Sunday, March 28, 2021

Skincare & Makeup Update!

Now that I am occasionally venturing out into the world (and/or on constant video calls) I thought it was time for a skincare and makeup update!

Can't resist another baby Sage picture

I'll admit my skincare routine fell off a cliff in the early days of the pandemic. I rarely vide-chatted, I never went anywhere, I realize now I was going through severe extrovert-withdrawal and was a BIT depressed and not (yet) adequately medicated, and I basically slapped on some makeup for my zoom fitness classes and let it wear off over time because what is the point of even having a face if there are no people.

But I got my act together and have once again been enjoying a consistent and rewarding skincare routine. And now that I'm on video all day every day I've updated my makeup routine for something simple and quick that feels light on my skin but makes me feel good on camera.


1. Cleanse (CeraVe Renewing SA Cleanser or CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser). I tend to use the Hydrating in the morning because it's a little more gentle and then the SA Cleanser in the evening when I feel my skin has more to clean off.

2. Vitamin C Serum (SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic Antioxidant Serum). My personal holy grail, I do think this serum is a big part of why my aesthestician told me my skin has aged backwards by at least a decade and I like the protection it gives.

3.a. Moisturize (Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel). I am LOVING this gel; it's so light and pure and completely moisturizes my skin without adding any other ingredients.

3.b. Moisturize+. If it's winter or we're in Colorado I might also layer a moisturizer on top of the B5 gel, and after trying MANY, these two are my favorites: SkinCeuticals Emolliance Rich Moisturizer and Laneige Water Bank Moisture Cream.

4. SPF (Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46 - Tinted). ALWAYS; I use the Elta MD Tinted if I'm not wearing any other makeup that day as my usual foundations all have SPF in them and I keep the untinted version in my purse for touchups and love that I can put it on over full makeup and can't see or feel any difference.

(If I'm wearing any makeup I just do steps 1-3a and then go straight to the primer and tinted moisturizer with SPF below)

1. Cleanse (CeraVe Cleanser). At night I use it with Clarisonic Mia and I feel like it removes any buildup or dullness on my skin.

2. Retinol (SkinCeuticals Retinol 0.5 Refining Night Cream). I use this every other day; I used the SkinMedica 0.25 strength for a long time but have worked my way to 0.5 now. Per my dematologist, you gain more benefit with regular use of a milder formulation than sporadic use of a stronger one, so use what your skin can handle without excessive flaking.

3. Moisturize (Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel). Usually that's all I need, but as noted above, I'll layer it with a moisturizer if I'm somewhere very dry. At night after skiing in Colorado I also loved this Laneige Water Sleeping Mask that I got as a birthday bonus at Sephora.

4. Eye Cream (LovelySkin Luxe Brightening Eye Cream). Admission: I almost never use eye cream. I really like this one, and I'm sure it would be beneficial to use it (right? thoughts/experiences?), but it just will not make itself part of my routine and so sits in judgment of me on my counter.

5. Eyelash Serum (GrandeLash-MD Eyelash Conditioner). I'm also not great about remembering this, but I definitely see a difference when I us it nightly!

(So most nights it's steps 1, 3, and 5 with step 2 added in every other day. Eyecream, I'll use you someday!)

New Work-from-Home Routine
1. Primer (Laura Mercier Pure Canvas Primer - Illumating). I love this, it's like a bit of glowy softness on my skin. I just rub it in with my fingers and move to the next step.

2. Tinted Moisturizer (Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer Natural Skin Perfector Broad Spectrum SPF 30 - Vanille). My new "foundation." I LOVE this tinted moisturizer. It's just enough color to tone down the natural pinks in my skin, but is very light in look and feel. I apply with either my hands or a Beauty Blender sponge.

3. Concealer (NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer - Vanilla). I use this under my eyes and it's the best undereye concealer I've ever found. A few dabs, pat with the smaller end of my blender sponge, move on.

4. Eyelid Primer (Laura Mercier Eye Basics Primer - Linen). My eyelids are naturally a bruised looking shade of purple, so even on days I wear no other makeup I often swab on some kind of eyelid primer or concealer and this one is beautiful. Most days I don't add anything else to my eyes at all.

5. Eyeliner (Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil - Demolition). Very optional and skipped most days, but if I want to step it up a little for a big meeting or something, I add a quick swipe of eyeliner and smudge it a bit with my finger.

6. Eyelash Curler (Shu Uemura Iconic Eyelash Curler ). I forgot I owned this for a few years, but it's now part of my daily routine. It never pulls at my lashes like ones I've had in the past. I have short stubby invisible lashes and purple eyelids, but taking 30 seconds for the eyelid primer + eyelash curler + swipe of mascara = eyes that make me happy to see reflected back at me in my video call screen.

7. Mascara (Buxom Lash Volumizing Mascara is a fave, but lately I've been using this cheaper one by No 7 with good results.) When you have blonde eyelashes, mascara really makes all the difference.

8. Blush (NARS Blush - Orgasm). Listed at the end because I often skip it, but if I need a little pink this blush is beautiful and pigmented and my little compact has lasted for years.

9. Lips (NARS Powermatte Lip Pigment - American Woman or Save the Queen). Usually only if I have a big meeting or want to feel fancy, but I'm trying to focus on the positives of working from home and not wearing a mask is one of them, so why not paint the lips? This lip stain feels smooth, lasts forever, and I just swipe on chapstick as needed throughout the day on top of it. (Your Good Skin lipbalm is cheap and feels just like the Fresh Sugar lip balms, though if you want tinted- Fresh Sugar Petal, Honey, and Rose are GREAT).

Writing that out it looks long, but most days I'm on camera or otherwise interacting with people and want to look good it's just steps 1 (with hands), 2, 3, and 4 (with same blender sponge), then 6 and 7 in about 2 minutes and I feel good and ready for work.
Fancy Occasional Add-Ons
- Foundation (It Cosmetics CC Cream Illumination SPF 50+ in Light Medium). Still my fave if I want actual coverage.

- Eyeshadow (Urban Decay Naked Palette). The two I have in my drawer and have used for YEARS are the original and smokey palettes. The colors are beautiful and pigmented and have lasted so long I didn't realize neither one was sold anymore!

- Eyebrow Tint (Benefit Gimme Brow Eyebrow Gel - Shade 3). My eyebrows are very light but I have no shaping or coloring skills- this product is super easy, has a built in little brush, and makes my brows visible. I often add it even on my light makeup days.

- Bronzer (NARS Bronzer - Laguna). I must confess I have no idea how to use this, but it came as a combo with my blush. I need to watch some YouTube videos or something...
Also in my drawer- a Rose Quartz Roller I picked up on a birthday whim, but I can't decide if it's a worthy addition to my routine. Mostly I forget about it, but some mornings when my face feels sort of heavy or puffy, it does feel nice to roll it around after my Vitamin C serum. I still have yet to use a mask- they strangely intimidate me and so the two I've purchased sit in my drawer. I'll be fully vaccinated next week and have an IPL photofacial scheduled in April. I don't think anything jump starts a skincare routine like a round with some lasers.

And as long as we're talking skincare, I have to give my usual plug for annual skin cancer screenings with your dermatologist. Don't ignore that one spot that seems to come and go or that itches or bleeds when it rubs on something. I have a scar on a chest and a pretty big scar on my neck from removing two skin cancers in my early and mid-30's and I've taken damn good care of my skin ever since- both aesthetically (which largely started to just make me feel better when leaving the dermatologist's office after that first positive diagnosis!) and preventatively with sunscreen EVERY DAY and UPF clothing and coverings. The best way to protect your skin is to stay out of the sun entirely, but using UPF layers, wearing hats (something I'm still terrible about; I look so bad in them you guys), and always having sunscreen on as a backup when your skin just has to be exposed all help so much. And it makes your skin look good too!
My favorite UPF clothing right now is from Free Fly, specifically this bamboo hoodie that is light and airy but protective. I wear it all the time, including to hike a mountain in Curacao last March, and am planning to buy one more before we head to Utah in August.
So what are you loving? Any new routines or products or habits you've developed (or dropped and felt freed by!) in this time at home? The Sephora insider sale is coming up in two weeks- anything I need in my cart? Any hiking clothes I need to check out before our big trip this summer?

[Blogger's note: none of these links are affiliate links because I don't know how to do that and the only products I've ever gotten free are with my Sephora rewards and samples from my dermatologist; these products are just the results of some trial and error and the link are there for your convenience!]

[But I'd be remiss in not recommending Rakuten! (That is an affiliate link with a $30 bonus for you!) Sephora had 6% rewards the other day and Lovely Skin and Dermstore have between 3-5% too.]


  1. Question: When you apply the moisturizer and serums, etc. how long do you wait for each to dry before the next application? Can you do them pretty much one right after the other or do you have to wait for a little bit? Thanks!

    1. Per the aesthetician in my dermatologist's office, you really should let Retinol soak in a bit (15-20 mins) if at all possible before laying on a moisturizer or whatever step you do next. For everything else, layer away! I've found the serums absorb so fast that by the time I've replaced one cap and opened the next, my skin is dry to the touch.

  2. I've now got the Unqilo Airism UV Hoodie in 5 colors:

  3. Two of my favorite topics in one post! I have you (LL) to thank for the introduction to Free Fly apparel, and I have the same turquoise bamboo hoodie. I have a TSLA Women's Hoodie Zip Front Rash Guard, UPF 50+ ( though will try the UNIQLO AIRism UV hoodie! And hats...I am not a hat person but a protect-my-skin person, so I always wear a hat when I am outside. (I typically take it off for photos - so that's an idea to consider.) When I run errands, I wear a baseball cap and and take it off as soon as I go inside (store, appointment, etc), then put it back on when I walk out. No issues with hat hair. For the intense Florida sunshine, my neighbor introduced me to this hat last year (, and the number of neighbors who wear it continues to multiply. It definitely makes a statement, but it's awesome. I wear it without the face flap, though it's great to have if you have any facial procedure in which you need to keep the sun completely off your face.

    1. Love these Amanda - the giant one cracks me up but is probably exactly what I need!!

  4. Thanks for the update! I also have fallen into a rut after WFH for a year. Looking forward to trying some of these!

  5. When I was figuring out how to wear bronzer, I loved Arna Alayne’s makeup tutorials. She’s very fair skinned, so she had great recommendations for me!

    1. Kimberly! I had never delved into world of youtube makeup tutorials and now I am OBSESSED. Love Arna and have learned so much, thank you for sending me off on this journey!

  6. Hi, I have a question regarding sun protection. SPF skincare isn't a thing here in France and I actually don't understand how it works - here, we apply sunscreen, which has to be reapplied every 2 to 3 hours. Is it the same with your SPF foundation for instance? if SPF skincare is just a fancy name for sunscreen, I don't really see the point so I must be missing some kind of crucial information.
    Confused in France

    1. Good question! SPF is the same here - it stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of how well a sunscreen will protect skin from UVB rays. Makeup with SPF just means it has sunscreen in it, so it's a nice base layer if you are just having a normal day and not thinking "oh I'm going to be in the sun and need to put on sunscreen." But you do need to reapply if you're actually in the sun for long or for hours after you put on your makeup (like if I was taking the kids to the park in the afternoon) and then I put on regular sunscreen as a top layer (rather than reapplying my makeup).

      So when I wake up I do a moisturizer with SPF or my makeup that has SPF as a protective base layer, and then I keep my Elta MD sunscreen in my purse to reapply as/if needed later on. Does that make sense? The makeup won't still be helping me much by 2 p.m., but it's probably still better than nothing!

  7. Hi Rebecca, thanks for explaining! To be honest, I am not sold - I don't really see the point of sun protection early in the morning (- could be because I don't live in Texas and/or because my reactive skin requires specific skincare that doesn't come with SPF anyway . I'll try to ask my dermatologist at my next appointment, it would be interesting : maybe Europeans are behind the US in terms of sun protection.

    1. I totally get it! If my two favorite foundations came without SPF I'd still buy them and use them and add SPF when I knew I'd be in the sun, but since they DO happen to have it there already I will say it's saved my skin (literally!) those few times when I had no intention of being in the sun but somehow found myself there anyway. I burn so quickly, that I know that base layer of SPF kept me protected when I end up talking to a neighbor at the end of my driveway when I take out the trash or standing in a surprisingly long line to get a table for brunch :).