I’ve been trying to clean up my act: my stress levels, wellness routines, eating habits and beauty products. Some things have worked well and some haven’t (still haven’t found a natural deodorant that works with my hyperhidrosis, so leave me a comment below with suggestions).
I’ve long been a fan of Beautycounter products and when I ventured to Iceland this summer, I was blown out of the water by the country’s homegrown skincare products. I’m sure it was a combination of less pollution; the clean, crisp air; lack of humidity (hello 50-60 degree temps in July); and the natural springs…but by day #4, I was wearing only mascara and my skin was glowing.
In this post, I’m sharing my new, clean(er) skincare favorites. There aren’t any referral links, FYI–although, with the amount I’ve spent, I wish there were some–ha!
Foreign Beauty Products: My Souvenirs
As someone who’s not a fan of clutter, I have this affinity for purchasing beauty products while traveling and consider them my souvenirs. Unfortunately, this has sometimes led me to fall in love with brands not available in the U.S.–even via shipping–but, more often than not, I’ve been able to get my hands on something I’ve fallen in love with abroad (even if it’s through Poshmark).
From No. 7 products at Boots in London 20+ years ago to L’Oreal Elvive Dream Lengths products in Edinburgh, eventually, the products have made their way to the States…even if I have to wait years. So, when I was in Iceland, I snatched up as much of what I loved, just in case.
When I got home, I figured out a way to integrate my newfound products into my skincare and beauty routine and what you see below is my new medicine cabinet line-up:
The hotel we stayed at in Iceland, Reykjavik Konsulat Hotel, had a BIOEFFECT store next to it. One day, while my hubby was napping, I wandered in and learned all about how the company was founded by Icelandic scientists who discovered a way to produce plant-based EGF (Epidermal Growth Factor) in barley plants. EGF plays a vital role in the production of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid to maintain skin’s healthy, dense, and youthful appearance and BIOEFFECT’s barley is sustainable, uniquely pure and grown in inert volcanic pumice, using geothermal energy and pure Icelandic water enriched with nutrients. Ummm, hello….does that sound amazing, or what?
I started with the EGF Eye Serum which has a cooling rollerball. I’ve slowly added to my collection using my $100 annual Saks credit from my AMEX Platinum card and sales on the BIOEFFECT’s website (yes, they ship to the U.S.!).
Here’s an important note about BIOEFFECT’s products: they’re sticky, so if you don’t have three to five minutes to let the product absorb before moving on to the next step in your routine, these may not be the products for you. To me, this means I’m getting the ultimate hydration (which is absolutely hilarious to me since I spent most of my teens, 20s and 30s trying to dry out my skin!), so I’ll slap a layer on, move to my hair or getting dressed, do another layer, etc. If you’re the 10-minutes-to-get-ready-and-then-I’m-out-the-door type, you may want to check out other products.
To me, I’m hoping to stay looking youthful, but not “done,” if you know what I mean. Wrinkles and frown lines bother me occasionally, but I love my smile lines–I’ve live a good life and I really wished I would have started an in-depth, clean skincare routine 25 years ago…
That being said, let’s get to my routines.
Daytime Skincare Routine
After washing my face (see product recommendations below), I am now using the following skincare products during the daytime:
- 30-Day Treatment (I received this as a free sample and really like it so far)
- EGF Day Serum
- Just a touch of the Hydrating Cream
You’ll also see in the photo above that I use Origins GINZING eye cream during the day to reduce dark circles and brighten my undereye circles. I’ve been using this product for years and absolutely love it.
Finally, to help stay hydrated during the day (I work from home and even with a humidifier, our air gets dry), I use Sóley Iceland’s Face Mist, which I impulse purchased at the duty free shop on our way out of Iceland. Sadly, we can’t purchase it in the States, even online, but I am hopeful that one day we’ll be able to. It’s made of natural Icelandic herbs, is light and despite my aversion to scented products, smells fresh and delightful.
Nighttime Skincare Routine
This is the area I’ve made the BIGGEST progress in. Often too tired to do anything more than wash my makeup off, I rarely used nighttime products. That has changed drastically. Here’s what I use:
- In the winter months, I use Beautycounter’s Countertime Lipid Defense Cleansing Oil. This feels SO luxurious!
- The rest of the year, I use either Beautycounter’s Nourishing Cream Cleanser, which is no longer available, so my next purchase will be Beautycounter’s Countermatch Refresh Foaming Cleanser.
- Twice a week, I use Blue Lagoon’s Mineral Exfoliator. You only need a little bit of this because it goes a long way. I tested it when I was in Iceland and to me, the price point was worth it because I no longer go for facials.
- I then use BIOEFFECT’s EGF Serum (different from the Day Serum) and EGF Eye Serum.
- Last, but not least, I had been using BIOEFFECT’s Hydrating Cream, which I loved, but I just purchase the EGF Power Cream during a Saks sale (and with the help of my AMEX benefit!) and WOW…does it do the job. I can’t believe how hydrated my skin is!
Let’s Talk $$$$
Here’s the thing: I’m frugal. I don’t like wasting money and for years, I would skip skincare altogether, thinking it was making my skin oilier than it was already. Then, every few months, I’d cave and shell out $100 or more on a trip to the facialist, praying for her to work her magic.
I know hormones have a lot to do with things, but that being said, I haven’t been to a facialist in years (when I first started trying Beautycounter products) and since I’ve implemented the Icelandic skincare products, I rarely have to put on a lot of makeup–that’s saying a lot for a 43-year-old who has never had Botox, fillers, lasers or whatever else is used to slow down or reverse aging. So, to me, the money I’ve spent in the last couple of years on finding the right skincare products for me is well worth it.
And please know that I’m not knocking anyone who chooses a different path. Are there days I wake up wishing I looked younger? Sure! Mostly my hands and neck, which I’ve learned to slather my skincare products on those areas now, as well. But, I feel like I look like me at 43, but with healthier-looking, more plump skin and with no breakouts (even after mask-wearing!) than I did in my 30s where I bought more makeup to cover up my problem skin.
I’d love to know what your favorite clean(er) skincare products are, so please leave me a comment below. And if you’re shopping Beautycounter, please visit my friend, Karol’s site, another wonderful #CommsMom, because she was the one who started educating me about cleaner beauty years ago (and no, I don’t get a referral–I just like supporting friends).