outfit: puffer’s back (+ skincare updates)

ootd 2018-04-17 at 6.39.23 PM

This is what I wore to work today. 

It’s cold again, which I didn’t mind too much because it meant I could continue wearing my HOPP boots again.  Sadly they will be discontinued so I’m glad I bought a pair when I did.  I slathered a layer of leather conditioning lotion on them before heading out in the rain on Monday.  It was pouring out there and I didn’t feel like wearing my clunky Ariat winter boots because I knew the rain would clear up by the afternoon so I took a risk wearing these boots, but they held up fine.  I avoided the big puddles but still there was a lot of rain that I had to walk through, and these boots didn’t get soaked through probably because the soles are made of rubber. Did anyone else in NYC get like 10 emergency flash flood warnings on their phones?  It was insane.  I don’t understand why they sent so many.

Not much to say about this outfit here except that I felt comfortable in it.  It’s a little funny how my coat matches the pants.  Maybe it’s all a little too green. But outside my commute, I’m just wearing a black mock neck with straight cut chinos, which just barely meets the dress code for a business casual work environment.

It’s now April and I have a few skin care ’empties’ to talk about.  Around New Year’s as you might recall, I bought a few products from the Ordinary (the Buffet serum, rosehip oil, and natural moisturizing factors) and from CeraVe (the hydrating cleanser, the PM moisturizer, and body cream) and decided I would be more consistent about my skincare regimen.

After two months, I noticed a few blemishes crop up every couple of weeks.  Then decided I’d cut back on the number of products and minimized it to just the Cerave PM moisturizer at night, chosen for it’s combination of ceramides and niacinamides. I used the cerave hydrating cleanser in the shower and the Cerave body cream on the body after showers as well.  In the AM I used Japanese sunscreen on my face.  I just finished up the entire bottle of Anessa sensitive skin sunscreen that comes in a white bottle.  It’s near impossible to find nowadays. I think maybe they discontinued it which is sad because it had the largest combination of Japanese UVA blocking ingredients of them all.  Now I’m using the Japanese Biore UV sunscreen which is also really nice.

So in total, I’m only using 3 things on my face: gentle cleanser, PM moisturizer, and sunscreen in the AM.  I’ve been doing this for 2 months and I think I have fewer blemishes now than I did before.  Still will get the occasional blemish, so I’m going to replace my now empty cerave hydrating cleanser with the salicylic acid cleanser from the same brand and see if that makes a difference.

So what did I do with the Ordinary buffet serum and rose hip oil that I bought?  Now I use them solely for my neck area and hands and probably won’t repurchase when they are empty.  I also use a few drops of cheap generic cold pressed argan oil in my towel dried hair after the shower and that has done wonders for me. The BF uses it in his beard as well and he likes it.  He learned that from watching Queer Eye with me! haha.   The BF also bought the cerave AM moisturizer that has SPF 30 in it because I didn’t want him using up my precious Japanese sunscreen.  It’s nice but probably would pill if you slathered on too much or if you wear a lot of make up but it works very nice for people who wear no make up, which is me on most days.

In all these products there are no essential oils, other fragrances, or exotic ingredients that companies charge a premium for but for which there is no evidence to back up their ‘anti aging’ claims.  Most of skincare is a big scam, ie. any cream made specifically for the neck or eyes.  No, that’s just stupid.  I’m sorry but no one needs a specific cream for those areas.  Ya might as well flush your money down the toilet.  I feel the same way about toners, Clairisonic brushes, and many other products. Don’t get me started.  What about you?  What does your skincare regimen consist of? And are there any skincare products you’ve now realized are total scams?

[outfit:  everlane long puffer, steve jobs halloween costume mockneck, *madewell straight chinos, HOPP zip up boots, *dagne dover midi tote]



26 thoughts on “outfit: puffer’s back (+ skincare updates)

  1. Thanks for the review on the Ordinary. Now I know I don’t want to get anything from them. Other scams: Glossier and Aesop. I do like Paula’s Choice though and I think her stuff works well!


    1. I actually like Ordinarys philosophy and don’t think they fall into the scam category. But I won’t repurchase because I’m trying to use less products. Although I might get the buffet serum just for the neck. I have yet to use PC but started looking into Paula’s advice on beautypedia.com because of your recommendation. Aesop is especially scam-y. All they care about is the sensual experience rather than what’s actually good for your skin.


  2. I am all about Cerave PM and the hydrating cleanser! I had surgery a few months back and after wards had really congested skin that developed into mild rosacea. Cerave PM in particular is my HG, works better than prescriptions I have gotten. I also really like EltaMD for sunscreen, another dermatologist brand. The tinted one is great


  3. I’m getting to the same place. My skin cleared up when all I use is a Neutrogena face wash in the shower, cold water in the morning, and eyebrow gel/mascara/Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm. For a while I also had tinted moisturizer and a light powder but I’ve weaned off of that. If I have a bad blemish, I put a q tip of rubbing alcohol on it (I know it’s bad but it works!) and if I’m really dry I have La Mer. Not repurchasing La Mer, but glad I tried it once. I’ll probably just go back to the basic Olay sunscreen/moisturizer combo. Funny how less is more. Plus, I think some people just have faces that look better made up. My skin is freckly and I have small eyes and makeup just makes me look like I’m in drag.


    1. Never heard of the rubbing alcohol thing. I’ll have to try it. If it’s bad, but works, at least it’s only on one small area. Thanks for sharing your experience. I wondered about La Mer but my god, the price tag is insane.


  4. Agreed that there is a lot of nonsense skincare, although I think part of the struggle is finding which products really work for you.

    Unfortunately I just can’t get along with Cerave or Neutrogena, although I really like basics from CosRX. It took a while to learn that it suited me better to separate active ingredients from basic steps (cleanser, because it spends a few minutes on your face, tops; moisturiser, so you can control the balance). I also really benefited from using a snail essence and manual exfoliator regularly—two really arbitrary things that I wouldn’t necessarily have identified beforehand.


    1. I used to think that about cleansers too but actually there are certain active ingredients that penetrate quickly and acts, like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. But aside from those ingredients probably not much else matters except for how stripping they are of the oils on our skin. I think exfoliating gives really nice immediate results, but my concern is for problems it can cause downstream. But obviously if thats something you do and have no problems then sure its fine. But as long as I get blemishes, I will experiment with changing things to see if that fixes the problem.


  5. I like the skincare talk! I recently got myself the Mirena and broke out like crazy–the androgens really didn’t agree with me. It was hell for two months, and I had to address with spironolactone + a nighttime cream that has clindamycin-azelaic-niacinamide (from curology–they were running a promo during which the first bottle was super inexpensive). Unfortunately I did the oral and topical stuff simultaneously, so I don’t know what’s responsible for the magic, but my skin is better than it has been in years. The Curology worked so well that I stuck with it at full price, but it’s an easy set of three things to replicate, since only clindamycin is rx. My curology pa is also going to add tretinoin into the mix too, so that’ll eliminate my having to use a separate retin a. Hope that makes the night routine simpler!


  6. Wasn’t the rain on Monday insane? It was like that here too. The parking lot at work in front of the building was a moat.
    I do realize a lot of skincare items are scam stuffs, but in some ways I’m ok with using a few extra products because it helps me mentally prepare myself while physically doing so. Does that make sense?
    I use Tony Moly Rice Smooth Toner, which is really cheap. It helps in the winter with the tight feeling my skin gets due to the dry weather. I also like how it does make my skin feel a bit smooth for putting on the rest of my stuff. I mostly use Ordinary products: Caffeine solution – for the eye area to reduce puffiness. I’ve had some really bad weeks this winter with dry weather and work stress and this stuff helped keep my eyes from looking too awful. I like that its light weight as well so my eye shadow does move all over the place (I don’t use primers anymore). I also use the Hylamide Booster C25, which is a vit c serum. If I need something more for moisturizing I’ll put on Dr. Jart Ceramidin liquid after that. I use Gooddall sunscreen, which is a Japanese brand. For evenings, I put on Ordinary Retinol 2.0 and Hada Labo Rohto Gokujyn Hyaluronic Lotion. I’ve been using the Hada Labo for several years now and whenever I ran out, my skin was not happy at all. I throw on Dr. Jart if I need more moisture boost in the winter.


    1. Rain was insane. And also get that having a regimen is like a ritual in some ways. I do plan on starting retinol or some version of it at some point, but wanted to start out with bare minimum for now and work my way up to it so I have a clear idea of what’s causing what. I heard so much about hada labo, I’m tempted to try some of their things. Seems like a lot of people have a lot of trust in japanese skincare.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I also layer moisturizing products the way you describe! (The Hada Labo lotion is also a mainstay in my moisturizing routine.) I can’t overdo “active” or potentially irritating ingredients like BHA or Vitamin C, but my skin generally does well when I layer a lot of soothing and moisturizing product.


      1. I’m the same way. If I layer or use too many acids then my skin gets unhappy and breaks out. I try to only use one for morning and one for evening and sometimes I’ll alternate another I forgot to mention (acid peel pads) when I feel my skin is looking dull.
        I love the Hada Labo lotion. It really helps stabilize my skin.


  7. Differin Gel (a retinoid) has completely changed my skin — wish I had found this in my teens to save myself from the blotchy skin woes. This is an ingredient that has significant clinical backing, but I am not convinced its for everyone — it is also far too harsh for me to use the way the company recommends: every night. I also think AHA’s, specifically glycolic acids are effective and can often be quite cheap. What you use depends on ones issues and goals.


    1. I definitely want to try differin. It’s on my list of things to try and might stay on it long term. I think the key is to use an extremely small amount and maybe not everyday, and slowly titrate the dose up. I can’t believe its over the counter now and so cheap too.


      1. Yes, exactly that is how it should be used, imo. I am using it twice a week and have been for 3 months. I get results and I have very minimal redness and peeling. I am honestly really jazzed about it. At around $11/small tube ( I still have yet to run out of mine) it gives the most bang.


  8. I know what you mean about the flash flood warnings! Whether at my office (or on the commuter train back in the day), I’m always in a place where a lot of people are present and have their cell phones with them, and all those alert noises from our phones going off at the same time sound rather alarming.

    I definitely get breakouts from overdoing products, particularly BHA or other more irritating ingredients. (I don’t generally see that much improvement from scaling my routine back, alas, as my acne also ramps up if I ease up on Retin-A Micro for too many days in a row. It’s a tough, ever-changing balancing act for me!)

    I recently went on the spironolactone pill and it’s made a big difference! I do shudder to think about what happens in the future if/when I try to get pregnant as everything I use to help my skin (the pill, retin-a micro, spironolactone), all of which seems necessary to keep it under control, will be off limits then. One thing I could probably do, whether now or while forbidden from using my usual medications due to pregnancy, is cut out or significantly reduce my consumption of dairy products, but… I lack the willpower.


    1. I think making changes gradually is key. I hear acne during pregnancy can be pretty terrible. But maybe the perspective will shift then and it will hopefully be a temporary nuisance. Asians tend to develop intolerance to dairy as they age, even if you didn’t have it before.. I should probably cut back too …


  9. A little preface to my skin care routine: I generally prefer to avoid artificial chemicals, but will consider them if scientific research supports their efficacy for a specific issue I’m dealing with. I also made nearly all of my own skincare products for a decade. Around 29ish, my skin got more complicated, which coincided with the time I started working full time after law school, so I started buying more products. But I still pay close attention to ingredients. I try to avoid artificial chemicals because many of them don’t add real value to skincare. I try to stick to ingredients that have been backed up by scientific research. Given that most ingredients aren’t, I do agree with you that a lot of skincare is a scam.

    For face wash, I alternate between two: Evan Healy’s Rose Cleansing Milk and Destiny’s Boutique Charcoal face wash. I was never successfully able to create face wash at home, so I think I’ve accepted it as hard and thus worth spending money on. The Evan Healy face wash was the first face wash I really liked after literally trying EVERYTHING cheaper from Whole Foods. Still, I always think there’s no reason to spend this much ($28) on face wash every single time I buy it. The Destiny’s Boutique face wash I randomly saw at a TJ Maxx, liked the ingredient list and found surprisingly not drying. It’s twice the volume and a third the price as the Evan Healy. But I have various stupid excuses for not just switching completely.

    In the morning, after washing, I use Mad Hippie’s Vitamin C serum, which has really brightened my skin, followed by a homemade face oil and a rose geranium hydrosol mix. The combo mimics your skin’s natural acid mantle, a naturally occurring barrier that keeps bacteria out. This step is absolutely indispensable and I would not give it up for anything in the world. I have thought about adding tetrahexyldecyl ascorbate, a very stable oil soluble form of Vit C to the face oil to save some money and an extra step, but I haven’t done it yet.

    I follow with moisturizer (sometimes Evan Healy’s Rose Veviter’s, sometimes Dr. Haushka’s tinted day creme, which is also makeupy), and Juice Beauty sunscreen.

    In the evenings after washing, I use a chemical exfoliator to address my dull skin issue. I alternate between Sunday Riley’s Good Genes and Mad Hippie’s Exfoliating Serum. I think I get better overall toning from Good Genes, but Mad Hippie makes a bigger dent in scarring. Good Genes also has some unnecessary artificial ingredients, and is super expensive. Some nights I’ll finish with Mad Hippie’s Vit A (i.e. retinol). I’ve used Sunday Riley’s Luna night oil in the past and the results are really fantastic, but it’s much more expensive. I’m torn on using Vit. A. It gets results, but the research says it’s pretty harmful. How much am I willing to risk my health for vanity?


    1. I’m impressed with your ability to DIY products. A couple years ago I was all about all natural skin care but then I learned more about some of it’s problems and realized that I was more married to the idea that something is all natural than any evidence that it is actually better.. and of course there are many many things in nature that is harmful to the human body and can cause it to become inflamed or break out. I was obsessed with Dr Hauschkas but no longer use it on my face because it contains so many irritating botanical ingredients, that do feel and smell amazing though. I now delegate those products to my body and hands. even though i have ‘good skin’, that is not particularly sensitive, I heed dermatologists advice to stay away from fragrance in skincare when it comes to the face, treating the face area like it’s sensitive even if it’s not. hypersensitivities can develop over time. I’m more lenient with hand and body cream for the occasional treat. On the other hand there are environmental reasons why someone might not want to use synthetic chemicals, and there are probably a lot of harmful synthetic chemicals as well. I don’t think there is an easy way for us consumers to know what’s good or bad.. and i think all going all natural is an overly simplistic solution to the complex world of skincare ingredients unfortunately. I wish things were more clear cut.


      1. Yes, everyone’s skin can reactions to all kinds of ingredients, including natural ingredients. I think that takes people switching to natural products by surprise. I always like to point out that many plants are poisonous, so natural ingredients don’t mean reactionless products.

        But I also think that natural products are subject to the same trial and error as conventional products. I loved the brands that provided trial sized kits of their main lines – it was a much more efficient way to try out products. And,whenever possible, I bought from Whole Foods. They let you return opened products, so there was no financial risk.

        Some brands worked beautifully for me – I would buy every single Evan Healy product if they weren’t so expensive for what they are, and if there weren’t readily available cheaper alternatives. But her products are perfect (for me). Mad Hippie’s serums are really fantastic – their formulations align with my philosophy of highly effective, science backed formulations; minimal artificial ingredients; no unnecessary ingredients; etc. I just wish the name wasn’t so stupid, and the packaging a little more adult.

        Some brands were total misses for me, such as Acure – everything was an epic fail. My skin, which is like yours, has never reacted so badly to any brand. Some brands had one or two products I could pull from. Dr. Hauschka’s Tinted Day Cream and Rose Day Creams work wonderfully for me, even though I thought everything else was terrible. I was surprised that Dr. Haushka was as bad as it was given their longevity and their large fan base. But maybe that’s because competition was so limited for so long?


  10. I tried the Ordinary Serum but it didn’t do much for me, plus it irritated my skin a bit, so I gave up – serums just don’t seem to be my thing.

    My favourite beauty splurge is a good facial every couple of months: a nice long slow gentle cleanse for the face, a facial massage that makes me want to purr, and a nice rich hydrating mask to finish off. Sometimes I throw in a light feel too, to clear off the dead skin. It’s helped clear my skin a lot (though not a cure to all my problems), and it’s a luxury I’m happy to pay for and a hell lot more fun compared to buying products.

    Just throwing in some love for Aesop – namely their deodorant, which is almost scarily effective for me, and contains no majorly objectionable ingredients. I also love their clay mask, which is just cleansing enough without being drying for me, and I adore the scent and consider it a kind of therapy. Agree that many of their products aren’t extraordinarily beneficial for the skin though – gets the job done, but I can get the same for less from ethical brands like Sukin. The scents are what makes me splurge from time to time, and thankfully they don’t irritate my skin much.


    1. How long did you stick with the serum til you decided it did nothing… it’s funny how companies don’t give you an estimate of when things are expected to show an improvement.. are we talking months or years here.. but anyway, I love facial massages! But probably only got one proper facial in my entire life… as for aesop, I like the sensual experience of their products but have read that some of their botanical ingredients can react with uv to cause more photo damage.


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