My Current Skincare Routine

April 1, 2010
Another request I received from my February survey was to write an article on what I use in my current skincare routine. This is a tough issue for me to write about because my skin is so finicky that I often change up products as soon as I finish using something up. Also, I haven’t found many holy grails which means I rarely repurchase a skincare item. Quite a few of my favorites have been discontinued (such as the Chanel Age Delay line, Shiseido’s original Pureness line before it was revamped and reformulated and Prescriptives Super Line Smoothing Cleanser).

Also, I know this is a no-no, but I don’t really take good care of my skin. Yes, I wash every morning and evening and tone afterwards. But I don’t always scrub, moisturize, mask or use sunscreen. So do please note, I am probably not the best resource for your skincare questions or advice. But at least 4 of you asked for skincare posts, so here it is!

My skin-type is overall normal, but super sensitive. I get breakouts occasionally, maybe once every other month and it typically takes a week for my skin to clear up. Considering that I’m pretty low maintenance with my skincare routine, I suppose I have decent skin. It’s by no means perfect – but this is something due to my own neglect.

I’ve used a variety of brands from Johnson & Johnson, Neutrogena, Clinique, La Mer, La Prairie, Shiseido, Awake, NARS, Chanel, Estee Lauder, Paul & Joe, MAC, Prescriptives, Laura Mercier etc. So the range is from the drugstore product to the luxury lines. Skincare always intrigues me, but I am the biggest skeptic when it comes to those product descriptions and marketing campaigns claiming “best product.” I’m not am expert with ingredients, so if something claims to have some protein complex from an exotic plant that comes from the rain forest, I really have no idea how to process that information much less interpret how it will benefit me as a consumer.

This is what I’m using right now:

Cleanser – I typically like gel cleansers but my current ones are foaming/creamy:

  • Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser ($18.50 for 5 fl oz)- Foaming cream-mousse cleanser which is effective in cleansing but not too strong. My husband loves this stuff too.
  • NARS Balancing Foam Cleanser ($35.00 for 4.4 oz/125 ml) – Another foaming cleanser which is nice, I wouldn’t recommend it for dry skin, it’s not too strong for me, but it does strip away quite a bit in the cleansing process, I use this in the evenings. One thing I love about this is a little goes a long way. You only need a pea-sized amount.
Toner – I like that fresh clean feeling, so I tend to stay away from Shiseido toners or ones that have a gel-like texture or ones that are too strong which sting the skin:

  • La Mer The Tonic ($60.00 for 6.7 fl oz) – This is pricey, but I’ve repurchased this at least 6 times. It’s soothing and leaves your skin feeling refreshed and clean.
  • Paul & Joe Refreshing Skin Toner ($33.00 for 200 ml) – I’ve written about this before, but I tried this from a mini sized sample I received in a GWP. I took it with me on a trip to DC and fell in love. I think this is a good one for normal to dry skin. It’s not too rich, but just rich enough to help rebalance your skin. Whenever I get that over-washed tight feeling in my skin, this helps make your face feel more normal. I hope they never discontinue or reformulate this. I am on my second full sized bottle right now.
Scrub – I don’t scrub a lot. I actually like to use a washcloth to scrub my face with soap and water because I feel like it’s less harsh feeling on my skin. I have purchased a few from Laura Mercier, Clinique, Shiseido in the past, but right now I’m not using any. I’ve contemplated getting a Clarisonic but again, the ultimate skin-care skeptic that I am, I don’t know that I believe all the rave reviews are from actual consumers like you and me. If anyone has a recommendation, I’m all ears!

Mask – Again, I don’t use face masks very often. As you will read below, I don’t really use these masks for their intended purpose.

  • NARS Mud Mask ($45.00 for 3.6 oz/100 ml) – I’ve gone through 2 of these since NARS first released his skincare line. I have to admit I like this the most for the fun-factor. Yes, I’m weird, but there’s something I find fun about slathering your face with this thick black greyish mud. I can’t tell the visible difference it makes for my skin, but it does leave my face feeling clean and refined after 10-15 minutes. Scares the bejesus out of my dogs when I put it on though.
  • MAC Volcanic Ash Thermal Mask ($20 for 100 ml/3.4 fl oz) – This is my favorite mask ever and one I can definitely see results with. It’s so great I have to hide it from my husband who loves the fact that it heats up. Dear MAC, if you read this at all – please release this again in the exact same formula!
  • Paul & Joe Treatment Peel-Off Mask ($45 for 120 ml) – This tightens and firms the skin by clarifying. Similar to the NARS Mud Mask, I like this for the peel-off factor which I find fun. I had an obsession with peeling off dried glue from my fingers when I was in art class during grade school. Clearly I was not the brightest crayon in the box when it came to school. I would say this product is definitely not for dry skin.
Miscellaneous – I don’t have a current moisturizer favorite. I’m actually testing out a few sample minis but have yet to find one that doesn’t cause an allergic reaction and one that’s not too heavy. I’ve used La Mer’s Lotion, Shiseido White Lucent, Estee Lauder’s Ultimate Youth Cream, Dior Capture Totale, Px, Armani Crema Nera to name a few. Right now I’m trying to find one that doesn’t break the bank. I just cannot justify spending over $100 on a face lotion! My eye cream and sunscreen picks:

  • NARS Nourishing Eye Cream ($76 for .5 oz/15 ml) – Yes this is super pricey for the amount you get but a little seriously goes a REALLY long way. It’s a lightweight gel that I like to use on my lids which actually helps my shadow stay on longer throughout the day if I use this as a base. I don’t have eye wrinkles, so I can’t say whether or not it helps with fine lines or not.
  • Chanel UV Essential ($52 for 1 oz) – Again pricey, but this goes a long way too. It has a very fluid texture which helps it apply really easily. I’ve been using this over my moisturizer samples and it seems to help make the foundation apply better on the skin and last longer. Bonus is that it has SPF 50 which is something I definitely should start using. I’ve used this for about a month daily and no irritations, breakouts or problems. I definitely see myself repurchasing this in the future.
If any of you would like to share your holy grails for skincare, I’d love to hear your recommendations! I’ve been told (by the brand reps of course) that the 2-week skincare systems from Shiseido and Chanel are amazing and will give me perfect glowing skin, but I don’t want to spend the $200+ and wait 2+ weeks to see if there are any results.

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  • Ms. M April 1, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Over the years, I've learned that less is more when it comes to skin care– As long as makeup is removed and any specific problems are addressed, I don't worry about following a bunch of steps.

    However, I do think sunscreen is absolutely essential. Find one that you like (My personal HG is MAC Prep & Prime SPF 50) and use it religiously. Your skin will thank you in 20 years.

  • Dagny April 1, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I bought a Clarisonic and feel disappointed that it didn't live up to the hype. The only benefit I see is that it "trained" me to scrub my face longer. I believe that my results from a thorough wash followed by a toner are equal to the Clarisonic.

  • lexi920 April 1, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    I'm with you Sabrina – for someone that has suffered with rosecea and eczema I am very SKEPTICAL when it comes to skincare. If I find something that does not freak out my very sensitive skin I will stick with it. But something very bad has happened to my skin after my daughter was born – I have adult acne all over again. And it's not subtle like I was in high school – this is like something that would require deep extraction by a professional but I'm going to a professional? NO – I probably should but there's a whole other expense in itself. I'm a drugstore skincare kind of gal. I love my Olay products and they've been kind to me. If I do splurge it's Kiehl's and I've been using MAC's Fast Respone eyecream (bought at Co. Store) and I just think of it as preventative eye cream and I do love my Volcanic Exfoliator but I don't really know if it is working for me any differently. The last thing I really did love using was the MD Skincare 2-step glycolic face peels. I bought a travel size – 10 packets. I only do it once a week so I got good use out of that one. It only cost $28 compared to the usual $75 price tag. I'll be seeing my dermatologist soon so we'll see what he says.

    I may have to purchase that primer if I do end up buying the Chanel Powder Foundation you rave about!

  • Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    I'm like you. I don't buy into any claims. I use the Clinique cleanser you use, Shiseido White Lucent gel-cream as moisturizer because it's not heavy and moisturizes well enough–not because it brightens. I'm using up my Paul & Joe eye cream, which I bought it simply b/c it's in a squeeze tube. I also dislike gel-like toners like Shiseido's, but I tend to skip toner as I've found nothing earth-shattering. I'm still testing sunscreen, although I think it's overrated for every day. Titanium dioxide clogs me right up, and a lot of chemical sunscreens are irritating. Good post!

  • Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    As a night cream, I really like Fresh Black Tea Age Delay Cream (at least I think that's the name). I'm completely suspicious of its anti-aging claims (and I'm 20, so I really wouldn't know the difference), but I do like the texture and the smell (which is absolutely addictive. I can’t really describe it, but I love putting it on my face), and I like the idea that it’s loaded with antioxidants. I cringe to think that I've purchased it 3 times because it's pretty steep at $95 an ounce, but it's still my favorite nighttime moisturizer. I can’t think of any way to improve it. I'm still looking for the perfect day cream though.

  • Lakshmi April 1, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    I have a couple of holy grails as far as skincare goes:
    1. Shiseido extra gentle cleansing foam: this has got to be the best foaming face wash I have ever used: its gentle but gives you a clean feeling without stripping the skin. After a cream cleanser I always like to follow up with this foaming face wash to feel completely clean
    2. Shiseido hydro nourishing softener is the only toner I like- no alcohol so no stinging/drying but it really comforts my skin after cleansing
    3. Sunscreen is a must for me, I like an Indian brand called Biotique which makes all natural products based on Ayurvedic principles: I have used their sunscreen/protective lotions for 12-13 years now, always have at least 2 or 3 back ups at all times 🙂
    4. recently I have been loving Boscia's line of products: very soothing and effective. Love their cleanser and facial polish!

  • Anonymous April 1, 2010 at 7:03 pm

    I am 52, have good skin (mostly dry, slightly oily nose) and I swear by the Clarisonic. I did have to switch to the most delicate brush head (the blue plastic one) and I can only use it about 3 times a week with a cream anti-aging cleanser from Murad. Any more than that and I think it would start to have a negative effect on my skin. I have noticed a real difference in the "glow" factor since I've had it (about 4 months) and I think it's an awesome product.

  • Joyce April 1, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    haha i love peeling too! peeling glue off my fingers was a hobby when i was a kid 🙂

  • Christy April 1, 2010 at 7:39 pm

    I began an almost all Peter Thomas Roth skincare regimen late January this year and have been using the following products:

    AM Routine:
    PTR Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel
    PTR Conditioning Tonic
    PTR UnWrinkle Peel Pads (about 6x/week)
    PTR Illuminating High Definition Moisturizer
    PTR Mega Rich Intensive Anti-Aging Cellular Eye Creme

    P.M. Routine:
    PTR Gentle Foaming Cleanser
    PTR Conditioning Tonic
    Philosophy Help Me Retinol treatment
    PTR Illuminating High Definition Moisturizer
    PTR Mega Rich Intensive Anti-Aging Cellular Eye Creme
    Mario Badescu buffering lotion

    I use a LUSH mask (like Love Lettuce) 1-2/week in place of the unwrinkle pads.

    I will definitely continue to use the Anti-Aging Cleansing Gel — it smells super good and is great for combo skin like mine. I also love love the unwrinkle pads and will continue to use them. They exfoliate wonderfully and have really helped to even out my skin tone. I also use them on my hands and decollete to prevent future wrinkles. However, the other pieces, while I do like them, I plan on replacing them as they run out with products from other lines to experiment. On my list of want to tries are: Mac's Lightful Foaming Creme Cleanser, NARS Balancing Foam Cleanser, Aveda Green Science Replenishing Toner

  • Liana April 2, 2010 at 2:55 am

    ive been wanting to try the volcanic ash for so long, i guess i should just shut up and do it already!

  • Carol April 2, 2010 at 12:43 pm

    I have recently started using the Chanel Ultra-Lift skincare line wince I had a makeover at Sak's several weeks ago and noticed my skin looked terrible! The SA commented on how dry my face was. She used the Chanel skincare products on me and they felt wonderful, so I plunked down an obscene amount of money for the toner, cleanser, serum, daytime moisturizer, eye cream and lip cream. I am 50 so I have line issues (and hormonal breakouts) and I can tell the skincare is improving the look of my skin. I would really like to try to GA Creme Nera which supposedly is an all-in-one product. I don't like having so many steps, but I'm trying to stick to it. I also like the Philosophy Miracle retinol pads that just came out. I use those a couple of times a week. Great post and I've enjoyed reading the comments!

  • Tiffany April 2, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    I use Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil in Fresh and it has definitely reached HG status! Shu Uemura makes different kinds of cleansing oils based on your skin-type…I use Fresh because I have oily skin and it works amazingly! I also love Kate Somerville's Exfolikate…I bought into the hype and I'm glad that I did because it is the most amazing exfoliator!

  • Sabrina April 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm

    Hi girls, thanks for your great feedback on your skincare experiences. Seems like there are a lot of us who have had lots of misses and a few hits.

    I just want something that works! Which is why I loved Stila way back when it was in its prime. They had no skincare, so I knew I could ask my Stila rep and trust her responses on what worked and what didn't.

    Tiffany – I was actually looking into that Kate Somerville. I hope they still make it!

  • Beauty addict April 3, 2010 at 10:00 pm

    I'm 25 years old with dehydrated combination skin and these are the products I use currently:

    – L'Occitane Almond Apple Cleansing Oil (it was weird in the beginning but now I can't live without it!)
    – Gatineau Therapie Marine as my daily/night moisturizer
    – Vichy Aqualia Thermal Serum (Gatineau TM isn't always enough for my skin so occasionally I use serum too)
    – face masks: different brands like Oriflame, Skinlite, Garnier
    – face scrubs: different brands like Oriflame, L'Occitane, Shiseido

    And I think it's pretty much it. I've learned with time that I don't need a lot of products, just few of them regularly and others occasionally. 🙂

  • Suzanne May 31, 2010 at 4:47 am

    I've been using the Body Shop Aloe cleansing lotion for years now. I do like a good luxury cleanser but I've tried all the big brands and keep coming back to this one. I have hypersensitive, combination skin and it's just awesome.

    Scrub-wise – St Ives have this market cornered. You've got to try a basic drugstore St Ives peach scrub.

    And I love my Mario Badescu Buttermilk moisturiser. Lovely lovely.

    And in the theme of bright blue facial products, MB also do a Azulene (blue chamomile) facial mask which is cooling and lovely and leeches all the red and blotchy out of your face. I even dotted some of this only my teenage brothers fiery acne and it pulls a helluva lot of red out of his face. I've even put it on mosquito bits to deflate them!

    Ultimately the bit expensive stuff hasn't overly grabbed me. I've certainly tried, but the basics keep callin me back.

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