Habitually Chic Guide to Skincare: 2017 Edition
I’ve been posting some of my beauty products on Instagram Stories and was requested by readers to post about my skincare routine. I wrote a post almost exactly two years ago so it’s definitely time for an updated post since I have changed some of my products. I also just spent the weekend on a beauty press trip with La Prairie with seven other beauty editors so I’ve definitely had beauty on the brain.
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been sent products to try by a few beauty brands such as La Prairie, Chanel, Estee Lauder, and NuFace. I only recommend products that I actually use and like and have not been paid to promote any of their products. In a few instances, I have included a few products that I have just bought or want to try but I clearly state this in my review. Some of the products I use are a bit expensive so I’ve tried to include some cheaper alternatives where possible.
I’ve kept this post to just skincare and dermatologist procedures so my male readers might learn something too. I will write a make up beauty post next week.
And yes, I know I use a lot of products but as I stated in my skincare post last year, you can’t build a house and expect it to stand for 80+ years without doing maintenance like sanding and painting and repairs. The same can be said for your skin. There are some people who are genetically lucky and don’t have to do anything and there are others of us who have to make an effort. It really does pay off though. I’ve had three people think I was 10 years younger than my real age recently so clearly what I’ve been doing is working.
I bought a travel size NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device and loved it until it stopped working. I still need to send it back for repair but the company was kind enough to send me the NuFace Trinity which is the larger version that allows you to change out the attachments. You use the device on clean skin with a conducting gel. I don’t like the accompanying gel because I thought it broke out my skin so I use plain clear aloe gel. I also bought the small NuFace ELE Trinity Attachment for use around the eyes and lips like eyebrow furrows, crow’s feet, and smile lines. The website has videos that show you the directions for use for each attachment. I love using this in the morning because I think it takes down puffiness and tightens my skin for the day. I definitely have seen my jawline get tighter. You need to be consistent and use it every day to see results.
I was late to the Clairisonic bandwagon but now I’m a convert. The company sent me one but I accidentally got it wet and it stopped working so I had to buy myself a new one. I love the Clairisonic Mia Fit so much that I’ve started packing it for my travels. I think we’ve all experienced temperamental skin after a long flight and I haven’t seen any travel blemishes since taking it along on trips. I usually just use it at night unless I’ve had a particularly sweaty workout or have been wearing sunscreen on a warm weather trip. I only use the pink radiance brush head which is a little less harsh than some of the others. There is a Clarisonic for Men too.
All my favorite cleansers from Kiehl’s were pulled off the market when micro-beads were banned. I hoarded as many tubes as I could buy from eBay but luckily, one of them is back. Kiehl’s Clearly Corrective Skin Brightening Exfoliator is a cleanser and exfoliator in one and keeps my skin clear.
Another Kiehl’s product that keeps my skin clear is Kiehl’s Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion. I’ve tried the cult favorite Biologique Recherche P50 but I thought it broke out my skin. Everyone needs to figure out what works best for them. This is also a good time to remind you to try one new product at a time so you know which product is irritating your skin or breaking you out.
I always joke that I don’t know what Essence does but since brands keep sending it to me, I keep using it. The order of products should be toner, essence, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen. Essence is actually supposed to make your serum sink in better. I have tried Chanel Sublimage La Lotion Supreme but for the last six months I have been using LaPrairie Skin Caviar Essence-in-Lotion. It was named Allure Magazine 2016 “Best of Beauty” award so that’s another reason I keep using it.
For the past two months, I’ve been using La Prairie Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster followed by an advance tube of the newly released La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo. The La Prairie Anti-Aging Rapid Response Booster can be applied day and night and “delivers anti-wrinkle peptides exactly where needed to reduce depth and length of wrinkles in just two weeks.”
La Prairie Line Interception Power Duo is the newest product from the Swiss skincare brand and really lives up to the hype. I’ve been using it for the past two months and have honestly seen a change in my skin and it’s probably the reason people think I look younger. The package has duel chambers which have a cream for day with broad spectrum spf 30 and a night cream. The two peptide filled creams target the three types of wrinkles. The day cream aims to inhibit the creasing that causes persistent expression lines over time, and helps prevent sun-induced lines and wrinkles. The night cream works on vertical lines caused by age and gravity. They work in conjunction and can actually delay or prevent the use of Botox and fillers. The duo is $350 but it lasts three months and can save you money on other dermatologist procedures.
For those of you on a budget, I recommend trying any of the Roc Anti-Aging Skincare products.
I love using a day cream with spf but for summer and warm weather trips, you really need a separate sunscreen. La Roche-Posay is considered the gold standard for sunscreen but I find it much too white for me. I used La Prairie Cellular Swiss UV Protection Veil Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 50 in Mexico and Grand Cayman but I just read great things about Control Corrective. I actually bought it and took it to Grand Cayman but didn’t end up using it.
I love a heavy and thick moisturizer, especially in the winter. My all time favorite is Chanel Sublimage La Creme and can attest that it’s worth every penny. Other great alternative are La Mer Creme de la Mer and Fresh Crème Ancienne.
The cult night product that everyone swears by, myself included, is Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair. I have been using it for at least 10 years and it’s one product that’s definitely worth adding to your evening skincare routine.
I use a couple of eye creams because the hollows under my eyes are my biggest pet peeve. I’ll talk about fillers at the end of this post but eye cream is an every day essential. Dr. Wade gave me Lumiere by Neocutis and I ended up buying another bottle after it ran out because I liked it so much. I was also give Eye Revitalizer by another spa and I use that as well. In the summer, I like La Prairie Cellular Eye Essence Platinum Rare because it has a cooling metal ball tip that’s also great for puffiness. My other favorite that I need to replenish is Chanel Le Lift Concentre Yeux.
A great product with a cult following is Shiseido Benefiance Eye Masks. They are great before photo shoots and for morning puffy eyes.
Mario Badescu is a great place for reasonably priced basic facials in New York and they also offer a great line of products. I’ve been going to then since I moved to New York 15 years ago. I use the Buffering Lotion to prevent breakouts on my t-zone.
If there is one Mario Badescu product that I can’t recommend enough is their Special Healing Powder. Throw away the accompanying sponge and use a Q-Tip to dab it on any blemish or red spot. It immediately takes the redness away from from your skin. It’s amazing and can be used over make up too.
You can buy Chapstick in any convenience store but once you use Terry Baume de Rose, you will never go back. It’s one of the most luxurious lip balms on the market. It’s a little expensive but so worth it. One of these days, I’m going to go crazy and buy one for every bag I own.
I love a good mask and one that I just started using is Dr. Dennis Gross Hyaluronic Marine Hydrating Modeling Mask System. You mix the mask with the activator and stir and apply quickly. It dries to a rubbery texture that can be removed in one piece at the end of 15 minutes. If you apply it too thinly, you might need to use a wet wash cloth to remove some areas. I love it in the morning before I have a meeting or event because it plumps up and moisturizes my skin.
I saw someone online use this Cle de Peau Illuminating Concentrate Mask and now I’m dying to try it myself. You can buy a box of six or just one application which is nice so you see if you like it before committing.
At least once a week, I use Mario Badescu Healing and Soothing Mask. The reason I like it is because it really is soothing and doesn’t get hard. You can leave it on and go about your business until you’re ready to take it off without the product flaking off everywhere.
After the Mario Badescu Healing and Soothing Mask, I use Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant which is gentle but makes my skin glow. Be careful about using harsh scrubs for exfoliating because they can cause micro-tears in the skin that end up looking like blemishes.
Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Peels are another cult favorite product that I also use everyday. You should use peel pads at night for exfoliation because they can make your skin sun sensitive. You should use sunscreen every day but especially when using peels. Since I work at home, I’ll sometimes use them in the morning while I’m working instead of at night. I use the Extra Strength but there are different peels for every skin type and sensitivity.
Once a week, usually on Sundays, I use Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Alpha Beta Medi-Spa Peel. It’s a little more strong and leaves my skin glowing.
I’ve heard good things about using a silk pillowcase to sleep so I finally bought the Slip Pillowcase. It comes in eight different colors and is supposed to reduce friction and bedhead. I do notice that my hair is smoother in the morning but haven’t noticed anything different with my skin.
Now I’m going to talk about some of the skin procedures I do on a regular basis. I absolutely love Skin Laundry and I think it’s a great bang for your buck. The founder, Yen Reis found a safe and accessible laser and light therapy that greatly improved her skin while living in Asia. The treatment was quick and effective and had no downtime. When she moved to Los Angeles, she couldn’t find a similar treatment that was affordable and convenient. As her skin started to regress, she met with medical professionals and laser experts, and started Skin Laundry in 2013. You can try Skin Laundry the first time for free and each individual treatment is $65 or you can buy a package to decrease the price. You may break out after your first treatment as it brings things to the surface but when I do it once a week, my skin looks really clear and glowing. Unfortunately, it’s only available in California, New York, Arizona, Hong Kong, and London right now.
I love Mario Badescu facials since they are a great bargain, but sometimes I need a facial treatment that is slightly more advanced. I walked by Silver Mirror on Lexington Avenue a few times before I finally decided to try them out. I’ve seen DeeAnn for three facials so far and I find her incredibly knowledgeable and nice. I always do the Anti-Aging Facial since it uses the Pure Lift and LED light but there is a facial for everyone. They really try to push peels but I hate peels that cause flaking skin so I just do the amino acid peel. Let them know if you want a milder peel or don’t have time for down time for flaking skin.
One of the things that has really changed my skin for the better has been Clear + Brilliant laser treatments with Dr. Virginia Wade, 212-348-4994. It’s referred to as “baby Fraxel” and it’s a great first laser for most people. There are two hand pieces, Permea for pores and pigmentation and the original hand piece for wrinkles. Your face will be treated with numbing cream for a half hour before the treatment. It doesn’t hurt that much. Your skin will look sunburned and feel windburned and warm after the treatment. Don’t take an Advil because you want the inflammation. I usually do it late in the day and just go home after. The redness should be gone the next day. Then your skin will feel like sandpaper for a few days. I use an enzyme mask after the third day and by day five, my skin is really clear and brilliant as the name suggests. I usually do it four times a year.
I like Botox between my brows to get rid of my squinting furrow but I don’t like it in the forehead. I made the mistake of getting it in my forehead in September, not with Dr. Wade, and it took three months to look like myself again. Unlike fillers, there is no way to reverse Botox so you have to wait months for it to wear off. I also feel like relaxing the muscles is the opposite of what all the other treatments I am doing to firm the skin. If you decide to try it, make sure you get recommendations and go for a consultation first.
As I mentioned earlier, I have been getting fillers under my eyes. They are the bane of my existence and need to be done again. I’ve also had my cheeks filled to try to lift up the eye area. Unlike Botox, fillers can be removed by having your doctor inject Hyaluronidase into the filled areas. It’s another area where you should definitely ask for doctor referrals and start slow. Filled areas will also swell after treatments so you need to wait two weeks to decide if you need more or want some removed.
While some people may think I look younger, my aim is really to not look older or tired. I take the time to care for my skin so it looks clear and hopefully won’t need a face lift some day. I also hope my post helps you navigate the overwhelming skincare world so you can put your best face forward.