NOTE: All links used in this post are non-affiliate links to product pages on Amazon.

Over the years, readers have asked me to share my skin care routine, and I have always demurred. The reason for my reticence was threefold. One, for years, my skin care routine was too basic to qualify for that nomenclature; the only products I used were a drugstore cleanser and moisturizer of no particular distinction. Two, I was deeply uninterested in skin care until very recently. And three, I am fundamentally lazy, so if something doesn’t interest me, I’m rarely motivated to write about it.

But now! Things have changed. I blame it on getting older. Ever since I left my teenage years behind, my skin has been relatively problem-free. No discoloration, no acne, some enlarged pores, occasional blemishes, mild sensitivity, seasonal dryness. With age came the fine — and not so fine — wrinkles. The worst are the ones on my forehead (especially my Resting Bitch Face-enabling “elevens”) and the smile lines around my mouth. The rest of my skin is much the same as always, but those wrinkles are a pain. So much so that I started seriously considering Botox last year. The drawback was not so much the injecting-toxins-into-my-face part (which my husband is forever harping about) but the cost. I’ve always been cheap about skin care — which is terrible, I know. Instead of running to the cosmetic office, I decided to get “serious” about my skin care as a last ditch effort. So, now, I have an actual bona fide skin care routine, and I’m actually pretty thrilled with it.


I got into the habit of using wipes to wash off my make-up a while ago, and stuck with it because of the convenience. I use the Kirkland brand ones from Costco. Previously, I used Pond’s cold cream for make-up removal and it worked quite well, especially as I did not use a night moisturizer at the time and the cold cream was quite nourishing. I use micellar rose water to clean the skin around my eyes (whatever bottle I can find at Winners). Then the needling begins.

On recommendation from a friend, I bought a Derma-roller with 0.5 mm needles. She said that it, combined with a regimen of vitamin A and vitamin C serums, is what her doctor friend swears by. Good enough for me to try it, especially as the Derma-roller was inexpensive ($15 on Amazon, here). I put a thin layer of light moisturizer on my skin before needling it, and use very light pressure. My skin is a little bit rosy and tingly afterwards, but I have never had broken skin or any inflammation. I use the Derma-roller every other day, and follow it up with a few drops of pure rose hip oil. I bought mine at Winners (the brand is Oliology), but this one is a bestseller on Amazon.

On nights when I don’t use the Derma-roller, after the cleaning wipes, I use the CosRx Natural BHA Skin Returning A-Sol Toner recommended by Xin. I also slap on some CosRx BHA Blackhead Power Liquid on my nose and forehead where I have enlarged pores. I follow this up with a few drops of Oz Naturals Hyaluronic Acid Serum with Vitamin C, and then the rose hip oil.

I still occasionally use sheet masks (Tony Moly ones are my fave) but less so than before, as I am quite devoted to my Derma-roller/BHA lotions schedule. On a somewhat related note, I recently switched to a 100% silk pillow case, to see if it makes a difference, wrinkles-wise. It has taken some time to adjust to it (it’s more slippery and cooler than a regular cotton pillow case, neither of which is something I particularly like), and I can’t say that I’ve seen a tremendous difference in the interim. A silk pillow case is also supposed to eliminate bed-head, although that’s not something I struggle with (my pixie probably looks better when it’s a bit tousled). This lady certainly loves hers [note: this is a review of silk pillow cases I randomly found online].


I don’t use a cleanser again in the morning, though I will use a pad soaked in micellar water to wipe under my eyes if remnants of the previous day’s mascara miraculously reappear overnight. I use the CosRx BHA toners (same as above), followed by the hyaluronic acid serum, and lastly Biore Aqua Rich Watery Essence sunscreen with SPF 50. I am embarrassed to say that I never used to wear sunscreen regularly (unless going to the beach) because I was used to the thick, zinc-based sunscreens that are sold in stores here; it’s impossible to wear those under make-up. Not so with the Biore sunscreen; it’s more like a light moisturizer than a traditional sunscreen. I add my foundation directly on top of it, and find that it sits quite well.

What are the results of my new regime? Well, for starters, my skin is the softest ever, even in the dead of winter. Seriously, it’s rose petal-soft. I also have eliminated the flakiness I used to get on my nose (a side-effect of our weather — truly, the winter air here hurts my face).  I do think my skin looks “fresher”, but that’s a very subjective thing to measure. As for my wrinkles … alas, they are still there. Some days, I’m almost convinced they’re less visible; other days, they’re no better than before. It’s still early days, though, so I’m happy enough with the results to stick to the new routine. I know I need to also start drinking more water, which will hopefully help. All in all, I’m putting off Botox … for now.

For anyone curious, I wrote about my everyday make-up routine before, and not much has changed in the interim. I have swapped a few of the products in the last year or so, however, so here is a quick run-down of my current arsenal [Note: most of these are cheaper to buy at the drugstore, but I’m linking to Amazon for convenience]:

FoundationRimmel 25 hr Lasting Finish liquid foundation
Powder: e.l.f Tone Correcting powder
Concealer (under-eyes): Essence Say No to Dark Circles (bright rose)
Blush: Hard Candy Glow All the Way Ombre Baked Blush [cannot find on Amazon; I buy mine at Walmart]
Eyeshadow: L’Oreal Color Riche eye quad (rose nude) for the crease (I use one of the two middle pans); L’Oreal Color Riche Mono cream shadows (mademoiselle pink and little beige dress) for the lids
Eyebrow: Essence Eyebrow Designer pencil (blonde) and e.l.f. eyebrow duo (medium — I use the powder to set over the Essence pencil)
Mascara: L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly (black brown)
Liner: L’Oreal Infallible eyeliner (black brown)
Lips: Rimmel Colour Rush lip crayons (I basically have most of them, but my favourite is Not An Illusion)

everyday make-up
everyday make-up

Of course, I love to hear about other people’s Holy Grail skin care and make-up products (especially the inexpensive ones), so please share yours in the comments.

12 Comments on My Skin Care Routine

  1. Such a coincidence you wrote this! Last year I said this year would be when I started Botox. I have forehead wrinkles I want to get ahead of. But then a few weeks ago I decided I’d try one year of taking really good care of my skin between products and facials and drinking water. Last weekend I had dermaplane and a chemical peel. I’m going to repeat that once a month for 4-6 months to see how it goes. I’ve been using the Korean skin care routine for a while and have had success with that. (My son is from Korea so of course I jumped on the Korean skin care bandwagon. 😉 ) I take my makeup off with coconut oil and then wash my face and then start all the layers of ampoules and moisturizers. I also use sheet masks a few times a week along with an occasional exfoliating mask. My issue is I don’t drink….any liquids at all. I never feel thirsty so it’s hard. I’m going to have to force water down my throats all day. I buy my products from Soko Glam and Amazon.

    • This regimen is making me much happier with my forehead wrinkles (plus I got bangs again which always helps) but it’s not doing as much as I hoped for my laugh lines around my mouth. So now I’m debating getting Juvederm instead. If I wasn’t so lazy I probably would have made an effort to find a good doctor already. Sigh. It’s on my to-do list.

      But I’m very happy with my skin otherwise and I can see how skin care can become a bit of an obsession/addiction. I love reading about new (cheap) miracle products, lol!

  2. Aw, I kind of like laugh lines on people. I’m starting to get them around my eyes. What’s that line? “By forty, everyone has the face they deserve”?

    • Hahaha! That’s a good one … and probably true. The one I always remember is “after 40, a woman has to choose between her face and her ass.” And that one is true too; when I was a few sizes bigger, my wrinkles were far less visible (I definitely gain and lose weight in my face).

    • I will try to put something together, although it’s nowhere near as involved. The only products I’m loyal to are my styling tools (by BaByLiss) and L’Oreal Elnett hairspray.

  3. Try Frownies! I first heard about them on Cup of Jo. It’s basically like a little adhesive triangle that you put on your forehead wrinkles (or wherever) at night while you’re sleeping to prevent the muscles from contracting. I really do think they make a difference, but nothing like I’m assuming Botox would. I keep forgetting to use them regularly though. I should try it nightly and see if that makes more of a difference. If I’m home alone, I’ll also use them during the day (not sure how much I’m frowning at night…who knows).

    Thanks for sharing your routine…I think I may get that needle thingy!

    • Would that work with my laugh lines though? I can see them being good for the forehead … I find myself frowning unconsciously all the time 🙁

      • I’m not sure, I think they have them for a few different areas. I have lots of laugh lines around my mouth so I want to give the ones I have a try for that area. I’ll let you know if it makes a difference!

  4. Morning: I wash my face in water, then mix a bit of argan oil (like 4 drops) with CC cream (pea-sized amount) and spread on face. Then I usually apply eyeshadow and mascara, never foundation.

    Night: I remove make-up and cleanse with like 8-10 drops of argan oil. But the secret there is to do a good facial massage, like go to town. Then I rinse off with some witch hazel water (though I’m considering looking into a slightly less astringent cleanser for the winter). Then, if my skin’s a bit dry, I might moisturize with 2-” drops of argan oil, concentrated around the eyes and mouth.

    Weekends: pink clay mask mixed with a bit of almond oil for moisture.

    It’s very cheap: I have to replace the witch hazel water quite regularly but depending on the brand it’s 5-10€. The 250ml bottle of argan oil lasts about 6 months and costs 15€. And a tube of pink clay is, like, 10€ and lasts about 3-4 months.

    Other tips include relaxing, don’t get your face all tensed up, and avoid spending long hours hunched over the computer with bad posture. Like, it might be hard to avoid spending hours in front of a screen, but try to maintain good posture and drink a lot, avoid caffeine go easy on alcohol. I’m 40, the only times I start to look a bit like the crypt-keeper is when I don’t get enough sleep or have four cups of instant coffee in the day. Otherwise I don’t have any skin problems aside from a bit of sensitivity (which is a big reason behind my light skincare routine). But then again, I’m cool with a few wrinkles and too proud / conceited to buy anti-ageing cream.

    I think the problem with Botox, aside from anything else, is that it would wear off after a while. Also, it might deal with a localised complex (e.g. forehead wrinkles) but in a way that doesn’t make sense in the overall context of your appearance, demeanour, etc. Living to 36, after all, is nothing to be ashamed of, and there are lots of signs about someone’s appearance, body language, behaviour, life experience, professional position, etc. that show your age, beyond the fact that tiny people may or may not be able to use your forehead as an ice rink.