Monday, January 31, 2011

Makeup Mondays--Skincare

Maria asked me to talk about my skincare routine, and I’m very happy to oblige! My skin is the sort that is very sensitive and easily irritated, and I struggled with it in my teens and early 20s. I began using cold cream at that time, and my skin loved it—it cleared right up, in fact. I was a loyal user of Pond’s from that point forward until about two years ago, when it seemed that cold cream no longer agreed with my skin. It was back the drawing board then, though I never really found a suitable replacement for my beloved cold cream. A few months back I read that Pond’s had changed the formula of their classic cold cream, and had added a number of potentially irritating ingredients. Apparently, the store brand cold cream (CVS or Walgreen’s) continued to be made using the original formula. Intrigued by this bit of information, I picked up a tub and tried it out—and the skin issues I’d been dealing with (mostly excessive oiliness) disappeared in just a few weeks, and my skin is back to normal once more. So, I wholeheartedly recommend trying cold cream—for anyone who tried Pond’s and didn’t like the results, you might try the store brand and see if that works for you!

My routine is fairly simple: morning and night I apply cold cream to dry skin, massage it in, and then remove it with a warm, damp washcloth. In the mornings, I follow cleansing with a light moisturizer and sunscreen—my morning routine is quite simple, which is a good thing as I am usually running behind (I wouldn’t describe myself as a morning person.) In the evenings, I follow cleansing by exfoliating with an BHA product, and then apply moisturizer and a retinol cream. That’s it—my skin stays smooth and clear and I’m quite happy with the results.

I adore Arcona’s Magic White Ice serum; this lightweight moisturizer is wonderful for normal to oily skin types. It applies easily and absorbs quickly, and it smells delicious too (like grape Nehi—I love the scent, as does my Sweetie.) It’s the perfect base under makeup, and I like to mix it with any treatment products I apply in the evening, to buffer the active ingredients. I’ve already repurchased it twice, and plan to purchase another bottle when I run out of my current—and for someone who is a product junkie, and is always trying new things just because, that really says something!

For sunscreen, I use BurnOut’s Clean and Clear SPF 32 sunscreen. I’ll confess to avoiding sunscreen for many years (having temperamental skin makes one shy away from it, it’s a catch 22 for sure—wearing it can cause breakouts, not wearing it means skin damage in the long run), but now I use it faithfully. It took a number of tries for me to find one that works for my skin—chemical sunscreens are out (as they cause major irritation for me), but most physical sunscreens are thick, greasy affairs—not an elegant product to apply on their own, and absolutely horrid worn under makeup. I finally found an excellent product in BurnOut’s offering—a physical-only sunscreen that feels light and non-greasy and works fabulously under makeup. Oh, and it does its job well—the only sunburn I’ve gotten in the past six months that I’ve used this was due to me missing an area when I applied it (at the military benefit I forgot to apply sunscreen to my chest, and had a delightful red “V” for a few days. Lovely, it was.) Again, I’m already on my second tube, which really says something! If you’d like to try this product, it can be found here; it applies best on damp skin, so I apply moisturizer and then follow with sunscreen right away.

In the evenings, I use Arcona’s Raspberry Clarifying Pads—I cut the pads in half, as they are quite large. I adore these as well—they are well-suited to sensitive skin, and have a light, fruity scent. The other product I swear by is Avene’s Ystheal Emulsion, a retinol product that is the only one my skin has ever been able to tolerate. I mix a pump of it with a pump of Magic White Ice and apply after using half of a clarifying pad; this has been my nightly routine for the past few months and I am very pleased with it.

That’s it—my skincare routine is fairly basic and streamlined. It took me a number of years to find the right products, but I’m quite happy now, and recommend all of them. I'd love to hear your favorite products--what works best for you?

Amanda Lee


  1. Great article! I find that too my skin is super sinsitive! I used pro active 5 years ago, it was too harsh for my skin so therefore it made me get rashes.:P Therefore I go organic with my products witch hazel, not to much dyes in the product. I use a lot of Queen Helene. I adore Ponds. I am going to try some of the products you mentioned! Thanks

  2. I have combination skin so I I use ponds cold cream on most of my face and clean and clear oil free cleanser for my chin (which is super oily and breaks out if I use cold cream on it). After that, I moisturize with aveeno positively radiant daily moisturizer, which I can use on both dry and oily areas. You're right, finding the right products for your skin is such a pain but well worth trying a few to get it right! I'm so thankful that I found the ponds cold cream for my dry areas. I can't live without it!!

  3. Thank you that sunscreen looks awesome i have bookmarked it for summertime ;-)
    Lisa Freemont street has a all natural cold creme she gets from etsy which i wanna try my skin is very dry i only breakout from pms and that's typically 2 wee ones ...but so dry especially in winter!

  4. I tried a few different cold creams (even one I made myself) but none of them work with my skin. I have a slight chemical sensitivity so I can't use most store bought cleansers either. After trying various natural cleansers, I have discovered making a baking soda paste (and some lavender oil and peppermint oil) works the best. It cleans my face surprisingly well without drying it out.

  5. Dear Amanda, thank you so much for such in-depth discussion about your face care routine! I will have to try those products as well.
    My skin does not like physical abrasives - it gets irritated rather easily. In fact, recently I was diagnosed with annoying! But sometimes, I still use cold cream and wash cloth to exfoliate. If I don't work it on my skin to harshly it feels ok.
    But usually, in the morning I use CeraVe hydrating cleanser - it is very mild and soothing and can be found at CVS or Walgreens. Then I follow with Cetaphil moisturizing cream. At night I wash my foundation off and clean with Aveeno Ultra-Calming foaming cleanser and follow with Cetaphil moisturizing cream. I swear by this potion. It is very rich and soothing cream for my dry, irritable, finicky skin. It has no fragrance and comes in a big tub, which lasts and lasts...
    So, that's it.
    I want to try the sunscreen you use as well. I know what you mean how those physical sunscreens feel and look horrible under the makeup. I haven't found the one that I like yet.
    In the spring,summer and fall, I use UV blocking umbrella to completely protect my skin from the harsh sun in San Jose, California and love it so much. For the last two years I have been able to completely avoid any pesky tan lines! Moreover,now I can't even believe how I ever could put my poor skin under this sun so unprotected by anything, not even by a sunscreen and hike for miles! yuck! :)


  6. Miss Amethyst--Proactive did a number on my skin as well; it took me quite awhile to figure out that harsh prodcuts only made my skin worse! Queen Helene's Mint Julep mask is a fave of mine that I use now and again--it's a special treat when the weather is warm.

    Brittany--sometimes the best products are found in the drugstore--it seems good ol' cold cream is loved by a lot of us retro gals!

    Betty--It really is a fab sunscreen, and not as expensive as some of the other options out there!

    Kate--your homemade cleanser sounds intriguing! Do you find that it removes makeup well?

  7. Thank you for this! As per your suggestion I picked up a jar of the store brand cold cream and have had much better luck! The walgreens brand even contains beeswax which my jar of ponds did not!