The new mom, Meghan Markle uses serums, facial massages, and a nonirritating primer to round out her smart skin-care routine.
Even before American royalty Meghan Markle got pregnant and delivered the newest royal baby boy, she had a certain glow about her. Take a look of photos of the duchess, and you’ll see that at every stage of her time in the spotlight — including starring on the TV show Suits, bagging the title of Duchess of Sussex after marrying Prince Harry, and being pregnant — the 37-year-old has kept an absolutely radiant, age-defying skin.
Although becoming more private about her diet, beauty routine, and overall life since reaching her royal status, it’s clear that Markle remains dedicated to taking care of her skin. Not to say, she once had a popular lifestyle blog called The Tig, which focused on food, travel, fashion, and beauty.
“As I’m getting older, my approach to aging is quite different. I make sure that I take care of my skin and body, especially with the work hours I have,” she told Best Health in 2015. (Markle left Suits in 2018.)
While we’re sure Markle will embody that new-mom glow as she loves on her new infant son, past interviews provide a clue to her must-have products so you can get your skin care on, too. Here are 5 of her beauty secrets worth stealing:
1. She Likes to Swap Foundation for Primer for Everyday Wear
If your goal is to appear as if you don’t wear makeup (while still covering up imperfections), then you may want to steal Markle’s secret for the no-makeup makeup look: a primer. As Today.com reported in 2017, Markle has said that she wears Laura Mercier Illuminating Primer (now available as Radiance Foundation Primer, $38, LauraMercier.com). “I don’t wear foundation unless I’m filming so this is what I put on every day after moisturizer to give my skin a dewy glow,” she said.
The moisturizing part is just as important as the primer. “Regularly moisturizing your skin can help to repair the skin barrier and improve the tone, texture, and smoothness of the skin,” says Beleznay. What’s more, parched skin contains small cracks that allow irritants into skin, as well as releases histamines and pro-inflammatory proteins that compromise the function of skin, notes a review published in June 2014 in The Journal of Clinical and Aesthetic Dermatology.
Rather than relying on heavier foundation for everyday wear, use a lightweight primer if you have oily or acne-prone skin, Beleznay says. If that’s your skin type, you also want to look for a noncomedogenic formula (such as Markle’s preferred Laura Mercier primer) so that it won’t plug pores.
2. Markle Regularly Uses a Serum to Help Fend Off Wrinkles
One of Markle’s favorite products is Quench Hydrating Face Serum from Kate Somerville ($75, Katesomerville.com), she told The Lady Loves Couture in a November 2017 interview. The serum is packed with silicones like dimethicone (to prevent dryness), retinol (to increase new collagen formation), and sodium hyaluronate (which draws moisture into skin).
Many people like how lightweight serums feel on the skin. If you use one, it’s important to know exactly how. “Apply serums as a layering product, not as a stand-alone,” says Alster. Your serum can serve as a vehicle for active antiaging ingredients (retinol, for instance). However, as Alster says, “serums are often insufficient as the [only] moisturizer,” so follow up with a separate moisturizer. At night, Alster recommends a serum containing retinol to repair skin; on top use a moisturizer. In the morning, use a serum with vitamin C for antioxidant protection, followed by an SPF moisturizer.
3. The Duchess Exfoliates Regularly to Encourage Skin Cell Turnover
Markle clearly has a lit-from-within glow, and she attributes that to her favorite exfoliating product, Tatcha The Rice Polish ($65, Tatcha.com). “It just sort of foams on your face and gives you a really subtle exfoliation,” Markle told Allure in 2014.
“Exfoliation can be a great option to give your skin a renewed, brighter complexion. It works by turning over the skin cells,” says Katie Beleznay, MD, a clinical instructor at the University of British Columbia and a dermatologist practicing at Carruthers and Humphrey Cosmetic and Semour Health Center in Vancouver. The Tatcha product Markle swears by is a chemical exfoliant (as opposed to a physical scrub), which means there’s generally less of a risk of irritation, says Dr. Beleznay. It also contains papaya, a “fruit enzyme that tends to be even gentler than some of the other chemical exfoliants available such as alpha or beta hydroxy acids. Depending on the formulation, it can be a great option for those with sensitive skin,” she says.
4. The New Mom Always Cleans Her Face Before Bed — No Exceptions
In moments of laziness, you may want to go to bed without washing your face first. Markle’s go-to fix: swiping skin with a cleansing cloth. According to People, Markle likes the Bioré Daily Deep Pore Cleansing Cloths ($7.99, Target.com), saying: “They’re great to keep in the car and on your nightstand when you have those horribly lazy nights that the thought of getting up to actually wash your face seems unbearable.”
While Beleznay agrees that they’re okay in a pinch (after a long flight or late night), “they don’t completely replace cleansers,” she says. While they do remove makeup and excess oil, they can also leave a residue on the skin that increases the risk of dryness or irritation. “Those with particularly sensitive skin may want to proceed with caution,” says Beleznay. She recommends choosing a cleansing cloth that is listed as “hypoallergenic.”
5. Markle Massages Her Face to Decrease Early Signs of Aging
It may take more time than slathering a cream on your skin, but Markle told Birchbox in 2014 that she does facial exercises. “I swear it works, as silly as you may feel. On the days I do it, my cheekbones and jawline are waaaay more sculpted,” Markle said. She’s referring to a routine developed by aesthetician Nicola Joss, who Instagrammed this nine-exercise chart in 2018.
“There is soft science that facial massage can help [with the signs of aging],” says Washington, DC, dermatologist Tina Alster, MD, founding director of the Washington Institute of Dermatologic Laser Surgery. “The potential benefits come from increasing blood flow to the skin.”
One small study of 20 women over age 65 found that a skin-massaging device used in combination with an antiaging cream enhanced the benefits of the cream and reduced sagging, per research published in the March 2017 issue of PLoS One. Similarly, another study looked at the effects of performing 30 minutes of “facial yoga” at least every other day in women over 40. Published in March 2018 in JAMA Dermatology, it found that after 20 weeks, those in the facial-yoga group appeared to have more fullness in their upper and lower cheeks.
Another option is the gua sha facial, which involves a hard utensil that you swipe across your skin and is said to offer similar benefits as a facial massage. “If you’re the type who can be good about massaging your skin daily, then you may see a more radiant look in the short term, but we don’t know that massage will do anything permanent,” says Dr. Alster. If you’re interested in therapies that stimulate collagen renewal in the skin, consider those that are proved to lessen the signs of aging, like Fraxel laser, radiofrequency (like Thermage), or ultrasound (like Ultherapy) procedures.