During this quarantine time at home you may be taking this time to level up your routines a bit. For many fitness, home decor and organization, finances and wellness/beauty routines are all getting facelifts. And skincare regimens are no exception. Over the last year I have shared a little insight into my skincare routine on Instagram, and many of you have asked me to do a deeper dive into my current skincare products and steps, and so today I have dedicated this post to outlining everything for you! This skincare regimen I’m sharing today is perfect for women of all ages, and is the ultimate skincare regimen you need.
When I was 29 years old I decided to take charge of my skincare knowing that 30 was around the corner. Rather than purchasing products that seemed like they could work for my combination skin (dry around nose, oily in the t-zone, scarred and pigmented from terrible teenage acne), I wanted a plan that worked more specifically for my skin. I consulted with estheticians, dermatologists, facialists and friends with immaculate skin to devise a plan for myself. It led me to going to the Mandarin Oriental Spa in Boston for a target facial and skin analysis. That day I walked away with a full regimen with products found in the drugstore, Sephora and the spa, specifically a Parisian line of live ingredient products (means they are natural and have a shelf life) called Biologique Recherche.
Before I dive into all of the steps, I do recognize that this regimen is intensive in terms of steps and products. But let me just say this — this is your FACE we are talking about here. Your skin is the biggest organ on your body, so invest in it. Also, I recognize that this outline is a bit specific to my skin type and may not work for everyone. My skin type is classified as “combination” with an emphasis on correcting pigmentation from acne scarring and a focus on maintaining elasticity to prevent fine lines. With each step I will share the links to the products, the time of day to apply and if it is a “universal” product or if it is more specialized! My goal today is to give you a basic skincare regimen with the opportunity to add in specialty products that work specifically for you on your own. Once out of this quarantine, I do recommend you go to a trusted esthetician in your area to receive an in depth analysis of your skin to determine an even more perfected regimen moving forward. OH, and did I mention that there are two hidden gem products included in here that JLO revealed she uses to get her iconic “glow?” With all of this said, let’s dive in!
MY SKINCARE REGIMEN (in the order of application):
1. A Gentle Cleanser: I use a gentle cleanser found at Target. It’s called Cerave and it’s a simple cleanser that protects the skin barrier without drying out your skin. Simply wash the skin with warm water and a pump of this cleanser, and then dry with a clean washcloth.
- Products: Cerave Gentle Cleanser
- Time of Day: Morning and Nightime
- Universal Product: Yes, this is a skincare product everyone needs.
2. Wipe Away Any Leftover Makeup (Nighttime Only): If you wear long lasting makeup or have acne prone skin (like I do), you’ll want to add in this step. A simple makeup wipe will do the trick, but the idea is to make sure that those full coverage foundations and long lasting eyeliners are off your skin completely allowing it to breath and priming your skin so that the rest of these products can work fully and effectively. These inexpensive wipes from Target, Walmart or CVS will do the trick.
- Products: Makeup Cleansing Wipes
- Time of Day: Nightime only
- Universal Product: Yes, but optional. If you don’t wear makeup or wear very light makeup daily, you can skip this step if you prefer.
3. Toner: Get ready. This is my favorite step, and I have a lot to say about it! You have likely heard rave reviews all over the internet about this product I’m about to share… and yes, it works! It’s called the Biologique Recherche P50 Lotion. It’s not a “lotion” you’re thinking of — it’s a toner. Toners are meant to be a daily exfoliant and a hydration product. This is a product you want to invest in – please do not use a super harsh one from the drugstore that we used in the 90s to clarify our skin and dry it out. Those harsh toners from the drugstore are too astringent and dry out your skin, exacerbating any skin woes you have. Instead you want a toner that balances the skin’s PH, sloughs off dead skin cells and replenishes with moisture. Cue this cult favorite called the P50 Lotion, known for promoting that healthy glow while smelling like “hot garbage in a bottle.” This product smells awful if you buy the original P50 “1970” version, but if you buy the new and improved version the smell is much more mild and it provides the same exact results. Also, please note that the original P50 1970 version includes phenol, which is not a clean ingredient. For those looking for cleaner version of this product, you’re going to want the new and improved version which does not include the ingredient phenol. If you have pigmentation issues like I do, you’ll want the version that also has ingredients that combat pigmentation. And finally, if you are looking for a less expensive alternative to the P50 Lotion there is an option for you! The Tarte Knock Out Toner from Sephora is a very similar dupe that I find works beautifully in lieu of the P50 Lotion. It’s not a complete dupe, but if you cannot get your hands on the P50 (especially right now) and you want something comparable, the Knock Out Toner is incredible and will do the trick!
- Products: P50 Lotion (new version), P50 1970 (original) and P50 Pigment 400 (for scarred/pigmented skin). The Tarte Knockout Toner is a great alternative if you cannot easily get your hands on the P50, or if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option.
- Time of Day: Morning and Nighttime
- Universal Product: Yes. This is an optional product but I think it’s one of the most beneficial products in an entire skincare routine. Both of these toners mentioned above are advertised to work for all skin types. If you choose a toner outside of these two recommendations, ask a professional or esthetician if that product will work for your skin type before purchasing.
4. Vitamin C Serum (Daytime Only): Vitamin C helps lighten imperfections such as sunspots, age spots, scarring pigmentation and more. It also promotes a healthy glow. I use the Skinceuticals Vitamin C Serum but a great alternative is the Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum or the Sunday Riley CEO Vitamin C Serum. Apply a couple of drops of your chosen serum with a roller OR with your fingers by patting the product on the face in an upward motion. Do not “rub” in.
5. Specialty Serums (Nighttime Only): Serums are specialized. So this is a product you’ll want to get a professional recommendation for to address your own skin concerns. I personally use three serums: the Biologique Colostrum Serum (for hydration), the Biologique Recherche Pigmentation Correction Serum (to correct redness and pigmentation from acne scarring) and the Biologique Recherche Complexe Iribiol Serum (shrinks/closes pores, heals post acne scars and prevents breakouts). Fun fact: JLO’s facialist just revealed that she uses the Biologique Recherche Colostrum Serum — there’s the little secret to the JLO glow 😉 Apply a couple of drops of each of your chosen serum with a roller OR with your fingers by patting the products on the face in an upward motion. Do not “rub” in.
- Products:Biologique Colostrum Serum, Biologique Recherche Pigmentation Correction Serum, Biologique Recherche Complexe Iribiol Serum
- Time of Day: Nighttime only
- Universal Product: No. Serums are very specialized and not everyone needs serums. Is it ideal to use serums? Yes, absolutely. The only serum mentioned above that works for everyone is the Biologique Recherche Colostrum Serum. Have a skincare professional address your skin concerns and provide recommendations for serums that work best for you.
6. Anti-aging Eye Cream (Nighttime Only): This step some estheticians tell you to do both morning and night, others just say at night. I only do this at night right now, but might up the ante since COVID19 is aging me. I alternate between the Tatcha Peony Eye Cream and the Fresh Black Tea Eye Serum. The Olay Microsculpt Eye Cream is a great inexpensive option as well. All three are amazing. Choose your favorite anti-aging eye cream/serum and apply with your ring finger gently around your eye, being careful not to tug at the delicate skin under your eye.
7. Light Lotion with SPF (Daytime Only): During the day you want a hydrating moisturizer with sunscreen/SPF that is light and creates a nice base for the makeup you might be applying. I use a tried and true winning product for this, and it is inexpensive and easily accessible: Olay Lotion with SPF. Olay is incredible. My late grandmother and mother both used/use Olay religiously and attributed their incredible youthful looking skin to the use of Olay. My mother is 65 years old and nobody believes she’s it. I use Olay (sensitive skin) lotion every morning and swear it make a huge difference. Apply a dime size amount all over the face and neck (don’t forget your neck).
- Product: Olay Lotion with SPF
- Time of Day: Morning
- Universal Product: Yes, absolutely. Everyone should own this product. There is the original formula and the sensitive skin formula, just choose the version best for you.
8. Heavy Cream (Nighttime Only): At night you want a heavier cream to rehydrate your skin after being out in the elements. I used the Biologique Recherche Pigment Correction Cream right now, but that is very specific to me. Ideally you want to choose a cream with anti-aging properties that moisturizes heavily. There are HUNDREDS of creams on the market at the drugstore or at Sephora. A great option from the drugstore is Olay Intensive Night Cream. A great option from Sephora is Fresh Lotus Youth Preserve Cream. I swear by all three of these products and go back and forth between them all. Apply a generous layer of product with clean hands to the entire face and neck (don’t forget the neck).
9. Retinol (Nighttime Only): This is an antiaging Vitamin A derived product that is very strong and meant to promote cell turnover, which helps with acnes and fighting wrinkles. Retinol is intense, so you want to be very careful about not “overdoing” it with this product. If you have really dry skin, consult a skincare professional about this product before using. If you are using a toner in your regimen, be sure it is a balancing and hydrating toner like the P50 Lotion mentioned in this post — do not use an astringent toner with harsher/drying ingredients AND retinol – your skin will literally fall off. A pea sized amount over the entire face is all you need — anymore and your skin will begin to flake off and become inflamed. There are so many versions of this on the market but the one easiest to get your hands on that is dermatologist grade is Differin Gel. Drunk Elephant also sells a Retinol cream that works well. Introduce this product slowly into your routine — start with once a week for one week, then twice a week for 2 weeks, then every other day for 3 weeks, and then every day after that. After moisturizing with a heavy cream, apply a pea sized amount to the entire face and wash your hands after. Do not forget to moisturize before.
- Products: Differin Gel and Drunk Elephant A-Passioni Retinol Cream
- Time of Day: Nighttime, begin with once a week and gradually build up to daily after about 1.5-2 months
- Universal Product: No. This product is not for everyone and should be used carefully. For those with really dry skin, consult your skincare professional about the use of this product and receive a specific product recommendation for your skin. Discontinue use if you have a reaction to it.
10. Face Oil: Don’t be afraid of face oils! They actually help control oil production. Face oil should be the last step in your regimen. Oil creates a barrier, locks everything you just put on your face in and keeps it in place while it works its magic. I use the Biossance Squalane Vitamic C + Rose Oil, but also love the Fresh Seaberry Facial Oil. I have also heard great things about the Ordinary B Oil, which is just $10! Apply a couple of drops to the entire face by rubbing gently.
BONUS: Mask: I like to apply a mask once a week. I use the Biologique Recherche Masque Vivant, which I swear by. It smells terrible (like pungent bread yeast), but it really lifts impurities out of my skin for a deep clean while also hydrating the skin — it’s amazing. Oh, and JLO revealed that she uses this mask too 😉 Keep it simple and choose a mask that you like that feels luxurious and that works for your needs. This is optional and by no means necessary, but just gives a little extra love to your skin after a long week. Some of my other favorites include Glamglow and the Fresh Umbrian Clay Mask. After cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser, apply the mask for recommended time listed in the directions. Wash off and continue with your regimen.
Phew! I understand that this is a lot of information to take in, but the regimen breakdown is this:
5 Steps: Cleanser, toner, optional vitamin C serum, light lotion with SPF and optional face oil
8 Steps: Cleanser, optional makeup wipes, toner, specialty serum, eye cream, heavy night cream, optional retinol and optional face oil
1 x per week: Mask of choice
AND, if you are a Sephora shopper, the Spring 20% off event starts this weekend for Rouge and next week for VIB members! If you have your eye on any of these products found a Sephora, definitely stock up during the sale for added savings.
Ready, set, start your skincare! Let me know how these products work for you and comment below with any questions!
*Some affiliate links are included in this post for the purpose of recommendations.