My Self-Care Jam: Skincare
I’ll admit that I take my skin very seriously. This obsession—and, yes, it is one—did not start because I’m worried about getting older. I love the age I’m at, and have been known to age myself a bit older, than lie about being my fake age (f33, if you’re wondering). I’ll say, “I’m almost 50.” I am. Why claim that early? Because I love my skin and how I feel in it.
I love being this age right now.
Isn’t that what’s most important? That we love the skin we’re in and nurture it in ways that feel good to us and make us happy? I have Rosacea, Psoriasis, and Eczema. That’s right—three autoimmune diseases related to my skin alone. (Once you have one autoimmune disease, others easily follow. Thank you, Celiac. You’re the gift that keeps on giving!) Loving my skin did not come easily. I first had to work my emotional and spiritual muscle of unconditional positive regard for my body as a daily practice.
I had some wonderful help in doing that, including working with a coach who helped me during a time I was smack-dab in the middle of fighting for my life. I had a toxic mold exposure—right as I was getting a cold—and my lungs and immune system took a huge hit. Ten years prior, at a point when I had the most peace with my body—no more name calling peace, as I had been one to stand in-front of the mirror and tell myself how grotesque I was—I became ill with mono, a lung infection, and chicken pox. Yes, chicken pox! I never had it as a kid, so I’d been vaccinated as an adult. It did not stop me from getting a mild case of it with my weakened immune system. Then my Celiac went full-bloom, my body changed from the assault of constant diarrhea. Then I was diagnosed with endometriosis, had my right ovary removed, PCOS, and a hysterectomy and my left ovary removed. Then. Then. Then.
I hated every single thing about my physical presence in the world, and more importantly, I hated on my body to my body every day. I could not understand why she kept betraying me.
The coach invited me into something very different: to see my body as her own person and be in relationship with her. I started asking her “Why?” and “What do you need?” I finally started listening to her, and I stopped being her boss or tormentor. Even though I’d always taken care of my skin, eaten well, worked out, blah, blah, blah, I’d never done it out of love before.
Taking care of my skin—head to toe—now is a spiritual practice for me. I do it as a way to show up for my body every day and let her know how much I love her. I see how she glows under the light of that love, and how our relationship changes are reflected in the way I feel seated in my body. No longer is she an alien I must punish and lash out at for being non-compliant. She’s just her, doing her own genetic-informed, disease-shaped, spiritual-partner-adored thing.
Below are the items I use. They have helped some of my friends too. In fact, this whole post is dedicated to my friends who text me and ask, “What’s the name of that thing you are using that helps your skin be…?”
Below you’ll find my skin-care jam, set to Lizzo’s “Soulmate,” of course! Here’s to finding your jam that works for you—body and soul!
I take a shower every morning, but after my swim if it’s a swim day. In the shower I use Laneige’s Multi-Deep Cleanser followed by Fresh’s Seeberry Skin Nutrition Cleansing Oil . The Fresh oil is one of those Sephora samples that end up in my life things. I just love how soft it leaves my skin, which with dry/sensitive skin is a plus. I’m a big fan of Laneige overall, and using the whole water bank group of products really helped heal my skin. It’s the lower priced line from Pacific Amore, which is really lovely if you can swing it.
CosRX Essences are life. They’ve totally changed my skin. I currently use the Galactomyces 95 Tone Balance Essence first (patted into my skin). I let that dry a bit while I put on my deodorant and clean pjs. (Side note: I always put on clean pjs after my shower, and I get ready in them. That way, when I inevitably get toothpaste on my pj top, it won’t be on my OOTD.)
One pump of Amazon’s new line, Belei’s, Hydrating Hyaluronic Acid. There’s a great article over on The Cut about the over-use of hyaluronic acid. It plumps, but also needs a good oil (see below) to help it not rob your skin of all its water. I skip the hyaluronic acid every fourth pump for this reason. I also love it! It’s just my way of not overusing it. This is also the point I give myself a short facial massage. This one found on Bustle is the jam! I’ll do it with #4 if it’s a skip time.
The crown jewel of my routine: Biossence’s Squalane + Phyto-Retinol Serum . It’s the crown jewel because the plant-based retinol does not drive my skin bonkers and because it’s super spendy. I only use one pump each morning, and I pat it in like I’m gently touching a baby…an angelic baby that squeezes tiny drops of skin-dew for my skin and must be coddled at all times to keep that angel baby happy.
CosRX Advanced Snail Mucin 96 Essence 2 pumps patted into my skin. This really sets in the hydration.
CosRX Shield Fit Snail Essence Sun Cream SPF 50 . I hate putting on sunscreen over a spendy moisturizer, so this is perfect for me. I get two-in-one, it’s not spendy, and it works.
Lip balm-mask-magic. I really should write a poem to these beauties: Carenel’s Lip Sleeping Mask. First of all, you get three pots of it for like $10. Can’t beat that. Second, it’s magic. Genetically speaking, my lips are getting plumper with age, but they are dry. They will hurt, I will get upset to the point of snippiness, and then I put on the balm of Gilead of lip balms, and all is well. Current locations of said balm: purse, dresser, desk, kid’s bedside table, pool bag, and two spares in the bathroom closet. Obsessed.
I would like to admit just how weird I am. I think if I was a kid now I’d be diagnosed with sensory issues. Our daughter has some, and in reading books about it for her, I found myself going “That’s me!” more than I thought the issue was applicable to her. Case in point: I HATE having to wash my face at night because I don’t like a sticky wet hairline. (Enter skeevy shiver!) For years, I did not wash my face at night, and I had the ruined pillows to prove it—mascara leaves permanent marks. Enter the joy that is Bioderma’s Micellar Water. I use bamboo towels for lots of things at home, and I’m going to move to them to wipe it off when I run out of my medical grade towelettes. What’s great about them is that they can be rewashed and composted later.
A repeat of the morning essence #2 and then the hyaluronic acid—remembering to skip that hyaluronic acid every third or fourth application.
Every other night or two, I add a CBD lotion stick from a local vendor (Earthy Brown’s bought at Rainbow Blossom.) I can’t do it every night and have a good result. But once every other day or every three days is enough for me to see a huge improvement in my rosacea. I have one large bump that my every-other-year laser zapping can’t seem to get rid of, but doing the CBD this year has reduced it by over half. OVER HALF! That’s amazing. That bump is not just a cosmetic issue for me—it also really can itch. The CBD lotion stick keeps the itch at bay too, plus it is perfect to rub on my right arm and foot when I’m having a hemispheric migraine. This is another gift of my hysterectomy that also impacts my skin because my head gets 31 Botox injections every 12 weeks—including my forehead.
More snail mucin essence.
My holy grail face oil: Naked + Thriving’s Prevent Anti-Aging Face Oil. Let’s talk about the name of this product—it’s stupid. Preventing aging is called an early death. I’m not trying to prevent looking my age. I’m trying to keep my skin healthy and glowing at this age. It’s a fine line…I get that. I also think it’s an important one. Taking good care of your skin, your emotions, your body (through movement and food that make you feel good), your spirit, and your mind are all important components in living a rich life. I want a rich life! One that is varied and beautiful and healing and hopeful. I also resist messages that say being a certain age is a crime. Getting skin cancer is terrible. Feeling you don’t look the way you feel in your heart is so hard. But celebrating a birthday? That’s a gift. So I have a “screw the marketing team’s idea” here feeling about the name, but I use the product because it is amazing, doesn’t irritate my skin, and smells like heaven.
I don’t put any eye cream on in the morning because my skin would just make it slide down and melt my eyeshadow and mascara right under my eyes giving raccoons a run for their money. So, I use one at night, and I love Vichy’s LiftActiv Eyes and Lashes Serum (Where do they come up with these names!?!) I survived the 90s eyebrow pluckathon, but dealt with major thin brows. I even had half of my brow come off during an eyebrow wax—right up the middle. The woman passed it off like it was normal! This serum, and one I no longer use, helped me regrow my brows and get some length on my lashes. I don’t have mascara on above, but if I did you could see how much longer they are IRL. The top 1/3 is completely clear. But you can see them a bit, and I put that to the serum.
Lip balm. All day. All night. It’s magic!