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Under the Skinfluence

A skincare routine for financial ups and downs. The best products for when you're feeling frugal, and feeling rich.

I actually like my face. Don’t get me wrong, there are mornings I wake up and, upon looking in the mirror, am forced to congratulate myself on putting the “hag” back into haggard, but as faces go, time has been relatively kind. I think. At least I hope that if I went to a high school or college reunion (which I don’t do, as a rule), I would still be recognizable. Unlike the woman (a friend of a friend), who was forced to identify herself when someone at her reunion dinner told a high school story about her and no one knew she was sitting right next to them at the table. Oops.

The Best Anti-Aging Skincare Trick Is Accepting the Face You’ve Got

I mean, things have shifted around somewhat (nose appears to be growing longer at the same time that eyes appear to be growing smaller), but the skin is good and I can live with what the years have snuck into the mix. I’m neither vain nor brave enough to mess with it in any big way. Surgery? Absolutely not. Too scary. Peels? Ew. I mean, I may or may not have someone wave a syringe of Botox delicately over my forehead a couple of times a year, but that’s about the extent of it. And fillers? Nah. I feel like I can always see it on people, even when discreetly administered. And what if you take it too far and you end up looking like an enormous dough-faced Cabbage Patch doll? Nightmare. So I’ve forced myself to embrace the notion of anti-aging skincare (that’s gonna work, right?).  I just let nature gradually take its course and keep slathering stuff on. Sisyphean, perhaps, but I’m invested.

The best anti-aging skincare trick Is accepting the face you’ve got.

Skincare Through Financial Ups and Downs

So while I’m procedure-averse, I’m not phlegmatic about taking care of my mug. Not at all. I’ve cobbled together a relatively simple but consistent routine that goes just slightly beyond the ordinary skincare regimen and seems to be doing the maintenance trick quite neatly. And over the years, during financial ups and downs, I’ve sorted out a Feeling Rich/Feeling Frugal protocol of products across a spectrum of price points that works, at least for my skin. I also adjust seasonally to allow for changes in temperature and humidity. This is the cold-weather version of the routine, with some heavy-duty moisture woven in. And the disclaimer: I’m a realist. I’m not a skincare professional. I’m also not a hardcore clean beauty fanatic. And my skin isn’t sensitive or prone to breakouts. This stuff has just worked for me.

Exfoliation
This is non-negotiable for me. There’s no way for your skin to glow if it’s cloaked in a fine dusting of dead cells, so putting some elbow grease into your cleansing is de rigueur. I’m a fan of scrubs because my skin can take it, but not everyone’s can so there are some enzymatic exfoliators as well. 

Feeling Rich Scrub: 
This stuff is magic. Lancer.Fancy Beverly Hills dermatologist. Totally worth it.

Feeling Frugal Scrub:
Not complaining about this one. Acure. Also totally does the trick without the fancy pedigree or price tag. 

Feeling Rich Liquid Exfoliator: 
The no-nonsense cult classic. Ciel Spa Lotion P50. Not the most delightfully scented, but who cares? This version also targets hyper-pigmentation, bugaboo of the over-50 set.

Feeling Frugal Liquid Exfoliator: 
Cute packaging Pixi Glow Tonic, and yes, you can get it at Target.

The In-Betweensy Prep Product

Okay, now you could probably do without this next step, but if you’re gonna slap on a bunch of product, don’t you want your skin primed to actually drink it in? 

Feeling Rich Skin Prep: 
Why is this stuff sooooo expensive?? SK II Facial Treatment Essence. And so magical? Pat it on after you cleanse and before all the other stuff.

Feeling Frugal Skin Prep: 
Found this on Amazon and fell in love with its weird “cushiony” texture. May Coop Raw Sauce 150 ml.You’ll see what I mean. Not cheap-cheap but it lasts forever.

Serum
Let’s just think of this stuff as icing. I mean, cake tastes good on its own, but icing makes it so much better, ammiright?

Feeling Rich Serum:
I could never justify spending this kind of coin at full whack retail, but I used to get this with a discount when I worked for La Mer. This is the product , La Mer Concentrate, that has you basically trying to mine the very last traces out of the bottom of the bottle with a Q-tip when you’re running low. Glorious unicorn elixir. 

Feeling Frugal Serum:
Gotta hand it to the folks at Glossier. Their stuff is solid and the price is right. Here’s a good one that lasts and lasts. Future Dew.

Moisturizer
You need it. You just do. Here are two heavy-duty moisture bombs for the cooler months that are like drinking from a fire hose, but for your skin. And it seems like the experts at Ciel Spa agree: “For moisturizing during cold weather, it’s a good idea to switch up your moisturizer.  Incorporate creams and products that are thicker in texture. We do recommend products that heal and soothe the skin like Creme Masque Vernix and Creme Verte Espoir.”

Feeling Rich Moisturizer:
Bought a jar of this Charlotte’s Magic Cream from someone at my old job who had gotten it but didn’t find it compatible with their skin. Fell in love.

Feeling Frugal Moisturizer:
Ah, the joy of a good, solid, spackle-textured moisture barrier cream. This is hardcore Weleda Skin Food Original Ultra-Rich Cream winter material. Warm it up a little with your hands so you can actually spread it.
 

Face Oil
This would be overkill in warm weather, but in the winter, it’s the perfect radiance booster and always feels like it’s sealing in the good stuff.

Feeling Rich Face Oil:
Theoretically, this is a night-time product, Kiehl’s Midnight Recovery Concentrate Face Oil, but I use it during the day all the time. Call the cops, I don’t care. Plus, it smells like calming lavender and who doesn’t love and need that this year? 

Feeling Frugal Face Oil:
Just for the price alone, this is a miracle, Bio-Oil Skincare Oil. But there’s something endearing about the unassuming packaging. A most democratic product. Supposedly for stretch marks and scars on the body, but I basically gargle with the stuff. 

And while cleansing with oil KariGran Cleansing Oil seems somewhat counterintuitive, super dry winter skin needs all the velvet glove treatment you can give it.

One closing thought: So about your neck? Yeah, I got nothin’ for that. Neither did Nora Ephron, who wrote in her hilarious book I Feel Bad About My Neck: “Our faces are lies and our necks are the truth. You have to cut open a redwood tree to see how old it is, but you wouldn’t if it had a neck.” You can’t, maddeningly, have everything.

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Isabel von Fluegge
Isabel von Fluegge
Isabel is a writer and brand voice specialist who has overseen the language for companies such as Tiffany & Co., La Mer and Bergdorf Goodman. She’s a strategic storyteller, with an expertise for translating brand strategy into authentic, effective language that people respond to on an intellectual and emotional level. She especially loves her more anonymous work as a ghostwriter, crafting speeches, book forewords and press quotes for well-known executives, creatives and designers. After a recent move from Brooklyn to Oakland, she’s doing her best to discover California despite pandemic shenanigans. She speaks four languages, has two daughters, one tattoo and knows both the common and Latin names for more plants than she cares to admit.

 

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