As I’ve gotten older, I’ve pared down my skincare routine greatly. Gone are the days of the 10-step routine. Time is too precious. Simple, effective products are key.
Although I don’t use TikTok (I’m too old 😝), I do read about the big trends and I discovered skin cycling last year. Basically, the concept is:
- Night 1: Exfoliation
- Night 2: Retinoid
- Nights 3 & 4: Recovery
Since I hadn’t been using retinoids every day anyway, I began skin cycling ever since I read about the concept and I have to say I really like the results!
Anyway, back to the routine. My morning routine is as follows:
- Cleanse (water cleanser)
That’s it. Because of skin cycling, my night routine is a bit more complicated:
- Cleanse (oil cleanser)
- Cleanse (water cleanser)
- Exfoliate (night 1) / Tretinoin (night 2) / skip (nights 3 & 4)
And, because I’m sure some of you might be curious, here are the products I use… (I get commission for purchases or clicks made through some of the links in this post.)
I have tried many, many cleansing balms over the years and I can honestly say that this is the best. (I prefer cleansing balms over cleansing oils because I find them to be easier to work with.) The thick consistency that melts upon meeting the skin, the fact that it erases all traces of sunscreen and makeup, no gross film leftover after washing…and the fact that it’s full of antioxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamin E make it the perfect oil cleanser for me.
This is a gel-to-foam cleanser that is pH-balanced, gentle yet powerful enough to remove dirt and impurities. It’s not too stripping and always leaves my skin soft and fresh. I usually go for harsher cleansers but this blew my misconceptions of gentle cleansers out of the water!
There are so many different essences out there these days with different purposes that you can’t go wrong with most of them. Why do I go with such a basic one? Because it’s cheap, it does what it needs to do, and it lasts forever. This particular essence tackles my dryness (which has gotten worse with age — I can’t believe I actually used to have oily skin), it brightens, and it plumps. As the name implies, it’s packed with 90% snail mucin combined with yam extract.
These peel pads use both AHA and BHA to exfoliate your skin. The first pad contains the 5 acids to exfoliate the skin, and the second pad contains 12 antioxidants meant as an anti-aging neutralizer. The very first time I used it my skin stung a little but the sensation went away quickly. My skin still turns red after using the first pad from time to time but each morning after using this peel, I wake up with brighter, smoother skin.
Agency is the anti-aging sister brand of Curology. Although Curology also offers anti-aging formulas, Agency concentrates on anti-aging and pigmentation. I decided to start tretinoin years ago because retinoids are the gold standard in scientifically proven ingredients in anti-aging skincare and tretinoin is the strongest retinoid — you need a doctor’s prescription. With Agency, I can get tretinoin via the internet by uploading photos and messaging a doctor with my skin concerns. Personally, my skin can’t handle strong tretinoin. So even after years, I’m still at 0.035% every 2-3 days. And that’s totally fine. My Agency formula also contains dexpanthenol (hydrator/soother), tranexamic acid (to fade dark spots), and niacinimide (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and skin-strengthening).
Whenever I mention this cream to others, they ask me, “Is it worth the price?” And my answer is, YES. I didn’t want to believe it at first when I read all the celebrities gushing about this brand 5 years ago, especially when I saw the price tag. But I read how it was founded by a scientist in stem cell biology and regenerative medicine, and saw some of the before and after pictures. So I purchased a bottle…and after 6 weeks of daily use, I swear that the smallest lines around my eyes disappeared. Now this is the only cream I buy and recommend.
I know the majority of American sunscreens suck and that Asian and European sunscreens are far superior. But hear me out on this one. While I can recommend several great Korean sunscreens, I came across this Saint Jane sunscreen one day and I was majorly impressed. And who needs SPF 50+ every day when I spend most days indoors anyway? This sunscreen is just sooo elegantly formulated. It’s not sticky at all and as the title implies, it really does smooth over your pores — no joke. It’s a tan color so there’s no whitecast either. It also makes for a great makeup primer.
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So that’s it for my simple routine and the skincare products that I use these days. In my next post, I will talk about the skincare devices I have been using.