My Skincare Routine

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My skincare routine. Let’s do this.

A little about this skin of mine. It’s usually pretty happy, except for occasional sensitivity or a rosacea flare up. (What is rosacea? Everything you need to know is right here.)  When I do experience rosacea, it usually manifests itself as redness and a few skin-colored bumps around my nose and cheeks. I know many of my fellow rosacea-prone readers have been asking about my routine, so here it is, but I do want to clarify that my rosacea is definitely on the mild end of the spectrum, so I don’t know how your skin would react to these products. [End disclaimer.]

I’ve always been a 2-step skincare girl. Cleanse and moisturize. The end. However, now that I’m entering my late thirties (37 next week! Eeek!), I’ve added a few more products to my arsenal. Exfoliaters and serums, to be exact. Exfoliation is key, ladies! Especially for us old hags! We need to rid ourselves of old skin cells and let our fresh skin shine through.

I’ve tried many, many skincare brands from the cheapest ones to very high-end. Luckily for my wallet, most of my very favorites are drugstore brands.

1. Olay 2-n-1 Sensitive Daily Facial Cloths – I love these cloths. LOVE THEM. Just add a little water and they effectively clean all makeup (including eye makeup!) off my face without causing any redness or irritation. However, I only can use the fragrance-free ones for sensitive skin. The ones made for “normal” and “combination/oily” skin types make my skin very angry. Of course, the sensitive skin ones are harder to find (my local Target or drugstore chains NEVER have them), so when I do find them, this is the result:

Anyway, Olay 2-n-1 Sensitive Daily Face Cloths. I use them every night before I go to bed. Love ‘em. (Although, while I’m rambling on, I really wish the first ingredient listed on these cloths wasn’t PETROLATUM. In fact, if you know of an organic facial cleansing cloth that takes off eye makeup and has no scent, PLEASE DO TELL.)

2. Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Clear Skin Cream – I’ve talked about this cream in the past, and I still love it years later. Now, I’ve never been plagued with acne, so I originally didn’t consider this product for my skin. I am so glad I tried this stuff out. It is THE perfect moisturizer for me. Not too heavy, not too light, it absorbs very quickly and keeps my rosacea completely at bay. The secret is salicylic acid. Saclicylic acid has been proven time and time again to prevent blemishes – and although my rosacea bumps aren’t your typical “blemish,” the salicylic acid keeps my skin healthy and without flare-ups. The retinol isn’t half bad for erasing fine lines and wrinkles, either. (Remember! Old hag over here.)

I apply this moisturizer every night after washing my face with the Olay cloths. And that’s my typical two-step, nighttime routine.

The next three products are what I use every morning.

3) Clarisonic Mia – I wrote about it here. Everyone loves it, it’s amazing, blah blah blah. Get yourself one.

4) Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser – This is a great complement to my Clarisonic. I just wet my face, smooth a pump or two of the cleanser on my face, and let my Clarisonic work its magic. If you are planning on trying this for the first time, please be aware that this cleanser does not foam at all. In fact, if you are a I-need-suds-to-feel-clean person, this will take some getting used to, but remember, you don’t need bubbles to clean effectively!

Another option I’ve been using as a daily wash is the Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash. I do like this wash a lot. It’s a little more gel-like in consistency, so I feel like it stays on my face while using the Clarisonic (the Cetaphil is pretty slippery, and can feel like it’s sliding off while using the Clarisonic). I like that it’s free of sulfates, but it’s relatively pricey. I’m not averse to dropping some cash on skincare, but only if the product proves itself to be much more effective than the cheaper alternatives. The Kate Somerville wash is $32 for 4 ounces, and the Cetaphil cleanser is $10 for 16 ounces, and I don’t see that much of a difference between the two in regards to my skin. So! Cetaphil wins this battle for now.

5) Olay Complete Defense Daily UV Moisturizer, SPF 30 – If Olay stops making this sunscreen, I will weep for weeks. Months! My face does not do well with certain chemical sunscreens. For instance, Avobenzone and Homosalate are pure torture. Seriously, if you are looking to pull some Hunger Games action on me, just put me in the arena with those sunscreens thrown all over my face. I WILL DIE. WHILE HOWLING FROM THE STINGING AND BURNING. Listen, I love me some Neutrogena products, but their SPF moisturizers usually contain those chemicals, so no thanks. Olay Complete Defense’s active ingredient is zinc oxide, which makes my face very happy.

The last two products are used a couple times a week.

6) Kate Somerville ExfoliKate Gentle Exfoliating Treatment – This is a great exfoliating treatment for sensitive skin. It’s strong enough to lift dead skin cells, but doesn’t make my skin all red and pissy.

7) Skinceuticals Serum 10 AOX+ – This serum defends against environmental damage and helps to prevent premature signs of aging, and it’s totally ideal for sensitive skin types. I should actually put this on every morning, but I’m lazy. Are any of you all using Skinceuticals products? I’m really interested in many of their serums, but am afraid to pull the trigger due to the price. I’d love to hear your experience.

So, there you have it! My very favorite skincare products. What do you all use that you just love? (I could talk about this stuff for hours.) Any rosacea treatments that I need to know about? What about your favorite anti-aging products and serums? Lord knows I need to hop on that train full bore in the coming years…

 



COMMENTS (74)

Comments

  1. Just another aside about the Mia, I got one for my teen son in an effort to help with his persistent acne. It’s working like a charm! (PS they have DUDE colors now!)

  2. Delurking to say I’ve used Skinceuticals for about 4 years and I would never use anything else. I’ve tried so many different products. I have fairly sensitive skin and used to break out regularly even in my mid-30’s, but their products have completely transformed my skin. They are expensive (relatively speaking) but I find I use less of them than drugstore products so they last longer. The two products I absolutely love are Phloretin CF and Phyto Corrective Serum. I am quite pale so if/when I do get a pimple, I’ll see hyperpigmentation for weeks. The Phyto corrects this very quickly as well as the mild redness I see from time to time.

    I seriously cannot say enough about these products. I actually get compliments on my skin now, something that has never happened.

    • Oh, I am THIS close to buying the Phloretin CF. I have heard NOTHING but good things about it!

  3. Can you recommend a cleanser for your Step 1 that isn’t a disposable cloth? I love that they work well, but I’m not going to use a product that you use once and then throw in the trash. Terrible for the environment.

    • I did. Kate Somerville Gentle Daily Wash and Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. Oh, another good one that I didn’t mention is Purpose Daily Wash.

  4. I have been a Cetaphil gal for so long now…though I use the normal to oily wash. The older I get, and the more my hormones adjust, the oiler my skin is.
    I also love Neutrogena’s Healthy Skin Eye Cream with alpha hydroxy. (36 and no crow’s feet…I’m a proud gal).
    I like Aveda’s liquid exfoliator, but wondering as I am an old hag as well, if I need something stronger. I use neutrogena rapid wrinkle moisturizer for night. During the day I use a tinted moisturizer with SPF.
    I also really like Aveda’s herbal clay mask. It’s a really great purifying mask.
    I love skin care…I’m kind of a geek about it so I love this post.
    I still have not pulled the trigger on the clarisonic….
    Best,
    Tina

    • I still haven’t found the perfect eye cream…maybe I should try that Neutrogena!

      As for the Clarisonic, I’m not just saying this, it’s a life changer. Truly. I’m always the one with high hopes for skincare, and am usually let down, but the Clarisonic is amazing. You HAVE to buy one.

  5. $65 for a 2 ounce tube of cleanser? I’ll have to stick with my terrible-for-your-skin St. Ives apricot scrub for now…

  6. I go pretty basic w/cleanser and moisturizer (Olay, Purpose) but I do use SkinMedica’s Vitamin C serum during the day and their Tri Retinol at night. Both are awesome and cheaper than Skinceuticals (although I’ve been tempted by the phloretin CF). I also use my Clarisonic most days and love it. Now if I could just find the perfect eye cream that wasn’t too much $!

    • I hear you on the eye cream. Let me know if you ever find one…it’s like the quest for the holy grail!

  7. My dermatologist pushes the stuff with nothing in it…and luckily the price is right too! it’s called vanicream, I use that as my face wash, I have sensitive skin and a mild form of rosacea too, and that stuff never irritates my skin. For moisterizer, I’ve used neostrata ultra moisterizing cream. not too greasy, I love that stuff! I have used the Bobbi Brown serum in the past and loved it, just haven’t gone back to spending $65+ on it. I would love an under eye cream rec like Erin said!

    • I’ve heard good things about Neostrata…might need to try a sample of that. Yes, someone give us a good eye cream rec!!

  8. Origins GinZeng Eye Cream. Done and Done. Seriously. $29.50 and it is FANTASTIC.

    http://bit.ly/rqb4Oo

  9. Danielle (elleinadspir) says:

    Thanks for this post! I love the neutrogena cream and use it nightly ever since you first suggested it to me. But I have had daytime issues that you might have solved for me with this post. I try to use the neutrogena daily lotion with sunscreen in it but it burns! So I often end up using the one without sunscreen and feeling guilty about it. Going to buy this oil of olay one and try it out. I can’t get on board with the no bubbles. I need them. I like the new natural neutrogena line of cleansers and exfoliators. And I use the daily defense eye cream too, but I’m not sure it does squat.

  10. Okay, so you know I LOVE skinceuticals….and, when I was in Hawaii one time I completely forgot to put on sunscreen one morning, but I had my skinceuticals on….and, I did not burn! As for eye creams…all of the ones that I love are pricey. I love the original La Mer eye cream, and I really love love love my Lumiere eye cream (buy online, or at a dermatologist’s office)

    • Do you think I should try the Phloretin CF? Is that what you use? Your skin is BEAUTIFUL, Lisa. (Also, I got your email last night. Cocktails VERY SOON!! So much to tell you, and I want to hear everything going on with you!!

  11. I’ve been using Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream based on a rec from my derm doc. Contains retinol and the price tag isn’t horrifying (~$20).

  12. Yes! I think that you should make the switch to Phlorectin CF…It is pricier, but it does last a long time–definitely worth it. Also, You do not need to use a lot! Email me when you get a chance!!! I miss yoooouuu!

  13. perfect timing– at the dermatologist the other day, she recommended finding a daily face sunscreen with zinc as the main ingredient to prevent melasma, and I was losing my mind at Target the other day reading all of the labels. thanks for the tip!

    I use my clarisonic, neutrogena naturals cleanser, and currently Aveeno moisturizer but I’ll be switching soon. night, i’m currently obsessed with the new Burt’s Bees facial cleansing towelettes– so gentle and they smell very simply clean. Plus, only about 6 bucks for a pack of 30.

    • OMG, Burt’s Bees towelettes could be exactly what I’m looking for! (Uh, after I finish off those 6 boxes of Olay cloths I just bought…)

      • Okay, just looked them up and realized they are pre-moistened. Haven’t had good look with pre-moistened ones in the past, but still going to try them, for sure.

    • Do they take off waterproof eye makeup???

      • I haven’t tried it out too thoroughly (I work from home so eye makeup isn’t part of my everyday) but I had no trouble removing waterproof mascara recently.

  14. This facecloth by LaFresh is the only natural version of those Olay facecloths I know of: http://lafreshgroup.com/facial-skin-care/oil-free-face-cleanser-fragrance-free-30ct.html.

    I think it’s tough to find an organic version since organic products tend to be eco-friendly, and eco-friendly usually means re-usable! However, this facecloth from Saaf seems really intriguing and similarly easy to use (you just use your favorite cleanser with it instead of having the cleanser built in): http://www.saafpureskincare.com/products/face/clean_sweep_organic_face_cloth

    If you try them, let me know what you think!

    -Aleigh

  15. PS: Carly, I haven’t seen the new Burt’s Bees cleansing cloths…going to go look them up RIGHT NOW.

  16. Delurking here to get in on the eye cream recs. Murad wrinkle reducing eye cream is amazing. Not cheap but with eye cream you get what you pay for. Used it for years and not a crows foot in sight :)

  17. I’ve come to the same point. Need good products, don’t mind spending- if it’s truly worth it, but have often found drugstore products that work equally well. I use a lot of Boots products (from Target)… I had heard great reviews on this brand, and tried for myself last March. I’ve been really happy with the results, and LOVE the prices. Here’s what I use…

    -Clarisonic (every other day… totally agree with ya- LOVE IT, and well worth it)

    – Purity made simple (such a good cleanser, but open to spending less- tried this out since I got a good discount, and have read so many great reviews)
    http://www.philosophy.com/skincare-cleansers/purity-made-simple-product

    – Skin brightening toner(using, but still not sure if I really NEED a toner)
    http://www.us.boots.com/SkinBrighteningToner/

    – Protect & Perfect Eye Cream (first time using a serum or an eye cream- love)
    http://www.us.boots.com/ProtectPerfectEyeCream/

    – Protect & Perfect Intense Beauty Serum (love this too)
    http://www.us.boots.com/protectandperfectintensebeautyserum/

    – Time Resisting Day Cream SPF12 (use their night cream as well)
    http://www.us.boots.com/TimeResistingDayCream/

    (Or sometimes Laura Mercier tinted moisturizer- had issues with the packaging (explodes in different altitudes and temp changes… so much wasted product, and it’s a good product, but I’m still on the fence about tinted moisturizers)

    (I use a filler too- Mac- but will try Boots next, and see which I prefer)

  18. Eye cream recs:

    Origins “Eye Doctor”

    Mary Kay (I KNOW, but you have to get past all the pinkiness of everything) Firming Eye Cream

    Neutrogena Healthy Skin Eye Cream

    My skin is SUPER dry and very sensitive (plus I wear contacts so I’m prone to irritation) and I’ve used all of these with great success. The Neutrogena is probably the lightest, but still good.

  19. Love ExfoliKate! That is all. I also want a new Mia because mine is boring white and now they come in green and pink and purple! Might as well jazz things up a bit.

  20. Baby wipes work just as well as the more expensive facial wipes. My mom and I have been using them for years and they work wonderfully. I use Nature Babycare Wipes – you can buy them on Amazon and are 100% biodegradable. I love Cetaphil. I wish I could find an eye cream that wasn’t so dang expensive! RACKET.

    • Good point. We can’t live without our Seventh Generation wipes for the kids…I bet I could use those on my face in a pinch!

  21. I’m shocked I didn’t see any Dermalogica mentioned! I love the daily microfoliant and the gentle cream exfoliant is amazing for sensitive or oily skin. The cream is just like a mask, wipe it off with a washcloth and boom, perfect smooth skin, shrunken pores, and oil is sooo much better. I’m going to have to try the Mia, keep hearing good things.

  22. I l-o-v-e that Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Clear Skin Cream. It’s AMAZING.

  23. Ah, I’d be willing to give on my kidneys to get rid of those stubborn blackheads/Oily Skin.
    I used to use Roc Purif-AC but for some reason no stores carries it anymore where I live.

  24. your routine is similar to mine. however, i’ve been curious about salma hayek’s line at cvs. have you heard about it? anyone uses her products??

    • I haven’t heard about it, but I do know Jessica Simpson is coming out with a line of skincare and I’m supposed to receive some samples next week. I’ll be sure to post my thoughts!

  25. she was on some show the other day talking about her line and made the products sound wonderful and that very day i ran out to cvs but the cream i wanted was out of stock. well, i look forward to hearing about jesica simpson’s products and if i try salma’s, i’ll be sure to fill you in:) thanks for all your wonderful tips! you and your family are just beautiful!!!!

  26. Love the comments! Eye cream ideas always needed.

  27. I’ve got to say that clarasonic sounds like something i’d be willing to try one day…

    had to comment because of how similar your routine was to mine before. i tried the olay 2in1 wipes for sensitive skin and they made my black heads worse, other than that i would have really liked to keep using them. the neutrogena made my rosacea worse, so maybe i had bad luck. on the other hand i absolutely love cetaphil.

    i was born with terrible skin luck and have a combo of rosacea/eczema/dermatitis/acne that pops up at different times so i’ve gone through a fair amount of stuff too.

    eye makeup remover, always vaseline. 2-3 times a week a gently baking soda scrub followed always with a splash of apple cider vinegar and then moisturize. cleaner and moisturizer, obviously cetaphil. once a week an oil cleansing using jojoba oil.

    i never realized how natural my routine had to get (and simple, and cheap) to be able to deal with all those issues. it lets me get away with more makeup mistakes than other routines thats for sure (read: sleep in makeup by accident). just wanted to share in case people were lurking for ideas.

  28. christina says:

    I have tried to look for the Neutrogena Healthy Skin Anti-Wrinkle Anti-Blemish Clear Skin Cream since you first raved about it, but I can’t find it anywhere!! Where do you get it? Also, does anyone have any recs for skincare for a 25 year old with sensitive/oily skin and mild redness (not sure if it’s rosacea or not)? I know I should be doing things to help “prevent” aging, but I’m not sure what?!

  29. Your timing is perfect! I am running out of my old skin care stuff (Philosophy) and cannot really afford to restock. I’ve never had luck with much drug store stuff – my skin is crazy sensitive. But I never thought of using the cetaphil cleanser. Rad.

  30. I believe I remember reading at some point that you get the little bumps on your arms. Is this rosacea too? I just recently started getting these, and I am looking for something to keep them at bay. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • Nope, that’s Keratosis Pilaris, and honestly, that’s a whole post in itself. However, I’ve really found that everyone is different in how to treat KP. For instance, what works for my son doesn’t work for me and vice versa. You can’t cure it, but you can help lessen the bumps with exfoliation and certain lotions. My skin responds well to AmLactin Moisturizing Body Lotion, and my son does well with Eucerin Smoothing Essentials Lotion. (You can click on those products to see…)

  31. love this post! 1, you have motivated me to use my clarisonic again. dont know why, but i stopped using it. 2, you have reminded me about kate somerville. i had the exfolikate intense one awhile ago, it actually hurt! but then you know its eating up all those little skin cells. love that.

    and as far as recommendations, i am a BIG, HUGE fan of Ole Henriksen products! Specifically the truth serum collagen booster. this stuff is amazing. put it on every morning as your moisturizer. over time it has made the only big difference on my skin. it rebuilds your skin and its full of vitamin C so its pretty great at fighting aging skin. and their night cream (green jar) is great too.

  32. The benefit eye cream is awesome. It has vitamin a in it, so I had to temporarily stop using it since I’m pregnant, and I REALLY miss it.

    The little bumps on the back of your arms are probably KP (keratosis pilaris)- try scrubbing them with a Mia or other brush, or use a cream or gel with alpha or beta hydroxy acids. I have more luck with manual exfoliation (I.e. the mia) than chemical, but YMMV.

  33. Skinceuticals rock!
    I use the:
    Phloretin CF
    Hydrating B5 Gel
    Gentle Cleanser
    Renew Overnight Dry Moisturizer (used as a daytime moisturizer mixed w primer)
    Emollience Moisturizer (waaaaay too rich, sits on skin, my skins not dry enough for it)

    I discovered these at a Spa during my babymoon w the hubs — all are safe during pregnancy! I requested these above items as my mothers day gift :). Love them!!! The lotions have lasted since May! The elixirs last a few mths w regular use! Worth it! It’s your face, you only get one!!

  34. I always have a hard time with eye creams, but I’m currently loving Olay Regenerist Eye.

  35. I love(!!) Philosophy “Hope in a Tube”. It’s reasonably priced and while I can’t say I’ve seen dramatic results on my face, I have a dark spot on the back of one hand, so I always squeeze it out of the tube onto that spot and then scoop it up to put on my eyes. After a few months of doing so that spot is significantly lighter and half the size. Made a believer out of me!

  36. Sara no h. says:
    • That is awesome, but let’s take it one step further. I want an organic facial cloth that isn’t pre-moistened. That’s when I run into a wall…let me know if you find anything!!

  37. Great skin is in. The set by philosophy, I got mine from sephora. Cleanser, retinol, and hope in a jar..fantastic buy $65 for everything! I had gotten a few sun spots from teaching my daughter how to swim all summer(I was using a spf 75 on my face!)anyhow the spots are gone!

  38. I am obsessed with my skin care line, Somme Institute. It is pretty expensive, but sometimes you can find a “pillow pack” version for $20. It includes five steps: face wash, exfoliant, serum, lotion, and an SPF. I don’t think the face wash or the SPF is all that great, but the exfoliating “Transport Pads”, serum and the A-Bomb lotion are AMAZING. My skin is so much different since I started using them. I keep thinking I should stop, but at 33 it feels like this is a good time to not mess with my skin!

    Also, I really want that Mia. I might get it!

  39. I LOVE, LOVE all things made by Boots and No.7. If you want to try a serum that is anti-aging and has retinol in it at a dirt cheap price…the No.7 Protect and Perfect serum is amazing at only $23 at Target! This serum actually caused a frezny in the UK a few years back because of it’s proven effectivness.

    My routine is: Boots organic Skin brightening cleanser, Boots Orignal Damask Rose Toner (great as a toner and removes all traces of makeup) and then the No. 7 Protect and Perfect serum…:)

  40. i use crocheted face cloths made of bamboo. they are super soft and get the job done. i got them from raggedy owl on etsy, but her shop is currently empty. you can find them here, though: http://etsy.me/sVWenH

    i use philosophy purity to cleanse and love hope in a jar for night moisturizing, but have something else right now. i can’t justify buying it until i run out of the other stuff. for day, i use supergoop with spf in it. it’s not too thick and i feel comfortable letting the kids use it.

  41. I have super sensitive skin with oompa-loompa-level workout redness (the young guys who take IDs at the Y always ask if I’m ok when I get off the treadmill). 3 years ago, I went on a skincare/haircare product detox to figure out what was making my skin so angry, washing my face with only baby shampoo. Here’s what I cobbled together as a routine, using trial and error and Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, which HAUNTS me:

    –Face wash: baby shampoo, unscented, if possible (but I like smelling like a baby!). I know I could “graduate” to Cetaphil or a like product, but I know baby shampoo doesn’t irritate my skin, and I won’t go back to the dark (blotchy) ages. (Plus, Cetaphil has parabens, and I try to avoid them? Because I heard they’re bad? Science. And stuff?)

    –Face lotion day: I use Eucerin Extra Protective moisturizer, SPF 30, with titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. This took some trust, but I found that it doesn’t make my skin freak out.

    –Face lotion night: I use the ‘eczema’ formulas of any number of body lotions. This is left over from being freaked out at trying anything new on my skin, and they play nice.

    –Make up: Prescriptives foundation – virtual skin. Light coverage. Plays nice.

    –Hair care: So very little! Haircare products are my biggest skin irritants. I get red bumps and rashes along my neck, jawline and in my poor little ears (!). Use your vast world of influence to start a line of haircare products for girls with chemical sensitive skin!

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