Cocktailing: Four Must-Have Anti-Aging Skin-Care Ingredients

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Why restrict yourself to only one line of skin-care products? Your skin is idiosyncratic, so it’s better to cherry-pick the best products from a variety of lines – augmenting tried-and-true favourites with powerhouse add-ons that address skin’s ever-changing needs.

“After 40, we lose one to two per cent of collagen per year,” says Dr. William McGillivray of Vancouver’s Project Skin MD clinic, making lines and wrinkles more visible. Our skin thins and can become more sensitive. And after 50, hormone and oil production slows, leaving skin drier than before. So create your own bespoke “cocktails” by adding any of the following proven age-effective fighters to your existing regimen for added brightening, hydration and collagen boosting.

And unlike contraindicated medications, these ingredients chosen here are proven to work well together, boosting each other’s efficacy. But if you have sensitive skin, as 68 per cent of Canadian women think they do, avoid using retinol in tandem with salicylic or glycolic acids, which already peel skin. And because all these products make skin sun-sensitive, don’t leave home without your sunscreen. But other than that one caveat, let your inner mixologist reign.  —Liza Herz


Reclaim Your Glow

Cocktailing for beginners: While moisturizer alone “has been proven to decrease [the appearance of] wrinkles by 20 per cent,” says McGillivray, you can amplify its effects and boost your complexion’s radiance by gently massaging a couple of drops of facial oil into damp skin before applying your regular moisturizer or serum. Weleda Almond Soothing Face Oil and Fresh Seaberry Moisturizing Face Oil have vitamin E to nourish and maintain skin’s elasticity.

For those with oily  or acne-prone skin, try Caudalie Vinosource S.O.S Thirst Quenching Serum. It’s made from organic grape water and is oil-free and non-comedogenic.

Brighten Up

Because “You can’t eat enough oranges to get enough vitamin C to your skin’s surface,” says McGillivray,“ topical C is a very good strategy.” A potent antioxidant that protects against damaging free radicals, builds collagen and speeds cell proliferation to brighten skin tone, vitamin C is a cocktail must.

At night, add a stable vitamin C powder such as Miracle 10 Super C to your favourite night cream or layer a serum like Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Vitamin C Collagen Booster under your sunscreen during the day to boost its efficacy.


Plump It Up

Hyaluronic acid is the skin-care ingredient that everyone over 40 needs in their cocktailing arsenal. A powerhouse molecule that can hold a thousand times its weight in water, it provides instant hydration to plump skin and minimize wrinkles. In a facial spray like Benefit Ultra Radiance Facial Rehydrating Mist, it’s an easy first step in the morning or an anytime refresher that won’t disturb your makeup. A hyaluronic acid-rich eye serum like Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair is designed for bedtime use but can also be applied before makeup for a quick under-eye pick-me-up.

Rethink Retinol

As we age, our skin’s renewal cycle slows from a zippy 28 days to a pokey 40 days. “If you’ve avoided retinol, the gold standard in skin care for cell renewal and collagen-building, because of its reputation for traumatizing sensitive skin with side effects like dryness, flaking skin and increased sun sensitivity,” McGillivray recommends gradually building up a tolerance by applying for “10 to 20 minutes and then washing it off.” Or “cocktail” it over facial oil to gently minimize its penetration. Try RoC Retin-Ox Correxion Nourishing Anti-Wrinkle Cream: Night or StriVectin AR Advanced Retinol Night Treatment with niacin to reduce irritation.