Skincare update: things I tried and what I’ve stopped using

First things first, Mr. Sam and his friend got home Thursday night. The guys were exhausted but had a blast, and Sam and I were glad to see each other again. I also got a ballcap and a t-shirt from his trip, and he got a freezer filled up from my last grocery run.

I’m by no means a relationship expert, but after two happy years, I’m a firm believer the happiest relationships operate as an infinite giving/caretaking loop for both individuals. Anyways, now that he’s back home, it’s time for me to get on with today’s post – the skincare update.

What I’ve stopped using

I know I talk a lot about the mental and psychological shifting over my 20s. One of those shifts has been streamlining and simplifying how much skincare I used and beauty products I have piling up under the sink or in my storage basket in the closet. I enjoy the occasional “shelfie” skincare enthusiasts post, with the bottles and jars lined up artistically in the medicine closet, and every once in a while felt influenced to give something fancy a try – or if nothing else, clean up my own medicine cabinet.

However, my skin is changing as I’m moving out of my 20s and I’ve discovered I really don’t have the time, money or patience to do a 12-step routine morning and evening. And so many products are redundant, so there’s no benefit to me using them.

  1. Physical exfoliators

Earlier this year I bought and tried the Pumpkin Powerhouse Resurfacing & Exfoliating Enzyme Mask from Bliss. What I liked about the mask was that it wasn’t too harsh on my face, unlike many physical exfoliators that have those walnut shells or other hard exfoliators in them. There was a period of time when I stopped using it and then last month I tried it again. I got out of the shower and was surprised to see an inflamed face looking back at me. I couldn’t get the redness to go down and wound up breaking out pretty badly.

In addition to the break out, I realized using a physical exfoliator when I use serums at night – specifically lactic, glycolic and alpha hydroxy acids on a rotating basis – was overkill. The acids I listed are chemical exfoliators and serve the same purpose as a physical, minus the inflammation. So it made since to get rid of the pumpkin mask and stick to my serums.

2. Masks

For the longest time I loved used clay masks from either Freeman or Shea Moisture, and pretending I was a rich lady at the spa. Gel, charcoal, mud – you name it, I’ve probably tried it. Except for sheet masks. That trend never appealed to me and I have a small face, so the nose piece would probably get into my mouth somehow.

Eventually my skin transitioned from oily/combo to dry, and clay masks sucked out the oils I didn’t want to lose. I tried some hydrating masks that either didn’t produce the results I was looking for, or for some reason bothered my eyes like crazy. Since switching to the CeraVe hydrating cleanser and moisturizer I’ve found the dryness has gone away, so there’s no point for me to mess with masks.

3. Salicylic acid/white willow bark cleansers

I still have this cleanser in my medicine cabinet, although I haven’t used it in a while and it’s probably time to chuck it.

Several years back during a severe breakout period I decided to try the Skyn Iceland Glacial Fash Wash. It was expensive – $35 – but worked like a charm without overdrying my skin. The cleanser has white willow bark in it, which is a natural alternative to salicylic acid that people with oily skin can use if salicylic acid products are too harsh. It worked great then, but since the oily skin days are behind me, white willow bark is too harsh. Actually, all of the ingredients recommended for oily or acne-prone skin don’t work for me – salicylic acid, white willow bark, even the golden child ingredient niacinamide. So I stick to gentle stuff for dry skin.

Things I tried and liked

I’m on a constant mission to look better and feel great through the inevitable life changes. Getting older is part of the deal of being alive. Looking worn out, harsh or disheveled is something I can tweak or change so I can look in the mirror and feel satisfied with who’s looking back at me.

So without further ado, I present to you all: products I tried, liked and continue to use for better skin, hair and general happiness.

  1. Timeless Skin Care 20% Vitamin C + E Ferulic Acid Serum

One of my favorite YouTubers is Angie Schmitt of HotandFlashy, which is a channel about tips, tricks and treatments to look and feel good in the hot flash (menopausal/post-menopausal) years. There was an episode about vitamin C serums, and one of her favorites is from a brand called Timeless Skin Care.

I’m a long time user of Derma E products and have used their vitamin C serum in the mornings for the past couple of years. It’s one of my favorite products and is one I recommend, but I wanted something a little beefier for my aging gracefully routine. I’ve read good things about vitamin E and use a vitamin E gel on my body, so I figured why not try something with both vitamins C and E for my face?

I’ve found a new favorite and a keeper to my morning routine. I love how the serum goes on, how quickly it dries for me to layer my moisturizer and SPF, and how bright and glowing my face looks.

I ordered my serum here.

2. Alpha Skin Care Moisturizing Body Wash Sea Mist

Earlier this year I Googled “anti-aging body wash” to see if there was anything that could help some of the sun spots on my chest. I suppose never going outside is an option, but then I’d never run, and not running is a far worse fate than a few sun spots around my décolletage. A lot of the names that popped up were out of the budget and kinda gimmicky, and then I discovered a body wash that I could get at Ulta.

The bottle of seafoam green body wash was fairly inexpensive at $12 and had the three main ingredients I was looking for – vitamin E, aloe vera and glycolic acid. I was a little hesitant about whether or not glycolic acid would be safe to put on my body, since the skin on my chest is the most sensitive. To my pleasant surprise, not only did I not have a reaction, but the body wash has definitely helped the appearance of my skin. I’m not claiming the wash is going to somehow turn back the clock to when I was 16, but the overall appearance of my skin is less red, more even and definitely feels soft.

I bought mine at Ulta.

3. Mommesilk pillowcases

This isn’t a skincare thing per se, but I definitely want to sing the praises of silk pillowcases.

Last year I was watching a Susan Yara video on haircare. She suggested silk pillowcases (or satin if silk is out of the budget) and using silk hair ties if you have long hair and need to pull it back. Silk is softer on the hair and skin, so it prevents a lot of hair breakage and silk doesn’t absorb oil from the hair and skin the same way cotton does. She recommended a brand called Mommesilk, and I decided to browse their website. Thankfully for me they were having a sale, so I bought two pillowcases.

I noticed the first morning after sleeping on my new pillowcase that the ends of my hair felt better. Typically I would wake up and my hair would look and feel crunchy, as though I had my hair in a braid the day before, took my hair down before bed and slept on it. I didn’t feel dry at all that first morning, and then after two weeks my hair was overall less dry and looked better, softer and fuller.

You can buy pillow cases, sheet sets and even pajamas here.

In conclusion

My skincare routine is pretty solid and consistent, although I do enjoy trying new products to see if they can step my game up. Give me six months – I’ll find something new to try. Until then, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Yours in writing and running,


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