The Truth Behind Those Celebrity Skin-Care "Secrets"
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The Truth Behind Those Celebrity Skin-Care “Secrets”

Refinery29 | Megan Decker

Celebrities often credit their glowing, flawless skin to habits that every living creature on earth must do to survive, like drink a lot of water and not burn in the sun. Even after upping our daily water intake and wearing SPF 50 on the reg, our skin still doesn’t have that Gwyneth Paltrow radiance. So, what’s the real deal with A-list beauty treatments?

Ahead, we got the inside scoop from celebrity skin-care expert Reneé Rouleau. Hint: it doesn’t involve chugging 12 gallons of water.

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“I repeat positive affirmations.”
The claim: Jennifer Lopez told Harper’s Bazaar that she’s not only interested in positive mantras being embroidered on several couch cushions (she loves ’em), but that she repeats the affirmations every single day. Her favorite: “I am youthful and timeless at every age.”
The truth: Positive thinking is helpful — at least for your mental health. Hey, no one ever said being kind to your body and mind could hurt. L.A. natives call the outcome of regular affirmations “spiritual Botox” — medium and author of Intuitive Being, Jill Willard, says the funny name helps people understand that just breathing and being mindful can create a physical shift in your life. Still, this isn’t magic, and your dry skin won’t go away just by saying so to yourself in the mirror.
What works: Being positive is, for all intents and purposes, a good thing. The old saying, “If you feel good, you look good,” isn’t entirely bogus — at least, that’s up for you to decide. But if you’re going to make happy mantras a part of your strict daily regimen, you might as well also include cleansing, toning, and moisturizing in there, too.

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“I drink a lot of water.”
The claim: Gwyneth Paltrow is not the only water-obsessed celebrity, but she’s definitely in the club. The Goop founder once posted her adoration to Instagram, claiming that H2O is “full of healing power.”
The truth: “While drinking water is undoubtedly good for your overall health, it’s actually proven to be the least effective way to hydrate the skin,” said Rouleau. Apparently, the water we drink is filtered out of our bodies by our kidneys, and never actually reaches the skin’s surface. She explains , “It’s helpful to understand that hydration levels in the skin have very little to do with drinking water and much more to do with how you hydrate topically.”
What works: “The simplest and easiest way to effectively hydrate your skin cells, which keeps them moist and healthy-looking, is by using an alcohol-free toner and sealing that in with a skin serum that contains hyaluronic acid and sodium PCA,” said Rouleau. She recommends water-based gel masks to soothe the skin and hydrate thirsty skin cells. “Keeping the skin topically hydrated with well-formulated skin-care products based on your skin type is essential.”

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“I have good genes.”
The claim: Forty-four year-old Gabrielle Union told Elle that her secret to ageless skin is “part genetic.” Natural skin oils often soften the skin’s aging process, and the actress calls her oily skin both “a blessing and a curse.” But with wrinkle-free skin at forty-four, we’d err on the side of blessing.
The truth: “While good genes definitely play a role in certain skin conditions like oiliness, skin color, and skin thickness, you might be surprised to learn that approximately 30% of aging can be attributed to genetics and 70% to personal habits,” Rouleau tells us. She explains that evaluative twin studies have shown that lifestyle factors play a huge role in the skin-aging process. “For example, if one person smokes or works in a profession that causes her to have more exposure to UV rays, she’s bound to age faster than her non-smoking twin who is rarely exposed to harmful UV rays.” So, while good genes are helpful, ultimately how you take care of your skin will affect how it ages.
What works: Unsurprisingly, Rouleau tells us that sunscreen is the most effective anti-aging product. “Considering that UV light (even daylight coming in through windows in your home, car or office) is the number one cause of premature skin aging, it’s crucial that you block those harmful rays day in and day out,” she tells us. “Along with using a skin-care routine with action ingredients like retinol, vitamin C, peptides, and salicylic acid, find a well-formulated moisturizer with sunscreen and apply it generously to the face and neck 365 days a year.” For sunscreen that won’t clog your pores, Rouleau recommends looking for formulas that contain zinc oxide.

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“I try not to wear a lot of makeup in order to let my skin breathe.”
The claim: Kerry Washington told Instyle that she prefers minimal makeup: “Most days, I let my skin breathe, so I don’t wear a ton of foundation—just a bit of concealer.”
The truth: “The skin can’t perform the function of respiration, so it doesn’t actually breathe; therefore, avoiding makeup or forgoing a nighttime moisturizer does not benefit the skin in the way that some celebs claim it does,” Rouleau explained.
What works: “While not removing makeup and failing to cleanse skin each night can lead to breakouts, wearing makeup, per se, is not bad for the skin — as long as you wear a formula compatible for your skin type,” Rouleau tells us. She believes that there’s actually a benefit to wearing makeup. “Many types of makeup contain sunscreen, and even if they don’t indicate an SPF number, most have UV-protecting ingredients like titanium dioxide.”

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“I only wash my face at night.”
The claim: Jaime King and other celebrities have endorsed a nightly cleansing regime. King told Into The Gloss, “My approach to skincare is to always wash your face before bed, even if you don’t want to.” The idea is that washing your face once a day, before bed, is beneficial to the skin because you’re already waking up with a makeup-free face, so there’s no need to cleanse in the morning.
The truth: Rouleau debunks the nighttime-only cleansing strategy by explaining that morning cleansing is important, too. “When we sleep, our skin goes in repair mode, secreting toxins and sebum which can prevent daytime products from working effectively if they aren’t washed off,” she said.
What works: “Cleansing in the morning (only using a gentle, sulfate-free, non-drying cleanser) removes toxins, sebum, and nighttime products so that sunscreen and an antioxidant serum can effectively protect skin from the environment and harmful daylight rays,” Rouleau explains. “Think of it as a clean slate for your skin-care routine.”

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“I always use the same skin-care products.”
The claim: Cate Blanchett told us that she attributes her ageless complexion to a combination of staying out of the sun and her SK-II product loyalty, specifically the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence, which she says she has used for ten years.
The truth: “Celebrity skin needs to look good at all times so when it comes to their at-home skin-care routine, they won’t change products if something is working well,” Rouleau explains. “They don’t want to risk possible negative reactions from experimenting with too many skin-care products.”
What works: Rouleau admits that there’s some validity to skin care product loyalty — if you find something that works. “If you find something that works, stick with it, especially if you have sensitive skin,” Rouleau advises. “If your skin is changing, then and only then, is it time for a change.”

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“I stay out of the sun.”
The claim: What’s the secret that keeps Jennifer Aniston looking almost identical to Rachel Greene, the Friends character she played more than two decades ago? She told People, “I gave myself a sun-tanning intervention a few years ago. She admits, “I was not great as a kid with sunscreen—and that’s one of my big regrets, so now I use Aveeno Positively Radiant Daily Moisturizer SPF 15.”
The truth: It’s no surprise that this celeb skin-care secret is actually legit. Rouleau tells us, “Because the number one cause of wrinkles is sun damage, wearing an SPF moisturizer on the face and neck, 365 days a year, rain or shine, inside or outside is imperative.”
What works: “Whenever possible (assuming you’re interested in avoiding premature wrinkles), limit your time in the sun,” Rouleau advises. “Your skin will thank you and you’ll keep a smooth, healthy-looking, and even-toned texture.”

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“I’m loyal to my facialist.”
The claim: It’s no wonder that Victoria’s Secret angel Candice Swanepoel has a strong facial game. She told Harper’s Bazaar that she is religious about her facials, scheduling extractions at least once a month.
The truth: Celebs definitely spend a lot of time and money to put their best face forward. “Chemical peels, oxygen treatments, bio brasion, ultrasonic exfoliation, LED light, microcurrent… they do it all, oftentimes on a weekly basis,” said Rouleau.
What works: “Of course, for a lot of us, a weekly facial isn’t realistic — or affordable — but good skin maintenance is something we can all manage,” Rouleau explains. “And, if you can’t make it into the salon for monthly facials, give yourself one at home.”

This article was written by Megan Decker from Refinery29 and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to


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