My Skincare Routine

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…


  1. Kathleen

    October 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

    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!)

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 8:17 am

      Man, that Clarisonic is AMAZING.

    • Torrie @ a place to share...

      October 28, 2011 at 9:52 am

      So good to know… My son is dealing with this, and I have just started to look into how to best help him (other than a daily/nightly facial cleanser). Thanks!

  2. K

    October 28, 2011 at 8:11 am

    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.

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 8:20 am

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

  3. courtney

    October 28, 2011 at 8:15 am

    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.

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 8:19 am

      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. Tina

    October 28, 2011 at 8:40 am

    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….

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 9:38 am

      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. B

    October 28, 2011 at 9:00 am

    $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. Erin

    October 28, 2011 at 9:18 am

    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 $!

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 9:39 am

      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. suzyindc

    October 28, 2011 at 9:35 am

    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!

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 9:40 am

      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. Pam

    October 28, 2011 at 9:47 am

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


    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

      Oooh oooh OOOH! Gonna check it out, thanks!

  9. Danielle (elleinadspir)

    October 28, 2011 at 9:51 am

    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.

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 9:55 am

      Oh, you will love the Olay sunscreen! The zinc oxide is so much gentler on my face.

    • Pam

      October 28, 2011 at 10:01 am

      Have you tried the Aveeno SPF 100? Hard to find in a store, but easily ordered. Great product – and gentle on the skin. Easy to wear under makeup, too. Here’s a link: http://bit.ly/vOqAmo


  10. lisa

    October 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

    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)

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 9:57 am

      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. Jackie

    October 28, 2011 at 9:54 am

    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).

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 9:58 am

      Like the price!

  12. lisa

    October 28, 2011 at 9:59 am

    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. Carly

    October 28, 2011 at 10:09 am

    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.

    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 10:29 am

      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…)

      • whoorl

        October 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

        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.

    • Rebe g.

      October 29, 2011 at 3:59 pm

      Do they take off waterproof eye makeup???

      • Carly

        November 1, 2011 at 9:52 am

        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. Aleigh

    October 28, 2011 at 10:10 am

    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!


    • whoorl

      October 28, 2011 at 10:30 am

      Love this idea! Thanks, Aleigh. I’ll let you know if I try them out.

  15. Aleigh

    October 28, 2011 at 10:11 am

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