Anti-Aging Tips from the Facialist of a Model Who Refuses to Age

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Anastasia Achilleos Kate Moss
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

With a client list that includes the likes of Kate Moss, Liberty Ross, and Gwyneth Paltrow, celebrity facialist Anastasia Achilleos is on the speed dial of countless stars. The Olay Global Ambassador has over 20 years of experience, so it’s no surprise that her clients fly all over the world just to get a moment with her. Speaking to Savoir Flair, Achilleos revealed her top skincare secrets to stop aging in its tracks.

What magic ingredients should we be looking out for, and why?
I always look for hyaluronic acid, alpha-hydroxys because they help to push up new skin cells and create collagen, and peptides because they’re the building blocks of the body. I also love the vitamin niacinamide. Again, it helps to create cellular production, which leads to brighter-looking skin! Also look for retinyl palmitate, a derivative from vitamin A, which helps to treat pigmentation and acne and balance the skin. Vitamin E is a great one, and vitamin D as well. Anything that our bodies produce naturally is good because there’s a synergy with the body, and we know how to handle it.

What are the top foods you think help with healthy, younger-looking skin?
Definitely omegas 3, 6, and 9 – they help to put a ‘duvet’ over the cells, a cushioning that protects them. Anything green and organic will help to alkalize your body, which will lead to healthy skin. Look at things like flaxseeds and chia seeds – food supplements that haven’t been tampered with too much. They come from the ground and are made into a powder that you can then add to your juices. If you can pick it and eat it, that’s a healthy food!

I think the main lifestyle change is to make a little bit more time for yourself – whether that’s a hot bath with essential oils or spending two to three minutes a night without your cell phone.

What other lifestyle changes really make a difference to skin health?
I think the main lifestyle change is to make a little bit more time for yourself – whether that’s a hot bath with essential oils or spending two to three minutes a night without your cell phone. Frowning, squinting… all these expressions are because of the technology we’re using, so grab a cream and massage it in. That will start to create real change in how you look. And, of course, try to eat well.

Debunk the biggest anti-aging myth you’ve ever heard.
A product can’t give your skin a real glow if it’s not applied properly. If you do not massage your skin, the real glow and release of tension can’t happen. You can’t break, tear, or ruin your skin, and you can massage around the eyes – it’s a huge myth that you can’t! Massage in both directions, with quite a lot of pressure. The other one is, “If I massage my face downwards, I am stretching my skin down.” No, you’re not! Your muscle fibers and skin fibers go in every direction and that’s how they need to be pressed.

What’s the ultimate skincare routine to help turn back time?
A good skincare routine begins with really good cleansing. Do not over-cleanse and strip your skin, though. Don’t exfoliate five times a week either! Just once a week will do. Use a really good cleansing milk or gel, whatever your skin needs, put a flannel into hot water, drop some lavender onto it, and use it to compress your skin and create some circulation. Then put on a serum, an eye cream, a moisturizer, and an SPF. Done.

What are the biggest mistakes that women are making when it comes to their skincare?
We don’t wear enough SPF! Lots of women think they only need to wear it in the summer and that it’s not for winter, but you should be wearing it all the time – even inside a building because your skin ages from a different type of light inside! Women also do not massage their skin enough.

We don’t wear enough SPF! You should be wearing it all the time – even inside a building because your skin ages from a different type of light inside!

What three products should a woman always use?
An SPF or a cream with an SPF, an eye cream that you massage in to get the maximum benefits, and a moisturizer.

What big things do you predict for the next year in terms of anti-aging products?
More gadgets and more things that are available in salons and turned into at-home treatments, like radio-frequency machines or LED and sonics. We’re already seeing that, but there will be more and more. Also more developments when it comes to ingredients. I think that nano-technology will play a big part too, as it makes the ingredients much more effective.

Here, in the UAE, our skin is subject to extreme conditions, including heat, sun, humidity, and constant air-conditioning. What’s the best way to protect our skin from the elements and keep wrinkles at bay?
SPF! A lot of people don’t wear it in the UAE, even in the day. It protects you from UVA and UVB rays – make sure you get one that does both – and the number correlates to how long you’re protected for in the sun.

Anastasia Achilleos Anti-Aging Skincare Gwyneth Paltrow
Photo: Courtesy of Getty Images

Help! I have a big party tonight, and I’ve woken up with puffy eyes and dull skin. What should I do?
Take a washcloth, put it into hot water, and put a lot of your cleanser on it. Start at your chest and apply firm upward pressure, putting your whole hand and palm on your skin and moving all the way up to your forehead. Then hold to your face for 30 seconds — this will bring a rush of blood to give you a glow. You will have performed a lymphatic-draining massage without even realizing it, and then you’ll be party-ready!

Are there any application techniques that can really maximize the effects of our products?
Yes! You should make nice big circles around the eyes, as if you are drawing the number eight, and do some sculpting by pressing your fingertips from the center of your jaw all the way up to your ear and back down again. Even ten times each way will be enough to start seeing a change.

To me, beauty isn’t about the perfected self; it’s about how you want the world to see you. Beautiful skin is when I see the person’s smile and their personality shining through, and I feel who they are.

Is it true that the more expensive the skin cream, the more effective it is?
Absolutely not! I have used olive oil to massage my skin, and it created a glow. Look for companies whose research and developments you can trust. The job of their scientists is to innovate the way those ingredients can work together. You only have to look at the studies that Olay has done in the past ten years. It’s mind blowing what you can find out about an ingredient — that it can even affect the bio-energy of a cell and how a cell ages! That’s the point. It doesn’t matter how expensive a cream is. If the R&D isn’t there, you should probably look in the other direction.

What do you think is the biggest cause of skin aging, and how can we prevent it?
The two things I would say are stress, which really ages a person, and sun exposure.

Complete the sentence: To me, beautiful skin is…
To me, beauty isn’t about the perfected self; it’s about how you want the world to see you. Beautiful skin is when I see the person’s smile and their personality shining through, and I feel who they are.

Skimping on eye cream? Here’s why you need to stop ASAP.

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