Because I have been working so much and so late for the past week, and the boyfriend (my photographer!) has been in the middle of mid-terms, not much outfit picture-taking has gone on. I have a pile of clothes and jewelry on my desk chair that stares at me with forlorn eyes, waiting for me to recreate for the camera some of my looks from the past few days. Hark! Thursday marks the end of my insane work schedule, so soon, my little friends, soon!
In the meantime, though, I am going to let everyone in on my latest skincare routine/product selection because in the last two months I have started using some new products and am impressed with their ability to keep my skin under control. Which, for me, is saying a lot because this has been an ongoing quest since I was about 16 years old. First of all, my skin is, at age 27, in my 28th year of life, dry. Dry, dry. dry. It used to be oily in the T-zone and normal but prone to breakouts on my cheeks, and blotting papers were a must-have in my purse, but those days are no more. I used my last blotting paper about two weeks ago from a package I bought I-can’t-even-remember-when, and the only reason I used it was just to freshen up my face because I hadn’t touched up my makeup all day and my face looked wilted and gross. Anyway, I’m not buying any more papers, and that’s final!
Dryness isn’t my only current skin problem. Each month I usually break out with about three or four pimples that all seem to appear at once. And, for as long as I can remember, I have had tiny whiteheads around my chin that never seem to go away no matter how much I squeeze them. That might seem like too much information to some of you, but if I’m giving you a review of my skincare routine, I should be honest about what type of skin I have and what the products are doing to help it, right?
Back to the squeezing. I have a horrible, dirty habit of picking, squeezing and touching my face when it is NOT NECESSARY. I’m sure this contributes to most of the ugly, angry pimples I do get. Why I can’t I just leave well enough alone? It is really more attractive to have a scabbed-up remnant of a pimple that no foundation or concealer can possibly cover adequately? And then deal with the red mark that sticks around forever on my pale-face skin? Apparently it is, because these scabbed-up remnants make semi-regular appearances on my face. Lovely, isn’t it? In more appealing information, I also love to attack the blackheads that like to live on my nose. They’re not that dark and noticeable, but I still feel the need to kill them by the most aggressive means possible. The result of all this is too much time spent in the bathroom before bed, and then feeling embarrassed coming to bed and letting the boyfriend see my red, splotchy, and picked-at face because I’m pretty sure he’s thinking, “Man alive! I know Carla went into the bathroom, so who is THIS?!” Ew.
Now, that being said, I have been trying to pick and squeeze less lately because: 1) there is not a lot to pick or squeeze right now; and 2) this is because my new skincare routine/products seem to be working wonders and even keeping the pimples/whiteheads/blackheads away. Believe me, I know this to be true after searching my face for 20 minutes about an inch from the mirror each night, looking for something, anything!!!
I should also mention that about eight years ago I was introduced to the book Don’t Go To The Cosmetics Counter Without Me by Paula Begoun. A fellow summer camp counsellor who was pale and red-headed like me swore by Paula’s recommendations for skincare, so first I borrowed her copy and then ran to the store to buy my own. I was hooked! Paula is now in her eighth edition of this book, and in it she reviews almost every skincare and makeup product on the market today. Every brand from Wet ‘N Wild and Cover Girl to Chanel and La Mer are reviewed, and through three editions of this book, I have never seen a bias toward any particular price point or brand. Paula is completely honest about her findings (at least. I think so) and rates each product as horrible, so-so, great, or fantastic (Paula’s Picks). She also has lists that run down her top products in everything from face cleansers to skin-lightening creams. AND, she splits each of these groups according to price range (under $15, over $15, etc.). The one and only pitfall of Don’t Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me is the fact that it’s American and sometimes lists certain products that Canadians can’t get (easily, anyway). All prices are also in US dollars.
Since moving to Edmonton I became loyal to Paula’s brand, Paula’s Choice, but before Christmas, I decided it was too expensive to have shipped from the U.S., what with the exchange and brokerage fee, so I scaled back on the products I was using, as well as what I bought from Paula’s Choice, in an attempt to streamline my spending and curb the abuse on my face.
For a long time, every morning, I would use a toner, pimple cream, a BHA exfoliant cream, moisturizer, sunscreen, and then all my makeup, an eye cream at night, plus an exfoliant and mask used intermittently during the week. Product overload! After all my complaining about my skin problems, the boyfriend pointed out to me that men don’t use much at all (to quote: “sometimes I use a bar of soap”), and lo and behold, the boyfriend has great skin. So, the new pared-down and cheaper line-up is:
- Dove Cool Moisture Foaming Facial Cleanser for Normal to Combination Skin
- Neutrogena Pore Refining Cleanser
- Nivea Visage Eye Make-up Remover
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Toner for Normal to Very Dry Skin
- Oxy Acne Vanishing Treatment Benzoyl Peroxide Lotion
- Olay Total Effects 7-in-1 Anti-Aging Daily Moisturizer
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Hydrating Treatment Mask for Normal to Very Dry Skin
I worry that getting into the details of how often I use each product might be a tad tedious at this point in the post, but I suppose if you have read this far, you must be interested. So, here it goes:
Morning: Toner (because washing my face now as well as at night dries it out); Oxy on forehead and cheeks (I avoid the nose and chin because this particular cream is drying and those are my ultimate dry areas); Olay all over face (only problem with Olay is that the container is rather small and needs to be replaced about every month).
Night: Dove face wash (great because it’s cheap, you don’t need a lot to create a lather and get your makeup off, and it’s in a big tube); eye makeup remover if needed (don’t want to pull too much on that delicate skin around the eyes!); Oxy and Olay on same areas as morning.
Twice weekly: Neutrogena cleanser for exfoliating purposes (there are tiny microbeads in this cleanser. I always used to buy exfoliants with rough pieces in them because I felt like they got the job done better, but perhaps I should have been using a gentler formula like this all along! Note: this product stings the eyes, so avoid that area.).
Once a week: Paula’s Choice mask (goes on clear and I can walk around without looking like, well, like I have a mask on my face. Don’t leave it on overnight, though, as a friend of mine and I both did that, thinking it would help with the dryness, but it only ended up causing a breakout for each of us.).
For sun protection I rely on the SPF 15 in my foundation.
All the products above are Paula Begoun-approved, and as of the last two months, De Facto Redhead-approved. If you want to know more about anything to do with these products, like their prices, where I buy them, or what Paula has to say about them, please leave me a comment - I would love to hear from you!