When you grow up with acne issues, you learn the importance of a disciplined skincare regimen pretty early on. But if you coast through your teens and early twenties with relatively clear skin, you might be in for a rude awakening. I found myself dealing with entirely new skin issues as the big 3-0 rolled around. Suddenly dry skin, hormonal breakouts, hyperpigmentation, OMG is that a wrinkle, when did I get these expression lines all up on my forehead…all of the above, all at the same time.
I found that a lackidasical approach to the issues didn’t work for me. I needed to approach it like a grown woman, and take my skincare more seriously.
Recently on Twitter a friend of mine admitted that she had no skincare regimen, and she needed one. Badly. So this post is for her and for any bella like her, who’s trying to figure out a grown woman’s skincare regimen on her own. Here’s the basic things you’ll need, and the best way to tackle the task – based entirely on my experience and products I’ve reviewed.
You Need a Good Cleanser
Define “good,” you say? Well that’s entirely up to you and your skin’s specific needs and likes. You have to figure out what your skin will respond to. My skin usually likes a thick, creamy deep cleansing foaming product – Clean and Clear or classic Noxema. Or a gel cleanser, like Bliss Fabulous Foaming Cleanser or Murad Essential C. Maybe your skin prefers a more sensitive and simple solution, like Cetaphil. Or maybe you have specific needs and should look more closely at a brand like PCA. Either way, a truly great skincare regimen doesn’t start with washing your face with the same kind of bar soap that you use all over your body. Yes, I know women who do this. And yes, I think they deserve better.
Regular Exfoliation Is a Must
Once you’ve got your cleanser down, you need an exfoliator in your life. Maybe you’re used to the classic St. Ives apricot scrub. That still works well for many – St. Ives remains a classic skincare brand for good reason! Their products deliver. If you want to upgrade your exfoliant experience and you have oily skin – or combination oily, like me — you might love a mud or clay based exfoliator. Using and loving Ahava Mud Exfoliator lately, it’s really helped me tone down the oil in my t-zone, and keep my nose and chin smooth as can be. If your skin’s on the dry side, try that aloe face polish by After Affects – it uses jojoba beads and watermelon seed oil for maximum moisture and exfoliant properties. As far as mechanical exfoliation, of course you know how I feel about the Clarisonic brush. I know the price makes it not a possibility for everyone, but I do see it as an investment in beauty. And the Clarisonic Mia is cheaper, comes in a bigger range of colors, and is awesome for travel. Just sayin.
The Thing About Toner
I’ve never been a big toner gal. It’s the product that always comes with a skincare system that I just hardly ever use. For years I thought toner didn’t make a difference in my skin. Then I realized…it was the KIND of toners I was using. Harsh, typically expensive toners didn’t work for me. It was like, the more complicated the ingredients in the product, the less likely my skin would respond positively to it. It wasn’t until I discovered Kiss My Face balancing toner that I realized my skin’s thirst for the right product. Kiss My Face’s toner is made with certified organic grapefruit, orange, ginger and lemon balm essential oils and extracts, seaweed extract, witch hazel, and my favorite island remede, aloe vera. My skin LOVES it.
Recently I’ve been switching it up and using straight up witch hazel in a spray bottle, and I follow up with organic rosewater from Whole Foods. Then and only then do I move on to my next item. Which is…
When I lived in a hotter climate, I didn’t appreciate or fully understand the value of wearing a moisturizer every day. I was ignorant to my skin’s need for moisture, and for SPF protection. When I look back on those days, I feel the need to apologize to my skin. I didn’t even try to protect it from the elements! Now I know, a daytime moisturizer – preferably one with SPF – is essential. I switch it up depending on temperature, but generally I go between Mario Badescu’s oil free SPF 30, and anything by Olay with a decent SPF. I underestimated the importance of SPF in the years when I had the worst hyperpigmentation of my life. I’ll never do that again!
OK so this is where things REALLY changed for me when I got into my thirties. Early thirties. Whatever.
That’s when I started to notice my skin needed more attention. More love. More moisture. More TLC. That’s when I started looking into serums and night creams. And learning the difference in how you apply a serum, versus applying a moisturizer. At night I do my best to remove my makeup, and then I apply a night cream or serum depending on my skin’s needs (and the season at hand). In winter, it’s all about the night creams. In the summer, I find that I prefer the feel of a serum. In terms of night creams, right now I’ve got Kiehl’s Rosa Arctica and Lumene Excellent Future on my bedside. And as far as serums go, I’ve got Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair and Liz Earle’s Superskin Concentrate on deck.
A Brief Note on Skincare Systems.
Often if you’re shopping for skincare products – especially in a department store or cosmetics store like Sephora — they’ll recommend you pick a brand and stick to it. And that’s all well and good. By all means, if you use a particular product and LOVE it, it’s entirely possible to fall in love with a whole product line! For me, I often find that some products in a line can be better than others. You might LOVE a cleanser only to find out the moisturizer is meh. You might think a toner is amazing, then try the brand’s exfoliator and be disappointed. That’s why I tend to bounce around from brand to brand – also, I try to review as much as I can to give you more info per Afrobella post. Would love to hear from you here, bellas. Do you tend to stick to one brand, or do you have favorites from a variety of companies?
Those are my tips for creating a grown woman’s skincare regimen. Products I’ve mentioned above were sent for my review, and reviewed over a period of months so I can tell you – they work! And of course, those are my personal favorites and I’d love to hear from you. What are your favorite skincare products? Do you use something from every category of skincare above? Talk to me!