you'd be in the bathroom for two and a half hours each morning -- putting 80 layers on your face. Keep your regimen simple. And when you do add a new product, do it gradually so your skin has time to adjust. Each skincare or makeup product has an average of 20 to 40 ingredients -- you're introducing 20 to 40 potential allergens to your face every time you try something new.