Beauty Junkie: My Skincare Routine

I have been obsessed with skin products ever since I was a young girl.  It started in 1989 with a transparent, copper colored bar of Neutrogena. (It felt so fancy and grown-up using that, because it wasn’t a bar of Zest.)  I may have used a Buf Puf, followed by Sea Breeze astringent and a cotton ball.  Or my mom’s St. Ives Apricot Scrub and her Oil of Olay.  Oh, and then those Indian clay masks.  Yep.  We did those.  (“We” being myself and 4 sisters.  Yes, I have 4! sisters!  πŸ™‚  And then came Clinique’s (3) step program (of course, purchases were coordinated according to the “Bonus Time” free gifts that we watched the newspaper for.)  Every routine was completed, of course, with a chapstick application from Avon.  (And yes, I’m surprised that I could provide links to all of these as they actually still exist.)

Well, I’ve tried a lot of products over the years.  But in true junkie fashion, I’ve loved every minute of it.  I don’t expect you to be as nutso as I am over products, but in case you’d like to know, here are the products I use now.

[And…an additional treat is in store…one that I am VERY excited about.  One of our wonderful readers is a genius when it comes to all-natural products.  My current routine listed here is only partly all-natural, and I’ve been wanting to adjust that.  So, lucky me, she put together a list of recommendations.  I’ll post that round-up tomorrow.  Her suggestions are SO good!  And, as you can imagine, I’m just so happy to have an excuse to try some new products. πŸ™‚ ]  

OK, here’s my current routine…..

1.  DAIRY-FREE.  Oh man, my skin drastically changed when I went dairy-free.  I’d never seen such a change in my skin, so I decided that I didn’t need icecream that bad.  But I’ve already written about it a lot.  See here for more about why I went dairy-free.  And in case you want to give it a try, find out all of my staples here, in my dairy-free survival guide.

2.  CLARISONIC.  All the reviews sucked me in.  I bought one on Craigslist (I have this model, here), got some new brushes, and have been loving it ever since.  I think it has made a HUGE impact on my skin – – it just feels softer and looks healthier.  I remember when I first used it I was like…that’s IT?  It didn’t feel like it really did anything.  I guess I was expecting it to really scrub the heck out of my skin & give it a major exfoliation.  Instead, it is subtle.  But apparently it’s just the perfect amount to make a difference…because it made it’s way to #2 on my list.  I use it twice a day.

3.  APPLE CIDER VINEGAR.  I started this routine after reading about it on The Daily Muse (see here on Rebecca’s blog for the water to ACV ratio).  I am a sucker for any natural products, especially ones that are cheap & really work.  This toner seems to heal up any blemishes and keeps them at bay.  I use the ACV twice a day.  If any blemish does come around, it seems it doesn’t have a chance.  Also, after using this for awhile + being Dairy-Free, I was at Khiel’s and they asked the old question, “Are you oily or dry?”  NEITHER!  πŸ™‚  πŸ™‚  πŸ™‚  For once in my life, my skin feels balanced.  (Also, I really do have to recommend that you get Braggs.  Cause isn’t that branding just kind of awesome? πŸ™‚

4.  KHIEL’S ULTRA FACIAL MOISTURIZER BY DAY & KHIEL’S ABYSSINE CREAM BY NIGHT.  This stuff has made my skin feel & look soft.  I got some in a gift bag at a dinner at Alt Summit last January, and I’ve been savoring the stuff ever since.  No break-outs to report, it’s more like I’m surprised at my own skin.  Khiel’s is expensive (yes), but I make it last.  (Also, visit Khiel’s for free samples!  I first discovered their samples 12 years ago when I came across the original, old-school Khiel’s Pharmacy on 3rd Ave. in the City.  I had never heard of Khiel’s until then, but had died and gone to heaven  πŸ™‚

5.  BLISS FACE WASH.  I have a bottle of this because it was a gift from a friend.  But I really like it – and it isn’t causing any problems.  When this bottle is gone, I will likely start using an all-natural face wash.  But for now, this seems to be great.  I just dab a little on the Clarisonic & use it morning & night.

6.  AVON CARE DEEPLY CHAPSTICK.  I guess some things never change.  I put this chapstick on every morning and night – and keep some by my computer.  I have tried other lip products here & there, but I keep coming back to Avon.  Hello, 99 cents.  Plus, what else can give you nostalgic memories of the Avon Lady coming to visit or Avon in your Christmas stocking??

So tell me, have you used any products for over a decade (or two?)  Or at least amuse us all with your 80s or 90s skincare routine…. πŸ™‚  


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  1. Jenny D. August 2, 2012 at 1:37 pm - Reply

    I am a skincare junkie too and I was saying "Yep, yep, me too" while I read this post. It was so satisfying to fill up my Caboodle! I did the Clinique 3-Step program for a long time, high school and a little beyond, but then I got bored and started experimenting. For the past several years I have gone with all-natural, organic products. I used Suki for a time and it worked great, but I had to stop using it because of the price and my tight budget. I recently got some skincare products from Lush and I am loving them so far.

    • mara August 2, 2012 at 7:40 pm - Reply

      Oh yes, the Caboodle. πŸ™‚ That thing was a dream. I love Lush, too!

  2. Jenny D. August 2, 2012 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Oh, and I switched to the ACV toner too after seeing that blog post!

  3. JEREMYandCHELSEA August 2, 2012 at 1:43 pm - Reply

    I used the buf puf too! That thing was intsense πŸ™‚ If you're looking to go natural you could look into African black soap (I use the Dudu Osun brand). I've been using it for about 6 months and it's done amazing things for my skin. Think anti-aging and anti-acne. The best part? $3 from Amazon. It may be worth a try!

    Thanks for your amazing blog!

    • mara August 2, 2012 at 7:39 pm - Reply

      I totally just ordered some black soap. It sounds great. And I'm all for the cheap price!

  4. Natalie Soud August 2, 2012 at 1:52 pm - Reply

    I love that you use ACV! I use it in cooking a lot, and take a tablespoon for health benefits sometimes, but have been meaning to try it in my skincare regimen as well…looking forward to it! Thanks for sharing your routine πŸ™‚

  5. kh August 2, 2012 at 2:37 pm - Reply

    I tried the ACV after reading your post (and The Daily Muse posts)and LOVE it. My face feels wonderfully clean after a round of the Clarisonic followed by ACV. Heaven! Kiehl's is deluxe…that eye cream and moisturizer are amazing. But, if budget doesn't permit, the Olay Regenerist creams are a great alternative.

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:11 pm - Reply

      SO great to hear that it's working for you….love hearing that. And thanks for the Olay suggestion.

  6. Bri August 2, 2012 at 7:25 pm - Reply

    I recently discovered Rose Hip Oil as a natural moisturizing treatment. It's AMAZING. I've been using it on my arms mostly and it's dramatically changed the texture of my naturally dry, rough skin. I use 2 drops per arm twice a day (Before bed and in the AM, right after a shower). You can get it at Whole Foods in the skin care aisle for like $12. It's a small bottle, but a little goes a long way!

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      I love this idea. Plus I really, really love rose scents. Thanks for the suggestion.

  7. Mimi August 2, 2012 at 8:16 pm - Reply

    I highly recommend Nadine Artemis' products! I also like Annmarie Gianni's skincare line. Both are all natural organic wonders πŸ™‚

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:13 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the suggestions! I need to make a list of all these new brands to check out.

  8. Scarlett August 2, 2012 at 8:17 pm - Reply

    I like to make a paste out of baking soda and water and use it as a scrub. It makes my skin super soft, and it's gentle. Since it's also dirt cheap, I can use it for my face and body.

    I've been wanting to add some kind of dark spot corrector to my skin routine, but don't have a budget for anything too fancy. Anyone tried a drugstore kind they would recommend? Or any natural remedies?

    • Molly August 3, 2012 at 3:33 am - Reply

      I used baking soda, too, Scarlett! I really like it. I'm excited to follow it with Apple Cider Vinegar now. Thanks! I can't afford any expensive products either. (Heck–I can't even afford cheap products right now, so it's a good thing I like using baking soda and actually have ACV in the cupboard…)

      By dark spots, are you referring to red-ish spots from pimples or dark circles under eyes? I'd love to hear recommendations for the former.

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:19 pm - Reply

      Love the baking soda idea. I have used this in the past, and love it. Funny how sometimes you get out of the habit. so thanks for the reminder. I already have a little jar of it in my bathroom cupboard.

  9. Lauren August 2, 2012 at 9:29 pm - Reply

    I also love to use natural skincare products! I have been using a combination of white vinegar toner and an olive oil/castor oil mix for over a year now and my skin has never looked or felt better. My family and friends are always super curious when I tell them what I use, so I wrote a whole blog post explaining my regimine here:

    For lips, I'm a huge Bert's Bee's fan πŸ™‚

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm - Reply

      Wow – thanks for sharing this!

  10. aubry. August 3, 2012 at 2:30 am - Reply

    i use loreal go 360 deep clean exfoliating scrub and neutrogena clear pore oil eliminating astringent both in the morning and in the evening, followed by any ol' moisturizer with an spf in it.

    the scrubber is my favorite part. i feel like it's werkin' my face over. and the astringent burns so good…. just enough to know it's doing its job, but not too much to the point where you think you've just had a chemical peel.

    i broke out occasionally through all of my twenties…. past the point i thought i would. when i was in middle school, learning about all those awkward human development things my teacher told me teenagers get acne and you stop breaking out somewhere in your low 20s. but that wasn't the case for me! but honestly one weekend after using this combo, i was healed… and i've never had a break out since.

    i have a testimony of it.
    i say these things in the name of….


  11. Molly August 3, 2012 at 3:38 am - Reply

    Oh! I forgot to add to my comment above that I use olive oil as my face moisturizer. My 1-year-old has eczema and a friend posted on her blog that the best thing for her daughter's eczema has been olive oil. We used it on my son and he stopped itching within hours. No joke. We had used Aquaphor for a couple weeks and it did practically nothing. Olive oil worked instantly. That was proof enough for me, so I started using it as my own moisturizer (face, hands, legs, etc) and I LOVE it. It doesn't leave you oily, which is what I initially thought. Soaks in really quickly. We have ours in a spray bottle.

  12. Linnea Paulina August 5, 2012 at 9:56 pm - Reply

    Mara, I laughed reading your beauty history chronicles :o) So classic! I am still on the search for balanced skin. I'm 26 and I still feel like I'm fighting off acne on a daily basis. Reading your blog, I'm thinking I might need to try going dairy free. At the moment, I've really been loving my Clarisonic and Murad skin products. After reading this, I'm definitely adding apple cider vinegar to my shopping list. Thanks Mara :o)

  13. Asli August 5, 2012 at 10:46 pm - Reply

    First of all I LOVED your post! Apple Cider Vinegar does wonders to skin but it also helps if you have dandruffs. It's an amazing natural product!
    Then the clarisonic helps taking off all the dirt from the day!

    I couldn't agree you more ! πŸ™‚
    xo, A

  14. Anonymous August 6, 2012 at 5:55 am - Reply

    If you are looking for something natural, head straight to the health food store and pick up some argan oil. Full of vitamins, lipids and antioxidants and great for face, hair and body! I have been living in France and going crazy over all of their amazing skin care products but argan oil is still my nighttime face cream favorite (and my husbands too)!

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:20 pm - Reply

      I just bought some! I've been hearing about it everywhere. thanks for the extra info. on it…

  15. Shiree August 6, 2012 at 9:49 pm - Reply

    Have you heard of the oil cleansing method ( Super awesome and super natural. I use a mix of sunflower oil and castor oil to wash my face. I can adjust the mix to suit my skincare needs. You rub it in (it's like a facial) and then steam your face a few times with a hot washcloth. I love it.

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:21 pm - Reply

      I love this. Another reader gave a similar suggestion. I'd love to try it.

    • Anonymous September 4, 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

      i use this method and really love it!!

  16. Melody August 7, 2012 at 5:48 am - Reply

    Do you remember Apri Apricot Facial Scrub? That was out before St.Ives? I used Buf Puff. Yes it was intense! I also had the Clinique 3 step system. Neutrogena soap along with Sea Breeze. Some people use Sea Breeze as a scalp treatment now.

    • mara August 7, 2012 at 4:23 pm - Reply

      You know what – now that I think about it….I am certain it was the Apri brand that we used. Too funny. That name had left me. Thanks for mentioning it…man, that takes me back. πŸ™‚

  17. Marc Bryan January 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm - Reply

    Eye creams really are becoming quite popular these days, especially since more and more people have lifestyles that cause eye bags. They even come in day-and-night pairs now! The best solution is still to get as much rest as possible, but it’s always good to ask your dermatologist about the most ideal ways to protect the skin under your eyes, especially when you’re in a lot of stress.

  18. No chic, Sherlock! January 28, 2013 at 11:10 am - Reply

    Another super interesting and useful post. I am learning so much! I have what apears to be combination skin, very dry and sensitive, with oil comming out on forehead and nose. But although I can see and feal these parts sweating and geing oiled, still they remain looking like fish scales. Strange, very strange. and no product is doing a good job turning my skin to looking normal, good and not like I was punched and skinned. Did I mention how red I wake up in the morning? Could it be because of dairy? I was tested for alergies and no dairy came up. But I will try this coconut oil, ACV and no dairy, we`ll see πŸ™‚ hope it works!

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share this with us.


  19. Connie March 4, 2013 at 11:53 am - Reply

    Have you tried organic cosmetic? ive recently heard of them and i was wondering what do you think about this subject

  20. Erinne March 23, 2013 at 5:21 am - Reply

    I love reading about new skin care products to try. I am currently on a natural kick after realizing how many chemicals I have slathered on my face. I know at 30 it is just downhill from here. I am excited to try the apple cider vinegar recommendation.

    I was just recently introduced to a new skincare line that I love!. It is called AIrelle and is made up of all natural products. The products are a bit expensive but totally worth it! I have been using the, Facial Serum with Hyaluronic Acid and Intense Repair Complex Lotion for the last month and my skin has never felt better. My skin literally seems to change overnight. I love how smooth and tight my skin feels after applying. Look forward to reading more recommendations on your blog!

  21. Anonymous April 12, 2013 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I have read that juice from a lemon helps to fade age spots.

  22. Diane April 18, 2013 at 10:57 am - Reply

    There are some weird but awesome ideas here. I must try a couple and see how they work for me. Thank you x

  23. Grace Dawson April 22, 2013 at 11:49 am - Reply

    I also heard about lemon juice but I have never tried it. I use natural honey on my skin every night for 30 minutes. My skin has never been so good.

  24. Jenny.Frost April 29, 2013 at 7:57 am - Reply

    I have used Lemon juice for many years. It is one of the best tips I can give somebody wanting to have a nicer feeling face. x

  25. Kat May 7, 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

    Lemon juice??? I never thought that would work. Maybe I should give it a shot? Thanks for the tip. xx

  26. Alma Mott May 28, 2013 at 6:41 am - Reply

    Lead a healthy life. Stay away from smoking and alcohol, which can stress you out and pump in dangerous toxins into your body. And, as you may have guessed, toxins will not only make you look older, they will also put your life at grave risk.

  27. Wenz June 23, 2013 at 10:57 pm - Reply

    Does anyone know the root causes of acne and why it seems to be more prevalent among teens. Anyways I love the different approaches to skin care especially the lemon juice approach. Will be adding and trying these to other treatments I've gathered. Apple Cider Vinegar is also new to me in this regard.
    I'll be adventurous.

  28. paul paw July 10, 2013 at 4:25 am - Reply

    You look 20's of your skin. Really! I want to mimic your skin care routine together with my paw paw ointment. feels exciting!

  29. Dana Franklin blog site July 18, 2013 at 5:41 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your web blog lovely, indeed your skin is glowing and you have that youthful glow.

  30. Anonymous July 26, 2013 at 3:41 pm - Reply

    How funny… YOu brought me back in time.. to 1985.. in highschool… using those intial products you talked about and looking for clinique three step deals with the free makeup.. Oh My gosh.. YOU hit it all perfectly on the head.. I think every girl in 1985 had the same exact products and their mother's pink OLay of olay.. lol

  31. Jennifer Grey September 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm - Reply

    I just came across your blog just now, I was so glad I did! I want to be like you looking young in your age now. This post helps me a lot to be looking young in the eyes of my husband hahaha also to my friends.

    Great post !!! thanks a lot πŸ™‚

  32. Marjolein December 8, 2013 at 6:26 pm - Reply

    Will try the ACV. Can't wait with all the positive responses

  33. sathyam shonkho December 24, 2013 at 6:08 am - Reply

    The action that over time happens is the light stimulates collagen that otherwise would be going dormant. It awakens and reinvigorates the cells that cause your skin to have such luster and elasticity to WAKE UP and be restored. Brown spots from sun damage and redness at this point have dissipated. Your exposure to the environmental elements and how you choose to protect your skin play a key role in how well you respond and sustain the effects that this procedure can have on your cells. Sunscreen and Vitamin C are imperative; you must use daily and possibly reapply two to three times depending on your situation.and your doctors laser hair removal courses on laser academy and spa

  34. james January 13, 2014 at 9:07 am - Reply

    If we talk about skin care we should be careful before using any type of product whether it is online or some known brand. The licensing of any product like this should be mandatory as it directly affect our skin. The best way to use any type of skin care is to consult a dermatology expert.
    Thanks for the information.
    skin care

  35. Sarah Edwards January 25, 2014 at 2:01 pm - Reply

    The best advice for skin care products, is to use ones that have active ingredients that have been proven to actually work. face skin problems

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  38. SEO herbalhills March 19, 2014 at 5:35 am - Reply

    Great Blog!! That was amazing. Your thought processing is wonderful. The way you tell the thing is awesome.


  39. Stella Wilson April 2, 2014 at 10:47 am - Reply

    I prefer natural and organic products to cure my skin even to remove heavy make up. Forget about those chemical cosmetics and go for natural products if you want healthy, side effect free skin. Even one can also remove their makeup using olive oil and its very good options to remove eye make-up.

  40. Jackie Shen September 15, 2014 at 2:20 am - Reply

    Grasp all, lose all.

  41. Pauline Reyes October 31, 2014 at 5:56 am - Reply

    We use similar products Mara! However, instead of Clarisonic, I’m using Neutrogena.
    ~Pauline @Nars Philippines

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