My Current Skincare Routine

I have a lifetime of experience with difficult skin. I had cystic acne from the age of 8 until I was 24, and now in my 40s I have melasma and occasional breakouts. But in the last couple of months, my skin has never looked better! People actually tell me that I have a nice complexion and are surprised to hear my age. I don’t think they’re blowing smoke up my you-know-what, so my current skincare routine is working a treat. Here’s what I’m using:

1. An old-fashioned Dove Beauty Cream Bar. I use this in the morning to wash my face and at night to wash off my makeup. Dove Beauty Cream Bar

2. Giovanni D:Tox Purifying Facial Cleanser – I use this at night after I’ve washed my makeup off. I reviewed it here.
Giovanni D:Tox Purifying Facial Cleanser

3. Giovanni D:Tox Purifying Facial Scrub – I use this every morning in the shower. It’s not so abrasive that I can’t use it everyday, yet grainy enough to be effective.

Giovanni D:Tox Purifying Facial Scrub

4. Makeup Artist’s Choice Mandelic Acid Toner – This has made a huge difference with my skin tone. The melasma on my cheeks has faded quite a bit. I reviewed it here.
Makeup Artist's Choice Mandelic Acid Toner

5. Lucy Minerals Ambrosia Serum – I still think it’s strange that I put oil on my face when I’m already oily, but heck, it works at keeping the wrinkles at bay.
Lucy Minerals Ambrosia Serum
6. Avon Ideal Flawless CC Color Corrector Cream – I didn’t love it when I first got it, but then I started using it daily. I put this on my face right out of the shower, no moisturizer, no primer, just this. It’s not enough coverage for me on its own, but it’s fantastic as a base for my mineral makeup.
Avon Ideal Flawless CC Color Corrector Cream

7. Shakeology – I have always resisted the idea that what you eat has an effect on your skin (because nothing I ate or didn’t eat made a difference with my cystic acne), but a daily dose of superfoods sure does make my skin look nice. The vegan Tropical Strawberry is my favorite flavor. Shakeology Vegan Tropical Strawberry

What’s your current skincare routine?


Packing Light (or not)

Here’s what I have on the hotel bathroom counter. This does not include the Giovanni D:Tox facial scrub in the shower, nor the Michael Todd True Organics face mask I’ve since moved from the stash to the bathroom to remember to use it weekly.
Yes! I brought a stash with me in a little trunk that I keep in the closet.  In the little trunk and not pictured: backups of floss, body lotion, contact lens solution, two boxes of foam hair color, sunscreen, and facial depilatory cream.

When did I get so fussy? Is is a function of age? When I was 28 I backpacked around Europe for three months with just a carry-on travel pack. Seriously! The one thing I was sure to pack with me then was a full-size bottle of contact lens solution since it seemed to be outrageously expensive in Europe. (Those were the good old days of travel when you could carry on liquids/gels more than 3.4 ounces.)
On that trip, I just bought stuff as I needed it – shampoo/conditioner, body lotion, Dove soap, hair color (coloring my hair in a youth hostel in Naples is a story I should really blog).
Going to foreign pharmacies/grocery stores for toiletries is one of my most favorite things to do while travelling so it was fun for me (even though basic toiletries seemed crazy expensive in Europe).

Here are the reasons excuses why I brought so many supplies much crap:

  • I am supposed to be here for 2-3 months, so I wanted to be comfortable and have my favorites.
  • My flight arrived at 3:30pm, and I had a meeting at 5pm. (It lasted all of 10 minutes, but still)
  • I wasn’t sure where the hotel/worksite was and if there were stores nearby, so I didn’t want to have to scramble for supplies.
  • We have a l-o-n-g working day, so I didn’t know when I could find time/places to buy stuff I needed. Imagine the horror of realizing you’re out of deodorant when you’ve got to be in the office in 10 minutes. So I brought two kinds…just in case.

As you can see from the photo below, the hotel provides quite nice toiletries. I may or may not be stowing these away in my suitcase every day so I have a stash to fall back on when I run out of my own stuff.
I’m already glad that I’ve stockpiled the hotel body lotion because I’ve already used up all of mine.


Do you pack light when you travel? Or do you plan for every eventuality like I did?




My Top 5 Beauty Items of 2013

Have you seen these Top 5 Beauty Items of 2013 lists floating around the blogosphere? Everyone’s list is different and I love reading what items have become someone’s Holy Grail product.

Here’s my Top 5 Beauty Items of 2013 list:

Giovanni D:Tox Purifying Cleanser, Makeup Artist's Choice Mandelic Acid, Lucy Minerals finishing powder, Lucy Minerals Juicy Peach, Lumiere Cosmetics Cashmere Foundation

1. Giovanni D:Tox Purifying Facial Cleanser – read my review of this cleanser here. It’s definitely helped clear my pores without stripping my skin or making it feel dry.

2. Lumiere Cosmetics Cashmere Foundation in Light Medium Golden – read my review of this foundation here. I caught a glimpse of my reflection in a mirror the other day, and I was surprised how even my complexion looked thanks to this foundation. I waffle between Light Medium and Light Golden, so I have a jar of each on hand.

3. Lucy Minerals Oil Control Silica Finishing Powder and Juicy Peach blush (okay, that’s two; I’m cheating). The finishing powder is so smooth and soft and just perfect. PERFECT. The blush is pretty and makes me look – dare I say it – youthful.

4. Makeup Artist’s Choice 5% Mandelic Acid Toner – I stopped using this toner over the summer because I was worried about sun exposure on my chemically-exfoliated face, but I started using this again a couple of weeks ago. It took about 3 days for my skin to look smoother and fresher. I’ll just buy a stronger sunscreen next year. And a hat. I need this in my life no matter what the season.

5. Makeup Artist’s Choice 25% Mandelic Acid Peel – I was a bit intimidated by an at-home chemical peel! But mandelic acid is both gentle and effective. The brown blotches on the side of my face have faded considerably. Like the toner, I stopped this over the summer – I won’t make that mistake again next summer.

What’s on your Top 5 Beauty Items of 2013 list?


Giovanni D:tox System Purifying Cleanser and Scrub

Awhile ago I purchased and reviewed the Giovanni D:tox System Purifying Cleanser. It worked so well that when I saw it on the shelf at TJ Maxx, I had to buy another. I picked up the Purifying Scrub, too. TJ Maxx has these items at knock-down prices so the cheapo in me was pretty happy.

Giovanni D:Tox Purifying Cleanser Step 1, D:tox System Purifying Facial Scrub Step 2

Like with the cleanser, I know the scrub works because I received the entire set from Meg’s Makeup a while ago. Generally, I think that chemical exfoliation is better for my skin, so I have a stash of mandelic acid products ready to use. But you shouldn’t be exposed to sun after doing a chemical peel so I’ve been holding off on using them until winter. (Yes, I know it’s December, but it was 75 degrees last weekend with bright sunshine.) While waiting to use the chemical peels, I still need some sort of exfoliant, so Givoanni D:tox was a perfect choice. The granules are very small, so I don’t have to worry about damaging my skin by scrubbing too hard. And boy do I scrub. My face is left smooth and soft from this scrub, and I know it’s gentle because my face is not red afterward. I use it every other day, but I’m pretty sure I could use it daily without problems.

I’m still loving the cleanser, too. I use it at night when I wash off my makeup. I am verrrry oily but I never use cleansers formulated for oily skin because it just makes me feel dry. I love that the Giovanni cleanser does not strip my skin and make it tight.

I am really happy with these products – my skin is looking better already.

What skincare are you using?


Facial Friday – Giovanni D:Tox System Purifying Facial Cleanser

It’s no secret that I have less-than-pefect skin – it’s red, splotchy, and oily with giant pores…but I thought I’d put the worst of acne and blackheads behind me. I’m over 40, for pete’s sake! But last week I noticed a ton of blackheads on the sides of my face. I was horrified. Where did they come from? I wash my makeup brushes weekly (and I rotate through two of them during the week), and nothing in my routine has changed.

Imagine my relief when I spotted Giovanni D:Tox System Purifying Facial Cleanser at TJ Maxx. I’ve tried this before (the entire 4-step D:Tox system was a gift from Meg’s Makeup) so when I saw it on the shelf, I snapped it up. At $6, it’s a bargain and I know it works.

Typically I wash my face with an old-fashioned Dove bar. Every dermatologist I’ve ever seen has recommended Dove (and I’ve seem a LOT of derms over the years), but obviously I needed something else.


As you can see from the photo, I’ve already used it a couple of times. And, the horrible blackheads are almost all gone. GONE. And my face is not tight or dry at all. This cleanser is just that good. I think I should have a bottle of it stashed in my bathroom at all times for emergencies like this. If there aren’t any more at TJ Maxx next time I go, I’ll just order from Amazon.

Giovanni is cruelty-free, donates a portion of profits to breast cancer research, and is a local business! And it works.

Have a great weekend!