Beauty is confusing and ever-changing, so we’ve put together 10 of the most asked questions our Beauty Editor Kelsey Ferencak gets asked and answered them for you.
When it comes to beauty, I’m a professional guinea pig (see me trying: Ultraformer to define a sagging jawline, all of the products I finally had time to use again during COVID and how to dye my brows at home). It is my job to test and trial treatments, ingestibles, injectables and topicals. So, I’m sharing some of the questions my friends, colleagues and family hit me up for…
1. Q: What’s really in your bathroom cabinet? What would you spend your cold-hard-cash on? If you were on holiday and lost your toiletries, what would you buy?
A: I always get asked questions along the lines of these. So, here are some staples.
Augustinus Bader The Cream, $240 at Skincare Edit I’ll be honest, when this first landed on my desk two years ago I thought it was all hype, but I recently gave it another go (you can read about it here) and yes, it’s expensive, but hear me out. Developed by world-leading stem cell and biomedical professor of the same name, the cream claims to replace every other step of your skincare routine, minus cleanser (hence the hefty price tag) for the first 28 days to allow it to work it’s magic, promising a significant difference in hydration, clarity and plumpness. So, one multitasking, age-proofing product as opposed to a handful is more than welcome in this scenario.
If I lost my credit card though, I’d grab a face oil like The Jojoba Company Australian Jojoba, $19.95 at The Jojoba Company for hydration day and night for face and body, (it could double as a cleanser, too) hydrated skin is healthy, happy, smooth skin FYI.
SPF 50+ is a must, La Roche Posay Anthelios Invisible Fluid SPF50+ $29.99 at Pricelineis one of my all-time favourites.
Makeup-wise, Kosas Tinted Face Oil, $64 at Mecca is my go-to foundation as it’s lightweight, blendable and moves with my skin. A good tinted brow gel like Ere Perez Argan Brow Hero, $35 at Ere Perez to frame the face is essential, as is mascara. I have about eight on rotation and often find supermarket wands the best.
2. Q: Skincare can be so expensive. Do I need to spend big, or can I get some essentials from the supermarket or pharmacy?
A: You can absolutely get skincare from the supermarket or chemist – more on that here. This is where you can save your pennies for more expensive actives or in-clinic treatments. My general rule of thumb is to spend less on cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen.
You can also find functional skin-boosting ingredients like salicylic acid for blackheads, hyaluronic acid for hydration and niacinamide for texture and tone at affordable price points.It’s important to work out what you need for your individual concerns and how each product and ingredient fits into your routine – do you need three serums, peptides and a day and night cream? If you have a complex skin issue it could be worth spending money on visiting a dermatologist or skin professional before dropping hundreds on a specific brand or product.
3. Q: I’m 24 and I want Botox but I’m worried it’ll change my face 10 years from now. I’ve heard it can be preventative but I’m also unsure if it’s too early for injectables?
A: I’m in my late 20’s and get Botox every so often. However, according to my injector, specialist plastic surgeon and founder of Artiste Dr Jack Zoumaras, you don’t need Botox in your 20’s at all. “The ageing process doesn’t occur until you’re in your early to mid 30’s and the only reason you’re compelled to consider injections are due to social pressures that have made injectables a trivial decision and part of a normal beauty routine,” Dr Zoumaras says frankly.
“The ageing process involves changes to the skin that lead to wrinkling and changes to the underlying fat, ligaments and bone of the face. None of these processes occur until at least 35 years of age. Some people do have wrinkles in their 20’s but that is part of their normal anatomy and not an ageing phenomenon,” he adds. “By injecting filler and anti-wrinkle injections in this age group we are creating a persona that looks similar and a little odd with the age of their skin texture and structure of bone.”
Ever heard of preventative-Botox? Unfortunately it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. “Some argue anti-wrinkle injections are preventative and therefore starting early is wise, but there is absolutely no evidence for this at all,” says Dr Zoumaras. “Whether you start injections at the first signs of ageing or later on does not determine or deter the ageing process of the face.”
In fact, Dr Zoumaras goes as far to say it can make you look older. “As a facelift plastic surgeon, I can tell a person’s age just by looking at them, and most people that have had injectables in their 20’s look about five to 10 years older than they really are,” he says. “It’s also a waste of money. I’ve estimated the average 20-year-old would save $13,000 by not getting injectables in their 20’s.”
4. Q: Are facials the key to good skin? Or do they do more harm than good?
A: Well, this depends on your skin and your facialist. There’s also the frequency, what kind of facial you’re having and what products or technology are being used to take into consideration. To be fair, most of us don’t have time for monthly facials – let alone a weekly appointment, but there could be a case for overdoing it.
An inexperienced facialist performing extractions, or using harsh exfoliants, peels and over-active ingredients can cause inflammation and reactions and in worse cases, scarring. But that doesn’t mean all facials aren’t safe, or effective.
If you have a compromised complexion (reactive, inflamed or acne-prone) do your research before visiting a facialist, or speak to a dermatologist for advice. It’s important to be honest about your skin before your appointment, too. If you have sensitive skin, allergies or have had bad experiences with peels, masks or extractions in the past let your therapist know – that way you’ll mitigate any risks.
Are they the key to good skin? Short answer is no. But I always feel better after one. A brighter, clearer, bouncier complexion and a much-needed hour or so without distractions.
5. Q: Are collagen supplements a hoax?
A: No, but you need the right one. It’s tricky, so I’ve enlisted Dr Michele Squire to explain the science. “Good collagen supplements contain tiny peptides 2-4 Kilo Daltons in size that are soluble, tasteless and bioactive. Scientific studies show they can cross the gut without being further digested, enter the bloodstream in large numbers and reach the skin,” she explains.
“Of the thousands of studies, there are 11 that are high-quality, conducted on 805 humans showing collagen supplements can stimulate increased collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid production in the skin. Although it’s still emerging, the scientific evidence supporting the benefits for skin is exciting,” says Dr Squire.
When shopping for one, it’s important to know they’re not all created equal. “Different processing methods can result in very different collagen purity, concentration and peptide size. This means that quality and dose can vary enormously between brands – which may be why some people report little result,” explains Dr Squire. “Look for a hydrolysed and highly purified collagen from a sustainable source (like fish), with a high concentration of collagen in the finished product (so you can take the minimum dosage and still get results), and low molecular weight peptides (between 2-4 Kilodaltons) for maximum absorption.”
6. Q: Do Hollywood celebrities really use the brands they promote?
A: Yes and no. Some celebrities really do live and breathe the face of the brand they’re on – in some cases, the collaboration is organic because the celeb does use the product, but in others it’s a marketing tactic and there’s a load of cash involved. It’s wise to know celebrities have access to amazing skin experts, products and technology so don’t count on a moisturiser to completely transform your skin.
7. Q: I struggle with reapplying sunscreen throughout the day, especially over makeup. Is there a way to do so without having to redo my whole look?
A: I learnt a genius trick from Melbourne-based scientist and digital beauty creator Hannah English, who uses a sponge to press sunscreen into her skin over the top of makeup throughout the day. By gently dotting and patting it into skin you don’t mess up your foundation. All you need to do is dust a new layer of blush and bronzer over the top.
8. Q: Cellulite. Is there really nothing you can do?
A: Reminder: everyone has cellulite. It’s completely normal. Genetics, diet, lighting all play a part and there is no quick fix or cure-all. However, there are some new advancements in skin health you could add to your routine.
You may be well acquainted with micro needling for your face, the in-clinic and at-home tool uses tiny needles to prick the skin in order to stimulate a wound healing response and stimulate collagen production. But it’s also beneficial for your body, targeting cellulite, stretch marks and general skin health. This roller uses 1.5mm titanium needles to roll over the thighs, bum, stomach, hips and backs of arms, triggering the body’s repair process. Try: Lonvitalite Microneedle Derma Roller Face and Body Kit, $149.95 at Mecca
For a more permanent and speedy approach, there’s USRF Grade 1 Cellulite from $199 per session at Body Sculpting Clinics.Combining low frequency ultrasound (US) fat cavitation with radio frequency (RF) the high-tech treatment targets fat cells and skin texture – AKA the primary contributing factors to the appearance of cellulite. “RF energy works by selectively increasing the temperature of the fat cells, both those that have broken through connective tissue to form cellulite and those at a deeper level,” explains Dominika Gialouris co-founder of Body Sculpting Clinics. “Fat cavitation disrupts [and destroys] fat cell membranes. After the treatment, the fat cell size has been physically reduced restoring the skin closer to its original form and reducing the appearance of cellulite.” However, it is a temporary solution and you may need top up treatments as your skin texture and fat cells change. “The longevity of the treatment depends on your metabolism as well as other factors such as age and weight,” says Gialouris. If you’re after a longer term solution for cellulite improvement, the clinic also offers injectable procedure Sculptra.
9. Q: My facialist insists I get LED light therapy during every facial, is it a necessary treatment or an expensive gimmick?
A: LED light therapy works to improve cellular communication, by activating a healing response in the skin. To answer your question, I opened my little black book and quizzed one of Australia’s leading facialists, Jocelyn Petroni.
“The light penetrates deep into the dermis, much further than topical products can penetrate, where it activates the cells that actually heal our skin. Considering there is no wound to heal, this wound healing response optimises skin healthy functioning, she explains.
“Post LED light therapy the skin has optimal absorption so anything applied has deep and lasting penetration. This means that massage medium and masks applied afterwards are optimised and work harder for the skin.”
It basically supercharges your results. “It ultimately makes your facial treatment so much better as you’ll see much more visible results the next day,” says Petroni. “Skin is more hydrated, more youthful and plump with an even texture and tone.”
10. Q: I’m scared of face oils. Won’t they just make my skin more oily?
A: Oils are so misunderstood and it’s about time you started using them. But if you’re not going to take my Beauty Editor word for it, who better to get you across the line then Vicki Engsall, co-founder of The Jojoba Company?
“It’s a myth that oily or acne-prone skins can’t handle oils or that oils will make the skin oilier or breakout,” says Engsall. “Oily skin is usually oily because it’s dehydrated and low in linoleic acid. When not enough oil is in the skin, the skin actually goes into overdrive to produce more oil. By adding the right one to your regime, you’re treating your skin like the intelligent organ it is, feeding it what it needs and stopping the overproduction of oil, regulating the skin, balancing oil production and preventing clogged pores.”
In short, face oils are beneficial for all skin types. They infuse your skin with nutrients and support it’s protective barrier. But the key is to choose the right one. “If your skin is oily, use a low comedogenic rating and high linoleic acid such as parsley seed oil, juniper and jojoba to bring skin back into balance,” she says.
All products featured in this article are selected by our editors, who don’t play favourites. If you buy something, we may get a cut of the sale.