General Makeup and Appearance

Q&A – Skin Care Questions

Hello Gang!

On Sept. 6, 2017, I turned 50.  YEP – I’m 50!!!  I feel like its an achievement, a triumph and I am so grateful that I’m still standing!  (Cue the Elton John Song!)  However, as I have moved through my life doing a victory dance, I keep getting hit with the same questions.  “Dawn, how do you keep your skin looking so good?”  or “How do you stay looking so young?”

Well, hummm, interesting questions. I have to be honest, I each of my 50 years etched into the smile lines, and painted on my skin in freckly dark spots.  My under-eye circles are a wonder to behold, and completely unavoidable due to genetics. When I look in the mirror and think, do I look that young?

However, At the end of the day, it’s all about perception and perspective, and for many people, my skin evidently does look “younger than my number.” So, in this post,  I’ll share what I do to sustain, maintain, and manifest the combination of illusion and reality that is my skin.  I’m no dermatologist or beauty guru, so some of my processes may not be “officially sanctioned” by a skin professional.

So without further ado, here’s what I do to my skin.  Note – I’ve included links so you can see and find the products.  I recommend comparison shopping, watching for sales, and using coupons as often as possible to save serious $ on skincare.  Everything I use is considered “Drug Store” priced and though I try to keep the cost down, if I lost it all today and had to rebuy everything, it would be a pretty penny!

A.M. Skin Care Routine

When I get up in the morning, I start my day with about 5 minutes in front of the mirror.  As a creature of habit, I brush my teeth first, then work my way through this quick routine.  I know this looks like a lot of stuff, but I can get these steps done in five minutes.

  1. Micellar Water: I start in the morning by using a micellar water to clean off the skin care from the night before.  I just brush a bit on with a cotton round and make sure that my skin is completely clean.  You will see in a moment why this step is essential – I use quite a bit of stuff before bed.  Because I wear a lot of waterproof mascara when I perform, I buy the blue-lid Garnier, which is quite good for makeup.  I wrote a blog post about Micellar water Here.
  2. Hydration Spray:  I make my own spray that I use liberally because it’s super affordable and easy to make.  It’s 8 parts water, and I use fancy Italian still water, Aqua Panna, 1 part grapeseed oil and 1 part glycerine.  I mix these up and keep a bottle at my sink and a bottle at my workstation so that I can spray throughout the day. But I always give myself a blast as my second step.
  3. Serum:  I have been using Boots No. 7 Advanced Protect and Perfect serum since 2007.  That’s 10 years.  I like the way this feels, and I miss it when I skip it.  My skin is growing dryer by the day, and after I apply this in the morning, it feels more dewy and soft.  I guess I swear by this as a holy grail product!
  4. Sunscreen: I always use an SPF of 50 on my face next.  I’m currently using a sunscreen from CeraVe designed for use on the face.  It’s worked for me for the past three years, and I go through two tubes a year.  If I know FOR SURE I’ll be inside the whole day, I will skip this step.  If I do – and then need to go outside later – I always spray my face, neck, and hands with sunscreen in a mist form so it won’t disturb any makeup I might have on.  For sprays, I buy whatever is sold at CostCo to save some cash.  This year, I’ve been using Neutrogena Beach Defense in SPF 70.
  5. Moisturizer 1: I have pretty dry skin, and I discovered Garnier Moisture Rescue about three years ago, and I love the way it feels.  It’s a heavy dose of hydrolonic acid, which beauty gurus says really plump the skin.  I use it because it feels good to my dry skin.  I completely swear by this “pink goo.”
  6. Moisturizer 2:  OVER KILL TIME –  I use the same moisturizer day and night and I’ve been enjoying the CereVe Night Moisturizer.  The day version has sunscreen in it, and since I use a separate sunscreen, I don’t need sunscreen in my moisturizer. Do I really need two moisturizers?  They do two different “things” so yeah, I’m okay with being a bit extra on the moisturizer front.
  7. Eye Cream: This is my “biggest aging issue” so I’m a huge fan of eyecream.  I’ve never found the perfect formula so this is my area of experimentation.  I’m currently using the Boots No. 7 formula,

During the Day: Ongoing Skin Care

As I move through my day, there are a couple of things that I do that are functional and illusional to maintain the looks of my skin.

  1. CC/BB Cream – Because I feel that my biggest “aging” issue is hyperpigmentation aka age spots, I like to wear a BB or CC cream to even out the tone of my skin.  There are dozens, if not hundreds of products available on the market today, and it’s most important to buy a product that is good for your skin type and matches your skin tone. Two formulas that I like for my dry, pale skin are Garnier’s BB  cream and the Pur Cosmetics CC cream which is REALLY pale, so good for me in winter.
  2. Color Correction for Dark Eyes – While I don’t do this if I’m staying home for the day, if I’m heading out for a typical day I always take a moment to use a peachy concealer around my eyes.  Lately, I’ve been using the Nyx Dark Circle Concealer for daytime wear.  When I’m doing stage makeup, I get much more intense with concealer and use a Concealer Wheel from BH Cosmetics.
  3. Liberal Use of Hydration Spray – When my skin is feeling a little dry, I hit myself with a mist of hydration.  While I make my own, I actually am constantly refilling a travel size bottle that originally contained the Mario Badescu formula.  I loved that, but I’m all for saving some cash with an equally good DIY version. Of course, the small bottle is the bomb and I carry it with me in my bag everywhere!
  4. Hand Sanitizer Spray – I am a “face toucher” and I frequently hold my phone to my face.  To keep my hands and phone clean on the go, I carry around Dr. Bronner’s lavender hand sanitizer.  Is this overkill?  Probably – but I find that it reduces breakouts and blemishes.
  5. Hand Lotion – Hands give your age away.  My hands are not as pretty as they once were, but to keep them looking their best, I moisturize frequently.  I carry around hand lotion with me constantly.  I’m not loyal to any particular brand, but I pick up sample and travel sizes and keep them in my bag at all times.  A big jar of Eucerin Intensive is on my desk.  I think the real key to hand lotion is to get into the habit and have it with you at all times.  If you choose a formula and scent that you like, you are more likely to reach for it and use it.

P.M. Skincare Routine

I’m a night-time shower-er so this routine is predicated on my preferred shower-time.

  1. Makeup Removal:  Depending on my day, this can be as simple as the Miceller water I mentioned earlier for standard day-time makeup.  On an ordinary day I might wear BB/CC Cream, eyeliner, Mascara, lip balm.  But then there are performance nights.  For those nights, I will start with makeup remover wipes.  I currently buy the Kirkland brand from Costco.  Then I will go over my face Miceller water to work on the stubborn waterproof products I prefer to battle performance sweat.  If that’s not enough, I will dip into a liquid makeup remover to help with the most stubborn stuff.  I don’t have a preferred makeup remover, I just buy what’s on sale, and someday, I might have a favorite.
  2. Cleanse Skin: After all the makeup is off, I do a cleanse in the shower, I wash my face with a microfiber washcloth using CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser.  There are lots of cleansers out there and I recommend you experiment until you find one that works for your skin type.  Because my key issue is dry skin, I found that this cleanser leaves me feeling clean, not dry, tight and stripped of all moisture.
  3. Scrub: 3 times a week I use a scrub on my face.  As I’ve aged, I find that my dry skin needs a little help with exfoliation, so I give it a little help along.  Currently, I’m using a product I like, but is not quite at Holy Grail status, Neutrogena Healthy Skin Booster.   The last tube of scrub I used I might like a tiny bit better it was the Aveeno Positively Radiant.  Because I can’t decide, I will probably flip-flop between the two until something catches my eye.
  4. Mask: Opposite days from scrubbing, I will use a face mask.  I am not a huge fan of sheet masks, so instead, I go for classic formulations that include kaoelin clay.  This is another arena where I experiment a lot with different products and I’m currently working on a tube of the St. Ives Mineral Clay Firming Mask.  When I have the time to get really hands on a gooey, I like to use mix-your-own Aztec Secret: Indian Healing Clay which is Bentonite clay and really lovely.  It’s super affordable too, ya just gotta do the work to mixmaster your facial together.
  5. Toner: After I’ve done the cleanse and either mask or scrub, then I go over my skin with witch hazel.  There are may professionals that have abandoned witch hazel for being too strong.  But I like the way it feels and looks on older skin with large pores.
  6. Retinoid: Differin Gel is sold as an acne treatment but is nearly as strong as Retin A that needs a prescription.  I think using it for anti-aging is “off label” but I don’t care!  It’s cheaper and easier to get than a prescription.  Retin A or Tretinoin is the gold-standard for antiaging and if you have access to it – it’s amazing!  I give this some time to completely dry before the final round of moisturizers.
  7. Serum: Here’s a repeat from the morning with Boots No 7 Serum
  8. Moisturizer 1: Garnier Moisture Rescue – same as the morning
  9. Moisturizer 2: CeraVe Nightime – same as the morning.

Saving Money on Skin Care

WHEW – it took much longer to type all that in than to actually perform these steps.  Skin care is something that I take seriously, but, at the same time, I try to save money on. As you can tell by the list, I’m not a slave to one brand, but often, I have two products in a line so I can take advantage of BOGO sales to get one at half off or even sometimes free with purchase.  While all of these affiliate links lead back to Amazon and help support my blog, I highly recommend you comparison shop.  I like to buy my products from stores where I have points adding up, like Ulta or Walgreens where I have accounts that are growing from making purchases.  When I buy on line, I always use EBates to save cash with things I’m already planning on buying.

When you know what products you like, try to buy everything on sale in advance of running out, so I don’t have a mad dash to the store to buy something at full price.  I try to buy one or two products each month to spread out the expense of this full regimen throughout the year.  For the product categories where I am still experimenting, I am always sure to read reviews from sources I trust.  I’m less likely to be disappointed when it’s been recommended to me by someone with similar skin care issues and tastes as my own.

I hope that this post gives you a little peek into my habits for keeping my skin clear and smooth.  Remember, it’s never too late to start taking care of your skin.  While this might seem like a crazy high-maintenance routine, it only really takes a few minutes in the morning and at night.

I wish you the best of luck in your own skin-care journey!
Dawn Devine ~ Davina
October 10, 2017

By Davina

Davina ~ Dawn Devine is a belly dance costume designer, dance instructor and author of more than a dozen publications on Middle Eastern dance.