"Beauty is only skin deep," began Jennifer Lopez's response when asked during a recent interview, "What would you say to all the women in the world who desperately want to look like you, but aren't blessed with your genes?" Easy for someone endowed with her beauty to say, but even the lovely actress credited her glowing skin to a single mainstay — her moisturizer — above all else.
For Lopez's self-described normal-to-dry skin, that makes sense. Experts add these skin-savvy tips for other darker-skinned Hispanics:
- For some of you, a daily cleanser alone will do. That's if, unlike J. Lo, your skin is more oily. Make sure the cleanser is formulated for sensitive skin, because harsh products threaten to take healthy brown skin and turn it blotchy, by throwing off the melanin pigmentation.
- Wear at least an SPF-15 product. Any type of skin — whatever the shade, whatever the texture — is subject to skin cancer without additional, artificial SPF protection. So, use sunscreen or moisturizer with sunscreen added.
- Consider a mineral mask if your oily skin breaks out. Used two or three times a week, a mask deeply cleanses your skin and helps keep it clear. Make sure it's meant for your type of skin.
- Make the most of the makeup you wear. For olive-skinned Hispanics, in particular, makeup can make or break your look, says Victoria De La Guerra, owner of Faces and Bodies salon in West Los Angeles. Her bottom line on selecting and applying cosmetics: Enhance — don't undermine — your dark, dramatic features.
The usually dark brows and lashes and shapely lips of a darker-skinned Latina don't need much playing up so don't go overboard to give yourself a new face, De La Guerra recommends. Sometimes less is better she says, offering these additional tips for maximizing makeup's effect:
- Foundation Match your face's skin color by trying out testers — test on your face, not your hand or arm, as those can vary in shade. Relatively new, mineral-based foundations (Artiba makes one) are unsurpassed for Hispanics.
- Choose Color With Care Choose softening colors — subtle pinks and mauves make De La Guerra's cut for both lipsticks and eyeliners — but stay away from "morbid" browns and burgundies.
- The Eyes Have It Brown-black mascara will soften up dark eyes. (Maybelline's Full-and-Soft is a good drugstore brand. De La Guerra's other favorites — Artiba and Kiss-me brands — can be purchased online, at salons or at beauty supply stores.)
For makeup colors, as for skin care products, no one product will work for everyone, De La Guerra points out. With cosmetics, it's a breeze — put it on, and check it out. As for skin-care products, give a brand a two-month try, then progress to a new product if you haven't seen a benefit. Also, consider getting personalized help from a professional, who might point you to a single treatment that will work right away. As a rule, though, your at-home routine will always reign supreme. As salon owner De La Guerra acknowledges, "You're the only one who will attend to your skin every day."