INTRIGUED BY a Wall Street Journal story 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), we asked you to add up the products in your own skincare routine and comment on them if you wished. Some of you had amusing routines (we’re looking at you, Stephanie Cavanaugh), others said they were embarrassed by using either too many or too few products. Most of you subscribed to a minimalist regime, using seven products or fewer, while the skincare enthusiasts among us fessed up to 11 to 14-plus. Many of you revealed your specific lotions and potions, including an exotically named, difficult-to-pronounce sunscreen. As we mentioned, there’s no prize for participating, except our thanks.
Pat: 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.
Alison: Beauty product tally equals one: 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.
Judy: I know this is embarrassing and backward, but I use only soap and water.
Mary: 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!
Marty: 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.
MyLittleBird’s Stephanie Cooks: 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 sun-protecting 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.
MyLittleBird’s Stephanie Gardens: 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.
What works? I do think vitamin C serum helps keep the moisture up/in — the aesthetician 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. Oh! There is this stuff—Alchimie 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.
A Texas reader: I use Olay bath soap and whatever hand/face soap is on hand, often Ivory. Then some makeup base on nose and chin, some eye shadow and eyeliner if I’m going out, and concealer for circles under eyes…
Molly: My skincare is pretty basic: moisturizer, cleanser, foundation, lipstick, a bit of powder. That is all I can remember.
Ann: 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.
MyLittleBird’s Mary Carpenter: 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.
Terri: Body wash, cleanser, night cream, toner, scrub. Is that enough?
Jodie: Morning and Night: Cetaphil for cleansing, Caudalie Elixir for toning, Caudalie Premier cru serum and eye cream.
Day: Bluemercury M-61 day cream with SPF. Night: Caudalie Night infusion cream.
Candy: 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.
Nancy: OMG! My future mother-in-law, who had gorgeous skin throughout her 90-plus 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-plus 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 LittleBird Janet, I’m a skincare junkie. And I didn’t count the number of products mentioned here. It’s embarrassing.
Alyse: In the morning I use Cerave hydrating cleanser and moisturizer, Tata Harper eye cream and La Roche-Posay antioxidant serum and sunscreen.
At night, Cerave hydrating cleanser. Per my dermatologist, glytonic wash and her moisturizer to which I add Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Serum. Also, Skinceuticals eye cream. Retinol twice a week. La Roche-Posay exfoliating scrub 1-2 times a week.
Jacqui: Morning: In order of application, Clinique Exfoliating Scrub face wash, Biologique Recherche Lotion P50 1970 toner, SkinCeuticals CE Ferulic Treatment, SkinMedica TNS Essential Serum, Cle de Peau eye contour cream, Isdin Actinic Care – Eryfotona Actinica Ultralight Emulsion 50+ (sunscreen) and on top of it all, Colorscience Broad Spectrum Brush-on Powder. Night: Clinique Exfoliating Scrub, Prescription Renova 3 or 4 times a week, .25 Dermaroll over wrinkles (when I use the Renova), TNS Essential Serum, 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. Alster with Botox, fillers, Fraxel or IPL. A ROBUST program!
*I don’t use all these at the same time. In current rotation are the products in the bottom row, plus La Roche-Posay cleanser, Restørsea Lipmagic and LaMer Reparative Skin Tint SPF 30 (not pictured). Bottom row, from left to right: SkinMedica Essential Defense SPF 32 tinted sunscreen, Neova DNA Total Repair, Biopelle Stem Cell eye cream. Center, from left to right: Restørsea Lipmagic, Skinceuticals CE Ferulic, Skinceuticals A.G.E. Interrupter, Bliss Triple Oxygen (mask), Alchimie Forever Kantic calming moisturizer. Top, from left to right: Dermalogica Skin Resurfacing Cleanser, Sente Bio Complete Serum, prescription Retin-A (every other night), La Roche-Posay Hydrating Gentle Cleanser.