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28-Day Skin Care Challenge

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January 5, 2016 Reviewed by Marta 6 Comments

It’s that time of year when headlines are urging us to lose weight in a month, get fit in 28 days or have the body you always wanted without actually changing anything you do. It got me setting my own challenge — skin fitness in 28 days. First I had to work out what would be the essentials of a 28-day skin fitness challenge and then I laid everything out in a calendar. I am sharing it here in the hope you’ll be taking the challenge with me.

For me, skin fitness is all about looking healthy, glowing and supple. I’ll need some daily essentials, some heavy hitters, tools of the trade and weekly treatments.

28 day skin care challenge graphic

click to enlarge

Daily (mornings)

Morning goals are to cleanse, brighten and repair and so I want my products to be as multitasking as possible.

Cleanser: This is the basis of good skincare as a good cleanser does a lot more than remove dirt. It should aid cell turnover and deliver antioxidants to protect the skin. My go-to is SimySkin Anti-Aging Gel Cleanser ($45) with detoxifying moringa and a slew of anti-aging antioxidants to set my skin up nicely for what is to come.

Repairing serum: A heavy-hitting serum for daytime should (if possible) add some hydration, repair damage leave the skin looking its best. One that does this for me has amino acids that my skin just loves — BRAD Biophotonic Essential Elixir Multi-Peptide Youth Regenerating Serum ($95).

Get some glow: I’m not just thinking about a layering a moisturizer here, but getting some additional glow and suppleness. I have my eye on SkinOwl’s wonderfully simple Geranium Beauty Drops ($30 in the shop).

Daily (evenings)

Night goals are to hydrate and brighten and this is where vitamin C and AHAs really come into their own.

Cleanser: A nighttime cleanser is a workhorse that needs to get off the day’s makeup and grime. One that is surely up to the task is Elizabeth Dehn for One Love Organic Vitamin B Cleansing Oil ($42).

Peel: Skin fitness has its own personal trainer with a daily “peel.” I am talking about gentle, but effective exfoliation to brighten and even skin tone as well as encourage cell turnover for firmer skin. Try my current go-to: Dr. Dennis Gross Original Alpha Beta Peel ($80 in the shop).

Vitamin C: The only vitamin that boosts collagen, vitamin C firms and brightens and I have become a convert with Dr. Dennis Gross Triple Peptide serum ($62 in the shop).

Every other day

The goal is suppleness and glow and this challenge means being disciplined about regular treatments with led and ultrasound and retinol where it counts.

Ultrasound and LED: all it takes is 10 minutes a day (longer if you have the time and inclination)

Retinol where it counts: I believe in treating retinol with respect, but there is nothing like it for kick-starting a regimen and moving sun-damaged skin into the repair zone. I am careful about when and where I target it. In my case, it is my neck that needs all the help it can get and I use Dr. Dennis Gross Ferulic & Retinol Fortifying Neck Emulsion ($75 in the shop), alternating with a non-retinol neck cream — I prefer Soleil Toujours Daily Anti-Aging Power Serum for Face and Neck ($145) — so that I don’t overdo it.

Twice a week

I am thinking about the extra boost of an exfoliating serum. With everything else going on in this challenge, I think it's prudent to limit this to a couple of times a week and your exfoliating serum should replace your nightly vitamin C serum when used, for an extra boost of brightening. For example, Sciote Illume Brightening Serum ($95 in the shop) can be used for targeting or overall with kojic acid as the key active, backed up by two AHAs: glycolic acid and salicylic acid. 

Once a week

A weekly face mask rounds everything out. It could be something like the Medi Spa Peel by Dr. Dennis Gross ($110 in the shop) with its AHA-soaked pads and serum with peptides and amino acids. I myself am erring towards Your Best Face Prep Microdermabrasion ($80 in the shop) for its pore clearing and antioxidant effects. Whatever weekly peel or microdermabrasion scrub you use should replace the daily peel in your routine for that day.


  • January 19, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Julie, a water-based product is an absolute requirement for ultrasound for the conductivity of the ultrasound waves. For LED you can use a water-based product or nothing at all. It would not be a good idea to use an oil while using LED and certainly not for ultrasound. If you want to use an oil-based serum, it would be better to do so after your treatments.

  • January 18, 2016

    by Julie

    Thank you, Marta, for sharing this! I love it!! Since I have many of these products already, I'm going to follow this schedule consistently for a month and hope for some positive results. I'm unsure though, about using the Vitamin C oil before the ultrasound & LED.....I thought the product needed to be water-based for the ultrasound to work??.....or maybe as long as the Vitamin C oil has had enough time to fully penetrate, it is OK to use beforehand? Or should the order be reversed? Thanks!

  • January 13, 2016

    by kim

    Thank you for the 28 day challenge but more importantly a "guide" that I can use for reference! I have so many products that I often get confused on which is the best way and when to use them. I do have one question though, do I finish off with a moisturizer in the am and in the pm???? Right now I have Mad Hippie moisturizer and IN moisturizer...where do these products come into play for me???

  • January 9, 2016

    by Jennifer Bowen

    I love that you created this program and if I didn't already have so many wonderful products I would jump in on this. This is exactly the kind of program information that would have helped me navigate through the products on this web site from the get go, so even though I am not necessarily following this to the letter right now, I would love to put in a request for this to be updated periodically throughout the year, maybe seasonally? I've bought and used so many great products on this site over the years that it can sometimes be overwhelming to know how and when to incorporate a new product or product line. Just reading this gave me an inspiration kick!

  • January 7, 2016

    by Marta

    Hi Cynthia, we have a samples section in the store that can be reached from the store's main navigation bar and this is the URL:

  • January 6, 2016

    by Cynthia

    I would like to try all the above products reviewed. Is there anyway I could get samples to try first? I have sensitive skin and have spent a lot of money on products that didn't work for my skin. Now I like to get samples to try first.

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