Tuesday, August 31, 2010

30 B4 30: Skin Care Confessions

When I was in 6th grade, I wore a purple flannel shirt for my school picture, along with a gold necklace that my mom let me wear. It was the 90's, ya'll; I was jazzed about my outfit. What I wasn't so jazzed about was the crop of zits that just happened up erupt right under my bangs, so that when the photographer's assistant brushed the hair out of my face the camera got a big ole glimpse of the fact that I was quickly growing up. When the pictures came in, I was heartbroken, so my mom took me to the Clinique counter and bought me the same 3 step skincare system that they have today (albeit with bar soap, not liquid). I used it excitedly at first, but then began to lose interest. I would wash up hardcore when I was having breakouts, but when I got my skin under control again, I would go to bed without doing it, would skimp on the moisturizer in the morning, would spend whole days forgetting all together.

Fast forward 17 years. One would think that this is the part where I say, "But I grew up and changed and now I have the finest skin one could ever hope to see." Notsomuch. I am pretty much the same person all these years later: I am streaky with my skin care--pampering it when there are problems, ignoring it (or worse) when things are going ok. I go to bed with my make-up on, I buy whatever cleanser looks ok at the store, I hardly use moisturizer not of the tinted variety, I never exfoliate. But I never break out, I never have dryness, my skin is just there. My skin is like that skinny girl who never exercises and eats chocolate cake at every meal. You just know she's going to get fat at some point, but for the time being, she seems ok to stuff her face.

But I have decided to change all that. For one thing, I know my skin can't hold on like this forever. But more importantly, Gabby is to the age now where she needs to start taking care of her skin, and I want to be a good example. It is hard to remind her to wash her face every night when I know I am going to pass out on the couch watching Criminal Minds without bothering to take my make-up off. Hypocrite, table for one!

I came up with a list of things that my perfect skin care regimen must have:

  • It must be affordable. I like to spend money on clothes and boots--not necessarily on lotions. Plus, my skin is pretty problem-free right now, so I'll save the major cash droppage for when I have problems.

  • It must be easy to find. No Sephora only items--I want things that I can just run out and get if need be. This limits me to Target finds, Clinique, Estee Lauder, Lancome, and maybe Elizabeth Arden.

  • It must address my needs--normal skin with very, very occasional breakouts.

  • It must have as few products as necessary. I don't want to have to do 15 things every night because guess what? I won't do it.

  • I like natural products. This is not a requirement, but it is something that I'm drawn to.

So after my monthly marathon Bazaar-Vanity Fair-Cooks Illustrated-Lucky reading adventure, I decided to take the bull by the horns and go to Target and get started on lucky #7 on the ole 30 Before 30 List: develop a skin care regimen. Why? Well, Bazaar had an article about skin care for every age, and it reminded me. I'm the kind of person who needs about 10,324 reminders a day if I'm actually going to complete a task. And, well, the bookstore was cold and I kinda wanted to walk to Target to get a latte anyway. You see, it is a lot easier to say, "Honey, I'm going to walk to Target to complete a very important task that is pertinent that I do before my thirtieth birthday," than it is to say, "I have the aching desire to spend some money after reading all these magazines. Oh, and I want an overpriced coffee beverage while I'm at it. Care to spot me a few dollars?"

So I go to Target. After much deliberation, I decided to go with Cetaphil cleanser.

Why Cetaphil? Well, because I listen to my mother. Sometimes. When I have good reason to. My mom has officially used every skin care product known to man, from high to low. You may think I'm kidding, but I'm really not. I consulted her when I was thinking about what to get, and she talked for 1.5 hours NONSTOP, giving me full reviews of everything from Mary Kay to Avon to Perricone to Wexler to Olay to God knows what. She recently started going to a dermatologist, and the doctor put her on strictly (and only) Cera-ve. She now adores this stuff. I think she even bathes in it. And the dermatologist told her that she uses it, and that her daughter uses Cetaphil. Also Bazaar recommended it for being in your 20's. And for the next 2.5 years, I'm officially there. So...Cetaphil it is. I got the cleanser for Normal to Oily skin because my skin is heartachingly normal, but I do get that bump right around that time of the month. ALWAYS. Between that and the uptake in brownie production/consumption at that particular time, I'm a Cathy cartoon waiting to happen.

My mother also told me not to do toner any more, which I was of course tempted to do anyway. But I didn't. I went straight for the moisturizer. I was concerned about sun exposure, so I made sure to find one with SPF in it. I decided to go with Yes to Carrots Daily Facial Moisturizer with SPF 15. Why? Becaust it craves my need for natural products, Target has it, it is available from drugstore.com, which is an online merchant that I use regularly, and because I like the brand. This is something that I will have to be careful with, though, because I am allergic to a few different kinds of fruit acids (therefore, I can't do any type of Origins product, which makes me very, very sad). So I will keep a close eye on it. I have used products of theirs in the past, though, with no real problems, so I am hopeful.

And finally, I decided to do the night cream that Bazaar recommended: Garnier Nutritioniste Moisture Rescue Refreshing Gel Cream. With a name like that, it has to be good, right? I bought this solely on the magazine recommendation, which is not something I usually do because I figure they are being given certain products and asked to feature them in the magazine. But, I thought, well, if it doesn't work, I'll just chalk it up to an experiment for science. And also because I just wanted a night cream to feel like a real girl. For real.

I am not crossing this off the list just yet because the goal is to get the "perfect skincare regimen." So I am going to experiment with products until I get the right blend. My mom suggested getting a system that will work together, so I will try that next if something goes wrong with this system. I will try to update as things progress with how I am doing keeping up with the regimen (that is going to be the hardest part) and what the products are like. Wish me luck! Also, any recommendations are much appreciated. There is only so much that one can listen to her mother (just kidding, Mom).


  1. I am super anti toner, but I do have Thayer's Rosewater Witch Hazel which I love for the AM. I use it in place of washing my face again - it jsut gets off the leftover moisturizer and any sweat/oil from sleeping but leaves my skin soft. And heck, anything that I can buy at the grocery store is sweet in my book!

    K is a huge Cetaphil fan. Maybe I would be if I tried the normal to oily. Cuz the original makes me feel as though I am washing my face in Crisco.

  2. I am totally going to buy that witch hazel, because that is just what I would want it for. Thanks!