A year or so ago, menopause hit me hard and it showed in my skin. It’s taken quite a bit of work and dedication to get it back: I found some new products, got to love ultrasound and developed complementary day and night regimens. The result is that I believe my skin is better than it was before I hit the menopausal doldrums. This is what is working for me – and I mean really working for me:

Cleansing:

With drier fall days, I have found that I need a moisturizing rather than exfoliating cleanser and I really love Living Nature’s ($35). I like it so much that I have been decanting it for my trips into my Sephora travel set (which I don’t actually recommend since not one single pump actually works). Living Nature’s Vitalizing Cleanser is hydrating and rich without being unctuous (I’m not a fan of really creamy cleansers) and comes with Manuka honey. The gentle lather is produced naturally by a New Zealand shrub, the Kumerahou.

Since someone is bound to ask, I still religiously use my Clarisonic cleansing brush, although I am about to treat myself to the budget-priced Sirius Sonic ($49) for its additional large brush head that I find useful for body (especially my acne-prone cleavage and shoulders).

Daytime:

For daytime, I have a strong preference for light gels and serums, rather than creams. This may change as winter progresses, but for now, for me, facial creams are strictly for nighttime (see below).

My current facial serum of choice is E’shee’s KI Therapy Serum. Its compact size makes it the ideal travel companion, but what really makes it a vital component of my regimen wherever I am is what it is doing to my skin. It is very noticeably smoothing lines – especially around the lips, dimples in my cheeks that are in danger of becoming marionette lines, and the outer crow’s feet. The combination of E’shee’s signature growth factor and this serum’s FAR infra-red ceramic powder work so well for me that I have bought a second bottle ($189 in the shop).

My daytime eye cream is AQ’s Eye Serum ($99 in the shop). It isn’t just the lightweight gel-like consistency that makes me choose AQ, but the firming lift that it is giving my eye area (not to mention the boost to eyelash growth). Along with my night eye cream (see below), it is actually erasing wrinkles under my eyes. They look better than they have for years! What’s more, the bottle seems to be lasting for months. Not for nothing is this a 2012 Five Best eye cream winner.

See more on my new video post

For most days, this is it. Simple and hugely effective. There are some mornings, of course, when I need a little boost or some help:

Once or twice a week extras:

Those little boosts tend to come from masks. The one that I turn to whenever my skin looks dull and dejected is one whose active is bee venom. I still can’t believe that I, of all people, am jumping on a Royalist bandwagon (Camilla and Kate supposedly love their bee venom face masks), but I have fallen for the buzz as well. I went to the original source of the bee venom face mask made by Royal Nectar ($65 in the shop). It is an excellent product – after 15-30 minutes, it really does leave my face look radiant and feeling firm.

Helping hands are needed when I have “problem” skin issues in the form of breakouts (usually from testing products), open pores or a little redness/inflammation. Exederm, approved by the National Eczema Association,  is still the best thing I have found for treating little flare-ups. Open pores and, for that matter, freckles and dark spots, respond very well to Sevani’s Rapid Renewal ($65 in the TIA shop) and nothing calms the threat of rosacea like Sevani’s Complexion Corrector.

Evenings:

This year, I introduced a night regimen into my life and consider it to be a major breakthrough (click here for my recent post on the efficacy of using products at night). My menopausal skin definitely needs additional nourishment and firming actives. I have designed it to be complementary to my day regimen, which could be said to be about wrinkle repair. Evenings are about firming.

Rather than before bed, my evening regimen starts when I get home from work and provides me with a transitional zone of my time. It starts with cleansing and then (four or five nights a week) I have a 15-minute session with Ultra Renew using the Ultra Renew Gel Serum. After months of focusing on my cheeks and lips (with very good effect – I swear this is the reason I am not succumbing to facial fillers), I am now paying attention to my neglected forehead. Six weeks in, my forehead is looking smoother.

I follow my Ultra Renew session with Your Best Face Control ($160 in the TIA shop) for the face, its ingredients for promoting elasticity are part of firming mission. My eye cream for night is Your Best Face Correct, which seems to lift my lids ($150 in the TIA shop). Their textures are dense creams, which suit me more for night than day and ensure that my skin still looks hydrated when I wake up. What I really believe is critical though, is that their combination of peptides and antioxidants are complementary to the growth factors that E’shee and AQ provide me with during the day.

A few times a week, I apply a sparing smear of either Prana Reverse A ($48 in the TIA shop) or Osmosis Correct ($44) to stubborn areas – around the lips and my neck. These are the only retinol serums that I have been able to tolerate. I appreciate their exfoliating abilities, but also that they are topped up with plenty of actives to help the skin repair.

Update: I have now posted a video on my day/night regimens

I’ll come back with hands, neck, body and hair over the next few weeks.