It was close to 90 degrees out the day we sat down with Daria Myers, but she came into our office fresh as a daisy, with not a thing out of place. Elegance was the first thing that came to mind when she walked in, and it was substantiated by the end of our interview. Daria sat down with me and we talked about skincare, what we should all be using, and what she thinks about some new trends!
Daria has been working in the skincare industry since the 1970’s. She recently left Estee Lauder, where she worked in a wide range of executive roles over a 39 year career. Most recently, she held the position of Managing Director of the Ventures group. She also served as a founding member of the team that created Origins and had been the senior executive responsible for the brand. With her impressive and vast knowledge of skincare and the skincare world we knew she was the perfect person to speak to about the do’s and don’ts of skincare!
Q: Daria, you have spent years working in beauty and the skincare field. What is the most important thing you’ve learned about skincare and stress?
A: Stress definitely has an effect on your skin, the health of your skin and its appearance. Stress can make your skin look tired, dull and gray on the surface. Also, stress makes it apparent that you are feeling the pressure. Think about it, when you are stressed you frown more, you furrow your brow, and lines and wrinkles form. There is something called “the elevens”. They are the lines that appear between your eyebrows. “The elevens” don’t form from aging, rather stress and anxiety. Your skin and the muscles on your face are conditioned by what you do with them over time and without realizing it those lines become permanent. There is a new concept on the market called Face Gym, it’s meant to retrain your muscles to make you smile more and relax your forehead.
It isn’t just the surface of your skin that is effect by stress, it also effects everything underneath. You also have to consider environmental stressors like pollution and the sun. For example, in China, environmental stress solutions have become a huge industry because of how bad the pollution is there. Those products are starting to make their way here as well.
And finally, one of the biggest causes of stress and poor skin is lack of sleep! Lack of sleep is terrible for your skin. When we sleep we are allowing our bodies to rest and replenish, when we cut that time down we aren’t giving our bodies the time to do what they are meant to, much to the detriment of our skin. People tend to pride themselves on how little sleep they get, but the reality is to function and look your best you need 7-8 hours of sleep a night. And no, you can’t catch up on sleep on the weekends, it unfortunately doesn’t work that way.
Q: My friend is a urologist, and we talk about everything! Recently, he informed me that sex makes the skin of men much healthier, is this true?
A: It’s true! But that doesn’t just go for men, it’s does that for everyone! Sex is technically exercise, it reduces stress, and reduces cortisol which is the stress hormone. Men and women of every skin tone get a rosy glow after sex because we have more blood flow and oxygen flowing through our bodies. The make-up brand NARS has a blush called “Orgasm” that is their best-selling! It works on every skin tone and it gives you that after sex glow.
Q: You are a big user, supporter, and creator of all-natural products. When people are stressed, and they break out, or get bags under their eyes they run for chemical treatments because of the quick results. Are there any treatments that aren’t all natural that you swear by, or do you think it’s better to sacrifice with a not so great visage for a few weeks and use natural products?
A: I’ll start by saying I don’t judge anyone or how they choose to treat their skin. I consider myself a naturalist, though I am not opposed to certain procedures. My perspective is that people who let themselves age gracefully, are more graceful people. But you have to have a certain level of comfort with yourself to do that. I don’t believe skincare is about the quick fix, rather having a ritual every day that will help the health your skin.
I have accepted that I am the age that I am, for me it’s a badge. I am proud of my age and the lines I have because they show the life I have lived. I’ve had injections here and there to fill in a bit, we used hyaluronic acid which is completely natural. But the results are temporary so in the end you’re going to end up in the same place, so I stopped those treatments and now just prefer to accept and embrace the changes. There are other reasons to get treatments as well. I have broken blood vessels near the base of my nose and I tried lasers to remove them, and they actually made it worse! So, I stopped that as well.
I also believe in imperfection, and that they are what make us beautiful. Years ago, models couldn’t show freckles, they would be photoshopped out. Now with millennials and younger generations, those difference are celebrated, and I love it! There used to be one idea of beauty—it was usually a white woman of a certain height and weight, but now that has all changed. The beauty world is reflecting what the actual world is.
Q: For our readers, what do you recommend for everyday use in skincare? The 10 Step Korean Method is all the rage now, but not all of us have an hour or two a day to take care of our skin. Is there a quick and easy method you recommend?
A: I am very familiar with the 10 Step Korean Method. It actually started with the Japanese. The Japanese are working on a new method that would cut back on a few of those steps, eventually that method will make its way here. But I don’t believe in all of that. I believe in a 3-step method. Clinique started the 3-step system in 1969, cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturize and it became the way of the world, that routine didn’t exist before Clinique. The creator, Carol Philips was actually my mentor.
I don’t believe in exfoliating twice a day, which is a very European thing. I exfoliate every couple of days. Cleanse with a gentle cleanser so you don’t disrupt the pH balance of your skin. Cleansing can in ways be more irritating than exfoliating if using a chemical cleanser. Moisturizing with a serum or moisturizer is a great 3rd step. My step-2 is something I learned from Asia, it’s called watery lotion or essence, and I can’t believe I hadn’t been doing this my whole life! It looks like toner, so you think you’d use a pad, but you pour the liquid into your hand and gently pat it into your face—essentially you are patting moisture back into your skin.
My daily routine is cleanse, watery lotion, and moisturize, morning and night. You have to make sure you remove your make up before you follow these steps! Also remember that squeaky clean is the worst thing for your skin. It takes all of the natural oils off and that will do more harm than good.
Q: Summer is here! Sunscreen and protection from UV rays is on the forefront of everyone’s mind. What tips do you have for taking care of skin in the harsh summer sun?
A: My best advice is to stay out of the sun as much as you can. Wear big sunglasses, or a hat and have a decent sun protector. My issue with sun protection is the majority of them are chemical based. They leave your skin feeling heavy, and if they get into your eyes it’s terrible!
You should be using a gentler sunscreen on your face because the skin on your face is far more sensitive than the rest of your body. Also, a softer sun protector means less rubbing in, which is also better for your face. A great option is a moisturizer that is combined with a sun protector. Since I only use naturals, there are only 2 options I have. One is zinc oxide, the other titanium oxide. The only issue with those products is they are white substances that don’t blend well and leave a film on the skin. There have been advancements in the field, and I am hopeful that we will have something better soon!
Q: Exercise is great for reducing stress but sweat can wreak havoc on the skin! At the gym what do you recommend people do to make sure their skin is taken care of?
A: It’s all about cleaning gently. You’re going to be sweating so that can compromise your skin and touching weights, and machines then touching your face can spread germs, so you have to be aware! A water mister is great to have on hand, applying clean refreshing moisture to your face.
Also, for a bit of skin care for your hands, avoid the hand sanitizer they have at gyms. Hand sanitizers are harsh and stripping, it’s better to make your way to the bathroom and wash your hands regularly after your work out.
Q: People sometimes think skincare is all about women, but men have to take care of their skin too! What products or methods do you see men having success with?
A: Men have the benefit of shaving, it’s essentially exfoliating. That’s why most men, from the nose down tend to look younger than women. Men need to make sure they use something to soothe their skin after they shave and replenish the moisture. Also, using face scrubs 2 or 3 times a week is great for their skin!
Q: With time and age the needs of our skin change. What is your advice for someone who sees a change and isn’t too sure what to do about it?
A: Read good literature (like this!), Allure magazine gives great advice and is a great source. But the best thing you can do is check in with your dermatologist, they’ll have all the information you need. If you want to learn a bit more on your own, read about nutrition and how it affects your skin.
Most of changes you’ll see are due to hormones. This is probably the most important thing I am going to say to you: It’s not just about what you put on your skin. You could moisturize daily, do your face masks, etc. but if you aren’t paying attention to what you put into your body, it will be for naught.
There is a whole new category of products that are ingestible for your skin. It’s liquids, vitamins, collagen drinks, etc. I created a pill 30 years ago that was all natural, but back then it was a leap of faith, now people understand the benefits and more and more people are using them. There is a store in the West Village called Cap Beauty. They have amazing products and sell some of those vitamins as well!