While the science of beauty has come incredibly far in the last few decades, beauty routines are nothing new. Cleopatra was known to bathe in milk and honey. Audrey Hepburn reportedly gave herself a steam facial twice a week. Marilyn Monroe had such a specific cleansing and toning process that it will soon be on display at the Makeup Museum in New York.
The takeaway? People have cared about their skin long before the age of Insta filters and Photoshop. And while there was some genuine good sense behind some of these older beauty practices (for example, milk contains lactic acid, which means bathing in it could have some exfoliating and brightening effects), we now have the technology to know exactly why certain products benefit our skin, and can better target our skincare routines to meet our specific needs.
We now understand the importance of topical Vitamin C serums for fighting photo damage and sun-induced discoloration. We know that peptides contribute to collagen production. We know that sunscreen is perhaps the number one most important step in any anti-aging routine, and have a ton of non-greasy, genuinely wearable SPF products to choose from (my personal favorite? SkinMedica’s Essential Defense Everyday Clear Broad Spectrum SPF 47). Basically, we’ve come a long way since petroleum-based creams and tanning beds.
HOWEVER, this doesn’t mean we can’t infuse some decadent retro vibes into our thoroughly modern routines. One of my personal favorite things about my morning and evening skincare ritual is how indulgent and glam it can all feel. I have a special polka dot bandana that holds back my hair, I keep a few classic accents around my bathroom (hola, vintage hair brush!), and I love manicured nails in a retro red a la Betty Draper. These relatively minor additions to my life turn skin care into something I look forward to each day as opposed to a chore (and, as any skincare professional will tell you, consistency is crucial to any at-home skin care regimen, so anything you can do to help yourself stick to your routine is a win).
So don’t be afraid to infuse some old-school glam into your skin care! Just make sure you’re also researching your products and consulting with an expert when and if you have any questions, because the reality is most of us don’t have the time to keep up with the (almost daily) scientific developments in skincare research and technology.
Authored by: Toria Sheffield