Fashion & Beauty

What’s in Your Skincare Routine?

August 27, 2018

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In case you think we were making this up. From the Wall Street Journal, August 25-26, 2018. / MyLittleBird photo.

FEELING A BIT embarrassed here. Over the weekend I read a story in the Wall Street Journal that South Korean men use “an average of 13.3 cosmetic products each month,” according to the country’s Ministry of Food and Drug Safety.

Me not so many, certainly not regularly. I totted them up:

Micellar water (cleanser), Aveeno exfoliator, serum, moisturizer, sometimes tinted moisturizer. I used the Skinmedica skincare system for about six months (and many, many dollars) with no positive results, so I’m back to basics.

LittleBird Janet sent me her list: cleanser, sometimes serum, sometimes Vitamin C something-or-other, moisturizer, eye cream, Retin A, “every blue moon” a face mask..

I didn’t ask LittleBird Kathy: too embarrassing—she has gorgeous skin and takes good care of it. But I don’t think even she cracks the South Korean 13.3-product ceiling.

I generally believe what I read in the Journal (except their editorials), and the story said that lots of Korean men learn about skincare while they’re serving in the military. Patrolling the North Korean DMZ under a brutal sun, alternating with brutal cold,  takes its toll.

So, absent military patrols, and maybe not being Crazy Rich or Asian, how many nostrums and potions do you use, on average, in a month? You can just give a number down in the Comments section. Or, if you think your list is amusing (or embarrassing, much better), feel free to list your poisons. There’s no prize for participating except to see how you measure up.

—Nancy McKeon

26 thoughts on “What’s in Your Skincare Routine?

  1. Jacqui Michel says:

    Here’s the stuff I love and that works for me:

    Face wash: Clinique Exfoliating Scrub
    Toner: Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970
    After toner: SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Treatment
    After CE Ferulic: SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum
    Eye Cream: Cle de peau intensive eye contour cream
    Sunscreen: Isdin Actinic Care – Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion 50+
    On top of it all: Colorscience Broad Spectrum Brush-on Powder

    Face wash: Clinique Exfoliating Scrub
    Prescription Renova 3 or 4 times a week
    .25 Dermaroll over wrinkles (when I use the Renova)
    TNS Essential Serum
    Eye Cream: Cle de peau intensive eye contour cream (I also put this on my forehead and other dry areas.)

    Twice a week: Tina Alster’s glycolic acid pads
    Twice a year: Spring freshener and Fall clean-up both with Dr. A.: Botox, fillers, fraxel or IPL

    A ROBUST program!


  2. jodie klein says:

    Morning and Night: Cetaphil for cleansing, Caudalie Elixir for toning, Caudalie Pemier cru serum, and eye cream.
    Day: Blue Mercury M-61 day cream with SPF
    Night: Caudalie Night infusion cream

  3. Nancy G says:

    OMG! My future mother-in-law, who had gorgeous skin throughout her 90+ years, started buying me whatever she bought for herself when I became part of the family. I was all of 20 years old, so I’ve been slathering for 40+ years. However, I think the pampering has worked, since I have pretty good skin for someone who spent her misbegotten youth covered in baby oil and iodine on the beach in Beach Haven, NJ. I now use an antioxidant, serum, moisturizer, eye cream, and a tinted moisturizer with SPF 30 if I need some color coverage, otherwise the regular moisturizer has SPF. At night it’s retinol, maybe a cream with vitamin C, and moisturizer – heavy duty in the winter. I use micellar water to take off the days’ crud, then a quick wash with an oil based cleanser. Just water to wash in the morning. Like I said to Little Bird Janet – I’m a skin care junkie. And I didn’t count the number of products mentioned here. It’s embarrassing.

    1. Janet Kelly says:

      A girl after my own heart!

  4. Stephanie S. says:

    When do these men find the time???????? I have so many things to take care of that worrying about my face is pretty low on the list. I use Jason Vitamin E Moisturizer religiously, but that’s about it. If I know I’m going to be in and out of the sun a lot, I sometimes use Lancome’s sunprotecting moisturizer. I know I am SUPPOSED to clean my face every night. When I remember, which isn’t very often, I use Neutrogena (or generic) face cleansing wipes.

    1. Nancy McKeon says:

      I think if your days are spent marching around by the Korean DMZ with not much happening, you might have time to lavish care on your complexion.

  5. Nancy McKeon says:

    Ann responded:

    The same minimal care: cleanser, moisturizer, sunscreen, different kinds at different times. Hit-and-miss additional things and little makeup in summer beyond eyebrow brush needed to fill out the missing shape.

  6. The most beautiful skin I ever saw was on a woman who rubbed raw potato on her face. She said her grandmother taught her this trick and had gorgeous skin in her 90s. I tried it for a while (this was years ago, when I had more energy for such) and I really did achieve a nice glow pretty quickly–just cut a slice and smooth it about. The downside, I quickly and lazily realized, is that I’d either have to use a potato a day or install a fridge in the bathroom for my potato ends. I wasn’t going to be running up and down stairs for the potato bit every night.

  7. Candy says:

    Just wondering what that .3 of a product must be? In any case, I will never make it in the Korean army — I only use 7 products a month.

  8. Nancy McKeon says:

    A Texas reader wrote:

    I use Olay bath soap and whatever hand/face soap is on hand, often Ivory. Then some make-up base on nose and chin, some eye shadow and eyeliner if I’m going out, and concealer for circles under eyes…

  9. Nancy McKeon says:

    Alison told us:

    Beauty product tally = 1: a brown paper bag to wear over the evidence of all the emollients I didn’t use while I was misspending my youth in the sun.

  10. Mary Carpenter says:

    My routine consists of my own homemade cream (mostly lanolin and petroleum jelly, with a little almond oil and either Eucerin or Lubriderm to make it more liquid-y). On top of that, I put on Elta sunscreen in a tube, either the tinted 41 SPF or the non-tinted 50 SPF.

  11. Marty Lowe says:

    After 52 years, I use a serum in the morning but still forget to wash my face before bed or remember to moisturize. It’s all genetics and very oily skin from age 13 on.

    1. Nancy McKeon says:

      I know Marty, and whatever she does (or was born with) is amazing to look at: milky complexion, not a blotch or a zit, have yet to see a line or a wrinkle. Unfair, I say!

  12. Nancy McKeon says:

    Pat M. replied:

    I may be your Zero response.
    When I was interviewing people in a particularly well-cared for group,
    I talked to a woman whose skin looked excellent. She had two secrets:
    1) Being overweight was an advantage, because you didn’t develop facial wrinkles.
    2) She NEVER used soap on her face. Just water. I don’t think she used cleanser or makeup either,
    but I didn’t ask. It didn’t seem as if she did. And since I tend to have an allergic reaction to
    everything I try putting on my face, I’ve followed her routine.
    I don’t look great, but I am lazy, so this routine suits me.

  13. Nancy McKeon says:

    Mary wrote:

    In the winter I use whatever moisturizer is on sale at CVS, in the summer nothing, absolutely nothing. Think of how much money I’ve saved!

    1. Nancy McKeon says:

      Mary doesn’t mention this, but I can tell you that she also loves the sun, gets a wonderful tan every time she hits the beach and yet and yet…no lines, no wrinkles, gorgeous color even without a fresh tan. ‘Tis a mystery to me. I won’t tell you her age, but let’s just say she’s been receiving Social Security checks for a while now.

  14. Nancy McKeon says:

    From Stephanie C.:

    Thanks to you I have a medicine chest spilling over with stuff that I alternate, hoping for something. A friend (who’s been lifted and prodded and poked) says she wants to look ageless. I agree – once younger people (who moments before I’d been laughing with) hear my age they back off and bow, amazed that I can still walk at my advanced age.

    What works? I do think vitamin C serum helps keep the moisture up/in — the esthetician (sp?) said, during my annual facial last spring, that my skin is very dry — despite slathering the this and that every night. She also said cheap is fine (despite the salon offering pricey options) – pick something up at the drugstore. Whatnots go on top. I’m very glad to say that the Chanel night masque you donated appears to do nothing — it would really hurt my wallet if it worked. Oh! There is this stuff – Alchemie Forever bust and chest (or something) firmer gel that I use on my face and really does make me look a little tighter, at least for an evening. It’s like $50 for a generous tube that has lasted several years, since I only use it on Saturday night, if I remember.

    Otherly, a tan hides most sins. I look really good in leather.

  15. Nancy McKeon says:

    Anne said:

    I’m sure some said this before, but I gather that skin care in Korea is a Thing. I recently read that women there spend an average of more than one hour per day on their skin. So the 13 products per month seems to me to dovetail nicely with that factoid. I was deliberating getting a line of Korean skin products but they were pricey and enough commenters said they were sticky that I passed. 🙂

  16. Nancy McKeon says:

    Judy said:

    I know this is embarrassing and backward, but I use only soap and water.

  17. Nancy McKeon says:

    Molly added:

    My skincare is pretty basic: moisturizer, cleanser, foundation, lipstick, a bit of powder. That is all I can remember.

  18. Nancy McKeon says:

    Barbara wrote:

    Fuhgeddabout me! I put on moisturizer every day and that’s about it other than and a dab of makeup to cover up pink spots if I have time.

  19. Nancy McKeon says:

    Caroline said:

    I love this, Nancy. I’m going to have to go count my bottles but I doubt it’s 13.3. More like 5.

  20. Nancy McKeon says:

    Victoria told us:

    I totally believe this! Korean woman are absolutely obsessed with skincare and the country is known for having some of the most AMAZING products. Many are now just starting to make their way over here and have cult followings.You can also get high-quality products at much more reasonable prices than some u.s. brands and with ingredients that aren’t widely used here. So, I’m not at all surprised that the obsession extends to Korean men!!

    I’d also like to add that I love a well-groomed man who takes care of his skin…. As long as he has his own products and doesn’t expect to share mine!

  21. Terri Shaw says:

    body wash, cleanser, night cream, toner, scrub. Is that enough?

    1. Nancy McKeon says:

      not if you’re Korean! (Koreans male and female have rigorous and enviable skincare routines.) but it’s fine for the rest of us, i’m guessing.

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