Your early teens are a tumultuous time. Hormones are running amok, social status is paramount, and young women and men on the cusp of adulthood are trying to figure out who they are and how they want to present those identities to the world. The face they put forward is a top priority. YouTube beauty tutorials offer a dizzying array of tips on how to take care of your skin, eliminate acne and blemishes, and apply makeup to highlight your best features – but what really works best?

Makeup artist Estelle Phillips of Lac & Co. in Toronto, says establishing a good skincare regimen at a young age will pay huge dividends down the road. “It can be stressful trying to figure out what products to use because there are just so many out there,” says Phillips. “Experiment but don’t spend a fortune until you figure out what works best with your skin.”

Here are some of her tips on how to bring out your best.

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Start with a makeup remover (Aveeno makeup wipes or Neutrogena’s oil-free formula are both good options). Once all your makeup is off, use a face wash. The product you buy will depend on your skin chemistry: oily, dry or normal (if it’s oily, it will develop a shiny film as the day goes on). A highly-effective one-step facial cleanser is Philosophy Purity Made Simple Cleanser. Your face is clean if no residue comes off when you pat it dry with a towel. In the morning, simply wash with water. It’s good for the natural oils that have built up overnight to remain on your skin.

Illustration by Benjamin MacDona

Aveeno Ultra-Calming Make-Up Removing Wipes for Sensitive Skin, $9.98 at Walmart.


Again, talk to friends, family, or skin professionals to properly assess your skin type before purchasing a moisturizer. Then experiment slowly – one product at a time – to identify what works best with your skin. Phillips – who has “problem skin” – uses Biologique Reserche. Less pricey options include Philosophy Hope in a Jar (good for sensitive skin) and First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Cream Intense Hydration (suitable for dry or combination skin). The most common mistake, says Phillips, is using a moisturizer that is far too rich for your skin. Don’t use anything that feels too heavy.

Illustration by Benjamin MacDona

Philosophy Renewed Hope in a Jar, $62 at Sephora.


Most teens don’t need foundation, says Phillips, who prefers using a combination of concealer and bronzer. Tap concealer under your eyes or on blemishes with your ring finger and make sure it’s blended out before setting it with a tiny amount of translucent powder. Her favourite concealers are a natural, coconut-oil based line from RMS and Laura Mercier’s Secret Camouflage, which is oil-free.

Illustration by Benjamin MacDona

Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage, US$35 through


Bronzers can be used as eyeshadow and blush (a low-cost neutral option is Rimmel Natural Bronzer). Cream blushes also do double-duty on lips and cheeks, making your face look seamless (try Clinique’s Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm). The look for brows today is super natural so don’t over-tweeze. Use Kelley Baker Tinted Eyebrow Gel or Annabelle Brow Pencil. Mascara (Maybelline’s Stiletto is fantastic) should be brought right to the root of your lash, and wiggled as you pull it through.

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Illustration by Benjamin MacDona

Annabelle Eye Brow Pencil, $6.99 through


Dedicate yourself to a lifetime of sunscreen. Your face will love you for it as you get older. Change your pillowcase once a week to help prevent breakouts. Start taking proper care of your skin as soon as possible. The sooner you start, the happier your skin will be. Don’t be afraid to experiment, but go slow. Introducing too many products at once can make the process of taking care of your face onerous and confusing. It should be fun! Enjoy making the most of your natural beauty. Be proud of your looks and who you are.

Illustration by Benjamin MacDona

La Roche Posay Anthelios Lightweight Lotion SPF 30, $29.50 at Shoppers Drug Mart.

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