April 13, 2012

You asked: My skincare routine revealed

Until very recently, I never thought there was anything too special about my skin. You, sweet dears, however are starting to convince me otherwise.

On my wardrobe posts lately, you've left some wonderfully kind comments about my skin, such as that from fellow vintage blogger Heather Jean of Ghosts and Garters (on my Sporting the palette of early spring post) who first said, "Good lord woman!! You have the most luminous skin I have ever seen, and frankly I'm jealous."

Ummmmm, that's only one of nicest compliments ever. Thank you times a million!

But that wasn't all, in a second comment on the same post, sweet Heather Jean asked, "....Actually, I'm really curious as to whether your skincare routine is vintage as well as the rest of you life!?? Cold cream and the like or modern potions?

As other commenters have also been making me blush as red as ruby with nice words about my complexion lately, I figured it was high time I did a post about my skin care routine. I'd contemplated writing about this topic in the past, but given how ridiculously basic and straight forward my beauty regiment (on the skin front at least) is, I hadn't given in to the thought until now.

I positively love answering your questions though, so without further ado here is my what I do to help keep my ultra sensitive, very dry skin in photo worthy shape.

I think the most logical way to take you on a journey through my skin care routine is to pretend that it's the first thing in the morning and I've just gotten up. As I tend to be a shower in the evening kind of gal (all the better to pin or rag curl one’s hair), I don't usually bath or shower in the AM. This means that when I wake up, I like to give my face a nice refreshing wash before applying my cosmetics.

Taking a classic terrycloth washcloth in hand and running the water until it's a little hotter than luke warm, I reach for my bottle of Puritas Sensitive Skin Cleansing Milk. This wonderfully gentle cleansing lotion (and its complimentary toner, which follows on the cleansing milk's heels) is available from many of the grocery stores here in Canada that sell President’s Choice beauty products.

After applying, messaging in, and rinsing off the cleaning milk, I apply and rub in a splash or two of toner. I've been using both of these products for about three years and have found them to be amongst the mildest and most agreeable for my finicky skin that I've ever encountered. The fact that they both cost less than $8.00 a piece just adds to their appeal.

Once my face is dry and has had a few minutes to "breath" before getting whisked under a day's worth of make-up, I generously apply Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion. One of the brand's oldest and most iconic products, this moisturizer sinks into my skin in a matter of seconds and works like a dream.

I rub it not only onto my face, but also to all of my neck and d├ęcolletage area. On more than one occasion I've asked graceful, lovely older women for their favourite beauty tips and have routine been told to moisturize these areas, so as to help slow down the signs of aging. As it clearly seems to have worked wonders for them, I'm more than happy to heed their advice.

If my skin happens to be a little blotching, skin parched, wind whipped, or otherwise irritated, and I feel like I need some backup on the moisturizing front, I'll reach for my pot of Clinique Even Better Skin Tone Correcting Moisturizer with SPF 20.

Much like the Dramatically Different Lotion, this rich, quick-to-absorb moisturizer leaves my skin happy as a clam and has often done a great job over the years of, indeed, evening out any slight skin discolorations.

Though I'm not often struck with too many blemish problems, like all of us, I do get the occasional spot that needs tending to. When that happens, I dab on a little bit of Clean and Clear Invisible Blemish Treatment (before I put on my make-up).

I've been using this inexpensive, available-at-almost-any-drug store pimple fighter, as needed, since I was a teenager and find it works quite well on most minor blemishes. If a spot is especially troublesome, I'll toss this in my handbag (or tuck it in my pocket) and reply a couple of more times throughout the day.

Dry skin has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, so I slather on moisturizer from head-to-toe both in the morning and again before bed (after I hop out of the shower). I'm partial to Vaseline Intensive Rescue Unfragranced Lotion, as I find it effective (it soaks into my skin in a wink) and also like the fact that it's pretty wallet-friendly.

A big bottle last for weeks and weeks, and is especially good for extra dry areas like cracked heels or those pesky patches that can pop up anywhere during the winter months.

As a toss-it-in-my-bag-and-go kind of skin lotion, I often keep a little tube of Vaseline Dry Skin Conditioning Lotion with me. It works much like the Intensive Rescue, absorbs in a flash, and has never irritated my sensitive skin (yay!).

Generally speaking, to keep my super-easy-to-irritate skin in good spirits, I need to avoid fragranced skin care products like the plague. One awesome notable exception to that rule however, has been all of the products I've tried so far from the brand Desert Essence Organics.

My favourite of their items is the Vanilla Chai Hand and Body Lotion. Not only is it so deliciously appealing smelling it can work in place of (or in tandem with various types of) perfume, my skin absorbs it at the speed of light, and the subtly spicy, alluring scent lingers pleasingly for hours. Best of all, my epidermis couldn't be happier with it.

As you may have noticed from my outfit posts, I have rather fair skin with (what I've long dubbed) a strawberries and cream complexion. As such, when exposed to the sun (especially during the warmer months of the years), I really and truly burn faster than a piece of toast.

It's downright freakish how quickly my skin can look like a lobster's shell, so for that reason - as well as all of the other pros of wearing sunscreen - I make sure to apply a light layer of a sensitive skin-friendly, high SPF sunblock such as Coppertone's Oil Free SPF 45. I like the fact that this brand has been around for decades, is easy to source, and doesn't cost an (safely un-sunburned) arm and a leg.

Let's pretend that evening has come and it's now time to whisk off my make-up for the day. First I reach for a flat cotton pad (or double layer of Kleenex) and use Clinique Rise-off Eye Makeup Solvent (followed by, if needed, a layer of Pond’s Cold Cream).

This oil-free remover gets all of my make-up - eye and otherwise - off (I don't often wear waterproof cosmetics, but on those occasions when I have, this product has had no trouble with all traces of those off, too), and has never, ever irritated my skin.

About once a week (sometimes twice in the summer, when one tends to perspire and product more oil, which can clog pores or irritate skin), I love using St. Ives Gentle Apricot Scrub in conjunction with a terrycloth face towel. Though scented, this product has lived up to its claim for me, as it's proven to be very sensitive skin-friendly, while working like a charm to help give my face a fresh, youthful glow afterwards.

Once I get out of the shower, I apply moisturizer moisturizer from from top-to-bottom (usually the Vaseline of Desert Essence Organics ones mentioned above) and let it soak in completely. Then, for a soothing night time scent that instantly transports me back to my childhood, I'll sometimes apply a light sprinkling of classic, silky Johnson's Baby Powder before slipping into my nightgown.

While I often use Clinique's Dramatically Different lotion at night on my freshly washed skin, too, if I feel like I need something even thicker and richer, I'll apply a light layer (it takes a little while to sink in) of Nivea Regenerating Night Care cream to my face and neck (and sometimes my hands and feet as well, if they're especially dry or cracked).


Not pictured, but also commonly used:

Vaseline Original Jelly: for everything from chapped lips to frayed cuticles

Dove Beauty Bar Sensitive Skin: I use this classic white bar for everything from shaving my legs to washing my face (if I'm running low on cleansing milk or just want a change of pace).

Badger Classic Lip Balm in Unscented: Perfect for chapped lips, as well rubbed gently into any especially dry patches on my face.

Pond's Cold Cream Cleanser: This trusted, decades old product speaks for itself, and is still - hands down - one of the best ways I've ever encountered get off even the most stubborn traces of make-up.

♥  ♥ ♥

That's it, folks, my skin care routine for the average day is now taken care. Using and applying these  beloved products takes but a few minutes of my day, but make such a drastically noticeable difference that I could scarcely imagine not having them on hand at all times.

At its heart, my skin care routine veers more on the vintage side. I've tried scores of products over the years, but usually come back to this same handful time and time again. I don't buy speciality eye creams, use retinol, or get any cosmetic procedures done. I haven't felt the need for such things yet. Perhaps one day, but for now I'm very content to be a soap, water, and moisturizer kind of gal.

And that, I think, gives weight to the notion that my skin care routine is rooted more in the traditions of the past, than the high tech, antioxidant that, peptide this world of modern beauty products.

These items work for me. In fact they tend to work really, really well, otherwise I wouldn't keep them around. There are too many skin care options on the market - even for those with dry and/or sensitive skin - to put up with lackluster products.

I don't have any hush-hush skin care secrets (sorry), just a down pat group of products that I turn to to keep my skin happy, (according to you sweetie pies) glowing, and generally healthy. I'd love to hear about which of these classic products you use, as well as the others that comprise your own skin care regiment.

You may have noticed that cosmetics (save for facial moisturizers) are not included in this post. That's because I wanted to focus on what I do specifically to help my skin before a lick of make-up goes on to it – plus I'm planning on doing a post about my favourite (and most used) make-up products (those that I turn to daily for my 1940s and 50s inspired looks) in a future entry here.

Thank you again very much, dear Heather Jean, for your terrifically kind words and for asking the query that prompted this post. As mentioned above, I always adore it when you gals ask me questions and welcome you to keep them coming on any topic.

Who knows, your inquiry might just lead to a future post, too. Smile


  1. I love St. Ives Apricot Scrub. It does wonders, leaving my skin all rosy and fresh. I keep meaning to buy a new bottle. :) P.S. Thanks for you comment. I quite like this back-and-forth we have.

  2. YAY! Thanks for sharing this! So many lady's I know with enviable skin use simple, gentle products, and they use them diligently. You would think Id learn something! This really is a gentle slap in the face for me ;) I need to stop mucking about with fancy packages and flowery words or I'm never going to get my skin in shape. Well, Im off to go chuck my harsh cleansers and other evil products in favor for something lovely and kind.
    Thanks Jessica!
    -Heather Jean

  3. I've been wondering how you got that amazing skin of yours! You glow sistah. :) Now i know, and will have to try your tips. Thanks so much for sharing.

  4. Hello Jessica, i have a hard time finding sunscreen that is paba free i come out in a rash if i use a product with paba, do you have this problem, any good ideas or brands i can try i am pale, freckles, blue eyes. Thanks Marian

    1. Hi Marian, though I can't say for certain that I'm allergic to paba, I do have very sensitive skin and have gotten bad reaction from scores of sunscreens over the years. The Coppertone I mentioned above has never troubled me, and I can't help but wonder if that's because it, like all Coppertone sunscreens (according to this page, which lists some other brands that don't use paba: http://pediatrics.answers.com/health/best-brands-of-paba-free-sunscreen) are Papa Free.

      I've also been able to safely use this paba free sunscreen from Netrogenia before: http://www.neutrogena.com/product/pure+-+free-+baby+sunscreen+lotion+broad+spectrum+spf+60-.do (it's SPF 60 and very gentle).

      I hope this helps, my fellow fair, sensitive skinned dear.

      ♥ Jessica

  5. Hi Jessica,

    Just wondering if you know of any specific place to get Puritas skin care products? The local grocery store used to carry the items, but i can't find them there anymore :(

    Would love your help, thanks in advance!


    1. Hi Maria, thank you very much for your comment and question. Much like yourself, I haven't come across Puritas products for a couple of years now. I used to be able to find them at most grocery stores in the Loblaw family of chains (such as Real Canadian Superstore, Loblaw's, and Extra Foods), but no dice as of late, I'm afraid. I've since found other products to substitute for them myself, but would certainly recommend emailing the Loblaw company to see if they have in fact discontinued the line or just phased it out in some stores (http://www.loblaw.ca).

      I'll keep my fingers crossed for you!

      ♥ Jessica