Hi ladies! Hope your week is off to a great start and NO MAKEUP ALERT STRAIGHT AHEAD because we are getting real about our skin today. Read this and then read it again – YOU NEED A SKINCARE REGIMEN. Now you may proceed and don’t worry, there is a video demo, too.
When I hit my mid-30s, I really started to see major changes in my skin – almost overnight. Fine lines are forming, the texture isn’t as smooth, and a lot of the damage from my teenage and twenty-something acne is starting to show. I also wake up with darker circles and my skin is more dehydrated now, as well.
If you’re in your 30s and 40s – which most of my readers are – you might be seeing a lot of the same thing. This isn’t a woe is us story, though. It’s reality, and it’s normal.
NOW IS THE TIME TO GO ALL IN
Let me tell you this, though. Now is not the time to give up on your skin or to treat it like an afterthought the way you did in your 20s. Now is the time to go all in to keep it healthy and strong with a daily regimen. Sure makeup is great and can hide some stuff. But without a healthy and cared for canvas underneath, makeup won’t be as effective in enhancing your best features.
CONSISTENCY IS KEY
In beauty school, what stuck with me from my skincare classes is how important the regimen – a series of steps you do consistently – really is to see results. Putting a little serum on here and there isn’t going to help your skin over the long haul. Applying these nutrients on the regular will. The same principle is true with flossing, exercise, diet, a budget – you know the drill.
So how often? I’m talking twice a day, every day with no excuses. Sounds kind of like a chore, hunh? The best advice I have to get over that hump is to make it a special and sacred time – your very own pomp-and-circumstance 5 minute self-care ritual with the door closed only for you time. You revel in rubbing that moisturizer all over your face, woman!!
SKINCARE REGIMEN BARE MINIMUM
Based on my education and the numerous services I’ve had plus a lot of research, here are the simplest steps I can recommend for all women in their 30s and 40s on a daily basis. There are a ton of add-ons, of course. But here is the bare minimum:
- DOUBLE CLEANSE AT NIGHT, MICELLAR WATER IN MORNING – Apply oil cleanser to break down makeup/oil and a ‘normal’ cleanser to wash dirt and debris away. This is the best way to get a thorough cleanse at home at night. In the morning, I only use a gentle micellar water to remove oil from overnight and to refresh my skin. You don’t need a full cleanse since you haven’t done anything but sleep.
- TONER– Gently exfoliate and remove dead skin cells while returning pH balance to your skin after all that cleansing.
- SERUM – Deposit high concentrations of nutrients to the fresh skin. These can be the most expensive but are the most valuable and last a long time. Use a little and get a lot of benefit.
- EYE CREAM – Reinforce and protect this delicate area where wrinkles often show first. I prefer an anti-aging cream for night and a brightening, de-puffer for day.
- MOISTURIZER – Seal all that goodness in with a hefty dose of moisturizer. In the morning, make sure you’re using one with a light SPF for sun protection.
A note on double cleansing: This is a beauty trend I’ve seen gain a lot of momentum, and I buy into it because it’s the first thing they taught us in our makeup lessons at school. The basic concept:
- A lot of makeup has oil in it. Since oil and water don’t mix, your water-based soapy cleanser isn’t going to take all the makeup off. It will stay there, get deep down in your pores, build up over time and either cause breakouts or diminish brightness.
- The good news is that oil attracts oil. So an oil cleanser is going to pull that makeup and other natural oils out of your pores and break it down. Then the ‘normal’ cleanser is going to wash all that goo plus the other remaining dirt and debris right off.
All the various skincare options out there these days can be very intimidating, especially if you are not a beauty-obsessed junkie such as myself. My advice on what to choose is simple. Do your research on what is right for you based on skin type, preference, and budget. There are great products at the drugstore, at Sephora, and at super-high-end department stores, and there are also a number of natural products and not so natural products. It really is about what is important to you.
Here are the items I am currently using and loving for my basic skincare regimen:
- OIL CLEANSER: IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Makeup is one I’m using right now and like a lot. I am not super-loyal to this product and will probably switch to a less-expensive version, like this Burt’s Bees Facial Cleansing Oil when I’ve used it up.
- NORMAL CLEANSER: Right now I use Cerave Salicylic Acid cleanser. I will probably try the Glossier Milk Jelly Cleanser next since I’ve heard awesome things about it.
- MICELLAR WATER: Simple Micellar Water is my fave and available at any drugstore. I’ve been using it for about 5 years, and I’ve heard great things about the Garnier version, as well. This is a no-brainer, gals. It feels refreshing, sucks gunk off your face and works in a pinch on the nights you simply cannot fathom cleaning your face (not that I condone those nights!).
- TONER: Pixi Beauty Glow Tonic. I’ve been touting this drugstore product for 5 years, too. I always re-up and have NEVER deviated. Some people think that IT Cosmetics Miracle Water is better, but I don’t agree (I’ve been trying it recently) and prefer this cheaper alternative by Pixi. BUY IT.
- SERUM: Lavido Replenishing Facial Serum was voted one of the TOP 10 CLEAN FACE OILS by Goop. Rumor has it her makeup artist brought it back from Israel and Gwyneth loved it so much she brought it into Goop! If Gwyneth approves, you should probably listen. But in all honesty, I truly believe that this anti-aging product plus my sonic infuser (more on that below) are responsible for transforming my skin’s brightness, softness and youthfulness factor overnight. Serum is the product to spend your $$ on since it is so jam-packed and concentrated with nutrients. Do not skip the serum. I’m also a huge fan of Clarins Double Serum and think it’s a great daytime alternative (but with a higher price tag).
- EYE CREAM: Lavido Alert Eye Cream was voted one of the BEST PRODUCTS ON PLANET EARTH by Elle Magazine. You don’t see these kinds of kudos for multiple products across a skincare line, so the fact that Lavido has 2 major brands like Goop and Elle singing its praises, really means something to me. They are gluten-free, vegan, paraben free, mineral-oil-free, silicone-free with products tested on PEOPLE. In the morning, I’ve been trying IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Undereye – it’s ok but the jury is still out on whether I’m truly sold on this brand. I’m more into the Lavido eye cream and will stick with that.
- MOISTURIZER: Lavido Age Away Hydrating Cream is the perfect night time moisturizer to pair with the above eye cream and serum. It has that really gratifying not-too-thick but also substantial feel. For day, I use a lighter combo of Glam Glow Illuminating Moisturizer and Clarins Extra-Firming Jour.
If natural products are your thing: Lavido (Anti-Aging Facial Care), LXMI (All Over Cream), Aveda (Makeup), Burts Bees (Wipes) and YesTo (Masks) are my favorites. BUT IF YOU KNOW WHAT’S GOOD FOR YOU, You’ll use the code ELISE15 for 15% off your Lavido order…Just sayin‘.
If Sephora products are your thing: Clarins and Glam Glow are my favorites.
If super-high end is your thing: I can’t afford this so I don’t know but everyone loves La Mer (anyone out there use it and can tell us why?).
ADD-ONS TO CONSIDER
For low-maintenance ladies, these things may not be for you. However, I would say that your skin is definitely the place to be high maintenance so consider some of these if you will.
- SONIC INFUSION – I have been using one of these little gadgets for 3 weeks, twice a day and I can no longer live without it. I pictured it here between the Serum + Eye Cream steps and the Moisturizer step. It delivers a bit of heat to open up those clean pores, allowing the serum and eye cream uber-nutrients to penetrate deeper. Sonic movements – feels like a little buzzy pulse – pushes the product deep into the open-arms of your pores. I was SUPER skeptical but very curious about this tool. This one – the Sonic Eraser Pro – was given to me by Michael Todd Beauty to test and honestly review. And I am telling you right now, I honestly love it. For $120, it seems pricey, but for the number of times you’ll use it and the results, it definitely gets my hands-down seal of approval.
- EXFOLIANTS AND MASKS – I try to use a gentle exfoliant once a week and to do a mask once a week.
- CLARISONIC/FACE BRUSH – I’m planning to renew my dedication to using this a couple times a week to loosen any additional dirt and debris from pores and to improve texture.
- MICRO-NEEDLING – This treatment is the one I’ve heard women say is truly transformative when they get it done at a med spa so I am going to try it and report back. Micro needles pierce the skin which promotes collagen growth to heal it. Wrinkles are caused by collagen breakdown so this is supposed to help make them disappear and brighten you up. I’ve tried a little mini-one at home and was not impressed so I think this is a professional-only service. Stay tuned.
- DERMAPLANING – This is a fancy word for shaving your face with a mini-razor to remove peach fuzz and other dead cells. Very controversial because some women think you shouldn’t shave peach fuzz. I’m not against it and I tried it. IT was fine. The hair does NOT grow back coarser. You can also get this done in a med spa – obviously it’s done by a professional using professional equipment, so the results are different than at home but this is not something I will spend my spa dollars on since I can do it myself in a low-key way with a 3 dollar set of Tinkle razors from Amazon.
- RETINOL – Some say the only way to truly reduce wrinkles is to use a retinol-based product. I have used them in the past and truly do see results. I simply haven’t been to a dermatologist yet this year and apparently only doctor-grade levels are truly effective (anyone out there have thoughts???), so I don’t have a fresh Rx but would likely fold this into my evening regimen.
OKAY, WE MADE IT!! If you’re still reading, I love you. And if you’re not, I still love you! This was a long one but I feel so passionately about skincare so I want to give it to you straight. I’ve also learned over time that skincare is also very personal and sensitive for people so I don’t post about it that much anymore. Which means I must really love all this advice and these products. If you want to get even deeper, years ago I wrote a Skincare Essentials post that you’ll surely love (don’t judge the old photos).
*NOTE – I graduated from the Aveda Institute in New York City and have an education and job experience in hair, makeup and beauty processes, usage and products. All beauty posts are thoroughly researched and come from my specific experiences. In other words, I am not blowing smoke up your ass. However, I am not a doctor, nor am I a licensed Esthetician, so you should speak to a licensed expert if you have any concerns or special skin needs (sensitive skin, cystic acne, etc).
Thank you to Lavido and to Michael Todd Beauty for providing products to try and review. This post contains affiliate links, which means I may make a small commission from clicks and/or any purchases you make. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Belle Meets World up and running!