Terri Tatum Soft Surroundings

With a background as a flight attendant, Terri Tatum’s current career as an esthetician might not have been the obvious choice, but it’s one she’s glad she made. “I’ve always loved helping people feel better about themselves,” she says. And as a consultant in the Renewal Room at Soft Surroundings, she does that every day. We asked her for insights on how to look and feel your best.

What is your favorite tip to give your clients about their makeup?

The makeup will look good if you have good skin care. You always should apply it with brushes, and use minerals that are good for the skin. Also, as we get older, less is more for eye color. We don’t need as much eyeliner and mascara as we did in our 20s and 30s.

Are primers necessary?

They’re very important. It’s like when you paint: you want to smooth the canvas and prepare for the finish. They also help foundation last longer, and help the moisturizer stay in the skin. Make sure to get one that is non-comedogenic, so that it won’t clog pores.

How do you determine where to place color?

Remember that lighter colors will bring things forward, and darker colors are for contouring, they make things recede. One palette I like to use is Jane Iredale’s Rose Down, which has four colors. Put a highlighting color on your cheekbone and a little on your nose, it’s very simple and it will give you a dewy fresh glow.

Another mistake people tend to make is the way they try to conceal puffiness under the eyes. Only use concealer where it’s dark under the eye, because otherwise you’re going to make it stand out more. A lot of people don’t really have dark circles, they just have puffiness. To combat that, find a product with caffeine and limit your salt intake.

What are some of the elements of a good skin care routine?

The most common problem people have is dry skin. The first thing I always ask them is, What are you doing at night? That’s the most important time to wash and then use a good moisturizer while the skin is still damp. You might want to use one that incorporates hyaluronic acid, which is a natural moisture binder that holds up to 1,000 times its weight in water. In the morning, you don’t even need to wash, just splash some water on, use your toner and moisturize. A lot of people over-wash—that protective barrier is on our skin for a reason.

If the skin is feeling tight or looks thirsty, then the flaws show up more. Especially as you age, it’s almost like you can’t overdo hydration, you always want to add moisture. Drinking a lot of water and getting enough sleep also make a difference.

What type of exfoliation do you recommend?

There are two types of exfoliation: manual scrubbing and chemical exfoliants. In the Renewal Room, we offer a 30 percent glycolic scrub. It loosens the glue that holds onto dead cells, and gets the cellular turnover going. It’s also OK to use manual scrubs, as long as you remember that you’re trying to move them across the skin and not rubbing them into the skin. You don’t want to have any inflammation, because any time your skin is red that means you’re causing trauma. And always remember to wear sunscreen, because otherwise you’re sabotaging this brand new layer of skin that’s extra-sensitive.

Can even people with sensitive skin use exfoliators?

There’s a difference between sensitive skin and sensitized skin. When our skin is sensitized, it’s because we’ve subjected it to so many bad things that the defenses are gone. People have sensitive skin for a lot of different reasons, but most people with sensitive skin can benefit, as well. They might need to do less exfoliating though, or gradually work up to it.

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