I recently noticed my first ever “fine line”—not quite a wrinkle, but a wrinkle none-the-less. I knew I’d get wrinkles one day and I have nothing against aging—it’s natural!—but it did inspire me to get my hands on a few good anti-aging products. These past few months have been a wild deep dive into late 20s skincare, and let me tell you, I am deeply fascinated!
It’s actually really fun learning about cosmetic chemistry and active ingredients. I’ve been binging on articles from sites like XOVain, Paula’s Choice, and The Beauty Brains. I’m the kind of person that needs to know everything there is to know about everything, so I did a ton of research. I don’t trust advertising and I don’t trust sales people. I trust clinical research and third-party double-blind studies.
The first thing I did was get my hands on a Tretinoin—an FDA-approved retinoid. Tretinoin is a topical vitamin A derivative that boosts collagen to reduce fine lines + speed up cell turnover. It also evens out discoloration and smooths skin texture. I signed up for a subscription of CUROLOGY which offers customized anti-aging and acne-fighting serums. It takes 6 months to a year to see results, so time will tell if my newfound eye wrinkle will fade. I have, however, already noticed major improvement in skin texture and haven’t had a breakout or blemish in 3 months!
After I purchased my Tretinoin treatment I realized I had absolutely no idea what order to apply my skin care products. Moisturizer before or after tretinoin? Serums before or after moisturizer? What about exfoliants—do I still use them? What SPF do I buy? (SPF is crucial when using a retinoid, which causes light sensitivity and can cause you to burn easily.)
So I did some research—A LOT of research—and pieced together a handy routine for myself:
Note: This routine was crafted around the use of a retinoid product, which can be very drying if you aren’t using the right hydrating products. It also replaces the need for a scrubbing exfoliant because it speeds up your skin cell turnover, making scrubbing exfoliants unnecessary.
You’ll see I also narrowed down the key active ingredients to look for. Each one backed by tons of research and high ratings. (The Paula’s Choice Cosmetic Ingredient List was a great resource for this)!
I know it seems daunting, but once you find the right products, 6 steps isn’t all the bad! I’ve been so happy with my skin this summer, especially since makeup doesn’t pair well with heat and humidity. I actually went swimming with my fiancé last weekend and he thought I was wearing makeup—I didn’t have any on! If that isn’t the ultimate proof, I don’t know what is. ;)
Hope you guys found this graphic list helpful! When searching for your own skin care products keep these key ingredients in mind and feel free to check out my personal product recommendations below. x C
1. Cleanser: First Aid Beauty Face Cleanser, with FAB Antioxidant Booster
2. Moisturizer: CeraVe Moisturizing Cream w/ Hyaluronic Acid (<– Actual gold)
3. Prescription Tretinoin: Curology (with Vitamin C & Niacinamide)
3.5. ABH/AHA: Kiehl’s Cilantro & Orange Extract Pollutant Defending Masque
4. Eye Cream: Olay Regenerist Eye-Lifting Serum
5. Antioxidant Rich + Hydrating Serum: Skinceuticals Hydrating B5 Gel
6. Sunscreen: Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunscreen, SPF 45