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Skincare Regimen 2020

Skincare is what keeps me looking younger…

I know you all haven’t seen my face, really.. but I am in my mid-30s without any noticeable wrinkles except a few around the bottom of my eyes from smiling so much, and my lips/cheek area (again smiling)…

My forehead is clear and flat, my skin is fairly wrinkle-free if not slightly acne-prone sometimes, and if I can just keep up on my skincare routine, it feels and looks very smooth and well balanced.

I get mistaken for “miss” all the time even though I am a mother of a 6-year old ( I KNOW. WHERE DID TIME GO?) … and if I dressed in a hoodie with some jeans at a bus stop, I get mistaken for being a student.

50% of this is just pure genetic goodness, I am lucky. The other 50% is active wrinkle/aging defense which I will go into below.

Morning Routine

In the morning, I always do this because I’ve noticed if I skip a single step in my core cleansing, there is inevitable acne that pops up.

I exfoliate, then I wash everything off my face with a gentle cream cleanser that has no fragrance – I just need an effective one that won’t strip my skin and this one is the best one I’ve tried so far. It may not be sexy with colours, texture or smells, but it works, is a quality product and is reasonably priced and that is more important to me than anything else.

I follow up with BHA and AHA afterwards and then I’m done in terms of skincare, specifically.

The BHA and AHA are both exfoliants that help slough off dead skin cells and to keep the skin clear and “clean”, removing anything that can remotely host a pimple.


They are different types of exfoliants – they work in different ways and I’ve found using both (not just one or the other) has helped greatly.

The AHA is in lotion form because I hated the sticky feeling of the gel version so much, and it somewhat subs in as a moisturizer of sorts because … gasp! I don’t use moisturizer. More on that below as I’m sure you have questions.

Lastly, I slather on mineral sunscreen because the chemical ones “burn” my skin and I’m not comfortable with the sunscreen itself being absorbed into my skin rather than sitting on top of it to protect it, which is what mineral does.

I’ve tried tons of mineral sunscreens and this one is soft, tinted enough to be like a very light foundation and not at all sticky or hard to rub in, leaving no white traces on my skin.

Nighttime Routine

At night, I’ve recently added a new step at night — doing a exfoliation again because I’ve noticed my mineral sunscreen didn’t come off entirely, and it has left a few pimples here and there.

The exfoliation step I added helps remove that entire layer of mineral sunscreen as I discovered. It balls right up and off my skin, and then I can continue with my original regimen.

I then use a cleansing oil to remove any last residue of my mineral sunscreen – I used to only do this step before cleansing – and I’ve noticed that if I don’t rinse off my face in between, the balled up mineral sunscreen melts back onto my face.

After the cleansing oil, I do a cream cleanser as per usual.

Every other night I slather my skin in 1% Retinol because it really does help clear the gunk hiding in my skin – I went through a horrible 2-week period of my skin purging itself with multiple pimples popping up as the dirt cleared out from under my skin.

If I do this step, I make sure my skin is freshly washed beforehand otherwise it limits the effectiveness of the retinol which needs fresh skin without any other serums etc.

Then, I do my usual BHA and AHA (yes even on top of retinol).

Then whatever serum I have on hand – I mix it up with various types for environmental defense, brightening essence, vitamin C.. I am not gushing over any particular serum because I can’t really see any results until I look back from 5 years ago, and even then I think the exfoliation does a lot more than a serum, but that doesn’t stop me from trying them all anyway. See the list of what I tried below.

After that, if I have acne issues, I’ll use benzoyl peroxide as a thin layer or BHA 9 to flatten the bumps and/or bring them to a head so they can heal. I actually need to start using benzoyl peroxide as a thin layer every other night as a prevention method, and not a stop gap one.

Various Serums I use at Night

I just randomly pick what I want to put on that day, no more than 2. Some of them are light like water like the Brightening Essence (#2 from the left, top row) or the Niacinamide booster (#3 from the left, bottom row), and some others are thicker.

I don’t own all of these at once by the way – these are just what I have tried over the years.

Currently, I only have about 3 of them below, I’ll star below.

Do they work? I don’t know. But maybe.

I can’t tell because I keep mixing up / trying out new ones, but I’d say a combination of some or all of them along with careful cleaning and exfoliation has really brought down the acne scarring and red spots I used to have 5 years ago when my skin broke out like crazy from post-baby hormones.

I have videos where I was playing with Little Bun, then just a little Baby Bun, and it looks like I spread raspberry jam on my cheeks, that is how red and inflamed my cheeks were.

Fast forward to today, I am almost 100% comfortable going out with just that tinted sunscreen on, and my skin looks relatively clear, and smooth.

Spot Treatments

This is for when I have active pimples or spots:

I use these two religiously. The BHA 9 flattens my acne bumps and brings things to a head a lot quicker than not using it (I have experimented), and the daily clearing Benzoyl Peroxide really does work, but I have to be SO CAREFUL because it will bleach so many things – blankets, towels – especially if it is wet and you just applied it.

Gets on my soap too as I wash my hands, and then I dry my hands and the hand towel is bleached.. it is endless vigilance to not ruin everything I own, but it works SO WELL.

WHY I DO NOT USE MOISTURIZER

I stopped a few years ago, and found my skin to be perfectly fine without it.

Moisturizer just made my skin greasier which meant I produced more oil and pimples, it felt really heavy in the summertime and I’m not a believer that you can add moisture on top of your skin topically when it makes more sense that moisture comes from within your body being perfectly hydrated.

Moisturizer also glommed down the dead skin cells and stuck them to my skin, making them cause more pimples to pop up.

Only in very rare situations like winter will I use a touch of moisturizer to relieve the dryness but otherwise, I haven’t had a single problem or feeling of dryness in my skin. I don’t even have any moisturizer in my cabinet…. I use mini samples if I have to but I can’t even recall the last time I’ve done this.

It took my skin a while to adjust but once it did – I eliminated a product completely.

DOUBLE EXFOLIATION DAILY

The exfoliating is extremely important because it removes the dead layer of skin cells from the night before and doesn’t allow the oil, dirt and gunk to get trapped and make it a bacteria-laden cesspool for acne to flourish.

I’ve used ORG mineral body peel for about 6 years now (I remember getting a sample from my friend while pregnant!!), and it is my holy grail. This exfoliant is soft, not at all abrasive and only removes dead skin so I have ZERO FEAR of the skin stripping down too far where it becomes too sensitive, or starts to bleed. I’ve actually over exfoliated in the past because I was heavy handed with the brush, and with this mineral peel, I’ve never had a single incident of looking like my face has turned into raw meat.

In fact, it is kind of gross to see how much dead skin comes off at any given time when you use it. Some nights I get a lot of dead skin cells peeling off and other nights, barely anything.

It also isn’t one of those products that “creates” dead skin cells by balling up and pretending like it is effective and it isn’t. I’ve tested it on my hands and I’ve noticed skin peel off or not – and I’ve also double tested where I’ve done the peel, and then I did it again and got noticeably less to no dead skin coming off.

RETINOL TREATMENT – BE CAREFUL

Do not start off with doing it daily, your whole face will really get irritated especially if you have never used retinol before AND you think your skin is able to handle anything.

I started with it ONCE a week, and after about a week, whole flakes of skin peeled off my face and my neck – I looked like I was shedding, literally. I would rub my neck unconsciously, and my skin would just ball off in flakes.

ALSO … it makes your skin break out like crazy as it is clearing out all the gunk. I went through a horrific, miserable 2 week period of my skin clearing itself out of pimples and gunk, but then as I kept up with it, my skin no longer broke out – it was continually being cleaned..!

Once your skin gets used to once a week, you can increase it to twice a week. Then three times, or every other day which is where I am at now.


I stopped for about a month because I got lazy / tired? … and I finally remembered to do it again, and my skin re-purged itself. My entire right-side of my face was covered in acne spots, new ones popping up and out for the next 2 weeks as my skin cleaned itself out.

Now I am back to doing it every other day — WITHOUT FAIL, and I still get flakes of skin coming off sometimes, but that ORG mineral body peel twice a day helps SO MUCH to clean out my skin flakes to stop my skin from forming new pimples.

What about you?

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using TheBudgetingTool.com. Since then, I have paid my $600K home in cash (my half was $300K), my $180K casr in cash, worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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3 Comments

  1. Vivian

    Hi! Your blog introduced me to Paula’s Choice and I love their products! They just work, and my skin is so much better after battling a skin infection that left scars and popping out two kids.
    Where do you buy the O.R.G. Mineral peel in Canada?

    Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I used to buy them in a salon but then they ran out. And until recently, before COVID hit, I bought it directly off Amazon.com (yes, the US site Amazon) but they are no longer shipping to Canada for the interim 🙁

      You can try buying directly from the site as well but the customs and duties taxes might cost you quite a bit……

      Reply
    2. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Also I AM SO HAPPY with Paula’s Choice and that it has helped you. My whole skin has been completely differently changed since I had my baby.. and looking back, I am amazed at how my skin looks NOW compared to when he was born (horrific).

      Reply

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