Skincare in My Mid-30s

Recently, I realized that what I had been doing for my skin for the past five or 10 years just wasn’t quite working right anymore. When I really started to figure out my skincare routine, I was in my early 20s, and hadn’t ever really done anything more than a prescription acne cream and sunscreen when I was outside. So the products I picked were really focused on clearing up my acne and keeping my skin consistently clear. And it took some time, but I got it figured out, and got a routine that really worked for me.

But I’m not in my early 20s anymore! So a few months ago, I started to slowly make some changes to my routine. I cut down on the number of times I use strong acids, and made sure I was giving my skin enough moisture. I still have oily skin, so I have to be careful not to add too much moisture, but I don’t want to overly strip my skin, either. And I’m really happy with the routine I’ve come up with! So I’m going to share what I use in the morning and in the evening, and the changes I’ve made.

Morning Skincare Routine

Gentle Cleanser

I start by washing my face with a gentle cleanser. Because face wash only stays on your face for a few minutes at the very most, I don’t look for anything with fancy ingredients or claims! I’ve cycled through a few different cleansers, but I’m currently using the Fresh Soy Facial Cleanser. It’s really nice on my skin, and rinses off without leaving my skin feeling stripped.


Right after cleansing, I use this toner from Paula’s Choice. It adds some moisture back into my skin after cleansing, and it has niacinimide and peptides to help with pore size and firmness. Because it’s a liquid, it’s thin enough that it doesn’t add too much moisture and doesn’t make my skin too oily before makeup.

Prescription Acne Cream

I didn’t want to leave this out – I use a prescription acne cream from a dermatologist. If you’re struggling with acne, I highly recommend going to see a dermatologist rather than just trying to treat it with products. Going directly to the experts is way easier (and less potentially damaging to you skin, too).


Sunscreen is so important – it’s my last skincare step before makeup! I wear it every single day, even if I’m just going to be inside, because I’d rather be safe than sorry. I just wrote a whole post about my favorite sunscreens here. If I’m wearing makeup, I like to use Supergoop’s Unseen, because I love how it works under makeup – it’s almost like a primer. If it’s a no-makeup day, I’ve been using the Kiehl’s Serum sunscreen – I love how it makes my skin feel soft and moisturized.

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Evening Skincare Routine

Bioderma Micellar Water

In the evening, I just cleanse and remove makeup with micellar water from Bioderma. I know it might not be quite as good as a regular cleanser with water at the sink, but it’s MUCH more accessible for me. Micellar water really does cleanse so well, and it takes off makeup so easily. I love how easy it is to use.


Just like in the morning, I follow my evening cleanse with toner. Because you don’t rinse off micellar water, I especially like to follow cleansing with toning in the evening to make sure any remaining residue is wiped off, and that I’m adding a little moisture back and not overly stripping my skin.


I don’t use any over-the-counter retinol products because I get tretinoin prescribed from a dermatologist. Again, I really recommend talking to a dermatologist to figure out if there are any prescription-strength products that would help you and your skin.

Vitamin C Serum

I know that some people don’t recommend using Vitamin C and tretinoin together, but I’ve done a lot of research, and it’s okay to do as long as your skin doesn’t react to it, which mine doesn’t. I know a lot of people use Vitamin C in the morning, but my prescription cream has benzoyl peroxide in it, and those two shouldn’t mix! So I just make sure that my tretinoin is fully absorbed and soaked in before moving on to this step. I’ve been loving this serum version from Timeless (you can read a full review of it here) – it’s not too sticky, is easy to apply, and the pump keeps it from oxidizing too quickly.

Exfoliating Serum

This is probably one of the biggest changes in my routine. For a while, I was using an exfoliant – either a liquid version or a serum version – every single day, one or two times a day. My skin could handle it, and it really helped clear up my acne. But my skin is different now, and does not need nearly that much exfoliation. So now, I’m using this Drunk Elephant serum once or twice a week. I like that it has both AHAs and BHAs, which means it has exfoliants that are getting deep into my pores, and exfoliants that are helping with any surface dullness.

Dieux Serum

The Deliverance Serum from Dieux is the second biggest and best change to my routine. Since I’m using a few potentially sensitizing products (exfoliants, tretinoin, Vitamin C…), I want to make sure I’m adding nourishing, calming ingredients, too. And even more so because my skin has always been very quick to flush and turn red! This Dieux serum is the most calming and soothing thing I’ve ever used – I genuinely think my skin is less red because of it. It’s also nice and lightweight, and doesn’t make me feel like I’ve got a thick layer of products on my face.


And finally, ending with a moisturizer. Because I have oily skin, I look for something nice and lightweight, and I’ve been using this gel moisturizer from Dieux. I love that it adds just the right amount of moisture back into my skin, and it doesn’t pill at all when I layer it on top of my other products. It feels really nice, and I wake up with nice, plump, dewy skin. You can read my full review of the Dieux serum and moisturizer in this post.

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