Life List: Create a Sensible Skin Care Routine & Stick With It

February 7, 2013


The thing about Life Lists is that every item on your list doesn’t have to be “Climb Mount Everest” or “Organize My Entire House” or “Get Bendy Like a Cirque du Soleil Member and Perform at My Kid’s Birthday Party”. Sometimes it’s just about doing the little things that affect your every day.

I am terrible (TERRIBLE!) at taking care of my skin. At 42 I really should start acting like a grown-up and remembering to wash my face and take some care in helping my skin be the best it can be so it can not only look healthy and BE healthy, but enjoy the illusion of not looking my age. Bonus!

The world of skin care products can be overwhelming, so I called upon the ever-knowledgeable and very fun Sarah of Style IT to help me sort this all out.  My request was simple: help me build a sensible list of products that is easy to understand and follow.

I was already a fan of my cleanser in Philosophy’s Purity Made Simple, which she approved of (whew!) and then confirmed my eye cream, Origins GinZeng, was also a great product (high-five!). Then she asked me what eye cream I was using at night.


Okay, so my day and night routines were not different and not complete and that was were we started our lesson. Thou shalt not use the same products for day that you use at night.

All righty, then! Let’s look at day time:


You need one. I prefer a very light one because Houston is often swamp-like in humidity level and definitely one with SPF because, folks, the sun is your friend, but it is not your BFF. Protect and moisturize accordingly. Her pick: Mario Badescu Oil-Free Moisturizer with SPF 30.  Lesson I learned: Your skin produces oil when it doesn’t have enough moisture. Give it the right moisture it needs and it will stop over-producing oil.  NOTED.


Think of these as super weapons and super foods. They can be pricey, but they are well worth the investment. I wanted one that has anti-aging, restorative and rejuvenation benefits and Sarah recommended Tata Harper’s Rejuvenating Serum.  Best quote around this: “When you hug Anna Wintour, she smells like Tata Harper.” GOT IT. It’s also a favorite of Dutchess Kate and has a lovely field of flowers scent.

The Booster: Vitamin C.

This is how you solve the “My skin looks so DULL” issue. Vitamin C does for your skin what it does for your body – provide a boost.  What’s nice about this addition is you can use it as you need it.  Woke up after a long night and your skin is a tad too zombie-ish? Swap out the regular serum for this for a little brightening. Sarah recommends Peter Thomas Roth’s Camu Camu Power Cx30 Vitamin C Brightening Serum. I have always been impressed with Peter Thomas Roth, though I’ve never owned any of his products. Now that I understand more, I’m really pleased to add one of his products to my routine.

And so, my morning routine will eventually be:  wash, eye cream, moisturize, serum, DONE.  This is easy, reasonable and doable.

Now, then. Let’s look at night.


This is the single most important thing you and I must remember every day. EVERY. DAY. It doesn’t matter if you never add another product to your routine – your face collects dirt and oil and LIFE and it needs to get clean and breathe. If you DO add products into your mix, they need to get washed off appropriately, too. I’ll prod you if you prod me. We’ll be a team.  I love the Philosophy face cleanser and have used it for years.  If you’re looking for a good one – try it.

Night-time Eye Cream.

Sarah pointed out that night products are richer and work while you’re sleeping. (Duh, PAM.) So, as eyes are a sensitive area not only in signs of aging, but also in skin, pick a really good one. You can spend some money here and feel okay about it. Luckily, the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Eye Concentrate won’t break the bank at $36 and is excellent.

Night-time Moisturizer.

Yes, you need some at night, too. I told Sarah I still wanted to stay with a lighter feeling product and she suggested an oil. This is when the thought bubble over my head read, “Uh, WHAT?” because OIL. ON MY FACE. IN HOUSTON. NO. But she said that Josie Maran’s Argan Oil is very light, and, although counter-intuitive, really was something I should try. It’s also a multi-tasker for hair and nails.  I will admit I’m skeptical, but I am going to try it. Probably.

Night-time Serum.

Super food while you sleep AND it does a little repair work! How much better can it get?  Sarah loves the Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate and I’m not going to argue with her.

Bonus Round: Retinol

The real secret to anti-aging success is retinol. It is the eraser of fine lines and some wrinkles and does the job of resurfacing skin by de-congesting pores. Sarah says the Philosophy “Help Me” product is like baby-retinol — not as powerful as the prescription strength Retin-A and a good option to throw in from time to time to help your skin. Swap this for the night-time serum a day or so a week.

The Approach.

Now, I have some self-training and discipline to implement here, so I have decided that I am going to add in one, maybe two, products a month over the next several months. This keeps me focused, helps me see how each product is working, and is kind to my cash flow.  Each new successful month gets rewarded with a new product or two. Prizes!

I just need to pick which ones will be first…

So, spill. Are you as bad as I am with the whole skin care thing?  What would YOU add in to the routine first?

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7 Responses to “Life List: Create a Sensible Skin Care Routine & Stick With It”

  1. Hitha | Hitha On The Go Says:

    I must get Sarah to examine my medicine cabinet and help me out with this as well! Josie Maran argan oil is AMAZING – what are you waiting for?! Get it now.

    And who knew about the whole day/night eye cream? I’ll have to check out the Kiehl’s midnight recovery products you recommended, through I’m a fan of Simple skincare’s cleansing gel, SPF day cream, and light moisturizer. I use Tammy Fender’s antioxidant moisturizer at night and Estee Lauder’s Even Skintone Illuminator at day, pre-makeup.

    • Pam Says:

      Ohhhh, the oil conundrum. It just goes against LOGIC, but I trust it’s worth a shot. I’m thinking I’m going to add in the Kiehl’s serum and the Philosophy Help Me at night for my first wave.

      Wouldn’t it be so fun to have a product party where we could just sit and play with all these things over cocktails/nibbles?

  2. elz Says:

    I got some J.M. Argan oil forever ago and could never figure it out. I tried it on my nails, my hair, etc. I have a bunch left, if you want it!

    • Pam Says:

      I JUST saw this comment. So sorry for the delayed response! I’d totally take that to try. I’m still skeptical, but figure it can’t hurt to try it, right?

      Oil challenge: ACCEPTED!

  3. Alison (DC Celine) Says:

    it’s my day o’ commenting on your blog. but yes! you’re not alone in taking terrible care of your skin. i’m the same. keep trying. don’t get there. trying again. really.

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