Long gone are the days when I could roll out of bed and start my day with just a quick face rinse and a few sweeps of the toothbrush. These days I have to contend with receding gums, deteriorating vision, dry skin, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation, not to mention the sporadic blotch or blemish. Such occurrences come with the aging process. I really can't complain, since I still get carded when I buy alcohol - and was mistaken for a teenager as recently as last year. I may not have even hit my prime yet, which is supposed to happen in your thirties (so they say). All I know is that my morning beauty regime can no longer be boiled down to two effortless steps - far from it.
After popping in my contacts (or my "eyeballs," as I refer to them), I am prepared to survive a shower without inadvertently pouring body wash on my head. In lieu of body wash, my current shampoo/conditioner combo is the (admittedly pedestrian) Dove Daily Moisture Therapy, which I bought in the 40-ounce pump bottles at Costco. I don't know if my hair just needed a break from Biolage (my go-to shampoo brand for months), but it has noticeably appreciated the downgrade to Dove. After a period of gross greasy buildup - which forced me to resort to a clarifying cider rinse by John Masters - my hair was in desperate need of a pick-me-up. Since switching to Dove, my hair has never seemed so clean and carefree, at least not in recent memory. Of course, that could all change as soon as my hair gets too comfortable with Dove...
As much as I love to luxuriate in the aroma of Philip B. Russian Amber Imperial Shampoo
, indulgences are not made to be an everyday thing. Considering this shampoo costs as much as liquid saffron and tacks on about ten minutes to my total bathing time, I prefer to limit my rendez-vous with Philip B. to "special occasion" showers only - when I need my hair to look and smell extra, extra special afterward. Instead, after towel-drying and brushing out my hair, I flip my head upside down and rub MorrocanOil into the tips. This routine is helping to fend off split ends and frizzies until my next (much-needed) appointment with rockstar hairstylist M'lis
when I'm in Florida for a wedding in a few weeks.
Instead of the old standard shower pouf, I have been spicing up my body wash routine with a Horus Loofa straight from Egypt. The only plant known that can be raised and harvested for use as a sponge (more about the production process here
, the loofah is composed of a dense network of fibers. While most loofahs that I have tried in the past were too rough for daily use on every swathe of skin, the Horus Loofah is naturally gentler and manages to cleanse, massage, and stimulate blood circulation without irritating. I've found that after showering my skin feels softer and smoother - not sorer, as is often the case with other loofahs. The 100% natural spongy vegetable dries and hardens instantly after use, preventing the growth of fungus. The Egyptian-based company is just getting the hang of the internet, so email seems the easiest way to place an order
As I've gotten older, my skin type has shifted from the normal-combination to the combination-dry side of the spectrum. For this reason, my skin reacts best to gentle creamy cleansers. I doubt my naturally parched skin would have survived the neverending winter this year without a 3-month supply of L'uvalla Hydrating Milk Cleanser
. Drawing on fatty acids in sunflower seed and hazel seed oils to lock in moisture, this vegan face wash rejuvenated my winter-weary skin with antioxidants like lotus extract and anti-inflammatories like wild chamomile. I've noticed a similar effect from Lather Cucumber Milk Facial Cleanser, which purifies with a blend of aloe vera gel, oat protein, and seaweed extract, among a bevy of other botanicals and vitamins. A soothing, cucumber-infused blanket coats my skin after rinsing and provides just the right amount of hydration to nourish without smothering.
On clean, dry skin, I spread on my entry-level anti-aging serums. Two of my favorites are AminoGenesis DermaScyne Intense Daily Serum with NMF, which loads up on deeply hydrating emollients and a whopping 17 plant-derived amino acids, and gloTherapeutics gloSuper Serum
, which packs in some of the most powerful and proven anti-agers, from Argireline to superoxide dismutase. If I'm suffering from an outbreak of adult acne, I tend to skip the serums and go straight to a lightweight lotion, like Wilava Vitamin C Serum (link). Or, I take to the toners. When I feel as if my skin could benefit from a re-balancing act, I dab my face with Dermophisiologique Polivalente Tonic, a soothing toner that makes my skin feel extra healthy, not stripped dry like the aftereffects of some alcohol-based toners.
Luckily I eked out the last few scrapes of my Olive's Organic Botanicals Facial Replenisher
just as dry skin season was wrapping up. But when I need all-around moisture therapy, regardless of the condition of my complexion, I have found nothing as reliable as L'uvalla Age-Defying Day/Night Cream. L'uvalla's rich cream smells divine, soaks in immediately, smooths out texture aberrations, and mattifies oily areas. After massaging in this cream, I come as close as I can get to complexion perfection. Its thorough hydration is equally competent at nighttime, and its consistency makes it the ideal travel companion. I am now on my second tube and will be ordering more as soon as I run out, or come across something comparable.
Growing up in sunny Florida will do lasting damage to any skin. My former tan has given way to a paler hide scattered with sun spots, now religiously coated in a layer of SPF. After moisturizing, I spread DoshaCare Sunscreen SPF 28 all over my face. Nanotechnology concerns aside, the micronized Zinc oxide in this formula disperses uniformly across my skin without leaving a greasy sheen or pasty film. It also plays nicely with other products layered underneath, unlike some of my other sunscreens which tend to clash or clump. I barely need to apply pressed powder and bronzer to mask the sunscreen effect.
Skin 2 Skin Organic Anti-Photoaging Sunscreen SPF 30
is now my decollete's first line of defense against the sun. I've decided that this cream's texture is too drying for my face, and its rich tint gets too dangerously close to my hairline. On more than once occasion, I've detected crusty flakes a shade darker than my natural skin tone around my nose and eyebrows. That said, Skin 2 Skin's sunscreen is a perfect cover-up for a plunging neckline. Whenever I wear a collarless shirt or dress that exposes my chest to the sun, I rub Skin 2 Skin thoroughly over the vulnerable skin, simultaneously protecting from burning UVB and aging UVA rays while blending my freckles. Not only does my covered decollete become perfectly matte and even-toned, but it also benefits from the formula's aloe vera
, green tea
, and yerba mate
Ingredients in L'uvalla Hydrating Milk Cleanser:
Natural Spring Water, Cetearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Glucoside, Sunflower Seed Oil, Cocamidopropyl Bétaïne, Hazel Seed Oil, Xanthan Gum, Lotus Flower Extract, Orange Peel Oil, Lavendin Oil, Matricaria Flower Extract, Meadowsweet Extract, Passionflower Extract, Ginseng Root Extract, Palmarosa Oil
Ingredients in Lather Cucumber Milk Facial Cleanser:
Purified water (aqua), aloe barbadensis gel, glycerin, ethyhexyl palmitate, hydrolized avena sativa (oat) protein, algae pheophycea (seaweed) extract (brown algae), propanediol (zemea), decyl oleate, arnica montana flower extract, xanthan gum (laminaria), hydrolized glycine soja (soy) protein, sortiban stearate, betula alba (birch) leaf extract, polysorbate 60, corylus americana (hazelnut) oil, thymus vulgaris (thyme) extract, squalane, cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, urtica dioica (nettle) extract, tocopheryl acetate, ascorbic acid, cucumis sativus (cucumber) oil, vetiveria zizanoides (vetiver) essential oil, cananga odorata (ylang ylang) essential oil, phenoxyethanol, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin, tetrasodium salt, oxynex K (PEG-8 and tocopherol and ascorbyl palmitate and ascorbic acid and citric acid).
All other ingredients listed in the original reviews.