I remember walking down the cosmetics aisle of my neighborhood Eckerd in high school and noticing lotions and makeups that vowed to erase lines or were touted as "anti-aging" and thinking, "I'm so glad I don't have to worry about that yet."
It's now 20 years later and the inner monologue has changed to, "How many firming cremes can I get my hands on and how much do you want for them"?
That's not true, actually. I'm not that bad. I don't have the income to be that bad. But I do do my homework and research what works and what's bullshit and try out things that are within my price range. I definitely don't consider myself an expert on skin care and makeup or anything, but as my face needs (and my face itself) has shifted over the years, I've liked reading about what is effective and a good value.
So, I'm going to talk about what items I'd break your arm over if you tried to take from me. This is by no means the full spectrum of things I put on my person, but instead a look at what I think are must-have skin care items for women in their 30s. (I have ultra dry & sensitive skin, so some of these products might not be right for you.)
Let's start with washing your mug. Some people use those fancy, expensive face scrubbers like the Clarisonic which is supposed to blast a bunch of dirt off your face, but I honestly don't feel like my face gets that dirty. I'm not mopping the floor with it. So, I just use Cetaphil Skin Cleanser.
Cetaphil Skin Cleanser is this creamy liquid with a pearlescent sheen that you just rub on your face. Then you can rinse it off with water or...not. You can also just wipe a tissue over your face to remove dirt and makeup and excess cleanser. That's it. That's the whole process. You basically have no excuse not to wash your face.
I like Cetaphil, and so do thousands and thousands of others, because there's no soap in it. If you have dry skin, I can't recommend this highly enough. You know how if you have dry skin and you wash your face with soap it feels like it shrunk afterwards? Like the skin on your head was reduced two sizes? This doesn't happen with Cetaphil because it doesn't strip your face of its natural oils. This stuff is a miracle, and I'll never not use it. It's $10 and a 16 ounce bottle lasts me well over a year.
Next let's talk exfoliating. Because if there is anything I've learned in my research about my changing skin is that you have to exfoliate like its your job. This part is not optional. If you want your skin to not be kinda dull and blah looking, you have to blast off that top, dying layer of skin cells and get that newer skin to come on out to play. Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate. Live it, love it.
Now, there are different ways to accomplish this act. You can use a scrub with little granules of some kind or another to grind away the top layer of your face or you can have acids eat it off. I've chosen option B. I let acid eat my face off. And I do it with Peter Thomas Roth's Un-Wrinkle Peel Pads.
The Un-Wrinkle Pads are little round miracles. I love them. They are on the pricey side at 75 cents per pad, but I swear by them. It's probably the most expensive cosmetic product I buy, but they make such a huge difference in my skin.
When I use them consistently my skin looks firmer, fine lines less visible, there is less redness, my pores are smaller, it removes any trace of flakiness and my skin just looks brighter and better. These little gentle at-home peel sessions are the perfect way to a bare face before applying any sort of moisturizer or serum. My face really drinks in the moisture and vitamins after prepping it with one of those little pads.
If the price is a put-off, many women report that cutting the pads in half works just fine for them and that they save a lot of money that way. I'm such an addict of these things, though, that I use a full pad on my face, neck, chest and the tops of my hands.
Read the reviews on these circular wonders. People swear by them:
I'm 40 yrs old I have started to notice the 11 between my eyebrows and they were getting worse I tried everything came across peter thomas on u tube decided to try it and OMG.. 2 weeks I've been using his products and they are gone!!! I'm sure it's all of it but when I added this holy cow my face looks so young again I will continue to try more of his products i found my holy grail!!
I am in awe at how bright, hydrated and soft my skin is after only a few uses. This is now a fave. and I cannot wait to see the results after a few weeks...Love, love and definitely recommend for dry, uneven skin tone and fine lines.
I think the best part about the Un-Wrinkle Peed Pads is how quickly you'll see an improvement in your skin. One use. Not exaggerating.
The next necessity is sunscreen. Sunscreen all day, every day. This is my song. Because in all the reading I've done the one thing everyone agreed upon as the very best product that works 100% of the time at making you look younger is sunscreen.
You probably know this. Sunscreen is mandatory. I like Kiss My Face SPF 50 for Face and Neck.
The Kiss My Face sunscreen is not greasy or thick. It doesn't leave a film of white gunk behind. It doesn't cause breakouts. It's broad spectrum and water-proof and leaves behind no trace, so it works perfectly under make-up. Use it year-round. So good.
Next up: moisturizer. This is where the search can get downright exhausting. There are just so. many. options. It can leave a lady paralyzed.
And, while I'm *sure* there is a better daytime moisturizer than the one I use, Oil of Olay Age Defying Sensitive Skin Day Lotion With Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 15, (suggestions please!) I will be using my newly discovered night cream forprobablyever. It's Nivea Creme.
Nivea Creme is everything. And it's so cheap. I put it on at night and my skin is suuuuuuper soft by morning. The skin is plumper almost. Some people would say that Nivea Creme is on par with or better than the very famous, very expensive Crème de la Mer. La Mer costs $150 an ounce and Nivea Creme is 79 cents an ounce.
Oh! And I've heard that the imported German Nivea Creme is even better. I'm waiting to run out of the tin I have before trying that kind.
My next very favorite is a primer. (This is technically makeup and not skin care, but I'm including it in this post anyway. It's more of a prep for makeup, really, and it's about how it makes the skin look, so I'm including it here instead of in my upcoming post about makeup.)
I used to never wear primers. Why would I need a primer? So, your makeup stays on longer if you wear it. Big whoop. It's not worth spending money on. OR SO I THOUGHT.
Turns out the right primer can make your skin look airbrushed. No lie. And my favorite for that effect is Benefit's Porefessional Primer.
I'd been hearing about Porefessional for ages but I also didn't need another item to spend money on. So, I avoided trying it. Until one day when I was at a Benefit counter to pick up a different product (that I'll talk about in the future post about makeup for 30-something skin) I decided to give it a go.
The sales lady/makeup artist put Porefessional on one side of my face but not the other then handed me a magnifying mirror. I was sold almost immediately. But I was still hedging at the price. $40 for a tube of something I didn't "need" until two minutes ago? Ugh. I couldn't commit.
Until she told me they had tiny tubes for $10 that were equal in price per amount as the bigger bottles, so I wouldn't be wasting money on a smaller size to try. That was the deal-sealer. I added the tiny tube of Porefessional to my purchase and now I don't ever want to go without it. It makes for a clean, smooth canvas on which to paint yourself up, and it fills in not just pores, but wrinkles! Use it around the eyes and marvel at how makeup doesn't settle into creases. It's like spackle, but it smells good and costs an arm and a leg.
However! I learned that NYX Pore Filler is an awesome "dupe" at a muuuuuch lower price, so I'll be springing for that soon.
And that's about it. I use other stuff on my skin (like eye creams and masks and crap), but these are the skin care products I hold near and dear to my vain heart.
Now here's the fun part: Tell me what you like to put on your face! Hopefully the commenting section on this here rickety old blog isn't hard to use and we can share tips on what to waste money on next.