Are you a New Year’s resolutions person? I generally am not, although I enjoy identifying a word or a phrase of the year. This year, many are shunning resolutions, and who can blame them after last year? At a time when many things still seem difficult to accomplish, taking great care of your skin is very doable. One thing last year taught us is to take good care of ourselves. A good skincare regimen is part of that. Below is my skincare routine with links to purchase. Give it a go. You only get one face!
Too Many Products
Last year, one of my most popular videos was a discussion about skincare. You can find the video on my YouTube channel here. Prior to making the video, I had grown confused by the many options in my arsenal. I had a lot of great products, but I didn’t know when to use each one or whether or not it was okay to mix one with another.
Learn What to Use and When
To conquer my confusion, I had a consultation with Ivey Ray, a New York City-based makeup artist and skincare consultant. She helped me understand which products to use when (day or night) and in which order. She can do this for you, too. DM her!
After my consult with Ivey, I read a blog post by skincare expert Renee Rouleau. In it, she advised a rotation of products: two days of a retinol product, followed by two days of an exfoliating product, followed by two days of a gentle serum. I am following her advice, and my skin is happy.
My Top Criteria
#1 on my list for a skincare product is NO fragrance. Why? Fragrance does not make a product work better. It is an old school marketing technique (i.e. not innovative). Fragrance runs the risk of irritating your skin, so why take the risk? Once you are used to no fragrance, you will never go back.
Step #1 Gentle Cleansing
My favorite evening cleanser is Paula’s Choice Moisture Boost One Step Face Cleanser. I have aging skin that tends to be dry. This cleanser removes all my makeup, while keeping my skin soft and moisturized. My kids also use it and love it. In the morning, I like CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser. It contains hyaluronic acid, which holds 1,000 times its weight in moisture. This means your skin looks immediately plumper (goodbye fine lines).
Sometimes I use an oil cleanser to remove my makeup. I like Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Botanical Cleansing Oil, followed by the CeraVe cleanser above. Note: I do not wet my face before applying the oil, and I do not rinse the oil before I use the CeraVe cleanser. After massaging each into my skin, I rinse with warm water (never hot).
Step #2 Non-alcohol Toner
A toner should never contain alcohol, which strips and dries the skin. Toner removes anything left behind by tap water and it levels the skin’s pH, making it easier to accept the treatment products that follow. Lately, I’ve been enjoying Thayers Facial Toner. I’m linking to the Lemon. I know I said no fragrance, but this is subtle and refreshing. I also like the Lavender and Cucumber versions. I also like Paula’s Choice moisture boost toner, and this calming toner is nice.
Step #3 Treatment
During the day, I use a Vitamin C serum by Paula’s Choice to boost my skin’s glow and protect it from harmful free radicals. Want to learn more about “oxidative stress” and Vitamin C serum? Read this cool blog post by Renee Rouleau. The “Mercedes” of Vitamin C serums is the one by Skinceuticals. I tried a sample and enjoyed it! Ultimately, I decided to save the extra $100 and stick with Paula’s Choice. CeraVe makes a budget-friendly one.
Two evenings per week, I use a retinol product. Presently, I’m using this one by La Roche-Posay. I’ve used the 1% Retinol Treatment by Paula’s Choice with good success. The Honest Company makes one, too.
The next two evenings, I use an Alpha Hydroxy Acid lotion to gently exfoliate my skin. I use Paula’s Choice 8% AHA Lotion Exfoliant. The reason exfoliation is important is because dead skin cells need to be removed to reveal the fresh skin beneath. I prefer not to scrub my skin, which is sensitive. As a side note, Beta Hydroxy Acid products go deeper into the skin. It is a good choice for those with acne prone skin.
The next two evenings I use a gentle serum. The two serums I am rotating between right now are Paula’s Choice Triple Algae Pollution Shield and Power Berry Serum. For years, I used their Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol. I stopped using it because I began using a separate retinol product. This could be a good serum for bundling retinol with other powerful antioxidants.
Step #4 Moisturize
During the day, it is important to use a moisturizer with SPF. At a minimum, look for 30 SPF, although many dermatologists recommend SPF 50 or greater. I do not like the smell of sunscreen. I am amazed the Daily Moisurizing Lotion SPF 30 by Paula’s Choice has none of the telltale scent. She also makes one with SPF 50. The sunscreen I am using right now is this one by Olay. I am disappointed it has a light fragrance, however. CeraVe makes a nice one with SPF 30.
In the evening, I love Paula’s Choice Replenishing Moisturizer. On the lighter side, I love Cetaphil’s Daily Hydrating Lotion. Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream is super yummy, although I tend to avoid jar products as a general rule because the active ingredients degrade more quickly with their exposure to air.
On occasion, I use a face mask to boost the benefits of my skincare routine. For years, one of my favorites has been the Kiehl’s Tumeric & Cranberry Seed Energizing Radiance Masque. It has a bit of “scrub” to it and a fragrance, but I don’t mind. The results are amazing. Another Kiehl’s mask I love is their Avocado Nourishing Hydration Mask. Another long-time favorite mask is the Detox Face Mask by Malin+Goetz.
This is where I need your help. What are your favorites? For years, I have not been using an eye cream. To depuff in the mornings, I sometimes use Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Eye De-Puffer. It works. I’ve recently started using a sample size of Kiehl’s Vitamin C Eye Serum. Goodness knows, I can use help in the dark circles department. I’m super curious to try L’Oreal’s True Match Eye Cream in a Concealer. Who has used that one? Do tell!
If all of this information is overwhelming, start with one product like a good cleanser or a good moisturizer. Then, slowly build your arsenal. I have been a novice skincare student for over 20 years, and I’ve tried many products. These are the ones I’ve settled into, but I am open to others. So, please share your favorites in the comments. I keep a running list of great beauty products to try.
Happy New Year! This year, take control where you can! It is never too late (or too early) to take great care of your skin.