I got a reader skincare question on Thursday that cracked me up big time but is also oh so real, so I decided to make a blog post about it. Here’s what she wrote. Sidebar: I love when you guys send me funny emails like this!
Long time reader/listener/follower, first time emailer 🙂
I’ve been following along on your journey for years now and really appreciate your honesty and completely trust your judgement – ESPECIALLY when it comes to beauty/skincare (your skin is FLAWLESS).
OK – I need your help and I couldn’t find what I was looking for on your site. I just started a new job and was required to get a headshot. I got it back yesterday and was SHOCKED and DISMAYED at how old and haggard I looked. Within the last few months, my face has become a wrinkly mess! I’m 33 and honestly feel like I look at least 45 in this pic.
What do you think is the best plan of attack here? My brother is getting married at the end of March and I really want to improve Wrinklegate before then.
I’m willing to go straight to botox but was wondering if there were other steps I could/should take that would be less aggressive first. Do you recommend any specific moisturizers/creams/serums? Facials? I currently use Trish McEvoy, Kate Somerville, Kiehl’s, etc on my face but have never really bought anything specifically for wrinkles/fine lines and don’t want to waste my time/money on products that aren’t great.
ANY ANY ANY ADVICE AT ALL would be so great.
Thank you SO much,
< name redacted > / Aging Awkwardly
First of all – you sound like me – dramatic!
I highly doubt you are a haggard, wrinkly mess. We’re all our worst critics, aren’t we? It sounds like maybe you need a new photographer – professional photos should always make you look better. (For the record, my skin is good but it’s not flawless, I just know my angles and use a good photographer.) I don’t know where you live, but I have a few in New York I would recommend.
It sounds like you want to up your skincare game though, and I can definitely help with that. I can’t speak to Botox yet as I haven’t done it yet (and I say yet as it’s only a matter of time – whenever I smile I get the worst lines around my eyes and they make me so mad).
I have a lot of skincare favorites (I mean come on, just look at the shelfie above – geeeeez!) but for wrinkles specifically I would recommend three things: Vitamin C, Retinol, and Dr. Bader. I’d also recommend adding a good face scrub to your arsenal. I will always amaze myself after a good scrub. I will look haggard and sad and then I’ll give my face a good scrubbing (two minutes in the shower!) and suddenly look fresh and new. It’s such a small thing that makes a big difference.
Kk let’s get to the holy trinity:
- Retinol is a wonderful thing. It’s the only ingredient I know of that’s been clinically proven to build collagen, decrease fine lines, improve skin’s texture—and fight acne. I talk more about it in this post, but recently started testing this one from Sunday Riley and really love it so far! Retinol will definitely dry your skin out which is why I would recommend starting at once or twice a week and working up to 3x a week.
- Vitamin C isn’t quite as strong as retinol but it helps slough off dead skin cells. I love the Beautycounter Overnight Resurfacing Peel and the Kiehl’s Powerful Strength Line Reducing Concentrate. It’s majorly effective and contains hyaluronic acid which has an immediate plumping effect on your skin. It’s not as strong as retinol so you can use it every night if you’d like. It is a good place to start, and nice to use in between retinol.
- And then there’s Dr. Bader (I use The Rich Cream as my skin is very dry) I’ve noticed a HUGE difference in my skin (especially texture + fine lines) since starting to use it. It’s the best face cream I’ve ever tried. Ever. For more on Dr. Bader, read my full review!
My own routine is that I use Dr. Bader every morning and every other night. I’ll do retinol 2-3x a week and Vitamin C 1-2x a week. If my skin is getting dry I will use retinol less and Vitamin C more. I kind of try to be intuitive with my skincare and listen to what it needs. You don’t have to use Vitamin C AND Retinol, you can do just one (Vitamin C is gentler than retinol; I used to use the Kiehl’s EVERY night), but retinol is definitely more effective.
My recommendation for you would be to use Dr. Bader (regular if you have normal/combo skin, rich if you have dry skin) every morning before sunscreen, and every other night. In between, start with the Kiehl’s product every other night except for one of those nights where you’ll use retinol.
After a month, switch things up to use Dr. Bader 3 nights a week, Kiehl’s 2 nights a week, and retinol 2 nights a week. On the nights you use retinol or Vitamin C you will need to use another moisturizer over them. If you need a recommendation, I love Weleda – all of their night creams are ultra rich & creamy but I love this one in particular! I hope this helps, let me know how it goes! (And I know this routine is not cheap – sorry! I did a post about more affordable skincare but it’s not quite as high-tech unfortunately.)