Celeste Hilling, CEO and founder of Skin Authority, had a record-breaking year in 2009 -- despite the economic downturn. "People are trading down from other more expensive procedures and they're wanting to look and feel as good as possible," says Hilling, a beauty, self-esteem and wellness expert. "For about $1.50 a day, or about the price of a cup of coffee, it's attainable."
Here's how to invest in yourself - at any stage (and perhaps make a profit as well):
In Your 20s
At this age, when you're running around with your friends, going out a lot, partying, and likely living with a roommate or two, keep your skin care routine simple, a basic wash and protect (daily sun protection -- rain or shine) says Hilling. "Just don't fall asleep with your makeup on!" Also, get a workout in every now and then, and watch the diet.
In Your 30s
These are the multi-tasking years, says Hilling. "There's a lot of social stimulation, a lot of changes -- marriage, kids, career changes." That means just one thing: stress. And that becomes a factor for the skin. Furthermore, even if you've taken good care of your skin in your 20s, there's no escaping fine lines and wrinkles (especially around your eyes and mouth) and a complexion that looks blotchy/uneven/dull as cell turnover slows (to 28 days). Be proactive: resurface (that speeds up cell turnover), get facials regularly, introduce anti-inflammatory products to your regimen (Hilling suggests mango, shea butter, and salicylic acid), and practice stress-reduction techniques like yoga, Pilates and meditation. As for your diet? "No boxes or bags! Eat lots of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables," says Hilling.
In Your 40s
Think defense. You're losing more collagen and elasticity. Cells are now turning over every 45 days. Your skin is retaining less moisture. You're beginning to see cumulative sun damage. Your glow, is, well, gone. And you're stressed out -- career, kids, aging parents. To counter: resurface daily, beef up the antioxidants, keep exercising, and consider aromatherapy (jasmine, lavender, chamomile), says Hilling.
In Your 50s
Don't even think about retiring. Sure, you're up against a dry complexion and loss of elasticity (after all, it's now taking 60 days for cells to turn over), age spots, and expression lines that no longer disappear after you stop smiling. Chin up, says Hilling. "It's never too late to have healthy skin; it's just about adjusting the routine." At this stage, as you're perhaps considering using non-invasive procedures (such as fillers) or even surgery to enhance your looks, Hilling says you should also introduce weight-bearing exercise to build muscle mass and strengthen bones, eat healthy foods, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
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Skin Authority CEO offers budget tips for beauty and self-esteem