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. holly

    October 29, 2011 at 8:51 am

    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.

  2. Andrea

    October 29, 2011 at 9:54 am

    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.

  3. Allison

    October 29, 2011 at 11:42 am

    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!!

    • whoorl

      November 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      I’m totally getting the Phloretin CF after I finish my current bottle of AOX!

  4. Roxanna

    October 29, 2011 at 3:55 pm

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

  5. Rebe g.

    October 29, 2011 at 4:06 pm

    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!

    • Rebe g.

      October 29, 2011 at 4:07 pm

      Ps… This is an eye cream, sorry neglected to mention that… :)

    • whoorl

      November 1, 2011 at 7:37 pm

      Wow! That’s pretty impressive!!

    • whoorl

      November 1, 2011 at 7:39 pm

      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!!

  6. Kami

    October 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    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!

  7. Mary Sue

    November 1, 2011 at 10:32 am

    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!

  8. G.Y

    November 1, 2011 at 7:33 pm

    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…:)

    • whoorl

      November 1, 2011 at 7:40 pm

      I tried that Boots serum last year, but got lazy and stopped using it. Maybe I should revisit it? It’s sitting in my cabinet right now.

      • Torrie @ a place to share...

        November 2, 2011 at 8:50 pm

        YES! (came back to read more comments :)) …love Boots (& apparently the u.k. does too!)

  9. oh, jenny mae

    November 8, 2011 at 12:29 pm

    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.

  10. Megan

    November 14, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    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!