We identify the beauty ‘weapons’ every teen should have in their basic arsenal
Getting into a good skincare routine in your teens is crucial as this will normally affect your skin’s appearance for the rest of your life. Candice Gardner, education curriculum manager for the International Dermal Institute, says: “Great skin is the result of managing the impacts of daily assaults from the environment and our lifestyle. A good skincare routine will help you maintain your skin at its best and the benefits will be seen in years to come.”
There are several key products that teens should invest in and use regularly to keep their skin looking its best:
A cleanser (face wash or cleansing gel/cream/lotion) is crucial for keeping skin clean and preventing spots. Candice Gardner says: “Everybody needs to clean their skin from make up, daily pollution, grime and the natural skin oils that cause these to stick to the skin and promote breakouts.” Skin should be cleansed twice a day, morning and night. Foaming washes are best for oily skin, while lotions are better for dry skin. If skin is sensitive, opt for skincare products formulated for sensitive skin and avoid heavily scented ones.
Gardner says: “Oil-free moisturisers provide critical hydration to prevent skin feeling tight and flaky. They will not aggravate oiliness if they are free from mineral oils and rich plant oils. Day moisturisers must contain sunscreen (minimum SPF15) as this is vital to protect skin from UV damage, which will accumulate throughout life and cause premature ageing.”
As a result of hormones, teens are prone to spot outbreaks and so should apply a spot corrector to problem areas to combat them. Noella Gabriel, Elemis director of product and treatment development, says: “Spot corrector is crucial for hormonal breakouts that unfortunately are inevitable during teenage years.”
Once or twice-weekly use of a facial scrub can help to clean skin thoroughly for a clearer complexion. Gardner says: “A scrub will help prevent skin clogging up with debris and dead skin cells.”
A few key make up products can make all the difference to how teens look and feel, increasing confidence and ensuring they look their best. The main mistake teens – and all women – can make when it comes to make up is applying too much. Petra Strand, founder of Pixi Beauty, says: “I would say as general advice that less is more. A lot of women end up caking too much on; I always think it is much more pretty to be able to see a little skin.” The teenage years are the perfect time to play around with colour, says make up artist Jemma Kidd: “As a teenager almost nothing is off limits make up wise, so enjoy bright colours and expressive textures, and be confident in the way you look. This is the period in your life to find your identity.” The following products should provide the basics for a lifelong make up routine:
Most teens don’t need a heavy foundation – lighter products like tinted moisturiser or a good BB Cream should suffice. For slightly better but still light coverage, mineral foundations are a good option. Kidd says: “Heavy foundations not only slide and crease, but also feel uncomfortable and require powder to set them. Powder mineral foundation is fantastic for oily skin as it helps to absorb oils and contains SPF, so it’s perfect for hormonal teen skin. The right shade of foundation should disappear in your skin seamlessly. Match the colour around your nose and sweep across your neck. Properly applied foundation should last most of the day. Mop up shine with blotting tissues if and when necessary.”
Concealer can be used to hide spots, red patches and dark circles. Kidd says: “My essential product recommendation for teens would be concealer. If your skin has a few blemishes and an even tone, it is not necessary to use foundation; simply apply concealer where needed.”
Blusher and bronzer add a little colour to a neutral base for a healthy, glowing look. Strand says: “Blush is key to add a healthy hue and brighten the complexion, I would recommend the Pixi Bronze Bloom Trio for its amazing glow and the three-in-one quality (bronze, blush and glow) because it is so easy to apply; just fluff onto skin with a bronzing brush and blend well.”
Eyeshadow can be in powder format, which is applied with a brush, or cream format, which can just be smudged onto lids. For school or weekdays, teens can stick to neutral brown, taupe or natural shades, while for evenings or weekends, any colour goes. Kidd advises: “Don’t be afraid to use colour on your eyes. Midnight blue and sapphire look stunning if you have blue or hazel eyes, while violet blue with a purple undertone enhances green eyes. Create a neutral eye with a pale shade under the brow bone and a mid-colour on the lid blended to just above the socket, and try a bright shade along the lash line.”
If lashes are straight rather than curly, eyelash curlers can make eyes look bigger and brighter. Kidd says: “Lash curlers are also crucial for accentuating the eyes. Start as close to the root as possible and curl two times, each time moving the curlers a few millimetres up the lashes.”
Mascara helps to define eyes and make lashes look longer. Clear or brown variants give a more subtle look, while black and coloured mascaras help to create party peepers.
A neutral nude or pink lipgloss finishes any make up look without looking too ‘done’.
As with skin, looking after hair from an early age can make a difference to its condition in later life. Renowned hairdresser Lee Stafford says: “What we do to our hair on a daily basis can create more stress and potential damage to tresses, so to help keep locks looking at their best, teens should wash their hair once every two to three days.” Teens should choose the right hair care products for their specific hair needs for best results. Award-winning celebrity hairdresser, Richard Ward, says: “At Richard Ward Couture Hair, we analyse hair by texture and density, not by type, realising that everyone wants to protect colour (if they have it), control frizz, protect from heat and UV. If your hair feels like a silk thread it is likely to be fine; nylon thread, it’s likely to be normal; and cotton thread, its likely to be coarse. However, how much hair you have is vital too – so if your fine hair is sparse use products for fine hair, but if it is abundant and you have lots of it choose products for normal hair.”
Shampoo & conditioner
Greasy hair can be a common problem for teens. Stafford says: “If this is a problem, try to avoid using any moisture enhancing shampoo products that you apply to the scalp. Only apply conditioner to the middle and ends of your hair and keep away from the top of your head. Keep away from excessive styling products and remember you can always add but you can’t take away.” Ward adds: “During puberty the sebaceous glands become more active due to hormonal changes. Hair and skin can therefore be oiler. If hair is greasy, shampoo daily with a mild cleansing shampoo – don’t be tempted to use harsh, abrasive stripping shampoos. Use tepid or lukewarm water (too hot or cold overstimulates the glands and encourages sebum production). Shampoo with the spongy pads of fingers, not finger tips or nails – again, to avoid overstimulation. Use a mild conditioner on mid-lengths and ends (avoid roots, where hair is freshly keratinised so in better condition naturally).”
Dry shampoo can be used between washes to ‘mop up’ grease, add volume to second-day hair, and combat any odours.
Nourishing/intensive conditioning treatment
A once-weekly nourishing treatment can help to keep hair soft and shiny. Stafford says: “Teenagers naturally have a lot more shine, health and elasticity to their hair but to maintain this, use a nourishing treatment once a week. When using a treatment always apply after you have shampooed.” Ward adds: “Remember the longer hair is, the older it is, so long hair will need deep conditioning on a regular basis to help repair the appearance of damage. Concentrate on lengths and ends, as roots won’t be as old or as damaged.
Frizz is another common problem among teens; applying a light serum to wet hair after washing and conditioning can help to tame frizz and leave hair silky smooth.
Heat protection spray
Ward warns: “For girls who are getting into using styling irons, a heat protector is vital.” This will help prevent long-term damage to the hair, which can leave it coarse and frizzy. Always apply a heat protection spray before blow-drying, straightening or curling.
Fragrance selection always comes down to personal preference, but price and brand play a key part when it comes to teens; many celebrity scents are targeted towards their teen fan bases. Fine fragrance and bodysprays can be used in conjunction to make scent last all day, spritzing EdT in the morning and taking bodyspray in a school bag or handbag to top up on-the-go. Lauren O’Connor, PR executive at So…? Fragrance, says: “According to So…? fragrance market research 2011, the majority of teens are using body sprays to ‘top up’ their scent throughout the day. 86% of respondents stated that the fragrance they wear that day reflects their mood and season. Teens can also ‘layer’ their scent with EdTs and body sprays, to complement the scent they love so much.”
Great for use on the go and cheaper than fine fragrance, bodyspray is a key addition to daily teen beauty routines. O’Connor says: “The power of a body spray means you can have a subtle scent throughout the day without being overpowering at school!”
EdT or EdP can be used in the morning or before a special event, although some teen-focused brands have created more affordable options better suited for more regular use. O’Connor says: “Fragrance selection always comes down to personal preference, what your style is and what impression you want to give out. So…? always use the highest quality fragrance, but at a cost that is affordable for all, for use every day. There is no need to save your fragrance for a special occasion with So…?”