Since turning 30 last year, skincare has become even more important to me. And my skin has changed a lot since my mid-twenties, and even my late twenties. A few months before my birthday last year, I started having more concerns about fine lines, uneven texture, dryness, and hyperpigmentation (well, I have always had issues with hyperpigmentation).
I want to be clear there is nothing wrong with starting to age, or aging! I love being 30; I genuinely feel like I look my best and have become a lot more confident. I simply felt that my skin looked a bit dull, when I knew it could probably look much healthier and more vibrant with an updated routine that took my age and new concerns into account.
I used a lot of trial and error to get to my current product mix, but eventually got some great recommendations faster through Haldi, who provided me with a consultation and custom skincare regimen. This post isn’t sponsored by Haldi, by the way. They had contacted me last year and gave me a credit to try some products and share my experience on Instagram, and I have had great results with the products they recommended to me ever since then. If you do try them out, tell them I referred you with my name – Kellie Hayden. The links below will take you to other various sites because if you do the Haldi consultation, you’ll get your own specific “storefront” with your recommendations.
Onto the routine!
I am not a morning person. I am probably the least morningest-person ever. So, a simple skincare routine in the morning is essential for me.
Cleanser: Right now I am using BeautyCounter Countertime Lipid-Defense Cleansing Oil – I always use an oil-based cleanser because my skin is extremely dry. This one is, however, not my favorite. While it is lightweight and my skin doesn’t feel stripped after, it always leaves makeup residue that I have to rely on my toner to remove. Once it runs out, I’ll be going back to my ultimate favorite, Pai Skincare Light Work Rosehip Cleansing Oil. I highly recommend this if you have dry skin, and it is the one Haldi included in my routine. It is pretty heavy when you first apply it, but once you add water it becomes a lightweight milk. It leaves your skin so clean and hydrated, I cannot speak highly enough about it!
Toner: This is my favorite toner and most frequently repurchased skincare product – the CoQ-10 Toner by Indie Lee. It has definitely helped even my skin’s texture – it contains antioxidant coenzyme Q10 and hyaluronic acid, which promote cell growth and help your skin retain moisture to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, respectively. I have been using this particular product for a couple of years.
Vitamin C Serum: I have tried dozens of vitamin C serums and honestly, I don’t feel like any of them work as well as I would like them to. Seriously, you name it, I have probably tried it. Dark spots are very stubborn. This one from BeautyCounter has provided me with the most significant fading of dark spots (even more so than the prescription for azelaic acid that my dermatologist provided to me in the past). I do still edit my most severe dark spot, which is under my right eye, out of most of my photos (in the interest of transparency), but in good, natural lighting it is significantly less visible than it once was.
Sunscreen: SPF. every. single. day! I use this one from Paula’s Choice, which is SPF 50 to keep those dark spots at bay. It also contains antioxidants to protect against and address visible signs of aging, and it doesn’t leave a white cast if you’re going to apply makeup.
I give everything a few minutes to soak in, and then I apply my makeup. If I’m not wearing makeup that day, I may put on a moisturizer prior to my sunscreen if I’m feeling especially dry. I skip the moisturizer on makeup days, since I use a tinted oil, and all that combined would be way too much.
This is where things get serious.
Cleanser: I use the same cleanser in the morning and evening.
Toner: Same goes for the toner.
Oil: The Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil is my holy grail skincare product. My skin is noticeably less bright in the morning if I skip this step of my routine, and it’s my favorite thing Haldi recommended to me for my routine. A little goes a long way, and be sure to apply it well before bedtime – we’re talking like, an hour before bedtime – because it can leave an orange stain on your pillow or bedding if it hasn’t fully absorbed.
Retinol: I use this 1% Retinol Solution, and am happy with the results. I have seen a reduction in the fine lines on my forehead, but that is definitely also coupled with a more moisturizing routine in general and drinking more water. Retinol is clinically proven to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, so I am sure it is doing some of the heavy lifting here. In any case, I really like how all of these products have worked together when it comes to those fine lines.
Serum: If you’re going to use a retinol, you need a serum to soothe your skin since retinol can be pretty aggressive. I love the Inner Balance Serum from Strange Bird Beauty. It contains soothing ingredients like niacinamide and licorice root, as well as Reishi mushrooms, ginger, ginseng and goji berry to reduce inflammation. Best of all, Strange Bird is a local Connecticut brand for me, and is WOC-owned.
Moisturizer: Okay, now we need to moisturize. Strange Bird Beauty’s Inner Light Moisturizer is, by far, my favorite moisturizer I have ever used. It smells incredible (almost like a…creamsicle?) and contains hyaluronic acid and camellia and jojoba oils. It’s also light enough to use under makeup – like I mentioned earlier, I don’t moisturize in the morning since I wear a tinted oil and that wouldn’t mix especially well, but this moisturizer would definitely be suitable for under a standard foundation if you were looking for that.
The Sometimes Products
As needed, I’ll do a face mask. These are my two favorites depending on how my skin is feeling.
The Alpha H Liquid Gold Ultimate Perfecting Mask was also recommended to me by Haldi to address my major concerns of loss of firmness and dark spots. This at-home-peel should be worn for no more than ten minutes, and stimulates collagen production.
The Counter+ Charcoal Mask by BeautyCounter is my favorite charcoal mask, it was Origins until I tried this. There is a visible difference in my pores and skin smoothness after using this.
And that’s it! I was going to share some before and after photos, but feel that they might overstate my results, and I don’t want to do that. For example, I started my routine last summer so my skin was more freckled, whereas now I haven’t had as much sun exposure since it’s been winter. So, some of the brightness in my face is also environmental, and not just from my skincare.
I also have a skin condition on my face called perioral dermatitis, which is treated through a prescription and has provided a reduction in redness around my nose and mouth. I have definitely seen a huge improvement in my skin from this routine, but I’m inspecting my face every day and know well what areas have improved as a result of various tactics, and I think before and after photos aren’t the best way to represent that nuance. But I do hope my enthusiasm for these products and honest reviews of the above is helpful! I also think this is a great place to note that skincare products can provide excellent results in conjunction with limiting sun exposure, drinking enough water, getting enough sleep and consulting a medical professional for any severe breakouts. Make sure to take care of yourself.
Any questions? Let me know!