A couple of weeks ago, I was chatting with the founder of one of our skin care brands and mentioned that one of her products hadn’t really caught on with the Truth In Aging community. She was surprised as we were talking about one of her bestsellers. Why would one of her top products be a poor performer on Truth In Aging? Turns out, it is all about expectations.
The product in question, ClarityRX An Apple a Day, is a slow burn and can take up to 6o days for results to be apparent. As the company sells directly to customers or via professional estheticians, they can hone the message and educate the buyer to be patient. It struck me that there are many ways we can better manage our skin care expectations. And if we can do so successfully, we’ll save on anguish and money. Paradoxically, managing expectations isn’t about lowering them — done right, we can actually raise the bar.
Here are a few tips and ideas that I find helpful.
Start a skin care log
Keeping notes or a mini diary really helps to keep things grounded in realistic goals that are carefully monitored. This doesn’t have to be a big deal — just type a few notes into your phone. The first day of your log is your base line and you should briefly describe your skin condition. On future days, you can note any changes.
Then, start by recording your current morning and evening routines, and list each product you use. The most important thing is to jot down what you expect the product to do for you. By articulating your expectations for each product, you can start to identify any redundancy in your routine – is there duplication?
Then ask yourself an important question. Do your goals and expectations match what the product claims to do? This eliminates wishful thinking, disappointment and wasted time and money. You might have a product that is mostly formulated for skin brightening when you are really obsessing about sagging.
Your regimen is not its own solar system
All too often, we treat our beauty regimen as though it happens in a vacuum. When we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see, we blame that new serum. But there are all sorts of other things at play: diet, sleep patterns, exercise, environment, stress, health conditions — the list goes on. Any of those can shift subtly and we’ll see an impact on that biggest of our organs, the skin. So, when you consider whether your beauty regimen needs switching up, think about the whole picture.
Time should be your friend
It took decades for my wrinkles to form, and I’ve come to accept that they aren’t going to disappear in 30 days. Furthermore, time didn’t stop the minute I found my new hero serum. The wear and tear continues. All of which means I need to be patient with any approach to anti-aging. I have also come to realize that good cosmetic products don’t take short cuts with feel good factor ingredients like silicones that don’t do all that much but give your skin a superficial silkiness.
Ingredients these days are getting to be very sophisticated in terms of how they work at the cellular level. But in many cases — think plant stem cells or human growth factors — the mechanisms are complex and slow. It will often take serums with these kinds of ingredients a long time to work. I know it can be hard, but if you know that you have bought yourself a well-formulated product, then give it time to work. If you are not seeing results after 30 days, give it another 30 before shelving it.
Results can be cumulative
An important aspect of complex formulations or the results from devices that utilize microcurrent, LED or ultrasound is that the results are cumulative over time. Patient observation pays off. In the first 30 days, don’t expect the entire face to show improvement. Every wrinkle or dark spot is different and progress will likely be uneven. Hone in on one spot and examine it every few days for any progress. Even the smallest positive change is indicative of more to come — if there is some sign of repair in the first 30 days, however slight, it is worth giving the product another 30 days to see the cumulative results.
We can still go for a quick win
Okay, I get it: We are all only human and can still hope for a quick fix. And the truth is that we can have our cake and eat it, too. By all means, augment your regimen with glow-giving masks, plumping treatments, peptides that cut back on expression lines and exfoliators. Just don’t expect them all to give long-term results any more than you should expect an overnight miracle from your hard-working serums.