GPS: On Simplifying Beauty Routines.


Source: Ryan McGuire, Gratisography.

Now that I endure an hour-long commute and work regular office hours, I no longer have the luxury of taking my sweet time getting ready in the morning (RIP, grad school flexibility!). Moreover, by the time I come home in the evening, I simply don’t have the energy to go through my long-standing night ritual of masks, peels, plucks, and polishes. I’ve been slowly but surely streamlining my daily “beauty routine” so that I can be up and out the door in 30 minutes, and showered and asleep in less than 15. To be upfront, I’m a bit of a beauty product fanatic so this effort to minimize my routine has been a process. For this second installment in the Grown People Sh** (GPS) series (you could read my first installment here), I’d like to share the current state of my AM and PM regimen. Compared to my previous routine, I think this is pretty good for me– I’ve effectively cut down the total number of products I use by more than half.

Just a bit of background: I have combination skin and my t-zone is a little on the oily side. If I could name one primary skin concern, it is uneven skin tone and dark spots. I haven’t had to deal with wrinkles or age spots yet, but I try to lean towards prevention when it comes to my product selections.

…This is what I currently use in the morning:


1) Wash: DERMAdoctor Wrinkle Revenge® 1 Facial Cleanser. I’ve been using this in the AM and PM with my Clarisonic brush for about two months now. I like the creamy consistency of this cleanser, and it seems to remove all my makeup pretty well. Additionally, my skin feels really soft after I wash it off. Once a week, I use it as a face mask for a little extra exfoliation and brightening. On the downside, I’ve had to get used to the fact that you have to use it on dry skin, and it also doesn’t foam up like my previous glycolic acid cleanser. Overall, I think it is effective and good for the price (a 7 oz. tube for $26), but I am considering going back to my old glycolic cleanser (M-61 Power Cleanse, once this container is empty.

2) Tone: Mario Badescu Glycolic Acid Toner. I’ve used this for years. It’s great for wiping off any extra dirt, makeup, and dry skin.

3) Moisturize: Perricone MD Photo Plasma SPF 30. I was a devout user of the Perricone MD Face Finishing Moisturizer and recently replaced it with this moisturizer + SPF version. A little bit goes a long way. This 2 oz. container has lasted 3 months so far and I project that I won’t have to replace it for another 2-3 months.

4) Eyes: Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream. I am a fan of the Caudalie line and picked this up at a Nordstrom Rack on deep discount. I do notice a difference after I pat this stuff on the dark, puffy circles under my eyes (yay, sleep deprivation). At $99 regular price, I’m not sure if I love it enough to commit to another vial when the time comes to replace it, but it is good stuff.

…Once I’ve washed, toned, and moisturized, it’s makeup time. Since my job is more conservative than my previous position, I’ve cut my product use down with the goal of 1) evening out my skin tone and 2) adding in the slightest bit of color for a simple, “natural” look. This really does take 5 minutes or less to apply, no joke:


1) Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35. I started using this about half a year ago after a couple years of using Smashbox Camera Ready CC Cream Dark Spot Correcting SPF 30. I like that this BB cream matches my Asian skin tone better than the Smashbox colors, and it feels less drying.

2) MAKE UP FOR EVER Full Cover Concealer. The tiniest dot of this stuff goes a long way for covering up the occasional blemish.

3) Peter Thomas Roth Oily Problem Skin Instant Mineral Powder SPF 30. I use a light dusting on the t-zone and carry this in my work bag for mid-day touch-ups.

4) Chanel Joues Contraste Powder Blush in 02 Rose Bronze.  I purchased this after a particularly bad teaching day and haven’t regretted it. The Rose Bronze gives a pretty flush to my skin tone and looks great in all seasons. The powder also smells awesome (like roses!).

5) NARS lipstick in Damage. I’ll swipe this sheer plummy color on once I get to my office (usually over some Burt’s Bees lip balm).

6) Eyelash curler. I have long stick-straight lashes so when I’m not feeling lazy, I’ll put the extra effort into curling them. Lately I’ve been skipping this step, though.

… And finally nighttime. These days, by the time I’m ready for bed, I’m cranky and tired. So I’ll take about 2 minutes to put this stuff on before I sleep:


1) Treat: Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum. As I mentioned before, I am a fan of the Caudalie line of products (their shop in NYC also offers great facials), so I’ve stuck to this radiance serum for several years now after a friend recommended it to me. It smells good, absorbs quickly, and I notice that it has helped to even out my skin tone and fade dark spots. I think the price is fair for its effectiveness ($79 for 1 oz.) and how long it lasts me– I usually use 2 drops at night.

2) Moisturize: Caudalie Vinoperfect Cell Renewal Night Cream. This cream has a medium-thick consistency and is moisturizing. I’m kind of indifferent towards this product because of the smell, so once this tube is done I will be looking to replace it with something new (your recommendations are welcome).

3) Eyes: Caudalie Premier Cru Eye Cream. Again.

And that’s it! A routine simplified down to 12 products. I could probably cut this down a little more, but this is what’s working for me right now so I’ll stick with it. I’m sure this will change a bit as the season changes. If you have any time-saving beauty products that you love, please do share them. Like I said, I’m a beauty product junkie so I love trying new things every now and again!

– j.

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