Black don’t crack, right? Nah, actually, sometimes it does. The truth about looking youthful and feeling ageless lies more in the skincare routine than any magical serum you buy at a department store.

Tricia Lee, a 40-something former MAC store manager turned nail salon owner turned real estate agent knows more than a bit about ageless skin. Lee openly shared her beauty routine with us, and we’re scrambling to snatch back our edges and get our lives together.

Read on for the truth about having plump, fabulous skin after your 20s.

You look fresher and more vibrant that many women in their 20s. What is your skincare routine?

I am strict with my skincare, I grew up working for cosmetic companies so I was taught the makeup only looks as good as the skin underneath. I wash my face the minute I walk in the door. I have naturally oily skin, which contributes to elasticity, and firmer younger looking skin, but it is also acne prone and super sensitive. Ladies, rejoice in oily skin when you are young if you can prevent/repair acne scarring, you will have a younger-looking face as you age. I hydrate twice a day with a weather appropriate skincare. For me, that is a serum at night with restorative and regenerative ingredients. I love mild glycolics. They assist in shrinking pores, minimize breakout and improve texture. During the day I use less active skincare because I never trust how it works with the ingredient in my makeup. I will go for a simple moisturizer with SPF. Currently crushing on Mario Badescu Oil Free Moisturizer SPF 17. Nighttime is Drunk Elephant Glycolic Face Serum. I use eye cream every day and night and have for over 20 years. The last time I went to bed without washing my face and doing my full skin routine was my birthday 5 years ago, that’s a whole other story. My skin must be clean and cared for at all times. After I work out, I clean my face before I leave the gym.

What about what we’re putting in our bodies?

Skincare and internal hydration is half the battle. I always have a bottle with me. Even if it’s iced tea, lemon water, detox water, sparkling water or my favorite PH/Alkaline water.

Your workday is full to the max. How do you maintain stress and other negative factors that can essentially tire and age your skin?

I love my sleep and I don’t need much of it (7 hours), but I never run around without rest. I could do that in my 20’s, but now I restore and repair my hair, skin, nails, body and soul with adequate rest. It gives me clarity and the ability to move at a fast pace, make important decisions and assessments because I’m not agitated. My home is one of solace, perfect for winding down.

I’ve created 2 must haves in the past few years. One was a cut-off time for all work/projects, because if I allow myself I can go all day and night. The second was a health and wellness budget. I can specify a percentage of my income for taxes, expenses, and savings, but the machine that drives my business, work/projects, because if I allow myself I can go all day and night. The second was a health and wellness budget. I can specify a percentage of my income for taxes, expenses, and savings, but the machine that drives my business, me, must come above and beyond all of these.

For me, my monthly budget for health and wellness is currently set. My routine changes every few months. Currently, it is devoted to personal training sessions; spin class once a week immediately followed by a foot massage, monthly no-frills facials, and a gym membership. It’s the cost of doing business. Better me, better business. I had to learn that. I thought it was a luxury, now I see it as a necessity.

Quick: the must have skin care products every woman should invest in?

  1. 1. Moisturizer that hydrates does not irritate and improves their skin.
  2. 2. An amazing pair of tweezers. Stray brows hairs make us look haggard. Cleaning up your brows takes 5 years off of your face.
  3. 3. A knock-em-dead bronzer or blush. It will brighten and wake up your looks. I love corals!

What is the one thing you’ve stopped doing in order to look fresh and fabulous? 

  1. 1. I stopped spending time dressing up to go out and eat with a bunch of people with poor eating habits. It’s a waste of money, time and will add 7lbs a year on average, my two cents.
  2. 2. I stopped drinking soda. I will have one now as a celebration or special treat, but I don’t order it or buy it. I know my internal and external has benefitted from this.

What’s the biggest myth Brown women believe about our skin?

That they don’t need sunscreen or blush. Get real, your melanin makes it so your skin absorbs sun faster than a fair skin tone. Therefore you are absorbing A and B rays. It’s why we can pick a pimple and be left with a scar for 9 months. The sun will burn that area and create stubborn scars. Our skin is more sensitive than we think. Sunscreen helps to protect your skin.

This post was originally published on Beautifully Brown.