Skincare Secrets: Image of fingers on a cotton pad on a face.

Saving Face—My Skincare Secrets (Morning Edition)

In my latest reader survey (You can take the survey here!), and in person, a few ladies have recently asked for skincare suggestions. Just like last month’s final Friday post, this post will be a List Post with lots of helpful hints for you to try.

For starters, please know, you are awesome. You are beautiful. In this post I am simply sharing some product ideas to help you maintain–and maybe even improve–the existing skin you’re in. Links will be embedded in case you want to read further on some of the items. No affiliate links today, though.

What follows is my morning regimen. As I was putting this post together I realized the nighttime to-do list will have to wait.


Your first beauty task in the morning is washing your face. A while back, I heard a dermatologist (on the Fat Mascara podcast) say that because a cleanser spends the least amount of time on your face, you needn’t shell out a whole lot of money on this particular product. Hooray!

In my 30s and early 40s, when a red and angry, volcano-like pimple (or three) emerged along my jaw-line (or nose), almost EVERY SINGLE MONTH—Gee, thanks, Aunt Flo!—I despaired.

I tried not to pop. I popped. I slathered it with toothpaste. I dabbed it with tea tree oil. I applied cover up and powder throughout the day. What the heck? My teen years were long gone!

To solve the pimple problem, I did what any modern woman would do. I crowd-sourced suggestions on Facebook. My friend Candace said tea tree oil soap had worked well for her, so I bought a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Tea Tree Oil soap. Dr. Bronner’s definitely decreased my breakouts so I used it for at least a decade.

Optional: A Cleaning Gizmo

To make sure my face was getting super clean, I paired the Dr. Bronner’s liquid soap with a Clarisonic face brush, the smaller one named “Mia.” At $99 on Amazon, no, they are not cheap. For a less expensive option, check out Oil of Olay’s “facial brush cleansing system” for $36.40.

In the last year, I heard the gals on Fat Mascara touting the benefits of the CeraVe skincare line. CeraVe products are widely available—at drugstores and big box stores—at a great price. For a while now, I’ve been using and loving the CeraVe Foaming Facial Cleanser (for normal to oily skin) with a price point just shy of $11 at Walmart. What I love about this cleanser is that when you rinse the lather away, your skin feels protected by an invisible moisture barrier.


Next up on the skincare to-do list is toner. I just recently added this step after hearing so many gals rave about “chemical exfoliants.” If you’re on a limited budget, I think you can skip this step for now. If money’s not currently a concern, here are a few products I rotate:

The Ordinary Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution ($8.70)

Paula’s Choice 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant ($29.50)

Tarte KnockOut Tingling Treatment with Salicylic and Lactic acids ($18 or $39)

Personally, with the landfills of the future in mind, I do not use a cotton pad to apply my toner. I pour about a teaspoon in my palm, rub my hands together, and pat the liquid over my face and neck. And hands.


To hopefully slow the aging process, serum is next. For the record I’ve been experimenting with serums for at least a decade. Let me tell you what, serums can get expensive. Which is why I’m so glad I heard about The Ordinary line of skin care products. The Ordinary offers dozens of skin care products–“clinical formulations with integrity” is their tagline–somehow without the crazy mark-up in price.

If I had to pick one product to recommend to you, it would probably be The Ordinary’s serum, Buffet. Buffet is a “multi-technology peptide serum.” While using this product, I absolutely have seen an improvement with my skin’s texture and appearance.

At $14.80 a bottle, it’s one of the pricier skincare product I’m using right now. After paying $50+, though, $15 for a serum sounds great!

Apparently, The Ordinary big-time believes in their Buffet product. In their recommended line-up of products, if your skin concern is “general signs of age,” they suggest using Buffet morning and night.

FYI, on The Ordinary’s website, they provide recommended regimens for these concerns:

  • General signs of age
  • Pigmentation issues
  • Dehydration issues
  • Congestion and blemish issues
  • Textural irregularity issues

Vitamin C

After applying Buffet, I smoothe on a Vitamin C product. I’ve been using a Vitamin C serum for several years now. According to the Paul’s Choice website, “When added to your daily routine, vitamin C provides a range of benefits, from evening out your skin tone, shielding skin from the visible impacts of pollution, significantly improving hydration, and keeping your skin looking younger, longer.”

For year’s I used Ole Henriksen’s vitamin C product, Truth Serum (1 oz. costs $49), and loved it. Recently though, I’ve just used up a bottle of The Ordinary’s Vitamin C product that cost $17.80. I read great reviews about another of The Ordinary’s Vitamin C products (at $12.90) so I’m trying it next.

Hyaluronic Acid

The final recommended item in The Ordinary’s AM regimen to combat general signs of age is Hyaluronic Acid. According to the folks at The Ordinary, hyaluronic acid can attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water! Since their Buffet serum so improved my skin, I decided to give their Hyaluronic Acid a try. So far I really like it. Plus, it only costs $6.80!

By the way, if you’re counting, you will note I have four products I’m applying after I wash my face in the morning. A word of warning about this. For some folks, applying multiple formulations 1-2-3 with no pause in between may cause product-pilling which is no fun!

I wash my face and dry it. I pat on the toner of the day. I make my bed. I smooth on a few drops of Buffet. I pick out my clothes for the day. I wipe on a few drops of Vitamin C serum. I brush my teeth. I lightly rub on a few drops of hyaluronic acid.

Last step: Illuminating Primer

My final skincare prep step is applying a primer. Not only does it make the skin appear youthful, it also can help your makeup look fresh longer.

I love Becca’s First Light Priming Filter Face Primer ($21 or $39). But, dang, $39 is expensive!

Guess what? Earlier this week at Walmart, I spotted what I think would be a great dupe: Flower Beauty’s In Your Prime Illuminating Primer. The price point is $13 for one ounce. Thanks, Drew Barrymore!

What about SPF?

Oh gosh, that’s a whole other topic. Personally, I use a mineral (powder) foundation that offers broad range UVA/UVB protection.

And I stay out of direct sunlight for the most part. Because according to the Environmental Protection Agency, “as much as 90 percent of skin aging is caused by sun exposure.”

But wait! There’s more. How about 2 bonus skincare tips?

Bonus Tip #1: Skip the expensive eye cream.

I heard on Fat Mascara that really, eye cream isn’t all that different from facial moisturizer. Skincare companies put it in a cute container and jack up the price, knowing women (and men!) will buy it.  Because crow’s feet, smile lines, gasp!!

In the past two decades, I’ve probably tried two dozen different eye creams. In my opinion, none of them yielded a benefit. When I told my dermatologist that on my last visit, she said,

“You know you have to apply it twice a day, right? And you should start when you’re 20.”

Nope and nope.

Bonus Tip #2: With product application, don’t stop at the face.

If you want to know how old a woman is, look at her hands, not her face. Because lots of ladies forget about their hands when it comes to skincare.

When you are applying your skincare products, after you’ve addressed your face, pat the remainder on your neck (and really, keep going, all the way down to your nipples—risqué, I know!), and don’t forget your hands. All this to keep sunspots, dry patches, and wrinkles at bay. For more about keeping your neck and chest area youthful, click here.

Whether you try one suggestion, all of them, or none of them, remember:

Your face has to last you a life time!

Leave a Comment

Let's Be Friends

The Brave Knight

Grab Your Free Child Safety Tips!

Skip to content