30 Tips You Never Knew You Needed From VIP Skincare Expert Renee Rouleau

With 30 years of experience, one is bound to have collected a bevy of knowledge—and boy does she have it! Renee Rouleau is one of the most cult-followed and beloved skincare experts and estheticians. Considered a ‘complexion coach’ her philosophy on skin goes beyond the basics. One size does not fit all in her book. In fact, she’s identified nine skin types with accompanied routines and products to perfect a custom ritual. We drill her on every burning question you could possibly imagine (although we could have kept going). From pore-shrinking hacks to why washing your face in the morning is vital, welcome to the ultimate skin masterclass. School is now in session.

[Renee]’s 30 Skincare Tips:

1. Hang your head upside down for two minutes every night

“I’m all about glowing skin, and, with age, circulation slows down. At night, I hang my head upside down off the side of my bed for two minutes and it flushes the skin. It basically brings an inner glow and is really good for blood flow and oxygen.”

2. Clothing choices matter

“There are certain colors that make the skin look glowy and bright and others colors that make the skin look muddier and ashier. Colors I don’t like: khaki, army green, mustard—fall, earthy, warm colors. Colors that make the skin glow: pinks, periwinkle blues, bright yellows. Springy colors will always make the skin look nice.

The other part of clothing choices matter is SPF protective. 78% of all the skin damage you get from UV light is from incidental exposure—it’s not from when you’re at the pool or beach. It’s everyday. There’s a lot of sun that comes in through a window. Being out and about in a tank top is also unnecessary exposure. It’s so much easier to prevent the signs of aging than reverse them. It’s those little things that can add up over a lifetime.”

3. Book a window seat on the plane so you can shut the shade

“When you’re closer to the sun on an airplane, you’re getting more UV exposure. Even though there are UV filters, get the window seat and keep it closed the whole time.”

4. There are more skin types than just dry, normal and oily

“If you want to drive results, you have to have a routine that’s right for you. Using products for your skin type is essential.”

5. Wear foundation every single day

“Makeup is an extra layer of protection for your skin because it has titanium dioxide which is a natural sunscreen. If you’re more acne-prone, you want to be careful because some foundations can clog the pores, but don’t think that you’re doing your skin a favor by not wearing makeup.”

6. Makeup can do wonders especially to give the skin a glow

“There are powders that are light reflective and have a shimmer. Things that have a shimmer, have a shine.”

7. For treating under eye dryness, don’t rely solely on eye cream

“A lot of oils can seep into the under eye and cause puffiness which stretches out the skin, decreasing elasticity. If you’re dry around the eyes, moisturizing is only going to bring back to life dead or expired cells. One of the popular products from our line is an eye serum—it’s thin and goes around the eye before an eye cream to help dissolve and digest the dead skin cells, making the area smoother. When the eye cream goes on, it will moisturize. It’s basically an under eye exfoliant.”

8. Don’t neglect your neck

“It’s that area people forget because they’re looking at their face. Most people carry down what’s leftover from their face to their neck but by that point you’re getting an SPF . You want to do an application of sunscreen to your face and an application of sunscreen to your neck. You have to treat it as its own area.”

9. Avoid using straws or drinking out of narrow bottles

“Again, it’s the little things that add up in our life time. If you’re constantly pursing, pursing, pursing, that’s going to wear down that skin.”

10. Don’t leave your skin bare for more than 60 seconds after cleansing

“When you wash your face and your skin is wet and hydrated, through a process called osmosis, water attracts water. It acts like a magnet. If it’s winter for example, and you wait longer than a minute, your skin is going to feel really tight. People associate that with their cleanser being too strong but it’s because the dry air is sucking the moister out of the skin. It’s the golden minute rule, you want to get your next product on within 60 seconds. I recommend using alcohol-free toner as tap water has minerals. Damp skin is always a good rule of thumb regardless of what you’re using.”

11. Heat, not just from the sun, can be a trigger for hyperpigmentation and uneven skin tone

“For so many years, we thought sun spots and brown spots came out from the sun but now we understand it’s the heat from the sun or heat in general. If you’re someone who has melasma or discoloration, even going in a sauna or steam room will be triggering. Pigment cells are very active and they get triggered easily. We’re trying to put melanin cells to sleep so you want to keep your skin as cool as possible. If you are going to be outside, when you come in, try to cool the skin down. Splash ice water on your face or use an ice roller. It will send a signal to those pigment cells to settle down.”

12. Layering and mixing serums won’t get you very far

“When you’re layering, the skin can only absorb so much. Think of a dry sponge when you add water to it. Your skin is the same way. By mixing serums, you’re basically taking two different formulas and diluting them 50% so they’re only going to work half as well. If you want the true benefit of each of those serums, just alternative nights.”

13. Never interfere with your sunscreen

“A sunscreen is an FDA approved drug that is tested to give you the SPF number. You have to apply it generously but where people make the mistake is in mixing. You need it to do its job and you don’t want to unnecessarily mess with that. Just put a foundation on over. I don’t suggest ever using an oil on top because oils break down ingredients so it could make the sunscreen not work.”

14. Drinking water is the least efficient way to hydrate the skin

“When you drink water, it’s getting flushed through your system. It’s not making its way to the top layers of the skin. We know the body is made of water so you need it. But the outer layers are so effected by the environment and what’s happening outside. The best way to keep the skin hydrated is by what you’re doing topically.”

15. Making DIY skincare products from foods found in your kitchen won’t give your skin much benefit

“The reality is products are chemically formulated to be able to do their job. Putting something on your skin topically and expecting it to get into the skin without using certain ingredients to help with delivery is just not going to happen.”

16. Never exfoliant your skin daily

“I love a good exfoliation but we need to leave some skin on the face. You want to use something gentle that has round beads that don’t scratch the skin. Whether it’s an acid or scrub, don’t use an exfoliator more than five days a week.”

17. Change up your look with new makeup, hair styles, and clothing

“There’s nothing more aging than never changing your look.”

18. Be sure to use a vitamin A product like retinol or a retinoid for the rest of your life

“It works. It’s unbelievable for those who stick with it.”

19. Dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same thing and need different things

“Dry skin is lack of water. Dehydrated skin is lack of oil.”

20. The foods you eat don’t effect the skin as much as you’re led to believe

“I know this isn’t popular, but somehow we’ve been led to believe if you can eat all the antioxidants, your skin is going to glow or be better. I know thousands of people who eat very well and very clean and still have acne. A lot of people think food is going to make or break the skin and that is not my experience. I know a lot of people that also eat poorly and have great skin.”

21. Not all blemishes are created equal

“There are cystic blemishes, pustules, papules, clogged pores, closed comedones, black heads, and you need to treat them all differently. One of our top sellers is called the Zit Care Kit and it has four different types of blemish products in it and they can be used throughout the lifecycle of a blemish.”

22. Don’t wait until bedtime to perform your nighttime routine

“A lot of people get lazy and don’t do their nighttime routine because they’re tired. We’ve been programmed to do it right before we go to bed. Do it earlier rather than later. You don’t want to have your skin free of sun protection when it’s still light out. When the sun goes down is when you should do it.”

23. Your skin doesn’t get used to products and they don’t stop working

“There is no mechanism in your skin that decides one day it’s going to stop working. When people say they don’t feel like a product is working anymore, I think it’s because they already had the change of the new product and now it’s their new normal.”

24. Practice self-acceptance

“People get really obsessed and now more than ever, people are very passionate about skincare. There are certain things that Mother Nature has given us that we have to accept and can’t change.”

25. You can shrink your pores as long as you use the right techniques

“The best thing for making pores look smaller is exfoliation and long-term use of a retinol or prescription retinoid. 

“With age you start to get these little skin growths. Once a year when I go to my dermatologist, I do my annual mole and skin cancer screening, I’l have her freeze off any little skin growth.”

27. Retinol is a must but don’t start too early

“Some people in their early 20s are jumping on retinol really early and I think it’s a long-term play. If you already have thinner skin, it can make it more sensitive but also with retinol, it helps speed up the metabolism of the cells. You for sure want to use it beyond your acne years. Starting retinol for anti-aging should probably happen no sooner than age 28.”

28. Sleep on your pillow strategically to prevent wrinkles

“The reality is any way you sleep there is going to be consequences. Your sleep position is like ironing wrinkles into the skin. No matter what, you’re laying there and something is happening. On your side, you smush your face.”

29. Your best glow is achieved by living your best life full of passion

“Love your life, do things that fuel you, be adventurous.”

30. Wash your face in the morning even if you washed it right before you went to bed

“The most important product that you will ever use is your sunscreen and you don’t want anything interfering with that. While you sleep you produce oil—oil and water don’t mix so if you’re just splashing water onto the face, that won’t get off all the oil. You might have a coating on the skin without you realizing it and sunscreen won’t be able to properly protect the skin cells.”