As much as I would love to blame my most recent fine lines and signs of aging on the dry climate of Salt Lake City, I fear the truth actually lies in the big 3-5 just around the corner.  Skin care has always been important to me, but it's becoming more important every day.  I have personally tried A LOT of different products, so I thought it might be interesting to share my favorites in a splurge versus steal way.  I mean...sometimes the wallet just won't allow a $400+ face cream, but that doesn't mean your face has to pay the price.

First and foremost, I need to tell you that I get Botox.  And in my opinion, there is no comparison.  I get it 2-3 times a year in a sparingly way (around 30 units).  It's more preventative than corrective at this point - though it does greatly help with my crow's feet.  Beyond that, I make time for a proper and professional facial every 1-2 months.  Everything else is topical.

I find exfoliating more important than ever as your mid-thirties your skin slows down on "sluffing" off the dead skin cells.  An old faithful favorite of mine is (and will continue to be) the St. Ives Apricot Scrub ($4.29) but I have come to LOVE the Exfoliating Crush ($40) made of actual and all natural grape seeds from 29 Cosmetics (a division of Mondavi Vineyards).  You can add it to any daily cleanser a few times a week.  Added bonus - you can use it all over your body.  I particularly love it for my back, chest, and neck.

I used to be the worst about this.  I never cleansed at night (bad girl), and when I did clean it was with below average effort.  I am now far more dedicated and pay more attention to the products I am using.  Shiseido is such a popular and easy to find brand in Asia, so during our time in Beijing I began to use many of their products.  One of my favorites is the Extra Rich Cleansing Foam ($55).  I find it rinsing easily without leaving a filmy feeling which is perfect when you are in a rush.  (I want to meet a mother who is not - though I think it will be a cold day in hell before that happens.)  For a less expensive option (or what you buy when your husband leaves your suitcase on the side of the road in Dallas), I opt for Aveno Brightening Cleanser ($8.99) available at any drugstore.

Moisturize.  Moisturize.  Moisturize.  Right?  It's the name of the game as an aging woman.  I really do splurge on my moisturizers and serums, but every now and then a new pair of shoes (or a bag) takes priority, and I am back at Walgreens replacing my Creme de la Mer.  Let's start with serum.  When it comes to my splurges, I go with the Super Face Serum by 3 Lab ($595).  3 Lab is an amazing company with a huge staff of chemists, merging beauty with science.  They actually work to create a large portion of all skin care products on the market (for other brands).  Why not got to the source, right?  For a less expensive option, with a nice dose of Retinol, I like Neutrogena's Rapid Wrinkle Repair Serum ($14.80).

For my everyday moisturizer (I also use it at night), I opt for La Mer's original formula ($295).  It's sort of like expensive Crisco and you have to activate it in your hands to actually apply it to your face.  Please note that it does NOT have sunscreen, so you will need to supplement that yourself.  It has made a huge difference in my face since moving to ultra dry Utah.  For the months when I am in desperate need of a steal, then I turn to Olay Professional ProX Hydra Firming Cream.  Honestly, it is such a solid bang for your buck coming in at $29.99.  It doesn't moisturize to the level of La Mer, but it is pretty amazing for the cost and far superior to a lot of $100 creams found at department stores.

The eyes, well my eyes at least, were the first things to start showing my age.  They say that crow's feet come from smiles and laughter.  Thankfully, I have had a lot of that in my life - hence the wrinkles I suppose.  So, on top of above mention Botox, I keep the crow's at bay with the Super Eye Treatment from 3 Lab ($425).  It helps a little bit with dark circles, but according to my Dermatologist the dreaded bags are mostly hereditary.  Not much can be done.  Countertime Vibrant Eye Perfector by Beauty Counter ($55) is an incredible alternative.  To be honest, I actually use both as I find the Countertime to really brighten the eye area.

For my heavier eye moisturizer which I apply day and night over the serums listed above, I use Kiehls Rosa Arctic Eye ($46) or Purity Cosmetics Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream ($13.80).  They both have a tightening and refreshing effect which gives me a boost early in the morning.

Last but certainly NOT least is protecting your skin against the sun.  Funny how it is so good for your mood and yet, so bad for your skin.  If you are not up for carrying a parasol with you 24/7 (wouldn't it be fun if those came back into style!?) then you will most likely one of these two options: Beauty Counter Protect All Over ($26) or Neutrogena Ultra Sheer 100+ ($9.99).


  • Donna Casali

    Performance and Price are two important considerations when selecting products we put on our skin, but so is ingredient safety.

    I’m glad to see that 2 Beautycounter products are listed above…our vibrant eye perfector, a steal and our Protect All Over Sunscreen, a splurge.

    Ingredient Safety and Performance are equally important, as is making products affordable. Safer sunscreens do cost more, but in my opinion, they’re worth it because the alternative is using ingredients that are linked to Cancer and hormone disruption.

    Here’s a handy shopping guide of ingredients to avoid:

    Donna Casali on

  • Auburn Daily

    I’m with you on the Botox. I hated that I had to avoid it for the 2 1/2 years of pregnancy and breastfeeding. I’m a few years older than you and totally agree that it’s preventative (my good friend, dermatology PA, says the same). Once I finally weaned a few months ago, it was the first appointment I made. So far I just do forehead but eyes are next. It is the best bang for your buck, hands down, and with a light touch, I think the results are amazing.
    Am also a La Mer fan—that $300 jar actually goes a long way, I find! I also like anything with a retinol (I always steal samples of the pure stuff when at the dermatologist’s office) and lately have been using Kate Somerville’s Complexion Correction to help with some of my sun damage, though have found that a quick laser treatment (I like the IPL) is really the most effective approach.

    Auburn Daily on

  • Crystal Settle

    Have you tried any of the Rodan & Fields products? (I get mine from Amberly.) The entire line is wonderful, but the eye cream and exfoliators are especially great!! The face wipes are great to have on the go also! I highly recommend giving the Rodan & Fields products a try:) wish you the best on your journey west!

    Crystal Settle on

  • Amanda Hamner

    Love some of the products you mentioned and look forward to trying some too!! One thing that has made a big difference for me is my clairsonic brush!! And I love your transparency about Botox! ?

    Amanda Hamner on

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