Julia March is one of the top facialists in New York, according to connoisseurs such as New York Magazine, Allure, and us.
Facialists not only see their clients’ skin under magnifying mirrors — they also frequently recommend products and have the opportunity to see how well those products work over time. We asked top facialist Julia March what she thinks everyone concerned about aging should use on his or her skin to create a natural anti-aging skincare regimen.
Ayla: What 3-5 natural skincare treatments should we all use to keep our skin in great shape and ward off premature aging?
JULIA: Cleansers, moisturizers, and sunscreens are the three basic must-haves.
1. A good cleanser is an important part of every regimen to keep your skin balanced. Different skin types should use different cleansers, but you should also vary your cleanser with the seasons or with the particular condition you might be dealing with at the moment. For example:
• For balanced to oily skin, I usually suggest a gel cleanser in the summer and a milky cleanser in the wintertime. Even normally oily skin can lack water and require a milky cleanser!
Note from Ayla: Try Luzern Labs Pure Cleansing Gelee or Naturopathica Aloe Cleansing Gel for summertime, Luzern Labs Pure Cleansing Crème for wintertime
• Oil cleansers are also very good for oily skin that is very flaky, dry and inflamed. Just follow it with a gentle foaming cleanser to gently rinse excess oil and deeply clean pores.
Note from Ayla: Try The Organic Pharmacy's oil-based Carrot Butter Cleanser followed by Naturopathica's foamy Aloe Cleansing Gel
• If skin is dry, one should use a creamy cleanser. If you prefer a lighter texture, at least use a creamier one for several days until dryness improves.
Note from Ayla: Try Elave's rich Hydrating Cream Cleanser or Luzern Labs Pure Cleansing Crème
2. Moisturizer will plump up fine lines, make skin glow, and prevent irritation that can accelerate aging.
• Follow your intuition: use a heavier moisturizer in the winter and when you feel dry, and use lighter formulations like lotions and gels in the summer, spring, and fall.
• Look for ingredients like antioxidants and humectants to attract moisture to the face and keep skin soft and supple.
• Choose products that are free of harmful and toxic ingredients – moisturizers can sit on your face for more than 8 hours. It is best to avoid synthetic fragrances and colors, parabens, formaldehyde preservatives, DEA, imidazolidinyl urea, propylene glycol, and petrochemicals. Many of these are irritating and can be toxic.
Note from Ayla: Don’t worry — all of our moisturizers are free of the potentially irritating or toxic ingredients Julia mentions here!
3. Sunscreen is a must to prevent photoaging.
• Reapply sunscreen if you sweat, go for a swim, exercise or stay in the sun without reapplying sunscreen for an hour.
• Physical sunblocks are much safer than chemical sunscreens, and they naturally protect against both UVA and UVB rays. Look for micronized zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, which apply onto the skin without a trace. I would avoid chemical sunscreens, which can often expose you to extra chemicals, preservatives, and penetration enhancers.
Note from Ayla: All of our sunscreens and moisturizers with sunscreen contain physical sunblocks.
Ayla: What are the "nice to have" items in a natural anti-aging skincare regimen?
JULIA: Treatment serums and exfoliating scrubs or masks are two great additions that can really make a difference in the health of your skin.
1. I love treatment serums! Treat them as powerful add-ons with the ability to improve or correct your current skin condition. You may use certain treatments until a given condition improves/resolves.
• Antioxidant serums are perfect for daytime. These include vitamin C, alpha lipoic acid, and polyphenols (green tea extract or resveratrol). These will help fight free radicals, which are released as a result of sun damage and even stress.
Note from Ayla: Luzern Labs Serum Absolut V12 and Serum Absolut Au Vin, and The Organic Pharmacy Antioxidant Serum all contain potent antioxidants
• Hyaluronic acid moisturizes and plumps up the skin. It’s so good, especially if your skin feels dry or tight!
Note from Ayla: Luzern Labs Serum Absolut ReHydrate is rich in hyaluronic acid and great for dehydration
• Peptides are cell communicators that “tell” the skin how to perform certain functions. They’re very anti-aging, keeping the cells strong and healthy.
Note from Ayla: 37 Extreme Actives is a serum and moisturizer in one that's packed with peptides
• Bearberry extract and licorice are great choices for brightening and lightening any discoloration or hyperpigmentation.
Note from Ayla: Luzern Labs Serum Absolut Radiance contains Bearberry extract and licorice
• Niacinamide functions like epidermal growth factor. It helps to decrease skin discoloration, lines and wrinkles, and it improves elasticity.
Note from Ayla: Luzern Labs Serum Absolut V12 is packed with Niacinamide
When choosing serums, keep your skin type in mind, too:
• If your skin is oily, don’t buy heavy, oil-based serums for daily use.
• If you are dry and sensitive, avoid serums with Vitamin A and high concentrations of Vitamin C and AHAs.
2. Enzyme exfoliants or gentle scrubs are a great part of an anti-aging regimen, especially because our cell turnover slows down a lot after age 30.
• Use scrubs with gentle pressure, and choose one that’s appropriate for your skin condition.
• Make sure you follow instructions precisely. Good exfoliation can really improve skin’s condition – it can make the skin brighter-looking and increase the penetration of ingredients you put on the skin afterwards – but if it’s overdone, it can also undermine skin’s health (increase the visibility of capillaries, over-dry the skin, etc.).
• Don’t use scrubs if your skin has fresh, active acne and visible blemishes.
Note from Ayla: Try The Organic Pharmacy Flower Petal Mask, The Organic Pharmacy Enzyme Peel Mask,or Luzern Labs Micro-Exfoliant
About Julia March: Julia is a skin care therapist who specializes in facials exclusively. From June 2000 until July 2002 she was the senior aesthetician at one of the most prestigious salons in NYC, where she offered treatments to celebrities, models and editors including Brigitte Hill, Eva Herzigova, Liv Tyler, and Miranda Brooks. She began her own practice in Soho in September 2002. According to authorities including Allure, New York Magazine, and us, she’s one of the best facialists in New York.
Learn more about Julia’s impressive background (or try to get a coveted appointment) here.
Any topic discussed in this article is not intended as medical advice. If you have a medical concern, please check with your doctor.