Get Yo' Skin Clean

Almost every woman I know is obsessed with their skin and honestly? I think if there’s one thing you should worry about, aesthetically speaking, it is your skincare routine. Sure, I love a nice manicure, but if you’re skin is well maintained, you’re even more dollars.

My routine has morphed throughout the years, mainly because at different times in my life I could afford different products. Throughout high school and college, I was all about this Mary Kay Cosmetics Velocity line that was designed for teen skin. When I discovered that junior year of high school, it was game over. It was almost more than I could afford at the time, but compared to what I was dropping on drug store facial washes that I’d quickly abandon after they dried out my sad Irish complexion, it was a deal and a half.

Eventually I moved to Cetaphil. It’s one of the most gentile cleansers you can get at the drugstore that still makes your skin feel sufficiently clean. I’d use good ol’ St. Ives Apricot Scrub (sensitive skin edition, duh) about twice a week to exfoliate and get to impurities that I didn’t feel like the Cetaphil was getting to. In fact, I’m still up on that St. Ives once every three days in the shower.

I’ve been in my mid-to-late 20s for a minute now, and like any woman who has started to notice cracks and lines that didn’t used to be on her face suddenly appearing, I’ve stepped my game up. Here’s the list of products I’m using these days.

Maybe once a week or so I go hard with the make up. Most days I just throw on some lip stain and maybe a little bit of mascara, but there are always a couple days of week (important work days or nights out) that I do my whole face up. The easiest and most effective way that I’ve found to strip my face of foundation and concealer are these Almay make up remover towelettes. They are fairly inexpensive, and the generic versions usually work just as well. I trust Almay because they make one of my favorite eye make up removers of all time, but I’ve used generic brands from Target, RiteAid and CVS and completely survived. Some of these towelettes can be very drying, so even if you run on the oily side, I’d recommend using these as just an initial part of your process and to never stop there.

I made the somewhat silly mistake of getting addicted to the kind of pricey Decléor Aroma Cleanse facial cleanser over the last few months, but I love it and I think that if it’s something you can splurge on you should do it. Honestly, it’s basically the same thing at Cetaphil, except it smells nicer and is French. What you can take from this is that I totally could be using Cetaphil, but if you tell me something is French and smells nice, I’ll buy it like a chump and start swearing by it.

It’s a long running joke in my family that any time I ever had a skin or health problem in my life, whether it be that I dipped into my mom’s self-tanning lotion without permission or broke my toe by dropping a bottle of Captain Morgan’s on it prom night, that witch hazel is the solution. My mom would always be like, “Just soak yourself in witch hazel and walk it off, you’ll be fine.”

Anyway, what this stuff is really great for (much better than removing self-tanner or healing a broken toe), is getting dirt and impurities out of your skin that a cleanser can’t. It goes deeper than that Janet Jackson song about going deep, know what I mean? I love that song and that album, by the way. I think Velvet Rope is really underrated.

Anywho, T.N. Dickinson’s Witch Hazel is not only inexpensive, but it’s a lifelong favorite of mine for many reasons. Does it make your skin dry? Sure. Do I care? Look at me. Look at me. Since when do I care?

Epicuren eye cream is something that I bought when I was losing my mind one day and thought that I had dark circles under my eyes and was starting to look way beyond my years. I mean, I do at times have under eye bags, but immediately after I bought it, I got carded at the movie theater for trying to get into a R rated movie. It doesn’t get more ironic than that. However, I use this twice a day as a preventative measure. The last thing I want is shrunken apple head eyes, and if I keep putting this eye cream on that costs more than most of the jeans I own, I’m sure I’ll be okay for a little while.

On the days that I go make up free, I hit my face up with Olay Complete Moisturizer, which has a SPF 15 built right into it. As I already said, I’m Irish, and if my summers going sunscreen-free on the beachs of Duxbury, MA didn’t make me a prime candidate for melanoma, walking around Los Angeles as an adult with no preventative measure definitely will. I am a fan of the Olay family, as you will continue to learn in this post, and since it’s fairly inexpensive, I don’t mind using it on my face, neck and chest about five days a week.

This is another “Who do you think you are, Molly?” purchase, but I absolutely love my Decléor Hydra Floral moisturizing cream. The days that I do wear make up or don’t plan on leaving the house, this is my moisturizer of choice. The tinted moisturizer that I normally use has an SPF 30 built in, so this is a great base for that and yo! It feels like my face is cool and moist at all times. I’ve been into this stuff for about four months now, and in my first month, I blew threw a whole jar. Once I had to re-up and looked at the price tag, I started to use it less frequently, but it’s still my absolute favorite.

Once I’ve gotten all of the dirt and make up off of my face at the end of a long day, I need to feel like I’m slathered in night cream. Like, I want to put my head on my pillow feeling like I am sleeping with a face made out of water. Considering the amount that I like to use, the only thing that I’ve found that’s can even remotely justify purchasing is Olay’s Night of Olay Firming Cream. My skin feels crazy soft and refreshed after using it and, it’s basically my favorite thing ever.

I don’t think any skincare routine is complete without the occasional peel or mask. I’m not talking chemical peels (those freak me out), but something like REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask. This is another costly option, but for something I use just once every two weeks for ten minutes and for the difference I can see it make, it’s totally worth it. It yanks off any dead skin, puffs up your fine lines and makes you feel like a movie star once you’re all done.

I should also mention that I am a frequent vitamin popper and that there are many nights that I’m too tired or lazy to do any of these things and I pass out make up on, teeth unbrushed. It’s really more like twelve times a week that I try to take five minutes in the mirror to pay attention to my skin.

And hey, drink water. It helps, I’ve been told.

Please spare me the lectures on how using too many products is worse for your skin than none at all because my complexion is pretty on point for someone who has as many vices and gets as little sleep as I do, and feel free to let me know in the comments if there are any better versions of these products that you’ve come across.

  • Carrie Murphy

    i used the olay night cream last night and i have a mini bottle of that glycolactic peel stuff and it IS totally awesome, even though i have greasy italian skin. great recs, molly!

  • Marcelle Karp

    i love this list! i only started washing my face last year, when one of my BFF’s (an editor of a fashion mag!) was horrified at my confession that i never wash my face except to use the almay wipes to take off my eyeliner (she was also unimpressed that i don’t wear mascara, and we had to agree to disagree on the merits of mascara, but that’s another story). i’m gonna get that french stuff, so thanks for the recco. for my moisturizer, i swear by aveda’s botanical kinetics, which sounds all hifalutin, but isn’t and that is one skin care product i’ve been using for as long as i can remember.

  • Hannah Krakauer

    I am also a big fan of Cetaphil, though their cleansers never did it for me–didn’t get my makeup off, not even close. (Their moisturizing cream though? The one that makes you feel like you’re slathering shortening all over your face? Fabulous.) My old-lady secret (I’m 24, whatever) is actually Pond’s cold cream. I know! But it’s a classic for a reason. My skin is very acne-prone and also very dry, and it’s the only thing I’ve ever found to not irritate either condition. I highly recommend giving it a shot. Just make sure to remove it with a warm, wet washcloth to avoid the residue-y feeling afterwards.

    • Jessica Mary Lara

      I love Ponds! I use it every night and it just keeps my face really soft and when I wake up in the morning my skin is just glowing. My friends think I’m old ladyish for using it, but it’s great! My dad told me that’s what his mother used, and all my aunts, so I guess it’s just a family thing.

  • Amanda Walgrove

    Great recommendations. It makes me thing about how many products you must’ve had to go through and hate in order to settle on these gems. Or were these just fate?

  • Ramou Sarr

    Aaah, I love posts like this! I’ve been using Cetaphil for nearly 10 years and am afraid to switch because it’s been so good to me, but I may have to check out the Decleor line. An inexpensive face mask that I swear by is just baking soda and water. Leaves your skin totally soft and feeling refreshed for something like 5 cents an application. And don’t forget about your hands! I rub the excess from my moisturizer (currently Sephora Flawless SPF 15) on my hands and keep an SPF hand cream in my bag at all times.

  • Elisabeth Miller

    I love this post, but I don’t know where to start! I need someone to sit me down and give me a routine. I was recently thinking that I need a new skin care routine as my one face wash doesn’t seem to be cutting it…

  • Jocqulene Castro

    My mom used to do Mary Kay so I still use that Velocity ish. Those orange and white bottles aren’t going anywhere. I mean, please. It gets the job done.

  • Valentina Korkes

    This list is missing a lot of Kiehls!!

  • Stephanie Hirsch

    Where can you find the Witch Hazel??

    • Brittany Woodell

      Normally it’s in the drugstore near where you would find rubbing alcohol or fist aid stuff. I love it! It’s got so many uses, it’s crazy.

  • Stephanie Hirsch

    Oh and im currently trying lip stains for the first time! do you have a favorite or recommendation??

    • Taylor Coil

      I’m pretty pale and I love Benefit’s Posietint. The ‘Benetint’ is great, too, but it’s a bit too much color for my pastiness!

  • Jessica Vasquez

    Hey Molls! Great post, I really want to try that eye cream now. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve read a lot of places that St. Ives scrub is not the best for your skin. The apricot seed particles are too big and rough for your skin, they can tear your pores, creating oilness and large pores. There is a review here I found helpful:

    • Ramou Sarr

      There’s a new St. Ives scrub that’s green tea and the particles are much smaller and less rough and I love it! The apricot though I think is a great and inexpensive body scrub for less sensitive skin on your body (see: feet and elbows).

  • Maria Andrea Hernandez-Venegas

    BIO-OIL! It’s the best! It’s super hydrating and helps you even out skin tone. I have really sensitive skin and it hasn’t made me break out yet. Neutrogena dry-touch sunblock is really good too.

  • Brittany Woodell

    I’m a face wash junkie. I’ve tried so many brands and styles, I don’t even know where to begin. Sadly, the reason I’ve tried so many is that they tend to either not wash well, make me break out (more), or just leave my skin feeling gross (even Cetaphil made me break out – which was a total bummer because so many of my friend swore by it).

    Recently I tried the new Neutrogena Naturals – Fresh Cleaning + Makeup Remover face wash, and I’m hooked. It smells really nice, it doesn’t have all of those crazy chemicals that are bad for you, it doesn’t make me break out any more than I normally would, and my skin actually feels clean when I’m done. I use the same brand pore scrub and I really like that too!

    Also, I’ve had spots and scars on my face for as long as I can remember (my breakouts used to be awful – sometimes still are), so I wanted to try and find something to correct that. I tried Bio-Oil and it wasn’t really working for my face (too oily, and made me break out) – but I do love it for scars and scrapes on the rest of my body. Now I’m using the Ganier – Clinical Skin Renew Dark Spot Corrector, and that’s been amazing! Aside from the random spots that pop up, my concealer process in the morning has drastically decreased. I’ve been using it for about a month and a half.

  • Tawnie Ashley

    love this post! thanks for all of the great tips! I have always been a Neutrogena lady myself, but they discontinued my face wash so I have been looking for a new one. I actually really like the Garnier Exfoliating Mask and Cleanser. It makes my skin feel super soft and radiant. Can’t wait to try out some of these options!

  • Maggie Lagos

    I love Purpose Gentle Cleaning Wash for everyday face washing! It’s inexpensive and leaves my face feeling super clean without drying. Plus, it gets rid of all my (layers and layers of) makeup and even eyeliner! Definitely recommend it.

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