Morning and evening skincare routine in my mid-30’s

8 March 2021

Friends, thank you so much for your kind notes on last week’s happy news!! You are, as always, the best. As I said, I have much to discuss now that the news is out, likely beginning with the decision to have a third child – hopefully later this week. This was the number one question by far when I asked, and I definitely have thoughts! :)

But for today, something a bit lighter! I don’t consider myself an expert on skincare by any means, but as with most areas of my life, I like to do my research and indulge in some slow tinkering. Over the years I’ve landed on products that really work for me, and even though skincare is SO personal, I wanted to share in case one of them might really work for you! And it’s just fun to document my routine at different points in my life (here’s a post from three years ago – some products are still in rotation!).

So – here we go! My morning and evening skincare routine in my mid-30’s.

Rise and shine! Here’s my morning routine:

1. Splash my face with water and pat dry. I’ve found there’s no need to cleanse in the morning. I’m hoping this retains more moisture in my skin!

2. Apply vitamin C serum. This is the newest addition to my routine (I’m about a month into using it), and I would say the jury is still out. It has definitely not had any adverse effects, and it’s less expensive than many other serums, but I’m not sure what positive effects I’ve been able to pinpoint, either. Vitamin C serum supposedly has antioxidant and ant-aging properties, and is supposed to give your skin a brighter, more radiant, and more even appearance. It’s one of the two products (along with retinol) it seems everyone recommends in your 30’s, and so I figured it would behoove me to try it. (No retinol for me yet.) Maybe it’s meant to be more of a protectant than something you see immediate results from? Or maybe I just need to keep at it a bit longer?

I use three drops and blend it in all over my face, then wait for it to dry before putting on the next layer…

3. Apply sunscreen. I converted to Elta MD a few years ago and LOVE it! It is not inexpensive, but to hear any skin expert talk, the absolute best thing you can do for your skin is wear sunscreen daily. I use one pump all over my face and any extra on my neck. (If I know I’m going to be outside a lot, I use a less expensive Neutrogena sunscreen all over my neck and the rest of my body!)

The Elta glides on smoothly, leaves no white cast, has a nice, very light smell, and layers well under makeup, etc. It’s also nice that it’s moisturizing enough that I don’t need to use a separate moisturizer, which helps justify the price!

4. Remove any remaining eye makeup from the night before. I swipe on a little coconut oil then wipe it off with a Q-tip or tissue.

5. Apply deodorant. I am back to using the Schmidt’s stick, which is readily available in my grocery store/Target and reasonably priced. I like that it is “natural,” but I do find I need to reapply at least once during the day (TMI?). I am all ears for any other recs!

6. Brush my teeth. I think doing this step at this point in the routine gives everything a chance to sink in before applying makeup. I use this toothpaste which I’ve raved about before – it actually does seem to whiten without causing pain!

7. Swipe on lip balm. Aquaphor for the win!

Time for bed! Here’s how I end the day:

1. Wash with charcoal soap. Many years in, this product continues to be a slam-dunk winner for me! You canNOT beat the price, and I feel like it continues to do so much to balance out my oily/dry skin. I’ve even turned John onto it! After I rinse, I’ll wipe my face all over with a clean, wet wash cloth, which serves as a gentle exfoliator. I am really weird about using an actual clean wash cloth every day, so I bought a cheap pack of 12 for $4 and just toss them in the wash with our whites!

I’ll also gently swipe my eyes with the Makeup Eraser to remove eye makeup at this point.

2. Swipe on toner with a cotton round. I’ve long struggled with dry, flaky skin on my forehead, and this toner is the first product that’s ever made a difference. The flakiness is gone, overall my skin is smoother, and I do think my pores look a bit smaller, too! (Fun fact: I discovered this via an online order sample. I don’t try 90% of the samples I receive, and I’m not sure what made me pick this one up, but I’m VERY glad I did!)

I use two pumps and swipe it all over my face.

3. Moisturize. A favorite for several years running! Skin Dew feels so light and sinks so effortlessly into my skin, yet is SO moisturizing and balancing. It’s expensive, but a small amount goes a long way for me, and the price is totally worth it for the results I see. Plus, I love supporting a Southern small business! I have been tempted to try Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb on Jen’s recommendation, so perhaps I’ll try that after my current jar is done.

4. Brush my teeth and swipe on more Aquaphor. Obviously :)

And that’s it! I’d love to hear the MVPs from your morning or evening skincare routine! Have you tried a retinol or vitamin C serum you love? Any interest in a beauty routine post? :)

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March 8, 2021 8:07 am

I like using Native deodorant! I’ve been using it for a few years and it works great for me, not to mention it smells delightful too.

March 8, 2021 9:45 am

LOVE beauty posts like this! I’m a little obsessed with skin care now because I had such bad skin in high school and college (like, was on Accutane for a year bad). So this will be a long comment. ;)
I swear by my Differin retinol, but I use a tiny amount (like half a pea!) and every other night. My skin also skews slightly oily, which I think keeps it from drying me out too bad. It’s made the biggest difference in keeping my skin clear and minimizing some of my lines. (I will say – I do remember reading somewhere that pregnant women shouldn’t use retinol? No idea if that’s valid, but just wanted to mention it with Baby Thomas!)
I just started using a Vitamin C serum from The Ordinary (mainly because it was $6 at Ulta). I’m only a month in, so I’m having a similar experience to you – not sure if it’s doing anything yet. One thing I do think helps a lot, though, is patting argan oil over my face as my final nighttime step (wash, retinol if it’s a retinol night, moisturizer, oil). It felt so counterintuitive to put OIL on my slightly oily skin, but it really locks in the moisture and means I wake up with dewy skin every morning. I use the Pura D’Or brand!

March 8, 2021 9:46 am

I used my wedding a few years ago as an excuse to get really into skincare, so I like posts like this and would love a beauty routine! For retinol, I like Differin gel and the Olay eye cream. There is definitely an adjustment process for Differin (you really need to use it consistently for ~2 months to see results/get through the purging process), but I think it’s worth it.
For vitamin C serum, I am currently using the Kiehls version after years of wondering if it was worth the price… and after a couple months of consistent use, I think it actually is making a notable difference. I have also used the Mad Hippie vitamin C, as well as the Sephora brand, but I think this is my new favorite. Good for my skin, bad for my wallet!

March 8, 2021 3:59 pm

I love this post. I have tried some new products over the last four to five months that I’ll share. Most of my life I’ve used a bar of soap to wash my face and whatever lotion I happen to pick out at Target on a whim. Most recently, I have been using Clarins exfoliating face wash once per day, and I like how gentle and refreshing it feels. I also used up a jar of Clarins face lotion and really liked it. It went on really think but felt so good, especially during the Midwest winter. These were not cheap, but I did feel a difference with them and I looked forward to using them. Now I’m on to a much more budget friendly Cerave wash and lotion. However, I splurged on another nighttime lotion by Drunk Elephant and so far so good, but it’s only been a few days. I also purchased a Vitamin C serum by Drunk Elephant and am interested to see if it makes a difference. I have normal/oily skin. Thank you for the wonderful post!

March 9, 2021 6:20 am

I love these kinds of posts… It’s fun to get a sneak peek into someone else’s medicine cabinet! :) As a retinol alternative, I love Beautycounter’s Countertime collection. It’s pregnancy/breastfeeding safe which is amazing. I’ve noticed a difference in my skin (even through pregnancy and breastfeeding!). In full disclosure, I love the brand enough that I signed on as a consultant, so if you’re interested in trying the products, I’d be happy to send you a goodie bag! :)

March 9, 2021 7:39 am

I use the Mad Hippie Vitamin C serum. I’m also not sure if it is really doing anything but I really like it and the ingredients in it. I love talking skincare!
You can’t use a retinol while pregnant or breastfeeding, but when you are done, I just started using the Ordinary 2% Retinoid. So far so good. I have sensitive skin so I don’t try a lot of different products at once.
I highly recommend the Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel. I use it twice a week and noticed a huge improvement in my skin when I started.

Abigail Gray
March 9, 2021 9:32 am
Reply to  Victoria B

I second the Overnight Resurfacing Peel! When I first learned of it and saw countless good reviews on blogs, I thought “what does this even do?” Ha! :) But after about a year of using it twice a week, I just reordered because it makes my skin soooo smooth. It also smells really good, which doesn’t hurt!

Kelly C
March 9, 2021 9:32 am

I agree with everyone here, these posts are always so fun! As are the “whats in my bag” ones haha. I’ve been using Rodan and Fields for a few years, but added in the Ordinary Vitamin C serum recently. And I’m with you, can’t tell if it’s making a difference since my skin is fairly pale already, not sure how much “brighter” it’s going to get. But excited to try the Elta sunscreen this summer, even my dermatologist highly recommended it.

March 9, 2021 9:48 am

For deodorant I use Native, my sis loves Primally Pure and BeautyCounter came out with a deodorant that she says she actually likes more than PP which shocked her. I don’t know which is more expensive but Native is def cheapest AND at our Target so that’s good enough for me! ;)

March 9, 2021 10:39 am

Beauty routine posts are always fascinating to me, so I’m glad you shared this and will put in my vote for a makeup post too! I suspect we have never talked about skincare specifically because I didn’t know you used most of these products, except for the toner and Skin Dew, ha! I’ve been mulling over trying Beautycounter’s vitamin C serum for a year and think I’m finally going to bite the bullet when I place my next order. Will report back :P

March 10, 2021 10:03 am
Reply to  Em

I’ll text you!

March 12, 2021 8:58 am
Reply to  Lisa

I have the overnight peel and use it a few times a week. I actually really like it and re-ordered when my first bottle was empty. I’m a fan. As for Vitamin C serums, I have tried all of them. I do like the ole henriksen Vit C serum a lot. I’ve heard good things about MaeLove but haven’t tried it yet…

March 10, 2021 10:00 am

Maelove makes a vitamin C serum called Glow Maker and I’ve found it to be a very effective, but affordable vitamin C option! My skin really does glow and looks healthier. Ingredient-wise, Glow Maker is a perfect dupe for the $$ Skinceuticals C E Ferulic serum.

March 12, 2021 12:47 pm

Hi, and congrats on baby #3! Excited to hear more thoughts about that as we are currently mulling over the idea. Just wanted to recommend deodorant from Little Seed Farm (another small southern business). I also found them through a comments section, when I was reading reviews for a different new deodorant that I never ended up trying. They are cream deodorant so you have to apply with your fingers like lotion, which seemed weird at first but is really NBD. I’ve been happy with them for the better part of a year and I don’t feel like I have to reapply. Also holds up well for tough peloton rides! I also currently use Mad Hippie vit c and the Elta MD sunscreen and agree they are winners! If you suffer drier skin during pregnancy like I did, I also like the Mad Hippie Triple C night cream. And their exfoliating serum if good, too – I think I notice more of a difference using this than the vitamin C. The only serum that made a major difference for me was a sample of Vintners Daughter, and I cannot justify that price!

Laura B
March 15, 2021 9:08 pm

Just ordered that Elfa sunsceeen. Always looking for good spf options! Thanks for sharing.

Sabrina Stubblefield
March 16, 2021 4:18 pm

I used to be a Native user but always felt like it was just ok. Then I decided to try byHumankind becaues of the refillable option to reduce plastic. There was an adjustment period where I thought oh this is not going to work, then bam like magic its the best “natural” I’ve tried. No wet pits randomly in the day and no off smells (you know the its not BO but its not sunshine and flowers eithe smellr). So far I swear by it in the natural realm!!!