Mom, Wash Your Face


My whole life, I’ve hated washing my face.  I think it was because water would get everywhere… so I didn’t really do it that often.

Over a year ago, I was introduced to a new regimen of skin care, it is based on some Korean skincare principles as well as Caroline Hirons’ method.  The specific method and many recommended products come from a Portland, OR mom and skin care devotee, Nicole. This introduction coincided with feeling like I was hurtling toward 40 and it was time to start taking care of myself in several ways.

The foundation of the routine is 7 essential steps.

Now before you freak out on me and say you have kids and no time for this… the process of washing my face like this has become just a couple of minutes of self-care, twice per day. It really doesn’t take long once you’re in the swing of it. And my skin looks so good, I don’t wear any foundation-type makeup… so that’s a time and product saving right there.  I like that it is a few minutes carved out just for me and I like that while it makes me look better– it’s not all vanity, its taking good care of my skin.

This is what I’ve been doing:


  1. Milk Cleanser. I’ve used La Roche-Posay and Soap and Glory most recently. The important thing in this step is that it does not foam. Foam strips your skin and disrupts the “acid mantle.” I don’t know what that is, but I know my face no longer feels tight when I wash it. Apply it to the face in small circles and then wipe off with a wet, warm washcloth. I bought this big pack for this step, they also act as a mild physical exfoliant.
  2. Acid exfoliant. Dry your face and pat on an acid exfoliant. I have used both Pixi Glow Tonic and a much harder to get and more expensive one called P50 by Biologique Recherche. It’s best to ease into the acids so the skin doesn’t get angry. This step will address acne and pigmentation, will also help get that “glow.”
  3. Vitamin C serum. So here’s where you might rebel. Mostly because Vitamin C is not stable and so cheap versions aren’t very effective. Even if they’re exposed to sunlight, they can become ineffective. I have used Truth Serum and Professional C Serum. I’ve also used a sample size of Sunday Riley, Drunk Elephant is also endorsed. I know. It’s not cheap, but the bottles do last for a long time. The benefit here is improving sun damage.
  4. Other serums. I like oils for this, I’ve used this Rosehip oil and this Acure Serum. This is also where I try out the kabillion tiny samples of serums I’ve accumulated.
  5. Moisturizer. This is also kind of a freebie, there’s no need to spend much on this, just avoid mineral oil and shea, as both can irritate. Don’t use a combined SPF/moisturizer or vitamin c/moisturizer, they really don’t work as well as each product can on its own. Since it is so dry in Flagstaff, I also sometimes layer on either Hado Labo or May Coop Raw Sauce for extra moisture. 
  6. Sunscreen. You guys, we’ve gotta wear sunscreen. Additionally, the acid exfoliant step and the retinoid step (see below) bring out new skin cells and they’re so vulnerable to sun damage. I like this La Roche Posay and this Japanese “sunmilk.”


  1. Double cleanse. Start with a balm cleanser. Rub the balm into your face in small circles, wipe off with the wet, warm washcloth. I have used Clinique Take the Day Off, Body Shop Chamomile Sumptuous Cleansing Butter, and Banila Clean it Zero. This Emma Hardie one comes highly recommended, but also with a high price tag. Again, avoid mineral oil and shea. Then wash with cleansing milk as above.
  2. Acid exfoliant, again!
  3. Retinoid. I have been using Differin, but here are some other ideas from Allure. This step reduces hyperpigmentation, wrinkles, and acne. This is another one to ease in to, as some peoples’ skin will dry out and/or “purge” while it de-congests.
  4. Serums, again, up to you.
  5. Moisturizer

That’s it. Maybe you’re horrified, maybe slightly intrigued. Either way, I wish you clean pores and just the laugh lines you’ve earned.