Hello friends! Today I am sharing a post that is long overdue; Skincare, Beauty and Why I Switched to Medical Grade Products.
I’ll break this long post up into sections that way you can refer to it at any time and quickly find the section you want to read.
I have always taken excellent care of my skin. I remember at age 13 I was religiously washing my face twice a day & having my mom buy me Neutrogena wrinkle cream, ha! My skin care routine has always been simple and affordable. I’ve washed my face with Basis for as long as I can remember. I simply grab a clean washcloth, run it under warm water (warm water will help open the pores when washing your face), add a drop of Basis and massage away! I then rinse my face with cool water.
I started moisturizing with Clinique moisturizing gel/lotion my freshman year of college. The Clinique moisturizing lotion has been a great moisturizer for me up to this point. Everyone I’ve ever shared it with has come back with positive feedback. My sister has actually struggled with cystic acne her entire life. She has also never been able to find a moisturizer that worked with her skin type until she tried my Clinique lotion. I have friends that use this lotion as their primer before applying makeup too. It applies nicely and smoothly and absorbs into the skin quickly while locking in moisture. Though this moisturizer is no longer a part of my current “face regimen”, I still keep a few bottles on hand for traveling or as a back up option. The Clinique lotion or gel is a great option if you are looking for an affordable moisturizer that really locks in the moisture all day/night. I will link it here.
I love Clinique’s exfoliating scrub too. I honestly do not use it every day.. but I use it at least twice a week. I like to use it after an intense workout or right before my period to help prevent any break outs. I apply it with my hands on a wet face and then scrub the product gently around my face with a damp washcloth. Then I rinse my face with cool water and pat it dry.
My Current Face Regimen & Why I switched to Med Grade Products
- I still wash my face every morning and night with Basis. I think this will forever be my holy grail product. This is what I use to remove my makeup. Simply: Grab a washcloth, run it under warm water, add a drop of Basis and massage gently around face. Rinse and repeat steps as necessary.
- I apply my SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic (4-5 drops) on my face, neck and chest. This product is a vitamin C serum that delivers advanced environmental protection and approves the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, loss of firmness, and brightens skin’s complexion. It is clinically proven to reduce combined oxidative damage from free radicals by UV, Ozone, and Diesel Exhaust. So basically, this serum is blocking all of those horrible things from damaging your skin. This serum is great for all skin types. It is also great for sensitive skin, dehydrated skin, discoloration and aging. Once absorbed, the vitamin C serum remains effective for a minimum of 72 hours.
(Funny story. Matt had this bottle sitting on his bathroom counter covered in dust when we first started dating. I had no idea what it was, and it honestly didn’t faze me. Then, my friend Kara was going on and on about this “#1 product on the market” and how it is “THE BEST” stuff for protecting your skin and antiaging. She also mentioned that it was pricey, but worth every penny. Turns out, it was the C E Ferulic stuff! I asked Matt if I could have his bottle and when asked why I told him all about everything Kara shared with me. I started using the serum every day for about 3 weeks and then Matt goes “I think I want to order more of that stuff and actually start using it too!” Together, we did more research on the product. We compared it to other similar products and decided that this truly is the best vitamin C product out there. We ordered two more bottles of it and have applied it every day for the last 4 months)
- Then I apply the HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator to my face, neck and chest. I use once in the morning and once at night. Apply before moisturizing and applying any SPF! This stuff works miracles on fine lines. I even dab a little extra around my eyes (where crows feet could form) and on my smile lines. My aesthetician even recommended rubbing a little on my lips to prevent the lines on my lips from coming back (I’ve had filler twice now in my lips. I will talk about this in a blog post another day. My lips look more hydrated and plump now. I love it)
- Next I apply my Dermal Repair Cream to my entire face, neck and chest. (provides intense moisture and hydration to skin) My skin can get very dry and flake around my nose and patches on my face. So this has been very helpful. You can skip this step if you do not have this issue!
- Then I apply my NEW favorite moisturizer: SkinMedica Rejuvenative Moisturizer. A little about this product, it hydrates to smooth and soften dry, rough patches and minimize the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Helps your skin remain hydrated and touchably soft throughout the day. Vitamin C brightens as vitamin E and antioxidants shield and protect your complexion from damaging free radicals. Paraben- Free. Has 5 out of 5 star review on dermstore.com This product feels so good on my skin. It’s light weight but you can definitely feel the locked in moisture.
- I then apply my Total Defense + Repair Broad Spectrum SPF 34. This product goes beyond UV protection to defend against harmful infrared rays while supporting the skin’s ability to restore itself.
This is a normal, everyday, skin regimen for me. Now, if we are working in the yard or going down to the beach/pool, I will apply another SPF. I will share my favorite med grade SPFs at the end.
Here is a list of my AM products:
I’m also playing around with different eye creams and brightening eye creams. I’ve been trying different ones out that you apply in the morning, night or before you do your makeup. I ‘ll get back to this topic at a later date but I’ll link the one I use before applying makeup here.
- If wearing makeup, I will remove it with my Basis. If not wearing makeup, I will either wash my face with Basis or I will wash my face with SkinMedica AHA/BHA Efoliating cleanser. This cleanser scrubs away dead skin, improving the appearance of skin tone and texture. You should moisten your skin with warm water first. Apply a small amount of product to your finger tips and gently exfoliate using circular motions. Rinse with warm water. I was advised to only use this twice a week because it can dry out your skin if used too much. (– An affordable option is the Clinique scrub I mentioned earlier. I still keep this stuff in my shower. I like to use it in the shower after an intense workout, working in the yard or right before my period to prevent any break outs. I like using the Clinique scrub in the shower because the hot steam from the shower opens up all of my pores. Then I gently exfoliate with the scrub. This is just one of my OG products and I don’t think I can stop using it)
- Once my face is washed, I will apply my Retinol Complex 0.5. It renews skin and diminishes the appearance of fine lines. I used to think Retinol was only for people with acne. I had no idea that it actually helps with fine lines. I apply my Retinol 3 nights a week. If you are new to retinol, apply it 2-3 days apart, increasing frequency slowly until daily use is tolerated. On nights that I am not using my retinol, I will use my multi-acid exfoliating pads from OVME. These pads provide a medium exfoliation and helps brighten your skin. I will do this step at least 2 nights a week.
- I then apply the HA5 Rejuvenating Hydrator to my face, neck and chest.
- Then I apply Dermal Repair Cream to my face, neck and chest. Again, you can skip this step if you do not have trouble with dry flakey skin like me.
- Then I apply my SkinMedica Rejuvenative Moisturizer to my face, neck and chest
This is what a normal night looks like for me! On nights that I apply my tanning drops to my face, I purposefully skip some of these steps.
Matt actually had me label all of his skincare products so that he could remember what order to apply the products and whether or not they were for AM or PM (or both).
A NEW PRODUCT THAT I’VE ADDED:
A product that my mom discovered a few months ago is this Advanced Clinicals Hyaluronic Acid skin hydrator. You can find it on Amazon in a huge tub for like $11. I’ll link it here. My mom uses it on her face and body. It targets wrinkles and fine lines. It contains Beta-Glucan to promote healthy skin by reducing free radical damage and promoting clarity in skin and pores. This gentle, alternative to prescription treatments is tough on wrinkles and fine lines while giving you cleaner, clearer, firmer and more radiant skin.
Advanced Clinicals is a problem-solving skincare line that stands behind high quality ingredients. The brand mission is to provide skin care solutions at an affordable price. This cream in particular, provides a deep hydrating anti-aging serum that instantly moisturizes and rebalances skin’s moisture. It increases the water retention in your skin to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. I am very impressed with the ingredients. It is paraben-free. Manufactured in the U.S. and not tested on animals.
I personally love the INSTANT hydrating feeling it gives. I use this lotion throughout the day as a “pick me up” when needed. It feels so cool and good on my skin. This is actually the moisturizer I choose to use when applying my tanning drops. I just prefer the way it glides across my skin, neck and chest with the tanning oil. I also use this lotion on my body, as I have shared on my IG stories. This is the only lotion that I can apply to my entire body before bed that doesn’t make me sweat in my sleep. After I shower at night, I use this on my arms, legs, stomach and feet. I feel so soft and hydrated after using this stuff. I am very impressed with it.
I think if you are looking for an affordable moisturizer or lotion to add to your routine, this is an excellent option. They also make an oil that my mom actually applies to her lips before bed (and on her heels after moisturizing with the lotion) I’ll link the oil here with the lotion in a bundle. If you are tired of applying lipstick and seeing those deep creases in your lips, I would suggest applying this oil to your lips at night!
So Why Did I Make The Switch To Medical Grade Products In My Skincare Regimen?
Listen, I know Instagram and Influencers can make you think “oh I need this” or “oh I need that.” Commercials and ads are all strategically planned, designed and created to make you think you “need” something.
I’m sure you’ve heard me say on my Instagram before “I need these house slippers” or “I need this new shirt” or “I need this new lipstick”. Trust me, I’m human, I’m a female, I love anything and everything when it comes to fashion/beauty. I am guilty of impulse buying just because some t.v. star or famous influencer was wearing something or using something. But when it comes to skincare products, I’ve always been a little more hesitant.
I never understood how Sephora, Ulta and department stores have hundreds of moisturizers, wrinkle creams, eye creams, retinols and other skincare products to choose from. Every time I would go to buy or order something, I would get overwhelmed by all the options and just not order anything. Or, I would spend hours researching the differences/similarities in the products and read the reviews for every product and STILL end up not purchasing anything. I didn’t want to spend $50-$170 on 1 skincare product at a store that also sold $25 skin care products that allegedly do the same thing?! (If I’m going to spend that much $ I want to know that it works.) I would eventually cave and try a variety of products. Some looked fancy. Some smelled great. But I always caught myself comparing my skin to my friend’s skin that used Medical Grade products. I questioned “Why doesn’t my skin glow like that without make up?” “How does her skin look so tight and firm? She must be getting Botox, right? She has to be getting Botox?!” No! Turns out that these friends made the switch to med grade products anywhere from 6 months ago to 3 years ago. I didn’t want to believe it at first. I actually bugged the stew out of one of my very close best friends trying to “pry the truth out of her” until she was finally like “Here Ayla. Try my products out for a few days. Here. This is my regimen. This is the order I do it in. Here. Try them out for yourself.”
Two weeks later and I was sold. I’ve been using Medical Grade products now since December and I feel so confident about my skin and confident about how I’ll age. Aging is inevitable. We will all be old one day. But I want to have confidence in the fact that I have taken all of the steps necessary to slow down the appearance of aging and that I’m protecting my skin every day. Medical Grade products actually make changes and help prevent!
It’s 100% “normal” that we fall for advertising and packaging or fall for what this famous person is “using”. Trust me, I still get a wee bit curious when I see all of these beautiful bottles of creams all over the internet. But then I remind myself that I have 100% confidence in my Medical Grade products because they have been tested, they are scientifically proven, and they don’t need commercials or advertising to make their sales necessarily. The products speak for themselves.
Yes, some Medical Grade products can be pricey, but they are effective (And may even cost less than what you’re spending on products currently). Also, a little bit goes a long way with most of these products.
RULE OF THUMB: DO NOT SLEEP IN YOUR MAKEUP. Write that down ladies…
I never go to bed with makeup on my face. NEVER! Don’t do it ladies. I don’t care what hour of the night it is, or if you had one to many Dirty Martini’s… it’s not worth waking up with a fresh new pimple on your face. Always wash your face before you go to bed. I personally use a fresh washcloth because I feel like it helps exfoliate your skin gently. Whereas a makeup wipe is just moving the product around and leaving some product behind in your pores.
To this day, I wash my face with Basis ever morning and every night.
I am not a fan of makeup wipes.. I feel like all you are doing is smearing the makeup off while picking up some of the oils on your skin and then leaving oils from the makeup cloth behind. It’s probably just a mental thing to me… but I just don’t care for makeup wipes. I think the best way to get makeup and oil off your skin is simply using a wet wash cloth and Basis. Basis is 100% oil free and soap free. It is a gel with gentle botanicals that foam away makeup, dirt, and pollution. This face wash does not dry out my skin. I consider myself to have “normal to dry skin” vs. just “normal” or “oily”.
I do keep a few packs of makeup wipes around the house and in my car though. Some days, I am so exhausted after a 6-8 hour photoshoot in the blazing sun, and just want to get my makeup off my face ASAP. I will grab a wipe or two and get as much off as possible. Once I’ve relaxed and/or finished everything else I needed to do, I will then wash my face properly with Basis. Again, I never go to bed at night without washing my face with Basis.
This post isn’t sponsored by anyone! Sometimes I feel like I’m a horrible blogger because I’m not sharing what everyone else is sharing. But I want to keep it real with you guys and be honest about what products I actually use and what products work for me.
As far as facials go, I just started getting Hydrafacials at OVME in Atlanta, GA. I believe that it is “good housekeeping” for your skin to get a hydrafacial at least 2-3 times a year. If you have more oily skin than I do or more breakouts, I would suggest talking to your aesthetician and find what facial plan is best for you. During the hydrafacial, they suck all of the dead skin, black heads and oils out of your pores. The process is not painful or uncomfortable at all. The treatment is soothing, non-invasive and non-irritating. I have extremely sensitive skin and I had no negative reactions to this facial.
I also received my first Dermaplaning facial at the end of October (2019) right before my trip to Jamaica. I wanted to feel comfortable on my trip without any makeup on. I wanted to have that “baby soft fresh skin” look and feel. The Dermaplaning did just that! Not only did my skin look flawless without makeup, it looked airbrushed with makeup on!
I used to be so skeptical about Dermaplaning because I thought the rumors were true that “It’s like shaving your face. Once you shave our face, you have to keep it up because your hair will grow back thicker, longer and darker.” FALSE ALARM. Not true. The aesthetician answered all of my questions and concerns perfectly. Your hair does not grow back thicker or longer. It simply grows back exactly how it was on your face to begin with. Also, if you are like me and think “I don’t have any peach fuzz on my face. I wouldn’t benefit from this.” Think again. Even if you can’t see it, we all have a little peach fuzz on our face that traps dirt and oil. Dermaplaning promotes softer skin, provides deeper product penetration, removes dead skin cells allowing new ones to produce, reduces the appearance of scars and diminishes the look of fine lines.
Are you convinced yet? This is officially my new favorite facial. I am looking forward to my next one. I personally plan to Dermaplan every 2-3 months.
If you do not live in the Atlanta area there is an OVME in Nashville. If you live somewhere other than Atlanta or Nashville, I’d be happy to help you find a great medspa near you. It’s important to do your research and read plenty of reviews.
Other skin info:
I just wanted to throw in a few more skin care tips!
- I love nothing more than to be tan. I feel skinnier, prettier and just all around better about myself when I am tan. However, I am extremely cautious about protecting my skin especially on my face. Therefore, I always wear SPF! I will share the different SPF options that I use. Most everyone in my family has skin cancer, so it is very important that I take good care of my skin. I’ve linked the SPFs that Matt & I use. These are the products that my dermatologist recommends, Matt’s dermatologist recommends, the MedSpa (OVME) that I go to recommends and the place I get my laser hair removal recommends. Also – because I know I will get the question. These SPFs are better than the OTC SPFS that say they are “SPF 30” or “SPF 100” because the active ingredients in the medgrade ones are better. These products are developed through clinical research and the active ingredients are much higher than what over-the-counter products are legally able to contain. Products that block UVB can be found over the counter but UVA protection is also crucial. You want a chemical and a physical block!
- On days that I don’t feel like caking on the makeup and just want a simple natural look, I do my face regimen, apply my Smashbox primer and my Coola BB cream (with SPF 30). I love the natural look it gives. Depending on what I am doing, I may add highlighter and bronzer. But on days that I want that “no makeup” look, I simply do my face regimen, primer and Coola BB cream. Easy peasy!
- Another important skin care tip is that if you are going to be out in the sun for more than an hour, I would suggest taking Heliocare. Heliocare is a simple, one-a-day (or take when you plan on being out in the sun) dietary supplement made with Fernblock Polypodium leucotomos extract. These tablets are known to provide overall protection against sun damage. I will link them below but you can also grab them at CVS! Matt has been taking these for years. I’ve been taking them the last year and half.
If you’re wanting to purchase a few, affordable skincare products that I love, I would suggest these:
If you are wanting step up your skincare routine, I would suggest at least buying these products to start off with:
If you’re ready to pull the plug and start using medical grade products yourself, here is a list of all the products I use and recommend:
I hope this post was informative about my skincare process and tips. I will link the products I use below. Again, everyone has different skin and this is what works best for my skin type. If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to me.