Beauty experts have a slew of beauty rules that range from common sense (always use a sunscreen) to the bizarre (hanging upside down three times a day). I am guilty of skipping the first one and not sure I could do the second if I wanted to (it’s a tip from Renee Rouleau). Perhaps I am a rule breaker when it comes to conventional beauty advice, but I do have my own skincare rules that I never disobey. 1. Leave layering to winter woolies I am often asked when, how and what products to layer. Some people layer as many as three serums and then finish with a moisturizer or an oil and a sunscreen. It may come as a surprise to hear that I rarely layer serums. Often I use one serum all over the face and don’t – unless needed – add a moisturizer let alone another serum. Cosmetic cocktailing can be counterproductive leading to inflamed skin. Not to mention a waste of money. But with so many fabulous potions and must-have ingredients, what’s a girl to do? That question takes me to rule #2. 2. Hit the right target Rather than layer, I prefer to target. There are serums, creams and specialty products that I like to use where I think they will have the most impact. A good example is a serum with neuropeptides that inhibit expression lines. I would not use this all over my face and not at all on my neck, but only where expression lines are pronounced such as laughter lines (or crow’s feet) or the tension lines around my lips). If trying out a potent vitamin C serum, I would reserve that for dark spots, or a serum with a peptide for sagging skin would be used to target the jowls. In other words I try to optimize the way I used the product based on the action and potential benefits of the key actives. 3. Listen to my skin If I am testing a product to review it for the Truth In Aging community, I will use it as directed every day for a minimum of 30 days. Otherwise, I will look carefully at my skin and try to discern what it needs. Skin changes every day, due to environment, hormones, diet and sleep patterns. I’m always amazed when someone tries a product a couple of times and says it isn’t right for them. What’s right for me one day, isn’t right the next. In the evenings, if my skin seems dry I’ll use something very hydrating and concentrated such as Dr. Dennis Gross Triple C. I would not use a retinol when my skin is dry, but will wait for an evening when it seems more hydrated. Your skin will tell you what it needs and when, you just need to listen. 4. Eyes need their own products Allure magazine has a book, Confessions of a Beauty Editor, that claims special creams for the eyes are unnecessary: skin around the eyes “does not require its own product. Regular moisturizer works just fine.” I couldn’t disagree more. The skin around the eye is very thin and delicate. Regular creams can build up and cause milia. The eye area is sensitive and a good eye cream will be formulated to prevent any reactions. Eyes have their own issues such as dark circles, puffiness, and the first signs of crepe. 5. Keep an open mind For years I avoided vitamin C, decrying it as drying and useless. My experience with Truth In Aging, where I have discovered so many products and learned about new ingredients has allowed me to be much more open-minded. I have discovered that there are new forms of vitamin C that are very effective at low doses, no not cause irritation and actually work. Ditto for retinol. I am now a convert to neuropeptides, which have made strides since their Argireline days. With a few exceptions, I am still not crazy about facial oils, facial scrubs or sunscreen, but I am sure that time will win me over.