Beauty routine for the normal girl (aka, The Tale of Too Many Products)

Though I stopped reading glossy magazines a long time ago, I’m a pretty big blog reader. And though I consider myself an “intellectual” type of girl, one of my favorite posts to read are those detailing beauty routines for the everyday woman. Man, I can’t get enough of them. I love reading about how various women – women I look up to, and respect – take care of themselves. It’s like getting advice from your girlfriends, and when it comes to certain things (like beauty products), the power of a recommendation can not be understated.

Thus, reading about others’ beauty routines makes me think a whole lot about mine. Because – though I prefer Tolstoy to eyelash curlers – I’ve spent a lot of time over the years thinking about the products I use. I mean, call me a girl, but it’s so hard to pin down JUST the right products, and just the right routine, that help you feel beautiful now, while also ensuring that you’ll continue to be fabulous in the future. Amirite, ladies?

One trend that I love is minimalism in beauty products. I read about a lot of beautiful, successful women – many of them in the beauty, fashion, or design industry – who use only a handful of carefully chosen beauty products in their day-to-day routine. And every picture of them comes out looking like a JCrew ad – so, there’s that. Unfortunately, this usually results in me discovering that these products cost about a bajillion dollars and would never, ever, fit into my budget. Sigh.

Still, though my budget is less Sephora and more drugstore, I have also landed on a routine that consistently makes me feel beautiful, soft, and clean. They work with my fickle skin, they have a track record of success, they’re easily obtainable, and I’m not breaking the bank. Unfortunately, there’s a lot of them. But, in line with my 2015 resolutions, I hope to whittle down this list and simplify this routine as much as possible, while also maintaining the kind of personal care that is important to me.

Because how I take care of myself is (and should be) important. Our bodies are a reflection of ourselves, and one should take care of it. That being said, here are the concerns that are important to me:

  • I have dry skin that’s (duh) even worse in the winter. And there’s nothing that I HATE more than dry skin, thus, lotions that work are very important.
  • I have very fair skin that’s prone to sunburn, and with a history of melanoma in my family, I’m very concerned about sun damage.
  • I’m not overly concerned about “all natural” products because I’m a) not a hippie, and b) I understand that chemicals are part of everything (including, for example, nature). Do I want to do things that are obviously bad for me? Of course not. But is Neutrogena going to give me cancer? Probably not. I believe it’s better to simply reduce the products you use across the board, instead of agonizing over whether an added “fragrance” is going to significantly harm you.

Things that I want to change:

  • The sheer number of products I use. I blame this on the fact that, for many years, I’ve received countless gift packages from Bath & Body Works, and so I have about 10,000 scented lotions. I’m slowly making my way through it all,  however, to do that, I use a variety of products on a daily and weekly basis. Do they work? Of course! Would I rather have a simplified version of this routine? Yes.
  • My reliance on Bath & Body Works. I have a lot of these products, and because I’ve always had them, I’m hooked. Now, I’m almost 30, and so I think it’s about time to stop shopping for lotion like I’m 13.
  • I’ve never tried face masks, but now that I’m approaching 30, I’m super paranoid about taking care of my skin. Trying to decide which kind of masks are best, whether to go the homemade or store-bought route, etc.

But now, on to my routine.

Face

photo 1

From left to right:

Day Moisturizer
Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture
With SPF 35, this is a great all-day moisturizer. It’s a tad heavier going on than I would like, but it absorbs quick enough and smells lightly of sunscreen.

Regular Night Moisturizer
Clean & Clear Dual Action Moisturizer
This stuff is very light, and contains no SPF protection, so it’s no use as a day cream. However, it has just a LITTLE (0.5%) bit of salicylic acid acne medication in it, which means it actively fights blemishes while it moisturizes. My sensitive skin doesn’t like too much salicylic acid in my cleansers, but this is just enough not to bother me, and when I use it on a regular basis, I break out significantly less.

Evening Skin Cleanser
St. Ives Fresh Skin Apricot
Scrub
I read once that men’s skin is sometimes clearer than a woman’s because of regular shaving, aka, exfoliating. I try to use this scrub every night before bed as a make-up remover and regular exfoliant, though I’m the first to admit this is not always the case. Instead, I typically use it 3-4 nights a week and use make-up removing cloths in the interim. This has 100% natural exfoliants, and it makes my skin feel great afterward.

Morning Skin Cleanser
Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser
This is actually supposed to be a make-up remover, but I use in the shower in the morning as a gentle cleanser. Plus, it doesn’t dry my skin out too much, which is nice in the morning.

Occasional Night Moisturizer
Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
The only reason this is “organic” is because J originally bought this coconut oil to cook with, but I commandeered it for the bathroom a few months back. I find that coconut oil, despite its many lauded benefits, is a tad too oily on my skin for regular use, and can make me break out. But I still like using it as a night moisturizer once or twice a week, especially in the winter, because I feel like it really gets in there and moisturizes well. Plus, it’s natural, so there you go.

Hands

photo 2

From right to left:

Occasional Hand Treatment
True Blue Spa 60 Second Manicure Hand Scrub
This is one of those Bath & Body products that I just have, so I feel I need to use it. It is great though. About once a week, I take a glob of this and rub it all over my hands, especially in my cuticles. It helps to slough away that gross, dead skin that builds up on your hands, which is great.

Regular Hand Lotion
True Blue Spa Super Soft Hand Lotion
As I mentioned, dry skin is a huge pet peeve of mine, ESPECIALLY dry hands. I pride myself on my soft hands, and THIS is how I get it. This lotion is specifically for hands, and it’s great: it absorbs quickly enough not to leave your hands feeling greasy, but it really works and keeps your hands soft all day. This is a B&BW product that I’ll be using for a long, long time. Love it.

Occasional Hand Lotion
Avon Silicone Glove
This was a Christmas gift, and it’s an Avon product, which means it’s nice and I might as well use it. Since the tube is so small, I only use it after the hand scrub, in the evenings.

Body

photo 3

From left to right:

Regular Upper Body Lotion:
Bath & Body Works lotion
This is what I’m referring to when I talk about the 10,000 body lotions from B&BW. This “Winter Candy Apple” is just the bottle I’m currently working on (not meant to be seasonal, I’ve been using it since the summer). I find that B&BW body lotions aren’t thick enough for most of my body moisturizing needs, so I use it only on my arms and shoulders, which don’t dry out as badly. Plus, the light scent (whatever it is) is nice.

Regular Lower Body Lotion:
St. Ives Naturally Soothing Body Lotion
This is another one of those products that now that I found it, I’m sticking with it forever. Besides my hands and my face, some of my driest skin is found on my legs and lower body, and when that skin is dry, it’s just uncomfortable. I need something that really works in this department, and I’m very impressed with this St. Ives product with shea butter. It’s not too expensive, plus J uses it all the time. This could replace my upper body lotion once (or if) I ever run out of B&BW products.

Rough Spot Treatment
True Blue Spa Intense Moisture Cream
This stuff is great, and (even better) lasts forever. I use a dab of it on my elbows everyday (resulting in elbows that are never dry and crusty…gross), and on rough spots when they appear.

Feet

photo 4

From left to right:

Lotion
True Blue Spa Super Rich Foot Cream
I use all of my foot products sparingly (once or twice a week) in order to make them last longer, and I use this moisturizer on the top of my feet whenever I use the accompanying scrub and cracked heel treatment. It’s very rich, and if you put on a pair of thick, fuzzy socks afterward, and complete the treatment on a regular basis, there’s no need for pedicures.

Lotion
True Blue Spa Cracked Heel Treatment
Pretty self-explanatory. Like the foot cream, except it’s made for the bottom of your feet. Makes them tingle a little, but it does the trick.

Scrub
True Blue Spa Foot Scrub
This is in our shower, and it’s there I use it once or twice a week, followed up with the above-mentioned lotions. Easy peasy, and like I said, removes the need for a pedicure.

Other

Not pictured, by equally important, are my shower products. I’m a brand whore who’s been stuck on Dove shampoo and conditioner for years now, and I don’t anticipate changing (I love the way it smells and makes my hair feel). I’m also a big fan of Dove’s body wash, preferably the ultra-moisturizing kind with shea butter built in. I tried the store brand of this body wash awhile back, and regardless of how it worked, it smelled horrible. Suffice it to say, pricey though it may be, I’m sticking with Dove products for the time being. Plus, being relatively gender-neutral and not flowery smelling, J’s able to use all three products, which cuts down on the number of products in our shower that smell like pine trees.

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