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This is 40: My Winter Skincare and Beauty Routine

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This is what 40 looks like… and my skincare routine mentioned below after a couple hours of wear and no touch-ups. Mascara, liner, a bit of matte taupe shadow and Revlon BalmStain in Romantic.

After I shared a selfie last week on social media, I received a bunch of questions asking how I take care of my skin. I’ll admit I get tempted by new and shiny products and reviews on blogs, but I’m trying to stick to my current routine because it works, and for the first time in years my winter skin is happy and hydrated.

Night Skincare Routine:

  • Garnier Clean + Nourishing Cleansing Oil – I use this almost every evening. Two pumps in dry hands, rub on dry skin, and then rinse off. Okay, you don’t “just rinse;” rinsing isn’t that easy and you will be left with what feels like a film of oil on your skin. Trust me, this isn’t a bad thing. Unlike other drugstore-brand oil cleansers, Garnier doesn’t clog my pores and it does remove all my makeup, even mascara and liquid liner. I emulsify and rinse with tepid and blot (don’t rub) my skin dry.
  • CeraVe Cleanser (Normal to Dry) – I use this from time to time, just to switch things up. I’ve used it for years and like how it’s budget friendly, gentle, and cleans thoroughly without stripping. Once or twice a month and after a day where I wore hardcore makeup, I’ll use it with my Clarisonic, and then follow up with the Garnier oil cleanser.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Eye Cream – I keep trying other brands, get disappointment, and return to this product. No irritation, absorbs nicely, makes the skin feel soft and I think helps with wrinkles and dry skin.
  • Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum – Again, I try other products and come back to this one. It works, it doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, and it doesn’t make my skin angry. I apply this after the eye cream to my entire face, neck, chest, and the top of both hands.
  • Dr. Dennis Gross Alpha Beta Glow Pads – I don’t use these as often as I did in the fall and early winter because the rest of my body has gotten so pale it looks fake. But I do it sometimes if I have an event to go to, I’ll use in place of the Neutrogena serum. I wear a dark bra, and wipe it on my face, neck, and chest inside the lines of the bra for an even finish. Then I take the almost-dry pad and wipe down my arms and tops of my hands to give a touch of color and then wash my hands.
  • L'Oreal Youth Code Youth Regenerating Skincare Serum – I’ve written about this many times before. I’ve tried other serums and they don’t compare. I can’t clearly explain what this does but it makes my skin happy. Two pumps, on face, neck, a bit on chest and leftover on tops of hands.
  • L’Oreal Collagen Moisture Filler Cream – This is a day/night cream but it hydrates nicely without being greasy or clogging pores. I find the heavier night creams cause breakouts and this doesn’t but it still keeps me from cracking or getting red and miserable in cold weather. And how can you resist a decent cream under $10? I run on face, neck, chest, and tops of hands.
  • Random Hippie Clove and Vitamin E Cream – I got this at a local shop made by a local artisan not online. But it’s a cream made with Vitamin E, cocoa butter, clove oil, and has a consistency that’s a mix between Chapstick and Vaseline. I rub it on my lips and sometimes I rub it under my nose if it’s red and raw, and I rub more on my hands and around my cuticles.
  • Water – I have a Kleen Kanteen next to my bed. I fill up, drink half, refill, and then sip on it while I read before bed and at times when I wake up. Water is a necessity to happy skin.

Morning Skincare Routine:

  • Water – I finish the Kleen Kanteen before I do anything else. Water, water, water and then more water!
  • Fish Oil – I take one Fish Oil pill first thing in the morning, and another when I get home from work. I often deal with dandruff and psoriasis in winter; taking these help greatly and make my skin and hair look better too. These don’t make me burp salmon; they’re big but I don’t have any trouble swallowing them.
  • Thayer’s Rose Petal Witch Hazel – I’ve used this for years. I apply it with a reusable cotton round. It’s way more gentle than traditional witch hazel, and smells great too! This is all I use to cleanse my skin in the morning.
  • Neutrogena Eye Cream – Same eye cream from the evening
  • L’Oreal Youth Code Serum – Same serum from the evening
  • L’Oreal Revitalift Day Moisturizer SPF 30 – This is the first time using it but my winter skin really likes it. It’s far too heavy and greasy for the summer, but right now my skin sucks it up and it leaves a dewy finish that works well with foundation for a nice healthy day look. I rub on face, neck, chest, and tops of hands.

My Basic Makeup Routine:

  • L’Oreal True Match Concealer – I don’t love this, but it gets the job done. I like how lightweight and creamy it is because it doesn’t crease or look weird over my fine lines and creases. I dot under eyes, under the nose, around the mouth and on any zits. Then I tap, not rub until it’s blended but still visible. I use Fair Light Warm, the warmer color balances my dark circles better.
  • Revlon ColorStay Foundation for Normal/Dry Skin and Jojoba Oil – I put the tiniest dot of jojoba oil into my palm, then add foundation and mix. I then apply with my fingers. The jojoba oil was an idea I got from my beauty guru friend Sarah and it gives a dewy finish without causing the makeup to slip away throughout the day. For the foundation, right now I’m using Fresh Beige.
  • Ben Nye Banana Luxury Powder – I sprinkle a bit of this in its cap, and use the MAC 190 foundation brush (much softer than others I have used yet still has a precision edge) and apply it under my eyes, between the brows, and under the nose. If I want a very finished look I’ll apply some elsewhere – the forehead, the chin, over the lips (helps lipstick stay). I don’t have to work hard to blend, and it doesn’t leave a powdery or overly matte finish. The yellow tone really helps to cancel out my dark circles and redness under the nose.
  • NARS ‘Orgasm’ Blush – I am not committed to this blush. When I turned 30 I bought this blush for the first time. A couple years ago I decided it was too warm and too sparkly and switched to creams, to pinks, to all sorts of things. But this winter I am embracing my paleness, and liking a dewy face, and the subtle shimmer and peachy glow of ‘Orgasm’ feels right again. I apply with a fluffy blush brush (not sure the brand, it wore off the black handle), smiling and applying just below apples of my cheeks and up towards my temples. A very tiny pat on the top of the nose and one on the chin.
  • TheBalm Mary-Lou Manzier – A reader told me about this product and I have been a fan ever since. Thanks to a six-year-old who finds my dressing table utterly fascinating, this compact fell on the floor and the product crumbled. So now I shake the compact, carefully open, and tap my finger on the mirror to get the right amount of product. A swipe on each cheek bone, a dot at the inner corners of my eye, a tiny bit below the brows (VERY tiny bit) and a bit at the bow of my lip. This gives a very natural highlight that just looks like healthy skin.
  • Tarte Amazonian Clay Brow Mousse – It comes with a brush but I prefer to apply it with my Trish McEvoy brow brush because it’s shorter and stiffer and I have more control and it doesn’t look like I put liquid liner in my eyebrows. Dash dash dash from center to arch, then draw the end. I then go back and dash dash to fill in, and then use a brush to brush the hairs up, then in an arch. I wear Rich Brown.

The rest really varies on my mood. Sometimes I wear shadow (and don’t have any I really love and swear by right now), sometimes I don’t. I have mascaras for thick drag queen lashes, waterproof mascaras, lengthening mascaras. I do always curl first (I use Kevyn Aucoin’s lash curler), it makes a difference. And if I wear liner, it’s Maybelline Line Stiletto in Brownish Black; it’s not too shiny or black for day, it can do a very thin precise line right at the lashline, or get bigger for a cat eye. Mucho love for it. And as you know from my outfit posts, I switch up my lips all the time.

I’d love to hear from you as to what your favorite skincare and beauty products are. Some of my favorite products are recommendations from readers and your Holy Grail may be a HG product for me or another reader!

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  1. Thanks for sharing your routine! You have fabulous skin 🙂 I definitely think it’s all about the basics: water, taking care of your skin (i.e. washing it at night!). I am loving Neutrogena’s Rapid Wrinkle line as well. Great drugstore product. I recently tried Dr. Gross Alpha Peel and LOVED it. May have to pick up those glow pads.

  2. When I turned 50 (almost a year ago now), Mother Nature decided to gift me with the acne I had back in my late teens/early 20’s. I tried everything from my old teenage go-to’s like Clearasil to my daughter’s rx medicine. Nothing worked till I tried Kate Somerville AntiBac lotion. I just rub it in for about 10 seconds on the spot where I feel a pimple popping up and it goes away in hours! And an added bonus, it doesn’t dry out my skin. I do have an extensive skin routine myself though so that helps. But wrinkles and acne at the same time …. ugh. (Cruel joke Mother Nature!) This has been my miracle product.

  3. Allie – Do you have any routine for keeping your lips lipstick ready? I have only ever worn glosses and wanted to move into something more substantial for daily wear. But, whenever I do the wear and feathering of my lips is terrible. Any advice is greatly appreciated and thanks for sharing your routine – still love using the Revlon foundation based on your recommendation!

  4. Is there a reason why you stopped using DHC oil? Your skin looks great!!!!! Love the lip color, I’m constantly searching for the perfect lipcolor (as well as the perfect white shirt, jeans, etc). Looks like I’m going to Target today!!!

  5. I wish I had looked that good at 40. Hell, I wished I had looked that good at 30. What you’re doing is working, so carry on.


  6. I loved DHC but wanted to find something both less expensive and cruelty-free. My husband and I are making small steps in that direction as we hear about products. We’ve switched to the “Yes to” line of shampoo, conditioners, styling products and moisturizers. Our favorite is Carrot but I like the Blueberry cleanser and the Coconut too.

    Used to swear by Prescriptives makeup, had worn it since I was 19 years old. I wear less and less makeup now that I’m older but use Almay BB cream and cover up, just about any mascara that doesn’t flake or add weird things to my lashes and I swear by Anastasia Brow Wiz. Long gone are the bushy 80s brows and they need filling in. 🙂

  7. As a 55 year old with newly super-sensitive skin, may I suggest the Beautypedia Reviews on Cosmeticscop.com. I buy some of the drugstore products they recommend, based on actual science, and some of the Paula’s Choice products they sell. They also review makeup, and tell you which products in a brand are great and which are duds, based on objective standards. Drugstore brands and premium brands have great and lousy products, and this, plus the member comments, has helped me really improve my stash.

  8. Skin looks great 🙂 I was just wondering, have you ever tried/thought about LED red light therapy for skin? I saw a dermatologist last summer for a few laser sessions to treat rosacea and when she mentioned it I was pretty skeptical but I now use mine (I have a handheld home one) every day and omg it has worked wonders!! My rosacea is a lot better and my skin feels plumper and smoother as well.

  9. You’ve mentioned the Revlon Romantic balm stain before-at first I thought it would be too bright for me but recently purchased it and it is great.

  10. Allie, 40 looks so good on you!!
    I’m 47 and while I am definitely seeing the effects as far as changing contours and drooping of this area or that, I have always been told I look much younger than my age. I baby my skin, big time. I just wanted to add that the Clarisonic cleaner has done wonders. It is the one item I refuse to live without. Mine bit the dust after just a few years of use and I ran right out to get another one. I am fairly frugal and those things aren’t cheap, so there you go.

  11. Very helpful info, thanks! I definitely swear by the water and the same Neutrogena products- effects are amazing. Question: you put on both the Loreal and Neutrogena serums in the same places? In what order? You don’t find they interact strangely or cancel each other out?

  12. You put a lot of care into your skin, and it shows. (I also use the Garnier Cleansing Oil as a first step, but I remove it with a warm washcloth.)

      1. The washcloth is a mild exfoliant, and when I use it I feel I’ve really gotten my sunscreen and makeup off. Then I use a mild liquid cleanser (but remove it with just warm water and my hands–no washcloth for that stage).

  13. Wow, I’d never stay awake for all that! I just rinse with water in the morning, slap on Garden of Wisdom’s Cellular Eye Complex and then a serum of some sort (either Silk Naturals Facelift or Green Tea and Aloe, depending on what I need that day.) If I’m super dry or my skin is angry I’ll add a layer of coconut oil in place of the serum. Then BB cream (Missha #13 or Shiny) and whatever makeup I feel like that day. I’m finding I need less concealer when I’m diligent with the eye serum. If I need a bit more moisture or depuffing for the eye I’ll add a bit of 100% Pure’s Coffee Eye Cream- it smells amazing. Night I cleanse with either homemade cold cream or Silk Naturals Apricot Cleansing Oil. The oil rinses completely clean if you use a washcloth, so no need for a toner, and it removes even theatrical makeup. Then the Cellular Eye Complex, and I rotate through several different creams at night depending on what my skin needs- coconut oil, a layer of cold cream, etc. That’s it. Easy peasy.

  14. The best thing for my skin is using only Dove soap and witch hazel. Anything else is too drying. I never have to moisturize but use Neutrogena Norwegian hand cream and Blistex DCT lip balm nightly on my hands and lips. I have almost no break outs since switching to Bare Minerals foundation a few years ago. I love their mineral foundation and recently started using their liquid foundation. My skin is just as healthy, but I feel I get more coverage. I also love their lip gloss – sugar cookie. Until I tried it I never wore lip gloss. I have fair to medium skin with blue eyes and, in addition to the above, I am dedicated to the following products: Cover Girl lash blast (in the green tube), Cover Girl Cheekers blush in Iced Cappuccino, Physicians Formula Shimmer Strip in Riviera for eye shadow, and Almay intense i-color pencil in Purple Amethyst for night and in Brown Topaz for work. Bare Minerals also has the best brushes for applying makeup and the less expensive Essence of Beauty (found at CVS and Ulta) brushes are really good. I am 54 and never go without makeup and get lots of questions about my good skin. I do religiously remove all makeup every night. One more thing: I wear contact lenses and swear by Thera Tears Nutrition Omega-3 supplement to prevent dry eyes. I can tell when I skip a day.

  15. Great post, Allie! Jojoba is awsome, but for me it’s a bit “heavy”. Almond oil, that’s that SAVES my dry skin during unfriendly winter weather. I add a drop into my day or night (which is better) cream or into nourishing mask. Plus it helps a lot to repair dry hair (especially colored hair, especially in winter). I apply it on dry hair, wait 20-30 min and wash. And also it makes great affect together with hand cream.
    And for “internal care” I use flax oil. I take one table spoon in the morning. It’s chemical structure is very close to fish oil.

  16. Do you use all of those products every night? I have extremely dry skin and use cleansing oil and a night cream at night – your routine makes me feel like I’m missing something!

    1. Yes, every night. The way I look at it, I wear my skin every day and evening, it makes more sense to spend time on it to make it happy and healthy. I’ve got the system down pat, can do it all in less than five minutes 🙂

  17. Though I bet if I stopped to write my routine down, it would sound long, this feels like a LOT. I’ve been much much much better lately about taking off my makeup & putting on moisturizers (I use Kiehl’s serum and a Yes! cucumber moisturizer at night, jojoba oil and Neutrogena BB cream during the day), and it’s paying off. I don’t have perfect skin, but when I do get blemishes, they heal quickly, and I feel better. Now, if I could just manage to hydrate my body skin regularly. One step at a time!

  18. You look lovely and we have the same coloring so I am off to order the Romantic balm stain now! I am really a huge fan of Kate Somerville and Sunday Riley for serums and oils. They are pricey but the results are fantastic. I especially love the Kate Summerville Deep Tissue Repair and the Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Oil.

    1. Get the Romantic! It’s so easy, and I feel finish every single time I put it on (even without other makeup!)

  19. I’ve been using Olay total effect on dark under-eyes circles, and I love it.

    It’s moisturizing, and doesn’t require a serum underneath it. It goes on smooth, and doesn’t get into eye creases. I’ve been using it for a few months, and it’s great.
    I also tried Nars “orgasm” blush, at your recommendation. I’m liking that recently too :-).

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