Mid-life Beauty on a Budget: Facial Skincare



By reader request! Taking care of our skin as we age can be tricky when we live in an ageist society that profits from self-hate. It can feel like we have to drop hundreds of dollars on products, maybe even Botox and other fillers (not for me!) to not look like ourselves. I am totally OK with "looking my age." I just want to look and be healthy and hydrated! I have found some excellent products with "dime store" pricing (comparatively speaking) that do that for me at age 48.

First thing I do, and this is very very important: I STAY OUT OF EXTENDED DIRECT SUNLIGHT!! I plan my outdoor activities so that I am either outside in the early morning, later afternoon or in a shaded area. I would rather do this than wear sunscreen, because shade is the best organic, non-chemical, inexpensive SPF out there. I know that even indirect sunlight ages our skin but I dislike the idea of slathering sunscreen on myself every single day. It's not perfect, but it's what I've been doing.

Through my late 20s and into my mid 40s I was using Clinique's "Mild" soap on my face. It worked great! Until it didn't. My skin began to feel noticeably dry after I had used it. On a whim I decided to try a vintage, never opened bar of SweetHeart soap I had picked up somewhere along my picking adventures.


That was about three years ago and I have not used anything else on my face since then! It is the most wonderful, gentle, subtly scented soap ever! The bars I have are from the late 60s and there is nothing "bad" or rancid about them. Once I realized how magical it was I went on ebay and found a seller who said in their auction description that they were selling bars from an entire case. I messaged them, made an offer on the remaining case and now have a healthy supply for many years to come. You can usually find vintage SweetHeart soap still in the original packaging on ebay. One bar lasts me many months so it's economical.

An environmental and humane selling point for using vintage soap (I have other vintage brands in my stash to try) is that unlike the majority of soaps today it usually did not contain palm oil or its derivatives. PLEASE click here to read about palm production and its devastating effect on orangutans and the rain forest. 

A second Clinique product I used for years up until last week is their Skin Type 2 "Clarifying Lotion." I'm not sure why they call it a lotion since it's liquid with the alcohol being the main ingredient! (I admit that I hadn't checked the ingredients list in ages). It was really drying out my skin and costs $24 a bottle. In place of it I have begun to use inexpensive, effective yet gentler Witch Hazel. You can buy it at your grocery for about $2. It's working for me so far. As for as the ugly bottle in which it came I'm going to pour some into an antique bottle I picked up at a rummage sale this weekend (in the top pic) for display. Pretty packaging is how some of the pricier brands convince you to buy their product. Repurposed old bottles filled with what works will always win me over!

I've been using and loving fragrance-free Olay Regenerist Serum for almost ten years and presently have the top rated review on Amazon. I wish it was all natural without synthetic or questionable ingredients, but it really does wonders for my skin! The biggest thing it does it soften and firms. It's not enough of a moisturizer, however.

Night cream isn't just for bedtime which is why I use Neutrogena Light Night Cream day and night every day after I wash my face. I've been using it for about fifteen years. 

I've recently started to rub a few drops of 100% Argan oil on my face and love it. It hasn't caused me to break out. The bottle I bought is a "sample" size by Josie Maran at Sephora.

I've been using Olay Total Effects Eye Brightening Cream under my eyes for about a year. It's OK, nothing amazing, but gentle and lightweight without any noticeable fragrance. I'm still trying to find something without the added color because I don't need it.

Finally, your diet plays a big role in your skin's health and appearance. I learned that when I started to eat retro. I had a terrible complexion until I cut out all the junk and yo-yo dieting in 2010.

None of the above mentions are sponsored.

I'd love to hear from you, ladies! What do YOU use that works? What doesn't?

Comments

  1. Lemons! I make a scrub out of lemons and sugar. I add coconut oil with it for a body scrub and you can add yogurt for the face. It's great when you travel and don't have anything with you...just go to the kitchen. Just be careful with the lemon since it can be very drying. But if used right, your skin can be silky smooth! I also love Dove. A dermatologist told me that he recommends that more than anything for face care.

    And I love witch hazel. Still sampling different moisturizers. I have also used various essential oils like Frankincense which has anti-aging properties.

    But, for the most part, I just leave my skin alone and stay out of the sun. And I drink lots of water. I'm almost 53 and don't have anything other than some fine lines around my eyes when I smile or squint. Love your blog! I'm a vintage girl too!

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    1. Hi Connie! Glad you're here! And THANK YOU for the reminder about lemons! I have a 1930s booklet called "Lemons and Loveliness" filled with recipes for homemade beauty applications that I wanted to reference but completely forgot about it. I'll look into Frankincense, too. Good reminder about staying hydrated from within. I sometimes don't drink enough water. Your skin looks great in your profile pic!!

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  2. I've always just washed my face with water. I have used a Vit C ointment at times. Your advice about the sun is the best! I got some sun damage over the years from not following your advice. Fortunately, I met a retired dermatologist that told me about how to use a 1% 5 fluorouracil topical for that, and it cleared up all the damage.

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  3. great recomendations & love that the products are inexpensive!

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    1. It's a bummer when you find something promising but it's super expensive! Like what's-her-name's recommended product line we looked at.

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  4. Oh, I missed this post somehow, the one I've been waiting for! Love your skincare routine and the review you left on Amazon. Up until about my early 50's (I'm 58) I washed my face day and night with Noxzema which I used since I was a teen, then applied a toner and then a light moisturizer. I have very, very oily skin so can't use anything too heavy. I always hated how the oil showed up on my face almost immediately. Then for years I quit washing it at night and only cleaned it in the morning. I know you're not supposed to leave makeup on your skin but I did that for years with no breakouts. It also helped my oiliness just a little. I'm thinking because of the mechanical action of the washing day and night, even lightly, is what probably stimulated the oil glands.

    Now I only wash my face every other day but I don't wear foundation anymore only eye makeup. Sometimes compact powder. For many months while doing this I washed with a natural soap then a tiny dab of coconut oil mainly on my cheeks. But I wasn't satisfied with this routine. My face skin seemed flaky and not as soft and smooth as it used to be. So recently I added witch hazel again and Neutrogena Naturals moisturizer which I love instead of the coconut. My skin looks better and is softer again.

    Averyl, I used to use the original Olay for a few years, and then Regenerist but not the serum, the one in the little red jar. I'm with you as far as having to balance natural care with the heavier hitting conventional products. Thank you so much for this post! You've made me think about getting the serum. :)

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    1. Oh, glad you found this post, then!

      I never wore foundation but I always wash off my mascara, powder and blush before bed. Even without makeup, dirt from the environment, impurities in the air, etc cling to our skin. I also exfoliate with a buff puff every few days to remove dead skin. It has never caused a breakout for me.

      Please let me know if you try the serum and what you think! And thank you, Aileen for sharing your routine! :)

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  5. I'm kind of old school as well - I use Dove soap in the morning, and Pond's Cold Cream removed with a warm facecloth to take off makeup (tinted moisturizer, loose powder, mascara and a little eye pencil) at night. If I'm feeling a little oily, I use a little witch hazel as a toner. I'm 58 and get compliments on my skin. Thanks for a great post!

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    1. Thanks for letting me know it was helpful!

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  6. Averyl,

    I'm not sure if you have a Costco near you, but they have started carrying (quite inexpensively) the full line of Olay Regenerist as well and the Neutrogena cream you mention in this post.

    Andrea :)

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    1. Thanks! There's one in my town but I'm not a member and have never shopped there. I do pretty well on Amazon with my rewards card, but so many do shop at Costco so your comment is very helpful to my readers!

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