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Ethel's Go-to Skin Care Routine

Life should be simple. When it comes to skin care routine, I go for the sophisticated one. When I was pre-teen, the routine simply called for Neutrogena cleansing bar and some pimple spot treatment. In college I graduated with an astringent and a face cream thrown into the routine. My routine got more complicated when I started to work; with the extra money I was able to afford some masks here and there and very occasional facial treatments.

I was always under the impression that the more expensive the skincare products are, the more effective they are. I got to the point that I would easily drop $250 on a skincare product, those that are marketed luxury and endorsed by celebrities, hoping that my skin would end up looking like theirs. I got allergic reaction instead and a bill from the urgent care providers for emergency shots of Benadryl and some steroid pills to calm down inflammation. Finding the right product was so hard that I went through many iterations with the same outcomes. The doctors wondered why I kept repeating the same torture - swollen face, red face, itchy face, and rashes. All in pursuit of youthful-looking skin.

Doing a deeper dive on the various concoctions that I was forcing onto my skin, I learned that I was slathering on cheap, synthetic, and toxic ingredients that I was paying a fortune for. In 2007 I started to dabble in DIY natural skincare halfheartedly because I was still struggling at that time how a simple concoction of mashed papaya and some milk or yogurt as a facial mask could actually make my skin smooth or how some strawberries could act as an astringent or how jojoba and some frankincense and carrot seed oil could be anti-aging. Due to my frequent business travels in various continents in the years that followed, I had to shelve any plans to completely go natural and healthy all the way. There’s just simply no time for all that fuss. So I went back to my duty-free shopping of luxury skin care products, while waiting for flights at various airports around the globe, that promised beautiful skin.

Last year, I had my unexpected discovery of what skincare should be while taking a deeper look at longevity, health, and beauty. I realized I was doing skin care all wrong. I found out that beauty is skin-deep. First, it’s about proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and emotional balance. Second, it’s about what I put on my skin. Third, it’s also about what I do on my skin. Let me break it down into steps:

Morning Routine:

  1. Stretch and meditate
  2. Drink 8 fluid ounces of lukewarm water with lemon and ginger
  3. Do light exercises (pilates, barre, light weights) for 20 min
  4. Blend and drink at least 16 fluid ounces of my Perfect Green Smoothie
  5. Do dry brushing all over body
  6. Put on pre-shower body oil
  7. In the shower, wash my face with a natural cleansing oil. Use natural moisturizing scrub and natural shower cream for the body.
  8. Out of the shower, immediately put on natural body moisturizer to lock in hydration while skin is still damp
  9. Put on natural facial toner, natural essence, and natural face serum (which depends on what I’m trying to target for the day - hydration, hyper-pigmentation, anti-aging, or exfoliation) and allow to absorb
  10. Put on natural light body oil to seal in moisture
  11. Apply natural face cream (which depends on what I’m trying to target again)
  12. Apply natural and high-quality sunscreen
  13. When everything is set, apply natural skin foundation and makeup as the last layer

Evening Routine:

  1. Wash my face with a natural cleansing oil and follow with a natural toner
  2. Twice a year, do a 12-week cycle of at-home laser treatment. In between, do at-home microneedling, dermaplaning and microcurrent practices. (I like getting professional grade treatments at a medical spa as a starting point, and then I use at-home devices for maintenance in between.)
  3. Apply natural face serum and allow to absorb
  4. Follow with natural face cream
  5. Follow with natural face oil

Twice a Week:

  1. Exfoliate using a natural glycolic scrub
  2. Put on natural facial mask (which depends on what I’m trying to target again)
  3. Follow with natural serum, cream and oil

This might sound daunting and complicated. It’s not really; once you have done all of them you will get your own feel for what works for you. I think this routine is sophisticated, modern, and effective. Taking care of the skin requires more than the typical wash-toner-cream cycle. But is it worth the time and effort? ABSOLUTELY!