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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

My Non-Negotiable Beauty Rule, According to 38 Experts

Want to know what the beauty pros swear by? From dermatologists to plastic surgeons to makeup artists, we've got you covered

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You are what you eat

“For clear skin, shiny hair, and a healthy glow, my number-one beauty rule is to eat a healthy, organic, mostly plant-based diet. When I do have meat I choose free-range organic animal protein. There is an abundance of organic options everywhere now so there is no excuse for not eating well.” —Elizabeth Trattner, AP, doctor of osteopathic medicine in Miami Beach, Florida

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Exfoliating is my everything

Daily exfoliation is the single most important treatment you can do for your skin. The benefits of exfoliation are plentiful: evening of skin tone, brighter, clearer, smoother, more radiant, lustrous, smaller pored skin with a reduction in fine lines and wrinkles, and reduced acne breakout. Everyone should exfoliate their facial skin daily.” —Neal Schultz, MD, a New York City-based dermatologist, founder of and creator of BeautyRx by Dr. Schultz

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Wash your face for two minutes

“When I wash my face, it’s not a quick splash. You need to wash for at least one to two minutes. Give your fancy cleanser ingredients a chance to work! Facial brushes are another awesome way to make sure I don’t miss a spot.” —Nai Roberts-Smith, esthetician and skincare vlogger at TheBeautyologist (Here are common face-washing mistakes you didn’t realize you were making.)

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Skip dangerous fads

“You should never have to sacrifice or jeopardize your health in the name of beauty or fashion. Your health and well-being must always be a priority—this is a non-negotiable rule for me and should be for everyone. Beauty should never equate to pain or suffering. So if there is anything in your current beauty regimen that you’ve identified that is adversely impacting your health, you need to change it immediately.” —Nesochi Okeke-Igbokwe, MD, MS, physician and health and wellness expert

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Get monthly pro treatments

“It’s important to start young with skin care and be proactive to prevent aging rather than wait to correct issues. I do this by doing something good for my skin and face at least once a month, like getting a professional treatment.” —Joseph Russo, MD, plastic surgeon based in Newton, Massachusetts

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Let your skin tone guide you

“Knowing your skin’s undertones make all the difference when it comes to choosing makeup, hair color, and clothing that look good on you. You either have cool undertones or warm undertones. Warm undertones look great in white, tan easily, prefer gold jewelry, and have greenish veins in the wrist. Cool undertones look better in off-white, burn easily, prefer silver jewelry and have bluish veins. Following this beauty rule helps me enhance my natural beauty, avoid mistakes, save money and always look fantastic!” —Devin Giannoni, beauty expert and stylist

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Sunscreen every day in every way

“I wear a lotion with sunscreen in it every day. I’ve never told a patient not to go in the sun, but I tell every patient how to protect themselves in the sun to prevent sun damage. Use an effective sunscreen 365 days a year—rain, snow, or sun—and make sure to use enough each time and reapply every two to three hours and immediately after swimming or sweating.” —Neal Schultz, MD (These sunscreen myths make dermatologists cringe.)

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Highight your favorite features

“I never leave my house without at least putting on mascara and contouring my cheekbones. This brings out my best features.” —Erin McCarthy, makeup artist and director of product development for Ardency Inn

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The eyes have it

“If you want people to notice you, it’s all about the eyes so I never forget to emphasize my eyes in some way. Whether its a trendy pair of glasses, tinted contacts, or eye makeup, it can enhance your entire appearance.” —David Mitroff, PhD, business consultant, marketing expert and founder of Piedmont Avenue Consulting, Inc. (Here are smart makeup rules to follow for anyone who wears glasses.)

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Pucker up

“I must admit I’m a bit of a lip gloss junkie and never leave the house without it. I keep a small collection with me at all times. It’s the easiest way to instantly pull an outfit together or just give yourself a little afternoon pick-me-up.” —Jordana Woodland, style and beauty expert and the founder of Naked Princess

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No foundation lines

“My number one rule: foundation and concealer must match your skin. Otherwise it looks fake and obvious.” —Leslie Munsell, founder of Beauty For Real (Every makeup-wearing woman should know these concealer tricks.)

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Line your lips

“Statement lip colors are all the rage right now but they require lip liner. If you are wearing a color that will draw attention to your lips, lip liners help keep everything in place and in balance, especially if you are prone to lip color bleeding or feathering after application.” —David Klasfeld, CEO/creative director of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics, Inc.

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Wash before you work out

“Always wash or tone your face before exercising, or else when you wipe off your facial sweat you will push the oil, dirt, and debris on your face into your pores, causing clogging and breakouts.” —Neal Schultz, MD

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Categorize clothing strategically

“Instead of organizing my closet by item category, I group my clothes into three sections according to the role they play in my wardrobe: key pieces, basics, and statement pieces. Key pieces are the main players in my wardrobe that I build my outfits around. Basics are the “supporting roles” that I pick second to fill any gaps, and statement pieces are what top it all off. This helps me look effortlessly put-together in a flash.” —Anushka Rees, style writer and author of The Curated Closet

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Hydrate inside and out

“Chances are you are probably not drinking enough water during the day and you might be really surprised at how much you need it. I keep a water bottle handy at all times to remind me to drink up. I also use lotion from head to toe, especially on my face, to hydrate from the outside. Lotion is important to keep skin looking plump, dewy, and healthy. It also helps prevent inflammation, irritation, and redness by locking in water.” —Katie Niemiec, Chicago style and beauty blogger at Little Black Blog

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Never pop a pimple

“If you have blemishes, do not scrub, pick, poke, or squeeze them. And for heaven’s sake don’t put toothpaste on them. It’s very likely that you’ll do more damage than good. If you have a problem that doesn’t clear within a few weeks, see a dermatologist. Your dermatologist knows which over-the-counter products have proven benefits and can also prescribe a more personalized treatment regimen. Friends, family, and the internet mean well, but for every piece of good advice is an ineffective old wives tale, like the toothpaste.” —Janet Prystowsky, MD, board-certified dermatologist and president of Livad Skincare

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Use an eye cream

“Always use an eye cream and apply it around the entire orbital area—most people forget about the upper lid. The area around the eyes is much thinner than the rest of the skin on the face; it’s the thinnest skin on the body and lacks oil glands, which give our skin protection. It’s also an area we move a lot so it ages the quickest. It’s not okay to use a cream meant for the face around the eyes since they can be clogging to the delicate eye area. The eye area tends to age faster than other areas of the face. During the day I apply an eye cream to protect and hydrate, and at night to heal and correct.” —Pearl Dworkin, licensed esthetician in San Francisco

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When in doubt dress up

“Nothing looks more beautiful on a woman than confidence, but that said, we live by the rule that it’s always better to be overdressed than underdressed. And never underestimate the power of heels to help you feel confident.” —Beckie Klein and Martina Gordon of Media Style NYC

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Don’t cut your own hair

“Have your hair cut by a professional, don’t just DYI your cut and color. This way your hair will be healthy and have a suitable shape. I also never compromise on a good quality shampoo and conditioner as they will determine the condition of your hair.” —Richard Mannah, International Artistic Director of label.m USA

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Skip scented soaps

“As a coast-to-coast working movie actor, I am often covered in full body makeup, so I know the importance of skin care. I always start with a non-detergent soap like Dove or Vanicream as many body washes and soaps are overloaded with detergents that strip away my skin’s natural oils and cause me to feel like a sponge that’s been lying in the desert for a couple hours. And while I do love scent and wear cologne every day, I skip scented soaps in the shower. It’s terribly annoying to hop out of the shower and put on a face moisturizer or body lotion only to be going about my day and like “what’s that smell? That’s not my cologne.” Maybe I’m a snob about this, or maybe I am just overly sensitive to smells, but it drives me a little batty when I smell my soap or lotion all day.” —Paul Cram, actor

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Splurge on a silk pillowcase

“One of the best things I do for my hair and skin is sleep on a silk pillowcase. Cotton will soak up moisture and silk keeps my hair fresh and frizz-free. Plus, it helps keep pillowcase wrinkles from becoming permanent on my face.” —Katie Niemiec, Chicago style and beauty blogger at Little Black Blog

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Embrace natural beauty

“Even though applying makeup is my job, I’ve learned that natural—or as close to natural as possible—is usually the best. Sometimes less really is more. I apply this rule especially when I put on foundation; I don’t want a cake face or an ‘overdone’ look. Keep it natural.” —Hillary Kline, makeup artist

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Go big for brows

“Eyebrows define the face, so it’s so important to take good care of them. Thin brows make you look older, so I try not to overdo it with the plucking. Instead I get a brow wax every six to eight weeks.” —Hillary Kline (Here are the secrets to getting perfect eyebrows.)

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Quit smoking

“My non-negotiable rule for beautiful skin is simple: Don’t smoke. And try not to be around second-hand smoke either.” —Celeste Hilling, skin coach and CEO of Skin Authority

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Use retinols

“After the age of 25 everyone should use some sort of vitamin-A delivery system. Retinols help turn over and exfoliate the skin, while supporting and building the epidermis. That means healthier skin, with a reduced appearance of minor imperfections such as fine lines and diffused discoloration. It also means heartier skin, that can stand the test of time and the trials of exposure.” —Slone Mathieu, esthetician and spa director of Dream Spa Medical

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Use double-duty makeup

“I love multitasking makeup! Mascara can be used to define lashes and give a little depth with a light swipe to the eyebrows. Stains and tints can be used to brighten the cheeks or bring life to the lips.” —Slone Mathieu, esthetician and spa director of Dream Spa Medical

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Never sleep in makeup

“Whatever you do, do not go to bed with your makeup on. Even if you just use a simple makeup wipe, take off your makeup before sleep. Cleansing the face helps prevent clogged pores and buildup from makeup.” —Keka Heron, celebrity stylist and in-house glam at Revolt-TV

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Don’t dye hair more than three shades off your natural hue

“Coloring hair more than two to three shades lighter or darker than its natural color will age you and look artificial. If you are brunette or a redhead, make it richer. If you’re blonde, add dimension and depth with golden highlights. If you are covering gray, keep it gentle. The gray won’t show as much when it first begins to grow out if you stay close to the base color. Also, hair color that is too extreme from your natural color will oxidize more quickly. We have all seen the beautiful dark brunette who dyed her hair blonde, and the blonde quickly turned to a brassy hue. Stick close to your base color but make it better. Your skin will look vibrant, your eyes will look brighter, and everyone will be complimenting your hair instead for your hair color.” —Devin Giannoni, beauty expert and stylist

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Toss expired makeup

“Some people think its okay to use expired makeup. However, this is a big no-no for me and I would never use expired products on my clients. The reason is simple: Expired makeup harbors bacteria that causes harm to the skin. The expiration date is one of the most important factors that I consider before purchasing a makeup product.” —Sandy Taylor, makeup artist and editor at Foundation Fairy

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Eat anti-inflammatory foods

“Inflammatory foods, particularly sugar and refined foods, can trigger redness and breakouts. On the other hand, anti-inflammatory foods, such as dark leafy greens, blueberries, and broccoli can help bring down that inflammation and keep skin clear and glowing. To combat inflammation I make sure to eat wild salmon, flax seed, and chia seeds, along with spices like turmeric and ginger.” —Maria Marlowe, integrative nutrition health coach and creator of EatBeauty

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Drink two liters of water a day

“Drinking clean, filtered water is one of the best remedies for naturally glowing, nourished skin. I make sure I’m getting in two liters a day!” —Carla Oates, The Beauty Chef

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Silence stress

“True beauty comes from within, so do your best to avoid stress by taking extra time for yourself. Get a massage or facial once a month. You will feel better inside and out.” —Emily McConnell, beauty expert and director of spa at dana

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Clean your makeup brushes

“My non-negotiable beauty rule is I must have clean brushes. I wash and sanitize my makeup brushes after each use using 71 percent alcohol and brush cleanser. I also spray and wipe any products and any surface they may touch with alcohol.” —Shola Akintobi, owner, Best Face Forward Makeup Studio, LLC

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Careful with falsies

“Do not use hair weave glue or any type of adhesive other than products made specifically for lashes to apply your false lashes. This may seem small but it happens, and the results are not pretty.” —Drea Stanford, owner of Vain Beauty

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Use physical sun block

“I protect my precious skin by wearing hats and sunglasses whenever I go out. I also use a barrier method mineral-based sunscreen that uses zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide rather than chemicals such as oxybenzone, avobenzone, octisalate, octocrylene, homosalate, and octinoxate. Skin cancer is not pretty.” —Meryl Marshall, president of Natural Beauty Concepts, Inc

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Live the life you want to look

“If you want to look healthy, you need to live a healthy lifestyle. For me that means eating a healthy diet, getting seven to eight hours of sleep each night, exercising five days a week for a minimum of 30 minutes and, laughing a lot.” —Faye Frey, MD, founder of FreyFace

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Don’t be afraid to get your hair wet

“Not re-wetting hair could be the reason many women have bad hair days. They try too hard, take too long to fix it and then over-dry their hair. If one part does not look good, spray it with water and redo it. Never keep going over dry hair again and again with your tools or brush. This will just make it worse.” —George Gonzalez, hair stylist and owner of George the Salon Chicago

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Be a bathing beauty

“I love nothing more than a nice relaxing bath using a ‘bath bomb.’ These dissolve in the water, filling the tub with soothing scents and moisturizers. The aromatherapy helps mentally and physically and your skin will be so soft and smooth afterward.” —Cherie Corso, beauty expert for G2 Organics

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest

Charlotte Hilton Andersen
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, BS, MS, has been covering health, fitness, parenting, and culture for many major outlets, both in print and online, for 15 years. She's the author of two books, co-host of the Self Help Obsession podcast, and also does freelance editing and ghostwriting. She has appeared in television news segments for CBS, FOX, and NBC.