Grading my friends’ skincare routines

I was scolding one of my friends via email last week after she confessed that she has recently been sleeping in her makeup. I know, right? Horrific.

Then the discussion turned into said friend (Let’s call her A) asking for me to provide her with a skincare regimen. I turned the table around and asked my friends to provide me with their current skincare routines so that I can critique and also provide recommendations based on their skin type. Without further ado, here are my friends’ current routines and my recommendations.*

A’s Skin type: combination with oily t-zone and normal cheeks. Occasional blocked comedones. [this wasn’t self-reported, this is my assessment of A’s skin – the rest is self-reported but links are mine]

A’s Skin care routine:
Cleanser:  Oil of Olay Facial Cloths, then Equate facial cleanser
Toner: Lancome Tonique something or other
Exfoliant: BHA, Paula’s Choice
Serum: Ole Hendricks whatever
Moisturizer – Shiseido – but can’t remember the name of it – has brightening elements in it

Nadda.  Sleeps in makeup!

My assessment:  F

You likely don’t need to use both a cleansing cloth AND a facial cleanser in the mornings, but I assumed that was due to not washing your makeup off at night!  Just use the facial cleanser in the mornings (nothing wrong with that Equate cleanser!) and save the cleansing cloths for the evenings.  I’m not normally a fan of cleansing cloths but if it’s easier than using a makeup remover and cleanser, and it’s better than nothing.

Your morning routine is missing sunscreen.  You can opt to incorporate it within your moisturizer – aim for at least SPF 30.  One to try is Neutrogena’s Moisture Oil-free SPF 30.  Switch your current Shiseido moisturizer to use at night time instead.

In the evenings, after you’ve washed off your makeup, I would recommend some form of AHA, like Paula’s Choice Daily Smoothing Treatment 5% AHA to help with sloughing off dead skin to keep pores clear.  You might want to start dabbling in retinoids, just a couple times a week, something like Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Super Antioxidant Concentrate Serum with Retinol.  A separate eye cream may also be good since you’re of a certain age (ahem), the Regenerist Eye Lifting Serum is a good lightweight option.

I should report that at the time of this assessment, the impending public shaming has prompted A to purchase a face cleanser, one that she’s tried a sample before and enjoys, the Origins Modern Friction exfoliating face wash.  It’s not my personal favourite, but if it’s going to help her at least wash her face at night, I’m all for it!  You receive a “Most Improved” distinction.

B’s Skin type: combination dry , dry around the cheeks

B’s Skin care routine:
Cleanser: N/A
Toner: Sometimes; Clinque clarifying lotion 3 (the pink one)
Moisturizer: Kiehls ultra Facial cream
Serum: Ole Henriksen Truth Serum® Vitamin C Collagen Booster
Sunscreen: SPF 20 make-up base from Asia

Makeup Remover: Lancome Eau Frache Douceu
Cleanser: NEUTROGENA Naturals Fresh Cleansing + Makeup Remover + Clarisonic Mia
Toner: Clinque clarifying lotion 3 (the pink one)
Moisturizer: Kiehls ultra Facial cream
Serum: NeoStrata Hydra-Infusion 24 Hr Hydrating Serum

Others (eye cream, weekly treatments):
1. Neutrogena Deep Clean Blackhead Eliminating Daily Scrub (once or twice a week)
2. Deep clean mud mask once every 1 to 2 weeks followed by paper mask
3. Looking for an eye cream to apply for night
4. Lately I’ve been trying some sleeping masks

My assessment:  B-
Firstly, the toner you’re using is WRONG for your skin type!  The Clinique Clarifying Lotion 3 is meant for combo-oily skin, which yours is not.  Alcohol is the 2nd ingredient in this toner!  Please switch to an alcohol-free toner, give the Body Shop Vitamin E Hydrating Toner a try.

SPF 20 as a sunscreen isn’t really sufficient.  But since I know you use a BB cream with a high SPF, it should be fine.

You really don’t need any masks containing mud or clay, as both of these ingredients are meant to dry up the skin.  Your skin is dry enough as it is.  If you want to do a weekly mask, give radiance boosting masks a try, something like Korres Wild Rose + Vitamin C Advanced Brightening Sleeping Facial, and many of the Asian sheet masks available would work well for you (just make sure they’re the hydrating kind).  An AHA would also be beneficial, but in moderation, the Paula’s Choice Weekly Resurfacing 10% AHA is a great option.  You can stop using the physical exfoliation (the Neutrogena scrub) if you start using the AHA.

Since you have concerns about hydration and fine lines around the eyes, I would recommend these eye creams: Kiehl’s Powerful Wrinkle Reducing Eye CreamAveda Botanical Kinetics Energizing Eye CremeFirst Aid Beauty Eye Duty Triple Remedy Overnight Balm.  I recommend starting with the Kiehl’s to try since they’re very liberal with their samples.

You receive a “Good Try, but Stop Listening to the Sales Associates” badge.

C’s skin type: combination and sensitive. Eczema with occasional breakouts.

C’s Skin care routine:
Cleanser: Spectro Gel
Toner: NA
Serum: Clinique Smart Repair
Moisturizer: Clinique Yellow Moisturizer
Sunscreen: Included in foundation + Peter Thomas Roth Instant Powder SPF

Makeup Remover: NA
Cleanser: Biophora Bioactive Cleanser
Toner: Biophora Bioactive Solution
Moisturizer: NA
Serum: Clinique – same as morning

Others (eye cream, weekly treatments):
1. Scrub (once or twice a week)
2. Weekly – Ren glycol lactic renewal mask
3. Stopped using eye stuff as it bothers my eczema

My assessment:  A
Amazing regimen!  Sunscreen: check!  Gentle exfoliation: check!  Bonus points for introducing me to Biophora, a Canadian skincare brand that looks to be a great option for sensitive skin.  The only slight concern is that you don’t use a moisturizer at night time, only a serum.  Even though your skin is combination, it would benefit from some light hydration especially at night.  Perhaps you can try something from the Biophora line?  The Biophora Light Hydration moisturizer might fit the bill – or, just use the Clinique yellow one you use during the day time.

As far as an eye cream goes, if your previous products were bothering your eczema – have you ever tried just plain natural / organic skincare oils? Almond, Calendula, Rosehip, Coconut and Evening Primrose Oil have all shown to have skin healing properties.  Of course, discuss this with your dermatologist / esthetician and do a patch test before slathering on the oils!

You receive the “Skincare Maven” award, for treating your skin right!

Bottom line:

• I don’t advocate wholesale changes to one’s skincare routine, it’s just too much shock to the system. However, I always advocate washing one’s face every night!

• Skincare is so personal and should be customized to a person’s lifestyle; I wouldn’t recommend a 10-step routine to someone who barely washes her face.

• Use products that are meant for your skin type, and it’s possible that you may have to use separate products to cater to the t-zone vs the cheeks, and likely will need to change products with the seasons

• Don’t be a slave to any particular brand, just because a brand has a good cleanser doesn’t mean the corresponding moisturizer is necessarily just as good.  And good skincare can be found at various price points.

• Sunscreen is very important, all year round.

* I’m no skincare expert by any means, I just read up a lot on this subject. And my opinion is simply that, an opinion.  This was all in good fun, my friends know I mean well. 😉  If you have any recommendations for my friends, please feel free to chime in!

33 thoughts on “Grading my friends’ skincare routines

  1. Ooh this is great.
    It’s true we are all so different and have totally different lifestyles. It was great to see the range of products used by others – some that suited their skin type and others not so much.
    I agree..going to bed with makeup on is a big no no for me as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha yes, I’m not one to mince my words when it comes to lecturing about skincare amongst my friends! I now have other friends asking me to critique their skincare routines, lol. I will definitely post my skincare routine and maybe YOU all can critique mine!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. She keeps insisting her skin hasn’t suffered for it! She’s just lucky she’s got good genes, but it will catch up to her eventually. She wants me to improve her grade – I told her only if she consistently washes her face, week after week, month after month, then maybe I will consider it!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Tough love, but it has to be dished out! :)) The brands are good, but they can only do so much if one sleeps with makeup on.

    “Don’t be a slave to any particular brand…” Good one. I’ve done it before, because I was ensured product compatibility/no conflicting ingredients. At the end of the day, I still prefer to pick a favorite from each brand and the keepers will “play nice” with other products.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I remember being told that by the Clinique counter that I had to use only their 3 step skincare together or else they weren’t effective. Silly young me believed them!


  3. Very informative! I like what you said about using products that is for your skin type! I’ve had to do trial and error with some moisturisers I’ve used in the morning and the night time. For example, I’d use the Clinique Dramatically different moisturiser at night time but when I woke up, my skin just felt terribly oily and yuck. So I change it as my morning moisturiser and works better that way! x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This was fun to read! Seeing what peopLe use in their routines and how it suits them is aLways interesting and informative. Now I wonder if you couLd assess and grade my routine too ^^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure, why not? Only if you’re willing to have the assessment posted publicly. I will likely post a 2nd instalment of Grading Skincare in about a month’s if you’re willing to wait. Email me your current routine: stashmatters @ gmail . com (take out spaces)


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