Of all the things to “let go”, don’t let it be your skin
Momming is an all-consuming gig and it’s obvious that the cucumber-induced relaxation comas are put on hold for a while. When it comes to self-care, almost everything outside of brushing your teeth feels like a luxury when you have a precious boob monster to cradle.
But even though my new mommified schedule requires some adjusting (and consistently changes every week), there is one thing that I can’t compromise on: skin care.
Committing to your skin is so important because it’s hard to fix when it gets bad! I’m not saying it’s “impossible”, just that it’s tricky to get back to that youthful quality. Because of that fact, long-term skin care is best started asap.
I struggled with my skin for YEARS… It seemed like no matter what I did (and I did it ALL), my skin just wasn’t working with me. I was convinced I’d be 30, 40, 50 with acne, oily, and uneven skin. It didn’t help that I am a native Floridian and my skin has been taking a beating since birth.
I have been downright depressed about my skin more times than I can count. So when I found a surprising solution, I ran with it!
Now, my daily skin care regiment looks a lot like this (if I make time for it):
- wash face with gentle cleanser OR splash with water.
- wash face with gentle cleanser
- use toner (every few days or as needed)
- Some special treatment
It’s easy peasy, super speedy, and believe it or not my skin has thrived by taking a step back and not watching Proactiv Infomercials at 4AM.
My serious-turned-simple skin care routine that finally worked
Taking care of your skin does not have to cost a ton of money or take a ton of time. I have 3 rules that I follow which got me out of my never-leaving-the-house-without-makeup rut and finding my way to under-eye-concealer-and-mascara-will-do.
- Less is more
- Prevention over everything
- Self-care Saturday (or sunday, whatever)
Less is more
Instead of an elaborate 12-step process morning and night, I switched to something short and sweet.
It turns out all that crap we put on our face actually makes you need it more! I was drying out and damaging my skin while I thought I was fixing it.
So I quit with all the special stuff, the harsh treatments, and expensive services. I discovered r/skincareaddiction on Reddit and dove in head-first.
The first thing I learned was how bad my go-to face scrub was hurting me. I had been a decade-long lover of St. Ives Apricot Scrub, and relied on it for serious scrubbing in every shower. And as it turns out, that was probably my biggest downfall.
By using it religiously, I was actually creating craters in my face which were ripe for bacteria and skin issues. I thought I was getting rid of the gunk when I was really making more room for it. Ya…
I thought I was patching up my skin when I was actually creating more holes in the drywall! (can’t I just relate EVERYTHING to home projects?)
Another example is with my moisturizers! After years of beating my skin with every chemical I could get my hands on, things were looking a little tattered here and there. My skin was oily which had me thinking I needed to reverse that problem and work for dryness.
A matte finish, if you will.
But after having my eyes opened to oil cleansing and moisturizing, I’ve never had better skin. It always sounded counter-intuitive to moisturize my greasy ass face, but it made my skin LESS GREASY. Wtf?
After using a plain, soapy, gentle cleanser, I throw straight oil on my face and rub it in. No removing it or anything. It is my moisturizer and it does a damn good job!
There are a ton of different skin oils to test and try, but this one has been my favorite for years now. (hint: it’s not motor oil or olive oil)
Eventually I realized that once skin problems arise, it’s kinda too late. The good news is you can prevent them from plaguing you, and that can resolve the original problem!
For example I have a lot of uneven skin tone from sun damage. I started to see it about 7 years ago, and in order to prevent it from getting worse, I stopped leaving the house without sunscreen on my face & neck.
So my sun damage wasn’t getting worse which is cool, but it also began reversing the effects of all that sunbathing (or so I believe)! Being under constant cover of SPF has worked wonders for my skin and gets it the downtime it needs to withstand the elements.
I place so much emphasis on preventative skin care because as a busy mom, I don’t have time for incidental self-care. I’m lucky to spare a half hour for a shower on a regular basis. I wish I could spread my schedule apart like Moses did with the water, but I’m not on that level. So much stuff has to be taken care of, so we have to smart when it comes to our skin.
Sunscreen has practically eliminated my need for intense cleansers and damage repair creams.
Although I’m a work-at-home mom and my job never ends unless I force it to, I aim to stick to at least a simple routine. Go figure.
So Saturdays are my time to polish the domestic engineer portion of my resume, and I use them for…. laundry. Since laundry is a very stop-and-go process and I get a lot of downtime during washing and drying times, it’s the perfect chance to mix in a *little* indulgence.
And since beauty sleep is out of the question, on one day a week I “primp” with a face mask
My first choice gentle skin cleansers
- Cetaphil (does anybody else hear angels singing?)
Whether it’s SEE-ta-fil or SET-a-fil, I go with the latter, but it is pretty dang great. I won’t go on and on, but believe me when I tell you this stuff should be every aspiring skin care addict’s first purchase.
I was recently introduced to this incredible company and their awesome, organic, GREAT smelling products, and I’m so happy about it! Not only are their products environmentally friendly, I would argue that this is a considerable competitor for Cetaphil.
They are nailing it from all angles, using nothing but natural ingredients and not testing on animals. I’m a total brand loyalist, and these guys have my heart <3
My first choice toners
A cotton ball and a douse of witch hazel is my favorite natural toner. It’s alcohol free so you don’t have to worry about drying (and creating a need for more products)
Since I don’t like to tone everyday, I will just give my face a few sprays of this some mornings. It smells amazing and let’s your skin soak up some rose water goodness (& totally goes with my serious-turned-simple skin care)
My first choice intermittent repairs
- The Ordinary bha peel
This stuff is under $7 (seriously…!) and is a semi-intense at home peel and omg I’m so mad I didn’t discover it sooner.
Granted, my cousin suggested it because she is a peel addict and this is the closest thing she’s found. It makes my skin baby soft, evens out skin tone, and has a pore shrinking effect and 🥲
I only use it once every couple weeks and it makes me feel so human again. I will say you need to follow the instructions very carefully (dry skin means dry skin).
It also makes your skin sensitive to sun (that happens with every retinol/AHA/BHA) so sunscreen is a must. Even if you only use it at night, it exposes fresh skin underneath all of the dead ones, so protecting them is smart.
I used to use this as a full face mask, but it’s even better as a spot treatment. It comes in powder form, like literally sand, and you combine in with a liquid of your choice. I use water lol
The best green gooey mask that makes my baby think I’m swamp thing. This stuff is supposed to unblock pores, et cetera, et cetera. I just love it because my skin always feels moisturized after and super fresh. It’s like nothing else!
Taking care of my skin is non-negotiable, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be flexible.
The best part about my routines (& the thing that makes them so damn simple) is the loose rules associated with them.
If I run out of time? Whatever. If I’m really not up for it… no sweat.
Routines are great, but when you’re adapting to the ever changing routines of a baby you gotta take what you can get! The products I use are simple but powerful, and taking a morning or night off actually turns out to be good in moderation. Who knew?!
Which products do you swear by? Which would you like to try?
I’m always open to experimenting on a self-care day so please share!!