Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Ask an old married lady: What's your skincare routine?

Am I the only one who finds the beauty and skincare section of any store (be it Wal-Mart, Target, Ulta or Sephora) totally overwhelming? I find myself asking questions like: 
  • What should I put on my face?
  • Should I be lightening, brightening, tightening, firming or anti-acne-ing? 
  • Do I need to use a serum? Pore shrinker? Wrinkle reducer? BB cream? 
  • How do I know if I should use one of those fancy facial brush-thingies? Doesn't a washcloth do the same thing? 
  • Once I pick a type of product, how do I decide on a brand? 
I don't feel like I have 'problem' skin, but based on all these products, people must have some crazy routines. My current skin routine is basically this: Wash my face morning and night, use light moisturizer with SPF during the morning, and in the winter, moisturize like crazy. 

I'm curious whether people actually practice the elaborate, multi-step skincare routines that some websites and women's magazines feature. Or maybe (cough, new mom here) you just try to get your face washed before bed on a good night?

Here's what some of our friends said when we asked about their routines:

Mrs. Fancy Feet
Age decade: 20s
Skincare concerns:  Acne, redness
What do you use on your face (and why)? I am so lazy I typically use regular bar soap on my face but of course find that it dries it out a lot. When I can remember, I use  L'Occitane Sublime Essence face serum. I find that it moisturizes while leaving my face feeling dry and not oily. It is helpful for the redness I have in my face as well, and helps even out the color. 
What confuses you? I feel like I'm at that awkward point of needing to moisturize but still needing acne medication. I feel like it's an either/or for using products and have yet to find something I like that can do both. Also, I'm not sure when I should be starting to use anti-aging cream.

Julie B.
Age decade: 30s
Skincare concerns: Blemishes and the occasional blackhead  
What do you use on your face (and why)? Daily cleanser Cetaphil or Cerave. Which ever I tend to find on sale. I also use Loreal collagen moisturizer( $7.98 on Amazon) on my face every morning and night. I was my face   faithfully to remove all makeup.  I have started taking Biotin daily (at you local Costco is the cheapest).  And in the last 3 months of taking the vitamin and the new collagen cream, my blemishes have diminished to a few monthly. I also use a dab of the cream and mix it with the Loreal foundation for a lighter feel and better blends better on my face. I have no wrinkles or bags even after very long nights with the kiddos. I attribute that to biotin and krill oil I take daily along with a healthy diet :)
What confuses you? At this time, I am very happy with my facial look. I think I can go foundation free now, however I am a bit timid since I've used it my entire life.

Mrs. Asbestos
Age decade: 30s
Skincare concerns:  My T-zone is an oil slick.
What do you use on your face (and why)? I would like to pretend that pre-kid I had really good skin care routines, but in reality it has gone from low maintenance to almost no maintenance. I wash my face in the AM with a drugstore brand facial cleanser. Once a week, I scrub my whole body, face included, with Aveda Body Polish.  It is like fine-grit sandpaper. I moisturize most days with whatever is handy. I usually use a light moisturizer with sunscreen, but I have been out for two months and keep forgetting to buy it, so lately I have just been using my L'Occitane Almond Milk on my face and body. 
About three days a week, when I have meetings, I will use Maybelline BB cream, which I have found to be lightweight. If the meeting is REALLY important, I will apply mineral powder, blush and mascara. I never wear lipstick but am obsessed with having lots of natural chapsticks and lip balms. 
At night, I debate whether I should do a good job brushing my teeth or a good job washing my face. 99.9% the teeth win, and I then just take a warm wet cloth and wipe my face off. If I am feeling dry I will sometimes apply lotion (whatever is close by: baby lotion, hand lotion, etc). I used to have an Aveeno night cream I like, so I might buy more. 
About four times a year I bust out a nice facial mask, like the honey oat one from The Body Shop and do a deep cleanse. I also LOVE using a Biore strip on my nose every couple of months.
What confuses you? How my nose can be oily and dry at the same time.

Ms. Auntie
Age decade: 50s 
What do you use on your face (and why?) I wash my face with baby wash in the shower every morning. And afterwards, I apply cheap face lotion with SPF 15. (I think it's Wal-Mart brand and says something about being like Olay.) Then I put on makeup. 
Later in the day, after work, I go to the gym and sweat like a post-menopausal woman. During this particular time, I wipe my face with a ratty workout towel several times over the course of an hour. And there you have it! I have also been known to rub my eyes too much and pop pimples. (Thankfully, at 54, those are rare these days.)

And here's what your friendly neighborhood Old Married Ladies have to say:

Mrs. Snacky
Age decade: 30s 
Skincare concerns: Some dryness and flakiness in colder weather, occasional blemishes, bags under my eyes (babies, amiright?!)
What do you use on your face (and why)? I use a gentle cleanser (Cetaphil or Cerave) in the mornings and evenings. I sometimes use a toner (Burt's Bees Garden Tomato Toner), if I'm feeling oily or extra dirty. In the mornings, I use an inexpensive drugstore moisturizer with sunscreen (Oil of Olay for sensitive skin), then top with a loose mineral powder. In the winter, I usually add in some heavier moisturizer (brand varies, or sometimes pure argan oil) if I'm feeling dry.
What confuses you? I've tried to use foundation, BB cream or CC cream, but they feel heavy on my skin, so I usually give up after a couple days. I'm thinking I should add some sort of serum or anti-wrinkle to my routine, but they're expensive and I don't feel very wrinkly yet. (Ask me again in five years.)

Mrs. Crafty 
Age decade: 30s 
Skincare concerns: Maintaining my skin's current condition
What do you use on your face? I must admit, I've always had pretty nice skin. I've had more than a few people compliment me and ask if there is anything special I do. However, here is the answer no one is looking for: Nothing. I do nothing. In the morning, I wash it with bar soap and a wash cloth, the same stuff I wash the rest of me with. Then for all of my 20s, I went about my day. My face is oily, so I feel greasy when I wear face lotion. I only put on lotion in winter. At night, I brush my teeth and go to bed. I have never washed my face before bed unless there I am wearing makeup or really dirty. (I know, it's a bad habit; don't tell the kids!) Enter my 30s. I started to feel the pressure to "take care of my face" more. Now, I wear Aveeno Daily Moisturizer with SPF 15 when I remember and I love Kiehl's Super Multi Corrective Cream face lotion. I still don't wash my face except for in the shower.
What confuses you? I don't understand anti-aging stuff. If it works, why isn't everyone using it?

All right, friends, now you've got the scoop. Apparently there's no magic trick to good skin. Real people are using bar soap, baby wash and drugstore lotion on their faces. When they remember to do anything. We think sun protection is important, but we're sloppy about it. And brand loyalty is not a concept any of us practice. Do we all feel better now? Are we more confused than ever? 

Photos from the Library of Congress archives: Top here, middle here, bottom here

1 comment:

  1. Anti-aging should be used before you get wrinkles to keep it that way. Garnier has a reasonably priced line and even the semi-expensive stuff lasts a long time. I don't use it as much as I should as I'm 36 and am seeing some fine lines appear but sometimes opening a jar and dabbing something on my face is just way too much work!